April 25th 2013
Hello and welcome to another installment of the Writer’s Guide. In today’s issue will be covering Corporations and save Criminals for next week. Once we started getting into the various companies, we quickly realized that it would be a disservice to skimp on the variety of companies already established in the universe.
If you’re new to this feature, please consult our list of disclaimers here.
Larger corporations will usually have several ‘hub offices’ scattered around the universe. Each one is responsible for a sector. These sectors vary in size depending on the size of the corporation. Due to the lag in communications, most corporations have found it more efficient to have senior executives placed strategically around UEE space to react more quickly to any problems or situations that may arise.
The Corporate HQ can be located in almost any system. Many base themselves on Earth or Terra for the prestige associated with it. A handful of ship and weapons manufacturers with military contracts base themselves on MacArthur in the Kilian system to be close to the military shipyards. The Stanton system was sold to generate money for the Synthworld. The four primary owners of the planets are MicroTech, Hurston Dynamics, ArcCorp and Crusader Industries. While Stanton’s planets now serve as their primary production centers, hundreds of smaller corporations have rented out space on the planets for their own headquarters.
Do we trade with the Banu? The Xi’An? The short answer, yes.
The long answer, yeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssss.
The UEE Department of Trade closely monitors the import and export of goods between the UEE and Xi’An. Human companies that wish to trade raw materials and goods must obtain an import or export license from the government. During the licensing process, the Empire will analyze the company’s trading history, run backgrounds on executives and charge handsomely for the opportunity. In short, the UEE is attempting to discern whether the company’s trading will benefit the Empire.
The general mood of the UEE is that healthy trade is a sign of political goodwill. However, elements in the Empire are terrified of becoming too reliant on outside goods, so they will strategically approve or veto trade agreements. Trading corps (both Human and Xi’An) find this endlessly frustrating, as it appears to them that agreements are approved or denied for strictly arbitrary reasons.
How does this affect the common trader? Well, technically, a UEE trader (Citizen or Civ) needs a license to trade with the Xi’An but generally it boils down to a question of volume. If you’re a trader with a Freelancer full of goods, they probably aren’t going to really care. If you’ve got a fleet of Caterpillars, they will.
Being a trading culture, the Banu made sure there were nearly intractable provisions for trading from the very beginning. Let’s just say the Interstellar Peace and Trade Accord of 2348 was not its original title. Therefore, there is a vast and free trading market between our two cultures that has permeated through the centuries.
The UEE has tried to temper the flow of goods in and out of the Banu Protectorate, but with little progress and there are two main reasons as to why:
Their organization. The Banu Protectorate is a collection of independent planets so it’s difficult to negotiate sweeping trade protocols with them. In fact, there are three separate proposals submitted over the past ten years still waiting to be reviewed at the next Gathering.
Secondly, their location. While there is a cluster of Banu systems on one ‘side’ of the UEE , they have also claimed isolated systems scattered throughout the universe; one in Vanduul space, one in Xi’An, that we know about.
The UEE still isn’t sure how they got there.
ROBERTS SPACE INDUSTRIES (RSI)
The original creators of the engine that kickstarted Humanity’s expansion into space, Roberts Space Industries builds a wide range of spaceships that serve all needs, from basic interstellar travel to deep exploration on the outer edges of the galaxy. The tagline is “Roberts Space Industries: Delivering the Stars since 2075”
ORIGIN JUMPWORKS GmbH
The BMW of the Star Citizen universe. Their craft are more expensive, sleeker-looking status symbols, maybe more so than they’re worth? Origin ships are customized for the client and can be expensive to maintain/repair. They get numbers instead of names: “Origin 300i,”“Origin 890 Jump,” “Origin M50 Turbo,” etc.
MUSASHI INDUSTRIAL & STARFLIGHT CONCERN (MISC)
Mass produces very efficient, modular ships, mostly armored freighters of different sizes that make them the preferred brand for traders and larger corporations. Over thirty years ago, MISC signed a lend-lease agreement to establish a tech trade with Xi’An engineers.
Ostensibly a legitimate company, it’s an open secret that they manufacture cheap, well-armed craft favored by pirates, to the point that they’re named in that vein: “Cutlass,” “Buccaneer,” “Privateer,” “Marauder,” etc. Drake ships tend to have a piecemeal look to them that makes each distinct but also means that they are inconsistently built. One of Drake’s main subsidiaries is their Salvage Depots, located conveniently around UEE and Banu space, offering top dollar for spare parts.
For civilians, Anvil Aerospace produces small fighting craft but with less of the pirate stigma. These ships are more expensive, less spit-and-glue, and built to take more hits than a comparable Drake model. The bulk of Anvil’s income is from its military contracts with the UEE to design and build their warships, especially the iconic Hornet.
Aegis grew to prominence as a manufacturer of military spacecraft during the First Tevarin War. Favored by Ivar Messer, their orbital bombers grew to public prominence after his infamous victory on Idris IV. When he ascended to become the first Imperator, Messer contracted Aegis as the UEE’s primary source of military-grade spacecraft and defenses. During the Messer Era, Aegis craft became synonymous with the ruthless, oppressive regime.
After the Fall of the Imperator, most of Aegis’ military contracts were stripped, their ships fell out of favor with the public, and the company went into a tailspin. They downsized their craft production and turned to manufacturing parts.
These days, Aegis only produces a few craft. The old Retaliator bombers have been re-purposed for widespread use as a deep-space transport or hauling vessel. The Idris Frigate (named after the the battle of Idris IV) has been demilitarized for private ownership, even though entrepreneurial pirate packs have been known to spring for one.
SHIP PARTS SUPPLIERS (ENGINE, COMPUTERS, THRUSTERS)
The manufacturing department of Aegis (now their most profitable division) still produces quality, dependable engines and propulsion systems for contracted ship manufacturers.
Grade: Standard to Quality
Astronautic firm that exclusively designs power plants. Has a ‘generic’ line of off-the-shelf power plants, but is also contracted for exclusive plant designs (such as their successful bid to build the Constellation plant).
WILKES & FEDERMAN (W&F)
Propulsion company. Been around for over a hundred years. Formed by a pair of engineers building engines and thrusters for land-based vehicles and hovers. As their success grew, they slowly expanded their operations to ship parts. A dependable and affordable option. Unfortunately, they aren’t the most reliable. Their low cost comes with the savings of cheaper parts. ‘When they work, they’re great.’
Thrusters (main and maneuvering)
Their primary product is their P3 Autocompensator targeting software, but they have products to cover the whole spectrum of electronic analysis, from tracking and targeting to scanners and deep-space radar.
Ship Systems (CPU)
Grade: Standard to Quality
A dedicated Comm and Scan system builder. They are the rugged go-to company for miners and explorers alike. They tend to be pricier but their products are sturdy, well-tested and dependable. Tries to keep a blue-collar tone to their ads and company.
Systems scanners (variable types and focuses)
Ship Systems (CPU)
Grade: Standard to Quality
DEFENSIVE SYSTEMS (ARMOR/SHIELDS)
Manufacturers of body armor and ship-plating. While it would seem that most of their massive yearly profits come from military contracts, but the armor they provide to the military is cheap and weak. They break out the good stuff for high-end private sector sales.
Often joked among Naval rank-and-file that if you’re going to strap Basilisk armor to your ship, make sure you order it from their public site.
Grade: Cheap (for military craft) to Quality (for private buyers)
Private defense company that deals exclusively in plating. They are a solid middle-of-the-road company that does offer some high-end armor options.
Grade: Standard to Quality (based on cost)
WEAPONS MANUFACTURERS (GUNS/MISSILES)
Terra-based weapons consortium. Outsources to a lot of designers and subsidiaries to be a one-stop shop for all your defensive needs. Think of it as a conglomerate of Springfield Arms and General Dynamics. They make guns, missiles, tanks, dropships, sentry drones, etc., mostly for the UEE but there are also civilian models. Usually favor quantity of production over quality.
Popular models: P4AR – Standard issue rifle for the UEE military, about as basic and recognizable as the modern M16. Also available as the P4SC, a more compact and collapsible carbine version.
Personal weapons (small arms & mobile heavy weaponry)
Armored units (tanks, drop-ships, personnel carriers)
Spacecraft armament (Kinetic, Energy, Missiles Turrets)
Grade: Standard to Premium
KLAUS & WERNER
Some government contracts but mostly personal defense company.
Popular models: Model II Arclight – handheld laser made famous as Kyle Fenris’ sidearm on the hit Vid-Show The Frontier.
Spacecraft armament (Kinetic, Energy, Turrets)
Grade: Standard to Quality
ASSOCIATED SCIENCES & DEVELOPMENT (ASD)
High-end ship weapons company. Usually their stuff is very expensive and exclusive. Mostly energy weapons but also some ‘specialty’ classes. Distortion cannons, rail guns, shredders, etc.
Popular models: Gained notoriety with the unveiling of the EE6 Electron Cannon. Its blast polarizes electrical charges on an atomic level, causing all sorts of destruction as well as ugly, gruesome deaths. Consequently they have a somewhat tarnished reputation with the public.
Manufactures: Spacecraft weapons (Kinetic, Energy, Missiles, Turrets)
Grade: Standard to Excellent
TALON WEAPON SYSTEMS
Croshaw-based munitions manufacturer, focusing mostly on missiles and bombs. “If it exists, there’s a Talon that can blow it up.”
Small start-up company founded by an eccentric engineering whiz-kid named Barlowe Elias. Burst onto the scene by creating ‘specialty weapons.’ His weapons are generally favored by criminals and pirates because of their unusual applications, such as the Beacon Bomb designed to simulate a distress beacon with customizable distress calls.
Manufactures: Specialty weapons
Defensive (criminal) countermeasures
Grade: Cheap to Standard
ROUSSIMOFF REHABILITATION SYSTEMS (RRS)
Roussimoff Rehabilitation Systems (RRS) is an Earth-based corporation that provides rehabilitation services throughout the UEE. Their arms division is responsible for a groundbreaking series of new weaponry designed to incapacitate opponents without taking lives.
“Piracy is a real risk in some areas of space. But the good men and women at Roussimoff Rehabilitation Systems believe that death is not the ultimate deterrent to criminal behavior. Instead, a solid combination of financial consequences and structured rehabilitation is the key to getting offenders to straighten up and fly right. That is why we offer a line of hangar-level, shipboard, and personal less-than-lethal defense options that provide customers with the safety that they need and criminals the second chance that they deserve. The Silent Sentinel Less-lethal Boarding Defense System provides multiple forms of short-term defense that can disable even the largest boarding party, leaving you to collect the insurance payout or available bounties, and the authorities to do what they do best. The personal stunner provides the necessary leverage for those who want to keep a bad situation in hand.
“If safety AND civility are your objectives, visit your local RRS vendor today.”
Tagline: RRS: security with humanity®
Grade: Standard to Quality
Future convenience stores (7-Eleven, SPAR Express, Circle K). They’re found in virtually every hauling station, orbital platform and city. Famous for their Hydro-Froz frozen drink.
Tagline: It’s a long road out there; we make it a little shorter.
Appeared in: Tales of Kid Crimson (Hydro-Froz), Clean Shot sponsor
Massive conglomerate that started out as a terraforming outfit, then expanded into planetary mining. They’ve even started releasing a line of mining equipment.
Current CEO: Gavin Arlington, 38, born on Earth. Many speculate that he’s a robot due to his perfectly manicured appearance, utter lack of empathy, and methodical business-sense. He is very much human, just has no time for base human relations.
Appeared in: The Lost Generation
Producer of vacuum-sealed vitamin-rich food-stuffs. Usually bought in bulk for extended space trips.
Tagline: For the Distance.
Appeared in: Clean Shot Dispatch #1
Shipping company. Owns several orbital platforms that act as transfer hubs and hauler/commercial transport stops.
Builds fusion engines for industrial craft. Also has divisions for terraforming and mining. Owns one of the planets in Stanton System.
Produces electronics, including handheld sensors and computer software upgrades for starships. Owns one of the planets in Stanton System.
Family-owned company that is a serious weapons provider for the civilian ship market. Owns one of the planets in Stanton System.
Constructs and operates commercial transports for lower to middle income families. Has defense contracts with government to make military thrusters. Owns one of the planets in Stanton System.
WRITING FOR CORPS
This is pretty open terrain at the moment, so feel free to explore the possibilities of creating corporations. I stress again to use your judgment when coming up with the company, especially evil ones. No company can get away with doing true evil for long without serious safeguards in place. They have to have greased the right palms and paid the right officials to look the other way. The more outrageous their behavior, the more it will cost them to keep it under wraps.
For example, we mentioned earlier that Basilisk gets away with delivering cheap armor for their military contracts. How can they consistently get away with it to the point where it’s almost a joke to the troops? Technically they haven’t violated their contract and are continuing to deliver their ship plating at the agreed cost, but they aren’t going to use the best materials and operate at a loss, right? That’s just bad business. Of course, when they know they’re delivering a particularly bad pressing, they’ll pay off the necessary contacts in the military to make sure that the plates are approved and accepted. So in short, to the pilots the armor is unreliable but to the higher-ups, the deliveries are always on time and within budget.
At their core, corporations are run by people, so focus on the characters you’re trying to create for your story. Establish their motivation and needs for your story by asking yourself questions: are they corrupt? If so, were they always that way? Is there a culture of corruption in the corp, or is your character manipulating the system to keep his or her actions secret? Have fun with it. The universe is varied enough to handle all types (except dragons); just figure out how your corporate character fits into the universe.
Q: In regards to the ‘Information Decay’ you are still working out: if it is going to function in a way you have hinted at here, how are you going to make it work alongside the meta game?
Is there anything stopping 2 people at other ends of the map but on the same TeamSpeak informing each other of events their end? It would disregard the Information Decay idea, for starters…
A: This probably falls under a game mechanic question but I’ll try to field it. In short, no, we can’t stop people from talking over Skype, Ventrilo, carrier pigeon, etc. As it stands now, the information decay will only really affect the UEE’s reaction to things. For example, if there’s a Vanduul raid in Centauri, you could IM your friend in Terra about it immediately, but the military or news won’t find out until hours later.
This also affects the transportation of goods and cargo — resources and items won’t instantly beam to their destination, they will travel.
From: Cardboard Brain
Q: Probably a little late to ask a question, but here’s a two of mine anyway.
What’s the average human lifespan in 2943?
Will we see tinfoil clad lunatics wandering around Prime and New York yelling about Y3K?
A: It’s never too late, I’m checking comments pretty regularly.
We haven’t really tackled this one yet. My initial reaction is that with medical advances and technology it would probably be around 100. Maybe the record is 140. I feel like at a certain point, the body is just going to wear out. We really aren’t designed to be around that long. Gene-therapy and cybernetics will help but ultimately, to quote the fantastic British vampire show Ultraviolet, “We’re programmed to die.” What do you guys think?
Regarding the tinfoil-clad lunatics, I hope so.