Extractors are responsible for extracting raw resources from asteroids. Extractors include a small amount of internal storage, but it is highly recommended to pair them with storage facilities. Once available storage is exhausted the extractor will pause operation and must be restarted after the storage is emptied.
Extractors should additionally be utilized on a lot with a completed core sample to ensure predictable, and efficient results. Extracting without a core sample receives a substantial efficiency penalty and will produce an unpredictable set of raw resource outputs.
Look after your drills, people. Without a drill, you have nothing. You bring a drill all the way out to some rock, you be sure and bring spare parts for it. You bring drill bits for it. You bring a tub of industrial lubricant for it. You take care of your tools. If that drill ain’t turning, then you ain’t earnin’!”
- Scott Allen
Refineries refine raw resources/ore into their constituent refined materials. Refineries take the raw materials and a catalyst as their input, where the catalyst defines the specific process used to convert the raw resources into refined material. Refineries, as with extractors, include a small amount of internal storage suitable for both inputs and outputs but are ideally linked to appropriate storage facilities.
If you happen to see Old Rutherford at the bar and buy him a drink, he’ll tell you the story of why first-, second-, and third-gen refineries are called “eggshells”, “eggs”, and “chickens” in miners’ slang. Just be careful; the story is not as good as Rutherford’s taste in expensive drinks. But if you have the SWAY to spare, you might as well treat him.
Factories are capable of processing refined materials into modules and other intermediate goods.
A paradox. You want to turn raw materials into anything more refined, you burn energy and increase the amount of entropy in the universe. Jumbled pile of heterogeneous ore to an orderly stack of pure steel bars? Order from Entropy. The heat death of the universe, moved up by a few moments. Making things unmakes all things, on a long enough time scale.” Dr. Bryony Cain (after two and a half strong drinks
Shipyards are responsible for assembling the finished goods and modules into completed ships. It is at this point that fungible goods become non-fungible ships which can be named, have history, etc.
In response to the gradually escalating predation of lightly-armed mining ships by ‘technicals’, light transports with improvised weapons bolted to them, Natalie Allen changed the way these skirmishes were fought. Working with the best shipyard in Adalia, she commissioned the first purpose-built warship, designed to out-fight any lesser ship. Showing her usual sardonic wit, she named it the Ominous Precedent.
Storage facilities are capable of storing any materials but must be retrofitted to suit. For example, most ice products must be stored as liquids/gasses in liquid storage terminals and require a different retrofit than dry goods like most ores which require warehouses.
Miners are always going on about ‘digs’ and ‘strikes’ and ‘paydirt’. As always, they are entirely missing the point. They are looking outside, at these vast gravitational masses of more materials than they could hope to mine in a dozen lifetimes, thinking they have something valuable. You know what’s actually valuable? Enclosed space! You want to gather, sort, collect, ship, sell, or use any of your ‘dig’, you need cubic mega-metres of enclosed space. You need ship’s holds. You need a market with enough empty space to buy your precious ‘paydirt’. No one’s going to pay you anything for anything outside, orbiting Adalia star. You get paid for the stuff that fits inside!”
- Cornelius Bain
Spaceports facilitate the loading and unloading of ships.
They call it ‘landing’, but really it’s more of a matter of lashing down the ships so they don’t just kinda drift off. I’ve seen more than one dockworker accidentally launch a cargo container into space just by lifting it too roughly. Microgravity’s a hell of a thing.
Markets allow for the trading of raw resources, refined materials, and finished goods via the exchange of SWAY. Markets are built on asteroid lots and are local to that asteroid. Players can submit buy orders remotely, but sell orders require the presence of the physical goods on the asteroid, in storage linked to the market.
One of the oldest cuneiform tablets that still exists is a complaint from one merchant to another about substandard copper being offered for trade. It seems little has changed over the last four thousand years.