As we continue to explore the universe of Aliens & Asteroids, it becomes more and more apparent we need to dive a bit into some of the trade networks existing in Dominion space and beyond.
There are five main sources of trade income in the Dominion: Water (mostly in the form of Ice), Heavy or rare metals, food (with fresh being the most expensive), technology (and weapons), and information.
We will work through each of these to offer glimpses into some other potential sources for stories.
It doesn’t take much in the way of rocket science to determine that water, in any form, becomes one of the most important resources in the depths of space. Once we left Earth, we needed water to help with generating breathable atmosphere as well as rocket fuel, hydration, growing food, and so many other things. We were able to find it freely in a few places (once we knew where to look, Mars had a good supply), but we had to take it with us for the most part and recycling became that much more important.
But we knew there had to be sources in our own solar system beyond what we could see right off the bat. That’s when the astronomers began pointing out the Oort Cloud, which starts roughly 2,000 AU from Sol and stretches nearly a quarter of the way to Proxima Centauri. Like the Asteroid Field, it has been estimated to include over a trillion bits of ice, methane, and ammonia.
It didn’t take long for us to try and figure out how to tap into that resource, but it did take a while to figure out how to do it efficiently.
Deep ice haulers use a mix of automation and human intuition to find, collect, and return chunks from the Oort over time. The androids and robotic workforce of Cydyne, combined with the ship-building knowhow of Spherepoint, and an array of brave men and women from the Water Reclamation League (WRL), a union modeled after the Belt Mining Alliance (BMA). The WRL consists of a focused group who enjoy spending time alone in the deep, traveling back and forth from the edges of our system and back to the people who need the resources they find.
The process is largely automated, but the deep haul pilots still run afoul of occasional strange discoveries from time to time. The Space Marines (DSF) have been called in a few times to help get them out of a jam with something they discovered or the odd space pirate attempting to steal a haul.