Alien Organisms >>>HIGHLY PERISHABLE <<<
A previously undiscovered bacterial lifeform unique to the Sirius Sector, these microorganisms are remarkably efficient at metabolizing certain elements into oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. When seeded in an immature planetary environment they can accelerate the terraforming process tenfold, or provide a rich, abundant source of food for other organisms in more mature planetary ecosystems.
Remnants of an alien civilization that existed long before humanity crawled from the ocean. The particulars of each individual Artifact vary, but archeologists and scientists have been unable to determine their function; for all intents and purposes they appear to be inert chunks of crystal and metal inscribed with decorative patterns. A thriving market for Artifacts has sprung up over the years among art collectors and the social elite looking for a new status symbol.
Melding the strength of Titanium with the lightness of Aluminum, Basic Alloys can be used economically to construct durable machine parts. The non-ferrous nature of parts constructed from Basic Alloys and their resistance to oxidization makes them ideal for use in almost any manufacturing environment. When Basic Alloys are infused with a matrix of Boron fibers and combined with Super Alloys, the resulting material is then fabricated into the Ship Hull Panels used by shipyards throughout the colonies.
In its processed metallic form, Beryllium is one of the lightest and stiffest naturally occurring materials known to science; unfortunately, it is also highly brittle, making unalloyed Beryllium unsuitable for most industrial processes. However, Beryllium was discovered to be extraordinarily effective at absorbing neutron radiation, and has since become a key component in the construction of modern reactors and engines.
Boron is an essential element in a number of industrial processes. In its fibrous form, Boron filaments are used as a stiffener in the creation of Ship Hull Panels, lending them unparalleled structural integrity. An isotope of Boron, Boron-10, is also used for control rods in the nuclear reactors that power large ships, stations, and planetside bases.
Cardamine is a drug that produces an intense sense of euphoria and energy in the user. It is both physically and psychologically addictive, but because users do not gain a tolerance, many simply dose themselves with Cardamine continuously to avoid the inevitable crash. Due to the genetic alterations caused by long-term Cardamine use, all of the major colonies have declared it contraband.
Thousands of years ago the distinctive coloration of Cobalt was used to create blue-tinged glass that was admired throughout the known world. Since that time, Cobalt has become recognized as a strategic metal with diverse military and commercial applications. Brittle in its unalloyed form, Cobalt Alloys exhibit tremendous hardness and resistance to corrosion. When combined with Niobium, the resulting High-Temperature Alloy can withstand even the intense heat and pressure generated by the combustion chamber of a fusion engine.
The speed with which planets have been settled over the last several centuries would not have been possible without the development of automated Construction Machinery. For higher-level planning, the real-time analysis of building specifications is combined with terrain and weather data transmitted from orbiting satellites. Autonomous software aboard each individual Construction Machine then executes the plan in the most efficient way possible based on local conditions.
Once the basic necessities of survival have been met, most human beings look for ways to improve their life or to entertain themselves along the way. Consumer Goods satisfy these needs and include a broad range of relatively inexpensive bulk items such as clothing, toiletries, housewares, and Consumer Optronics. While most Consumer Goods are mass produced in automated factories, the ongoing rise in the prison population within the colonies has yielded a cheap labor force that many governments have turned to for handmade goods.
Copper is a malleable, ductile, and essential component of room temperature Superconductors. Superconductors must be surrounded by shunt materials capable of carrying heavy currents around occasional Superconductor faults. For many of the same reasons that Copper was originally used in electrical wiring, it is an ideal shunt material in Niobium Superconductors. And, of course, Superconductors are an important component of modern Jump Gates and Trade Lanes.
Diamonds are the hardest natural substance known to modern science. Composed of a crystalline lattice of simple carbon formed under enormous heat and pressure, diamonds are an essential component of mining machinery, allowing saws and drills to cut through even the toughest asteroid or planetary crust. When properly cut and polished, however, the distinctive pattern of light refraction exhibited by diamonds results in the characteristic glittering, which has made them a hallmark of the rich and powerful elite.
Fusion engines generate thrust by superheating plasma in a magnetic bottle. The plasma is then emitted as exhaust through a nozzle assembly, providing thrust for even the largest of battleships. The temperatures and pressures exerted by a fusion engine require that their components be manufactured from High-Temperature Alloys, while Superconductors are necessary to generate the huge magnetic fields needed to contain the plasma.
Fertilizers increase crop yields and enable plants to grow in planetary environments that lack the necessary nutrients due either to natural conditions or as a result of large-scale harvesting and grazing. Fertilizers are also a key component of the terraforming process, acting as a catalyst to accelerate the production of the self-sustaining plant ecologies that regulate climate and provide food for more advanced lifeforms.
Most planets in the Sirius Sector are rich in natural resources, but few are capable of supporting large-scale agriculture. As a result, Food remains one of the basic but essential inputs of the Sirius economy. While a large assortment of Food stuffs are available in the different colonies, Synth Foods has cornered much of the market with its revolutionary Synth Paste. However, the continuing expansion of the colonies guarantees that the ever increasing demand for Food will keep the market open.
Gold is the oldest precious metal known to humanity, initially prized for its smooth, shiny appearance, and later for its unique physical characteristics. Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all metals known. Combined with its high reflectivity to radiation and resistance to corrosion, gold has obvious applications in both the optronics and ship construction industries. Of course, the scarcity of gold -- colony holdings of gold increase by only 1.2% per standard year -- also makes it the ultimate status symbol for those who can afford it.
H-fuel is the basic fuel used for engine propulsion everywhere in the colonies. A mix of elemental hydrogen, deuterium (H2), and helium-3 (He3), H-fuel can also be mixed with oxygen in fuel cells to provide water (via "cracking") and electricity for smaller ships, space stations, and other facilities. H-fuel production is almost totally monopolized by the Kusari who obtain their supplies from the Gas Miner's Guild before shipping it to storage depots and distribution facilities throughout the colonies.
High Temperature Alloy
High temperature alloys are essential to the construction of engine components: only a material with the strength of cobalt and the temperature resistance of niobium could withstand the tremendous amount of heat and pressure that exists within the combustion chamber of a fusion engine. However, the rarity of niobium and the complex fabrication methods employed mean that high temperature alloys are relatively expensive -- but without them, modern space travel would be impossible.
One of the most important pieces of technology developed during the course of settling the Sirius Sector has been Ship Hull Panels. These wonders of materials research combine a Polymer and Hydrocarbon base along with Basic and Super Alloys to create a substance that is light and flexible, while providing insulation from hard vacuum and all but the most intense radiation. Boron fibers are infused into the panels to endow them with structural rigidity, protecting ships against kinetic impact and high-energy weapons fire.
Hydrocarbons are a class of organic compounds composed only of hydrogen and carbon molecules, resulting in a wide variety of substances that have important industrial applications. While hydrocarbons naturally occur in a gaseous state almost everywhere in the known universe, frozen deposits present the most easily exploited form of the substance. Hydrocarbon mining is key to the industrialization of the Sirius Sector as it provides the raw materials for the creation of the Ship Hull Panels and Optronics, upon which modern society depends.
Jump Gate / Trade Lane Parts
Jump Gate and Trade Lane Parts are exclusively manufactured at the Ageira Technologies facility in the Colorado system and are delivered to individual construction sites as necessary. These components are sealed in scanner-proof, tamper-proof white boxes that can only be opened with complex biometric keys. The boxes are also designed to detonate if opened outside of an authorized facility. Additional security measures are confidential, but Ageira has never failed to recover a missing white box.
Light Arms include a wide array of portable weapons intended for personal defense, ranging from handheld blasters to shoulder-mounted needler rifles. While not suited to major military offensives, this line of weaponry is more than adequate for protecting oneself in close quarters combat. And with piracy on the rise throughout the colonies, the need for protection has never been greater.
Luxury Consumer Goods
There are always those with money or influence who demand items that will set them apart from -- and above -- those without their resources. For such individuals, Luxury Consumer Goods offer the ultimate status symbol and include big ticket items such as jewelry, designer clothes, and advanced Optronics. All of these items are valuable precisely because they are rare, often fabricated from the most uncommon or difficult-to-obtain resources in the Sirius Sector.
Luxury Food >>> HIGHLY PERISHABLE<<<
The first colonists found strange planets full of unknown flora and fauna, much of it indigestible or even toxic to human beings. As time passed, though, the colonists grew more confident about which indigenous life forms were both nutritional and flavorful, while some gene-banked plants and animals unexpectedly flourished in their new environments. Such delicacies quickly became some of the most popular and expensive imports from the worlds that produced them.
Much of the rich resources of the Sirius Sector are locked within barren planetoids or buried beneath the crust of an airless, frozen planet. By combining super-hard Diamond drill bits and advanced sensor arrays, however, even the deepest deposits can be excavated with relative ease. When used in conjunction with automated crushers, grinders, and sifters, a complete mining operation manned by only a few key personnel can rip apart an average-sized asteroid within a matter of standard weeks.
A mixture of uranium oxide (UO2) and a small (<3%) portion of weapons-grade plutonium, MOX is the primary fuel for the nuclear reactors used aboard large spacecraft and the monstrous blast furnaces of manufacturing platforms. MOX is typically formed into ceramic pellets that are then loaded into zirconium fuel elements and packaged for transport. It is an efficient source of energy that utilizes a large percentage of recycled materials and exhibits only trace radiation, thus posing little threat to the environment.
Rare and exotic, Niobium has a number of unique properties. Relatively light and extremely heat resistant, Niobium-derived alloys have been used in the construction of spacecraft and nuclear reactors for centuries, while at lower temperatures Niobium acts as an effective Superconductor. But aside from its practical uses, Niobium is also visually distinctive. When anodized using an electric current, Niobium turns a range of iridescent colors. This property makes it a natural subject for the jeweler's art.
The Optical Chip is a tiny electronic component featuring a general-purpose array of optical switches that can be programmed and instantly reprogrammed to perform nearly any function. Rather than using electricity, however, beams of light transfer information almost instantly, making general-purpose stateless computing machines possible. Optical Chips are the core components in the new field of Optronics on which all advanced technology is based.
By stringing together arrays of adaptable Optical Chips connected with gossamer thin webs of organically spun glass waveguides, a new type of computing machine was created. These Optronic devices utilize almost no moving parts, consume very little power, and operate at the speed of light. Because Optical Chips can almost instantly reprogram themselves, Optronics excel at the kind of signal processing and computation that underlie a host of practical applications ranging from Consumer Goods to ship avionics.
A typical human being consumes over 12,000 liters of Oxygen (O2) daily. Oxygen, usually mixed with a neutral gas such as nitrogen, is absorbed through the tissues of the lungs and then diffused into the bloodstream, where it is carried throughout the body. All humans require a constant supply of Oxygen or they will perish within minutes.
Advanced pharmaceutical research has now yielded an entirely new class of custom tailored drugs. Using scanners and optronic computers, scientists can determine the precise molecular structure required for a drug to be most effective in treating a particular disease or affliction. The resulting drug is then assembled molecule by molecule from raw polymers; however, prototype drugs must be researched in zero-g to avoid the effects of gravitational pull which could disturb the delicate process.
A polymer is a large molecule of high relative molecular mass composed of five or more monomers, smaller molecular structures repeated over and over to form the polymer. While the simplest of polymers have only five monomers, typical polymers contain hundreds or thousands of monomers, and some advanced polymers stretch into chains of millions. Because of their physical and chemical characteristics, polymers have a tremendous range of uses and are ubiquitous within the technology and consumer products industries.
The rapid industrialization that followed the settlement of the Sirius Sector has resulted in large fields of Scrap Metal, the detritus resulting from extensive manufacturing and mining operations. These debris fields present both a navigational hazard and a potential second-stage resource, so a small cottage industry has sprung up among those who collect scrap metal and resell it at smelting plants.
Silver has long been valued by humanity for its beauty, scarcity, and broad spectrum of uses. One of the most important uses for Silver today, however, is in terraforming. Silver iodide (AgI) is employed as a cloud-seeding agent to catalyze nascent ecologies by encouraging the production of rain. Silver also remains highly desirable for its aesthetic beauty, accessorizing the suit of many a technocrat or the arm of a society matron.
In its unalloyed form, Beryllium is incredibly strong and light but also highly brittle; when combined with aluminum, however, the resulting Super Alloy offers all the benefits of Beryllium along with the stiffness of aluminum. The Super Alloy fabrication process is somewhat more complicated than that used to make Basic Alloys, though, and Super Alloy is consequently more expensive. Super Alloys are used in everything from Ship Hull Panels to the frames of advanced military vessels.
Superconductors are materials that transmit without loss any current applied to them. Unfortunately, many materials act as superconductors only when cooled to temperatures near absolute zero. The discovery of "room temperature" superconductors built around a core of specially treated niobium with copper shunting, however, made possible quantum leaps in technology. Most importantly, superconductors are key components in fusion engines and in the construction of Jump Gates and Trade Lanes.