Trope-a-Day: Mega Corp

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.

Epistolary Experiment (9/30)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Interruptions, Delays to Service in Spinward, Coreward Constellations

Outer Ring Netweavers, ICC regrets to inform its customers that, due to the ongoing state of war, extranet service can be expected to suffer delays and interruptions in the spinward and coreward constellations affected due to necessary network security measures.

Extranet service via ORE relays in the three constellations adjacent to the Republic border, the Crimson Expanse, Vanguard Reaches, and Csell Buffer, has been temporarily suspended to all except military priority traffic and high-protocol overweaves. Other constellations currently affected include the Galith Waste, Frentish Nebula, and Cordai Gap, all of which may suffer service delays due to enhanced security, anti-worm, and authentication checking protocols, and in which all current open-service relays have been suspended.

Affected constellations currently include the primary territorial volumes of the Free Eilish Confederacy, the Nineworlds, the Nsang First Interactivity, the Qiraf Assembly, and the Silicate Tree, in addition to various freesoil worlds and ecumenical colonies. Further suspensions in the coreward-spinward segment of the Worlds are expected to follow.

ORE apologizes for the inconvenience and asks for its customers’ understanding of the exigencies of war.

Contact:

Serril Cyprium-ith-Reyne
Sophont Relations
Outer Ring Netweavers, ICC


From: Adm. [blank], Imperial Naval Intelligence
To: Imogen Andracanth, VP Research, Ring Dynamics
Subject: UNSEEN KEY
Security: EYES ONLY UNSEEN KEY

About what? We don’t know any more than you do.

From: Imogen Andracanth, VP Research, Ring Dynamics
To: Adm. [blank], Imperial Naval Intelligence
Subject: UNSEEN KEY
Security: EYES ONLY UNSEEN KEY

Precisely.


“…while skirmishes continue along the Borderline, the Admiralty reports that a Republican raiding force has successfully broken through in the Crimson Expanse, and is currently pushing coreward into the Cordai Gap constellation, through systems controlled by the Qiraf Assembly, making significant efforts to loot additional fuel and resources as they go. Their motivation for doing so is presently unknown, since no known major military assets or other suspected high-value targets lie directly in their path. Nevertheless, Field Fleet Core is beginning a discreet mobilization.

“The Spinward Lines cruise liner, Circumstellar Wanderer, has been recovered from Republican forces in the course of securing the Doranzer System, Admiralty sources reported today, although she was heavily damaged in the ensuing battle. Of the 4,128 souls aboard, 2,919 were reported temporarily killed and 328 permanently killed in fighting aboard the ship as she was taken, ongoing resistance, and as collateral battle damage in Doranzer System. All aboard, per manifest, and their vector stacks have been accounted for, and detailed casualty lists have been made available by the Admiralty.

“In other related news, the Seranth Exchange today announced an eighteen-day suspension of trading on assets located within the primary conflict zone. <Brassy Trumpets in B-flat>, floor supervisor, was quoted as saying that it was ridiculous to expect any market to clear while all its asset values were coated in a thick smog of war. Meanwhile, on the currency exchanges, the Voniensan external-exchange credit closed dramatically down at 14,127 to the esteyn.

“This is Wynerva Peressin, reporting for Telememe.”


The drop pod sings as it descends. Bass thrum of the atmosphere. High tremolo hiss of the plasma sheath. Clattering thrusters as we jink —

Mektsha, that one was close.

Three hundred thousand. Aerozone, fins popping, countermeasures spinning up.

Painted already, fast for meat, someone’s on the bounce down there. Two-fifty kay, closing rate —

Incoming! SHIT —

– from the thought-log of Legionary Cordril Tsurilen

 

 

 

By Their Own Words

“Order, Progress, Liberty”

– official, Charter-enshrined motto of the Empire

“Secure against Eternity.”

– corporate motto, Crystal Flame, ICC

“All debts must be paid.”

– official motto of the Curia

“Because enough… is never enough.”

– corporate motto, Decadence, ICC

“Through reason alone, we ascend.”

– motto of the Eupraxic Collegium

“Every coin Our given word.”

– carved above the main doors of the Exchequer

“Knowledge is its own justification.”

– official motto of the Fellowship of Natural Philosophy

“We do what we can, because we must.”

– very unofficial motto of the Fellowship of Natural Philosophy

“Between the Flame and the Fire.”

– official motto of the Imperial Military Service

“Civilization has enemies; we kill the bastards.”

– barrack-room paraphrase of the motto of the Imperial Military Service

“Until no man dares command another.”

– motto of the Sanguinary Enforcers of the Liberty Ethic

“The truth that sears away the Darkness.”

– corporate motto, Telememe, ICC news division

“When all else fails, we stand ready.”

– corporate motto, Ultimate Argument Risk Control, ICC

“[redacted for reasons of state security]”

– motto of Imperial State Security, Fifth Directorate