As the inhabitants of Earth developed into a space-faring culture during the latter half of the 21st century, the corporate landscape began to change too. Corrupt national governments awarded large infrastructure, astronautics and defence contracts to their cronies, causing an agglomeration of wealth within a few large corporations. These companies abused their dominant position in the marketplace to gain monopolies in several industry sectors and eradicate their competitors through means both fair and foul.
The companies became stronger and more influential than the governments that had originally awarded them the contracts. It was these mega-corporations which lead the spaceward expansion and developed the necessary technologies to allow the colonisation of new star systems.
The corporations did recognise that stability among the populace was good for business and so set in motion the beginnings of the Inviroate Commonwealth as a political and administrative structure. Each planet was granted the right to vote in the senate and to raise taxes, some of which would be used to fund the continuing expansion. This policy worked well for decades, but as the Inviroate grew, and market prices became more difficult to control at the edges of the developing galaxies, piracy and crime increased almost exponentially. In response, the unhappy citizens of the planets, moons and orbital habitats demanded that their political masters take a more active role in security, thus swinging the balance of power away from the corporations towards the Commonwealth, and ultimately the High Guardian.
The High Guardian enjoyed a golden age of increased political power, with overt support from the Grand Families, but politicking by the same families and shrinking revenues for the corporations now threatens to undermine the High Guardian as the corporations bring new technologies to market and seek to reassert their position.
The security forces of the mega-Corporations can call upon the resources of their Research & Development departments, which includes weapons development specialists.