Things to See, Places to Go (4)

Teralu Startown: The single-system Teralu polity, in the Magen Exodus, once signed a contract with the Empire to maintain a starport on the populated world of their system, Teralu Actual, making the usual concessions with regard to starport extrality and to freedom of passage. Later, after the coup of 5942, the new Teralu government – now on unfriendly terms with its large neighbor – no longer wished for the arrangement to continue, but were unable to repudiate the contract (good for several millennia); the Empire, as ever, holds what it has.

Hard times, though, were thought to be incoming for Teralu Starport, and for the downport, that turned out to be the case: the new regime had much less use for interstellar commerce and those who engaged in it, and Teralu Down remains today a stripped shell of its former self.

The same, however, cannot be said of Teralu Orbital. Positioned as the Teralu system is along the Mercantile Corridor, and at an intersection of local stargate routes, the ciseflish entrepreneur Rilman min Kinethill rented – at a remarkably low rate – many of the now-unused vast transshipment warehouses of Teralu Orbital, filling them with used freight containers eminently suitable to be cut and refashioned into prefabs, and provided them with independent utilities at his own expense, before offering these volumes for rent at low rates.

Thus, Teralu Orbital now plays host to one of the most flourishing startowns in the inner Worlds, offering in addition to standard starport services everything in the lines of taverns, caravanserais, hotels, flophouses, gambling, trading both speculative and slash, hiring, brawling, negotiable affection, hedonics, junk dealing, street food, scratch medicine, and other such services that a jaded crewsoph’s heart might desire. This is no Nepscian red-market, though: personal security and contract enforcement are vigorously provided by min Kinethill’s chartered mercenary company, the Gray-in-Gray Cloaks. Min Kinethill himself retired from hands-on management some years ago, but maintains ownership of the operation and continues to keep an eye on local affairs from his personal aerostat on Cerise (Banners).

It’s well worth a visit, both to take in the thriving – and often sweltering – atmosphere, and to see the unique architecture created by the local residents. Don’t bother with the planet below, though: the locals are unfriendly, and the local color dull, at best.

– Leyness’s Worlds: Guide to the Ecumene

Trope-a-Day: Merchant City

Merchant City: Mer Covales, the capital of Seranth (which is not, however, the throneworld), itself located at the junction of the Lethíäza Trade Spine and the Mercantile Corridor, the two biggest and oldest trade routes in the Associated Worlds.

Imagine, if you will, New York City, Hong Kong, and Singapore glommed together into one giant mass of wealth and commerce. Then scale up what you’re imagining until the buildings look like Coruscant’s giant arcology-towers, remake it out of the costliest materials you can imagine, divide it into three concentric layers stacked one above the other, make the whole thing fly, and dangle it off the end of an orbital elevator.

That’s Mer Covales, a giant, hovering testament to wonders, riches, mystery, risk, vice, luxury, splendor, and the ability of wealth to be as potent a force in reshaping the universe as any of the other four, if not more so. If you can’t buy it there, not only does it not exist, but there’s literally no-one you can pay to make it exist.