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by Pete Grey

Szirp was settled around 40 by Solomani colonists from the expanding Third Imperium. Strategically located along the Raweh Track, the planet became a major stopover point for early trade traffic moving through the intersection of Foreven, Beyond, Trojan Reach and the Marches. The Imperial Megacorp Naasirka built a high quality A class starport in the 380s, and the world became a major trade hub.

During the Civil War, Naasirka withdrew from the world, and the planet went into a temporary economic slide. A group of Aslan pirates established a base at Taltern (Trojan Reach 0103), and their raids caused a drop off of trade through the port. When Naasirka's remaining assets went to the auction block in the 1132 Fire Sale, Barchai Technium purchased the starport. The company hired a team of starmercs that wiped out the Aslan pirates, and quickly reestablished safe passage from the Marrekesh Trade League to the Regency interface.

BT/Leviathan's domination of Szirp is so total that the world is practically a corporate town. The government became a technocracy in 1143, staffed mostly with former BT/L managers. The starport is its main maintenance facility in Menorial subsector, and a major R&R and relief facility for its crews. As a result, Szirp's hospitality industry has become famous for its affordability and good service. While many facilities are still preferential towards BT/L's crews and passengers, many hotels and restaraunts have branched off to serve independent ship crews, travellers and tourists.

The company is intent upon protecting their investment and its reputation at all costs. The world navy and ground security are company hired and employed mercs notable for their lack of patience with suspected pirates and smugglers. Dirtside police are often accused of overzealousness, and the local courts are are sometimes given to summary judgements. Fortunately, local laws and punishments aren't very draconian. Petty lawbreakers are simply expelled offworld, and the local law enforcement show good judgement and sense in distinguishing between legitimate travellers and riff-raff.

The company also subsidises a "free market" for a number of independent enterprises wishing to market their wares in the previously untapped markets of the Reach and the Spinward Hinters. Many companies are given low rent office and shop space for 180 and 360 day periods, with the stipulation that they give a share of their profits in the form of taxation at the end of that period. While this creates a steady turnover of small firms, it gives many entrepenuers an oppurtunity of low overhead, and allows BT/L the luxury of identifying and pursuing promising new ventures at little cost to themselves.

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