The Merchant Marine is a trade organization of merchanters and cargo haulers who band together for mutual protection.
The Merchant Marine is a trade organization of merchanters and cargo haulers who band together for mutual protection. Many of them are retired veterans of the Avalonian Imperial Navy and Avalonian Imperial Marine Corps, and they are much better armed than one might expect for merchant ships. Further, they are protected by
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Publicly, the Merchant Marine exists to preserve safe shipping and access to trade in the spaceways. There is a great deal of criticism of the organization because it seems to give preferential treatment and access to elves and gnomes. They tend to rise to higher positions of influence than other species do, and the terms that are negotiated for the Merchant Marine in different systems tend to benefit elves and gnomes more than anyone else. However, no one can deny that travel in the spaceways has been safer, and tariffs have been lower, since the advent of the Marine during the First Interstellar War (IW1). The leaders of the Merchant Marine, Ardan SpellSword and Luwraek, retired Avalonian Imperial Marine Corps, are old friends of the Imperial Crown, and they have leveraged their influence to create a much safer space for merchanters everywhere.
A Secret ReserveIt is whispered in spaceport bars that the Merchant Marine is, in fact, a reserve for the Avalonian Imperial Navy and Marine Corps. These rumours are true. Needing to demilitarize following IW1, the Avalonian Navy needed a place to keep a number of active ships they could call back into service at any time that would not require a lot of outfitting to make shipshape. It was Luwraek who conceived of putting decommissioned warships to work as escorts for the Merchant Marine, and Captain Lylas Madrimlian who thought of assigning retired marines as merchanter guards. Should the Navy need to go to war again, mobilization will be a much faster and easier process.
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