Extract from the Galnet series ‘History in Perspective: The Corporations that Shape our Empire’
CD-63 201 Travel Solutions: How a Giant of Leisure Retail Came to Control a Star System
It was the time of the great galactic expansion of the human race. Thousands of new star systems were being discovered, explored and populated. One of these systems was CD-63 201, immediately singled out as an exceptional system due to an Earth-like planet within the star’s habitable zone, several other rocky planets rich in mineral resources and a large, gaseous giant acting as a meteorite.
One of the early settlers was a young woman, Jean Pavey. Jean immediately marveled at the unspoiled beauty of the Earth-like world there and saw a business opportunity in running interstellar tourist routes to and from this unspoiled planet. She got to work, set up CD-63 201 Travel Solutions, secured ferry routes to an from the planet from the newly constructed Dashiell Orbital, and distributed advertising material throughout the galaxy.
It was an immediate success. So many people had been working tirelessly for the expansion projects that they’d not had a holiday for years. This opportunity for a break from galactic exploration, station construction and planet terraforming appealed across the board. Whether they wanted to lie on the unspoiled beaches, go trekking through the vast rainforests or climbing the glacial mountain ranges, the galaxy seemed determined to flock to CD-63 201.
However, there were a few small issues. Firstly the planet’s local fauna didn’t take too kindly to all these humans and many of the larger predators saw them as tasty walking sausages. Also, along with the tourists and money, came the inevitable pirates, smugglers and criminals. Jean set to work to address these setbacks, employing wilderness and survival experts, retired soldiers and anyone who wanted to earn a quick buck protecting these planetary tourists. She also set about employing mercenary pilots to protect the ferry routes between the planet and station.
Before long Jean had amassed a fortune and a large private army and navy. That’s when the mania started. Not being content with the tourist trade any more, she moved into system expansion and dominance, quickly becoming the main power in the system and remaining unchallenged until the day she died. The system and her inheritance has passed down her family for generations, with many forgetting where this megalomaniac travel agency had originated from.
Over the years ‘TravSol’ has attracted criticism for what is alleged as an incongruous business model, based upon both heavily-armed military contracting and luxury holiday retail. Particular criticism has been levelled at some of their marketing campaigns, with advertising slogans like: “Holidays with Travsol – we don’t let anything get in the way of your relaxation – our lasers guarantee it!” and “TravSol. Bringing the pain. And Pina Coladas”.
One thing’s for certain: not many of their customers dare to ask for a refund. In fact, after one particularly gruesome incident involving an entire TravSol safari group being eaten by a carnivorous plant, families of the victims tried suing TravSol for damages. Of the four families involved two dropped the suit within 24 hours and left the system; one disappeared in a freak accident involving flat packed furniture; and the final plaintiff claimed that she had never in fact had a father, and subsequently entered voluntary psychiatric care.