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A genetic engineering corporation based at Silas Duncan Station. They are known for their radical pantropic and transhumanist ideology and complete contempt for the Earth-Lunar regime of the Genetic Regulatory Agency. Avatar developed and marketed the Tennin genetic sequences that allowed humans to survive indefinite periods of microgravity and cosmic radiation.
Avatar is neither huge (it has about 700 employees, and is privately held) nor exceptionally wealthy (profits of about $70 million in 2099). However, it is the biggest Duncanite company, and its shadow looms large over the modern solar system: its owners and researchers are the children and grandchildren of the Ares Conspiracy. The company has a near-legendary reputation for innovation and risk-taking. Despite somewhat lower benefits than some corporations, it attracts not just Duncanites but some of the rest of the solar system’s most maverick (and ethically challenged) genetic engineers. Avatar is currently embroiled in a low-intensity conflict with preservationist terrorists on Europa.
The biotech industry has come a very long way from the “sanctuary” days. Today, Fourth Wave biotechnology forms the largest sector of the world economy. Geriatric medicine alone accounts for a substantial portion of global economic output. Some of the firms listed here are among the largest in the world.
Ambrosia Kliniken AG (Berlin, Germany): A European chain of clinics specializing in rejuvenation techniques and other forms of geriatric therapy.
Aristos Designs (Athens, Greece): One of Europe’s foremost producers of advanced parahuman genetic templates. Has a geriatric- medicine division (Athanatos Clinics).
Baumann Krankenpflege AG (Vienna, Austria): A medical services firm, which supplies hospitals and clinics worldwide.
Biomonde Lyons (Lyons, France): A firm specializing in genetic therapies, especially for applications in geriatric medicine. Well-known for its wide range of anti-cancer drugs.
Denali Heartwoods (Portland, United States): An old tissue engineering firm, which has prospered for decades through the production of vat-produced wood and paper products.
Epsilon Laboratories (Mexico City, Mexico): Originally a Canadian firm which moved south after the Canadian breakup. Primarily involved in improvements to existing genetic templates, but is rumored to have a division doing classified work on military bioroid design.
Fletcher Omaha Designs (Omaha, United States): An important producer of genetically improved crop plants. Founded quite early in the century, has branches and subsidiaries worldwide.
Manticore Biotech (San Diego, United States): An American tissue-engineering firm famous (or infamous) for its bioroid and bioshell designs. Also produces a number of innovative biomod implants.
Métapparences (Montreal): A company which operates biosculpt and implant clinics throughout North America and the European Union.
PT Nusantara Biotek (Djakarta, Indonesia): Premier Indonesian genetic-engineering firm. Suspected of operating an elaborate industrial-espionage branch.
Yamato Omnigenetics (Nagasaki, Japan): A firm specializing in rejuvenation technology and other forms of geriatric medicine. Also has a division investigating germ-line engineering for longevity.
A transnational specializing in genetic engineering. Biotech Euphrates was founded by a Turkish millionaire, and was one of the first “offshore” genetic engineering laboratories, at one time operating out of a converted Iraqi oil tanker under the Panama flag. From such humble beginnings, it became a major provider of pharm animals to the Third World and later to Mars. It was the first company to commercialize human germline eugeneering, with its pioneering Alpha upgrade.
Biotech Euphrates remains at the cutting edge of HuGE. It’s also the world’s second-largest provider of GMO crops and animals, and a leading manufacturer of vat-grown fauxflesh, wood, and paper. It is moving into living products, such as living rugs, bathmats, and biobuildings. Its living furniture line is popular, and its current showpiece project is Luna City, the “city that lives.”
Biotech Euphrates’ main offices and research labs are located in various space stations on Luna, in Earth orbit, and at L4, with factories system-wide.
CG is one of the largest gengineering and biomodification corporations in the system. It specializes in pantropic enhancements. It stands by its work and provides extensive counseling and product support. CG is based in the United States and has heavily supported the American Mars program. ShonTec is its biomod division, known for its expertise in proteus viruses.
Columbia Aerospace is one of America’s largest corporations. Its major products are satellites, spacecraft, fusion drives, and high-energy lasers (both weapons and launching). It is one of the world’s largest space-defense contractors, with subsidiaries involved in a wide range of military activity. It has built most of the USAF’s combat spacecraft since the 2040s, when it absorbed the last of the 20th-century aerospace giants. Columbia Aerospace’s headquarters is at Columbia Station in Earth orbit, and it also manages Quito Spaceport, the system’s busiest aerospace launch complex.
Crossroads is a large consulting firm, based in New York City, but with branch offices all over the world. It was founded in the 2020s as an alliance of several smaller consultancies working in various disciplines. Crossroads targets the “social problems” market, attempting to resolve social difficulties brought on by the rapid advance of technology.
Crossroads consultants work alone or in small teams (a team usually includes at least one attorney, one memetic engineer, and some number of experts in “hard” technology). The usual Crossroads client is a government, or a private institution with at least regional scope. Crossroads consultants are most often called in to study a local situation and recommend economic or social policies. Sometimes they are needed to help mediate a social dispute. While Crossroads tries not to get involved in situations of imminent violence, its consultants have sometimes been caught in the thick of a riot or uprising.
The Crossroads corporate culture is strictly egalitarian; there are few social distinctions between the CEO of the company and its lowliest data analyst. The salary structure is also remarkably flat, and there is an extensive training-and-education budget for all employees. Crossroads is a superb firm to work for, but it is very selective in recruitment. A potential employee must speak several languages fluently, demonstrate the ability to adapt to different cultural norms, and be willing to travel worldwide on a moment’s notice.
Crossroads has a very good public reputation around the world, based on a solid record of accomplishment in a wide variety of cultural contexts. For example, in 2088 the firm gave the new government of Uganda a comprehensive set of policy recommendations, which have since served to firm up the national economy and resolve long-standing differences between internal factions. Meanwhile, throughout the 2090s Crossroads has been deeply involved in India, helping various local governments deal with ethnic strife and economic difficulties. These efforts have been successful more often than not, and have incidentally done much to keep India stable and out of the nanosocialist camp.
Esperante Enterprises was founded in the early 2030s by Julian Grant, a British expatriate living in the Republic of South Africa. Grant was one of the “philosopher entrepreneurs” who caught the world’s imagination in that period, making a fortune for himself while working to improve the lot of some of the world’s poorest people. In keeping with this goal, his firm was less a profit-making enterprise than a self-supporting charity. Instead of specializing in a particular product, Esperante Enterprises specialized in developing pools of very low-wage labor.
In its early days, a typical Esperante Enterprises subsidiary followed a careful strategy. After reaching an agreement with the local government, Esperante would place a plant in a region suffering from chronic underemployment. The plant would be built and staffed by anyone who was willing to work hard, regardless of skills or experience – senior Esperante employees would teach any necessary skills during construction. This process was aided by cutting-edge instructional software, along with construction methods adapted to unskilled labor. Esperante gave its workers more pay, barely, than they could earn elsewhere. Its education and medical benefits were superb, however, and every worker took part in a profit- sharing plan which earned him a potential share in the factory itself.
The products manufactured at an Esperante facility were always chosen for ease of shipping and the ability to earn a modest profit in the developed world. For example, the Esperante plant built in Luanda in 2036 assembled personal-assistance robots for sale to middle-class homes in Europe and the United States. These robots were not cutting-edge technology, but they were cheap and reliable, and more affordable than the “luxury” models being built in the developed world at the time.
Eventually, the factory would be self-sufficient. At that point, the parent company would divest itself of the facility, turning a controlling interest over to the workers themselves . . . after which the firm would be off to its next venture. By the 2050s Esperante Enterprises was operating plants in over two dozen poor nations around the world.
Naturally, the Esperante business model had only mixed success. Some of the divested facilities continued in operation, adding to the economic base of their host countries. Others failed due to mismanagement, external interference, or simple shifts of the market. Meanwhile, the model never netted large profits for Esperante Enterprises. Julian Grant died in 2079, with only a modest fortune.
After Grant’s death, Esperante Enterprises was taken over by an unscrupulous faction among his heirs. Over the past 20 years, they have continued to seek out pools of very cheap labor, but the corporation is no longer interested in developing local communities. Instead, costs of all kinds have been cut as far as possible. No longer do Esperante factories offer medical, education, or profit-sharing benefits. The largest payments are usually kickbacks to corrupt local officials. Instead of winning the loyalty of employees, Esperante hires mercenaries or local government enforcers to keep the labor force in line.
Where once Esperante Enterprises was known for bringing hope to the world’s poorest nations, now it is known for contributing to corrupt regimes worldwide. The change in Esperante’s strategy was very unpopular; recently (2097) the company had to relocate from South Africa to Lagos, Nigeria. Of course, corporate profits have risen considerably . . .
Executive Decisions Incorporated
EDI is a transnational commercial security firm. In addition to extensive operations on Earth, it provides security services for many space colonies and asteroid stations. Many EDI employees are ex-military.
This controversial company was the research arm of System Technologies AG, dedicated to exploring cuttingedge nanotechnology and artificial intelligence. Exogenesis was a pioneer in human uploading and advanced cybershells, and operated exclusively in the Deep Beyond, outside the strictures of most terrestrial laws. It was unusual in that it placed sapient AIs, ghosts, and high-end bioroids in management positions. Although profitable, it became something of an embarrassment for its cash-strapped parent company, and in 2099 was sold off to Nanodynamics. However, the merger was not a happy one, as Nanodynamics management refused to recognize the freedoms that Exogenesis had granted its nonhuman research staff and project leaders. This led to labor disputes, and in some cases outright rebellion. Nanodynamics is now employing EDI mercenaries to regain control of its stations.
This transnational is involved with aquaculture, genetic engineering, ocean-floor mining, and the development of aquatic bioroids and uplifted sea animals. It is a major contractor in the Elandra ocean habitat program. GenTech has ties with Avatar Klusterkorp and is rumored to have provided some assistance to their controversial Europa Project. GenTech also owns an InVid production company, and is responsible for the popular children’s series Captain Salt and the Deep Rangers. Its major offices are located in Sydney, Australia and Seoul, Korea, with some space labs in Islandia. GenTech Pacifica has had numerous run-ins with environmental and preservationist groups, especially Blue Shadow. The company is known for taking aggressive action to maintain a favorable public image through information control and memetic manipulation.
A new space-based transnational (with strong British and South African investment) specializing in black hole technologies and high-energy physics research. It has close ties to the nonprofit Hawking Foundation and to Vosper-Babbage, and owns several basic patents on black hole power-station design. The company has recently acquired some of System Technologies’ Main Belt mining and gas stations. The headquarters of Hawking Industries is Aletheia Station.
High Industrial Corporations
Just because the world is in the midst of the Fifth Wave doesn’t mean that old-fashioned industry is no longer an issue. Many of the world’s corporations still specialize in resource extraction, refining, manufacturing, and similar tasks. Of course, most businesses apply a variety of new technologies to their work. These “high industrial” firms form the backbone of the global economy.
Alvarez Motors S.A. (Buenos Aires, Argentina): A major manufacturer of ground cars and other wheeled vehicles. Exports its automobiles all over the world.
CanesVen Enterprises (Denver, United States): A weapons manufacturer known for its production of superb small arms for the civilian and police markets.
CIT/Provençale (Marseille, France): One of the largest French industrial conglomerates, with divisions involved in many manufacturing specialities.
Energia Brasileira S.A. (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil): Brazil’s largest energy-production firm, operating a number of fusion power plants throughout the Americas. Known for its well-trained “plant security” branch.
Fickel Bergbau AG (Bonn, Germany): A major player in the mining industry on Earth, specializing in deep-core mines that reach most of the way into the planet’s crust.
Grupo Pacifico S.A. (Mazatlán, Mexico): A consortium of Mexican manufacturing firms with extensive ties to the United States and Ecuador.
Hvide Stjerne A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark): Important ground-based manufacturer of orbital satellites. Currently suffering considerable competition from similar firms based in space.
Nyeri Viwandazito (Nairobi, Kenya): Major producer of heavy industrial equipment. Currently bidding aggressively for contracts on the Olympus Project.
PT Bintang Bumi Bulan (Djakarta, Indonesia): An Indonesian mining firm, which has escaped most trade sanctions by locating its main business offices in Singapore. Very busy throughout Southeast Asia and Oceania.
PT Manfasi (Djakarta, Indonesia): An Indonesian firm specializing in solar-energy installations. Currently suffering the effects of trade sanctions being imposed on Indonesia.
RV Interorbital Ltd. (Manchester, United Kingdom): A transport firm, providing suborbital flights worldwide as well as regular service to low Earth orbit.
One of the largest African corporations, based in Cape Town. Originally a biotechnology firm, its success in developing the first cheap AIDS vaccine gave it considerable influence. It has worked closely with other African governments, often providing sophisticated health-care and biotechnology services in exchange for shares in stateheld industries. As a result, it has quite diverse holdings.
Ithemba is a leader in the production of pharmaceuticals, tissue-engineered genemod organs, pharm animals, and gengineered insects. VeldtKorp is a subsidiary of Ithemba, usually kept at arm’s length, which specializes in military, paramilitary, and performance-enhancing versions of these technologies.
Mars Academy of Space Technology
MAST, based on Phobos, is a major research-and-development firm for Chinese spacecraft and fusion drives. It is run as a corporation, but its majority owner is the Chinese government.
The system’s biggest interplanetary carrier, this Chinese company is based at Taiko Station with major offices on Mars. It operates huge colonial transports and luxury fastliners. It recently laid off many human workers, replacing them with bioroids grown by Biotech Euphrates and Xiao Chu. Relations between Mars Interplanetary and the Farhaulers’ Guild have been stormy at best. It dominates the Earth-Mars run, with limited service elsewhere.
A huge media conglomerate that resulted from a merger between Marwari Infinity (one of the largest Indian entertainment corporations) and the successful InVid production company Eon Digital. Today, Marwari Digital owns a vast global array of Web-based news and entertainment resources, including an estimated 11% of all celebrity infomorphs. Many of the best slinky experiencers sign with Marwari, including Cyberia Beat talk show idol Hayakawa Noriko and action superstar Shammi Nagrajhan. Marwari’s Telepresence Experience Network (TEN) is the best open source of data in the system, with over a million registered upslinker stringers and reporter cybershells on call around the system.
Nanodynamics grew rapidly in the early 21st century and is now one of the world’s largest corporations. Its biocybernetics division pioneered many uploading, cybershell, and brain-implant technologies. The company’s many subsidiaries manufacture all forms of nanomachines and microbots, as well as nanofabrication tools, precision-engineered carbon nanotubes, and cutting-edge molecular computers. Originally an American company (though now fully transnational), Nanodynamics has a reputation as the embodiment of the developed world’s military-industrial complex, dating back to the Andes War when it was a major supplier of robotic weapons to the Pentagon. It recently acquired Exogenesis from System Technologies AG, leading to a bitter and violent labor dispute. Nanodynamics’ headquarters is in Silicon Valley, California. Almost all of its laboratories and factories are in Earth orbit, or on Mars or Titan.
The most innovative corporations in the world today are those experimenting at the frontiers of the very small. The nanotech industry is still maturing, and it’s difficult to say which business ventures will fail and which will win outrageous fortunes.
Alchemical Logic (San Francisco, United States): Firm which produces nano-scale computational devices.
Centre National de Recherce Nanotechnologique/CNRN (Paris, France): State-subsidized research laboratory working with advanced nanotech designs.
HeinCell AG (Cologne, Germany): One of the earliest German nanotech firms, specializing since the 2070s in applications of “wet” nanotechnology.
Laurin Systeme AG (Amsterdam, Netherlands): A German-Dutch corporation involved with the production of diamondoid and other single-crystal materials.
Micrometals Ltd. (Edinburgh, Scotland): Research firm experimenting with the construction of “smart sapphire” nanotech computers.
Nanosan Umweltsysteme AG (Darmstadt, Germany): New (but extremely successful) firm which produces nanosystems for environmental cleanup projects.
Net Backbone Corporations
The global information web has been over a century in the building and requires massive capital investments to maintain. Many large businesses are involved with producing the hardware that carries data or the software that manages it. Others provide “content” that the world’s citizens access routinely through the web.
AlephNull Systems, Inc. (Seattle, United States): A major manufacturer of hyperfast routers, switches, and dataflow security hardware.
Alhambra Sensuals S.A. (Málaga, Spain): A German-Spanish producer of (very popular) slink-porn, made famous by Ayesha Lovecraft.
Bharat Teleproductions Pvt. Ltd. (Mumbai, India): One of the world’s largest producers of old-style videos, InVids, and slinkies.
Gemini Volksrobotics (Melbourne, Australia): A very popular producer of utility and companion cybershells for the global household market.
Kanzaki Robotics (Osaka, Japan): A major manufacturer of industrial robots and automated vehicles. Known for its innovations in low level AI design.
Kogitant GmbH (Salzburg, Austria): A well-known designer of advanced sentient-AI software. Currently under suspicion of performing illicit research on emergent intelligence.
Ludimages (Cannes, France): Major producer of interactive VR entertainment, emphasizing strategy and roleplaying games.
Portcullis General Security Systems, Inc. (Baltimore, United States): Data security consultancy known for its innovative use of low sentience software agents.
SegFault Inc. (Spokane, United States): Specializes in cheap distributed- processing systems and “evolved” software agents.
PT Nolsatu (Djakarta, Indonesia): The largest software-engineering house in Southeast Asia. Has a robust research division, which earns plenty of income from state subsidies.
Xarxa Enllaç SL (Barcelona, Catalonia): One of the largest telecommunications and networking firms in Europe.
Nippon Uchuukaihatsu Kaisha
The Japanese Space Development Corporation operates a large number of robot factories in Earth orbit and at L4, and is a major producer of industrial microbots. NUK is headquartered in Tokyo, and also runs Tanegashima spaceport.
Orion Industries is one of the world’s largest arms manufacturers and dealers. Based in Sydney, Australia, the firm develops and sells weapons systems on a global scale. The PRA nations are naturally its foremost customers, but it has dealings in almost every country on Earth (except for the TSA bloc).
Orion Industries has a large private-security division, offering physical, operational, and network security services on all scales. Individuals can come to Orion for simple household alarm systems or bodyguard contracts – while major corporations and national governments buy billions of dollars’ worth of protection. Orion security professionals are well known for their training, cutting-edge equipment, and ruthless decisiveness. Small teams of Orion “officers” can be found almost anywhere in the world, fulfilling small jobs or providing short-term support to a major contract.
Orion’s involvement in the global mercenary trade is an open secret. Many mercenary groups operating in the developing world buy Orion weapons systems. It is believed that Orion acts through subsidiaries as a clearinghouse and bonding agent for mercenary contracts.
The yellow-and-purple SOLEX courier ship is a common sight throughout the system. Solar Express delivers packages anywhere beyond Earth’s atmosphere. It contracts out bulk-delivery operations, but uses its own vessels for fast interplanetary deliveries. It also runs surface courier services on Luna, Mars, and Titan, with liveried delivery bioroids or cybershells. It will deliver to Earth orbit, Luna, L4, L5, Mercury, Mars, Venus orbit, Silas Duncan Station, Aletheia Station, Titan, and Rhea. Other locations may be arranged at higher cost. SOLEX space crews are Farhaulers’ Guild members. Its HQ is at Columbia Station.
SpaTek began as a manufacturer of personal trainer software and biomonitors, but the SpaTek brand name is now found on many items including health products, performance- enhancing biomods, nootropic drugs, sportswear, and sporting goods. It owns a chain of offworld health spas, such as Moonshadow on Luna. Its HQ is in Luna City, with major Earthside offices in Helskini.
System Technologies AG
This vast transnational has interests in space resource extraction, robotics, fusion and antimatter power, and space habitat construction. System Technologies founded the Lunar He-3 mining business, helped build Islandia and the E.U.’s Mercury colony, and is still the largest corporation on the moon. It also owns a chunk of Vosper-Babbage and dozens of smaller firms. However, System Technologies’ stock has been losing value over the last 15 years due to Titan Industries’ driving down the price of Lunar He-3. Another defeat was the loss to Biotech Euphrates of a contract to rebuild the damaged Luna City. The ailing giant has recently decided to divest itself of some of its subsidiaries such as Exogenesis and refocus on its core space construction business. Its current projects include a multibillion-dollar contract with the European Union to help build Earth’s first space elevator. The company’s headquarters is in Berlin, but it has offices just about everywhere.
Tenzan Heavy Industries
Tenzan was formed from a coalition of Japanese aerospace, mining, and electronics firms but has since become a true multinational. Tenzan made its fortune in Lunar He-3 and near-Earth asteroid mining, but has since diversified into a wide range of space-related businesses. Tenzan is a pioneer in mass driver engines, space construction techniques, space-worker cybershells, vacc-suit designs, and asteroid-mining technology. A subsidiary, Tenzan Defense Systems, is a leading supplier of aerospace craft for the Pacific Rim Alliance. Tenzan’s head offices are jointly located in Osaka, Japan and in Luna City.
An alliance of several companies (mainly American and South American) and governments for the purpose of settling Titan and mining helium-3 from the atmosphere of Saturn. Its major activities include He-3 gas mining, chemical refining, and fusion-power research. It exercises a vast amount of influence on and around Titan, which is virtually a corporate state. Leading members of the Consortium are Columbia Aerospace and Nanodynamics.
Along with Mars Interplanetary, this company dominates interplanetary passenger and cargo services. It specializes in Earth-Mars-Saturn trade. Its crews are Farhaulers’ Guild members. Its main offices are at Islandia.
One of the system’s oldest space-based corporations, Vosper-Babbage specializes in the construction of spacecraft and space-operations cybershells, but also has strong asteroid-mining interests. On Earth, it is also a major marine shipbuilder, as well as making aquatic cybershells. It manufactures products for both civilian and military customers, and is one of the European Union’s largest defense contractors. It was originally based in the United Kingdom, and still has a cozy relationship with the British government. System Technologies AG and newcomer Hawking Industries own much of the company’s stock.
Andretti Weapons Division: Small Italian company that produces a line of popular electrolasers. In 2099 they unveiled a new seeker missile design, but have yet to secure any orders.
Columbia Electromagnetics: Designs and builds the coilguns used on all USAF spacecraft. Recently sold its ground weapons component to EK as part of a reorganization and consolidation plan. Subsidiary of Columbia Aerospace.
Darwin Arms: Design firm in Australia that specializes in electrothermal weapons development. Their ETC smallarms are considered the finest in the world.
Electromagnetickraft (EK): German/Russian consortium that has been responsible for several of the major advances in electromag technology. Recently acquired several smaller corporations to secure their position as the world’s largest supplier of heavy railguns and electromagnetic launchers.
Cali Armaments Technologies (CAT): Leading producer of cutting-edge electromag smallarms.
Tranquility Ordinance: Lunar corporation that builds laser weapons.
Olympica Arms Of Mars: The only significant independent weapons manufacturer on Mars.
Trojan Arsenal: Freehaven Station, Greek Trojans. Makes anything for anyone… for a price.
Tree of Liberty (TOL): Silas Duncan Station, Main Belt.
Vektor: This South African weapons company is a subsidiary of VeldtKorp.
A giant Chinese corporation specializing in industrial nanotechnology, microtechnology, genetic engineering, and space systems. An early investor and major power on Mars, it is one of the largest and most successful space-based industrial firms, rivaled only by System Technologies AG. Xiao Chu’s signature products include the Mars space elevator and the manufacture of numerous bioroids. It also builds industrial and agricultural microbots. The Chinese government is a significant shareholder in Xiao Chu, and the company has been described as “Rust China, Inc.” Its headquarters is New Shanghai on Mars.
Ghosts are treated as citizens.
Bioroids and Fragments are treated as inferior.
LAIs, SAIs, Shadows, and Uplifted Animals are considered animals.
Emergent AIs are treated like wild animals.
Rogue AIs and Xoxes are treated as abominations.
Bioroids, SAIs, SAI-based Shadows, Fragments, and ghosts are treated as inferior.
LAIs, LAI-based Shadows, and Uplifted Animals are considered animals.
Emergent LAIs are treated as wild animals.
Emergent SAIs, Rogue AIs, and Xoxes are treated as abominations.
The creation of SAIs, Fragments, and Ghosts is highly regulated.
European Union (EU)
Bioroids, SAIs, SAI-based Shadows, and Ghosts are considered citizens.
Fragments and Uplifted Animals are considered inferior.
LAIs and LAI-based Shadows are considered animals.
Emergent AIs are considered wild animals.
Rogue AIs, Xoxes, and any AI in a bioshell are treated as abominations. Ghosts in a bioshell of their original body are an exception.
The creation of Bioroids, Ghosts, and Fragments is highly regulated.
Bioroids, Fragments, and Ghosts are considered inferior and their creation is highly regulated.
LAIs, Shadows, and Uplifted Animals are treated as animals.
Emergent LAIs are treated as wild animals.
SAIs are nonpersons.
Emergent SAIs, Rogue AIs, Xoxes, and any infomorph in a bioshell are treated as abominations.
Pacific Rim Alliance
Ghosts are considered citizens.
Bioroids and Fragments are considered inferior.
LAIs, SAIs, Shadows, and Uplifted Animals are treated like animals.
Emergent LAIs are treated as wild animals.
Emergent SAIs, Rogues AIs, and Xoxes are considered abominations.
Transpacific Socialist Alliance
Bioroids are considered inferior.
LAIs, SAIs, Shadows, Ghosts, and Uplifted Animals are treated like animals.
Emergent LAIs are treated like wild animals.
Fragments are nonpersons.
Emergent SAIs, Rogue AIs, and Xoxes are treated as abominations.
The creation and ownership of SAIs is highly regulated.
Security and Intelligence Agencies
An abbreviation for Indonesia’s “Coordinating Agency for Pacific Stability” (Badan Koordinasi Stabilitas Pasifik), it is currently the most active covertoperations and intelligence-gathering agency within the TSA. BAKORSTAPAS specializes in industrial espionage and memetic warfare. Originally operating mainly against Australia and various archipelago microstates, its operations expanded considerably following the Pacific War, when it became the de facto coordinator for low-intensity TSA operations worldwide, including various nanosocialist guerrilla groups. It has close relations with Peru’s similar Grupo Especial de Seguridad Memeticai (Special Memetic Security Group).
The Tenth Bureau of China’s Ministry of State Security (Guoanbu) is focused on collecting economic, scientific, and technological intelligence from foreign governments and transnationals. They are deeply involved in industrial espionage, and also keep an eye out for TSA operations and ex-Bioweapons Directorate war criminals. Bureau 10’s main headquarters is in Beijing, but they maintain branch offices on all China’s offworld stations and colonies.
Genetic Regulatory Agency
The Genetic Regulatory Agency was established by the European Union in 2056. Later it was reorganized as a joint agency with the governments of Russia and Ukraine. Its administrative headquarters remain in Geneva, although since 2069 its center of operations has been in Kaliningrad.
The GRA exists to investigate and prevent the abuse of human genetic engineering. Much of its activity involves monitoring scientific literature and making recommendations to policy- forming bodies. GRA operatives also do a great deal of police work, investigating genetics labs and cooperating with local police to enforce genetic laws. The agency’s mission has recently been extended to deal with bioroid trafficking and the threat of genetic terrorism.
The GRA has authority only within the territory of the European Union, Russia, and Ukraine (although it works with other governments as necessary, to extradite criminals and help enforce local laws). Some allege that the GRA is biased toward a strongly Preservationist ideology, acting against transhumanism even when no danger to society has been demonstrated. Rumor also has it that the GRA operates a covert-activities branch, sabotaging genetic facilities of which the Europeans don’t approve but which are outside the agency’s direct sphere of authority.
National power is still exercised through national intelligence agencies. The following are some of the most important such agencies on Earth. Others are mentioned in Transhuman Space.
Australian Secret Intelligence Service (Australia): The ASIS is one of the most effective espionage centers on Earth, and is particularly active in south and southeast Asia.
Bundesnachrichtendienst (Germany): The BND (or Federal Intelligence Service) is Germany’s main intelligence bureau. German intelligence is most active in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where it is deeply involved in further expansion of the European Union.
Central Intelligence Agency (United States): Still the foremost foreign-intelligence agency of the United States, although off-planet operations are in the hands of the SIA.
Direction Centrale des Renseignements Généraux (France): Over time, the General Information Service has become the primary intelligence arm of the French government. It is primarily concerned with defense against memetic attack, but since the 2060s it has also developed a significant espionage role.
General Intelligence Directorate (Saudi Arabia): The GID acts as the main intelligence organization for Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Caliphate as a whole. As part of the Caliphate’s memetic-defense strategy, the GID has incorporated the religious Mutawi’yyun or “Committees for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.”
Intelligence Bureau (India): India’s main domestic intelligence agency, primarily concerned with memetic defense and the suppression of political radicals. Has a long reputation for monitoring the private communications of Indian citizens. Claims to be the modern world’s oldest intelligence agency.
Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti (Kazakstan): Kazakstan still maintains a KGB, which shares many features of the old Soviet agency (although it performs both domestic and foreign intelligence functions). This incarnation of the KGB is particularly well-funded and effective, with activities all over Europe and Asia.
Ministry of Public Security (China): China’s primary internal security agency, carrying most of the country’s police authority and a large counterintelligence mission.
National Intelligence Agency (South Africa): South Africa’s central foreign intelligence organization. One of the best in the world at using biotechnology in support of intelligence operations.
National Technical Intelligence Bureau (United States): The NTIB replaced the old National Security Agency in the early 2010s, and currently serves as the main American agency dealing with signals intelligence and memetic defense.
Public Security Investigation Agency (Japan): The PSIA is Japan’s foremost counterintelligence organization, dedicated to rooting out spies and enemy memetic engineers.
Research and Intelligence Wing (India): India’s most powerful foreign intelligence agency, known for its willingness to take ruthless action to fend off threats to Indian interests.
Secret Intelligence Service (United Kingdom): “MI6” remains the main British foreign-intelligence agency. The U.K. makes no distinction between Earthside and space-based intelligence operations, so the SIS is active anywhere that British interests are at stake.
Space Intelligence Agency
This is a sister agency to the United States’ Earthbound Central Intelligence Agency. Just as the CIA may only act outside American territory, so the SIA’s responsibilities begin outside Earth’s atmosphere. Unlike the CIA, the SIA can and does act on American territory, notably the Martian Territories, and enforces American land claims on Mercury and elsewhere.
International Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
The Argus Society is an association of Public Eyes with worldwide membership. It acts as an independent observer, watching the activities of governments, large corporations, and other powerful institutions worldwide.
The Argus Society was founded by Marien Smith in the early 2040s. Smith was an American political activist. She believed that news outlets and other media were effectively corrupt, serving the interests of the government or of large media corporations rather than of the people. She conceived of the Argus Society as a tool for uncovering inconvenient information, secrets and half-secrets that powerful institutions would prefer to conceal.
During the turbulent years of the Transhuman Awakening, the Argus Society made a considerable (but mixed) reputation for itself. Naturally, governments and the establishment media frowned on Argus activities, but the Society was favored by populists and radicals of all stripes. Aside from its anti-establishment bias, the Society had no specific ideology. National military secrets, the corruption of government officials, corporate violations of environmental law, the hypocrisy of leading Preservationists, or the horrific results of unbridled genetic experimentation – all were subject to the eyes of Argus.
The Argus Society still exists, although it has split into factions in recent years. Some of its members have gone beyond radicalism, pursuing strange conspiracy theories and regarding even other Society factions as untrustworthy. Others have become almost mainstream, providing information to a consistent audience much like any other media outlet.
The Society is probably the world’s most prominent example of a “network polity”. It has a very loose and decentralized organization, with members all over the world. Members rarely use the best available information-gathering technology. As private citizens, they buy whatever equipment they can afford (although some of them can afford a great deal). They normally operate independently, gathering into teams only occasionally and on an informal basis. The Society has no formal hierarchy of rank, although members can accumulate status by “counting coup” on powerful institutions.
The Human Alliance
The Human Alliance was founded in 2049 by Carl Edward Stokes, a prominent American bioethicist. At the time, Stokes was the most articulate spokesman in the United States for the philosophy that would later be known as Preservationism. He called attention to the limits of biotechnology, and pointed out “the essential callousness of those who would manipulate the foundations of life.”
At first the Alliance was simply one advocacy group among many, but within a few years Stokes had forged a partnership with several American religious groups. He himself was an agnostic, but he found that many Christian and Muslim organizations shared his mistrust of radical genetic engineering. With their help, he was able to raise large amounts of money and buy a great deal of media access. By 2060, the Human Alliance was one of the largest and most powerful advocacy groups in the United States, and was rapidly making headway in Europe and Latin America as well.
As of 2100, the Alliance remains an influential pressure group. It is one of the primary supports of the Democratic Party in the United States, and often plays a part in European national and Union elections. For the most part, it works within the legitimate political system in pursuit of its goals. It has also been known to sponsor mass demonstrations, and there have been occasional (unproven) allegations of violent sabotage.
Alliance critics claim that it is a racist organization, advocating the position that “to be human you have to look human.” In truth the Alliance’s position is much more subtle, focusing on the intangible costs of advanced biotechnology. Alliance leaders publicly doubt that bioengineers are wise enough to redesign the “natural” human form, and they claim that many “improvements” are actually detrimental to their recipients. The Alliance argues against any genetic or biotechnic innovation that doesn’t have proven therapeutic value.
The World Bank (officially the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or IBRD) is one of the most effective global financial organizations in existence. It is currently based in London, having moved there from Washington, D.C., in 2034.
The World Bank’s function is make large loans to national governments, or to private corporations on the condition that a national government guarantee repayment. The loans support long-term projects to improve local infrastructure and standards of living. The Bank usually arranges for technical assistance to accompany loaned funds, helping the recipient country to use the money effectively. Loans are often made conditional on economic reforms within the target country. Most loans are made to developing countries.
Over 170 nations are “members” of the World Bank. Decisions on loans and other policies are made by a vote of the board of governors, but a member nation’s influence is weighted according to its contributions to the Bank’s capital fund. As a result, the Bank is effectively controlled by the world’s wealthiest nations. In 2100 A.D., the European Union dominates World Bank policy, although Brazil, China, Japan, Korea, and Mexico are also influential.
Controversy has surrounded the World Bank for most of the past century. Some claim that its loans go to support corrupt local regimes or multinational corporations, doing little to improve the lives of ordinary people. Others point out that the Bank usually requires economic or social reforms before offering loans – thus making the Bank a tool for violating the sovereign independence of minor nations.