Despite having what appears to be an acquisitive outlook, the Ghar Empire has very little need for trade or commerce. War, conquest, dominance and destruction is the only interaction even their more senior leaders can fully comprehend. Every system and panhuman world the Empire conquers and dominates is stripped bare of resources, all the spoils being shipped back to Gharon or the core fortress-worlds. There, the spoils or individuals are recycled as slaves (though Outcasts are the predominant source of slaves), or for food, for providing nutrients to hatch more Ghar, or to make more weapons of war, battlesuits, crawlers, weapons, starships, space stations and stronger defensive fortifications.
Whilst the Rebels have learnt to loot what they can from their defeated enemies and reuse it, in some far-flung Imperial outposts and amongst isolated Rebel outposts and Exiles, material and equipment may become scarce. In such places, garrison commanders are sometimes forced to turn elsewhere for supplies.
The problem is that the dominant trading power are the inescapably panhuman Freeborn with a society based on panhuman mores, customs and needs. Ghar are incapable of dealing with humans, finding them physically disabling – indeed, one of the main functions of field hospitals is overcoming the debilitating physical and mental reactions when Ghar encounter live panhumans. Such reactions range from severe allergic responses, acute nausea, mental shock, acute psychopathic pain and may even include blackouts amongst those Outcasts unused to dealing with battle against panhumans.
In short, contact with humanity provokes an extreme, in-bred reaction amongst Ghar. This means that the principle traders in Antares – Freeborn – cannot trade directly with Ghar in any way. But it is not just the Ghar’s physiological problems that prevent trade as human trading with Ghar are regarded as traitors to their species: Algoryn hunt them down; the knowledgeable, nearby IMTel shards may refuse to deal with them; and even Boromites dismantle their installations and refuse to perform repairs or ride with those who betray panhumans to those who have sworn to eradicate them from the universe.
However, whilst the Freeborn overwhelmingly dominate trade amongst the human nations of Antares, there are a few (very few!) non-human traders and small mercantile organisations who operate alongside them. Whilst these alien traders have their own trade routes – typically to out-of-the-way, non-human systems – they are more likely to be used by the more disreputable Freeborn as fronts for trade. In this role, they are sometimes used to enable trade with Ghar, though if the Algoryn found out, the Freeborn involved would be slain. Some Freeborn even pretend to be aliens, disguising their ships and using elaborate holo-technology to transmit false images to the Ghar with whom they deal.
In this way, a little trade occurs between isolated Ghar and the rest of the Antarean universe. It is possible the goods the Empire installations use for trade may find their way as novelty items into the richer worlds of the IMTel nations. The most likely destination for such primitive technological items is into the hands of the Ghar Rebels or Exiles, both of whom are often short of solid, comfortable Ghar technology.
Fiction about the Algoryn hunting the Freeborn traders mentioned in this article can be found in The Hukk Hunts. The non-human traders mentioned here can be found in Alien Traders.
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