If there were ever to be a non-medical cure for insomnia, an exhaustive treatise on the history of Epsilon Prime would surely be it. Though it is extremely valuable in many circles (to SICON, the Federation at large and the business community in particular), very little of any real, lasting interest to the field of general history has happened on this world. As for business history, that is another matter. Since the first days after the colony’s founding in 2072 and once the colonists had gotten over complaining about the increased gravity of their new world, Epsilon Prime has been known throughout the Federation as a haven for civilian businesses. Much of this was due to the actions of Alexander Kesey, the first mayor of Achilles, the capital city of Epsilon Prime.
Kesey, once a lieutenant in Fleet, had no desire to preside over the capital city of a colony barely scratching a living out of the alien dirt. He had seen firsthand the glacially slow growth and economic poverty of colonies like Hod and Shoreridge III and he was determined that Epsilon Prime would not join their ranks. A skilled negotiator who was often called a borderline psychic for his ability to read people, he was able to strike deal after deal with up and coming civilian corporations on Earth, offering them everything from municipal tax exemptions to free land if they would move their headquarters to his new colony. Though most refused, thinking the loss of prestige from moving headquarters away from Earth would be more than any perks offered by the mayor of a new colony could possibly offer, a large number accepted and have been thriving ever since.
As the old saying goes, the business of Epsilon Prime is business. To say the people of this colony have a mercenary mentality would be going a bit too far but only a bit. Fully one quarter of the population of the colony (and slightly more than a third of the population of Achilles) is made up of business executives and their rather sizable groups of underlings and staff. Profit and productivity are of central importance in their lives, an outlook that has long since spread to the remainder of the colonists. This business-friendly attitude has made Epsilon Eridani the home of a number of inventions over the years, from the latest styles of civilian ships rolling off the assembly lines of the orbital shipyards of companies like Mereson Spaceways to the technologies used for preservation of massive amounts of food for transport between stellar colonies. Of course, this same business-friendly attitude has resulted in a few high-profile scandals in the civilian business community as well.
Laws and Government
Part of Alexander Kesey’s legacy is the business-friendly environment of Epsilon Prime, which translates into an unofficial legal ‘flexibility’ where businesses are concerned. There are limits to this, of course, and any corporation with a government or military contract would be well advised to dot all its i’s and cross all its t’s if it wants to keep that contract and stay out of court. However, corporations on Epsilon Prime are not bound by all the environmental and financial regulations which apply to Earth-based corporations. The ‘profit first’ attitude of the people of Epsilon Prime has had some dire consequences in the past. Most recently and perhaps most infamously, the Burton Howell Group was revealed to be using its operations on Epsilon Prime as a way of smuggling military hardware to the Black Cross, a revelation that resulted in the hanging for treason of the entire board of directors and put the colony under the microscope of Military Intelligence for nearly five years. Obviously, the Burton Howell Group is no longer in business – its assets were seized by the Federation and auctioned off to its competitors.As an added exclamation point to the Burton Howell Group disaster, the Federation removed Governor Mary O’Laughlin from office, citing gross incompetence. This marked the first time in decades that a governor had been forcibly removed from office. It was certainly the most public such dismissal since Governor Tomas Leary was removed from the Governorship of Hesperus.
Despite occasional high profile scandals like the Burton Howell Group, the economy of Epsilon Prime is booming. The planet is the headquarters of so many corporations, representing such a variety of industries, that even such a scandal cannot constitute more than a hiccup in its bottom line.
The most important industries on Epsilon Prime, obviously, are its mining and shipyard industries. Together with its technological facilities, the planet is very nearly able to build spaceships without the need for a single imported component. Though it may be surprising, sports and recreational activities also contribute substantially to the economy of the colony. With its strong gravitational field, the planet is considered a prime location for those who are enthusiastic enough about engaging in highly strenuous sports – everything from rock climbing to fieldball. Such a workout in a gravity that is half again as strong as Earth’s is considered a true test of an athlete’s ability and draws athletes and fans from throughout the Federation.
Points of Interest
Achilles is the primary point of interest on Epsilon Prime, the only city of any appreciable size but one that certainly makes up for the lack of any others. The wealth of its population means virtually any appetite can be satisfied somewhere in Achilles, whether it is for tuna imported live from Zegama Beach, wine imported from France, a champion level game of fieldball in the enormous Fedcon Stadium or even something of a more private matter. Outside of Achilles, Epsilon Prime has one major tourist attraction – the Olympian Mountains. Towering as high as 21,000 feet above sea level, these mountains offer some of the best skiing anywhere in Federation territory, and the additional speed a skier can achieve in the heightened gravity makes this a truly exhilarating experience.