Western Annex: Viceroy, Royalty Systems Group
Melisande “Mel” Colby
Mel Colby’s career in planetary exploration began in the Core Worlds and spanned three decades. By the time the Governor’s Convention of 2152 established the Board of Exploration she had already discovered two Earth type systems. She earned very little in royalties for her discoveries and, as a result, was a long-standing proponent of the changes implemented by the BOE. In 2155 she took her survey ship, Sniffer, into the region that would become the Western Annex. She came in along the northern arc of systems and filed claims on systems in what would become Nueva Samba, Impromptu and Tellicheri. Her travels took her to the eastern side of Dunsany Roads by 2162 where she discovered Siren, a system that would become one of the two Confederation ports in the quadrant.
In 2163 she discovered a cluster of systems, none of which held planets suitable for human habitation, but nevertheless intrigued her. One of them, Viceroy, consisted of a white, main series primary orbited by a single gas giant planet and no fewer than twelve asteroid belts. Survey probes revealed high concentrations of metals and silicates in the various belts. She filed the discovery along with the neighboring systems of Monarch, Sovereign, Regent, and Consort. In 2165, the Board of Exploration tagged the systems as “unsuitable for development” and Colby returned to establish her own toe-hold in the heart of the Western Annex.
By 2185, Mel’s Place had become the crossroads of the Western Annex. Her shrewd investment in gas and metals mining in Viceroy gave her the materials and energy she needed to establish farming platforms. The station started as a metals-rich planetesimal between the J and K belts and grew to house over thirty thousand permanent residents by the end of the century. Travelers in Toe-Hold space have been resupplying with food and atmospheric gases there ever since. Mel’s Place still sports the iconic sign “Eat here. Get gas” on the main station.
In addition to exporting metals, food, and gasses, Mel’s Place boasts its own shipyard, refineries, and manufacturing plants. They build their own mining vessels from the keels out, purchasing only the electronic components from their sister colony, Consort.
Mel’s Place was the first toe-hold established in the Royalty Systems Group. Their mining operations boot-strapped the remaining systems in the cluster. The close bonds established early provided a firm foundation for later cooperation and development.