Rise of the Megacorps
It all began in the late 1990s, as the civil unrest that marked the end of the millennium intensified even more. Alarmed at the state of things, the corporations feared to trust their interests to indifferent or, in their eyes, incompetent governments. Beginning with their holdings in the Third World countries, they armed their security personnel with the finest available equipment and hired professional mercenaries on both long- and short- term contracts. As the tide of civil desobedience and urban violence began to engulf every nation on the globe, the corporations began to transfer their paramilitary assets wherever needed. The stage was set.
In 1999, food riots in New York city created the flashpoint. Angered and frightened by a three-month trucker's strike that had stopped the flow of fresh foods into New York, the people took to the streets. Hundred were killed and thousands injured as the violence spread through the city.
At one point, a Seretech Med-Research truck hauling wastes, including infectious materials, became the target of a mob. In what becane a running gunflight, Seretech security came to aid of the corporate truckers, withdrawing them to one of firm's medical research facilities. More violence followed as the maddened crowd stormed the building. By dawn, 20 Seretech employees were dead, while 200 rioters lay lifeless on the grounds and in the street.
In a misguided attempt to crush the growing corporate armies, the city, then the state and federal governments, charged Seretech with criminal negligence. Seretech asserted that by defending its truck from the mob, it prevented the potentially lethal cargo from infecting the population at large. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court upheld Seretech's right to maintain an armed force for the protection of its own personnel and property, and commeded the corporation for protecting innocent citizens and honoring its trust to dispose of contaminated materials safely. The case set a precedent that led to the Shiawase Decision of 2001, firmly establishing the extraterritoriality of multinational corporations in international law.
More disasters followed. In 2004, Lybia unleashed a chemical weapon against Israel. The Israelis responded by destroying half of Lybia's cities with nuclear weapons. Then, in 2005, a major earthquake hit New York city, killing more than 200,000 people and leaving behind over 200 billion dollars worth of damage. It would be 40 years before the city was fully rebuilt. In the meantime, the United Nations moved to Geneva and the East Coast Stock Echange to Boston.
Central governments were replaced by Mega-Corporations, which were a law unto themselves. People who accepted their sovereignty were protected. The outcast, dissidents and rebels were exploited and abused, as it had always been between the weak and the powerful since time began.
With their new freedom, the corporations of North America increased their exploitation of the continent's resources with a vengeance. In what the media dubbed "The Resource Rush", corporate coalitions demanded and were granted access to oil, mineral, and land resources on federal lands. Again and again, in the years 2002 until 2008, the government invoked the right of eminent domain to bring property under its control, only to license its explotation to a corporate sponsor. Taking the brunt of this landgrab were the Indian reservations and federal parklands.
Conservationists and Indian-rights groups expressed their shock and disgust, though corporate influence and paramilitary power made it dangerous to object. Angry and frustated, the more radical elements founded the Sovereign American Indian Movement (SAIM), whose roots traced back to the Indian-rights struggles of the twentieth century.
The growing tension and hatreds finally erupted in 2009. On May 5, United Oil Industries announced that it had acquired the right to exploit the petrochemical resources in one-quarter of the remaining federal parks and one-tenth of the Indian lands, which the government had just confiscated. SAIM reacted immediately. A small band entered the Shiloh Launch Facility in northwest Montana, capturing a missile silo. To this day, no one knows how the raiders managed to bypass the security patrols, but once inside the missile silo, the met up with John Redbourne, a USAF major and a full-blood Dakota Sioux. After knocking his partner unconscious, Redbourne took the man's keys and codes to unlock the launch failsafes.
The largest Corporations, the 10 AAA Megacorporations, own a seat on the Corporate Court, the arbitral body over all worldwide corporations (a sort of "Corporate United Nations"). The AA Corporations are multinational corporations with extraterritoriality, while the A Corporations are just beginning to have a multinational presence. The Sixth world's biggest fortunes, represent large individual fortunes.
The Corporate Court rates AAA the largest and most important corporations. Also called Prime Megacorporations, AAA-rated corporations enjoy the same extraterritorial privileges as AA megacorporations. They are also given, at least, a representative on the Corporate Court for their importance.
Currently (as of 2080), the following corporations are listed as AAA:
- Ares Macrotechnology: Detroit-based conglomerate of automobile, steel, arms and space industry companies, led by Damien Knight.
- Aztechnology: From Aztlan (formerly Mexico, recreated in Aztec image), heavily involved in consumer goods, chemistry and magic.
- Evo (formerly Yamatetsu): Shipping and infrastructure giant, of Japanese-Philippine origin. Later moved to Vladivostok, Russia.
- Horizon: a media giant
- Mitsuhama Computer Technologies: Started as money laundering operation for the Yakuza but soon surpassed their investors' income by a very large margin.
- Spinrad Global: Formed from the merger of Spinrad Industries, and Global Sandstorm shortly after the Boston Lockdown was blamed on NeoNET and currently leasing JRJ International's corporate court seat.
- Renraku Computer Systems: Computer and arms-producing giant from Japan.
- Saeder-Krupp: the world's largest corp, a German conglomerate based on the production of steel, heavy industrial goods, cars (BMW), arms and communications in Europe. Its majority shareholder and chairman is Lofwyr, a Great Dragon, who bought the company stocks from hoarded resources.
- Shiawase Corporation: Old family business, which survived the turmoils of the early 21st century unscathed, quickly able to expand in energy production, biotech and environmental procedures. The oldest megacorp who first fought for mega-corporate sovereignty.
- Wuxing: a Hong Kong-based company and member of the Pacific Prosperity Group
The following corps have held AAA status in the past but no longer do so:
- Cross Applied Technologies: Cross ascended to AAA status after the Corp War of 2060 by obtaining the seat recently vacated by Renraku but subsequently lost that seat during the Matrix Crash 2.0.
- Fuchi Industrial Electronics: Fuchi at one point was the second-most powerful corporation in the world, but the three-way factionalization at the top eventually caused it to fall. In 2059, Richard Villiers withdrew his assets from Fuchi to form Novatech, taking with him Fuchi's corporate seat. Shortly thereafter, Shikei Nakatomi split with the second third of Fuchi and joined Renraku. This remnant, under the control of Korin Yamana merged with Shiawase, as Fuchi effectively ceased to exist by 2060.
- Novatech: The Villiers faction of Fuchi inherited the former megacorp's position on the Corporate Court. However, it never established as successful a position as Fuchi did and made some bitter enemies with former colleagues now working for Renraku and Shiawase. Furthermore, Novatech came under financial assault from Art Dankwalther, an ex-Fuchi accountant who was laid off and later inherited a large sum of money from Dunkelzahn's will, which Art used to exact a personal vendetta against Novatech. In response, Novatech made a massive IPO, going public coincidentally at the same time the AI Deus emerged on the East Coast Stock Exchange. In the aftermath of Matrix Crash 2.0, Novatech merged with AA corporations Erika and Transys Neuronet to form NeoNET, which in turn inherited Novatech's seat on the Corporate Court and sits there in its stead.
- NeoNET: Formed from a merger of Novatech, Erika, and Transys Neuronet shortly after the Novatech IPO and the Matrix Crash 2.0. Was dismantled and ceased to exist as a corporate entity at the end of 2079 after taking the blame for the Boston Lockdown.
The following organizations were founding members of the Corporate Court and hold permanent seats on it.
- Ares Industries (renamed Ares Macrotechnology in 2024)
- BMW (reorganized into Saeder-Krupp in 2036)
- JRJ International (seat currently leased to Spinrad Global)
- Keruba International (bought by Renraku in 2029)
- Mitsuhama Computer Technologies
Corporations are classified as AA by the Corporate Court if they have a strong multinational presence and a good stability. Nations signatory of the Business Recognition Accords must grant them extraterritorial rights. AA corporations are usually called megacorporations, although the term is often mistakenly considered to only refer to 7-10 AAA Prime Megacorporation members of the Corporate Court.
AA Megacorporations (2078)
- AG Chemie Europa (NEEC)
- Aerospatiale SA
- Citigroup (MDC)
- Colt Manufacturing
- Cord Mutual Insurance
- Eastern Tiger Corporation (PPG)
- ESUS (NEEC)
- Federated-Boeing (PPG)
- Ford Motor Company
- Frankfurter Bankverein AG (Frankfurt Bank Association) (NEEC)
- Gaeatronics (PPG)
- Genesis Consortium
- Global Standstorm
- Hildebrandt-Kleinfort-Bernal (NEEC)
- Integrated Weapon Systems PLC
- Korporacja Opatrznosci Bozej (Providence Corporation)
- Kolkota Integrated Talent & Technologies
- Komatsu Limited
- KondOrchid SA
- Kwonshan Industries
- Lockheed Corporation
- Lone Star Security Services
- Maersk Incorporated Assets (NEEC)
- Monobe International
- Nagato Corporation
- NYPD, Inc. (MDC)
- Proteus AG (NEEC)
- Reality, Inc.
- Regulus Joint Industries
- Renault-Fiat-Meridional (NEEC)
- Shibata Construction and Engineering (PPG)
- Singapore, Inc.
- Sony Corporation (MDC)
- Spinrad Industries ((MDC; NEEC; PPG)
- Tablelands Software
- Tanamyre Resources
- Telestrian Industries Corporation
- Trans-Orbital (MDC)
- Universal Omnitech (PPG)
- Virtual Reality, Inc.
- Winter Systems
- Yakashima Technologies
- Yang Su Enterprises
- Yokogawa Corporation
- Zeta-ImpChem (NEEC)
Corporations are classified as A or Third Tier by the Corporate Court if they are present in at least two different countries. They are also called multinationals.
- Bioenergetica Ukraine (Philike Hetairia)
- Genom Corporation
- Metagenetic Research Consortium
- New Dawn Corp.
- Zion Amalgamated
- Atlanta International Bank
- Banco Occidental
- Bezpieczny Bank
- Brackhaven Investments
- Confederate Investment Corporation of Atlanta
- Gavilan Ventures
- Ifrit Services (sa.98)
- Olive Holdings
- Trans-Latvia Enterprises
- Ulu Maika Investments
- Zürich Investments
Entertainment and Media
- Amalgamated Studios
- Atlantean Foundation
- Brilliant Genesis
- EarthWyrm Media & Communications
- Independent NewsNet
- Visionquest Entertainment
- Wind Speaker Corp.
- Eta Engineering
- Aegis Cognito (subsidiary of Spinrad Industries)
- ARGUS (Subsidiary of MET2000)
- Infolio (subsidiary of Index-AXA)
- Millennium Consulting
- Special Information Services (subsidiary of Renraku)
- Checkpoint Software
- High Plains Coding (sna.135)
- Tan Tien Incorporated (cd.10)
- Warpdrive Systems (cd.10)
- 10,000 Daggers (Constantinople)
- BrightEdge (Morocco)
- Combat, Inc. (Macao)
- Executive Action Brigade
- Free Marine Corps (Caribbean League)
- MET2000 (AGS)
- Tsunami (Japan)
- BAE Systems
- Cavalier Arms Ltd.
- Middle Kingdom Security
- Perun Security
- Pueblo Security Enterprises, Inc.
- Revlup Security
Corporations that are within only one nation, no matter their size, are not given a rating by the Corporate Court.
Unknown Rating Corporations
- Arabian Future Industries
- Centurion Industries (ssc.7)
- Centurion Special Security Group
- Defiance Industries (ssc.8)
- Eibisu Biomechanics
- Fichetti Firearms (ssc.25,86)
- Ganges Softworks
- Kelmar Technologies (ssc.41,70-71)
- Kokura Biotechnology Inc.
- Kyuusei Medical
- Lyco Systems(ssc.38)
- Panther Industries (ssc.60)
- Peterson Enterprises
- Polynesian Fuels
- Rebel Network
- Red Wheel Engineering
- Sandler Corporation (ssc.13)
- Williams Technologies (ssc.72)
The Corporate Court
Sixth world's biggest fortunes
- Shadowrun: First Edition, pp 6, 12 (1989)
- Shadows of Europe p.25
- Bloody Business, 140
- Bloody Business, 146
- Run & Gun ?
- Neo-Anarchist's Guide to North America
- State of the Art: 2064 p.21
- Market Panic p.125
- "Ruling the Queen City", Seattle Sprawl, 29
- Shadows of Asia p.182
- Target: UCAS ?
- Corporate Guide p.196
- System Failure pp.110-13
- "Ruling the Queen City", Seattle Sprawl, 31
- Rigger 3 p.21
- Shadows of Europe p.27
- Shadows of Europe p.87
- Shadows of Europe p.16
- Shadows of Asia p.11
- Shadows of Asia p.8
- Ghost Cartels p.55
- Rigger 3 p.20
- Corporate Guide p.198
- Corporate Guide p.202
- Bloody Business, 132
- Corporate Guide p.211
- Vice p.54
- Corporate Guide p.215
- Shadows of Europe p.28
- Street Legends ?
- The Clutch of Dragons ?
- Shadows of Asia p.155
- Shadows of Asia pp.170-71
- Bloody Business, 149
- Market Panic p.129
- Cutting Aces pp.33-35
- Native American Nations, Vol. 1
- Shadows of North America p.80
- Target: Awakened Lands p.42
- "Ruling the Queen City", Seattle Sprawl, 35
- Target: Matrix p.14
- Conspiracy Theories p.161
- Corporate Guide p.220
- Market Panic p.115
- Corporate Guide p.224
- Market Panic p.170
- Dirty Tricks ?