STAR FRONTIERS® game characters will encounter a number of identifiable organizations throughout the course of their adventures (Star Law, the Sathar war machine, spy networks, etc.) but one organization stands out from all the rest: the Pan-Galactic Corporation.
The STAR FRONTIERS Alpha Dawn basic game rules list Pan-Galactic as "the oldest and largest interstellar company." The history section explains how Pan-Galactic was established.
In the STAR FRONTIERS Knight Hawks game, Pan-Galactic is mentioned as the largest of over half a dozen huge and multi-faceted corporations operating in the Frontier. How and when did Pan-Galactic's monopoly on the Frontier fail? Where did these other companies come from? The status of mega-corps are clarified in many of Zebulon's notes.
The establishment of the PGC as the major mega-corporation on the Frontier was designed into the basic rules as a starting point from which game referees could design their own corporate structures. The information given in the original Star Frontiers Alpha Dawn game was applicable during the time ofthe First Sathar War (SWI). The information given for the Knight Hawks game is specifically placed as the beginning of the Second Sathar War (SWII).
The first large interstellar company was the Pan-Galactic Corporation; it is no exaggeration to say that PGC ruled the Frontier in the early days. Like the great railroad century of late 19th- and early 20th-century Earth, the PGC was the only fast, safe way to travel through an unknown frontier for the millions of pioneers who yearned for land and their own fortunes. The PGC had its fingers in every pie, controlling financing, transportation, mining, industrial and agricultural organizations, and more one the worlds of the Frontier.
There is a lot to thank the GPC for in this early development period. It founded a common unit of currency (the credit), established the galatic board of trade, created and spread the Pan-Galactic language (usually called PanGal), financed innumerable scientific breakthroughs that led Frontiersmen further and further into space, and did much, much more.
But there were great problems inherent in the one-company system. Corporate corruption became rife on the less civilized worlds. Often whole planets and races were at the mercy of the PGC's concept of "morality," and too often aesthetic values lost out to financial ones. No competition meant stagnation in many industrial areas and complete control of the economic system by a single entity.
Possibly the worst problem, however, was the lack of independence ejoyed by planets, and sometimes whole systems, because of their overwhelming dependence on one source for all their needs. Because of this last factor, a type of economic blackmail, it was inevitable that others would try to break PGC's monopoly on the Frontier.
During the period the Sathar Wars, secret financial groups sprang up, investing in land and various industrial operations and gaining power until their size could no longer be hidden from PGC. Many of these initial investments were made in cities, planetary govenments, and militias.
By the time PGC discovered its potential rivals, it was too late; their footholds were established, and with them cam planetary autonomy. Pan-Galactic's hold over the Frontier was broken at last. The new corporations decided to fight PGC on its own ground, making diverse investments and establishing their operations in the same areas as PGC's operations.
This last point is important, because without it the Satahr could not have presented a serious threat to the UPF during the Second Sathar War. Escalating competition between the larger companies, particularly PGC, Streel Corporation, and Cassidine Development Corporation, led to armed conflicts that required much of Star Law and spacefleets's time and energy to quell. Many galactic historians believe that without this debilitating distraction, the UPF forces would have been stronger and better prepared for another Sathar invasion.
After SWII, corporate focus and investments altered rapidly and radically. Many executives and design teams left the established mega-corps to found their own companies. These new companies were extremely specialized. Financing became available through planetary and galactic bonds created to increase local industry and jobs.
During this shift of talent, many of the established mega-corps began to feel that these were nonprofitable directions and thus not worth their support in the face of any substantial competition. The logic behind this was based on the larger investment firms' belief that specialized companies could not grow to any significant size and would later fail and be merged back into existing mega-corps.
This was a terrible mistake by those few pre-war mega-corps and shows the tunnel vision and lack of foresight that permeated the top executive levels at that time. The specialized firms grew at unprecedented rates. They reinvested their income in their own spefici areas, not in mergers and outside acquisitions. Because of this, within years the thought of dealing with anyone but a specialized compnay was absurd: people would only travel with Trans-Travel, only buy their weapons from WarTech Inc., etc. These companies were the best in their fields and competitive in their pricing. They represented reliability in many areas in which the established mega-corps could no longer hope to compete.
The single greatest factor preventing these embryonic firms from being swallowed up by their larger, richer cousins was the UPF Anti-Merger Laws, passed during SWII. Wishing to discourage centralized industry, which is an easier target for attack or covert takeover by the Sathar, the UPF enacted numerous laws to rpevent mergers that would give a mega-corp a complete monopoly in an industry. So effective were these laws in curbing corporate tyranny that they remain in effect today.
The specialized companies grew at an amazing rate and soon became mega-corps themselves. The animosity some of the older mega-corps felt towards the UPF Governing Council's decision to keep thse laws is still felt today through their lobbying efforts in planetary governments and through their increased "security" divisions that may someday rival those of the UPF forces.
THE CORPORATE WARS
The term "Corporate wars" was not coined until a decade after SWII. The first use of the term was by WarTech Inc., in a special weapons catalogue released to various industries. The new media quickly picked up on the term and used it for sensationalistic effect.
The true beginnings of the Corporate Wars are decades old. In fact, they started before SWII began. The first Corporate War began on Laco's World in the Dixon's Star system. It was the scene of a decade-long conflict between the Streel Corporation on one side and the Pan-Galactic Corporation operting through the jGalactic Task Force on the other. Tens of thousands of casualties were suffered, and more than a dozen spaceships were destroyed in what is now called "Laco's War."
This was was started and settle before SWII. The outcome of the War was decided by PGC's immense military expenditures. PGC settled with the rights to the planet and Streel Corporation, soundly defeated, made no more attempts to claim it. This set the pattern for future corporate conflicts of and "unnegotiable nature."
At this time, the UPF could not afford to go to was with every corporation that raised a priovate army or fleet. With the sudden reintervention of the Sathar, culminating in SWII, corporations ceased their hostilities to combine their efforts against the common foe. The end of the war quickly saw resumed tensions and private military escalations. This time, however, the UPF was ready for the hostilities.
New laws gave Star Law more powerr and authority to act in the interest of galactic peace. Spacefleet was rearmed and could easily intimidate smaller fleets. Landfleet, the standing UPF army created during SWII, had been maintained, though at a reduced size, and Corporate Wars offered perfect chances for it to practice maneuvers. For a while it looked like the UPF forces could prevent occurences leading to further Laco's Wars.
Unfortunately, the government did not reckon with the mega-corps' greed and resources. A combination of swelled mega-corporate coffers from SWII, thousands of unemploed soldiers turning mercenary, and the emergence of specialized mega-corps that thrived on military conflict resulted in an escalation ofcorporate warfare to a previously unknown level.
In addition to covert Sathar, Mechanon, pirate, and terrorist activities, the UPF security forces now had to deal with full-scale invasions, sieges, and battles fought by more than a dozen mega-corps and conglomerates of smaller firms.
STAGES OF A CORPORATE WAR
To better understand the Corporate Wars, one must go to Star Law and their guideword for rookie Star Lawmen: ICEWARS. This acronym outlines the seven stages of escalation usually seen in a corporate War.
It should be noted that these wars are no longer fought on the developed worlds within the frontier. All battles occur on newly discovered worlds, moons, and in space about them. If a Corporate War is seriously affecting the health and welfare of a planet on the Frontier, Landfleet may be sent in as a peace-keeping force or Spacefleet may step in and end the conflict in the swiftest, surest method available: space blockade, saturation bombardment, and so on. No corporation has ever won a battle with Spacefleet or Landfleet. Star Law usually acts in a covert manner to prevent, delay, or bring an end to these most harmful of wars. Sabotage, disruption of communications, and even the arrest of mega-corp executives on other charges have been used to end conflicts.
Other factors to keep in mind when dealing with mega-corps are their own internal problems. Power struggles between executives are commonplace. The cadres, far-removed descendants of labor unions, are must contend with their influence. Planetary governments also figure heavily in mega-corp decisions.
Following is a list of post-SWII mega-corps, their operations, headquarters, chief executives (if known), subsidiaries, and allies or enemies.
The first five mega-corps (PGC, Streel, CDC, Galactic Task Force, and MercCo) share control over their respective areas and are in constant conflict with each other.
The remaining mega-corps have significant control of their respective areas (60% to 70% control of their industry). Although they are involved in armed conflict with smaller companies and pirates, they seldom battle each other for possession of land, mineral resources, conflict or interest, etc. The have no set allies or enemies.
Consensus has it that the PGC is the largest business entity in the Frontier, but no factual data has been released to support this belief. The PGC has offices on nearly every inhabited planet, but has now confined most of its operations to financial areas, industrial research, funding Frontier explorations, loans for business ventures, investments, the backing of new governments, and so forth.
Headquarters: Port Loren, Gran Quivera, Prenglar
Chief Executive: Chang Kim Lee (Human)
Subsidiaries: PGC owns innumerable small and medium-sized corporations, including Trojan Enterprises on Kraatar.
Allies: Galactic Task Force Inc.
Enemies: Streel Corporation, MercCo
Occasional Opposition: CDC, Capellan Free Merchants
Streel has grown remarkably in the last few decades and is fast approaching PGC in size and financial power. Streel offices are now spread throughout the Frontier and Rim, the latter an area the PGC has neglected. Streel backs technological reserach, banking systems, savings and loan institutions, and financial backings for real estate and agricultural areas.
Headquarters: Point True, Pale, Truane's Star
Chief Executive: Hilo Headow (Yairian)
Subsidiaries: The largers are Greater Vrusk Mutual Prosperity Institution, First Dralasite Savings and Loan chain, an the Yazirian Financial Co-op. All of these were once major competitors that Streel acquried.
Enemies: PGC, Galactic Task Force Inc.
Occasional Enemies: CDC
CASSADINE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
CDC has also grown over the last few decades, but no to the same extend as the Streel Corporation. CDC has offices on all major worlds and is starting to expand into the Rim. CDC specializes in insurance companies and in operations of a risky nature, such as planetary and deep space mining operations, archaeological digs, and off-Frontier exploration ventures.
Headquarters: New Hope, Triad, Cassidine
Chief Executive: Members of the Board of Directors share equal power; most noted Director is Xoprothun (Dralasite)
Subsidiaries: CDC is fronted so well that subsidiaries are relatively unknown
Allies: CDC has had an allience, at one time or another, with alomst every mega-corp except PGC and Streel
Occasional Opposition: PGC, Galatic Task Force Inc., Streel Corporation, Capellan Free Merchants, MercCo
GALACTIC TASK FORCE INCORPORATED
Galatic Task Force (usually known simply as Galatic or GTF has a monopoly on the business of providing nonmilitary or nonsecurity services for other companies. Almost every service imaginable can be obtained from them. They also provide military and security services, but they do not have a monopoly in those areas. Their slogal, "Secretaries to mercenaries, we've got a place for you!" in known throughout the Frontier.
Headquarters: Port Loren, Gran Quivera, Prenglar
Chief Executive: Vlad Lopex (Human)
Subsidiaries: Rent-A-Drudge, 24-Hour Escorts Inc., All-Day Medical Services, Security Forces Ltd.
Enemies: MercCo, Streel Corporation
Occasional Oppostion: Various small services and security organizations, local militia, pirates
MercCo was created shortly after SWII by enterprising individuals who specialized in warfare. They received financial backing from the Streel Corporation, and in ten years have developed into a mega-corp. MercCo Specializes inin mercenaries for hire in temporary or permanent security, military, or high-risk positions.
Headquarters: Buckerton, Kdikit, Madderly's Star
Chief Executive: Ebser Henshaw (Yazirian)
Subsidiaries: ForceCo (military personnel), SecurCo (security personnel), RiskCo (high risk operations of any type)
Allies: Streel Corporation
Enemies: Galactic Task Force Inc., PGC
Occasional Opposition: Various small security organizations, militia, pirates
Trans-Travel is a planetary corporation composed of many different ccompanies all financed by and headquartered on the same planet, Terledrom. The government of Terledrom formed this corporation at the outbreak of SWII. It was the first of the new mega-corps. All of tehse compaies specialize in some form of transportation or the manufacturing of transport vehicles or machines.
Trans-Travel itselfcontrols 80% of nonmilitary space travel. This includes transportation of raw materials, processed goods, passengers, etc. Trans-Travel's slogan, "Your safest route is with Trans-Travel," is as much a warning to ther mega-corps asan advertisement. T-T considers smuggling a serious crime and wqill punish it by death, if given a chance.
Headquarters: Sengsen, Terledrom, Fromeltar
Chief Executive: Ruled by a council of Yazirians whose identities are not common knowledge
Subsidiaries: Frontier Spaceship Manufacturing Corporation, Interstellar Vehicles Co., Hickman Hovercraft, Niles Vehiles, Grubber Aircraft Industries, Stewint Land Transport Company, Curtis Cycle Corporation, Dobson Security Vehicles, Ltd., Moore Labs
SynthCorp provides the vast amount of natural and synthetic food, beverages, and over-the-counter pharmaceutical needs to the Frontier. It owns many agricultural co-ops, vast manufacturing facilities, and dozens of laboratories. Almost all independent agricultural and diary operations deal with SynthCorp. Amazingly, they are all on very good terms and SynthCorp has the best reputation for fairness and quality of any mega-corp.
Headquarters: Synthtown, Inner Reach, Dramune
Chief Executive: Krondot (Dralasite)
Subsidiaries: ByChem, thousands of small and middle-sized companies
I.I. specializes in high-tech devices of a noncomputer or noncommunications nature that are too expensive for other mega-corps to produce. More galactic patents are held by I.I. than any other mega-corp, and its research labs are the finest on the Frontier. Industrial spying is a way of life with most mega-corps and I.I. is no exception. Its private security force is reputed to be the best in the Frontier.
Headquarters: Lake Vast, Triad, Cassidine
Chief Executive: Harlon Thow (Human)
NESMITH ENTERPRISES OF TRIAD
The NET holds the patents on most computer and communications equipment. Competition between the NET and I.I. is strong, but it has not yet erupted into a Corporate War. Both mega-corps would like to expand into their counterpart's market. This is a volatile situation that Star Law is trying to contain. Because of the NET's patents on programming units (progits) and body computers (bodycomps), plus the circuitry for most communication and radiophones, most other mega-corps have never even considered competing with the NET.
Headquarters: Malicon Valley, Triad, Cassidine
Chief Executive: Unknown
Subsidiaries: Hundreds, all closely identified with NET (e.g., NET-Progit Industries, NET-Communicator Industries, etc.).
UniHo specializes in three distinct areas: textiles and clothing, household furnishings, and buildings. Their synthetic apparel resists grime and wear and is inexpensive. Therefore UniHo made sure it controls the fashion industry; though made to last longer, their apparel goes out of style yearly. UniHo funrishings are usually made of plastic or plasteel and are modular in design. Any piece of valuable furniture, such as real wood pieces, are usually made by a sub-contractor. UniHo buildings are pre-fab dwellings, offices, industrial and professional facilities, and so forth. Specialty buildings are expansive and are designedand cosntructed by architectural engineers.
Headquarters: Hyyay, Hakosoar, Scree Fron
Chief Executive: K'an Ku (Vrusk)
Subsidiaries: Two massive ones: Planetary Structures Inc., and Kotiz Fashions Inc.
Leisure time activities are the concern of Starplay Enterprises, and most legal intoxicants, confectionaries, exotic cuisine, sporting goods, sports events, gambling, recreational equipment and facilities, and general entertainment are provided by them. Under UPF laws, no single corporation can hold a complete monopoly in the But Starplay comes as close as it legally can to doing just that. It offers dozens of orbiting boardcast stations for subscriber channels and publishes thousands of periodicals in all known languages. Many financial experts believe Starplay will be the next number one mega-corp.
Headquarters: Maxe, Minotaur, Theseus
Chief Executive: Zsa-Nin (Yazarian)
Subsidiaries: Most major sports leagues and facilities, Price Publishing, the Stellar Entertainment Network
ASSOCIATION OF INTERGALACTIC POWER SUPPLIERS
The A.I.P.S. is the newest mega-corp and was created in a most unusual way. Power suppliers throughout the galaxy have traditionally been independents. But a private investigation team gained evidence that PGC was planning a massive buyout of most energy producers, including companies in the solar, nuclear, petro mining, and thermal collective industries. They sold this information to a small organization of energy producers who quickly called the major power companies together and decided to merge into a mega-corp. If the thousands of independent energy producers still at large joined the A.I.P.S. it would be one of the big three mega-corps.
Headquarters: Klaktow, Hargut, Gruna Garu
Chief Executive: Petrov Noptolova (Human)
Subsidiaries: Hundreds of thousands of companies of all sizes. The best kown include Machon Mining, Nova Nuclear Incorporated, and Consolidated Nebula (Con-Neb).
T.I. controls most of the Frontier's industrial engineering businesses and, more importantly, almost all of the robotics industries. T.I. holds the patents on the Freeswing Gyroscope, necessary for the operation of cost-effective bipedal robots, and on the Marilin Cybernetics Cortex, without which cybernetics would still be a theory. T.I. also produces bionic body parts.
Headquarters: Tachton, Lossend, Timeon
Chief Executive: Margaret Bouvia (Human)
Subsidiaries: Raupp Robotics, Elmore Electronics, Arky Positronics, Parkinson Cybernetic Industries, Easley Androids Ltd., Egalt Robotics, LaForce Industrial Engineering Corporation, Dawck Factories
GALACTIC OVERALL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY
This mega-corp is refereed to as GODCo by the less reverent. It is located on Hentz, which is ruled by a religious clan, the Family of One. Although not an overly fanatic or expansionistic religion, itdoes dictate that everyone who lives on Hentz or worksfor GODCo must wear a uniform denoting his job and social position.
GODCo's specialty is architectural engineering and terraforming. Whilte architecturalengineering is a lucrative business, it is the planet-altering terraforming that has really propelled the company to mega-corp status. Since the Cassidine Development Corporation funded them and the Capellan Free Merchants underwrote the loan, GODCo is particularly indebted to them.
The science of terraforming may change the structure of the entire Frontier over the coming centuries, as whole worlds may be made inhabitable. Only planets that have no intelligent life form can be terraformed. However, hundreds of thousands of species of flora and fauna are destroyed each time a planet is reformed and some new cults have arisen to try and block further planetwide destruction of life.
Headquarters: Onehome, Hetz, Araks
Chief Executive: Rev. Yeppir (Yazirian)
The WarTech Inc. military and industrial complex control about 80% of all weaponry sold, and can influence planetary and system-wide military conflicts. Corporate warfare and miscellaneous battles on the Frontier are usually conducted by members of Galactic, MercCo, planetary militia, or Landfleet, who all buy their supplies from WarTech (or rent them from the Capellan Free Merchants). It is even reported that private dealers buy weapons for pirate or terrorist organizations from WarTech. It is also rumored that certain "Doomsday" devices were created by WarTech, but were deemed to be too dangerous for public consumption.
Headquarters: Heston, Hargut, Gruna Garu
Chief Executive: Lance "Gunner" Todd (Human)
Subsidiaries: Interstar Weaponry, Nova Explosives Unlimited, Newar
Laboratories, Zik-kit Ordinance Industries
Referee note: Unknown to the rest of the mega-corps, WarTech actually has the largest annual income
The motto of Eversafe, "Live eversafe and eversecure!" gives some indication of the hardware available from this mega-corp. Eversafe produces most of the Frontier's defensive suits, power screens, vehicle plating and defensive attachments, and security systems. From time to time Eversafe field tests new defenses through Star Law or MercCo.
Headquarters: Moline, Gollywog, White Light
Chief Executive: E. LeRoy Lange (Human)
Subsidiaries: Wokeekoo Scanner Manufacturing Corporation, Armorall Unlimited, Guardall Inc., Mikooc Cardlock Manufacturing Firm
CAPELLAN FREE MERCHANTS
This unusual conglomerate of retail outlets, distributors, manufacturers, and trading ships is much larger than msot Frontiersman realize. The Capellan Free Merchants is a union of small companies that protects its members from mega-corps. It specializes in the sale of exotic items, which can usually be found nowhere else but in a CFM shop, and in rentals. This renting or leasing of equipment to its members (at a flat rate) and up to nonmembers (at the going rate plus 20% per month) is extremely lucrative and has been a thorn in other mega-corps' paws for years. Free Merchants also repair and maintain equipment, giving them added income on other mega-corps' products.
The most recognizable memebErs of this conglomerate (although there are members of every known race in the CFM) are the Ifshnits from the Capella system of the Rim Confederation. These timy merchants organize hundreds of planet-hopping trading ships that ply the spaceways with their wares. The Free Merchants have a clear understanding with Trans-Travel and will only transport their own materials and personnel on their ships. The Capellan Free Merchants usually do not open a shop under than name, but prefer the anonymity of a front organization. Because of their long domination of Rim society they do not necessarily feel constrined by the niceties of law.
Any being can belong to the Free MErchants, but he must pass a five-year apprenticeship program first. Entry into this programrequires sponsorship by an already established Free Merchant. The Capellan Free Merchants have been known to venture beyond known space in search of new and exotic items.
Headquarters: Red Islan, Faire, Capella
Chief Executives: The Council of Twelve, a revolving membership rawn from Capellan elders who have been Free Merchants.
Referee Note: The Capellan Free Merchants seem to be an exception to many rules goerning mega-corps, such as not really being an exculsive manufacturer of materals and being able to avoid the Trans-Travel lobby. This is because the CFM were granted a UPF charter to do so, the only one of its kind, in gratitude for their help during the rough days following SWI.