From Dr. Kincaid:
“Ahh… The Merchant’s Guild. Largest by far of all the four and the single Guild anyone thinks about when they hear the word. These are the blokes who are always in the spotlight, both good and bad. When a Guild has a major announcement it’s probably Merchant’s. When a Guild gets into trouble, again it’s usually Merchant’s.
“The lifeblood of the League is free and mutually beneficial trade and no one person or group exemplifies this more than the members of the Merchant’s Guild. Unlike the other Guilds, the Merchant’s Guild exists more for ethical reasons than for technical ones. How many holovee shows center around the hapless Journeyman Merchant who falls into trouble, or makes his own, from nothing but sheer eagerness to close the deal or open a new trade route?
“The Merchant’s Guild includes both individuals and groups, typically companies or independent starship crews. Membership is not always easy to get and it can be incredibly hard to keep, especially for less-than-honest businesspeople. Membership guarantees that the holder will behave and conduct business according to the full ethical standards the Guild itself embodies. Any complaints are investigated thoroughly and if a Guild member is guilty of misdeeds, he or she will pay dearly, both in compensating the injured party and for besmirching the Guild name.
“As a group, though, the Guild itself is often guilty of the same over-eagerness it attempts to regulate in its members. Whenever a new system or sector joins the League you can bet your last milli the Merchant’s Guild will have a representative on the first or at least second ship there.
“Non-members, both individual and group, can receive some levels of certification even though they are not members. This usually consists of specific approval to buy or sell something or to provide a specialized service. Again, this is not easy to obtain and it is enforced as strictly for certificate holders as for actual Guild members.
“One other aspect of the Merchant’s Guild that not many people know is its archival and tracking services. No one knows the ebb and flow of trade, within the League or outside it, better than a Guild Merchant and the Guild itself keeps careful records of all of this. For this reason most people are willing to forgive the occasional excess of zeal when it comes to dealing with this Guild.”
– F. R. Kincaid, PhD, ArG.
This text was excerpted from Chapter 12 of Dr. Kincaid’s monograph on the Guilds of the League and their history. For more information check out my books: ‘A Pattern of Details’ and ‘Stone Blade’ available from the links below.