Corporate Wars are armed conflicts between mega-corporations.[1][2] The term was not coined until a decade after the Second Sathar War. The first use of the term was by WarTech, Inc., in a special weapons catalog they released for various industries. The media quickly picked up on the term and pumped it to its sensationalistic best. The true beginnings of the Corporate Wars are actually decades old. In fact, they started before SWII began.

Laco's War Edit

Laco (Dixon 's Star) was the scene of a decade-long conflict between Streel Corporation on one side and Pan-Galactic Corporation (operating through the Galactic Task Force) on the other. Tens of thousands of casualties were inflicted on the planet, and more than a dozen spaceships destroyed in what came to be called "Lac'.s War.." The war started and was settled before SWII, the results decided by PGC's extravagant military expenditures.

This set the pattern for future corporate conflicts of an "un-negotiable nature." At first, the UPF could not afford to go to war with every corporation who raised an army or space fleet.

The Interim Edit

With the sudden re-emergence of the Sathar and the advent of SW II, corporations had ceased hostilities to combine efforts against the common foe. The end of the war, however, brought resumed tensions and private military escalations began anew.[3]

This time, however, the UPF was ready. New laws gave Star Law more power over corporate infringement on other corporate operations and property. Spacefleet was rearmed and could easily intimidate smaller fleets. For a while it looked like the UPF could prevent any occurrences leading to more "Laco's War"s.

Unfortunately, it didn't reckon with mega-corporate greed or resources. A combination of swelled coffers from the war, many thousands of now unemployed soldiers, and the emergence of specialized companies who thrived on military conflict resulted in an escalation of corporation warfare to previously unknown levels. In addition to covert Sathar, Mechanon, and pirate activities, UPF security forces now had to deal with full scale invasions, sieges, and battles fought by over a dozen mega-corps and conglomerates of smaller firms.

Stages of a Corporate War Edit

To better understand the Corporate Wars, one must go to Star Law and their guide-word for rookie Deputy Officers: ICEWARS. This acronym outlines the seven steps of escalation usually seen in a Corporate War:

  • Interest conflict - A conflict of interest develops between two corporate entities over mineral rights, world development rights, or other issues.
  • Corporate espionage - Usually an increase in corporate spying takes place after the initial conflict of interest develops. If results indicate the opposing corporations' goals are not in actual conflict, then the entire matter is cleared up immediately.
  • Economic sanctions - If espionage indicates that a conflict does exist, economic sanctions are imposed to pressure the opposing corporation out of the conflict. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.
  • Withdrawal - When economic sanctions do not pressure either side out of a conflict of interest, then a rapid withdrawal of corporate personnel and equipment from the site begins. This pull-out sometimes confuses opponents into believing the economic sanctions worked. Generally, it is a prelude to war.
  • Armed Conflict - Once a site is deemed to be vacated by a corporation of any potential "hostage" personnel or material, mercenaries are sent in to "hold" the site while "negotiations" proceed.
  • Reinforcements - The inevitable hostilities are exchanged and reinforcements are sent in to "protect corporate interests". The actual war has now begun and "negotiations" continue to be held while the war continues. The length of the war varies. The shortest war on record was between two moon-mining colonies around Outer Reach in the Dramune system. A stray maxi-missile with two high explosive warheads hit a cache of TD-19 in a tin hut and the blast of shrapnel punctured every spacesuit worn in the battle. Actual battle time: 3 minutes. Casualties: 135 dead. The longest war on record is the PGC vs Streel war over Laco. Actual battle time: 10 years. Casualties: 235,000 dead, 367,000 wounded, 170 trillion credits in equipment destroyed.
  • Stabilization - When one corporation wishes to withdraw from the conflict either because of the drain on its resources or the inevitability of its defeat, the "negotiations" suddenly become serious and the conflict is usually resolved within a week. Terms of "surrender" range from full reparations for the victorious corporation's financial costs to the withdrawal of the losing corporation's forces.

It should be remembered that these wars are no longer fought on developed worlds within the Frontier. Nearly all such battles occur on newly discovered worlds and moons. If a corporate war is seriously effecting the health or welfare of a planet on the Frontier, Spacefleet may step in and end the conflict in the swiftest, surest fashion it knows - by orbital bombardment, blockade, and other procedures. No corporation has ever won a battle with Spacefleet.

The Corporate Wars began in earnest in 100 FY. "Alien influence" on the Frontier from trading with the Rim is on the increase. The future of the Federation and the Frontier is uncertain, but one thing is agreed upon by experts in many fields: the mega-corporations and their wars may make - or break - the UPF and its citizens.

Notes and References Edit

  1. Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space pp.56-7
  2. Dragon Magazine "The Mighty Mega-Corporations"
  3. GMs should remember that forces within the mega-corps often make for unpredictable developments. Power struggles between executives are commonplace. The cadres, akin to modern labor unions, are strong in certain industries, and planetary governments certainly affect mega-corps' operating procedures (not to mention the effects of the UPF government and Star Law on corporate policies).
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