Rockforth Corporation is an Federal agricultural mega corporation that farms planets and star systems for food. It also holds extensive land deeds and development rights in the Ackwada system, where its headquarters is located, and has a presence in the Cofan system.
Founding and expansion
The Rockforth Corporation began by running Ackwada, earning significant foreign exchange from tourism and "genuine ground-grown food" which it sold far and wide, making very significant revenues. It has since grown into a powerful interstellar corporation, still specialising in agriculture and tourism, with the corporation running giant corporate farms on habitable worlds across especially Federal human space. It has also become quite acquisitive, buying up many of its client companies.
In 2865, Rockforth Corporation requested the assistance of the Empire in defending the Ackwada system from the Federation. After the successful defence by Lanner's Privateers, Rockforth paid a substantial financial reward and signed a contract with Lanner's privateers to guarantee the defence of the system.
On September 18, 3305, Rockforth Corporation Marketing Director Rex Whitlock debuted a new product, EX7 or Rockforth Fertiliser, in response to growing concerns over agricultural shortfalls in key systems that year. The fertiliser was synthetically enhanced to enrich soil, and was quickly adopted by farmers. Dr. Genevieve Kane of the Interstellar Association for Agriculture warned that Rockforth may have skipped some regulatory checks in order to bring the fertiliser to market faster, and as such IAA restricted distribution of it to Marshall Dock in Riedquat pending verficiation of full compliance. By September 27, sales of Rockforth Fertiliser has surpassed expectations and Rockforth's share prices had risen on the news. Dr. Kane continued to call for restricting the product's distribution, however, as Rockforth had yet to supply the IAA with proper documentation. On October 3, as the crop shortages began to be felt by the general population, Rex Whitlock affirmed that Rockforth would comply with the IAA's request as soon as possible.
On October 16, however, the IAA announced that it had determined EX7 to be the cause of many of the later crop failures. The original harvest shortfalls were brought on by natural factors and could have been mitigated had EX7 not exacerbated the problem. To halt the spread of the blight, the IAA arranged for the Teveri Progressive Party to safely dispose of EX7, and asked pilots to buy up the remaining stocks of the fertiliser and transport them to Wiley Port, Teveri. Marketing Director Rex Whitlock conveyed Rockforth's shock at the development, insisting that EX7 had displayed no signs of corruption during testing. Whitlock confirmed that Rockforth would cooperate fully with the joint investigation launched by the Federation, Empire, and Alliance to determine how and why EX7 became a source of the blight. Reporter Adalyn Cross speculated that EX7 may have been accidentally tainted during the manufacturing process or by sabotage carried out by a corporate rival.
Sabotage was confirmed on October 20 by the tri-superpower taskforce, which then turned its attention to uncovering the origin of the compound that was used to contaminate EX7, and the motives of the saboteur. Although Rockforth was apparently innocent of deliberately instigating the blight, the corporation remained under scrutiny since it was possible the blight's spread could have been prevented by stricter regulatory checks and faster compliance with the IAA's documentation requests. Commentators accused Rockforth of placing profit above safety. The saboteurs were identified on October 22 as the Scythe of Panem, an extremist group from Kappa Fornacis that sought revenge for the Federation's 3301 anti-Onion Head campaign. Scythe of Panem members had infiltrated Rockforth factories in Riedquat and contaminated batches of EX7 with a plant-destroying compound derived from Federation biocides, thus instigating the blight crisis. On October 24, the Interstellar Association for Agriculture announced the development of an anti-blight treatment made possible with assistance from Vandermeer Corporation, Neomedical Industries, and Rockforth.
By November 2, 3305, the IAA declared the blight eradicated from all affected systems thanks to the success of the agronomic treatment, but the pathogen's resilience meant it could spark new, localised outbreaks in the future. Rockforth set about reassuring its customers and shareholders as criticism mounted over its role in the blight's spread, but an anonymous source within Rockforth insisted that the Scythe of Panem's act of sabotage could not have been anticipated. After an internal review, Rockforth Corporation CEO Sylvia Rockforth released a public statement on November 5 in which she apologised for her company's role in spreading the blight. Rex Whitlock and several other employees were let go, and the company created a restitution fund for victims of the blight using the profits that had been made from selling the contaminated EX7.
- Despite it being noted in Tourist Beacon 0216 that Rockforth Corporation is headquartered in Ackwada, its minor faction, "The Rockforth Corporation", is based in Cofan.
- GalNet: Rockforth Corporation Releases Apology
- Tourist Beacon 0215
- Elite Dangerous Role Playing Game, Corporate Guide book
- Tourist Beacon 0216
- Tourist Beacon 0214
- Tourist Beacon 0132
- GalNet: Rockforth Corporation Reveals New Fertiliser
- GalNet: Rockforth Corporation Sales Spike
- GalNet: Poor Harvests Impact Core Systems
- GalNet: Initiative to Eradicate Rockforth Fertiliser
- GalNet: Superpowers Collaborate to Investigate Blight
- GalNet: Blight Traced to Synthetic Contaminant
- GalNet: Militant Group Responsible for Blight
- GalNet: Anti-Blight Treatment Discovered
- GalNet: The Lessons of the Blight