Ozawa Mercantile Association
|Ozawa Mercantile Association
The Ozawa Mercantile Association was a loosely organized coalitions of merchant brokers and starship crews that provided semi-regular passenger traffic, small scale cargo transport, speculative trading in both luxuries and necessities, and information of the most unofficial sort.
The Ozawa Mercantile Association was one of the dozen or so of these kind associations during the second half of the twenty-third century.
For the most part, these associations were valuable for disseminating goods and information (including rumors) that would otherwise have been impossible to obtain. The merchants generally charged respectable fees, but carefully avoided excessive price gouging. After all, they wanted to be able to return and sell again. Such was the policy of the Ozawa Mercantile Association. They served the "northeast" quadrant of the Inner Sphere, including the worlds of New Samarkand and Galedon.
As the name implies, the Ozawa clan led the association, owning several ships outright and leasing a handful of others. Though not outrageously wealthy, the Ozawas had done well enough for themselves at a time when many colonists were barely able to scratch out a meager living. They were not subtle about their wealth and this rubbed off on their merchants, whose professional politeness was always tinged with arrogance. On more than one planet, their customers would have been happier trading with someone else, but the Ozawas had a virtual monopoly in their territory. The underlying resentment toward them would eventually set the stage for important events to come.
By 2296 the association was already suffering issues with Shiro and Urizen Kurita from New Samarkand and their newly unified world. Issues were also boiling in Galedon with the world's finance minister.
Things escalated one step when Shiro Kurita founded the Alliance of Galedon, and the Ozawa Mercantile Association tried to punish the Alliance by raising transport fees for member-worlds, but with that action only alienated those worlds citizens.
Unbeknownst to the Association, Shiro Kurita sent armed Galedonian ships to board unarmed Ozawan merchant vessels and to confiscate their cargoes. By the time the Association caught on, the Alliance of Galedon was operating its own government controlled merchant fleet-armed and well-escorted.
The Ozawa Mercantile Association did not step down without a fight and after tracing the source of their losses, the Ozawa family's response was prompt and predictable: their vessels were hastily equipped with weapons so Kurita's board-and-seize missions turned into running gun battles. At the same time, and to gain popular support for its position, they began to reduce the rates for all services, including cargo transport fees. Coupled with an effective media campaign on Alliance worlds, it helped to improve the organization's public image.
But once Shiro Kurita realized that his popularity was slowly slipping because of the Ozawa's tactics, he responded viciously. During the month of November 2303, every known Ozawa Mercantile Association office and support facility was bombed, including at least a dozen complexes on Galedon V itself. Galedon was as much taken by surprise as was the Association.
At the end of the dispute, the OMA was not destroyed, but had to abide by Shiro's rules.
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 20: "The Ozawa Clan"
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), pp. 20–21: "The Birth of a Dynasty"
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), pp. 21–22: "Alliance of Galedon"
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 24: "The Way of the Dragon"