A couple of weeks ago, my In Defense of Superweapons article omitted Centerpoint Station, save perhaps as a vague mention as falling into the ancient star-killing tech category. Some commentators wondered about that, which in turn led to this!
Centerpoint Station is, to me, quite different from all the other superweapons – for they were designed as weapons. All of them have a quite clear and defined intent – to kill and destroy on a mammoth scale! Centerpoint Station is not this. Oh sure, the Empire advanced the line that the Death Star was for asteroid clearance but the duplicity and lack of belief in the statement is obvious. The Death Star projects exist for one purpose: To terrify a galaxy back in line. (Although it could be said the designers or the Empire didn’t really consider the full implications of their success.)
In contrast Centerpoint Station was created by its ancient builders to do just that – build! With Centerpoint Station we are no longer in the area of technology being created to kill but rather technology being perverted from its original aims!
You can debate the 2003 invasion of Iraq for quite some time, but what is not in debate so much is the stupidity of the term of “dual-use” to prohibit supply of items via sanctions. Why is it dumb? The term refers to items that could be used to make weapons, but just about anything can be so. In this respect Centerpoint Station is perhaps the ultimate Star Wars example of dual-use technology. It certainly was not designed, nor intended, to be a weapon but it got used as one anyway.
And what does that in turn say about the peoples and leaders of the Star Wars galaxy? Consider what could be done with Centerpoint Station – it could blow up stars, yes, but it could also move planets through hyperspace, alter orbits of planets, even stars. To some it would be the ultimate device with which to play God, to others it would allow all manner of options for salvation never thought possible! Lando Calrissian theorized that a Centerpoint Station connected to the five planetary repulsors of the Corellian system would have galactic range! Now, on the one hand, that’s quite terrifying but on the other…
Say you have a star about to go unexpectedly supernova, you could use something like Centerpoint Station as an evacuation strategy by transporting the planet to a new star! There would be all manner of very high-level logistics to pull that off, the planetary placement to ensure correct seasonal shift being but one, but it would be an option.
Unfortunately for the technological wonder that was Centerpoint Station, the galaxy of Star Wars really does tend to focus on one thing above all else – war. Discussions, diplomacy, maturity – the Star Wars galaxy has no need for these, it’ll opt for a punch-up every time and then bitch about it incessantly! That, due to an inexorable descent to yet another galactic dust-up, a bunch of evolved apes decided to re-arm Centerpoint Station and use it purely as a weapon, so first provoking a sabotage solution, which a few months later was followed by the destruction of it, is a damning statement on this galaxy and its populace.
If Centerpoint Station is anything to go by, then one thing is abundantly clear – the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction that got the world through the Cold War in one piece, despite its counter-intuitive name, would never work here. If you tell someone in this galaxy this allows them to blow up a city, they’ll probably do it – once they’ve found a good enough excuse. Or a Death Star? Well, if you have one, they better get two! If the Death Star was not defeated, what then? Give it a few years and planets would start developing, on the sly, planetary shields able to stand up to the Death Star superlaser. Probably while also developing planet-based superlasers able to blast a Death Star at long-range!
This really should not surprise anyone! Despite the best efforts of the Prequel Trilogy films to convince us that there was an actual civilization that became terminally corrupt enough for the Empire to take over, at heart, Star Wars is a space western, and one thing the old west never was, was all that civil! Disputes were settled with violence, with gun or blade. It doesn’t matter what you might have, the question is: Can you hold on to it against all comers? So, in this context, that the politics tend to be akin to what was once called gunboat diplomacy should not surprise, but neither can it be denied that it is a depressing image. Ultimately the old west was tamed, anarchy gave way to order, but the Star Wars galaxy? Looks to be beyond any such civilizing influence and it’d likely blast anything it thought was one that turned up!
When looking at what Centerpoint Station was, at what it could do and what it might have been able to be used for in construction terms, that it was destroyed due to being used purely as a wrecking ball and bulldozer is a damning tragedy of the highest order. Tragic because the circumstances did render the destruction necessary, but damning because those circumstances were entirely avoidable. Plus, looking at further stories, the destruction also opened the door to further eldritch horrors from the galaxy’s distant past! There’s only one clear message from all this: it’s a great galaxy to read about but you wouldn’t want to live there!