The corporations took massive action against ore exports. I tried to find another way.
In disbelief, I stood in front of the wall with my mouth open. Some guy ran past behind me and bumped into me. What the hell? Had everyone conspired against me? A few days ago everything seemed to change for the better. 2 days ago my Prospector was finally back from the repair. Full of anticipation I wanted to continue my earlier mining successes and mined Quantanium on the moon Daymar. The new mining UI made the job a little easier. It didn’t take long before my ore bags were full.
Now I was on to Port Olisar to sell the Quantanium. But there was nothing at the place where the ore selling terminal was hanging. Just a blank wall. I sighed and went to the Admin Office to ask where I could sell the Quantanium. The guy talked and talked. Said something about new safety regulations. I wasn’t really listening anymore, was only remotely aware of him. But I could hear the sounds from the hall with the ship terminals clearly. An announcement, footsteps, conversations. It was as if I were in another dimension.
The large corporations had made it. They had successfully stopped the export of ores to the free peoples. Ores could only be sold at refinery stations. Safety regulations, don’t make me laugh. Now time was running out. I had to sell the Quantanium before it became unstable and exploded in the ore pockets. I hurriedly ran to my Prospector. I almost forgot to put on my helmet when I went into the airlock.
I had no other choice. To fly with the Prospector to the Nyx system to Levski would take too long. So I set course for the nearest refinery station. It was my first time on such a station. Even from the outside it looked imposing with the long booms and large tanks. After landing and a long ride, the elevator spit me out on the refinery deck. The hall was huge. Pipes and metal walkways formed a confusing network of paths. A giant tank hung from the ceiling on a system of rails. It was hot, bubbling everywhere. Orange glowing ores boiled in large pots. Metal hitting metal could be heard. A worker yelled something across the hall and was finally drowned out by a loudspeaker announcement.
The service area was on the other side of the hall. There was a store that had everything the miner’s heart desired. The equipment was much cheaper than at the other stations.
On the upper level were the sales and refinery terminals. When I entered, the guy behind the desk greeted me in a friendly manner. There was the option of selling the ores directly, or having them refined. That cost a little, but afterwards I could sell the refined product at a higher price. More importantly, I could safely transport the refined Quantanium and export it to the free peoples. At least I thought so.
I stood haphazardly in front of the refinery terminal. There were different refinery methods. Price, duration and yield of the refinery differed. I had no idea what I should do and tried around. After placing an order, I went to the Gallery to eat something. Over a portion of pasta, I thought about recent events. The corporations were serious and had expanded the trade war. First the trade of high-value metals, now the sale of ores. Both were now cut off at Port Olisar. That was it for exports through Port Olisar.
Refining the ores took several hours. I used the time to get my Star Runner to the refinery station. Then the time has come. The freshly refined Quantanium was stowed in the hold of the “White Rabbit” and I set off for Levski. It felt good to be able to bypass the corporate trade restrictions and sell the Quantanium directly to the free peoples. I had no idea what would happen.The flight was uneventful and I landed in Levski without incident. I was smiling when I heard the voice of Eslin Macken, Levski’s flight controller, on the radio. My anticipation for the Quantanium sale and the Grand Barter market was huge. Before strolling through the market, I instructed the hangar crew to unload the White Rabbit.
My mobi glass beeped when I got the message. “We need to talk. Coming up on Cafe Musáin.” The message was from the trade representative in Levski. On the way to the cafe, I wondered what was going on. Was something wrong with the Quantanium? No, it couldn’t be.
The trade representative was sitting at a high table. The light was dim, music was playing in the background, there was a smell of cold smoke. There wasn’t much going on, most of the tables were empty. I hadn’t sat down yet when he got straight to the point. “We have a problem with the Quantanium.” I narrowed my eyes and looked at him questioningly. “What’s the matter, is it rotten? Didn’t know refined Quantanium was perishable.” I replied sarcastically. “Well, that sums it up pretty well. Quantanium is rotten, so to speak.” I laughed “You’ve got to be kidding me.” “No, I’m serious. The Quantanium was not allowed to be exported out of the Stanton system. It was tagged at quantum level and can be traced. We can’t use it. You have to bring it back.” My head banged on the tabletop. This couldn’t be true. The corporations use any means to keep control of the ores. I ordered a whiskey to drown my frustration.
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