High Tortuga

Western Annex: Ravaine, Far Shores

Fitzgerald Noyes

In the BOE databases, Fitzgerald Noyes holds the record for the fewest listings. In 2169 he registered the Earth-normal planetary system that would become the Confederation seat in the Gretna quadrant. While many prospectors never found a commercially viable system, only Noyes filed just one single discovery. At the time, Noyes came under scrutiny for failing to resister his system surveys, a violation of BOE regulations. Even after impounding his ship and logs, the BOE found no evidence that he had launched more than the single probe which revealed the Gretna system. In 2171, the BOE released his ship and goods, leaving him free to pursue his career as a planetary prospector.

That one filing made Noyes a rich man, but his real claim to fame was the establishment of High Tortuga station in the Ravaine system. No one has ever registered Ravaine or her neighboring systems and the actual systems that make up the Far Shores has never been established. Some estimate that at least eight and as many as twelve systems with uncounted numbers of stations and outposts make up the Far Shores.

Early in the development of the toe-holds, prospectors and settlers realized that the BOE could track every single financial transaction through their ubuiquitous systems. For most that surveillance was no obstacle, but for Fitzgerald Noyes it proved to be his raison d’être. After his struggles with the BOE over his ship and logs, he invested untold billions of Confederated credits in creating a workable, anonymous currency and set up a secure financial services network for himself and the other denizens of Toe-Hold Space. Using the same basic crypto-currency as the Core Worlds, Noyes established a money laundering service in the Deep Dark to remove the owner’s identities from Confederated credit records while maintaining the values—basically swapping credits with known owner tags for ones with false, usually invalid tags. The credits themselves—coded onto chips—made it possible for inhabitants in the Deep Dark to carry their wealth with them and even use it in Confederated systems without difficulty and—more importantly for Noyes—without leaving a trace.

Over the decades, Noyes and his financial network gained the trust and support of prospectors and toe-holders. His kept scrupulous records and made it a matter of honor that he never cheated a customer. As he developed more contacts, his network became the bank of first resort for development loans. Noyes offered other kinds of financial dealings including issuing and servicing bonds, even serving as a rudimentary stock market for entrepreneurs who needed capitalization and were willing to negotiate ownership shares in return.

The Trade Investigation Commission and CPJCT have never been able to determine how Noyes created his financial empire, nor how it runs today. Some suggest that the aggregate value of Noyes currency exceeds that of the Confederated Planets by a factor of three—a suggestion that no doubt irks the CPJCT’s tax collectors.