‘Live free or die’ is a statement of ideals and preferences. It is not, and never will be, the policy of this corporation.Esémélí Estantel,
syndic of the Riverside Eubiosis Foundation,
in a Corporate Conflux debate over the marketing of life-extension technologies,
beyond the Consensual Cultural Region
Mega Corp: Oh, quite a few. (Well, bearing in mind the cultural, demographic, and technological differences that mean that while an Earthly multinational might hit millions of employees, its Imperial counterpart probably has a couple of dozen executives, a large computronium core, and millions of jobs being done by subcontractors, sub-sub-contractors, etc., or “on-bounty”.)
The canonical list in the Empire and nearby, the “Big 26” starcorporations, are usually given as:
All Good Things, ICC – retailing
Artifice Armaments, ICC – firearms, heavy weapons, military vehicles, and defense technologies
Atalant Materials, ICC – mining, refining, and nanoslurry production
Biogenesis Technologies, ICC – neogenic organisms, biotech products and bioshells
Biolith Chemical Products, ICC – bactries and organochemicals
Bright Shadow, ICC – computers (including expert systems and thinkers), telecommunications equipment, and infotech
Cognitech, ICC – cognitive science, psychedesign, nootropics, and sophotechnology
Consolidated Mutual Mitigation and Surety, ICC – insurance underwriting and ancillary legal services
Crystal Flame, ICC – immortality (noetic backup archiving and insurance)
Databeat, ICC – major cycle brokerage and information furnace rental org
Ecogenetics, ICC – ecopoesis, living systems, environmental services, and bio-architecture
Enjoyment Unbounded, ICC – entertainment and luxury goods
Experia, ICC – entertainment and media (watchvid, InVid, slinky, and virtuality)
Extropa Energy, ICC – energy production and distribution, antimatter production, and fuels
Gilea and Company, ICC – banking, investments, and futures markets
Llyn Standard Manufacturing, ICC – cornucopias and industrial-scale production
Prosperity Nexus, ICC – investment, fund management, and commercial banking
Ring Dynamics, ICC – stargates (construction, maintenance and leasing)
Riverside Eubiosis Foundation, ICC – pharmaceuticals and health and medical services
Service Gate, ICC – contract matching and labor allocation
Stellar Express, ICC – delivery services, interstellar logistics, supply chains, and shipping
Systemic Integrated Technologies, ICC – robotics, automation, and infrastructure technology
Telememe, ICC – news, statistics, demographics, data mining and information research
Traders in Ideation, ICC – information brokerage, rights management services and data warehousing
Ultimate Argument Risk Control, ICC – security services, military contracting, and mercenary brokerage
Vermilion Harvest, ICC – agriculture, silviculture, carniculture, and bioproducts
…but there are several others that compete close to these leagues – exactly which are named depends on who precisely you’re talking to.
Given the nature of the setting, of course, the traditional unremittingly negative portrayal of business in fiction is utterly averted, and the Big 26 receive the respect they deserve as the mighty prosperity-generating engines that they are. But then, in their home markets, the free market actually is a free market, so they never had the opportunity to discover corrupt business strategies of monopoly, rent-seeking, and regulating the competition out of business, even if they didn’t tend to be run by people who are every bit as ideological as everyone else in the vicinity.
(Well, not that this opinion is shared by everyone. Gilea & Co. and UARC, in particular, tend to attract some opprobrium elsewhere in the Associated Worlds, particularly in places that don’t appreciate the absolute sacredness of contract in Imperial ethics, Gilea & Co.’s policy of not recognizing any special difference between “states” and its regular commercial customers, and – especially – its willingness to pursue “asset realization” after a sovereign default with however many of UARC’s finest mercs it takes to impress upon the customer that when they do the job, they always get paid. But that’s not the mainstream opinion at home.)
As a side note, while it is by no means a conventional corporation, the Imperial Charter makes use of much of the traditional structure of a joint-stock corporation in the Imperial government, such as it is – its citizens, for example, are citizen-shareholders in the technical lingo, and the traditional style of the Imperial Couple includes “Chief Executive Officers of the Imperium Incorporate” – so you could make a convincing argument that the Empire is, in quite a few senses, the biggest Mega Corp of them all.
Andreth Prime Allatrian-ith-Ancalyx Vallasélan, currently of Suite 141, Gildedrest, Starbridge City, Gáling (Ring Nebula), to Technical Services, Artificial Immunity Division, Riverside Eubiosis Foundation, greetings and many thanks for your prior assistance.
I have never been so sick in my life. Well, obviously. I’ve never been sick in my life.
And I do appreciate the difficulty of keeping up with every single type of bacterium and virus across hundreds of different garden worlds; please do not infer an opprobrious implication. But this really is becoming absolutely the outside of enough.
It’s not the pain. I’m a gamer. I play war games with the algetics turned on. This doesn’t bother me. Except that it’s not proper pain, of course, it’s a stupid little nagging ache that doesn’t go away, even if it is easily quenched. It’s just annoying, but it’s not the problem. It’s the fluids.
Yes, fluids! I have the most vile substance oozing out of my nose, of all places. The nose which is, not to put too fine a point on it, not a fluid orifice. It is very much a non-fluid orifice, and one not generally given to oozing anything. I’m quite willing to admit the risk of pain and inconvenience and maybe even reinstantiation from some blasted alien disease, but this is just too disgusting to be borne.
Anyway, to cut right to the meat of the message, if I may, I sent you chaps the immunity-data dump yesterday morning, Empire time – could you give me some idea when you’ll have the service pack ready?