“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
Humanity has reached the highest level of technology ever achieved by the species. Breakthroughs in fusion power, repulsor technology, and the hyperdrive have had their greatest impact on space travel, but the technology has also trickled down to smaller scales.
On the wealthier industrialized worlds large robotic factories churn out endless consumer goods from computers to power cells to farming equipment to blaster weapons. While poorer colonies cannot afford factories on this scale, most colonies have a least one or two small ‘robofacs’ to create essential parts and gear for day-to-day survival.
While the cost of manufacturing has come down due to heavy automation, raw materials are still needed. The stream of raw materials flows from various mining worlds and colonies to feed the industrial engines of humanity. Large cargo ships ply these major routes, bringing bulk raw materials inward and manufactured goods outwards.
On the outer colonies large ship cargoes are often divided up amongst smaller ‘frontier’ freighters that make the rounds through the newest and smallest colony worlds where a visit from a mega freighter would be wasted. These small ships are owned by sub-contractors of major corporations, a handful of independent ‘courier’ companies, or in some cases family or clan interests. Delivering supplies piecemeal on the frontier in this way can be risky, but a ship captain that brings a vital load of medical supplies or farming technology to a struggling colony world can make a tidy profit.