In 2137, the Ashland Energy Corporation successfully extracted helium-3 from Saturn's atmosphere, beginning a new era of fusion research. On the wave of this success, they merged with Eldfell Construction to vertically integrate the two companies' strengths. Ashland would recover the raw materials for energy production, and Eldfell would build power plants, refineries, and pipelines on nearby worlds to distribute Ashland's products to the consumer. Eldfell-Ashland Energy was born.
As EAE's reach extended, they absorbed companies to create a "cradle-to-grave corporate experience" for their employees. Today, subsidiaries such as Second Star Living recruit colonists to staff EAE facilities, and the education group Excelsior provides job-related education opportunities to provide EAE stations with a qualified incoming workforce. Water, power, food, shipping -- EAE provides them all. If EAE wants to put a colony on a garden world, they are able to do so and keep 90% of services performed completely in-house, creating consumers out of its own employees. Its primary revenue stream, however, continues to come from mining base elements like hydrogen, helium-3, and eezo and trading in their futures.