Trope-a-Day: Intrepid Merchant

Intrepid Merchant: The entire culture associated with free traders in space; in the more advanced parts of the stargate plexus, there are enough crumbs dropped by the big shipping firms for them to get along by picking them up, and in its farther and less developed reaches, mail contracts, small colony work, and that even with the extranet – which still isn’t everywhere – there are enough bandwidth constraints and knowledge gaps to allow for plenty of unknown unknowns and therefore opportunities for speculative trade to be comfortably profitable.

That a ridiculously high percentage of them are also at least part-time smugglers and occasional privateers helps, too.  (Note the existence of the blockade runner and corsair classes in the Standard Sci-Fi Fleet.)