Megacorps will be familiar to cyberpunk readers. I’ll let Wikipedia define the term:
“Megacorporation” is a term popularized by William Gibson derived from the combination of the prefix mega- with the word corporation. It has become a term popularly used in cyberpunk literature. It refers to a corporation (normally fictional) that is a massive conglomerate, holding monopolistic or near-monopolistic control over multiple markets (thus exhibiting both a horizontal and a vertical monopoly). Megacorps are so powerful that they can ignore the law, possess their own heavily-armed (often military-sized) private armies, hold ‘sovereign’ territory, and possibly even act as outright governments.
The megacorps in K23 are mostly like the megacorps from other cyberpunk works. They are huge, they exert monopolies, they can and do ignore the law and they have their own private armies.
There are also some differences. The megacorps in K23 are a feature of New Delta alone. In order to guarantee that certain critical services are performed the city grants a corporation megacorp status, which gives it total control over a few specific markets. In order to ensure that the services are affordable and competent, there are a few checks:
1) A megacorp is completely autonomous. It not owned by anyone. This removes the profit motive, yet they don’t have to beg for money for their operations. In fact, the only way to make money in New Delta is to invest in the corporations that make money off the megacorps.
2) In order to become a megacorp at all, one must undergo an exhaustive and time consuming process.
3) A megacorp can have its status revoked if it doesn’t do its job or does something horrible.
The 7 Megacorps:
Order of Elohim: Part religious order, part construction firm. They are the only megacorp which is divinely ordained. They built New Delta – well, contractors did, but they did it under the OOE’s banner. At first the OOE owned all the towers and did all financing themselves. In the year 9001, Tower A1, the first tower built, was condemned because the Uthirans wanted to take it over. This was kept secret at first, but once it came to light in 9002, ownership of the actual towers was spun into Adonai Property Management, itself a megacorp. In 9009 APM lost their megacorp status after they started allowing managerial autonomy for human-inhabited towers but not for others such as Deltan elf inhabited towers. After this, private entities were allowed to finance tower construction themselves, though the towers continued to be built by the OOE. .
Cybrix Technologies: They were the second megacorp founded. They develop all the technology used in New Delta, from aircraft to screens to cyborgs. They then contract out to private corporations for actual manufacturing. They are also the single most politically powerful megacorp, even eclipsing the Order of Elohim.
Ashram-Uriah: The first private detective agency, formed in 8933 after private detectives were deputized in order to foster law and order. In 9233, they had grown so large and dominant over private detectives that they gained megacorp status and then promptly started a civil-war in an attempted coup. They lost but narrowly kept their megacorp status. However, they were banned from employing licensed detectives ever again. Instead, they turned to information gathering and storage. If you want to know anything in New Delta, you go to Ashram-Uriah. They also produce professional rankings and rent out data storage space on the side.
Biogenomics: They do bio-medical research and are responsible for the city’s food production and healing technology. They have a very long history of committing horrible atrocities, including creating a plague which wiped out of half of all goblins and creating various genetic abominations like centaurs and giants spiders. They also engineered the fall of another megacorp called Seed Corp, who used to be the food megacorp until Biogenomics engineered weeds who just so happened to be resistant to weeds Seed Corp sold. Biogenomics has only been able to keep their status because there actions were kept secret for decades or even centuries before being uncovered.
Ryland Aerospace: Ryland explores space and runs satellites. They were created along with another megacorp called Fusion Corp to run the DeltaNet or New Delta’s internet. Fusion would control the DeltaNet inside the city while Ryland would control world-wide communication between the Deltanet and localized networks around Terrell. Which Ryland did their job well, Fusion was so horrible they lost their megacorp status and was absorbed into the New Delta Utilities Department.
Academics Inc: In 9661, a law was passed requiring the government educate all citizens for “free.” In 9663, the city was nearly bankrupt as taxes just couldn’t cover the costs. Instead, the city spun off all the schools into Academics Incorporated, which educates children on sliding-scale fee system based on a percentage of a family’s income. It was runs New Delta University, the city’s only sanctioned university, on a flat-fee system. Despite their name, they allow a surprisingly great deal of academic freedom with their professors. Remember, they’re not there for profit, instead they simply aim to run at “non-bankrupcy” levels.
Hominia Athletics: Probably the least important megacorp. They simply run two gigantic sports venues: the Athletics Complex and the Flight Track. They were made a megacorp because they agreed to help fund maintenance of New Delta’s transportation system. They lease their venues to various sports leagues who put on the events themselves. The only events HA runs themselves are their Games, held once a year during the summer on a rotating 4-year schedule: Small Hominid (goblin, gnome, dwarf), medium hominid (orc, human, elf), large hominid (ogre and troll) and non-hominid (everyone else). So one year, small hominid, then next year, medium hominid and so on.