Letter to Deneki


I hope this letter finds you and your family well. I also hope that you have not found a way to enter any of the merchant academies as I have a job offer for you. It is not a job on my ship, I still cannot afford to hire another crew member yet, but if things go well I will be able to afford not only another crewmember but a fleet of ships as well. This is where the job offer comes in.

First, some background so you understand the offer.

My partner and I planned to work the more primitive planets because the big corporations already take the more advanced ones. On the first planet we hit strong pay dirt. Literally. The planet is a mineral treasure trove. Every mineral needed by modern society was there in abundance according to the probes. Therefore, we landed and spent a month learning the local language of the tribes where the greatest concentration was.

Negotiating a treaty was hard, the tribes were at the consensus level of governing and the local leaders were not leaders but were acknowledged for their wisdom. They could convince others not order others.  Clear? Moreover, they had no concept of a treaty.

The closest they came to the idea of a treaty was a verbal agreement, they had no writing, which lasted for no more than a season. It took months to negotiate an agreement and more months to get them to understand that this agreement was supposed to last for a lifetime or more. We never put anything in writing, obviously, but we recorded the agreement and played it back for them so that they could agree that we were not cheating them. We had been introducing minor technology the whole time so the recorder did not scare them, at least not openly.

Leaving many gifts and telling them that we would leave for a while and return with technology that would allow us to obtain the resources we had bargained for; we headed to the next planet on our list.

After a year there, we returned to the first planet to see how they were adapting to the technological items we had given them. This was just a quick check so that we, and our agreement, were not forgotten. We came back to a firestorm.

The elder who was considered the wisest among the elders of the various tribes, his name is Popop, met us, no one else did, and laid into us verbally. Every piece of technology stopped working a day after we left and stayed nonworking until a day before we landed. Naturally, Daffid and I were shocked.

We did some experimenting. First Daffid took the ship three days out and I stayed on the planet. Everything worked. Then I took the ship three days out and Daffid stayed. Same thing, everything worked. Then we both went with the ship for three days and nothing worked after one day and started up again once we were only a day out. Naturally we had the idea that the locals  were making thing up in order to get more from us, so we explained that we had made a trade agreement with other people on another planet, we explained that the lights in the night sky were other suns was a point that we had done right away when we first arrived in order to explain were we had come from, we left.

It was the same on the other planet as well. There was a real problem. One day out on our trip away from the planet, everything stopped working. One day out on our trip back, everything started up again.

Daffid and I discussed it on our way back to the first planet. Every race so far discovered in the known universe has psionic powers, except humans. That is the conventional wisdom. Thus, we discovered technology and no other race has. I think that bit of wisdom was just spaced. Humans have a specific psionic power, we make technology work. Think about it, everyone knows someone who is such a wiz at technology that equipment just seems to work around them, even if broken; and someone who has trouble making technology work. Different levels of this psionic power.

Daffid and I planned to use robotic miners and terrain recovery robots since the mining corporations would cost us too much. This would leave us free to travel to other primitive planets and make new agreements. This will not work as we had planned now.

When the big corporations sell technology to a planet, they sell advanced technology and leave a support crew to maintain that technology. Which is why Daffid and I did not take that same route. We expected that primitive planets would be better served by primitive technology that we could teach the natives to maintain themselves. We did not have the money to pay for all that trained support staff.

Here is my offer, and please keep it it quiet for now, I do not want the big corporations realizing how much money there is with simple technology to primitive planets and keeping just a small, non-highly trained staff on planet until I make my millions.

I will pay you and your family to move to one of these primitive planets and stay for two years or until I can get you replaced. The pay is one percent of the mineral wealth acquired during that time. During those two years you can do whatever you want, there is no need to repair anything unless you want to do so. I will provide you with school material for the kids and learning material for you and your wife.

If you happen to know anyone in the “Back to Nature” movement please see if they would like to babysit a planet. On the quiet of course. If this works out, we will all be billionaires and the planets we mine will be restored to as close to pristine as the terrain recovery robots can make them. I may want to trade with them again in the future and there is enough hard feelings to overcome already.


Horsley Shaw

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