17th February 3303: Maia system, Darnielle's Progress ground base“They haven't got enough.”
Charybdis slammed the console in frustration. Darnielle's Progress had run dry, with only one tonne released into the commodities market in the last hour. There was clearly a problem with supply, and even black market contacts couldn't deliver. The meta-alloy needed to repair the damage to Bartlett Gateway was a difficult thing to obtain.
The excitement and interest in these newly discovered alien organic growths had given way to an uneasy fear as their effect on human technology became apparent. Nobody knew the agent or the motive behind delivering alien artefacts into populated areas, and stations had been closed and lives put at risk because of it.
A hologram promotion of Li-Yong-Ru, the venerable chairman of Sirius Corp, flickered onto a nearby projector. Recent political events in the volume of space around The Seven Sisters, just outside the bubble of human occupation, had developed in an alarming direction. The discovery of these alien structures, origin unknown and quickly nicknamed barnacles for their appearance, had attracted significant attention. What had once been the province of explorers had more recently seen Federation military blockade, new Federation border stations, and the corporate marketing influence of Sirius Corp, all seeking a power play for military and economic control.
Charybdis mulled over a few options in his mind. Sirius Corp engineers had now started arriving at Bartlett Gateway and were expecting a steady influx of meta-alloy. The local market mini-boom had died around the same time.
“There is an alternative source, one that bypasses whoever is choking this market.” A search through journals soon recalled the location of several barnacle exploration sites in a nearby system.
“Let's just hope they're still there...”