2646 First Human Admitted to the Bar of an Interstellar Court

An attorney saves humanity.

Majidah Hazama is admitted to practice law at a commercial court of the so-called Babur III Harmony which controls the outer regions of the Thoris system. This is the first officially recognized function of a human being with an interstellar power.

Majidah Hazama was part of the original Astronáutica General crew that was first to reach the remote Thoris system. She remained there as one of two humans to establish a trade post while the ship reported back to the Sol system. While waiting for the ship's return Hazama compiled data for the automatic translator. Later, she was instrumental in securing the first ever purchase of an alien-built cargo ship. During an economic crisis in the Thoris system, she brought a case of futures fraud to the attention of the authorities and assisted in the investigation.

In the year 2603, right after the purchase of the cargo ship, Hazama left Astronáutica General. However, she remained in the Thoris system using her contacts to Harmony authorities to start a career in their jurisdiction. Hazama was aided in this endeavor by a Harmony faction that had benefited greatly from her bold actions in the aftermath of the economic crisis.

To pass the entrance exam, Majidah Hazama had to qualify by making up the equivalent of high school. She also learned the trade language of the Babur III Harmony because artificial aids like translators were not allowed during the test. Admission took a total of 10 years and the judicial training another 20 years. This was followed by a 15-year apprenticeship with a law firm until she was admitted to the bar of a low court. Having specialized in competition law Hazama represented trading companies from Sol as well as local Thoris clients. Over the course of 40 years Hazama obtained admission to higher courts.

She finally reaches the main court dealing with large commercial disputes. At the climax of her career, she represents Grolrumdrorar, a trade consortium from the inner Thoris system, at the highest commercial court of the Harmony. Grolrumdrorar is suing the Sol based trading company Arindhaal Tolinutpa Satanankal (Arindhaal's Technische Geräte) for paying exorbitant prices.

Low-technology societies, like the Sol system, are often willing to pay high prices for advanced technology. Such underdeveloped newcomers having slow ships often trade only with their nearest technology source, which in this case is the Thoris system as there is no other technological civilization within reach with such a diverse and compatible economy. Therefore, Sol's industry pays high prices in the form of raw materials and intermediate products, thereby driving up prices at Thoris. Such overpaying is not allowed under the law of the Babur III Harmony.

Hazama finally wins the case: the commercial court orders Arindhaal to pay lower prices putting a fine on the company. The ruling effectively excludes Arindhaal from the Thoris market. 85 years after Astronáutica General bought the first ship there is now a large fleet of trade vessels shuttling between Sol and Thoris and Arindhaal is just one of many Sol-based operators. The other companies are now facing similar decisions and penalties. This is a hard blow for humankind because the Sol system loses its primary technology provider, except for the occasional Marui trader and the weird barter at Dilan. Back in the Sol system, Majidah Hazama is blamed for the fact that the most important source of high-tech is no longer available. The only lawyer accredited with a major interstellar court is thwarting humanity’s path into the future. Or so it seems.

After the initial ruling the highest commercial court of Thoris attaches a so-called indirection precedent label to the judgment. This means that subsequent rulings must follow the spirit of the Grolrumdrorar decision. The "indirect" term means that not only similar lawsuits must follow the precedent, but also different cases which touch the same subject matter of high prices paid by Sol. The indirection precedent label has surprising consequences for Arindhaal and the entire Sol system. And it turns out to be the legal weapon that Hazama sought to save humanity from grave danger. A danger that everyone in the Sol system seemed to ignore. The danger of bleeding out financially until most of the Sol system would belong to the Thoris cartels and humanity would essentially work for the alien overlords.

It is not easy for newcomers on the interstellar stage, such as the Sol system, to obtain high-tech products. Newcomers have a low-tech level compared to established societies. Basically, they have to pay in raw materials, because they do not produce anything in demand by advanced interstellar economies. However raw materials are abundant. Even the relatively sparse asteroid belt of the Sol system has enough resources for millions of years. The Thoris system has three – much richer – asteroid belts. They are being mined large automatically, which still incurs some cost. So, raw materials are cheap, but not for free. Even high-tech economies take readily extracted, refined, and packaged resources if they are delivered to the front door. And that is exactly what human trading companies are doing. They need Thoris currencies in order to buy high-tech goods. So, humans ship very large amounts of raw materials across interstellar distances to sell them at spot markets of the Thoris system. Then they use the currencies earned to buy the desired technology and ship it back to Sol.

This has been going on since Astronáutica General bought the first ship from a Babur III used ships dealer 50 years ago. Human companies are now trusted enough to get loans from Thoris banks provided they offer their assets in the Sol system as collateral. The credit conditions are usually not favorable to humans and when repayments fail, the Thoris lenders immediately take the collateral. Major interplanetary assets including entire habitats have already been seized by Thoris cartels. By and by, Sol entities, nations states and businesses alike, have begun to skip the tedious resource transfer and instead sell their assets directly to Thoris. The process is accelerating as trade volumes grow. Already 10 % of humanity's interplanetary assets are in the hands of Thoris cartels and it is only a matter of time until half of the Sol system belongs to them.

Such a sellout is a common fate among interstellar newcomers. History shows that they need centuries of slow progress and low wealth trying to get out of the debts. This is a common problem, and many territorial sovereignties of Thoris and other advanced societies have taken steps to prevent it, at least in theory.

Majidah Hazama studied the history of interstellar economics during her time with Astronáutica General in the Thoris system. She was determined to spare the Sol system that fate. To this end, she started a legal career, which would lead her to the highest commercial court of a regional power. A position where she would be able to use the legal framework of a vastly superior alien society to steer humanity around the dept trap. Her Grolrumdrorar case was intended to create the legal conditions she needed to save her people.

Originally Grolrumdrorar wanted to sue competing Thoris cartels for usury. Instead, it was Hazama 's idea to file against the solar company Arindhaal, a victim of usurious prices, to obtain the far-reaching and much more important indirection precedent label. Ultimately, this forces all factions of the Babur III Harmony not to overcharge human clients.

The highest court of commerce even orders the creation of a control body to supervise the execution of its judgment and Hazama is appointed chairperson.

The newly created Human Price Control Authority can force Thoris cartels to comply with the ruling. It also appoints its own bailiffs who, as it turns out, can be humans. In other words, humans from the Sol system – with full executive power of a Thoris nation – make sure that the Sol system does not pay usurious prices.

Majidah Hazama devoted her entire life to saving humanity from the interstellar newcomer debt trap. Unfortunately, she is one of the lesser-known heroes of early human interstellar development.

(Terms and institutions have been translated and transformed into human concepts. Just to be sure: at Thoris there are no courts presided over by judges with gavels.)