Benulobiweed Inc.

From Elite Wiki
The Falcon Advertisement, the first of many.
Condor
Condor
Firefly
Lampyris
Merlin
Pallas
Swift
Tepiu
the "Commissioner"

Origins

The origins of this company, which has enjoyed meteoric success, began on the planet Tezaeded in Galaxy 2. The planet was home to a large community of scrap merchants, amateur ship-builders, technicians and back yard hot-rodders whose only means of entertainment was taking the hulls of defunct ships that had been stripped by the professional ship-breaking companies, re-equipping them with salvaged parts and racing them to the planet's witchpoint and back. The lack of formal training and appropriate ship parts pushed the hot-rodders to think 'outside-the-box' when it came to their designs and the work-arounds they devised for their newest creations, though some critics claim these innovative designs came from the result of the copious smoking of an illegally imported plant, Benulobiweed, of which the smoke is found to have relaxing effects in moderation, but hallucinogenic and mind-altering effects in excess.


The Early Years

From this motley breed, a pair of engineers emerged. History only records their names as 'Q' and 'A', and to this day Chairman Q and Chief Developer A strenuously deny any other names. They came across a spacecraft that had not been broken up by the breakers, indeed it appeared to have been abandoned and concealed within the sprawling scrap-fields that litter the surface of Tezaeded. Their investigation of the ship found that although a number of key systems were damaged, the main drives and navigational computer were still functional, so after a few patch repairs, they retraced the ship's last course into a region of space controlled by an independent Empire (which was not aligned in any way to the Empire of Achenar). They learnt that the vessel they had found was a trading ship known as a YT-1300 'Falcon' and that the vessels were fast being superseded by imported trader ships from GalCop space.

With this knowledge, they purchased a number of the YT-1300s and towed them back to their workshops on Tezaeded. After upgrading the woefully dilapidated engines with ones of their own design, as well as some cosmetic alterations, they produced their first run of 'Falcon' traders. The first ships sold within a month, and both men were stunned when they received orders for more Falcons. So many more, in fact, that they had to start hiring other hot-rodders and ship-builders with the promise of greater profits to come. Thus a small 'cottage industry' swiftly became a stunning success with sales across the eight regions of the Galaxy.


A Spanner in the Works

However, even as things started to look rosy for Q and A's futures, reality caught up with them and fast. On Tezaeded, there exists a class system in which citizens who work for one of the super-companies that rule the planet have all the benefits, while all those who live outside the companies, the 'Outsiders' are entitled nothing. Q and A were Outsiders and now they were earning enough money to set themselves up for life. Their revolutionary designs and success were causing concern for the greater powers, who dare not move against them for fear that they were really a front for one of their competitors. Thus the government appealed to the Galactic Cooperative of Worlds to intercede. GalCop quickly discovered that Q and A were importing ships from outside the bounds of the Cooperative and decided to shut them down for 'illegal trading with foreign powers'. Thus the early success of the fledgling company was extinguished by the weight of GalCop justice. Angered and disgusted by the decision, Q and A took their designs, their work crews and those Falcons that were either complete and awaiting sale or awaiting completion and left Tezaeded.


A New Start

The aspirations of the two entrepreneurs were not so easily extinguished. Prior to GalCop's long expected decision, Q had contacted his source within the Empire far, far away and told him to covertly move his recently purchased stock to a planet within GalCop space. When asked which planet, the young Q was at a loss until he looked on his desk at the bag full of Benulobiweed. He chose the home of his favorite vice, Usceed. The planet turned out to be a good choice. With a respectable level of technology and a government system a little too volatile for direct intervention by GalCop, Usceed would be perfect as a new home for the reborn ship-building company. As a tribute to their inspiration, the pair named the company Benulobiweed Incorporated. Now they had a secure supply of imported YT-1300s and a ready supply of customers eager to purchase, Benulobiweed Inc. was back in business.


Security and Diversification

Benulobiweed Inc. continued to improve on their early successes and managed to cut a deal with the GalCop police to import specialist fighter craft from their Empire contacts, the Twin Ion Engine Tie-Fighter and the Tie-Interceptor. These, sold at a reasonable discount to the eager police force, ensured that Benulobiweed's importers would never be investigated and the company was more secure than ever. With the security offered by GalCop's slightly less than legal purchases, Benulobiweed Inc was able to strip down some of the imported YT-1300s, TIE Fighters and Interceptors, reverse-engineer the technology and produce exact copies in their own workshops, further reducing their overheads and maximizing their profits! In a stroke of genius, A managed to meld together the technologies of their new Falcon and TIE Interceptor to produce a top-range space-superiority fighter, the Kestrel. This model was marketed with great aplomb by Q, who saw the advantage of selling one of the fastest ships in GalCop space. Soon GalCop was ordering their own Kestrels to counter the threat of ships owned by pirates and privateers.


The Present

Following calls for more cargo space in the Kestrel, A produced the Merlin, a remodeled Kestrel with an enhanced cargo area. This was followed by the truly ground-breaking Swift, a vessel that relies on its shields to aid the hull integrity to counter the effects of its immensely powerful drives. This in turn was followed up by the Pallas, a saucer-shaped vessel that was designed to counter the stability issues encountered in the Swift's directional controls. It was after this that a high-ranked GalCop official approached the Chairman requesting an all-new ship to act as a police and Naval command vessel, but with the ability to defend itself independently. A set to work immediately and the Condor was born, though the launch of this vessel was somewhat marred by Q's deciding to 'leak' details of the vessel's specifications and having GalCop suppress the data. With all the media hype, Q happily went on to sell it on the open market, effectively nullifying GalCop's advantage.

The Firefly was an attempt by Benulobiweed to add extra cargo capacity to the Swift by the simple expedient of adding a detachable cargo pod within the open framework of the hull. After a rethink of the Swift design, A managed to rectify the handling difficulties as well as add cargo and crew accommodation and named it the Tepiu and a short while after, the Tepui's variant the Lampyris.


Rumours and Gossip

Rumors abound that the company has entered into even closer relations with GalCop, some saying that GalCop has pretty much taken the company over and that Q is merely a figurehead with a mysterious Commissioner actually running the show. Others say that the sudden appearance of a sizeable force of GalCop ground troops in the Benulobiweed Inc. offices and construction complexes are simply a beefing up of security while final modifications are made to a new variant of the Naval Condor. True or not, there is no knowing what this innovative and drug-addled company will do next, or indeed, what new creations will be unveiled.


Some Years Later

With Q in rehabilitation and A off the radar with unknown whereabouts, Benulobiweed Inc. is now entirely run by the "Commissioner". While nobody knows how actually he came to power, the Galactic Navy space troopers and intelligence officers at every location of the company prevent people from asking questions. The few that did usually had heart attacks, accidents or just suddenly retired without ever been seen again.

The hyperlane to the mysterious Empire in the unknown region isn't anymore, somehow disrupted by the civil war going on there. With the eccentricity of Q and the genius of A gone the current goal is to improve the many designs left by the founders, this time using mainly GalCop technology.


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