This portfolio originally appeared in Jump Point 8.1.
January 3, 2667, was an uncommonly warm night when New Junction police received a comm claiming that shots were fired at a bar popular with off-world haulers. Officers responding to the call rushed inside to find an enraptured audience watching Polli Dalal discharging a weapon at a block of ballistic gelatin covered by heavy armor. Several smoking holes in the armor leading to the shredded gel underneath indicated the only victim in the establishment. The police quickly charged Polli with violating the armistice zone and confiscated a weapon the incident report described as a “custom-made, unregistered hand cannon.” When questioned about why she would live-fire a weapon in public, she replied with a simple statement: “to make some money.” Polli quickly paid off her fine and returned to the bar to pick up a list from the bartender. On it were the names of patrons that had made a down payment for one of her homemade weapons. These became the first official orders for Gemini weapons.
Gemini started with a simple mission to provide affordable and effective ballistic weapons to the masses, an area of the marketplace they felt was increasingly underserved during the mid to late 27th century. In the decades following the Second Tevarin War, the weapons market exploded thanks to the myriad of technological advances made during the sprawling conflict, and as increasingly advanced weapon technology became more available to the public, manufacturers became embroiled in an arms race to explore more unique weapons that delivered energy, chemical, or distortion damage. As a result, traditional ballistic weapons with their limited ammunition capacities were viewed as antique tech and fell out of favor. A hyperbolic United/Tribune article from 2665 even wondered when “standard bullets would only exist in museums”. While no one truly believed that ballistic weapons would vanish, the quality gap between brands was more drastic than ever as several mid-market manufacturers went out of business. In 2666, famed bounty hunter Amado ‘Mad Dog’ Baugh admitted to only using ballistic weapons from earlier decades, complaining that anything modern was “either so cheap it’d melt your hand or so expensive it’d cost an arm and a leg.”
Polli Dalal also noticed the trend. Having grown up in the slums of New Junction, she understood the importance of affordable yet reliable weapons to one’s personal safety. Polli and Clem, the mastermind of the ‘custom made hand cannon’, frequently found themselves in dangerous situations and in need of protection. Partly due to Polli’s penchant for mischief, but primarily because Clem, the weapon maker, was Tevarin.
The Odd Couple
Clem knew nothing of his roots, only that his family participated in the Tevarin cultural purge before fleeing to New Junction. Though the Tevarin Wars were long over, the slum’s Human residents shunned the family. After their house burned down under suspicious circumstances, Clem was the lone survivor and struggled to live on the street. That’s when he met Polli, who hated going home to her abusive and alcoholic parents. The two became inseparable. They moved into an abandoned shack and, to survive, pulled petty crimes using Clem as a distraction. To protect himself and Polli, Clem became obsessed with weapons and led to the creation of Gemini’s first official weapon: the unregistered hand cannon.
Polli and Clem used the down payments from the buyers at the bar to manufacture their first run of guns. Polli used this success and growing word of mouth to attract investors and expand the company’s operations. Direct and demanding, one early investor said that “Polli essentially willed the company into existence.” She remained the face of the company, but to hide the fact that Clem was a Tevarin, claimed her ‘brother’ was the brains behind the guns. In case anyone got too curious, Polli spun a tale that Clem suffered from a crippling social anxiety disorder and even called the company Gemini to lean into the notion that they were siblings.
Thanks to their heightened stopping power, Gemini weapons quickly found a clientele. Though only sold in Corel, the weapons appeared across the Empire thanks to the constant flow of haulers coming through the system. Decades of steady growth eventually allowed Gemini to open manufacturing plants in other systems, including Idris and Terra, and launch their first empire-wide marketing campaign. Gemini still uses the slogan Polli picked, “The only line of defense you need.”
Winds of Change
In 2751, Clem and Polli retired and turned over control to a handpicked collective of their most trusted executives who continued to keep Clem’s role in its success a secret. It wasn’t until the early 29th century, after the fall of the xenophobic Messer regime, that Gemini disclosed to the wider public that the company’s co-founder and main weapon designer had been Tevarin. This revelation turned out to be perfectly timed and revitalized a brand that consumers had come to consider a bit bland and outdated, and lead to record profits in 2812.
The company continued to respect Clem’s vision and legacy, but knew it needed to update and adapt his designs for the modern marketplace. The new model of the R97 ballistic shotgun maintained Clem’s unique under barrel reload design but gave the weapon two distinct fire modes. While materials and manufacturing processes may have changed, Gemini’s ballistic weapons retained the sleek look and reliable performance that made the brand famous.
Current CEO Hui Batiste maintains this balancing act of respecting Gemini’s past while reimagining its future. Batiste has undertaken several bold initiatives to keep the company solvent and relevant. His first executive action moved the company’s headquarters from Corel to Stanton to reduce production costs. Then he led a reimagining of the company’s marketing campaign so it would appeal to a more affluent audience. Their latest ads feature sataball star Elsie Heselton extolling the power and speed of Gemini weapons while aboard an 890 Jump. Batiste even broadened the company’s product line to an area once believed to be off limits – energy weapons. In 2947, he acquired energy weapon start-up Octa with the intention of integrating their technology into Gemini weapons.
With ads aimed at the elite and a production expansion into the energy weapon market, some Gemini purists believe that Batiste’s changes have gone too far. They even argue that Clem and Polli would have trouble recognizing the company they founded. Despite these minor controversies, Batiste’s actions have elevated Gemini’s profile and market into their most consistent growth rate in centuries. It may not be the same company Clem and Polli founded centuries ago, but it still delivers on their initial promise to make affordable and effective weapons for all.