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Fontaine's Fishing and Smuggling Operation

see also Smugglers Hideout

See also Smugglers_Den_MP

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How did Fontaine Run His Smuggling Operation ?  :

Premium value high-priced items was required for the operation to get sufficient profits, to allow Fontaine eventually to afford to hire the likes of Tenenbaum/Suchong and pay for tech/business research. Rich people will pay for exclusivity - but only so much, and there are only so many (few) of THEM in Rapture.

But what was traded to the Surface to obtain the Contraband ? -- As the Smuggling had major expenses/inefficiencies, and the operation was hamstrung/impaired by its covert nature. Rapture's Money is worthless on the Surface, so objects of value would have to be sold (fenced) probably at a fraction of their real value (thus yet more difficulty/complications).

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Smuggling Is Fun (No Its Not, It Is Difficult) :

200 miles to nearest land (Iceland) 20 hours at 10 mph ( a typical small sub speed ON SURFACE), and that is just ONE WAY. To East Coast ports is more than 3000 miles.

SO A network of surface boats obviously would be involved for anything that could possibly pay expenses of its own operation (let alone to make a profit).

Ryan also might have agents sniffing around at likely surface world ports, making the operation even more inefficient

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Neptunes Bounty (Port Neptune) :

  • Home to a fleet of dozens of fishing submarines, many which had sufficient range to reach significant  distances from Rapture to chase and catch large quantities of fish.
  • Large Airlocks (Sea Locks) allowed subs to enter and match pressure with Rapture's one Atmosphere environment.
  • A 'ship' tunnel (half water filled) connects the Sea Locks to various Docks (which were built as a shallow simulated 'fake' waterfront) and facilities (for Refueling and Repair) around Port Neptune.
  • Fish were transferred to holding pens/tanks to wait for processing and storage.
  • Other commercial operations were also located nearby (Sinclair Scrap, a Seaweed Processing Company, etc..)
  • Neptune's Bounty (originally having many smaller fishing companies) was eventually completely controlled by Fontaine (via criminal coercion and/or cheaply buying out of competitors and taking them over).
    • Later control (after Fontaine's "death" fell to the City which would appoint 'trustees' to run the companies to continue providing important food to the City.


The Fishery Submarines Used for Smuggling :

  • Fishing subs were constantly coming and going from Port Neptune, which made the subs involved in the smuggling hard to trace.
  • Subs met the smuggler boats at a distance from Rapture to avoid the monitoring stations at the Lighthouse.
  • "Fontaine's Mini-sub ... topside twice a week" -- Problem is : it had not enough capacity for the quantities of smuggled goods we saw alluded to in BS1.  The (my) larger Fishing Subs were used in the expanded operation, and could go meet the periodic arrival of a freighter, and carry down the contraband loads quickly (and let the freighter slip away before Ryan's patrols noticed it).


Smugglers Hideout/Cave :

  • If you look at Smugglers Hideout in BS1 you will see alot of infrastructure was 'secretly' constructed to facilitate the major smuggling operation (making it kind of HARD to justify why Ryan's men couldn't find this place long before Fontaine got his Splicer Army).
  • An unmarked/obscured side passage off the Neptunes Bounty 'ship' tunnel, led to a secret submarine dock where untold tons of contraband were transferred.
  • The caverns had sufficient Storage space for large quantities of smuggled goods that would be gradually sold on to the black market. The smugglers also stole large quantities of alcohol from the Rapture Port Authority(????). Stolen goods were also warehoused for later distribution.
  • Funny thing was : Seeing a Pneumo box in the Hideout. That the smuggling operation was so well organized, that they even had Pneumo access for their 'convenience'. This also demonstrated the things that Fontaine could get done either with bribes or threats.


The Operation :

  • What would the external smugglers (the eventual source on The Surface) get in return ??   What would THEY be interested in ???   Gold and other 'valuables' produced by Fontaine's other criminal activities ???? Those would eventually run out for any significant trading. What other 'stuff' did Fontaine trade with the surface ?    Did his labs also produce powerful 'recreational' drugs to be traded for ?
  • Because of the complication of the smuggling operation, Fontaine would have eventually used his own men ("cut out the middleman"...) in the Surface boats (possibly THAT original Fishing Fleet he stole) to obtain the smuggled goods wholesale (and he STILL would have to use something valuable to buy that Contraband with) or obtain some via robberies and pirating.
  • Coercion (including murder) was used to maintain secrecy by Fontaine, as well as to hold workers in thrall for low pay (SEE THE AUDIO DIARY BELOW).


The 'Secret Tram' to Arcadia :

  • Smugglers Hideout is nowhere near Arcadia (according to the Austen Bathysphere map), though in BS1 you walk thru a tunnel and you are there.
  • Thus Fontaine built and used a mile long utility tram tunnel to transport contraband direct to Arcadia - a good central location in Rapture and which offered nice secluded spots for clandestine transactions for smuggled goods.
  • A small 'lost' tunnel-boring machine was used to construct the passage thru the bedrock between Smugglers Hideout and Arcadia. The tunnel was laid with the standard prefabricated tram track to make the transport task easy. The electric 'locomotives' and cars (also stolen) would make transporting the huge amounts of Black Market goods very simple.
  • Proximity to Farmers Market and the adjacent farming establishments allowed many goods to be concealed and 'mixed in'.
  • In the MMORPG New Rapture situation, the 'secret' tunnel is still there and is being repaired/upgraded to facilitate movement of farm produce from the Arcadia/Ceres Green area to New Rapture.


The Shoot Out :

  • Ryan's security men repeated attempted to try to catch Fontaine's smugglers committing their crime, but had no success because of bribery of the City's Constables and unwillingness (or deaths) of potential witnesses.
  • Ryan's security raided Fontaine's operations (tipped by Peach Wilkins?) to prove the smuggling, but Fontaine was tipped off, and a major battle erupted where Ryan's forces faced large numbers of Splicers.
  • Fontaine faked his death with a 'look-alike' dressed in his clothing and accessories, and made sure the face/body was obliterated/burned beyond recognition.
  • Ryan had the City seize control of the Fisheries (as well as Fontaine Futuristics and other companies Fontaine had controlled) and discovered and shut down the Smugglers Hideout operation.
  • Ryan attempted to use the violent incidents at Smugglers Hideout and Fontaine's illegal operation as proof of the threat and his 'protecting Rapture' from the Surface.   Unfortunately the strong measures needed (and rather odd decisions by Ryan) gave ammunition to the newly emerged Atlas's propaganda. The Kashmir Incident then later brought Civil War to Rapture.
  • By the time of Jacks' arrival, Fontaine's lack of resources (and dwindling ADAM supplies) were crippling his forces and Ryan had gained the upper-hand after building a Splicer army of his own.  Once the Pheromone Control was working, Fontaine/Atlas had few allies left and was basically in hiding.


The NEW Smugglers Hideout (Atlas/Fontaine's Second Smuggling Site) :

  • When he was planning his change of identity, when Ryan was closing in on his Smuggling operation, Fontaine not only arranged his fake death but also created a replacement smuggling operation elsewhere. He likely transplanted the best half of his smuggling submarines/equipment as well as the more valuable/useful contraband.   Arms and supplies were cached for his 'Atlas' operation.
  • A new very similar operation would have been run, with hidden connections to Atlas's base of operations (Hestia/Apollo Square area).
  • Another 'secret' Submarine Dock would have been built to keep the smuggling operation going. No longer near the Fishing Fleet operations, some other ruse would be needed to escape detection.
  • Likely another tunnel was built - maybe a network of them, which would also double to safely move Atlas's forces around despite Ryan's drastically increased security measures. Likely there would be many connection to 'out of view' points in the 'undercity'/Sewers allowing Atlas to suddenly appear somewhere and then conveniently escape.
  • Atlas used his transplanted (new) smuggler operation to bring in weapons, supplies and ammunition to facilitate his revolution.  Some of the supplies were used as bribes to convince Rapture's underclass to side with Atlas (and many to join his 'army')
  • With dwindling resources, Atlas probably had less and less 'loot' to pawn on the Surface and likely would have relied more and more on outright piracy to gain supplies.
  • A bunch of Fontaine's henchmen continued to use this facility after his demise and continued supporting themselves by pirating surface ships and extorting other factions (being paid to not interfere with fishing operations).  They were another faction that Lamb failed to control.  The New Rapture is trying to end this group's depredations, particularly because of the outside (Surface World) attention their activities continue to bring towards Rapture.


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Audio Diary - "Putting_the_Screws_On"  :

Peach Wilkins : "Fontaine's putting the screws on us, and double. He's squeezing us out of 80 points of our cut with the threat of turning us in to Ryan if we don't play ball. Son of a bitch. Sammy G. comes and tells me he's thinking of going to the constable, and the next day, Sammy G. was found in a sack in the salt pond. We got no choice here. We stay on Fontaine's crew, and we're gonna catch the gallows. We take a powder, and we end up like Sammy G. There's gotta be another way ... "

Hints how Fontaine was finally 'fingered' (informant went to the Rapture Authorities to incriminate Fontaine with evidence of Smuggling) which led to the Neptune's Bounty Shootout, and Fontaine's alleged demise.

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So you (Fontaine) are Gonna Smuggle Beef Into Rapture ?

How large a freezing compartment do you have in your fishing sub ? (Ones better than the teeny subs seen in-game - at Smugglers Hideout)

It takes a week to transport(Smuggle) Contraband from any topside source, so you (the buyer) WILL be getting Freezer Burnt meat anyway. This is discounting 'Beef' grown in Rapture, which could be a viable possibility (I doubt Ryan would have expected Rapture to have to eat Fish Kelp Salami and fruits forever.) Rapture grown Beef probably will still be expensive (quantities grass/grain and such to feed them costs as does time. Fresh chicken (much faster growing with less feed required per pound of edible meat) would be much more common - AS IT IS in our world.

So Beef Smuggling - not so much (no profit).

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Smuggling (Realities Strike Again) :

A bit too much of a contrived story : How ALL the stuff Fontaine was allegedly smuggling could never seem to ever be noticed by the Authorities (it WAS seriously illegal), and for so long. This couldn't be just a little a package (of Contraband) being delivered each trip by a Fishing Sub.

Lots of people knew about the Smuggling (Fontaine had to sell the stuff to many people), and THEY had to supply the CASH/Whatever it is he traded to the Surface/Outsiders as required to buy/get the stuff/contraband (even if some was only legally BUYING it at nearby ports on The Surface). Money/whatever has to Flow out of Rapture in exchange. Because it is smuggling with added complications, the good are now further expensive/priced at a PREMIUM.

(( Note - They don't accept Rapture dollars OUTSIDE of Rapture, unless it was made of precious metals. A major drain (the scale of the alleged smuggling) on Rapture's money supply WOULD eventually be noticed. ))

It sounded like this stuff wasn't just Canned Sardines and the Local Hooch from some small Icelandic fishing village. That meant bringing alot of it from a distance (more than the ~300 miles to the shore of Iceland).

The AMOUNT of Contraband smuggled had to be enough to raise Fontaine all that Rapture money (they portrayed him as getting) to afford that whole later ADAM industry setup (and you have to develop that product BEFORE you earn dollar one back).

The transport/transfer into Rapture is a significant expense. Sure you can use the fishing subs which either have to go a great distance (instead of fishing), OR make a delivery boat rendezvous -- and THOSE added parts of the Smuggling Operation have to be paid for now instead.

Sorry, Its just the Simple Realities of Non-Fantasy/Non-Magic/Non-Wave of the Hand business and economics.

So the upshoot of all this is either : Fontaine WASN'T as ridiculously 'rich' as he is shown (taken even further in the BaSx DLC), OR there had to be more involved for him to get sufficient funds to start that ADAM Genetic Business (more thuggery and criminal activities -- which have their OWN reality checks - as in the size of Rapture limiting THAT).

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Various Stacks of Contraband Seen in BS1  :

Why would Fontaine smuggle this stuff IF there was no buyer for it ? The difficulties/expense of smuggling goods would make anything desirable have a premium price.

Crosses/Crucifixes could be made locally, literally tons of Bibles and newspapers (which can be shared, passed hand to hand/copied and are NOT consumed) - and a whole lot of them are seen never delivered (as seen in BS1). Is it simply Overused Asset Objects, by the writers, to make some clumsy point?

Booze stolen from the 'Rapture Port Authority' (that legal import path supposedly shutdown in 1952 - so why is the Booze still here MANY years later -- as booze seems to sell pretty well in Rapture).

All the 'Seized' boxes seen elsewhere (including 8 years later at Fontaine Futuristics in BS2) - probably not any tasty/useful contraband goodies would be left -- those would have been pilfered long past.

Likewise many stacks of The Daily Post are in "Room 5" of Fighting McDonaghs, piled with boxes of contraband, also apparently unsold. (Newsprint paper is heavy (to smuggle), and likewise gets handed around once read).

The items selected of this Contraband type were not the best thought out.

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