May 31st 2013
Earth: cradle of Humanity, heart of the Empire, birthplace of Humankind … and a difficult place to turn a profit. It’s no secret that Earth is set in its ways. Put simply, Earth is the capital of the United Empire of Earth and is the seat of power that governs everything from rising systems like Terra to distant colony worlds. Home to the Imperator and the UEE Senate, Earth sets the standards for everything that happens in the Empire, from moderating economic models to diplomatic relations. While other more strategically located star systems, like Terra, have begun to make claims for higher standing in the Empire, Earth is still the acknowledged center of Humanity.
Contrarily, Earth wants for everything. Thousands of years of population growth and extended period of overpopulation in the 21st century have left many of the planet’s natural resources exhausted. The planet imports trillions upon trillions of tons of food, raw metals and manufactured goods to sustain the population. Although the demand is high, so is the competition for haulers and, as it is, a run to Earth can barely be guaranteed to provide much profit … and that’s before you get to the exorbitant docking and refueling fees.
On the bright side is the fact that the odds of cargo making it through to the planet safely are relatively high thanks to Sol’s low crime rate. The UEE military, Advocacy and various police patrol the system ceaselessly and the Navy dockyards in Earth’s orbit are home port to no less than five Bengal-class carriers and at least one is drydocked at any given time.
New York is the cultural capital of the UEE, an imperial tastemaker and a celebrated blending of both old-style architecture and ultra-modern arcology construction. Most visitors immediately take note of the protected historical landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Gryphon and Central Park that continue to exist amidst a modern landscape of massive supertowers.
New Yorkers have earned a reputation over the centuries for elitism and many who populate the city — even those who have never left the planet — still fancy themselves cosmopolitan people-of-the galaxy. As such, there is an active market for cultural trinkets from distant stars. Trendy New York galleries happily display everything from a Tevarin Codex of Rijora to damaged Xi’an engine coils … a vivid example of one person’s trash being another’s treasure. If you’re on the prowl for a particularly rare upgrade or an extremely special commodity, the shopping district surrounding New York’s spaceport is the place to seek it.
New York is also home to Roberts Space Industries’ headquarter complex, featuring a showroom and museum. Many visitors make it a point to pay their respects upon arriving in the port, celebrating RSI’s involvement in introducing Humankind to the stars.
Moscow is a no-nonsense kind of town with more of an urban blue-collar vibe than New York. Moscow is a major distribution center for manufactured goods, in particular jump engines and thrusters produced in the factory complexes that span the Urals. Goods are moved into the city for dispersal to the stars through a system of high-speed transport trains. Down on their luck spacers can always find hard work in the Moscow dockyards, which account for the vast majority of Earth’s export shipping. Despite this, the city tends to have a taste for the opulent and luxury goods sell as well as anything can on Earth.
The largest landing port in Asia, Shanghai has retained more of a link to the surrounding environment than the vast cityscapes of Moscow or New York. Shanghai boasts rail and transit lines stretching to the nearby East China sea, a port region capable of water-docking some larger types of spacecraft. The Aegis China factory produces Idris-class frigates and puts them through their pre-space trials in the area.