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"Straight from Jupiter's cornucopia itself!"
- - Motto of the Beantil Corporation
For most of human history, the majority of the human population has been involved in the provision of food; first as hunter-gatherers, then, following the development of agriculture, as farmers. In recent centuries, however, advances in technology have improved yields and increased efficiency, allowing for less people to be involved in agriculture.
However, small farms are less well placed to take advantage of such advancements than larger farms. This fact was what led to the collectivisation policies of the Soviet Union, and the rise of agricultural corporations within the Syndicate, such as the Beantil Corporation. Primarily based out of South America, the Beantil Corporation employs farming methods similar to other Syndicate agricultural subsidiaries, conducting agriculture on a vast scale and employing massive inputs of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and water along with heavy mechanisation in order to maximise yields. As a result of this, it has been criticised by environmental groups for damage it causes to the environment through fertiliser runoff, soil erosion, groundwater pollution, the killing off of harmless insects, and a myriad of other environmental problems, though this criticism is not unique to Beantil alone. Nevertheless, for all the environmental damage the company's methods are claimed to cause, it is among the top producers of coffee, soybean, sugarcane and various other crops, producing not only for the Sprawls but also for export to the rest of the world.
More recently, the Beantil Corporation has also been conducting research into the development of better crop strains. In addition to traditional methods of selective breeding, the company has also been making increasing use of crude genetic engineering (by inserting random stretches of DNA), exposure to UV radiation and mutagenic chemicals to induce mutation, and various other methods, so as to develop high yielding, pest resistant crop varieties. It has experienced some success, though the random mutation techniques it employs could cause unwanted mutations in crops, leading to potentially dangerous side-effects.
Air and Space IndustryEdit
Among the largest and most powerful corporations affiliated with the Mediterranean Syndicate, VentureStar Aerospace is one of the largest global aircraft manufacturers in the world. Originally formed through the merger of several aircraft manufacturers, the corporation produces a variety of products such as the VentureStar 636 "Jumboliner" (often touted as the world's largest passenger airliner), the Phoenix Interceptor Helicopter (through subsidiary Raven Helicopters), private jet aircraft, tankers for the Allied air force, turbine engines for aircraft, and so on. In addition to controlling a large share of the commercial aircraft market and also being a player in the defence industry, VentureStar is also involved in space related projects, having been previously contracted to build rocket boosters for the Allied space programme, and is behind the funding of the Mass Driver project, as an alternative to using rockets to get payloads into space.
Since the peace treaty between the Allies and Empire, there has been a flood of Japanese cars into Allied countries, which due to their advanced manufacturing are often far better than a domestic model in the same price range. Refusing to allow the Zaibatsu to get a business leg up, Chariot Motoring, an Italian car manufacturer, rebranded its image from a high cost luxury car for executives to a cheap, reliable car that literally anyone could buy. Unfortunately, due to cost cutting measures, most Chariot cars produced since the change fail to live up to their branding and are heinously unreliable. Even so, their low purchase price means that a growing portion of drivers (particularly those just out of secondary schooling) are turning to Chariot cars, reasoning that a barely functioning pile of junk of a car is better than no car. However, rumours of a manufacturing flaw resulting in many models of Chariot car exploding on receiving a sharp impact to the rear have been making the rounds recently, though they have been repeatedly denied.
Mediterranean Electronics CorporationEdit
Following the development of the integrated circuit and the Syndicate's success in securing of a virtual monopoly on that technology, all that remained was to form a subsidiary to take advantage of it. Under the direction of the Board of Classics, the various companies that the Syndicate had previously bought out to ensure its monopolisation of the integrated circuit were combined into a single, new company; the Mediterranean Electronics Corporation (MEC). It would continue to maintain its existing facilities in the newly dubbed Silicon Valley, but it would have its headquarters in Rome.
Since then, MEC has rapidly grown into one of the Mediterranean Syndicate's largest and most powerful subsidiaries, with their main customers being those in the Sprawls. Its primary business is still in the manufacture of computers and integrated circuits, of which it is the largest manufacturer of in the world, though it is also involved in the development of computer software, and it has been branching out into other electronics related areas in more recent times.
A rare former Japanese company formerly known as the the Myishi Corporation, the renamed Straylight Electronics is still a sore spot between the Syndicate and the various Zaibatsu as the only to "defect" to the outside world, which they did in 1954. The reason for this is still a mystery, and asking about the corporation's history at the front desk in their Belfast, North Ireland headquarters will get you a very cold look.
When they did defect, they brought with them all their knowledge of Imperial computers, or so they say. Thanks to their prior research (or so they claim), the engineers of Silicon Valley were able to develop the integrated circuit (although said engineers would bristle at the thought that they wouldn't have made that invention without Japanese technology). Straylight Electronics is one of, if not the, top providers of electronic devices to Sprawls worldwide, selling everything from digital rifle scopes to digital cameras.
However, if you were to ask the average man on the street about Straylight Electronics, he wouldn't tell you about the electric watch, zero-point energy home security device, or electronic calculator that he probably bought from a Straylight-owned electronics store. He'd tell you about the satellite.
Straylight 1 is possibly the largest privately-owned orbital installation in space. Costing billions of dollars (which it may or may not have paid back yet), Straylight 1 is a supercomputer in space that runs every road, AURA linkup, car ride, fast food order, and more in Belfast, North Ireland, or "Satellite City" as it is more commonly known. Of course, running a city from space is not without its downsides: Connection issues are a rampant, the Sprawl by nature cannot use a dome, there is a constant need to add more processors (and therefore more generators, and therefore more thrusters), the satellite must be armed, in order to protect it from everything from Soviet or Allied astromilitary interference to Satyrs trying to board and sabotage it...
While some would call Satellite City a failure, Straylight continues to pour money into it, pointing to the increase of space that can be used for habitation and entertainment on the ground, as well as fact that the Helios Security agent on your left will explain to you why your contract makes it illegal for you to withdraw your funding.
Hellenic Power CorporationEdit
Originally a state-owned entity, the former Public Power Corporation of Greece came under Syndicate control when the Greek government sold it off in order to pay off its increasingly huge debts. Since then, it has grown to become the one of the largest electric utility companies under the Syndicate's control. In addition to having complete dominance in Greece, it is also one of the larger power companies in Italy, having taken over many of the smaller power companies in Italy.
As an electrical utility company, the corporation is responsible for generating and distributing electricity, and also manages several mines that produce fuel for it. To keep up with the demand for electricity in the Sprawls, the corporation has also built numerous power plants, often without any concern for the surrounding environment or geological conditions. In addition to this, the corporation also buys up large quantities of coal, lignite, oil, and natural gas. Nearly all of the power it produces comes from fossil fuel sources, though it does own and operate a few hydroelectric plants. With regards to power distribution, the company manages numerous power lines and electrical substations throughout Italy, and operates the national power grid in Greece.
In recent years, the company has come under fire by Allied environmentalists for not investing in the development of renewable and clean energy sources, as well as for the massive amount of pollution that its power plants generate.
Financial and Juridicial Affairs Edit
Food and Beverages Edit
The Donaldo's Corporation Edit
Born out of the streets of New York in the 1920s, Donaldo's went from a small pizza parlor to one of the fast food giants, sharing a large share of the market with McBurger Kong. It is difficult to find a major city in the western world that doesn't have a franchise, which often appear and promptly put other nearby fast food out of business with cheaper products and more intense advertising; so much so that whenever any company does something similar it is refered to as "Doing a Donaldo". The most notable advertising campaign that they run is "The Don", a kindly-looking old Sicilian whose image is recognised globally.
Ambrosia Cola Company Edit
"That's the nectar of the Gods!"
- - Frank Sinatra, on a TV ad for Ambrosia Cola
Since the company's founding, Ambrosia Cola has been one of the most consumed soft drinks in Europe. While profiting decently since the beginning, the breakthrough came during the Second World War when the company, collaborating with the Allied military, brought mobile cola factories to the very front, handing out cool cola drinks to the soldiers who continued drinking it upon their return home. Since then, it has spread to the United States (with fierce resistance from Coca Cola), South America and even parts of East Asia and Africa, making Ambrosia Cola the most popular soft drink on Earth. In recent years, the Ambrosia Orange drink has been introduced with success. Its advertising branch only has a budget of several hundred millions of dollars annually.
However, it is a poorly kept secret that the Ambrosia Cola sold worldwide is really Diet Ambrosia. "Real" Ambrosia Cola only comes from the Sprawls. The difference is a small amount of Smilex that provides a cloying buzz that's the height of safe drug taking. While illegal outside of the Sprawls, many people still smuggle them out of Sprawls, a trade which Legion Security does very little to stop unless paid by authorities from outside of the Sprawls. Often, these bottles are sold for a bit more money, as the "natural" ingredients are seen as adding to the taste.
Media Companies Edit
Argus News NetworkEdit
"The Syndicate has never killed anyone; they just send their less-than-savory clients abroad for vacation."
- - Argus tycoon Silvio Berlusconi
When the Mediterranean Syndicate announced that it was adding a 24 hour news network to its stable in Mediterranea Reti Televisive, most media analysts were shocked. No reasonable person could stand to watch news for a day; few could even stand to watch it for an hour that most TV networks already aired. The whole network, they said, would flop and probably take the rest of the Syndicate's broadcasting with it. But the Argus News Network (ANN) would prove them very wrong.
The ANN turned the whole of news reporting on its head. instead of having cultured, respectable (and old) men and women presenting the news, they had mostly attractive young people of various ethnicities to appeal to the lowest common denominator of any nation. As it turned out, ANN did not report the news 24 hours a day. While it gave brief reports at periodical breaks and as it happened, the rest of the network was instead news analysis and opinion shows, many of whom soon attracted a cult following. These shows often gave air to opinions that other, hourly news programs simply didn't acknowledge.
The ANN, however, was still a branch of the Syndicate, and acted as such. Often, there would be specials against officials who gave the Syndicate any trouble, often backed up by "fake but accurate" forged documents. One of their most famous media campaigns was against the Allied Nations efforts in Vietnam. ANN heavily broadcast a photograph by Eddie Adams of a South Vietnamese official executing a dishevelled, abused Italian man as proof of the evil of the Vietnam War. ANN did not make it clear that the man in question was a Satyr who had decided to join the "fun" of the war by brutally murdering many people in Saigon.
Regardless, ANN is highly trusted by the public at large; even the Allied Nations trusts its reporting if one can see through the bias. On the same token, many Allied officials were pleased when the BBC started its own news network, the BCN. However, it uses many of the same techniques as the ANN to simply keep afloat, a testament to its market appeal.
Starting out as a small recording studio out of Detroit formed by Berry Gordy Jr., Mototown Records has ballooned since then into a music industry titan, claiming more artists (and their contracts) than any other single music group out there, revolutionizing the way companies distribute records, organize recording sessions and, most importantly, "sign on" their newest acts. Signing on major acts like The Temptations, Martha Reeve and the Vandellas, the Contours and others, Mototown is also known as one of the most racially diverse music studios in the world. It is telling that their first real hit, recorded by artist Barrett Strong, is the song "Money (That's What I Want)".
Look deeper, however, and studio is fraught with corruption. Artists are essentially puppets for their bosses, forced to record long hours for even the smallest mistake, little more than famous slaves with golden collars offered by their contracts. Tours are long and arduous, and any act that starts to slip runs the risk of being cut off like a parasite, no matter how many gold records they've given the company.
Despite these actions, Mototown acts are some of the most popular in America, consistently topping the Top 10 hitlist, music which, only through the borderline-dangerous efforts of Airman Adrian Cronauer, has started to boost troop morale in South Vietnam, and spread Mototown's reach throughout the world.
Rumours of subliminal messages in Motortown records, such as "Buy more records" or "Drink Ambrosia Cola", hidden backwards in their hit singles are officially denied.
Walt Disney Corporation Edit
Founded in 1926, Walter Elias Disney began drawing several cartoons as a small side project from his work in Standard Oil. After going through several failed ideas (Such as the Lisa Comedies that fell out of style as the silent movie era ended, and a short lived series following the adventures of a Mouse) he finally settled on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Proud of his work, he began to distribute cartoons through Universal Studios to be played before feature films. The first cartoon staring Oswald, Steamboat Willie, not only became the first cartoon with synchronised sound, but also one of the first cartoons that gained a high degree of attention. This attention was both good and bad however, because after a two year run with the character, Universal Studios claimed that they had the rights to Oswald, a fact made true through a contract loop hole. On a train ride from the studio headquarters in New York back to California, Walt was approached by two Syndicate lawyers. They offered to give Walt the rights to his character, if he managed to convince Standard Oil to sign a merger with the Syndicate. Desperate, and struggling with new character concepts on a notepad, he agreed. Two weeks later ink was signed, giving the Syndicate full control of Standard Oil. This was front page news, eclipsing the story of how Charles Mintz, CEO of Universal Studios, had died in an accident when his limo drove into the Delaware River.
Walt Disney regained contractual rights of Oswald, and began distributing on his own, slowly amassing a large fortune. Stepping down from Standard Oil in 1955 (although still remaining on their Board of Advisers), he took on a project that would nearly bankrupt him, an amusement park called Disneyland. Despite concerns from many banks, the Syndicate happily poured money into the project, saving the company from bankruptcy several times. In 1956, exactly one year after the park had begun construction, it opened, becoming one of the company's most successful ventures.
Today, the Walt Disney Corporation has been expanding its roles in media ten-fold, and has announced two new parks, Disney World, which is set to open in Florida in 1971, and Euro Disney, set to open in France in 1975. In addition, Oswald has become a lifelong legend, although Walt has been considering the re-addition of a hot tempered Mouse in Oswald's gang of friends, Oswald remains as one of his company's primary cash cows. The Syndicate also makes a pretty penny every year from Oswald based merchandise and the parks. There are rumours that Walt Disney himself is in ill health, but doctors have been managing to keep him stable. After all, the Syndicate can't possibly lose such a gifted man!
Medicine and BiotechnologyEdit
A subsidiary of the Syndicate created at the direct order of the Board of Classics, Chiron is a Greek-based Syndicate subsidiary and one of the largest medical corporations in Greece, specialising primarily in the neurosciences. The company was originally formed to take advantage of the knowledge of a top Soviet scientist, after the scientist defected to Greece. Notably, the company produces and sells the mind-machine interfaces that make controlling Syndicate cybernetic implants possible, holding a virtual monopoly on this technology.
The revenue from this one product makes up a significant portion of the company's revenue alone, but the company also specialises in other areas, producing a wide array of drugs, many of which are psychoactive. These range from psychiatric medications and painkillers to recreational psychedelic drugs and drugs meant to enhance brain function. Additionally, the company also conducts intensive research into the brain and the nervous system, something which has given the Syndicate an unparalleled understanding of both.
Crystal Mountain MetalsEdit
The Republic of the Congo (formerly the Belgian Congo) is known to possess vast mineral wealth, with incredibly rich deposits of untapped raw minerals. Such deposits are estimated to have immense economic value, something which has attracted the attention of mining companies, eager to exploit the country's natural resources.
Unfortunately, attempts to mine these minerals out of the ground have been hampered by instability in the country. The country's independence in 1960 was followed by the secession of several provinces, sparking off internal conflict and leading to the hire of mercenaries by both sides, with the Congolese government contracting Legion Security and the secessionist State of Katanga receiving aid from several hundred European mercenaries. Political crisis would follow in September of that same year, when President Joseph Kasavubu dismissed Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, sparking a chain of events that ended with the assassination of Lumumba.
Allied intervention would eventually bring an end to the secessions, but this would not signal the end of conflict in the region, as a leftist rebellion would break out around 1964 and quickly take control of half the country, sparking off a new crisis. Once again, Legion Security would be contracted by the Congolese government to help combat the rebels, and Legion Security mercenaries would also foil an attempted coup by assassinating army leader Joseph Mobutu in 1965. While some semblance of order has since been restored, conflict continues to rage between the rebels and the government, and the government's reliance on Legion Security mercenaries has also led to the Syndicate's increasing influence within the country. This has led to the signing away of the mining rights of several extremely rich mineral deposits to Syndicate owned subsidiaries, such as mining corporation Crystal Mountain Metals, which has mining operations all over the Congo, extracting large quantities of cobalt, copper, industrial diamonds, coltan, and various other mineral resources and exporting them back to the industrialised nations.
Oil and Gas IndustryEdit
Tourism and GamblingEdit
Venetian Resorts CorpEdit
Las Vegas is renown for its hotels and casinos, with its main industries being those of tourism and gambling. The hotels and casinos within the Sprawl are held by various companies, such as Venetian Resorts Corp. Borrowing its name from Venice (though the company doesn't actually have any operations in the Venus Sprawl), the company owns and operates various casinos not just in Las Vegas, but also in other parts at the world. At one point, the company possessed a hotel in Macau, though it has since been abandoned after radioactive fallout from mainland China depopulated the place.
Like other Las Vegas companies, Venetian Resorts specialises in the casino business, but also owns a number of luxury resorts and hotels that have nothing to do with gambling, as well as several resorts that combine luxury hotel accommodations, a casino facility, shows and concerts, retail shopping, a variety of dining options, and various other leisure and entertainment facilities.
Transport Companies Edit
Olympus Airlines Edit
"Airline services fit for a god!"
- - Olympus commercial
One of Europe's largest airlines, Olympus Airlines primarily operates flights throughout Europe, as well as providing long distance trans-Atlantic flights. The company is perhaps best known for its iconic stewardesses, who wear uniforms loosely modeled after ancient Greek and Roman clothing. While primarily a provider of quality air transportation, they also have a subsidiary providing budget air travel and a subsidiary that charters private jets, which has proven one of their most lucrative ventures to date. The company operates a variety of aircraft, from the massive Jumboliners to the luxurious Alexander Private Jets.
Via Road ConstructionEdit
"All roads lead to Rome. We lead the roads."
- - Via Road Construction Slogan
As is the case in many Syndicate controlled territories, roads in Italy are constructed and operated and constructed by privately owned companies, since the Italian government has deteriorated to the point of having almost no power. In a country with next to no regulation surrounding industry, Via is known for the high quality construction of its roads, as well as the extremely high road tolls it imposes on drivers.
Remarkably smooth rides can be guaranteed, since the roads built and operated by Via are smooth and without any potholes, and are also cleared regularly. One of the more impressive features of their roads is automated drive system, which allows drivers to spend their time doing other, more productive things, with the business of getting to their destination handled by computers. This automatic drive system also allows for a central A.I. to coordinate traffic precisely, allowing people to get to where they want to go in the most optimal amount of time, and also preventing traffic jams from ever occurring.
While the high road tolls tend to discourage the less well-off from using their roads, the quality of their roads has nevertheless caught the attention of Legion Security, enough that the mercenary corporation has signed a contract with the road construction company to build prefabricated, quality roads to facilitate the efficient transportation`of supplies.
Blue Mountains Technology GroupEdit
Located in northeast Oregon in the range of mountains that gives it its name, the Blue Mountains Technology Group (or BMTG) is a think-tank and research group that sells out its services to anyone who can pay. Created in the early 1940s by a group of scientists who believed that ethics was holding back and preventing scientific progress, BMTG soon attracted attention in certain circles for its ability to get results. Corporations, and even in some cases, governments, were hiring them out to conduct research that would be considered unethical or even inhumane if their existence was ever made public.
By the 1950s, the group was quite successful, with its substantial revenues being poured back into the group's own projects, such as the development of railgun technology. The rise of the Syndicate managed to attract the group's attention, and at some point they were quietly integrated into the Syndicate, gaining access to the Syndicate's advanced technologies and a large base of potential clients in the conglomerate of corporations.
BMTG maintains research in multiple fields, though they are primarily focused on aerospace and computing technology. The group keeps a low profile and is generally secretive about what goes on inside their facility; however, there are rumours of human experimentation and even worse. Still, most corporations are willing to pay for BMTG's services, as the group can get them the results they want without any questions asked.