Once a lush tropical swamp, Quesh's atmosphere became toxic after a series of quakes released dangerous chemicals contained below the planet surface. Most of the native wildlife died off, and Quesh became poisonous to virtually all higher species.
Quesh's toxicity is also its source of value--the chemicals that poisoned the atmosphere are usable in the most powerful adrenals and stimulants. The Republic, with the aid of the Hutt Cartel, has staked a claim to Quesh and is attempting to establish chemical mines. Upon learning of Quesh's existence, the Empire quickly established a presence of its own.
- faction: Galactic Republic, levels: 36 - 37
- location: Hutt Space, status: The Empire has moved in to hijack Republic mining operations
- terrain: Primarily Toxic Swampland and Marshes
- key facts: Naturally occurring chemicals in the planet's atmosphere can be used to create valuable adrenals
Companion from this world: Ensign Temple (Imperial Agent companion)
Adrenal Synthesis Factory
The source of the Three Families' wealth is their adrenal synthesis factories, which convert the Republic's processed Quesh venom into precious adrenals. The length of the process depends on the quality of the adrenals required; military grade adrenals take a week or so to produce, while cheaper ones can be created in days.
The Three Families guard the secret of adrenal creation very closely, meaning access to the factories is strictly regulated. All Republic personnel working there have to be carefully vetted and vouched for, and are subject to search without warning by Three Families enforcers. To keep its partnership with the Three Families harmonious, the Republic employs harsh punishments for theft; it is not uncommon for thieves of a single adrenal canister to be jailed and fined the cost of an entire vat.
As head of the Three Families, Broga the Hutt considered it his right to have his own private home and base of operations separate from the Three Families Palace. Stocked with well-trained slaves and imported luxuries from Nar Shaddaa, Broga's Palace gradually became a power center in its own right, which made the Empire's siege and capture of the palace all the more humiliating.
Now held by the Imperial Moff Dracen, the defenses and strategic position of Broga's Palace have been turned against the Republic. With the Republic military focused on defending Quesh's miners and the Three Families protecting their mines, Broga has discussed hiring offworld mercenaries to retake his home... or to at least to reclaim his beloved wine cellar from Imperial hands.
The Chem-Basin Mine has only been open for four years, but it has already earned a reputation for accidents and mismanagement. The original survey team was almost suffocated when the members accidentally released a pocket of evaporated Quesh venom, and substandard materials meant the initial tunnels had to be re-propped and re-dug after a major collapse. Ever since, problems have dogged the site and slowed venom production.
Strangely, the miners who work at Chem-Basin exhibit a degree of pride in their mine. They claim any fool can work at the Grancha Lakand site and get results, but Chem-Basin calls for a degree of finesse that is scarce on Quesh. The subject is guaranteed to come up whenever Grancha Lakand and Chem-Basin miners are drinking together.
Grancha Lakand Venom Mine
Grancha Lakand is the largest and oldest venom mine on Quesh. Built through a fissure created by the Quake, the mine is named for its first explorer, who was trapped by a rockfall during his initial survey. By the time he was rescued, Grancha Lakand's adrenal countermeasures had worn off and he had been breathing Quesh venom fumes for some time.
Lakand excitedly told his rescuers that he had had an epiphany while trapped. The biggest supply of Quesh venom on the planet lay beneath the fissure somewhere, and Lakand knew exactly where to find it. He was dismissed as a venom-intoxicated madman, but when Lakand recovered, he returned to the fissure and, after weeks of surveying, located a huge reservoir of Quesh venom. While not necessarily the largest on the planet, the reservoir has supplied the Grancha Lakand mine for several years without the venom running dry.
When the Empire arrived on Quesh, its tacticians believed one swift strike would devastate the sparsely populated world. Instead, the Imperial forces managed to capture only a few mines and one processing station before they found themselves pushed back by the Republic. The captured processing station and its warehouses were soon converted into a garrison which remains the Empire's base of operations on Quesh today.
The headquarters of Moff Dracen and his commanders was once a storage warehouse for the processing station's chemicals. It has been thoroughly cleaned and furnished to the standards demanded by Imperial officers, though the lingering smell has never been fully removed.
Quesh Imperial Outpost
Originally intended to be the Empire's base of venom research on Quesh, a variety of setbacks and concerted attacks by the Republic hampered the Empire's scientific studies at this outpost. Hutt Cartel forces have since been stationed here at the Empire's request, guarding the scientists and using the outpost as a staging point and repair center for their battle droids.
Although the Empire's research is now considered safe from the Republic, the strong cartel presence has made some of the Imperial scientists uneasy. The cartel has repeatedly offered to help the Empire with its study of Quesh venom, but Imperial commanders are concerned that the outpost half-belongs to the cartel already.
Quesh Venom Refinery
As the Republic's main source of processed Quesh venom, the Quesh Venom Refinery is one of the most secure locations on the planet. Cut by droids from a ravine created by the Quake thousands of years ago, the stone quarried was used to build the high walls around the refinery. The main courtyard is under constant guard, and access is restricted to dignitaries and scientific experts.
This refinery is actually the second that the Republic built on Quesh. The first was destroyed when contaminants polluted the refining process, causing the processed Quesh venom to eat through the vats and then the lower refinery floor. The high walls around the current refinery are not only for defensive purposes, but to contain any future accidents or acts of sabotage.
Republic Operational Headquarters
The Republic's center of operations on Quesh was established roughly ten years ago. Initially housing civilian miners, medical professionals and scientists, these workers gradually moved on to smaller camps elsewhere. When the Empire attacked Quesh, the old miners' quarters were quickly converted into a barracks and the entire site was turned over to the Republic military.
Many newly arrived soldiers remark upon the Operational Headquarters' light defenses, especially considering the high-level personnel stationed there. In fact, the headquarters' best protection is the large Quesh venom pipelines nearby. In a dire emergency, the pipelines can be vented, causing a massive biohazard to slow any aggressors while personnel are evacuated.
Three Families Palace
Freed from the Hutt Cartel's watchful eye, the Three Families have grown immensely wealthy on Quesh--and as their influence grows, the Three Families have begun solidifying their power base. A large portion of their profits from the adrenal refineries was spent building a lavish palace, complete with all modern conveniences and an impressive security network. Much more than a simple defensive position or status symbol, the Three Families Palace is intended to be a clear statement that the Three Families are wholly committed to defending Quesh.
The Palace has generally been kept off-limits to Republic personnel, especially the local military officials. This is partly for security reasons, as the Three Families keep their sensitive files close at hand. Portho the Hutt's indulgence in adrenals has also become something of an embarrassment in recent years. After several inappropriate comments from Portho to the Republic commanders, the Three Families prefer to simply keep him out of sight.
Three Families War Camp
When the Empire attacked Quesh, the Three Families initially coordinated the defense from their palace, but quickly realized they needed a more efficient operational post. They poured money into establishing a defensive point between their headquarters and the Republic base, and in a matter of days, the war camp was set up, supplied and staffed--an object lesson in how Hutts react when their credits are at stake.
Broga, the head of the Three Families, spends much of his time at the war camp since his private palace was captured by the Empire. His role is twofold: firstly, overseeing his forces as they coordinate with the Republic military, and secondly, ensuring that Republic forces are not passing on any of the Three Families' secrets concerning the handling of Quesh venom.
Yuna Bore Venom Mine
The Yuna Bore mine was once known for two strange treasures: Quesh venom and bones. The first miners found a fossil bed containing remains of Quesh's prehistoric creatures, preserved by rising silt and venom deposits after the big Quake. Since the Republic was only interested in the Quesh venom, the miners were free to recover the bones, ship them offworld and sell them to collectors and paleontologists on Coruscant.
This turned out to be immensely profitable. Many miners were able to buy out their contracts on profits from the fossils alone. Even today, with the fossil bed cleared, the Yuna Bore remains productive, as the miners' attempts to discover more bones have driven the tunnels on well ahead of schedule.
Persons of Note
A veteran of battles on Dantooine and Velmor, General Korvan has years of experience defending resource-rich planets. Not only an experienced commander, he is also an accomplished diplomat used to balancing the requirements of the military with the demands of greedy corporations and the needs of workers. His unflappable nature made him the Republic's first choice to handle the crisis on Quesh.
General Korvan's polished manners occasionally clash with his quick-tempered strategist, Major Treeg, who believes that with the right battle plan, the Republic could wipe the Imperial forces off Quesh in a day. Korvan has adopted a more patient approach to the Empire's invasion, however, well aware that protecting Quesh's mines and workers must take precedence over a full scale assault.
Moff Dracen is both a canny commander and a meticulous student of the art of war. Although confident of an eventual Imperial victory, he has been careful to win over elements within the Three Families and recruit Republic defectors, knowing the Empire's foothold on Quesh is not yet cemented.
His most notable achievement on Quesh is the capture of Broga the Hutt's palace, a key defensive position he has since adopted as his fallback headquarters and private residence--after some refurnishing. It is Moff Dracen's private hope that a victory on Quesh will not only begin the Republic's inevitable fall, but perhaps see him installed as governor of one of the galaxy's most profitable worlds.
One of two new species discovered by Jarn Harvus on Nim Drovis, the harvap can be found on several planets and has thrived on heavily industrialized worlds in particular. Originally a carrion-eater, the harvap has adapted to other ecosystems by feeding on industrial waste and garbage in addition to its normal diet.
Harvap infestations have plagued Hutt Space due to the density of industry and the generally lax decontamination procedures used when moving cargo from world to world. On Quesh, the byproducts of venom mining and processing have created a particularly strong breed of harvap that can thrive in the toxic atmosphere.
The second of two species discovered by Jarn Harvus on Nim Drovis, the harvorisk is actually no relation to the similarly named harvap. Shortly after its discovery, the harvorisk was coveted by Hutts across the galaxy, who considered it alternately an exotic new pet and a tasty meal. But its rapid rate of breeding and vicious, untrainable personality quickly led to the Hutts' becoming disenchanted with their new pets, causing the release of many havorisks into the wild.
On Quesh, it was the Three Families who brought harvorisks to the planet and genetically modified the creatures so they might survive in the toxic atmosphere--albeit at a cost of half their lifespan. The Hutts refuse to accept responsibility for the creatures' escape, but the harvorisks have begun reproducing, seeking prey among the planet's miners.
The lobel appears to be one of very few species actually indigenous to the planet Quesh, though it can be found in small pockets throughout the galaxy--perhaps the work of a single explorer thousands of years ago.
A slow-moving creature, the lobel has four stomachs that are key to its survival in some of the most ravaged ecosystems known to civilization. The slow rate of digestion and normally languid movement of the lbel has allowed it to survive even when food is very rare, and there appears to be a degree of redundancy in the four stomachs--when the toxicity of industry damages one, the lobel is able to continue eating and digesting.
Cat-like and deadly, the Trinthan prowler originated in the Trinith system before being sold across the galaxy for use as trained hunters and trackers. After a string of incidents where bystanders were badly mauled, the Republic made Trinthan prowler breeding illegal and a large number of the beasts were released into the wild. They can now be found on a great many planets, where their predatory skills have allowed them to thrive feeding on smaller, slower and weaker creatures.
Atmosphere of Quesh
Quesh venom is one of the most toxic substances in the galaxy. When the great Quake split the ground millennia ago and released the venom from beneath Quesh's surface, the venom's evaporation destroyed the planet's once-pleasant air and made the atmosphere more hazardous to breathe than some biowarfare chemicals. The native fauna quickly died off, leaving only bones behind.
Although the toxicity has faded over the years, it is unsafe to wander Quesh without powerful adrenal countermeasures, special implants or a breath mask. The only beings who can comfortably endure Quesh's atmosphere are Hutts, who claim not to understand what the fuss is about.
Quesh's miners have also discovered that the harsh atmosphere takes a toll on their equipment, causing droids to rust and tools to degrade more quickly. Fortunately, the vast profits gained from mining Quesh venom make up for the exorbitant running costs.
Discovering Quesh Venom
Like many great scientific advances, Quesh venom's immense value was discovered by chance. After its initial discovery, the planet Quesh was dismissed as a toxic wasteland. Orbital chemical scans languished in a file for decades until they were unearthed by a junior Republic chemist named Bardian Aelto. After working briefly on adrenal research projects, Aelto had been assigned to review planets likely to be classified as uninhabitable.
When Aelto studied Quesh's chemical scans, he was surprised to recognize a molecule chain from his work on adrenal stimulants. Quesh's atmosphere had properties almost identical to "Hutt venom", the primary ingredient in the galaxy's most high-grade adrenals. Aelto realized a relatively simple chemical process could convert this "Quesh venom" into a usable--and exceptionally valuable--compound. Thanks to one late-night session in a Coruscant laboratory, Quesh had become one of the Republic's most valued resource worlds.
With their vast fortunes, access to mercenary armies and ownership of resource-rich worlds, support from individual Hutts--or the Hutt Cartel itself--can mean the difference between victory and defeat in a galactic conflict. But Hutts are businessmen at heart. Why tie yourself to one side of a quarrel when you can remain aloof and profit from both? Thanks to their long lifespan, Hutts who choose sides also risk embroiling themselves in centuries-old grudges.
The Hutt Cartel is officially neutral in the galactic struggle, and it attempts to redress any egregious offenses committed by its members. Pragmatism and personal inconvenience aside, however, the Hutts have no vested interest in seeing either the Republic or the Empire permanently gain the upper hand. In peace, both sides would seek to regulate the Hutts; while the two factions are at odds, the Hutts can be assured of both autonomy and a steady, comfortable income.
Most commanders prefer to rely on rigorous training and good equipment to succeed, but no advantage can be ignored when soldiers' lives are at stake. Since the Great War, the use of military adrenals--safe, nonaddictive stimulants that improve a soldier's endurance, stamina or reflexes--has become more common. A good stock of adrenals can keep a company fresh and on its feet during a forced march, or save wounded individuals from succumbing to their injuries before help arrives.
Naturally, military adrenal stocks are carefully regulated and, if possible, reserved only for emergencies. It is possible for soldiers to rely on adrenals too much and overstress themselves. Theft and sale of military adrenals, which are of the highest quality, has also become a thriving cornerstone of the galactic black market, especially on worlds like Ord Mantell.
Quesh's sole natural resource is a substance properly known as venenit queshaaga. Nicknamed "venom," the liquid form of the substance can--when properly refined and processed--create extremely potent military-grade adrenals that safely increase a soldier's combat abilities for a limited time. With galactic tensions rising, Quesh venom has become one of the most valuable substances in the universe and a key to military victory for both the Republic and the Empire.
Unprocessed, Quesh venom is a virulent toxin. In its purest form, it is found seeping out of fissures created millennia ago by an ancient quake; it is these fissures that are mined by Republic and Imperial work crews. Over the centuries, significant amounts of Quesh venom have evaporated and tainted the planet's atmosphere, rendering the entire world poisonous to most forms of life.
Quesh's rugged landscape is a result of the Quake, a massive geological event that occurred some fifty thousand years ago. Technically a series of groundquakes that lasted for three hundred years, the Quake caused Quesh's continents to move several meters apart, creating massive fissures in the ground. This in turn allowed the poisonous Quesh venom to rise up from the depths of Quesh and seep to the surface, leaving the atmosphere toxic to this day.
Quesh has been geologically stable for thousands of years now, but this has not stopped the Three Families from investing heavily in early warning systems; tremors one one-hundredth the size of the Quake could wipe out their refineries. Republic geologists have considered exploring the deepest caves exposed by the Quake, but until the caves are mined clear of Quesh venom, they are far too toxic to enter.
The Three Families
When the Republic began mining Quesh venom, its scientists soon realized that, while they could refine the venom into a non-toxic compound, converting it into usable adrenals was much more problematic. After many expensive failures, the Republic appealed to the Hutt Cartel for expert help and was refused.
But three Hutt families, salivating at the potential profits--led by the Hutts Broga, Jeelta and Portho--broke from the cartel and offered their services. Although this was technically a breach of the Hutt Cartel's carefully established neutral position in the galaxy, generous kickbacks to the cartel kept its members looking the other way.
Today, the Three Families run Quesh's refineries and processing plants while the Republic controls the mines. This arrangement allows the Three Families to carefully guard the secret of adrenal creation, and it has made them incredibly wealthy. However, the Families' split from the Hutt Cartel also means the Empire can target them without fear of reprisal.
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