“The purple vegetation is actually photosynthetic fungoids that have intriguing medicinal properties, and that this has led to the planet being legally protected from settlement or otherwise unauthorized visitation.”
Space-faring ecological enforcers to keep planets like this pristine? Star Rangers? That sounds like a pretty cool toy…let’s break it!
Boring ideas like corruption and under-handedness aside, I’d like to see a story about rival factions developing with incompatible environmental philosophies. For example Deep Ecologists who believe that every animal (or even object) has inalienable rights, versus Aesthetic Ecologists (what will the tourists think??), versus Theist Ecologists (God made these animals, don’t mess with them), Pragmatic Ecologists (these animals might be useful later), and so on. Then of course there are the selfish interests of their government employers, as well as the captains and crews themselves.
What happens when they come to blows?