When the cost of negative mass drives came down far enough that starships became affordable, legend has it that the first personal transport was bought by a retired spacer named Jeremiah Yance, who immediately hired a crew and began a shipping service for small, but valuable (and sometimes quite discreet) cargo. The freelancer was born.
Roughly, a freelancer is anyone who makes their living working on independent starships, or by traveling frequently from planet to planet. They do not work for a corporation or a government, and usually get paid a set fee for each job.
Freelancers date back about 200 years, mainly with tramp freighter captains hauling light loads for small colonies who couldn’t afford corporate prices. It wasn’t long before mercenaries, smugglers and then pirates began getting ships of their own as well. But freelancing did not truly explode until the Free Colonies declared independence shortly after the first Human-Arkhon War. The Free Colonies, uncoupled from the Terran Protectorate’s well-established trade system, had jobs aplenty for independent, small-scale spacers.
Freelancing isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle. Your crew is family. Your ship is home. And your word should be more valuable than your paycheck.
There are Freelancers everywhere in the Free Colonies and in the outer edges of the Terran Protectorate. And freelancing isn’t just limited to humanity. There are Xintrin traders who ply the spacelanes between the Merchant Guild and Terran Protectorate, Mogg’theran mercs who sell the services of men and ships to the highest bidder, and Arnuban smugglers running weapons tech from the Fahreen to sell to Free Colony pirate groups. Everyone is in on the game.
Unfortunately, everyone IS in on the game, and that has recently included the large megacorporations, like Science Frontiers, Orion Arm Industries and Kugler-Vaughn. From the corporate colony world of Einwold and enclaves on Bifrost, the corps have been working hard to smother freelancers and “civilize” the Free Colonies. With every corporate shipping contract, a few more freelance crews go hungry….or turn to piracy.
But for most
freelancers, that only happens to the “other guy.” If you’re sharp enough,
smart enough, and fast enough, you can stay a step ahead of the corps and beat
their corporate stiffs to pay day. And there’s always the chance that the next
mission will be the Big One that will allow your whole crew to retire to a lush
Stick (freelance pilot) O.C.C.