During the years following the opening of the Verge, the Leodal States were too poor to engage in serious exploration or colonization. Some of the leading citizens of the nation felt otherwise, though. In 2332, Lord Karim Ngongwe-a noble of the Leodal monarchy-personally financed and led an expedition to stake out a Leodal claim in the Verge. Lord Ngongwe’s mission arrived at Coulomb in February 2334 after surveying dozens of other stars in the vicinity.
Lord Ngongwe claimed Coulomb and returned to his home- world in order to raise funds for a colonization ship. In keeping with Leodal law, Ngongwe gained ownership over any planet whose colonization he financed. The troubled economy of the postwar States aided his efforts,- millions of Leodans were out of work and looking for a chance to start fresh. Lord Ngongwe purchased a ship, the Hope, and oversaw the manning of the expedition and the purchase of the colony’s equipment. He led the Hope back to Ohmel and established the Crown Colony of Coulomb in September 2337.
Ohmel was not ideal, but it had remnants of an ancient bio-sphere and plenty of room for a colony to grow. The Leodans quietly built a small but prosperous city in the twilight of their lonely world during the early 2340s, while war loomed on the horizon.
Neither the Leodal States nor its colony fared well in the Second Galactic War. Cut off from any hope of resupply, the Crown Colony settlers fended off numerous corsair attacks and the occasional raid from their larger neighbors. The Ngongwe family, already political masters of the small settlement, continued to finance Coulomb’s development. They grew into a powerful Verge mercantile enterprise, eventually fielding a small flotilla of tradesmen in Algemron, Aegis, and Lucullus. By the end of the Long Silence, the Ngongwes literally owned Coulomb lock, stock, and barrel.