Autumn of the Republic
Outer Expansion Zone
A region of space in the Outer Rim set aside twenty years ago by the Republic for colonization — a grand civic project to expand their borders and help explore the unexplored. The Senate debated for months who would be in charge of the project — many systems wanted to add to their holdings, and could not agree on who should get what — before finally turning to megacorporations (such as the Trade Federation, Techno Union, and Commerce Guild) to manage the costs (as one alliance, the Expansionist Oligarchy). The call went out all over the galaxy, and many beings (in particular Ithorians, Wookiees, and Zabraks) volunteered to be the first wave of what would be a new, technologically advanced series of colonies.
Three years ago, however, the truth came out: These megacorporations had constructed a series of lies and corruption to cover up that they had strip-mined most of the Outer Expansion Zone worlds and impressed most of the colonists into indentured servitude. The Senate was outraged and moved to censure the Expansionist Oligarchy, but corporate money slowed down the process immensely. Recently elected Supreme Chancellor Dugo Vegnu took the Oligarchy to the courts, hoping to force a quick decision and end the scandal. However, despite the successful verdict, it amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist. Vegnu’s chancellorship and public perception have sunk as a result, as he is perceived as weak and ineffective. Anti-corporate protests have sprung up all over the galaxy, and many megacorporations have worked around the clock on damage control.
Today, the Outer Expansion Zone colonies are ostensibly under the control of Republic governors, but with so much of the infrastructure under corporate control, the megacorporations still wield considerable influence. The colonists have been freed from their contracts, but with new jobs slow to come, most of them have merely resumed the jobs they had under their previous overseers. Ecological rehabilitation has been slow to begin, as well.
United Destiny, an Ithorian relief organization, has stepped in to try to revive the worlds damaged by strip-mining and industrialization. Currently, they are focused on Kelro, a world whose atmosphere was damaged by deep mining, and have built an enormous orbital station, Rampart Station, to test out their ecological repair methodologies. It is their hope that if Kelro can be repaired, they can similarly restore the Outer Expansion Zone to its former pristine beauty.