TFNN – Moddell Sector, Endor System, Forest Moon
A little over a year ago TFNN took you to the surface of the so-called Forest Moon. We saw a planet bereft of its former glory. The surface was completely slabbed over, ocean nearly indistinguishable from what once was forest, grassland, or rocky desert. Its seas almost completely covered over by thick sheets of duracrete supported by seemingly immovable pillars. These vast grey-scale wildernesses were populated by small tribes of Ewoks and Yuzzum who had resisted the relocation plans and who lived among the storage and surplus yards of construction supplies either abandoned there when development slowed, or waiting to be shipped to Endor. Resorts which capitalized on the beautiful canopy views and forest tours were closing rapidly. A few newly constructed cities sat vacant, waiting on a residential boom that never happened, hosting only those few Ewok families who accept the government’s housing vouchers. They were little better off for it. We left you with plans for a rapid and exhaustive reclamation project, a labor which would have the full focus and resources of the federal and regional governments, a massive volunteer base, and the best botanists and plant geneticists the Federation had to offer. These fast-growing small trees and other pioneer species were just taking root, making the soil habitable and able to support the larger flora that gave the Forest Moon its name and reputation.
Today the Department of Industry, the Department of Recycling, the Moddell Regional Government, and the entirety of the Trade Federation are proud to announce that the final stages of this herculean environmental endeavor are drawing to a close. On our latest tour of the moon’s surface, representatives from the local government took us to the northern regions which once served as massive dumping ground for building materials. Gone are the duracrete slabs, while in their place stretches a rolling field of soil dotted with mosses, interrupted only by the occasional young shrub. These fields, we are told, were among the last to be reclaimed and so their pioneer species are still hard at work. From the observational bubble of an Eddicus shuttle during the trip southward, the true success stories of this massive reclamation project became obvious. The fields which hosted only small shrubs gave way to trees about two meters high.
“We are even seeing some of the wildlife return,” Zap Morgan, chief aid to the Region’s Deputy Director, tells us. “And it happened much earlier than anticipated. We had to bring in a few smaller populations from other parts of the system, but they are integrating nicely. This part of the forest has about a 1:2 ratio of genetically modified trees to natural specimens. The modified ones should reach their full height within 13 months, providing the shade which normally cloaks the forest floor and allows the humidity to rise. We are hoping this expedites the development of an ecosystem which more closely resembles the Forest Moon we grew up hearing about.” We are told that elsewhere this initial canopy has already reached maturity. Morgan, however, instructs the pilot to fly us further south still, over the great sea, to a site yet more impressive.
While we traverse the sea he points out the window and mentions, “You’ll recall that when we started, most all of this was covered up either by artificial floating islands or rigs of one sort or the other. When we consulted with some biologists before the deconstruction we discovered that the restoration would have to go much further than just opening up the ocean again. You see, with sunlight being blocked out and natural currents interrupted we inadvertently had favored certain species, like different algae, crustaceans, and species of fish which did not rely on migrations and currents to either hunt or mate. Naturally this threw a lot of things off balance, and while it looks normal from the surface we still have many sub-marine operations reversing that damage and making the seas a healthy place for as much of the original inhabitants as possible. This will be one of our longer projects, though we are dedicated one hundred percent to seeing it though.”
Our final destination is a remote island near the southern polar regions. The moon’s unique orbital pattern keeps the northern and southern poles temperate while the eastern and western extremes are covered in frigid glaciers. This island is known as Azar Eekeekeek Che, or as its Basic name Magic Tree Forest. The island is home to one of five planned dedicated Ewok cultural preserves: plots set aside for use at the sole discretion of the Ewok communities living there. While the exact terms are still being negotiated, the intended result is that these preserves would act as independent protectorates of the Trade Federation. Once established, these preserves will be closed to non-Ewok visitation unless specially permitted by the residents. This is to protect the settlements from exploitation or disruption that increased tourism had brought in the past. The Ewoks will be welcome to build settlements outside of the preserves, but those villages will be treated like any other residential area.
This island, however, is the first completed settlement and home to the oldest forest of the project. We touched down in a clearing, surrounded by the familiar verdant giants towering overhead. Their diameters were massive, as if these trees had stood for hundreds of years. Our guide, however, tells me they are only months old, the pride of the initial genetic modification projects. The cacophony from a variety of songbirds that all the guidebooks described was present, but not nearly as loud as expected. Perhaps they, too, will come back earlier than anticipated.
An envoy from the island’s largest tribe soon emerged from the undergrowth, eagerly making their way towards us with a regal waddle. The one who was introduced as Chief Wick’ock was grey with black stripes. His head was adorned with a crown made out of a local predator’s skull, and necklaces of teeth and vertebra gracefully hung from his neck, adding a hollow, rhythmic accent to every percussive step. As we talked by aid of an interpreter, Wick’ock exclaimed how excited he was to have been able to return to his people’s traditional home and ways of life. Gifting the aide a crown similar to his own for the Region’s Deputy Director, he expressed that he was grateful for the dedication the Federation had shown his people and looked forward to a long and happy relationship sharing the land. With the moist air thick with the savory aromas of a tribal dinner wafting over to our shuttle, we were ushered back onboard to begin our final leg of the trip.
From Azar Eekeekeek Che our pilot took us north over the ocean to the Forest Moon Welcome Center, a bustling historic starport town overlooking a scenic bay and natural harbor. It’s once-packed streets now are sprinkled with groups of off-world tourists who wander in awe among the regal palaces, the stately government chamber buildings, the library, and the myriad of different parks, gardens, fountains, and statues that dot the city and line the streets. As one would learn from the newly constructed museum, this city is the former capitol of the Avance Coalition, a government which merged with the Trade Federation over a year ago and whose former territory now comprises the Federation’s southern regions. We followed a tour group as they were shown the imposing statues of the former leaders of Avance and made their way through the former Hall of Houses and the Hall of Peoples before stopping to rest beside the reflecting pools that commemorate fallen Avancian soldiers and peace officers. While part of the former capitol building itself is open to the public, the majority of it is still used for the Federation’s regional government.
The Forest Moon is still a shadow of its former self, by and large, but it is a shadow that is coming closer and closer to its form each day. Where there were once slabs of duracrete and industrial waste now roll vast fields of fertile soil, sprouting with grasses and trees that will some day in the near future inspire the same wonder they did but a few generations ago.
Year 17, Day 111 | Moddell Sector, Endor System, onboard the Lucrehulk 3210 Battleship TFL Prljavci | Economy