Aerospace Smuggling Profession in Manifold Sky | World Anvil

Aerospace Smuggling

Aerospace smuggling refers to the act of using aircraft, airships, skystations, or any combination thereof to facilitate the illegal movement of people or contraband goods across zones of territorial control. With The Human Arc in a century-long state of total war - and with numerous valuable or dangerous species being discovered every day in the isolated corners of the Manifold - aerospace smugglers are enjoying a seller's market as of the year 10,000 AR.   Aerospace smuggling can broadly be divided into two classes of criminal activity:
  • Personal aerospace smuggling: In personal aerospace smuggling, the smuggler attempts to use their own body, apparel, or luggage as a way to conceal goods. Aerospace smugglers operating at a personal level travel in aerospace vehicles they do not own or operate themselves, whether through a legitimate ticket or by stowing away. Successfully smuggling illicit goods in this manner involves bypassing personal searches.
  • Vehicular aerospace smuggling: In vehicular aerospace smuggling, the smuggler operates a vehicle which has been packed with illicit goods. The smuggler may possess a purpose-built vehicle (i.e. a blockade runner) or may attempt to smuggle the vehicle itself (i.e. the proceeds of theft, piracy or barratry). While the payoff of delivering such a large illicit cargo is great, so is the danger from law enforcement, as vehicles are easier to track and intercept than an individual person carrying a smaller cargo.



Aerospace smuggling on an individual level requires amiliarity with disguise and sleight of hand. Conducting aerospace smuggling on a large scale (i.e operating an autogyro as a blockade runner) requires knowledge of piloting, navigation, and radio operation. In all cases, a prospective aerospace smuggler must possess a degree of social acumen, as customs authorities (especially the Petalcap Vale Customs Authority are far easier to bluff or bribe than they are to fight or evade.

Payment & Reimbursement

The income of an aerospace smuggler is the difference between what they can sell his illicit goods for (sale price) minus the sum of the amount they had to pay for it initially (cost) and the value of the resources expended to transport the goods (overhead).



Aerospace smuggling occurs because economic conditions in the Manifold promote it. Goods imported from distant regions might be subject to import or export duties, blockades, or prohibitions. Alternatively, simple supply and demand might make trading in a certain good profitable, but the market might lie in territory held by a hostile foreign power; if people are starving in a League stronghold, for example, a stolen shipment of Voxelian honey cakes would fetch a premium price there.

Social Status

Aerospace smugglers are generally perceived as criminals by government officials and other businesses (such as hazardous-condition salvage reclamation crews operating at least marginally within the letter of the law. Individuals who are forced by circumstances to conduct business with aerospace smugglers vary in their perceptions of the smugglers, with some viewing aerospace smugglers as morally bankrupt war profiteers while others view them as a necessary evil in the pursuit of scarce or illicit goods.


The first use of air vehicles to facilitate smuggling activities most likely occurred around the year 9,820 AR with the advent of commercial airship travel.


Dangers & Hazards

The dangers of participating in aerospace smuggling are directly proportional to the legal status of the specific goods and activities involved. For example, smuggling a personal use amount of Rostral Breeze into Petalcap Vale might only result in a fine and confiscation of the goods, while trying to smuggle concentrated rose meantwig toxins to Manifold Conservation Society weapons designers is likely to result in an international manhunt and capital charges.
Definitionally, participating in aerospace smuggling is illegal in almost every civilized region of the Manifold. While this illegality extends to Craterhold as well, lax enforcement in that nation has led to a proliferation of smuggling activities originating there.

Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth


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