Why do Korvolov stations have abandoned cargo containers surrounding them?
I recall reading ingame that the Charon have inside men in Korolov tipping them off to valuable freighters. Those guys may be the ones who proposed having a multitude of pirate base - sized crates lying around their structures, too.
On a more believable note, possibly some manner of last - ditch defense against Drakes? They block missiles reasonably well, which could mean the difference between life and death for a station awaiting reinforcements.
The real question is, if one stock EI500 can take out every enemy station up to Rigel at least, why doesn't the Commonwealth just send in a single task force and wipe out all the bad guys? They're a pretty crappy government, all told.
If anyone figures out an answer to that one, please do tell me. I'd always assumed the pirate factions(Including the Centauri) would retaliate against those who attacked them, and only pilgrims who were heading out of human space anyways wouldn't be afraid, but that's fairly shaky. The region used to have more powerful hostiles, which helped lessen the suspension of disbelief here, but it was always a bit of a head scratcher.
My second guess would be that weaker stations like the pirate caches and Centauri outposts suffer greatly from the scaling used in the game, and would realistically be much harder to find. That one takes some hits when you see them spawning right along trade routes, but we can assume it's a glitch for rationality's sake. It's also supported by the fact that Korolov takes much longer to locate the Charon headquarters than a player would just by orbiting the outskirts of a system.
I really miss the old Stronghold spawning system, where they were far enough out that there was very little chance of accidentally encountering one. The T-series transports going over to them every so often is similarly bad for their cover.