The Exos League, Exos being short for "exosphere", is the main controlling body overseeing airships and space travel to and from New Convergence. In the beginning, laws were few, and chaos ruled the skyways as ship captains would literally go to war over any little thing, destroying ships, and more importantly, lives. It made an already dangerous profession that much more dangerous. Eventually, a single man, Captain Walton Blackhand, the "Mad Scourge of the Skies", managed to capture or control enough ships that he was able to cause a peace among the many captains. Also, they were all kind of afraid of Blackhand, because he was pretty ruthless to his enemies. Legends abound about his brutality in the name of peace. For instance, once Blackhand put a man's pet dog in the airlock of a ship, and slowly let all of the air out of it, forcing the man to watch his dog die until he swore to give his crew health benefits.
Once the peace was caused, business began to boom for everyone. For years, Blackhand maintained this peace personally, but eventually decided to establish more formal rules for how ship captains should interact and behave. Now, over 75% of ships belong directly to the Exos League, and a full 15% more pay regular "duties" to keep from being harassed by the League or shut out of the use of the docks. All members of the League pay dues into the common coffer. These dues not only provide for family should someone in the Exos League be lost during a trip, but also help pay for medical treatments for injuries incurred during a trip.
The Exos League is generally overseen by an Admiral who is respected by others. Their ships will only dock in the Tear, mostly for reasons of not trusting ZetaCorp to not seize their cargo or ships. In most other places on Juniper, it is impossible to lower a ship that close to the surface of the planet because of the various bands of radiation interfering with instruments, and large, thick clouds interfering with the ability to see. Ships that attempt it invariably crash and become stranded out on the planet. Exploration of Juniper is always put off for "another time, when it is less dangerous". But there's far more out in the space beyond the exosphere. One of the easiest sources of revenue is ice. There is never quite enough water in New Convergence, so mining ships often bring in ice from the asteroid belt just beyond Juniper's moon. Although it does not make an incredible mount of money, it's a very scalable type of operation, allowing quite small crews to harvest in accordance with their ship size and ability. Other ships travel further, visiting other planets and moons in the local solar system.
The solar system of Juniper is smaller than the solar system of Earth, and contains planetary gates left behind by some previous civilization of Juniper, allowing ships to travel quickly between the planets. Another lore page will detail the destinations possible for ships.
Sub-Factions and Businesses:
Ice Miners: Ice Mining is the easiest venture to get into within the Exos League. The ships which do ice mining are usually low-end and small. It's considered a proud, but tough, family business which is passed down, along with the ship, from generation to generation. Most ice mined in the local asteroid belt is sold to the Iron Guild for re-selling across the Tear, though children and elders of the mining family who remain planetside also sell chunks for home use or as shaved ice drinks at Upmarket. Ice Miners tend to operate a Jalopy. No two Jalopies are the same, but these unofficial ship types do have similarities. They can't be larger than 100ft width or height, they must have a standard docking mechanism, and they must carry all standard Exos League safety equipment. Ice Miners pay dues to the Ice Miner Guild, run by an elected official, which is part of the Exos League.
Depth Drillers: Depth Drillers are the next step up from ice mining. Depth Drillers are usually owned by small companies, often a couple of Ice Miners who have decided to band together for a bigger paycheck, collectively selling their Jalopies for a drilling vessel. Drilling Vessels, such as the popular VetraDrill X80B, generally sit on the surface of a planet or moon and drill downwards, ore and other chemicals being brought to the top for extraction from the rubble. Depth Drillers often also license their cargo for hauling on their way out-of-town, so to speak. Because there is no good place for discarding New Convergence's junk, no dump to get rid of everything, Depth Drillers are paid a fee to drop trash off on the dead moon of Miasma, which was covered in trash long before the first visitors from New Convergence even arrived, probably made so by the previous residents of Juniper. Driller people have a reputation of being tough, hardy sorts who can survive just about anything. Their work is demanding, physical, deadly, and quite profitable if they can manage to bring the load home safely. Depth Drillers pay dues to the Depth Drillers Guild, run by an elected Official, which is part of the Exos League.
Spicers: Named after the Dune novels, Spicers are usually small, light vessels which harvest "the spices" from various planets and moons. These Spices are usually magical reagents not found on Juniper. However, Spicers will also look for rare minerals and gems. Usually, Spicers harvest things by hand, or use remote drones with grabber arms. Since their cargo is usually very small, Spicer ships tend to be small and fast. Many of them do not carry fuel, however, and use solar power to charge essential systems. Spicers tend to be vulnerable whilst the solar re-charge cycle is taking place. Spicing is a young person's trade, they say. Like being a gold miner, Spicing is often hit or miss. A huge haul could have one come back to Juniper extraordinarily wealthy, but far more Spicers make a subsistance living, and end up taking out huge loans to fund operations that they eventually default on...and pay for with their ships. Spicers also have a high rate of drug use, leading people to often reference "Spice Stories", or crazed stories of things that happen on other planets, usually written off as 'drug-fueled tales'. Spicers pay dues to the Spicers Guild, run by an elected Official, which is part of the Exos League.
Blast Venture Co.: Blast Venture Co. is the singular company within the Exos league that deals in the transport of people. Several of their ships are known as "Yachts", leisure vehicles which host space parties for the ultra-rich. Outside of the dome, anything goes...and many people will go to space to conduct business or simply to take a tour of the solar system. Blast Venture also supplies entertainment, and many entertainers, popular bands, dancers, comedians, etc., will ply their trade on Yachts. Of course, Yachts are ridiculously expensive, and usually owned by Blast, rather than by individuals, though there are occasions where wealthy individuals will buy personal Yachts. Still, even these personal vessels often register with the Exos League via Blast Venture Co. so that they will not be harassed. Blast Venture Co. also licenses Jumper Flights. Jumpers are vehicles which fly just above the exosphere, around Juniper, from which individuals will "jump" in specialized gliders, to land on the planet below. Because the planet is covered most of the time in thick clouds and radiation bands, jumping means that not only are you often jumping into the unknown...not really knowing what kind of environment you'll land in, but also that once your glider is away...the only way back to Juniper is either on foot, or via a portal. Because of this, most Jumpers are from Traverser Expeditions, looking for new places to establish portals. Blast Venture Co. is owned by a singular CEO who operates under the law of the Exos League.
Blackhand Speeders: The most feared of all members of the Exos League, and truly the ones most readily thought of when the Exos League is mentioned, are the Blackhand Speeders. This crew, some of which claim that they descend from Captain Blackhand himself, are the might of the Exos League. Using fast ships that are well armed, they will attack other ships not flying under the auspices of the Exos League. Only Spicers tend to be able to outrun the Speeders, but they too are often jumped when their solar cells are re-charging. The Blackhand Speeders will only attack non-Exos League ships, ships that are breaking League law, or ships that are late on dues. It's a bad idea to become a target of the Speeders. Sometimes they will only take cargos. But they have also been known to kidnap crew members (or in the case of Yachts -- clientele) for ransom. On rare occasions, Speeders will even confiscate ships, bring them back to Juniper, and re-sell them. The Speeders are directed by the "Scourge", a captain with a ruthless reputation.
Perks and Abilities:
1) Exos League members get access to one of their preferred types of ship, however unless they are a Spicer, they will need to crew their ship, preferrably with PCs, though NPCs can stand-in temporarily.
2) Exos League captains can submit one ticket a month (with the names of their participating crew) and a short synopsis of where they are traveling that month. You do not have to have downtime necessarily to say you are off doing your run, but it is preferred to take at least 3-5 days per month where your character is gone to show that you are off doing your Exos League job. The ticket will come back telling you how well you did that month, what you may have mined, or found, or stolen, etc.
3) League members can "dock" at the Exos League preferred docks in the Tear, and get discounts on refueling, repairs, and standard supplies including food (which is usually dried and kind of awful). Part of the dues to Exos League pays for water imports on Exos League Ice Miners, which are distributed to the ships. This counts as 1 ration per day of water per crew member, plus an additional "cooling and systems" allowance for ships.
4) Exos League captains can rent IC "ship habitats" at the docks. These are rentals which have interiors that are ship-like, and exist in skyboxes high above the city. The rentals can be used both for residences, and for RPing your ship being out and about with your crew. A teleporter at the docks will take you to your "ship". Unfortunately, because ships are generally primmy and large, actual ship objects will not usually be rezzed out unless the STs need them.
5) Captains may submit a blurb of their ship's name and crew, which will be displayed on a "Active Ships" page on the webpage.
6) Exos League members get a +4 to any roll involving the Piloting skill. They lose this perk (and all perks) if they leave Exos League.
7) Exos League members start with a free multitool, known as the Fixer which does the following:
Acts as a com to their ship and other members of their crew. You must touch it and speak aloud, then it broadcasts to anyone else whose multitool is on.
Acts as a rough dry-weld or spot patcher for holes in metal, plastic, rubber, etc. (small, temporary repairs).
Sprays a medical foam which works to stop bleeding and applies antiseptic in a moderate size wound. This foam is only temporary and will last for about an hour before it dissolves. One use canister.
Has a canister of super-tough nannites that can be used to transform the end of it into a necessary tool about the size of a standard wrench or screwdriver, or even a small knife.