Information as Currency; the Rise of the InfoAgent
By Rachel Combs
As the influence of the UEE expanded throughout the universe, humanity saw the rise of a new specialist, the InfoAgent. These professionals spend their lives positioning themselves as the nexus of information in their system, always alert for the latest job opportunities, local system info, even gossip. A good InfoAgent will foster relationships with locals and travellers alike to keep current on events, often before the NewsOrgs hear about them. To facilitate this, a growing percentage of InfoAgents own or are purchasing bars and hotels in the landing parks.
In an age of interstellar travel and supercomputers, many have wondered why people would be so reliant on such a non-technological system. Simply put, communication takes time. Even the best digital collations of news and media are reliant on a relay-based system, constantly feeding and updating threads of data back and forth into the Central Archive. Since it’s a constant stream of all data from all corners of UEE territory, it takes time to analyze and disseminate. For that reason, people have always seemed to rely most on word of mouth, especially words out of a trusted mouth. In a curious twist considering the subjective nature of memory, the InfoAgent is trusted to remember what’s worth remembering. He or she is the filter and keeper of relevant data. To illustrate, consider this scenario. Citizen Wilkes puts out a job offer for mercenaries to defend his property from imminent danger. A datastream reports the offer, compensation, and maybe a link to the public file for Citizen Wilkes. The offer is then relayed through the public DataServers and becomes viewable throughout the UEE. However, a good InfoAgent knows that the job is not legitimate. He or she knows Citizen Wilkes suffers from dementia and has made the same claim no fewer than sixteen times over the past decade.
Generally, InfoAgents don’t claim affiliation to guilds, syndicates or organizations. They are everybody’s best friend and their independence is a virtue that symbolizes impartiality. Consequently, the jobs they offer tend to come from private Citizens, smaller Corps, and Non-Citizens who can’t afford or don’t want to pay Guild minimums. Jobs through an InfoAgent won’t make the average pilot rich, but can help build the foundation of a reputation and a career.
Aside from commissioning jobs, InfoAgents can also be contracted to broker sales deals. Explorers who have found a mineral deposit or NavDrive data of a new jump-point have been known to contract an InfoAgent to act as intermediary for a private sale of this information, rather than registering it with the UEE. The one who buys this data will do so at a premium price over the standard UEE pay-out, but will have private access to an untapped lode or even an entire system… that is, until another pilot discovers it.
The question of legality is a divisive issue for the general public, the governing authorities and even the InfoAgents themselves. Some agents believe that their position is an essential pillar of the community, viewing themselves as public servants form whom integrity is demanded, and therefore refusing to traffic criminal jobs or information. Others are ambivalent about where their information comes from and to what end it is used. “Info is info,” says Trevor Elias in Killian. “I’m not hurting nobody, I’m just passing it along to those that want to hear.”
Whether there are InfoAgents who deal exclusively in underground and criminal data is not in question. This reporter was unable to bypass their unorthodox security protocols to actually speak with one, but they are certainly out there. These shadowy brokers present their own danger as they almost certainly act as local representatives for criminal syndicates. Therefore they can wield the ugly power of those organizations, should a pilot cross them.
Perhaps what’s most fascinating about this profession is its ineffable and fluid concept. Being a miner is simple; you dig, extract ore, then sell it or process it yourself. Mercenaries provide their life, ship and expertise to defend or attack. An InfoAgent’s value is much less tangible — it is determined by the information he or she possesses. So while there are ‘established’ InfoAgents in virtually every corner of the universe, there is always room for a competent newcomer. The InfoAgent is both friend and fixer. If people begin to trust you with information and you learn how to orchestrate the connections, then you too can become an InfoAgent.
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