Autumn of the Republic
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A Brief History of Recent Events
700 years before the events of the Star Wars trilogy, the Sith have been extinct for more than 300 years (and it’ll be another 700 years before they re-emerge). In the intervening centuries, the Republic has enjoyed a long stretch of relative peace and prosperity — the Republic military has disbanded, and now each major world maintains their own defense force. The Senate is still a place where things get done, although there are scandals and corruption as there always are, and megacorporations are starting to use their money to accumulate influence in a big way.
The Jedi Order has also reorganized, centralizing around its Jedi Temple on Coruscant and shutting down its outlying academies, the better for the Republic to keep an eye on the Order to keep the dark side from rising again. The only other major Jedi training facility is the Bindu’nal, an enormous academy ship that houses 10,000 Jedi, students, and support staff.
Still, there’s concern among the Order that the Jedi have become too entangled with the Republic. Led by Gume Taal, Grand Master of the Jedi Order, half of the Council has been pushing for some time for greater independence from the Republic, lest they fall solely into the role of being merely “the chancellor’s secret police.” Another half, led by Master Saiya Dashel, advocates instead for greater involvement, saying with the Sith gone, this is the Order’s chance to truly focus on enforcing galactic peace. Already several arguments have erupted in the Council chambers, with no easy compromise in sight.
At the same time, the Republic government is struggling to deal with the consequences of an enormous scandal. Twenty years ago, the Senate set aside a sector in the Outer Rim called the Outer Expansion Zone, intended for colonization to expand the borders of the Republic. Intrepid beings from all over the galaxy volunteered to help settle new worlds and build new civilizations, sponsored by megacorporations providing the needed raw materials (such as the Trade Federation, Techno Union, and Commerce Guild).
Three years ago, however, activists brought to light the truth: the same megacorporations had forced many of the colonists into indentured servitude and pillaged the worlds’ natural resources. The Republic was slow to take action, and while many of the worst excesses were punished, under the ineffectual eye of Supreme Chancellor Dugo Vegnu, most of the guilty parties got little more than a slap on the wrist. With a new chancellor election looming in just a few months, the Senate is preoccupied with who will take the reins next. Aid efforts to the Outer Exploration Zone have been few, though one of the worst-ravaged worlds, Kelro, is undergoing complete ecological restoration via the expensive Rampart Station project, thanks to the Ithorian relief group United Destiny.
At the same time, in the Quarzite system, the native Kage have begun rebelling against the Republic. Perceiving Republic intervention in their affairs to be an egregious slight, the Kage have begun using their world’s mineral wealth to construct a fleet and harass their neighbors. The preoccupied Senate has been slow to act, more concerned with who would bear the costs of fighting the Kage. The chancellor has been slow to act, calling the affair a “territorial dispute,” and the Jedi, driven by their own divisions right now, have been reticent to intervene as well — particularly because the Kage have kept violence to a minimum.
In the Outer Rim, meanwhile, lawlessness rules. The Hutt clans jockey amongst themselves for power as they always have, and slavery, smuggling, and vice are the rules of the day. For many in the Outer Rim, life continues to be brutal and difficult, and the Republic turns a blind eye beyond its borders. The Jedi do their best to help when they can, but there is only so much they can do. Still, there are rumors of threats from the Unknown Regions, scouring worlds clean and leaving no survivors. Without any proof, though, most of these rumors are dismissed as drunk spacers’ tales.