Norby wrote:for better feeling and less handwavium.
"Hey, good to see you again buddy. Listen, I just had a hell of a trip getting here. Thargoids at the witchpoint, then I had to battle 6 pirate gangs, took serious damage to my ship and lost almost a quarter of my cargo. If it hadn't been for the bounty hunters hanging around the seedy space bar out there I'd be smeared across the sky by now. Finally made it here in one piece though, and I think you'll be pleased with what I've brought. I know computers and machinery are always in demand on planets like this, and I've brought over a hundred tons for you! Do me a fair price- anything north of ninety five creds - and it will make all the laser burns and PTSD worthwhile"
"Computers? Well... I can give you 10 credits per ton."
"Ten credits..? Are you kidding me? You guys are always crying out for computers. I normally sell for about 95 or 96."
"Not now. 10 creds. And that's a special price, because you're a friend. Going rate is closer to 8. Here, look at the market screen, you can see I'm not lying."
"What the... But I paid 66 credits per ton for this. Nearly died a dozen times over. Why is the price so low?"
"Well, I got about three thousand tons of computers back in the warehouse. Arrived this morning."
"Yeah, Machinery too. Farm machinery, industrial machinery, domestic machinery, vehicles, robots... we got the lot. I can give you 5 creds per ton on that."
"Well what about luxury goods? I got a few crates of nice zero-G cricket bats I picked up in..."
"Actually, I was about to try to sell some to you. Got a glut of them at the moment, can't get rid of the bloody things, in fact."
"What? You're practically under siege from swarms of bloodthirsty, cut-throat buccaneers. Only one ship in twenty makes it through that meat grinder alive. Your planet is a war-torn hellhole with no industry of your own except brewing that godawful lethal water that's like a mining laser to your prefrontal cortex. How the hell are you armpit deep in expensive manufactured goods? Where are you getting all this stuff? "
"Yeah, haven't you heard? This new hyperspace ship-shifter thingy? You load up a ship full of goods, dump it into hyperspace right from the station, press a button, then seconds later it pops back out neatly docked at the destination station couple o' light-years away. Unload it and you're good to go. It's a revolution, I tell you. No more tedious mucking about with launching and flying and docking and stuff, and definitely no bloody pirates."
"But... How... When did this happen?"
"Well, some noodle guy invented it late last week, and due to the whole instantaneous-interstellar-transportation nature of it and all, it was all over the octant by Saturday lunchtime. We had it installed here Saturday afternoon and the first shipments started coming through this morning. Wanna buy an Anaconda full of parking meters?"
"Last week..? I've been cooped up in my ship since Tuesday morning."
"So yeah, we can get pretty much anything we want, from anywhere in the galaxy, any time we like."
"I haven't showered in a week. I haven't slept in four days. I've just spent two hours scraping roasted thargoid entrails off my hull..."
"Prices for everything have bottomed out. Apparently food is so cheap now it's effectively free, and they reckon most other goods will be the same in about a week. Apparently it's ushering a new economic paradigm age of post-scarcity, whereby all sentient beings can live lives of fulfilled luxury, leisure and self-improvement. Or something. Whatever, you just me caught before I leave, I'm retiring in ten minutes. Now are we doing business or what?"
"You got any of that lethal water..?"