15. Filthy Lucre
Date: 154-993 Imperial.
Location: jump space (enroute to Miip), aboard the free trader Avarice Rewarded.
With one day of jump remaining, Sir David looked at costs and revenues in his cabin.
First, the costs:
The loans he'd acquired with Avarice Rewarded and extended to operate it added up to Cr 48000000. At 1% per annum, that cost Cr 40000 per month to service.
Avarice Rewarded normally consumed about 42 tons of refined fuel on a 2 parsec hop at Cr 500/ton, i.e. Cr 21000. Kursis Mail LIC would pay that for the next few jumps.
A skilled pilot like Silea drew Cr 6000/month, Fish the engineer made Cr 4000, Luan was earning Cr 3000 as a medic/broker and he paid himself Cr 3000 as an astrogator/steward.
Warm bodies – crew and middle passengers – cost about Cr 750 per week-long jump in food and life support. Low passengers in cold sleep cost a mere Cr 50 but the ship had to employ a suitably qualified medic to carry them.
Other costs like starport fees were relatively minor. In total the ship cost about Cr 59000/month to crew and finance; and there would normally be Cr 21000/jump to pay for fuel. Plus one-off maintenance, which could cost half a million if things went wrong…
Then there was revenue:
Passengers paid Cr 8000 per jump for middle passage or Cr 1000 for low passage. Profits would be Cr 7250 and Cr 950 respectively per jump. Cargo haulage paid Cr 1000/ton, if there was cargo to be hauled. Speculative cargo was speculative.
They'd sold nine high and six low passages on their two jumps to date, clearing Cr 70950. They’d also hauled 17 tons of cargo to Liar's Oath and their full 62 tons (after records) on the current hop to Sentry, making Cr 79000. There’d be little in the way of cargo or passengers to or from the class E port at Miip.
Luan's video games had made a Cr 40000 profit. She hadn't found anything worth a gamble at Liar's Oath.
Putting it all together he reckoned that over their first six weeks and four jumps they'd earn about Cr 190000. Costs would be Cr 88500, to which they would normally add Cr 84000 for fuel.
In the long run, that wouldn't pay for maintenance and lay ups. In the long run, they could avoid places like Miip. Sticking to class B starports or larger would fill the ship most of the time, and the right route(s) would aid speculative trade. He could cover the interest, and the body of the loan might be paid by the time the youngest crewmember retired.
It was no wonder that small traders took themselves off to the fringes of the Imperium, where the risks and fees were higher. No wonder they went on salvage missions in the depths of gas giants…
He'd buy a proper vac suit for Luan at Sentry, but the environment suit would do him for now.
[Background: A2 Far Traders cost about 67 million new. Avarice Rewarded is worth more like 60 million, with a 48 million loan. Yes, any sane person would sell the ship and enjoy their 1% a year on 12 million. But...]