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Saarinen is the fifth moon of the local gas giant, Unagashin. High surface temperatures discouraged colonisation, as immigrants found more inviting worlds in nearby Rhylanor subsector. Because of its lack of a population beyond starport staff, the Third Imperium established Deneb's Research Station Epsilon in the world's outback in 806. Epsilon is dedicated to genetics research, having been established at the behest of institutions like the Ministry of Colonisation, the Scout Service and a number of private and public corporations. Its charter prohibits it from engaging in geneering work that deals with sentients, and experiments on animals are severely regulated. Most of its work then is in genetically modified plants, fungus and microorganisms.
The station is located about 1200 km (770 miles) from the downport, in a remote valley, shielded from casual observers by 8000 meter (25,600 feet) tall mountains. The facility itself is a sprawling affair, consisting of barracks, containment domes, and wide expanses of cultivated and fallow fields. The station is protected by tight security, and large areas near it are posted off limits and patrolled with aircraft. Allegations of secret military experiments dogged the facility for centuries, and rumors of major accidents emerged from time to time as well.
In 1132 the new Regency government revealed that the facility was a clandestine biological warfare laboratory, and demilitarized the facility. Its mission was converted to commercial and civilian research goals, the civilian workforce was increased, and Epsilon became closely affiliated with universities on Rhylanor and Magash. A number of private biotech companies from the "Rainbow Vale" on Magash were allowed to set up shop around the station, in many cases these were nearly as large as Epsilon itself. The old research company was supplanted by a represenative council, though one biased towards the corps and smaller offworld government agencies now present on the planet. Critics charge that by privatising the station, its old practices of abuse and secrecy have metasisized, and unscrupulous biotech companies now play god in the fields of Saarinen without stringent government oversight. Security for the world is still very tight, and reports have surfaced of offworld critics being subject to intimidation by local agents.