Monday, October 12, 2015

Strange Stars A-To-Z: "E" Is For Enablers

Star Frontiers Bar Scene

There's a saying in the Strange Stars that anyone with a bad idea eventually finds an Enabler to make it happen.  The Enablers are a group of individuals and organizations who solve a central problem of interstellar commerce: space travel is very expensive. Even the most hands-on executive can't afford to go everywhere - and even when that's possible, many prefer to keep some distance from certain business operations. Deniability is often good for business. And politics.

Enablers are the intermediaries who Make Things Happen. Business deals. Negotiations with kidnappers. Recovery of lost (or simply desired) goods and information. Finding a lost or errant heir. Dirty tricks even. The patron just needs to find an Enabler.

Enabler outfits like the Industrial Diplomats, who trace their origins all the way back to the eponymous negotiators and intermediaries of the Archaic Oikumene, advertise on the local Metascape of most Alliance worlds. In the Vokun Empire, in contrast, young Vokun lords often make trouble for Enablers who are too visible; they will demand a cut, which tends to undermine the patron's sense that the service is confidential. In Vokun space, it is always best to make discrete inquiries with an Ibglibdispan manager in the local Port Authority.

Freelance Enablers can be found in the bars and entertainment establishments of most spaceports. Often they have multiple jobs for which they need skilled professionals.* It is helpful to have the ENablR app loaded on your comms device so you can locate them quickly and efficiently. These freelancers are often the best option in regions such as the sparsely populated Outer Rim, or the lawless Zuran Expanse.

The Enabler handles all elements of the transaction:
  • Establishing with the patron all details of the requested service; 
  • Drawing up all confidential legal documents required for the service;
  • Establishing reward levels (e.g., "Wanted Alive" vs. "Documented Death or Disintegration Required") for services rendered.** 
  • Defininig any ancillary benefits for skilled professionals such as Payment On Death compensation in the case of a fatality on the job.**
  • Securing skilled professionals to carry out the service; and 
  • All follow-up activities and accountabilities regarding work completed.
It goes without saying that in many of the shadier businesses, "the Enabler" is a corporation with a front-sophont who appears to operate solo. Rest assured and be forewarned that failing to make payment for contracted services, or failing to comply with the requirements of contracts can have dire consequences. There are Enablers who specialize in investigating patrons who skip payments and who pursue professionals who fail to deliver fully on the terms of their contract - or who make of wroth information or goods that were to be secured.

Contracted professionals should be particularly wary of the Ibglibdishpan legal review teams within certain Enabler outfits. The Ibglibdishpan are prone to obsessing about details, so be prepared for communcatons breakdowns as "review cycles" are initiated without warning, followed by delayed payments and reward levels denied based on technicalities.

*See "5 Operations, 8 Iterations" on page 30 of the Strange Stars Game Setting Book for lots of missions that Enablers are looking for contracted professionals to complete.

**In the Alliance, most reward and benefit transactions by established Enabler corporations will be handled through a financial intermediary; Neshekk banking clans typically collect revenues from the patron and distribute payments to the Enabler and their contracted professionals.

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