Founding and Domain:
Since the founding of the Mining Conglomerate and the colonisation of Nodens, Hardcastle Haulage has transported increasing amounts of cargo, reaching 97% of freight moved between planets in Consortium space in 447CE and nearly 90% of the onplanet cargo. In addition, they run the interplanetary transports, which range from the basic models, which carry many people, to luxury liners and yachts.
The focus of this company is on efficient and accurate transportation, and their reputation depends on maintaining that record. To facilitate this, they maintain space stations in orbit of each colonised planet. Their freighters and passenger liners unload onto these stations and their cargo, even people, is shuttled down to the nearby planets from those locations. These stations are therefore a bustling hub of activity, serving as meeting places and trading centres. Specialised cargo shuttles, the design of which is exclusive to Hardcastle Haulage, are used for the transportation of goods in large quantities, and passenger shuttles run back and forth between their stations and any delivery sites.
All cargo is transported in standard cubes – anywhere between 1 metre and 20 metres in length (nothing larger will fit inside their standard freighters). Hardcastle Haulage have an agreement with everyone, even Smertios Security, that all cubes may not be legally opened once sealed. They can be impounded, however, and returned to Hardcastle Haulage to return to the sender. If the crates prove to be radioactive, they may be destroyed, though a record of this must be maintained and communicated to headquarters. The cubes are only labelled with a number to reduce potential theft or prosecution due to contents in these situations – part of their confidentiality agreement with their customers.
Hardcastle Haulage, since the removal of Shaun Hardcastle from power, has been divided into three parts; almost separate companies. Each of these three parts is run by one of the triplet sons of Shaun Hardcastle, and controls all the activities in one system. Each brother has vast autonomy, and has their own board in their own headquarters.
The locations of each of their headquarters are not known – they keep these secret. It is rumoured that this is because their father may try to attack them.
More than anyone else, Hardcastle Haulage have a good relationship with almost every company in Consortium space. They have been supplying people with reliability, secrecy and accuracy for almost 450 years. There are, however, tensions with Smertios Security, who aren’t allowed to open their containers but are allowed to seize them under certain circumstances. Accusations have been made that this has happened without sufficient cause, and friction between the two powers has resulted. Hardcastle Haulage still carries shipments for Smertios Security, however, even transporting troops at times.
In the Big Eight, they are seen as moderate isolationists – preferring to improve the number of ships and routes they offer in current regions of space, rather than expanding into new star systems.