A franchise ship is an independent vessel associated with the Horizon Flotilla. Such vessels are operated as merchants, mercenaries, scouts, and resource collecting enterprises. Their crews are given free reign to conduct their businesses as they see fit.
Each franchise ship operates under Articles of Franchise awarded by the Horizon’s corporate bureaucracy. The articles establish that the ship is authorized to conduct business in the name of the flotilla and run with the individual franchise ship, not with its crew or captain.
Articles of Franchise nominally require the crew operating a franchise ship to adhere to a strict code of conduct. However, concern with enforcing these terms all but ended some sixty years ago during a supply crisis known as the Starving Time.