Star Wars: Dark Republic


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Fungus Planet

Despayre, the fungus planet and future Death Star construction site.

The planet of Despayre lies far from the trade routes deep in the Outer Rim of the Galaxy.  The third planet of the Horuz star system, Despayre is a virgin world uncolonised by the Republic.
Despayre is a warm, humid planet, who equatorial regions are covered by a dense jungle of giant fungi and voracious moulds.  Chandrilan explorers arrived on the planet eight years before the events of Volume I and discovered a virilant fungobacterium they called Black Rot.  The Black Rot was found to be able to digest almost any material, decomposing it into a putrid black slime within minutes. 
The discovery of the Black Rot was brought to the attention of Darth Rakshas, who quickly realised the potential this micr-organism had as a weapon against the Trade Federation.  Rakshas, under the guise of Lord Mandalore, order the establishment of a secret research institute in Despayre's more hospitable polar regions, where the Rot could be genetically modified to survive in any environment.

The Zephoid Zez
The polar continent of Zephoid is inhabited by a primitive but intelligent race of dwarf, canine humanoids known as the Zephoid Zez.  Small and bipedal, the Zephoid Zez are timid, inquisitive and quick to learn.  The MHG staff at the Black Rot research institute refer to the Zephoid Zez as dryvoices because of their high-pitched hoarse call.
Zephoid Zez society is matriarcal, and they are social creatures, living in burrows with towering, craggy nests made from soil and boulders cemented together with mucus.  Some nests are huge, with bases over a mile in width and are home to millions of Zez.
The Zephoid Zez are scavengers, picking the bones of kills left by nocturnal predators such as the Thaytase, which is quite partial to the occasional Zez foolhardy enough to stray from the safety of the nest after dark.
With the coming of MHG, the Zephoid Zez were cruelly exploited.  Mandalore had ordered the testing of the Black Rot on these defenceless creatures, and thousands were rounded up as their nests were destroyed.  the prisoners faced an appalling death.  The Jedi can sense these atrocities, but are unable to provide proof as they can only act with the permission of the Senate, who have denied them passage to Despayre.  The Jedi Council know that they only way they can free the Zephoid Zez and bring Mandalore to heel is by putting their own reputation on the line... 

Zephoid Zez
a Zephoid Zez male

The Research Institute
Mandalore's secret Black Rot research and cultivation centre is a sprawling complex of domes, towers and glasshouses built upon high, rocky ground near Despayre's north pole.  Here, the climate is more akin to that preferred by humanoids and is close to a ready source of Zephoid Zez.  The glasshouses contain vast, climatically-controlled plantations packed with fungus-trees and animal life from the equatorial jungles in addition to the naturally-occuring Black Rot.  Due to the virilant nature of the Rot spores, each glasshouse is airlocked as a precaution even though natural Black Rot would die in the relatively dry polar air. 
   Weapons-grade, genetically modified Black Rot is stored within airtight, secure silos alongside the base's fleet of unmanned courier missiles.  The courier missiles are used to convey messages across the MHG empire and are seen by Mandalore as the perfect way to insidiously wipe out the Neimoidians.  The missiles are launched by computers at the control tower, the tallest structure at the institute.
   To protect Mandalore's activities from unwanted attention, several wings of F-wing starfighters and their attendant flight-troopers are stationed at the institute in their own hangar. Laboratory staff are housed within an accomodation block in the Admin Section whilst the shocktrooper barracks are adjacent to the Hangar.  the lowest levels of the institute contain the kennels where Zephoid Zez "specimens" are held in appalling conditions as they await their fate.

The MHG  research institute on Despayre
MHG officials arrive at the research institute

The future of Despayre
After the rise of the Empire, Darth Sidious ordered the construction of his "ultimate weapon", the Death Star.  Designed by the hive colonies of Geonosis, construction of this moon-sized battle station began in orbit above Despayre, which now housed a penal colony in the equatorial jungle.  Imperial architect Bevel Lemelisk and Geonosian leader Poggle the Lesser oversaw construction, with used the ready supply of slave labour, a workforce consisting of convicts, Geonosians, and slave Wookiees.  Following Poggle's death, Grand Moff Tarkin took control of the Death Star.
   Upon completion, Tarkin ordered that the Death Star's superlaser be tested.  The primary weapon, this superlaser was fired directly at Despayre and all indigenous life, including the entire Zephoid Zez race, was wiped out as the planet was blown to pieces.

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