The Corporate Accord

The questions we had not thought to ask ourselves were one of the things we had never considered when we first set out on this vital mission. As the saying goes, you don't know what you don't know, and we didn't know. Like most of the problems we've created throughout our history, we only realized the questions that we should have been asking once the answer was painfully clear, and by then, it was too late.

Countless generations had peered up at the night's sky and let their imaginations wander. The stars represented the unknown. They held untapped resources. They offered us a second chance and a new home. Most importantly, they offered us hope when we so desperately need it. While we looked up at the stars dreaming of a better tomorrow, others looked at them and saw something different. They saw untapped resources and endless potential for profit.

Corporations had long tried to poach the best and brightest from the public sector. Thanks to things like salaries commensurate with ability and state-of-the-art equipment, they were largely successful. The corporations and their armies of scientists and engineers did what they could to help humanity spread out among the stars. Most people naively thought they were doing it out of some sense of duty and the desire to achieve a common goal - the survival of the human race. Instead, they were motivated by the same thing that always drove them - greed. New worlds meant new resources and new markets. The corporations were certainly not going to let any of that go to waste in the name of something foolish like the survival of our species. Besides, they were instrumental in our salvation. Was it really too much to ask that they were able to turn a hefty profit in the process?

Armed with the latest technology and led by some of our greatest minds, the corporations quickly staked their claims on the new worlds. By the time the fledgling civilian governments of the three systems got their acts together, the corporations were too big and too powerful to oppose. To their credit, the governments still tried, sparking off the Corporate Wars. For more than a century, private, corporate funded militaries tore across the three systems, waging war on the civilian governments and each other. The toll in lives was immense, but it was the expenditure of resources with no return on investment that ultimately brought the war to a close.

The largest corporations got together, they made peace with each other, and delivered their terms to everyone else. Faced with extermination by a technologically and numerically superior foe, the civilian governments had no choice but to capitulate to the corporations' demands. The Corporate Accord was the result of this forced armistice.