Any reference to ‘the’ black market is by nature inaccurate. There is not a single black market in the Federation, rather, there are hundreds of them. Moreover, a black market in the Federation is not a convenience store where someone can stop to pick up a few illegal items. A black market is either a single individual or a small, loosely connected group of individuals who deal in illicit goods.
Most often, a black market deals in items that, if not innocuous, are at least not a direct threat to the Federation. Goods such as falsiﬁed Unicards, or services that make alterations to Unicards (like adding driving privileges to a customer’s Unicard) are a good example of such. Far less common are those black markets that deal in things like military hardware or illicit psychic services.
Some planets within the Federation are more likely than others to have a black market. For example, drug dealers operate almost openly in some areas of Zegama Beach, while Iskander, with its 80% citizen population, is one of the most law abiding places in the Federation. The chart below lists the Black Market Rating for each planet within the Federation, ranked from A to D. The two exceptions are for the Sol system and the unofﬁcial colonies. The Sol system is the seat of Federation power, and all the colonies within it (Luna, Mars, Europa, Titan) are tied together with Earth so closely that in society and culture they are all essentially the same. The unofﬁcial colonies, on the other hand, may vary drastically among themselves in culture and society. Some may be populated by ardent groups of religious fundamentalists who eschew everything a black market stands for, while others may be home to bands of survivalists and insurgents for whom the black market is a badge of honour.A black market rating of A indicates a planet that is extremely law abiding, either through culture or, in the case of a place like Cassandra, through the presence of large numbers of SICON troops. A rating of D, on the other hand, represents a planet where a black market can effectively exist in the open. Most stellar colonies of the Federation fall somewhere between these two extremes. As a general rule, the more law abiding the planet is, the less offensive the items available through the black market will be. Thus, a rating of A indicates a planet where it is extremely difﬁcult to secure anything more than a Unicard modiﬁcation. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and it is entirely possible to locate a black market fence on Iskander with a case of 50 Morita TW-203-a assault riﬂes he just ‘found’ and would like to sell. </div>
Finding a Black Market
Actually locating a black market on any Federation world is no mean feat; those that are easy to ﬁnd do not remain in business very long at all.
There are two main reasons someone would be looking for a black market. Either they are working for or with law enforcement and are attempting to ﬁnd and destroy a particular criminal element, or they are insurgents against the Federation and are looking for weapons and equipment that might help their cause.
Consequences of Dealing in the Black Market
Unsurprisingly, the Federation takes a rather dim view of the black market and actively works to discover and disband black markets wherever they may be found.
Anyone the Federation catches dealing with the black market is likely to regret it. While a minor Unicard modiﬁcation might only be punished with a ﬁne or ﬂogging (or both), that is very much the lightest punishment anyone can expect to receive. Someone caught buying or selling military equipment, even something as minor as a Morita, will likely be charged with both theft of SICON property and actions against the Federation. Both of these charges can carry the death sentence on conviction.