Chapter 4: First Pick, Page 16: Information Overload - Interstellar Smuggling
Posted April 9, 2021 at 12:00 pm

If you were wondering where these alien species came from I can assure you they mostly have nothing to do with the Salaarnien Incursion. They're actually the result of an interstellar smuggling ring. After the Incursion, Earth's been mostly ignored by the various civilizations of the Orion Arm. But some beings have developed a special appreciation for the flora and fauna of other worlds, Earth included. With no diplomatic relations established, the only way for many of these beings to see what Earth has to offer is through illegal means. Certain people on Earth were all too happy to get in on this.

Earth was now involved with the illegal wildlife trade. Not only sending animals and plants out, but taking them in as well. The trade is brisk and lucrative. It's even impacted conservation efforts. It wasn't too long before it caught the attention of activist groups and eventually governments around the world.

There have been various attempts to tamp down on interstellar smuggling. None have been too successful. But that hasn't stopped people from trying to make the most of it. There are a quite a few less than reputable zoos and aquariums that have an extraterrestrial attraction or two. The US government being the US government wants to know if anything might have a defense application.

This is how Empact Enterprises got involved. Along with Montrose, it's the leading company in xenological research. Already having a DARPA contract to study what's left over from the Incursion, they've expanded their scope because their facilities were already capable of housing alien life.

There are a number of practical applications currently in development. But mostly people agree that the animals are really neat.