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Post Earth Saga
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News
'2009-01-05'

Apologies to any regular readers about the lack of December updates, unfortunately the birth of my daughter closely followed by Christmas and new year meant I found myself with far more things to do than write, leaving me with no time to sort out anything to post. I'll have some new content for you in a fortnight when normality should rear it's ugly head again.

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Latest Short
'Claims'

The clinging vines grappled round his waist, dragging him back and slowing him down. Turning back he hacked away with the blunted blade in his hand severing the vines and freeing himself temporarily from nature's clutches. So much for the short cut saving him time. What had started as a relatively clear trail had soon become overgrown and in places waterlogged. Too far in to turn back without losing too much time he pressed on.

It was times like this that Merce reflected on his decision to become a buildings surveyor. The job paid reasonably, and he didn't get involved in any of the more physically taxing construction work, but at times this was just as messy. He'd had to park his hover car a long way back as they'd not work away from the specially constructed roads that they travelled on. This meant getting to the site his customer had purchased on foot. Had he parked on the north side the walk would have been slippy, longer but , as he was starting to discover, clearer. Merce had elected to take the route that offered him the shortest walk.

Hacking through more vines, Merce was starting to feel that the shortest walk might take the longest time. At least he'd thought to change into some almost suitable boots, they kept the water and mud out but with every step he felt more heat being drawn from his feet by the environment, while his upper body radiated it frantically from the exertion of traversing the awkward terrain.

"Buy something by the roadside, it'll be easier for construction." He'd advised his client, but alas it was cheaper to purchase some land away from the roads and construct the required network of specialist hovercar roads to get to it. Partly because this all increased the value of the rest of the land for the property owner from increased access and proximity to a large manufacturer, so the company had would receive a small share of the resale on the rest of the land.

Claims, that was how Merce understood things had worked. Once the terraforming process on the planet was complete people departing the coloniser ship's facilities could stake a claim to a plot of land, provided they had the required funds. Sizes were limited by the planetary government to prevent someone attempting to claim a whole continent, but for the most part the claims were fairly large. Land near the coloniser sold first, then claim owners would split their claim into smaller chunks to sell to people as the coloniser's city over spilled onto the land outside, essentially growing outward. The money raised from this would be spent buying more claims.

Claim speculation was the phrase coined at the time, people staking an increasing number of claims in order to get more money back later when the area was deemed appropriate for construction. This could take a long time though and the speculator families would end up holding land for generations before selling it on later for what was deemed a suitable profit. While in the intervening millennia all the claims had finally been staked a lot of the land was still undeveloped which had lead to the current situation where claim holders might offer a discounted land price to someone who might develop the centre of a claim, breaking it down to smaller parts with increased access, then offering the carrot of incentive to encourage people to buy the land around it at an increased price, therefore making more money overall.

What surprised Merce was that it worked, people would buy the more expensive land later purely to fit in with whatever manufacturing chain may be involved on a piece of land. Normally it involved getting a large corporation in first, then a few smaller businesses that could stand to make a lot of money dealing with the larger. After that would come housing priced at an overinflated rate so the workers wouldn't need to commute from the nearest city, then would come the shopping and social facilities for the homes and things would expand outwards until it either merged into an already expanding city or started to form one if it's own. The only thing preventing the planet becoming one giant city were the designated farming areas dictated by the government when the claims went out. These sold for far less than the developmental land despite being larger, though that wasn't to say that those who had speculated on the farmland hadn't made much money on it, as they had.

Sometimes Merce felt he was born to the wrong family, or at the wrong time, when he considered the money he could have made on speculation. Though the fact that life was random and that he was born on Calaan at all was pure chance would keep those feelings in check. The edge of a precipice of self loathing and the hatred of a family that didn't give him more.

Checking his pocket locater Merce could see he was not less than a few hundred metres from the designated meeting spot, and not far from the treeline to the plain that made up part of the far side of the plot. Though the land purchased extended into the small forest, which from government guidelines would mean that the company would have to find space within it's development to replace as many of the trees that would be felled as possible. At least the walk had provided him with plenty of detail on the forest's make-up.

Daylight filtered in through the edge of the trees, Merce could see the edge of the plain. Having left the vines long behind and being able to see a semi-clear path through, he retracted the his blade into it's handle and sheathed it. A gift from a previous client it was apparently some form of discrete weapon for spacefarers, it showed up on scans like a tool. There was no need for such an item on Calaan, but he found it very useful on trips like these, where often the developer would buy land before really investigating what was on the site, by way of nature and relying on ground scans to assess it's suitability.

Breaking through the treeline he could see the group he was meant to be meeting and hear them calling, though not make out the words. Sighing, he began to cross the plain it would be a long day.

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