Apex Universe

Chronicles - Chapter 10

THE CORPs

by Fernando Kornijezuk

All right rookies, listen up. I won’t say it twice.

When the shit hits the fan — and it will — the guys will load the cargo and you’ll be on your own. If you’re not ready to go? That’s on you. Don’t blame the weather, the drone or the Corps. Don’t blame the road or the mission. Don’t blame the engine, the K-Cubes or the other truckers. You guys volunteered to join the party. Nobody wants to know about ‘Well, we could have delivered more cargo if only we had more cubes in the engine’ — we don’t care. Nobody cares.

Don´t blame the game.

 

Remember that we K-Truck Racers must ply our trade from the ground up - from the soles of our feet, from the rubber of our tires, right up to our heads. Every inch has to drive. Some guys drive with their heads. That's O.K. You've got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you've got to drive with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you're lucky enough to be the one with a lot of head and a lot of heart, you´re never going to come off the road second. Moreover, you will leave captivity and death lagging behind.

Drive with passion.

 

Know your enemy. Understand the Corps well enough to defeat them. You will be racing against their agents and their tactics. Study how they think and react and maybe, just maybe, someday you will be the one drawing the short straw to teach about´em to a bunch of baby drivers.

Corps took what was left of good in this world. They build their Conglomerates to seize control of productive areas and leave us outsiders to scramble for leftovers. We are the ones who do something about it. In addition, we profit from it. Whether you like it or not, we are not Santa Claus. Nevertheless, we sure are better than they are. Specially the Big 12.

The Maya-Cen Corporation is the most successful and largest media and arts organization in the world. Its reputation remains high, and the corporation continues to grow, boasting over a million people inside the walls of its Conglomerates all over the world. With increasing tension, brushfire wars and corporate armed or disguised conflict spread across the world, it looks like the future of the corporation dealing with information is rosy indeed.

Hallstat TX´s reputation, continued success and income depend on the contracting of military services and equipment by other corporations. In short, it is both a large weapons factory and a versatile mercenary force, providing combat drones and special agents for hire, to people or other Corps that do not have the resources, need or time to construct and maintain a full-time armed force of their own. The work of its military science and analysis think-tank is also highly regarded.

Nova Argo is a corporation of chemistry experts who devotes a large amount of time to seeing that the worldwide perception of its group is that of a benign protector of the weak and needed. Officially, it will neither confirm nor deny the research of combat drugs by its labs. There are other medical corporations and think tanks, to be sure, but none of them offers the reputation or high caliber of service available from the New Argo science team.

There can be little doubt as to what Ero Anber main products are. It´s a beverage manufacturer, the largest one remaining on Earth. Its products are sold in varying volumes to over 250 citadels of more than 80 different corporations, not to mention millions upon millions of individuals, groups, gangs and small bars around the world. These are turbulent times, but that’s just fine by Ero Anber. Its network of distribution channels makes this corporation home for all kind of rumors and intel.

Horizontech has highly secretive research and development facilities inside their Citadels where work on potentially profitable new technologies is carried out. This Corp is responsible for the development of initiatives considered too exotic, sensitive, potentially dangerous, or PR damaging for the other Corps. All security around Horizontech is fearsome, with only the most trusted and experienced of troops and security drones being used.

Sungabar is a tightly run organization. It pays its middle and upper level execs well above average, and it expects them to put a little of their paychecks into appearance. More than one visitor has suggested, after a visit to a Sungabar Conglomerate, that it´s something like a large, tasteful, fashion show. The drab appearance of the staff and service employees serve to make the upper echelons look even better.

As the new world´s largest architect and builder, it goes without saying that Vespero 5 has an astounding array of heavy equipment and machinery ready for immediate use or sale to other corps. Due to the sheer volume of regional, corporate and international sales, Vespero has conglomerates spread around the world. These locations serve as loci for bureaucratic activity, sales and delivery, marketing and military training. A Vespero 5 Conglomerate landscape is an ubiquitous sight in any area.

The Vector Biotech, unlike certain other corporations, goes to considerable pains to maintain a good image in the public eye. Since so much “recruitment” takes place from the general population, it is important that people feel positive about the corporation. The HQ stands a modest seventy stories high, and its Citadels are usually finished in synthetic white marble and lightly tinted glass. Rumor has it Vector´s think tank is deep into biological implants and warfare.

One thing that sets The Colony apart from most Corps is that it has no standardized design for its large Conglomerates. Each one adapts its architecture to the kind of provisions being harvested and processed at the facility. They also tend to be huge, sprawling around every inch of productive land. The Colony does require its office towers to adhere to certain standards of safety, security and design; but in general, a great deal of freedom is given to each administrator.

Denmabank is a unique Corporation because it is the only one owned by all other mega-corps. It is a public corporation in a sense, created to regulate the economy of the new world, with 430 million shares of common stock on the world market. Hector Jorge, its president, claims ownership of 8%. There is always a controlling amount of Denmabank stock that could become the target of a leveraged group acquisition, a tactic used to destroy other corporations financially rather than militarily.

Sitaro Shima owns most of the remaining wind powered energy farms around the world. Security over most of the Sitaro Sima Conglomerate is automated. There are remote sensors and counter intrusion systems sprinkled liberally across the grounds, and the perimeter wall fence is hot-wired and constantly monitored. SS satellites in geosynchronous orbit over their properties surveying the proving grounds. From orbit, they can detect intrusion and provide advance warning of attacks.

The last of the Big 12 is Grand Oron, owned by the modern day mob and the one that deals in the ilicit. Vice drugs, murder, adult entertainment. Everything a troubled soul needs. Depending on the location and typical clientele, a Grand Oron conglomerate can range from glitzy, rock pumping, teen oriented affairs offering tequila shots, to quiet elegant, civilized complexes where wealthy executives from around the world can always discover a new meaning to the word “relax”.

Each one of them will be watching you. Do not get caught.

Finally, remember that our mission has got to be about more than winning. You're part of something here. Along the way, I want you to cherish it, because when it's gone, it's gone forever. We're in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me. And, we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell, one raid at a time.

You know, when you get old in life, things get taken from you. I mean that's part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losin' stuff. You find out life's very similar to managing our K-Cubes during a mission. Because, living or driving, the margin for error is so small. I mean, one cube too late or too early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast, and you don't survive it. The seconds we need are everywhere around us. They're right here, right now, and they will be behind the wheels of your K-trucks. Between your heads and your feet.

Fight for that second.

Claw with your fingernails for that second. Power-up and fire your weapons for that second. Because I know when you add up all those seconds, that's gonna make the fuckin' difference between winnin' and losin'! Between livin' and dyin'! I'll tell you this - in any fight, it's the guy who's willin' to die who's gonna win. And I know if I'm gonna have any life anymore, it's because I'm still willin' to fight and die for that second.

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