FFXV Scraps of Mystery Quest

They are mentioned in Ezekiel 1: Experts - geologists, ecologists, and historians - have not come to a consensus about the origin of the funnel, say reports in the region. We had no choice but to pray. Borman reported that he saw an unidentified spacecraft some distance from their capsule. Could this explanation apply to every intelligent species in the galaxy?

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Final Fantasy XV Mystery Map

The lowest for Auschwitz, for instance by the Polish historian Franciszek Piper , cites 1. The highest figure cited for Auschwitz is 4 million. However, much has happened since it went up, including the Blogger outage.

Scroll down for a report on that. More new posts will be added below this one. The essay below is the conclusion of the ninth part in a series by Takuan Seiyo.

See the list at the bottom of this post for links to the previous installments. For over 60 years, White mea-culpists have had a firm grip in all fields of cultural mind imprinting: Their main endeavor has been to enforce their compulsory e. K and discretionary e. Nor the evils of the worldwide Islamic Inquisition which — not in the 16th century but now, in the 21st, condemns Muslim apostates to barbaric execution.

Instead, aggressive White androphobes of all genders which I can no longer count are decimating the philogynous and egalitarian West. Equality psychos are tearing down the most egalitarian society that ever existed except for initial communist experiments, before they turned bloody. American Jews, at the apex of the greatest fortune and philosemitic tolerance their long diaspora has ever bestowed on their kind, are busy supporting all the ideologies and policies that demolish their safe harbor and build up their Muslim, Black and Third World enemies.

Leftoid masochists and the Christian meek call for returning Hawaii to the Hawaiians and capitulating before a massive Mexican reconquista of one-third of America. The rightful Etruscan landowners are not bearing angry placards in front of the Vatican. The Japanese are not planning to relinquish Hokkaido to its original owners, the Ainu. The tall, white and fair-haired Chachapoyas of the Andean forest have, alas, no remnants left to sue the Incas for genocide in a Peruvian court of law.

However, even that great moral abyss of Western civilization — the Holocausts — stands out more in its industrialized and organizational features than it does either in the quality of its hatefulness or its relative or even absolute volumes.

In relative numbers, in just one year, , the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, killed off a total of one million, in a population of 7 million. Is it more humane to go by a stroke of a blunt machete than by a whiff of Zyklon B?

The Khmer Rouge murdered at least 2 million Cambodians between and Is it more humane to die by wallops from a Cambodian pickaxe handle than by a bullet from a German Mauser? Inscription on the back in German: There is a special horror attached to the Third Reich, because those were 20 th century Europeans, Christians, and in many ways the smartest, most civilized people on Earth. But the Holocausts do not prove that Whites are worse than other people, just that they are no better. The history of the Third Reich also proves that with the right formula of economic blowup, misery and humiliation, sparked by charismatic evil, no people are immune to such horror, at no time.

Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer sends his translation of an article and interview with two respectable high-profile Muslim leaders in Oslo, who have strongly negative opinions about Jews and the worldwide Jewish conspiracy. A new trend seems to have developed in the Islamic community in Norway: It should also be pointed out that this is the same mosque that the Norwegian police apologized so profusely to last year for the fact that we have freedom of speech in Norway.

The translated article from Dagsavisen:. Many Norwegians have a negative view on Islam due to Jewish domination of the media. We are visiting Central Jamaat-e Ahl-e Sunnat, the mosque with the largest member base in Norway, to talk to its spiritual leader.

The mosque was founded in and currently has more than 5, members. The Imam begins by explaining that all three heavenly religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are sacred to them.

Many people are unaware of this fact, says Sarwar. Both of them believe that the school visits confirms their views that Norwegians in general have an inaccurate impression of Islam and Muslims. People are ignorant because they get their information from the media, and the media only write negatively about Islam.

Only a handful of people were behind the movie about Mohammed in the U. So who was financing them, who was backing them? A big tip of the Bodissey pickelhaube to our commenter Jolie Rouge, who has provided us with a brand new acronym.

Note the aggressor is not named other than by geographical location e. North Africa, Afghanistan and surprisingly the inclusion of Turkey. I think JIM could have great utility for our enterprise: Who will be the first major Western politician not counting Geert Wilders to break the greatest cultural taboo of our time, and mess around with JIM?

Yesterday a group of Al Qaeda terrorists assaulted a natural gas plant in Algeria and killed two foreigners while taking 41 other hostage.

Today Algerian special forces staged a helicopter raid on the plant, killing a number of the hostages — between six and 34, depending on whose figures you believe — in the process of taking out the terrorists. Among the foreign hostages were American, British, French, and Japanese nationals. In other news, Germany has begun repatriating its foreign gold reserves, which are stored in vaults in Paris, London, and the United States.

The difference tends to shrink over time, which eliminates the profit. Sometimes the market at your destination becomes saturated as the manufacturers of Beanie Babies found out , sometimes the supply at the origin dries up like petroleum.

A trader would like a nice simple two-planet set up: But all too often one of the planets does not cooperate, such as when planet Bravo desired Alfan Aphrodisiac Apples, but the vegetarian Alfans look upon Bravo's major export with horror.

The key to solving the problem is Triangular trade. The trader has to find a third planet, one that wants to import Bravo's export, and which exports something that Alfa wants. The main historical example often cited is despicable, since one of the "trade items" is slaves. This vile period in history is euphemistically called the " African Diaspora ".

Triangular trade or triangle trade is a historical term indicating trade among three ports or regions. Triangular trade usually evolves when a region has export commodities that are not required in the region from which its major imports come. Triangular trade thus provides a method for rectifying trade imbalances between the above regions. The particular routes were historically also shaped by the powerful influence of winds and currents during the age of sail.

For example, from the main trading nations of Western Europe it was much easier to sail westwards after first going south of 30 N latitude and reaching the so-called " trade winds "; thus arriving in the Caribbean rather than going straight west to the North American mainland. Returning from North America, it is easiest to follow the Gulf Stream in a northeasterly direction using the westerlies.

A similar triangle to this, called the volta do mar was already being used by the Portuguese, before Columbus' voyage, to sail to the Canary Islands and the Azores. Columbus simply expanded the triangle outwards, and his route became the main way for Europeans to reach, and return from, the Americas. This gives the sky merchant a grasp of economics rarely achieved by bankers or professors.

He is engaged in barter and no nonsense. He pays taxes he can't evade and doesn't care whether they are called "excise" or "king's pence" or "squeeze" or straight-out bribes. It is the other kid's bat and ball and backyard, so you play by his rules — nothing to get in a sweat about By the Law of Supply and Demand a thing has value from where it is as much as from what it is — and that's what a merchant does; he moves things from where they are cheap to where they are worth more.

A smelly nuisance in a stable is valuable fertilizer if you move it to the south forty. Pebbles on one planet can be precious gems on another. The art in selecting cargo lies in knowing where things will be worth more, and the merchant who can guess right can reap the wealth of Midas in one trip. Or guess wrong and go broke The trade routes for a two-way swap show minimum profit; they fill up too quickly.

But a triangular trade — or higher numbers — can show high profits. Landfall had something — call it cheese — which was a luxury on Blessed — while Blessed produced — call it chalk — much in demand on Valhalla Work this in the right direction and get rich; work it backwards and lose your shirt. I walked on the other side of Uncle Q. He looked down at me curiously from time to time, a kind of bemused half-smile stamped on his face.

Bulk fertilizer to Barsi, frozen food from Barsi to here. The Dwarves, who have strained relations to the High Elves but not with the people flying castles, exchange the holds of Elven textiles for Dwarven magical weapons and armor. The Murder Hobos at home pay premium price in silver for Dwarven magical weapons and armor which they use to murder various indigenous demi-humans for more silver.

Around and around the Flying Castle goes, taking a markup at each step, and selling to those who want things and buying oversupply. This is not limited to Elven textiles and Dwarven magical weapons — Flying Castles trade in rare and precious magic items and spells, spices, other textiles, rare food stuffs, inventions, technology, finished goods, and beings from far away continents.

Problems crop up in the otherwise tame and civilized triangle trade when two nations both want a monopoly in one rare and valuable good. For example, both Flying Castles wish to sell a high performing rare Elven mithril armor crafted only by one tribe of Elves living on a distant and nicely tropical island.

Controlling that good — and the island — and monopolizing it allows one nation to reap the profits while the other nation to pay sky high and price-controlled prices. The potential profits are huge. In go the swords and mercenaries. One might think the Elves on the island making armor would have something to say about all this. But to have a say, they need to get a Flying Castle. Right now what they have are coconuts and really nice hammocks.

The Elves are out of luck. Here the nations do what nations do. They do enter into far off hostilities. They ship fireball-throwing cannons instead of cotton thread. And they get into a hot shooting war over islands and Elves. The document serves essentially as a guarantee to the seller that it will be paid by the issuer of the letter of credit regardless of whether the buyer ultimately fails to pay.

In this way, the risk that the buyer will fail to pay is transferred from the seller to the letter of credit's issuer. The letter of credit also insures that all the agreed upon standards and quality of goods are met by the supplier. Letters of credit are used primarily in international trade for large transactions between a supplier in one country and a customer in another.

The parties to a letter of credit are the supplier, usually called the beneficiary, the issuing bank, of whom the buyer is a client, and sometimes an advising bank, of whom the beneficiary is a client. Almost all letters of credit are irrevocable, i. In executing a transaction, letters of credit incorporate functions common to giros and traveler's cheques.

It serves several purposes in international trade, both as transit information and title to the goods. A legal document between the shipper of a particular good and the carrier detailing the type, quantity and destination of the good being carried.

The bill of lading also serves as a receipt of shipment when the good is delivered to the predetermined destination. This document must accompany the shipped goods, no matter the form of transportation, and must be signed by an authorized representative from the carrier, shipper and receiver. The roads were bad and in poor repair. Ocean routes were treacherous. Brigands and pirates lurked in parts of the trade route far from any help.

Distant nations treated merchants with disdain at best and as rich people to rob at worst. And every single landowner along the trade route felt that they had a right to extort whatever tax they could get out of the trade caravan.

To fix these problems the medieval merchants found effective solutions, the most effective being the concept of a Merchant Guild. These were association of of traders. Guilds could invest the member's fees in such things as improving road conditions and suppressing pirates and brigands.

Lighthouses were erected at dangerous points, to prevent merchant shipwrecks. The guild would negotiate treaties of commerce with foreign nations, protecting the liberty and security of guild members sometimes the guild could even get an agreement for foreign troops to travel with a trade caravan.

And while a single trader could not do much about landowner's imposed taxes, a huge guild could negotiate from a position of power. Negotiations with a landowner would result in a Merchant Guild charter, where guild members would pay a fixed sum or an annual payment for right of passage. You can see how these concepts can be re-used in an interstellar trading future, the situations are much the same.

The flip-side of course is that the guild members have to pay their dues to the guild, and obey all the guild regulations. Members cannot engage in any type of trade forbidden by the Guild charter, fines were imposed on members who broke the rules, and guild members had to aid and support fellow guild members in times of trouble.

If a guild member was killed, the guild would care for any orphans thus tragically created. Guilds also supplied health insurance, funeral expenses, and doweries for girls who could not afford them. Naturally the guilds became quite powerful. Independent traders would find it difficult to compete. In a village, local craftsmen also found it difficult to compete with the Merchant guilds, which lead to the rise of Craft guilds in self-defense.

Eventually the merchant guild members delegated all the actual traveling and trading jobs in their profession to employees, and instead sat comfortably at home while their factors did all the hard work. In Andre Norton's novels the "Free Traders" are independent interstellar merchants owning little more than their starship. Often they are victimized by the megacorporation trading companies, who are too big for an individual free trader to fight.

In the novel Moon Of Three Rings apparently the free traders have formed a Merchant guild called the "Legion", which collectively is powerful enough to defend the members from the megacorps. A trading post or "factory" is where a merchant or the merchant's factor carries on the merchant's business on a foreign planet. The trading post exchanges imported trade items for valuable local goods. In some cases a trading post and a couple of warehouses can grow into an actual colony. The trading post merchant or factor is responsible for the local goods logistics proper storage and shipping , assesing and packaging for spacecraft transport.

The factor is the representative for the merchant in all matters, reporting everything to the merchant headquarters. The longer the communication time delay between trading post and headquarters, the more trustworthy the factor has to be.

Factors may work with native contract suppliers, called a comprador. Also interesting is how the rise of the 17th century Dutch seaborne empire was due in part to their superior utilization of wind energy in the form of their breakthrough cargo transport, the Fluyt ship. Unlike other cargo ships of the time, the Fluyt was not designed to be easily converted into a warship.

It was pure merchant vessel. This means it was cheaper to build, carried twice the cargo, and needed a smaller crew. It could also operate in much shallower water than a conventional ship, allowing it to get cargo in and out of ports other ships could not reach. The only trade route Fluyts could not be used on were long haul voyages to the East Indies and the New World, because Fluyts were unarmed. If you are a science fiction writer or game creator, these ideas should start the wheels turning in your mind.

It may be instructive to read a couple of history textbooks on the topic of Merchant Guilds, and look over the Nicholas van Rijn stories of Poul Anderson. While a trading post can be on a remote planet at the frontier of a long space route, a Transport Nexus will probably be more centrally located. A trading post planet might be the only source of some valuable luxury good exotic gem stones, unique liquor, native artworks so it can be located on Planet Sticks in the Boondocks Cluster.

By way of contrast, transport nexuses are centers of commerce and will be "strategically" located. Its path roughly described a bent and swollen, meandering, broken ellipse along the edge of the rift and then out and across it and back again.

A closer examination might reveal that the trail of the convoy was actually a series of lesser arcs tracing through the spiral arm, then turning reluctantly out into the darkness of The Deep Rift, with one scheduled stopover at the forlorn worlds of Marathon, Ghastly, and George, then across The Great Leap and into the lips of the ghostly streamer known as The Purse on the opposite side, then around The Outbeyond, down toward The Silver Horn, and finally turning home again, leaping across at The Narrows and then down through The Valley of Death to The Heart of Darkness, then a sudden dogleg up to a place of desperate joy known as Last Chance, before finally sliding into The Long Ride Home and a golden world called Glory.

The Silk Road Convoy was the oldest of all the caravans on the route. It was not the largest fleet on the route, but it was definitely the richest and most prestigious. The convoy followed the path of an ancient exploration vessel.

Colonies had followed the vessel. Traders had followed the colonies. The trade had evolved over the centuries into a trade route called The Silk Road. Eventually, due to the twists and vagaries of luck and history and fate, it became one of the most profitable routes known in the Alliance.

At any given moment there might be as many as thirty different caravans scattered along its great curving length—but only the original Silk Road Convoy was entitled to bear the name of the trade route.

This was because the partnership which had grown up with the original Silk Road Convoy also owned or controlled most of the directorships of the Silk Road Authority. The Silk Road Authority was larger than most governments. It held three seats in the Alliance and controlled almost all of the trade, both legal and otherwise, within the ellipse of its influence.

The Authority had major offices on every planet within thirty light-years of the primary route. Every merchant ship in the arm paid a license fee for the privilege of traveling the route and booking passengers and cargo through the offices of the Authority. Some ships, like the notorious freebooter Eye of Argon, preferred to travel alone. Others paid for the privilege of traveling with a caravan.

The caravans were near-permanent institutions. Imagine a chain of vessels nearly three light-days long, islands of light strung through the darkness. The caravans provided service and safety—and safety had lately become a primary consideration for star travelers. Because of its name, because of its age and its prestige, the Silk Road Convoy was considered the safest of all.

Too often in history a mercenary force has disappeared a moment before the battle; switched sides for a well-timed bribe; or even conquered its employer and brought about the very disasters it was hired to prevent.

Mercenaries, for their part, face the chances common to every soldier of being killed by the enemy. In addition, however, they must reckon with the possibility of being bilked of their pay or massacred to avoid its payment; of being used as cannon fodder by an employer whose distaste for "money-grubbing aliens" may exceed the enemy's; or of being abandoned far from home when defeat or political change erases their employer or his good will.

A solution to both sets of special problems was made possible by the complexity of galactic commerce. The recorded beginnings came early in the twenty-seventh century when several planets caught up in the Confederation Wars used the Terran firm of Felchow und Sohn as an escrow agent for their mercenaries' pay.

Felchow was a commercial banking house which had retained its preeminence even after Terran industry had been in some measure supplanted by that of newer worlds. Neither Felchow nor Terra herself had any personal stake in the chaotic rise and fall of the Barnard Confederation; thus the house was the perfect neutral to hold the pay of the condottieri being hired by all parties. Payment was scrupulously made to mercenaries who performed according to their contracts. This included the survivors of the Dalhousie debacle who were able to buy passage off that ravaged world, despite the fact that less than ten percent of the populace which had hired them was still alive.

Conversely, the pay of Wrangel's Legion, which had refused to assault the Confederation drop zone on Montauk, was forfeited to the Montauk government. Felchow und Sohn had performed to the satisfaction of all honest parties when first used as an intermediary.

Over the next three decades the house was similarly involved in other conflicts, a passive escrow agent and paymaster. It was only after the Ariete Incident of that the concept coalesced into the one stable feature of a galaxy at war.

The Ariete, a division recruited mostly from among the militias of the Aldoni System, was hired by the rebels on Paley. Their pay was banked with Felchow, since the rebels very reasonably doubted that anyone would take on the well-trained troops of the Republic of Paley if they had already been handed the carrot. But the Ariete fought very well indeed, losing an estimated thirty percent of its effectives before surrendering in the final collapse of the rebellion. The combat losses have to be estimated because the Republican forces, in defiance of the "Laws of War" and their own promises before the surrender, butchered all their fifteen or so thousand mercenary prisoners.

Felchow und Sohn, seeing an excuse for an action which would raise it to incredible power, reduced Paley to Stone Age savagery. An industrialized world as Paley was is an interlocking whole. Off-planet trade may amount to no more than five percent of its GDP; but when that trade is suddenly cut off, the remainder of the economy resembles a car lacking two pistons. It may make whirring sounds for a time, but it isn't going anywhere.

Huge as Felchow was, a single banking house could not have cut Paley off from the rest of the galaxy. When Felchow, however, offered other commercial banks membership in a cartel and a share of the lucrative escrow business, the others joined gladly and without exception.

No one would underwrite cargoes to or from Paley; and Paley, already wracked by a war and its aftermath, shuddered down into the slag heap of history. Lucrative was indeed a mild word for the mercenary business. The escrowed money itself could be put to work, and the escrowing bank was an obvious agent for the other commercial transactions needed to run a war.

Mercenaries replaced equipment, recruited men, and shipped themselves by the thousands across the galaxy. With the banks' new power came a new organization. The expanded escrow operations were made the responsibility of a Bonding Authority, still based in Bremen but managed independently of the cartel itself.

The Authority's fees were high. In return, its Contracts Department was expert in preventing expensive misunderstandings from arising, and its investigative staff could neither be bribed nor deluded by a violator. For a ship moving at near light-speed, time dilation requires that in terms of your subjective, shipboard life span, the voyage won't be much more time-consuming than, say, one of Francis Drake's pirate raids.

This brings us to problem number three: Assuming there are adequate ships and places to go, and the crew's lifespans aren't a problem, why would fleets of expensive vessels be launched to go there?

That's another way of asking the Big Question, and we'll spend the rest of this essay trying to answer it. But before continuing, let's be sure we're all together. I suspect that the Big Question may have taken some of you by surprise. After all, there are abundant examples of terrestrial, trans-oceanic trade, which at first glance seem to provide models for interstellar commerce.

For example, the Japanese import raw materials to their resource-poor islands, transform the materials into automobiles, send the finished goods across the Pacific, and sell them in the United States—and they make a lot of money doing so. Couldn't the same kind of thing work among the stars?

The times and distances and therefore the costs involved are not analogous—not even close. The distance to the Sun's nearest stellar neighbor is approximately five billion times the distance from Japan to California. Therefore, the model of transoceanic trade is virtually useless. It's often been assumed that there would be interstellar freighters and ore ships based on the trans-oceanic model, but is this assumption realistic?

Consider the importation of raw materials to the Earth. Sure, resources might vanish from the Earth or become unimaginably expensive, although this is doubtful. Still, we won't be using starships to import raw materials. We can always mine the asteroids, or Jupiter's moons. They're millions of times closer, and therefore far cheaper.

So unless there are minerals out there we've never dreamed of, and that we can't synthesize closer to home, we can forget about interstellar ore boats. It's not raw materials that we'll lack in the solar system, it's cheap labor. But the cost of labor on Earth would have to be incredibly high to justify an interstellar flow of manufactured goods. It's conceivable, of course.

We can easily imagine a future political setup the post office scenario in which all nations on Earth are so bogged down with artificially high labor costs and archaic work rules that the "cheapest" Earth-made automobiles would cost, relatively, what a Rolls Royce costs now.

But ask yourself—would even that kind of economic insanity justify an interstellar transportation system, with a or year Earth viewpoint transit time? The unions would take care if they were clever that terrestrial prices never got so high that the interstellar freetraders would have a competitive advantage. Even if Earth was devastated by war a common science fiction scenario , we could rebuild our factories faster than we could import finished goods from the stars.

So we need to assume a really amazing manufacturing advantage that would make goods from the stars so valuable as to be worth the cost—and years of transit time—of shipping them to Earth.

Some goods are unique—like the products of newly created technologies. Ah, but would new colonies develop such technologies? And even if they did, there's always the risk of industrial espionage; and anyway, by the time the products got to their distant market Earth , would they still be state of the art? A dozen years of transport time can dull a product's competitive advantage.

Besides, absent a new terrestrial dark age another common SF scenario , interstellar shipments are going to be pretty much a one-way street. Earth will have technologies the new worlds need, at least in the early stages of our interstellar expansion.

They the colonies will need goods from Earth, but not vice versa. In marketing terms, they're going to be like the natives of Bangladesh—we know they're out there, and they want what we produce, but what's in it for us?

The problem for an interstellar merchant is finding something Earth can buy from the new worlds. Well, what can the new worlds export? It'll be a long time until the new worlds are out-inventing Earth. All their technology will be old stuff, made with machines they took with them. But even old technology can be unique if it involves secret processes.

Sure, but does Coke's secret formula justify the cost of interstellar freight? What else have they got? Persian rugs are regionally specific, labor-intensive products.

Havana cigars and French wines require special climatic conditions. Extraterrestrial analogs of such items could be traded. But it would take a lot of future Picassos, cases of Coca-Cola, bottles of Chateau Betelgeuse, Oriental carpets, and interstellar stogies to support a galactic merchant fleet.

There's the possibility of Dune-like spice, or Star Trek's dilithium crystals, or some other wonder goods—but we can't count on their existence. For the moment, let's ignore this problem, and arbitrarily assume that something, say automobiles, will be worth shipping from one planetary system to another. This the Toyota scenario is our biggest, wildest assumption so far, but let's play with it for a while, and see how it goes.

If you were a star-faring merchant considering the purchase of a shipload of cars from, say, Epsilon Eridani, which is almost 11 light-years away from Earth, how would you know what market conditions were like on Earth? It'll take you 11 years actually By the time you got that reply, the information would be 11 years out of date.

Perhaps Marco Polo could operate like that, but things were somewhat different then. Instead, imagine that Earth is always broadcasting its needs, so you touch down on a manufacturing planet circling Epsilon Eridani which we'll call "EE" and you get the latest info 11 years old from Earth—"Hot market here for cars from EE.

Now you start thinking like a merchant. What kind of mark-up could you expect that would justify buying a starship-load of cars and tying up your capital or paying interest on a loan for the dozen years you would need to get those cars to your destination?

I said a dozen years, because your ship will certainly be slower than the communications system. Bear in mind that you'd be making an investment in goods that might very well be obsolete when they finally arrived.

And if Earth is dominated by strong labor unions as they would have to be to make scarce, extraterrestrial labor a bargain they'll have a full range of protectionist legislation to keep out cheap imports. And what kind of import duties would you have to pay in order to clear your cargo through Earth customs? The only way your venture could work is if you could know, a dozen years in advance of your arrival on Earth, what your sales price and other costs would be.

It's possible for that broadcast of Earth's needs to be some kind of continuing offer, containing price and terms, and by acting on it you could be assured of selling your cargo at those prices—even though your cargo would be a dozen years old when your ship arrives on Earth. That would require an automobile dealer on Earth to commit himself, years in advance, to pay a healthy price for cargo he hoped would be arriving—some day.

Maybe his broadcast offer would say, "Irving's Interstellar Imports needs cars, as of the year Will pay 30 Heinleins each, plus all import taxes, if they get here by the year that's 11 years for Irving's offer to get to EE, and 13 more for the goods to be produced and sent from EE to Earth. This offer guaranteed by irrevocable letter of credit from Bank of Terra.

The "offer" would have to be officially registered somewhere at EE, and if you accepted it, that too would be registered, so the next interstellar entrepreneur arriving at EE wouldn't duplicate the order. Irving only wants cars, not million. A message would then be sent to Earth saying that the goods were on the way.

Would that do it? Perhaps, if there were strict laws that made that kind of deal a binding contract, if the Bank of Terra were still in business when you arrived, if there were no currency depreciation, and perhaps a thousand other things.

Maybe a local branch of the Bank of Terra on EE would use that broadcast offer as collateral, and make you a loan equal to the cost of your cargo and the cost of the loan, plus some profit. Then you pay for the cars, leave the profit on deposit with interest compounding and you head for Earth to deliver your cargo to Irving.

The bank should do quite well, too. The loan is secure it's backed by the Bank of Terra on Earth, and your ship is insured by Interstellar Lloyds. Your profit deposit is going to sit on EE, waiting about 24 years until you return. With a loan portfolio and a deposit base like that, interstellar banking should be a super-profitable industry.

When you arrive on Earth with your cargo in good condition, the Bank of Terra on Earth broadcasts to its branch on EE that everything's fine, and you can withdraw your funds. We've just described how a "letter of credit" works today in international trade. And observe, future bankers, that it can take decades for funds to clear. That's one hell of a profitable float. Faster-than-light communications would probably be a banking disaster! Now you dash back to EE, most likely with an outward bound cargo arranged in the same manner.

That sounds like it could be workable, but does this Toyota scenario make any sense? Would an automobile dealer on Earth or any other interstellar destination offer to pay for a shipload of cars or whatever which wouldn't arrive for two dozen years? It's unlikely, but not impossible. So our terrestrial auto dealer only has to put up a small deposit now with the Bank of Terra to have the payment guaranteed in 24 years. And, if the deposits come from his customers, the auto dealer isn't even investing his own funds.

The only risks are structural ones—the bank may fail, the laws may change, the currency may depreciate, there may be war, plague, and so on. But these are risks that could be faced, and gladly—if the lure of huge profits were there. It makes even more sense if the customer doesn't have to wait 24 years, which is possible. His car is waiting for him, all paid for. Of course it's an old-style car, but that's OK. He's technologically like Rip Van Winkle. Unlike Rip, he's still young, but he's hopelessly out of date, and not trained to use new vehicles.

We're assuming rapid technological progress, remember? Interstellar travelers need old-style goods and probably live in behind-the-times communities with their contemporaries so the years of transit time your cargo requires turns out to be a desirable feature. We're getting desperate now. We've got ships, we've got places to go. Time and distance are no problem. Compound interest makes long voyages worthwhile, and we've worked out a system of interstellar finance.

We can even imagine some kind of commerce going on. But how can we get interstellar colonies organized and self-sufficient? Where will the funds come from? The Big Question looms as large as ever. Can it be done? Remember the tremendous profits to be made from the banking system, if only we could think of a way to get it started. Surely, with wealth like that waiting to be made, someone will think of a way. Our venturers might not have to wait decades for a return on their investment.

Remember time dilation—a round trip to EE takes about 24 years, Earth time, but only about 3 years, ship's time. Investors could get a much quicker payoff subjectively if they go along for the ride.

Not that they'd have any desire to become settlers. All they want is to stay alive long enough to reap the rewards of their enterprise. A rich man could put part of his portfolio at interest on Earth, invest the rest in an exploration company, and then climb aboard ship.

After 24 years have passed on Earth, he returns only 3 years older, finds a potful of money waiting for him in the bank his left-behind deposit has multiplied five or ten times, depending on interest rates and he also owns the beginning of a thriving business on EE. After another trip or two, he's incredibly rich, still relatively young, and now his investment on EE should be starting to pay off.

This is the scenario of star-traveling investors, who become centuries old by Earth's reckoning, with fortunes and maybe families established on several worlds. It's quite possible that something like this will happen. In fact, this scenario is so tempting that it may be the answer to the Big Question! In the May issue of Analog , in an article titled " The Economics of Interstellar Commerce ," I explained that even if there were no technological barriers to star travel, a species nevertheless needs economic incentives to build ships and go voyaging to other stars.

The investment required for star travel is huge; the payoff is centuries or at best, decades away. Why would any species bother with such a costly activity, except perhaps for the extravagance of a few exploratory ships? The only motivation I could think of to justify the multi-generational expense of establishing extra-solar colonies would be the combined benefits to be derived from time dilation and compound interest. Greatly simplified, my idea was this: What will ultimately lure investors' money into building starships won't be the stars, it'll be superfast compound interest relativistically speaking.

Your Earth-bound bank account, piling up interest over the decades, would make you rich when you returned, still young, after a long interstellar voyage. This is relativity's famous "twin paradox," applied to you and your bank account. I predicted that it would probably be star-traveling and thus long-lived bankers who found it profitable to invest in starting mankind's interstellar expansion.

Only after the passage of centuries might other activities justify the continuing expense of maintaining fleets of starships. And if I'm right about this, then we may seem to be alone for a very understandable reason—no other species has seeking motivation. SETI is cheap; all it really requires is off-the-shelf radio technology. Yet in the absence of a profit motive, we can't even keep SETI afloat.

You can imagine, therefore, how impossible it would be to raise funds for a fleet of non-profit starships—even if they weren't all that difficult to build. I don't want to minimize the technological end of things, but interstellar travel really boils down to this: Assuming a species' engineers can do the job, economics is the whole ball of wax.

Could economics be the key missing factor in the Drake equation, as well as an explanation for the Great Silence? Drake himself suspects something like this. Could this explanation apply to every intelligent species in the galaxy? What does it take to develop our particular brand of economic incentives? It requires that a species generate several intellectual concepts, and that they take each of these concepts seriously.

At minimum, they need: Observe that none of these requirements is an engineering development. None is a tangible technological achievement. Each is invisible, intangible, and abstract. Therefore, it seems probable that our from being universal; it could actually be unique to us, and incomprehensibly "alien" to other species in our galaxy. We have no difficulty assuming that many intelligent aliens will develop technology, because technology depends on observing and rationally responding to the tangible, objective world.

Any reasonably bright, land-dwelling, tool-wielding species can eventually do that although in retrospect, it certainly took us long enough. But what is the likelihood of another species' hitting upon and adopting every single one of the abstract economic ideas listed above? Most of the human cultures in Earth's past and even today would fail such a test.

A hive-like species, or a species that lives in communes, or that is always dominated by tyrants, or which consists of solitary individuals, may be scientifically brilliant and extraordinarily curious, but they will probably never develop the essential concepts of banking and interest and commercial finance that make interstellar travel a profitable, affordable activity.

To such aliens, our "mysterious" banks, our profit-seeking corporations, our compound-interest calculations so vital to time-dilated star travelers , and certainly our stock exchanges, might be viewed as exotic manifestations of a bewildering alien religion.

Even after studying us, they may utterly fail to grasp our motivation or would they call it obsession? The economic explanation tells us why, with the whole shining Universe beckoning to them, no alien species has ever been sufficiently motivated to build and launch ships to the stars.

They're isolated, not by necessity, but by their own lack of imagination. They're not even sending out messages; nor are they listening for ours. The Great Silence, therefore, is the silence of poverty. The galaxy is stagnant, with each alien species tragically isolated from the others.

Each is a potential supplier of products and information, each is a potential buyer as well, but there is no interstellar intercourse. That's because we haven't arrived on the interstellar scene.

When we do, we can be the merchant princes of the galaxy. Who cares if the aliens never understand that our traders, engaged in a ten-year subjective voyage, are primarily motivated by a century of compound interest piling up at home? As long as we're willing to build and fly the ships—and reap the profits—let the aliens think we're crazy! We can do for the stay-at-home aliens what was done for us by the great railroad and canal builders, the merchant sea captains, the leaders of caravans.

This is not merely the business opportunity of a lifetime, it's the biggest opportunity of all time! The Great Silence is our clue that the galaxy needs us—it needs us very much. There's a lesson in all of this for those who like to dream up exotic, Utopian visions of mankind's future.

There are those who long for the day when we shall "progress" beyond the need for private property. They imagine that when we achieve that glorious un-propertied state. They never say precisely what's going to happen. It's supposed to be obvious, and perhaps it is to them, but it certainly isn't obvious to me.

Presumably they imagine that when we finally achieve that "lofty" level of existence, we'll automatically start building starships—somehow. But it doesn't stand up to rational scrutiny. Your savings account and mutual fund shares and insurance policies aren't keeping mankind from the stars. When the Utopian day of socio-economic "liberation" comes, we'll have a society modeled after such "noble" people as the North American Indians—people who, to their everlasting misfortune, had not developed our economic incentives, or even the concept of land ownership—people who therefore causal linkage implied here numbered among their greatest accomplishments such technological wonders as I can hear the knees jerking out there, so let me hasten to add that I'm criticizing an economic system, not a race.

Noctis can either accept or deny the invitation. Party members have three tours each. If accepted, Noctis spends the morning "on tour" with the specified party member. Other quests cannot be progressed until the tour is completed, and Noctis must not leave the vicinity of the destination.

In Episode Duscae , if the player completed the tour's objective, a smartphone with a photo of the day's quest is shown at the end of the day. The party members who were not on tour will also find random items once Noctis and company make camp again. Tours were added so players would have an active role in developing Noctis's relationship with Ignis, Prompto, and Gladiolus.

Director Hajime Tabata has said the team wants players to feel these bonds grow. Ignis's tours were more difficult to come up with than Prompto and Gladiolus's. When the writers could not come up with anything apart from cooking, they used the word "glasses" as a starting point in the brainstorming stage.

Skycity of Bhujerba