Designed to circumvent natural spatial disturbances to the HoloNet, such as the Tatoo system's frequent solar flares and quirky gravitational fluxes, HoloNet Waystations were more or less powerful versions of the simple HoloNet transceivers which operated on the solar power from nearby stars. They were built to monitor transmissions, boosting and refreshing those which had been faded or warped. However, once the Galactic Republic collapsed and Emperor Palpatine assumed control of his new Galactic Empire, astute people knew that it was only a matter of time before the horrendous expense of the HoloNet was deemed impractical. And so it was no surprise when one day the HoloNet simply stopped transmitting and, within months, Imperial technicians had shut down hundreds, if not thousands, of HoloNet Waystations. They did not take entire stations apart, however, as time was too precious and the new Empire's resources were focused elsewhere; instead they simply stripped critical components to transfer to the Imperial Navy, scuttling the rest.
However, the level at which they scuttled each station varied tremendously; after the 50th transceiver the technicians began merely removing key components and moving on. By the time they had reached the station near Tatooine the procedure was reduced to the most basic routine. The first move was to evacuate any personnel on the station, then proceeded to pull the plug on the power source and tore out the power core. Once the signal multiplexor machinery and storage batteries were taken, the remaining structure was left to simply decay in its own orbit until it crashed into the nearest gravity well.
The main, vertical stem of the station contained the power and conduit circuitry and was where the signals were captures and emitted, as well as being where the solar power was channeled to the converters. The shaft leading up to the habitable section of the station was a maze of piping, conduits, and wiring. Catwalks and ladders crisscrossed this area which allowed the crew access to key systems. The habitable section itself was divided into three interlocking personnel modules; the center command module contained the command and support services, while to the right there were the living quarters capable of comfortably housing ten crewmembers. To the left of the command module was the main signal systems for both sending and receiving of the HoloNet signals.
The command center itself was two stories high although there were only two duty stations situated at the front of the main command room. From here, it was possible to control the entire space stations functions. The third control panel at the rear of the room was the monitor station used by the supervisor, who was also typically the commanding officer. To reach the upper level of the command module, beings would have to use the turbolift.
The typical accouterments of the officer's room included a holovid, computer terminal, desk, as well as chairs. The room above this room was a lounge containing more chairs as well as couches. Next to the officers room was the droid and general maintenance and repair room which contained the tools, power packs, and spare parts to repair most systems and droids on the station. While they were comprehensive, the tools were inadequate to perform any major system overhauls; they simply existed to jury-rig components until a relief ship arrived. Above this room was the central computer core which ran the three personnel modules and was always kept at a constant temperature. On the opposite side of the hall from these rooms were the storage and processing plants for foodstuffs and materials such as clothing, as well as the cafeteria which had enough room to sit all ten crewmembers.
The crew quarters were spread over two decks which were both identically laid out with room for the entire ten man crew. The room closes to the command module was designed for two maintenance crew; typically Ugnaughts or other mechanically inclined species, whereas the remaining three rooms were for officers. The restrooms across the hallway from the quarters contained sonic showers, a steam sauna, as well as unisex restrooms.
The center of the station contained the main power core which was the heart of the transmission system, funneling the signals in from the top of the station and out through the bottom. Below this was the stations solar energy converters which was a system composed mostly of batteries. The boost of power required for actually transmitting signals required energized cells because as the levels of power available at any one time from the solar panels alone was not sufficient. This section also siphoned off power for use in the rest of the station.
On the opposite side of the station from the crew quarters was the signal multiplexor; an intricate, six story high computer system which was almost a third of the height of the main power core. It was used to convert, decode, boost, focus, and re-transmit the HoloNet signals and was the second room that was kept at a constant temperature. Directly next to the room containing this system was the stations docking port which was an automated chamber which had two tractor beams for aligning and reeling in ships. The docking clamps and entry seals automatically adjusted to fit the configuration of the docking ship.
During the days of the Galactic Republic, the planet Tatooine was discovered, by pure astromathematics, to be directly between two important systems, at least as the data stream flew. Unfortunately, however, the Tatoo system's suns had frequent solar flares and quirky gravitational fluxes which required more than a simple HoloNet transceiver, but a complete, rare HoloNet Waystation. Although these stations were expensive, it was still found to be less expensive than rerouting the transmissions around the system. For the inhabitants of the planet, this meant no longer having to rely on mail boats containing news which could be months old, and no more anticipation of news, rumors, and embellishments from every new ship crew.
The binary system of Tatooine proved a challenge for Republic engineers to place a waystation, however, as it was frequented by solar flares. Added to that the planet's gravitational fluxes and it was quite a package. They had to come up with a solution to prevent the solar-powered station from being harmed by the very suns that it needed in order to survive. Eventually they decided to force the station to orbit one of Tatooine's moons, it would be placed in a station-keeping orbit which meant that it would remain on the leeward side, and away from the suns. This way, the moons bulk would protect it from the suns radiation, as well as it being far enough away from Tatooine to prevent the planet's variable gravity from having any great effect on it, while the glare of the planet would be enough to power the solar fins. This system proved to work flawlessly.
Although the HoloNet was used primarily by the government and large commercial houses, it offered an unparalleled opportunity to the planets inhabitants. A waystation involved staffing and upkeep, as well as periodic maintenance and support by the Galactic Republic. Additionally, because of its placement, public announcements could be broadcast directly from orbit down to the planet and any nearby systems would then need to wait on a ship from Tatooine to deliver the datatape of the broadcast; the exact opposite of what had previously been the case. The residents thought that the planet might once again have notoriety.
However, Tatooine was destined for another kind of notoriety, not the kind the residents would have liked. Because the waystation was built to monitor transmissions as well as boosting and refreshing those that were faded or warped by the systems binary suns, and even though most transmissions were encoded, the opportunity to tap into a virtually unlimited supply of trade and government secrets proved too seductive to the local criminal syndicate who soon moved in and transformed the planet into a "hive of scum and villainy".
Once the Republic collapsed and Palpatine ordered the HoloNet to be shut down, however, the astute residents were not surprised when the HoloNet simply stopped transmitting. Within months the Imperial technicians arrived, stripping the key components from the monitoring station in the command module, all furniture from the officers quarters, the software storage cells from the central computer core, all raw materials from storage, almost all the equipment from the main power core, the batteries from the solar energy converters, as well as all the equipment from the signal multiplexor. After this, they simply left the station in a decaying orbit so that it would eventually crash into the nearest gravity well.
By the time of the Galactic Civil War, the Tatooine station's orbit was decaying at an increasing rate, though it was not quite in danger of collapse. Scavengers had left the station to drift in its lonely orbit as Tatooine was too far off the beaten path for even the traditional galactic garbage haulers; Ugors and their rivals, the Squibs to attempt salvage. A group of Rebels, however, boarded the station in order to acquire a Natrilux conductor relay, as the only other place in the system which contained one was the Spaceport Control Tower in Mos Eisley, and they needed one in order to get Verral Kayrell to help them free Maxine Baytor. Though the group managed to acquire the needed part, they were spotted visiting the station by an Imperial customs frigate which sent a contingent of stormtroopers to the planet to guard Baytor.