- This page is about the Blue Sun company. For the star of the same name, see Blue Sun (star).
- 1 Notices
- 2 Personnel
- 3 OOC Role
- 4 IC Organisation
- 5 Personnel Hierarchy
- 6 Creative Entities
- 7 Essays
- While an effort has been made to adhere as best as possible to the nature of Blue Sun as presented in Firefly, the television series, the extremely limited availability of canon information makes it impossible to craft a fully realised look at the operation of Blue Sun without fabricating it through either inference or imagination. The vast majority of the material on this page has been specifically created to the effect of establishing Blue Sun as a living entity on Serenity MUSH and is not intended to be accepted elsewhere as anything other than fan musings.
- The essays attributed to this page are works of fiction intended to give the reader a deeper understanding of Blue Sun that could not be as easily expressed through impersonal prose. The opinions expressed within are endorsed neither by the author or by Serenity MUSH. Furthermore, the essays are to be treated as OOC information and are not to be used or referenced ICly on the grid.
- The information on this page is yet to be approved by Serenity MUSH Staff and should be treated solely as a curiosity until such time as this notice is removed.
- Jul/29/2009 A hiring moratorium is in effect. Blue Sun will not be accepting any new applications for membership until such time as this notice is removed.
Blue Sun affiliates are segregated into three categories: Leadership, Membership, and Shareholders. Leadership and Members are active personnel, their are admitted into the +org, receive all of the privileges of +org membership, and earn a regular salary. Shareholder characters claim affiliation with Blue Sun as minority owners of the Conglomerate; however, they are passive personnel and do not receive admittance to the +org, no direct say in its management, nor any sort of income.
The difference between a Leader and a Member is purely an OOC distinction. Both are responsible for upholding the standards and obeying the restrictions of playing a Blue Sun character; however, Leaders are additionally tasked with the coordination of plots, liaising with the player base at large, and matters pertaining to personnel management. Leadership status has no bearing on a character's elevation in the IC hierarchy. Because Blue Sun is too vast an organisation to be wholly represented by PCs, most personnel work independently on the grid, ICly answering to an NPC boss controlled by the Leadership. If your character wishes to contact Blue Sun ICly but are unable to discern from the personnel roster to whom to send your missive, please contact a Leader who will direct you to the appropriate individual.
Regular Leadership personnel are available for answering questions, reviewing employment applications, and general coordination of Blue Sun activities in relation to the playerbase. The Serenity MUSH Staff Liaison is exceptional and should only be contacted in situations where Staff oversight is required.
Following are a list of privileges granted to some or all Blue Sun Members beyond the rights commonly attributed to civilian characters on the grid. Abuse of these privileges will result in Bad Things (tm) happening and should be reported directly to the +org Leadership.
- Weapon Permits: Member characters may legally carry weapons without territorial considerations. In other words, Level 3 and 4 weapons may be carried on the Core and Border Worlds with impunity provided they have already been issued the appropriate weapon permit. For more information, please review the section on Weapon Permits.
- Sonic Rifles: Certain member characters may be permitted to use military grade weaponry, namely Sonic Rifles. This privilege is granted only sparingly and is manifested in the issuance of a Level 5 weapon permit.
- Detainment and Arrest: Security personnel, specifically Guards and Agents, have the power to detain characters for criminal activity until Alliance Federals can arrive to make a legal binding (arrest). Escaping from or interfering with the act of detainment is a criminal offense and will result in the issuance of a formal arrest warrant. Personnel should take care to satisfactorily prove the need for a character to be bound by law as it is the Federals who have the final word on how to deal with detained characters. In rare circumstances, Blue Sun security may be deputised by Alliance law enforcement to act on their behalf. Deputisation is a convenience that lasts only as long as the duration of a scene and must be granted by an Alliance officer, usually via iComm.
From a standpoint of IC theme, the Blue Sun Industrial Conglomerate stands as the most powerful organisation represented on the MUSH. Its wealth is unparalleled and, for all intents and purposes, infinite. Its influence over policy of the Anglo-Sino Alliance is all but complete. Blue Sun looms over the 'verse as the mythical beast with 100 arms and 50 bellies, truly awesome in its capabilities but consequently ever that more insatiable in its appetite for authority.
For these reasons, Blue Sun's role in Serenity MUSH is purely as a passive organisation. It exists solely to provide the player body as a whole with additional means of facilitating roleplaying opportunities that would not otherwise be available. Blue Sun's official interaction with the grid stems largely from the behest of players who desire its participation, a safety measure insuring that the organisation's bounds do not exceed the cumulative expectations of the MUSH's overall player base, or as an agent of Staff directive, a tool to further the progression of grid-wide plots. Thematically, Blue Sun may have the power to effect incredible change but, as an integrated part of the MUSH community, it serves instead in he capacity of an accessory.
Additionally, only a small cross-section of Blue Sun will ever be represented on the grid. For the most part, the PC-operated +orgs are considered to be too insignificant to be of any concern to Blue Sun's almost wholly NPC run leadership who remain ensconced in their mansions and towers of corporate governance. Its interaction with the grid will consist mostly of dealings between the player body and mid-level Blue Sun employees on the wings of the Conglomerate's structural hierarchy.
With regard to the MUSH economy, Blue Sun's passivity demands that its function on the grid does not include those activities that would place it in competition with the MUSH's PC-operated organisations. Blue Sun does not own factories; it does not trade cargo; it is not a vendor of coded objects; it does not pay dividends to "shareholders" or support any kind of infrastructure that would allow PCs to invest credits with the intention of earning a profit. In no way is the organisation designed contribute to the grid as an economic entity.
This said, Blue Sun does maintain a budget intended for more than lining the pockets of its employees. Upon Staff directive or at the discretion of the organisation leadership, Blue Sun may grant PCs monetary rewards for generating roleplay on the grid. ICly this would come in the form of bonuses, fees, contractual payments, reparations or any other form of transaction suitable to the pursuant scene. Any who would seek out Blue Sun with an idea, proposal, or plot concept for which the end purpose is to acquire IC money or resources are politely directed toward more applicable, active organisations.
All players who intend to run a plot wherein they would like to have Blue Sun directly or indirectly involved as a participant should first submit their plot concept to the +org leadership for OOC review. This concept does not have to be comprehensive and need only detail in what capacity they would like to see Blue Sun involvement. Representation of the Conglomerate may come in a variety of degrees, from full participation of its PC membership to the authorised use of Blue Sun NPCs by plot GMs. Blue Sun personnel may serve as the protagonists, antagonists, or as a neutral catalyst of a plot.
The importance of the review process is see that continuity is maintained regarding Blue Sun activities on the grid, insuring that players do not inadvertently use the Conglomerate as a plot device in a manner that would be contrary either to the thematic makeup of the +org or any other plots concurrently being run. Thusly, not all proposals will be immediately approved though the +org leadership will do its best in trying to work with individuals toward improving their viability.
Readers are individuals with extra sensory perception (ESP) developed highly enough for functional cognative use. ICly, Blue Sun is greatly interested in acquiring these individuals for experimentation and study at their secret laboratory sometimes referenced as "The Academy"; however, in terms of its OOC role on the grid, this +org does not function as a group of 'reader hunters'. In keeping with the passive nature of the +org, Blue Sun subscribes to a "play and let play" philisophy and its personnel do not actively seek to detain characters with reader skills unless it is at the express wish of the reader's player or upon Staff directive.
It is important to Blue Sun Leadership that a trust is maintained between itself and the players of the grid, readers or otherwise. Readers who are interested in proposing plot ideas involving Blue Sun should bear no reluctance in approaching Leadership for fear of OOCly presenting themselves as a target. Blue Sun, for all its wealth and technological toys, will only chase your characters so far as you want them to be chased. In fulfilling the role of antagonist on Serenity MUSH, we understand the importance of playing the loser.
The most important thing to remember when deciding to apply for a position in Blue Sun is that +org members are inherently servants of the grid. The OOC purpose of a Blue Sun character is to enhance the overall gameplay experience on Serenity MUSH, fulfilling needs that would be otherwise neglected. The other thing to keep in mind is that Blue Sun characters are granted few privileges beyond those enjoyed by any other. Players expecting to hunt down readers or turn Federals into jelly may be sorely disappointed to find the actual responsibilities of playing a Blue Sun character are much more staid.
What is of paramout importance to +org leadership when reviewing an application is the player's level of maturity. Members are held to strict standards that demand an ability to avoid OOC drama and skill in diffusing such as it arises. Good communication and social skills are a requirement and members are expected to treat fellow players with every consideration. You may be playing the most evil corporate executive in the 'verse or a cold blooded assassin bordering on the sociopathic, but OOCly you are expected to be courteous, well mannered, and, when the situation calls for it, magnanimous toward other players. This is a strictly enforced policy. Members who earn a reputation for rudeness, inconsideration, or troublemaking are respectively subject to summary expulsion from the +org.
Another requirement of membership is self-sufficiency Blue Sun is not a typical +org in that it is designed to facilitate roleplay externally of itself rather than internally. Players are expected to be able to provide and seek out entertainment for themselves rather depend upon it being generated for them from within the +org. Because of the +org's inherent passivity, lulls may occur when Blue Sun is not engaged in any active plots. It is highly encouraged that during these times characters actively engage themselves in activities of a social, rather than a business, nature.
Member characters are required to commit their allegiance to Blue Sun and are usually disallowed dual-affiliation with any other +org on the grid. The Conglomerate demands undivided loyalty of its employees. In special circumstances, though, exceptions to this rule may be granted to individuals if it can be proven that the secondary affiliation will not impact the character's performance of their duties to Blue Sun.
With its primary function as a plot facilitator, Blue Sun strongly encourages its membership to strive for the highest quality of roleplaying performance. Nevertheless, writing style is not the foremost consideration in determining a candidate's suitability. Blue Sun leadership understands that good roleplay comes in many forms, from the terse to the verbose, the descriptive to the dialogue heavy. In order to be accessible to the greatest demographic of players on Serenity MUSH, the +org strives to adopt members equally disparate in style of performance. Furthermore, it is held that any player desiring to play in Blue Sun's corporate atmosphere should not be discriminated against based solely on uncontrolable circumstances such as dyslexia or other disability. This is an equal-opportunity +org that believes everybody deserves a fair shake.
Upon deciding to apply for a Blue Sun character, the player must first determine the kind of role they wish their character to pursue within the +org. There is a great deal of leeway here as Blue Sun is thematically a very large organisation that encompasses factories, offices, laboratories, services and a multitude of other functions in the IC universe. Merchants, bankers, lawyers, scientists, marketeers, labour representatives, public relations officials and security specialists are all examples of mid-level positions Blue Sun could easily situate on the grid. More mundane roles would include secretarial and office support staff, common labourers, and generic security guards. You may check the Opportunities secion of this page for some examples of viable character concepts.
From time to time the +org might also publicly advertise for characters with special skill sets, such as pilots or doctors. Roles that are restricted from application include executive level positions and anything pertaining to Hands of Blue agents or the "Academy", as mentioned in the Firefly series. These may only be acquired by invitation and usually upon Staff directive.
Although most most hiring is performed passively, reviewing applications as they are submitted, occasionally the +org will have cause to actively search for new talent to bring into its fold. In insuring that Blue Sun remains outside of competition with PC-run +orgs on the grid, including terms of personnel, it is therefore not our policy to "poach" players who are already employed. Please note that only +org Leadership has the authority to engage in active recruitment.
Once the player has a general idea of what kind of role would suit his character, they should send a @mail to the +org leader specified in the Roster section of this page. This @mail should include the type of role the character is pursuing as well as the reasons why the player is OOCly interested in playing a Blue Sun affiliated character. If the player is a veteran of Serenity MUSH, or knows such veterans who would be willing to vouch for the applicant's worth, then any alts or references may also be listed here. This would be beneficial in expediting the application process but is not a requirement.
Applicants will frequently be asked to participate in a test scene to allow +org leadership a sampling of their style of play. This scene might not have an IC bearing on the grid and serve solely as a test of the applicants capabilities or it may be a part of an interview process if the applying character is already established in the MUSH.
All players have the right to apply for a Blue Sun character regardless of how long they have played on Serenity MUSH, be they in the character generation process for the first time or if their character has seen years pass since his inception. Approval of an application depends on a variety of factors including whether or not the character fulfills a particular need in terms of skills, role, or playing style, considerations of inter-personal chemistry with existing membership, and whether or not Blue Sun would benefit from the addition of an extra member. Rejection is a fact of life and though applying may be a right, playing a Blue Sun character is a responsibility granted judiciously.
Open Positions: Below is a list of positions Blue Sun is actively seeking to fill.
- Ariel Times Investigative Reporter: The character will be expected to search the grid for interesting activities and write news articles about them for submission to the +bboard. Good social skills and the ability to communicate with other characters from a myriad of backgrounds are strongly encouraged. Because this position has a strong literary leaning, applicants will be required to show proof of their writing proficiency. This position is largely autonomous and the character will be left to their own devices in determining how they go about their business; however, certain standards of productivity are expected and +org Leadership will retain certain editorial oversight of the articles' publication. This position is open to veteran players as well as newcomers though dual-org affiliation is discouraged.
Character Concepts: Following is a partial list of some possible character concepts players thinking about applying for membership in Blue Sun may peruse for inspiration. These are provided as rough thumbnails to give players an example of some roles that would fit in the Blue Sun organisation.
- The Railroad Man: Borrowed from the classic archetype of the American West, the "railroad man" is a corporate stooge who is more interested in profit margins and deadlines than how his business impacts people or their environment. Although not necessarily evil, they may be simply amoral or out of touch with the realities of frontier life to relate to the under-privileged. They are like to believe that any problem can be solved if enough money is applied to it. In terms of Serenity MUSH, characters conforming to this concept would be men or women of middle class origin educated in the Core Worlds and employed as managers on the Border and Rim worlds, overseeing expansionary projects and acquisitions.
- Man/Woman in Black: Blue Sun's primary enforcer, clad in his dark business attire and almost requisite opaque sunglasses, is the stick the Conglomerate wields when normal channels of business fail to produce results. Highly professional and well disciplined, they are frequently stoic to a fault and not prone to panic when lesser men fall prey to fear or shock. Typically elevated from within the ranks of regular security guards, Men in Black are often instilled with a strong sense of duty to the Conglomerate and are willing to bend the rules, if not outright break them, to achieve their assignments.
- St. Trinian: While their anarchistic and anti-establishment attitudes would seem to put St. Trinians at odds with the Blue Sun hegemony; these females have a symbiotic role within the Conglomerate that offers them the promise of means by which to pursue and exact her libertine independence upon the rest of the 'verse. In turn she provides Blue Sun with a destabilising force it can wield to frustrate and confound those who would threaten its dominance. St. Trinians may come from any background but are often youth disillusioned by authority who, in maturity, have adopted the ability to mimic, and consequently mock, traditions and values of the middle-class. Though they prefer to shy away from bureaucratic drudgery, they are often found in professional roles that have a moderate degree of influence with minimal liability.
"[A St. Trinian] would be sadistic, cunning, dissolute, crooked, sordid, lacking morals of any sort and capable of any excess. She would also be well-spoken, even well-mannered and polite. Sardonic, witty and very amusing. She would be good company. In short: typically human and, despite everything, endearing."
-- Ronald Searle
"We are much beholden to Machiavelli and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do . For it is not possible to join serpentine wisdom with the columbine innocency, except men know exactly all the conditions of the serpent; his baseness and going upon his belly, his volubility and lubricity, his envy and sting, and the rest; that is, all forms and natures of evil. For without this, virtue lieth open and unfenced. Nay, an honest man can do no good upon those that are wicked, to reclaim them, without the help of the knowledge of evil."
-- Sir Francis Bacon
Although registered with the Anglo-Sino Home Ministry as a publicly traded corporation, the Blue Sun Industrial Conglomerate (CCX:BS) has long since relinquished its role as a simple manufacturer of basic foodstuffs and consumer goods to become an inter-planetary hegemony, dominating not only the mercantile world of trade and commerce but achieving a strong grip over the very halls of government that were once expected to rein in the worst of corporate excesses. Resultingly its shares have become the most coveted commodity in the 'verse, their extraordinary demand resulting in a stark infrequency in share movement. Inheritance now a statistically more common means of acquisition than public trade, shareholders are typically loath to part with that which not only earns them a steady income in dividends but also the prestige imparted by affiliation with what may be argued the most powerful entity in human history.
At the pinnacle of the Blue Sun hierarchy is the Board of Directors. Here lies the senior authority governing corporate policy and objectives. In no part of the 'verse is so much power concentrated amongst so few individuals. Far from the monolithic front of unity presented to the outside world, though, competition runs its fiercest amongst the ruling cabal of major shareholding families, known as the Oligarchy, who have jostled for power over the directorates for generations, each trying to impose its own vision and perspective upon the Conglomerate's operation. The only thing on which the directors stand in agreement is their ardent policy of inclusion, keeping anybody who is not a member of the Oligarchy well away from the reins of power.
While it's logo is ubiquitous, plastered on billboards, product labels, and Cortex screens from the most civilised of the central planets to the rural fringes of the Rim worlds, Blue Sun itself maintains very little direct oversight of the manufacture and distribution of the commodities bearing its brand. These tasks are the responsibility of subsidiaries, individual commercial units of which the Conglomerate holds a controlling interest. In many ways Blue Sun is merely the a empty shell of a company, producing little of its own but providing administration, capital, and general direction of purpose to a multitude of other corporations.
Although most directorates are chartered for some specific mandate, often a service such as legal representation or data analysis though also including specialisation in particular market niches or geographic locations, the importance of these mandates has since diminished after Blue Sun hegemony had been cemented by Parliamentary law. Directors have since established their own internal organisations to fulfill many of the needs upon which they formerly depended on their peers and, though the interpretation of chartered mandates remains hotly contested, the control of subsidiary corporations has gained pre-eminence as the spoils for which the directors' contest control.
Consequently, the directorates have factionalised, each run similarly to a feudal fiefdom with the management of all affiliated assets and personnel under the control of the director, who acts as a kind of contemporary liege lord. Power is then divided into a series of under-directorates which is in turn further divided into departments, sub-departments, offices, and so on in a hierarchical tree where the primary means of advancement is through relentless politicking and social networking. The result is an organisation that rewards the sometimes competing qualities of ambition and loyalty above competency and productivity.
Inefficiencies are vast, inertia reinforced by an entrenched bureaucracy that seeks foremost its own perpetuation. Lateral communication between divisions of power is often sketchy and in some cases completely non-existent, commonly leading to redundancies and even inadvertant competition between supposedly affiliated organisations. Any other commercial venture would have long since been consumed by competition were not for the monopolistic legislation enforced by Parliament that insures Blue Sun's prominence in the marketplace.
"Remember that there exists a certain malevolence about the formation of any social order. It is the struggle for existence by an artificial entity. Despotism and slavery hover at the edges. Many injuries occur and, thus, the need for laws. The law develops its own power structure, creating more wounds and new injustices."
--Frank Herbert "God Emperor of Dune"
Oligarch is the popular term for presiding member of the cabal of families who own a major stake in the Blue Sun Conglomerate, referred to as the Oligarchy. Their sole official responsibility to the Conglomerate is in electing members to the Board of Directors; however, due to corporate bylaws passed during the period of the Directors' consolidation of power, this task has been reduced to little more than the rubber stamping of candidates the Directors have already agreed upon. Nevertheless, the Oligarchy plays a significant role indirectly in the operation of Blue Sun through the breeding of successive generations of executive leadership personnel and the active manoeuvring of loyal personnel to positions of power by means of influence and intrigue.
Shareholders are individuals who do not meet the status requirements to be regarded as an Oligarch yet own enough of a stake in Blue Sun to live solely off of their dividends, without the necessity of earning an income through employment. This is a class of consumers who contribute little, if anything, of their own to society -but- society. Commonly they are called men or women of leisure by their proponents and parasites by their detractors. Although in terms of aggregate voting power Primary Shareholders wield enough influence to rival the Oligarchy, the significant dilution of this influence by population prevents their coordination into an effective bloc.
Generic Investors make up the majority of Blue Sun stakeholders by population, though are the minority in terms of voting power. These are common individuals who own Blue Sun shares of a quantity too insignificant to serve as anything more than supplemental income. Corporate bylaws require Secondary Shareholders to transfer their voting power by proxy to one of the Oligarchs.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors is the most prestigious position to hold in the Blue Sun organisational hierarchy. Although ostensibly this is a leadership position over the Board, elected from within its membership, in practical application the Chairmanship translates into little real additional power. This fact in combination with the degree of responsibility and high-profile exposure of the position, the cons of holding this seat are frequently seen to outweigh the benefits and it is not uncommon for the seat to remain vacant for years at a time. Those who covet the Charimanship are either extremely confident in their ability to influence his fellow directors or desperate enough to roll the dice in a last ditch effort to maintain their waning status on the Board.
The Directors of Blue Sun are where the real power within the Conglomerate lies. United only in their desire to advance Blue Sun hegemony, this body's primary competition comes from within itself. Inter-directorate politicking and manoeuvring is a dangerous, sometimes deadly, game where sabotage, subterfuge, and betrayal are all accepted forms of conduct. In spite of the nearly limitless resources at his disposal, a Director's only real safety is in having the intelligence, skill, and perception to keep a step ahead of those who would see him fall. Individuals who desires a director's seat must be ruthless in their acquisition of it and even more ruthless in its defence once realised.
The President, Secretary, Treasurer and a number of other executive titles have found their roles diminished over time as the Directors consolidated their authority and the emphasis of Blue Sun activities were relegated more and more to subsidiary corporations. Today these serve primarily as spoils and bargaining chips of the Oligarchy, coveted by spare family members for their prestige and comfortable stipends.
Under Directors make up the second level of Blue Sun's division of power, serving as a microsim of the Board of Directors within their particular Directorate, both in terms of organisation as well as the culture of politicking and infighting. They answer immediately to their Director and are responsible for much of the Conglomerates policy making on a level of practical application. Significant portions of Blue Sun assets, including the oversight of subsidiaries, are left to the charge of these personnel, allowing their respective Directors to focus on the broad decision making and strategy building that keeps the directorate from imploding.
Surrogate Directors serve as executives-at-large, acting in the capacity of agents to their presiding Director in functions where the permanent infrastructure of an Under Directorate is deemed unnecessary. Although theoretically equal to an Under Director in terms of authority, the transience of the job description as well as the typically inferior resources allocated in terms of budget and personnel generally infer Surrogate Directors with far less prestige and influence than their more organisationally rooted counterparts. A further hit to this role comes from the fact that its mandate is a completely arbitrary determination of his Director and has been occasionally used to shuffle into ineffectual "stuffed shirt" positions personnel who would otherwise be too prestigious to outright fire or demote.
Department Heads and generic Managers respectively serve as instances the continual division of power withing the Blue Sun hierarchy, each answering to the title before it with Heads under the authority of Under Directors. These positions of "middle" management are successively responsible for the more direct or "hands on" operation of Blue Sun. For example, a Department Head may decree that n many positions must be filled or vacated within his department and it would then be left to the Managers to perform the actual hiring and firing necessary to fulfill this decree. Additional hierarchies may be added on an individual basis depending upon the level of compartmentalisation Executive Management decrees is necessary for the specific branch to perform its designated function.
Blue Sun employees can be divided into two general categories: office and labour personnel. The former is a mixture of highly-educated Associates who specialise in professional fields such as accounting, law, and the sciences, and their appointed aides, assistants and secretarial personnel, called Staffers. Although Associates have not the same privileges and responsibilities of leadership, they are generally well paid in deference to their skills and some command more respect than the managers who coordinate their operations.
The latter category is comprised of personnel of varying levels of skill whose job description primarily deals with tasks of manual labour, examples including teamsters, construction, and factory workers. Skilled tradesmen, called Journeyman, perform specialised tasks while common Labourers perform more menial tasks. Labourers are often coordinated by a Foreman, typically promoted from within their ranks based on seniority, performance, and company loyalty, who serve in an on-site quasi-managerial capacity.
Security and Enforcement
"Better to be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined by too confident a security."
-- Edmund Burke "Reflections on the Revolution in France"
Hands of Blue:
Their existence officially denied by Blue Sun, "Hands of Blue" (hereafter: HoB) is a colloquial term for a branch of elite agents reputed for their ruthlessness in advancing the Conglomerate's objectives through covert or outright illegal means. Although often attributed to their hallmark blue gloves, the name also stems from the HoB's role as Blue Sun's premiere agent, their most far-reaching and heavy of hands. In addition to a fantastic array of experimental technology developed by Blue Sun researchers, sabotage, murder, blackmail, and extortion are all common to these agents' arsenal of tools, the execution of both legitimised by Blue Sun's enormous influence over the Alliance Parliament and Judiciary.
Pursuant to Alliance Fiat 117-C, Section A, Paragraph 4, HoB's are deputised with constabulary powers similar to that of a Federal Marshal and, though bearing no formal rank, are regarded as equivalent in grade to an Alliance Major. In supplement of their access to Blue Sun's substantial resources, this grants them official clearance to utilise military and law enforcement services. To be an HoB is to be not only above the law but also its executor.
The aforementioned act of legislature, however, has been viewed as an encroachment by the Office of Operatives, a competing cadre of clandestine agents acting directly under the auspices of Parliament. A feud has since erupted between the two covert organisations, each subtly trying to undermine and frustrate the other. While an Operative's authority supersedes that of an HoB, the latter's numerical superiority and corporate backing elevate them to a comparable, if not equal, level of effectiveness as that of their Parliamentary counterparts.
HoBs are typically recruited from within the Conglomerate's pool of standard agents. Only the most loyal and proficient agents are selected to undergo the rigorous training, indoctrination, and enhancement program that turns them into merciless killers. The lengths to which an HoB will go to achieve their objective should never be underestimated.
While HoB's handle Blue Sun's most delicate assignments, the majority of its "off the record" activities are handled by generic agents often colloquially referred to as Men or Women in Black (MiB and WiB respectively), so named for their propensity to wear dark business attire. Serving primarily as enforcers, agents are mandated to insure that Blue Sun's will is being carried out both within and without the Conglomerate's official sphere of authority. Some of the more exotic tasks common to a MiB include intimidation, espionage, and campaigns of defamation, disinformation, and meme dissemination. Though some agents may also delve into illegal "black" operations, they are not afforded the same legal protections enjoyed by HoBs and are more vulnerable to judicial sanction. In further contrast, their mandate stems only from Blue Sun policy and agents therefore hold no inherent, direct authority over Alliance governmental or military personnel.
In addition to the arts of subterfuge and enforcement, agents also provide Blue Sun with more benign services pertaining to security and protection. Often they will be tasked as the coordinators of regular security forces, charged with the oversight of protecting Blue Sun personnel and property. Furthermore, serving as the Conglomerate specialised arm of investigators, Agents are responsible for conducting in-depth background checks as well as rooting out fraud, corruption, and disloyalty amongst its employees.
The uneasy marriage between Blue Sun policy and Alliance politics means that the Conglomerate will often avail itself of Alliance Federals. Most major Blue Sun facilities will have attached to them a dedicated company of Federals to provide support to their regular security force as well as constabulary services in the binding and processing of criminals. In spite of the attachment, these Federals do not answer to Blue Sun administration but instead serve under the auspices of the Judiciary. Relations between the two services remain cordial, though, thanks to a program of embedded liaisons and advisors; each respects the others' purpose and both make a conscious effort to stay out of one anothers' way.
Forming the bulk of Blue Sun's security force are the ubiquitous security guards. Typically uniformed, guards are tasked with the mundane tasks of verifying the identification of personnel, maintaining regular patrols of Blue Sun premises, and engaging in routine surveillance both in terms of optical observation and data processed over the local networks and the universal Cortex.
Guards are typically armed with non-lethal weaponry including sonic rifles, tasers, and sticky foam, though on certain Border Planet facilities known to be located in areas of danger they may have their arsenal upgraded to include firearms. In most cases when excessive force is required, guards will step back to allow the Alliance Federals deal with the situation. As civilians, guards have no authority to execute justice but may legally detain suspected criminals for Alliance investigation or binding.
As Blue Sun's presence has increased among the Border and Rim planets following the War of Unification, so have the occasions when the absence of channels normally available on a Core World are felt, warranting a level of force in excess of what can be provided by regular security guards but beneath the level of expertise and sophistication attributed to an HoB. On these occasions Blue Sun has been known to contract out to private security firms, often a euphemism for groups of gunhands and discharged veterans willing to kill for pay.
These transactions for professional services rendered are considered something of an embarrassment by the Conglomerate and are hense officially denied. Payment to mercenary forces are usually written off on the books under the guise of materiel requisitions or other mundane expenses. The perception of unreliability attributed to a gun-for-hire serves as an additional deterrent to the regular employment of mercenaries. Nevertheless, as Blue Sun continues to expand to territory where Alliance presence is nominal, contractual security services remain a necessary evil.
"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public."
-- Adam Smith
Mistakenly assumed to be Blue Sun's precursor, the Weyland-Yutani (CCX:WYC) of present is in fact a separate entity from the corporation of the same name that was lost with ancient Earth. Shortly after Blue Sun became involved in the first phase of colonisation, settling humanity on what are now called the Border Planets, it was decided to reestablish the Weyland-Yutani brand, capitalising upon its namesake's positive reputation for reliability that had been achieved during the colonisation of Sol. The move proved successful, propelling Blue Sun's market share beyond the value of their products and, for a time, the golden age of Weyland-Yutani was once again realised in the burgeoning industrial sectors of Persephone and Paquin.
By the time of the second phase of colonisation, when technology had restored the limited inter-stellar capability to allow humanity reach of the Rim worlds, Blue Sun felt confident enough in its own brand to wean itself off of the Weyland-Yutani myth. The corporation continued to operate in the Border Worlds, maintaining the industrial infrastructure that had been build in its name during settlement, but no effort was made to expand production either geographically or in product range. Production continued to focus on basic consumer goods and legacy aerospace technologies while contracts for luxuries and the more advanced star drives went to other subsidiaries.
It was during the Unification War that Wayland-Yutani would suffer a debilitating blow. With the schism between the Core and Border planets manifested in violence, many of the corporation's factories and offices in jurisdictions supportive of the Independents were appropriated and retooled to produce weapons and supplies for their cause. Blue Sun could hardly continue to support a brand that was growingly linked with Browncoat defiance and in the first 18 months of the fighting, all of Weyland-Yutani's Coreworld assets were dismantled and sold or distributed to other subsidiaries.
After the War, Blue Sun reasserted its ownership of Weyland-Yutani and the corporation continues to operate, though on a significantly diminished scale. No longer deemed a critical component of the Blue Sun economic machine, the corporation nevertheless remains a useful tool as an illusory alternative to Coreworld hegemony; producing cheap consumer goods for disgruntled partisans still bitter over the Anglo-Sino victory.
An Earth transplant and one of the founding corporations of the Blue Sun Conglomerate, Page-OmniLife (CCX:PAGI) is now only a fragment of the commercial behemoth it had been at time of colonisation. Once an important player in the high-tech markets of aerospace, communications, information technologies, and medicine, a string of product failures, bad publicity, and poor leadership decisions have culminated in the corporation's downfall. Initially viewed as a major competitor for market dominance, Page-OmniLife's implosion and subsequent absorption into the fledging Blue Sun is considered by many to have been the bedrock upon which the Conglomerate launched the campaign establishing itself as an immitigable force in the solar economy.
What remains today of Page-OmniLife is a life systems engineering laboratory specialising in the highly controversial practices of neural grafting and cybernetics. Often the target of aggression by extremist interest groups ranging from right-wing moralists to liberal humanists, civil court injunctions, counter advertising, and even acts of sabotage and terrorism are all obstacles the corporation must face on a regular basis. Though some question why Blue Sun would continue to support a corporation that proves such a public relations liability, a few cynics suggest that Page-OmniLife may merely serve as a diversion to distract prying eyes from discerning some of Blue Sun's other, even more volatile projects.
Bauerwerks (PCSE:BWG) is a machine-tools manufacturer based out of Hera. Formerly an independant, family-owned enterprise, it was one of the first companies to set aside politics in favour of business opportunity and quickly merged with Blue Sun after the outcome of the Unification War insured the Conglomerate's unfettered access to markets along the Border Planets. Although widely unpopular amongst Browncoat sympathisers, the move proved profitable for both companies. In the economic boom that followed the War many of the new factories built by Blue Sun and its subsidiaries utilised Bauerwerks machinery and expertise in dealing with local considerations to doing business outside of the Core.
Ariel Media Group
A popular outlet of news, the Ariel Media Group Ltd. (CCX:AMG) has expanded from its origins as publisher of daily periodicals to encompass a multitude of information technologies, including three universal Cortex frequencies and affiliation with local news services on every inhabited planet in the Core and Border Planets. At the very heart of the Group is its daily periodical: The Ariel Times. Although a subsidiary of Blue Sun, the Ariel Times' dedicated editorial staff has managed largely to resist pressures from their owners to censor articles critical of Alliance policy. As a result it has maintained a reputation for impartiality and professionalism rare in a time when its competition tend toward being a venue of either corporate-sponsored propaganda or ultra-liberal ranting. Seen by some as the last of a long line of falling dominoes, though, speculation exists as to how long the delicate balance between truth and profit can continue before mounting pressures tilt it to one extreme or the other.
The history of this non-profit organisation begins with EarthForge Enterprises, a leading and respected terraforming firm that operated during the height of the second phase of colonisation. As the process of planetoid terraforming progressed, particularly in the later, labour intensive, stages, so did the infrastructure requirements to support a burgeoning workforce increase. Corporate subsidised housing was constructed, as well as clinics, hospitals, marketplaces, and schools.
After a terraforming operation had been completed, some of this workforce might choose to remain and settle the planet they'd helped to construct, taking the opportunity to parcel out some of the better territory before refugees and other colonists arrived. EarthForge's visionary founder and CEO, Robert Graziano (2389-2435), made the decision to continue subsidising this population. Speaking to his board of directors, he posed the rhetoric, "Why pinch dollars when we've already invested the credits?" And so, through a new corporate division called Initiatives, EarthForge secured the loyalty of a labour pool that intimately understood the quirks and the hardships associated with taming a virgin world.
As time passed and more planets were terraformed, Initiatives was forced to grow accordingly to deal with the management of allocating resources between multiple colonies. With this growth, though, came greater responsibility and overhead. Add to this the fact that fewer planetoid bodies remained a worthwhile investment to form and EarthForge was feeling the pressure of diminished profit margins. It proved difficult to simultaneously support a network of colonies as it struggled for solvency. Many called for the dissolution of Initiatives, but an eclectic coalition of settlers, progressives and entrepreneurs formed to find new sources of funding for the program. One such source came in the form of Blue Sun.
Blue Sun had already been interested in acquiring EarthForge's propriety technology and preliminary negotiations were underway to bring the terraformers under its corporate umbrella. Offering to establish Initiatives as a non-profit corporation independent of its parent company was the bone needed to convince EarthForge's board of directors to agree to a merge. The restructuring worked to everyone's benefit. The venture capitalists were free to seek new investments as Blue Sun's bureaucracy picked up the reigns of an ailing industry and Initiatives lived to see another dawn.
At first the program saw considerable success, buoyed by its founders sense of achievement and filled with the promise by its new benefactors. But as EarthForge Initiatives stepped into the light, so did the new challenges facing it become apparent. Tensions were growing between the Core and the independent Border Worlds and many questioned the flow of resources to a population increasingly viewed as hostile. Parliamentary restrictions as well as Blue Sun's mercantile mandates throttled the ability of EarthForge Initiatives to perform its mission.
Greater troubles came, though, from within. No longer under the direction of a single visionary toward a single purpose, the organisation was pulled every which way by each member of the very coalition that had fought to keep the program alive; settlers demanded more subsidies, entrepreneurs demanded more accountability, progressives demanded more intervention, and the benefactors sought each to leave their own mark on the 'verse. A web of half-measures and compromises were woven to form a tapestry of malfeasance. The trust that been established generations ago, that had forged worlds, fractured under the weight of petty interests. EarthForge Initiatives started to be viewed by those on the frontier as just another tool of the Alliance, not to conform the the land but instead its inhabitants.
With the advent of the Unification War, the consequent risks to interstellar travel made both EarthForge Initiative's charitable efforts, as well as the terraforming of its parent, became impossible. Blue Sun shut down EarthForge Enterprises in 2507, shortly after the Browncoat armies proved by their victories that it would not be a quick war. EarthForge Initiatives continued in operation, its established supply infrastructure commandeered by Blue Sun and other pro-Alliance interests to support the military occupation of the Border Worlds.
The post-war years were as daunting as the war years had been demanding but, in the euphoric wake of U-Day, the banner of EarthForge Initiatives was picked up by new hands, by optimists who saw opportunity in the ashes of destruction. The corporation had survived its crucible and, thus purged, united to find direction in support of the reconstruction effort. But while factories and star ports, schools and farms may be constructed with ease, far more difficult a task it is to rebuild a trust once lost. Too much water, and too much blood, has passed under the bridge.
"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."
-- G.K. Chesterton
Dr. Sheng-ji Hu (2461-): Director of Peripheral Affairs, Blue Sun. Hu is a very refined gentleman, so quiet and mild in his manners that he is frequently overlooked in a crowd. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to confuse his aloof reserve with timidness. The man is an indomitable powerhouse, a merciless fighter with a reputation for formulating effective long term strategy of immaculate detail and intricacy. Once a considered a minor part of the Conglomerate, the fall of the Intependants during the Unification has seen the Directorate of Peripheral Affairs, under Hu's leadership, significantly expand its influence on the Border Planets, incurring jealousy from his fellow directors. Although several initiatives have been proposed to break up the directorate, Hu's planning has thussofar managed to see them fail and his own power and prestige increase. But as time passes and the skelitons accumulate in his closet, many wonder just how many enemies he can afford to make before this man succumbs to the consequences of his own success.
Peggy Chen (2492-): President of Page-OmniLife. Glamourous as she is ambitious, Miss Chen is a socialite-cum-entrepreneur known for her boldness and masterful use of publicity. She is a beautiful woman who knows her grace is never better put to use than when played to the Cortex cameras, be it at a glitzy party or a news conference. It is a thinly veiled secret that her ambitions tend toward a Director's seat and it remains to be seen whether her charm, endurance, and luck will be enough to realise this goal in the face of fierce and firmly entrenched competition. As the leader of the troubled Page-OmniLife, she has already managed during her brief tenure to rejuvinate much of the corporation's market share though skeptics argue that she is yet to be tested by one of the major crices the corporation is known to incur.
Lady Theresa Ashland (2481-): Oligarch of the Bernadette Ashlands. Lady Theresa, ranked #3 in The Ariel Times' list of Most Influential Women (4th June, 2520), strikes a dauntingly regal figure to the few individuals privileged enough to catch glimpse of her. Once considered something of a wild child during her awkward years, openly courting rebellion and danger, she has since mellowed upon assuming the role of Oligarch after her father's untimely death. Self-styled in the image of a Platonic philosopher king, Lady Theresa is demure and scholarly as she subtly manoeuvres her family toward shaping Blue Sun to her specifications. Her extensive use of higher level thinking allows her to easily adapt strategy to changing situations, insuring that the Bernadette Ashlands never suffer a loss from which they are unable to quickly recover.
Nancy O'Brien (2496-): Personal Assistant to Mr. Yee. Nancy O'Brien is the great woman behind the greatness of her boss, Quintus Aemilius Yee. As assistant to the Surrogate Director, she is responsible for insuring his schedule is in order, his Waves are properly filtered, and that his access to office gossip remains constant and flowing. She is often his sole representative and conduit to the greater Blue Sun organisation as Quintus' frequently long trips may keep him away from the nucleus of his Persephone office. An attractive woman with deceptively mediterranean features, olive skin and succulent raven hair tied in a conservative chignon, Miss O'Brien's beauty is marred only by the veneer of hauter conferred by the responsibilities she's accrued in excess of her pay grade. Though lacking in the intuitive arts, her loyalty and extraordinary competence in office management make Nancy O'Brien a valued member of Mr. Yee's inner circle.
Ferdinand leBlanc (2481-): Blue Sun Agent. Randy leBlanc is a burly Man in Black, broad of shoulders, intimidating both in physique and manner. Attached to the Persephone office's Department of Security, leBlanc oversees many of the day-to-day security concerns that crop up, his purview extending primarily over insuring the integrity of Blue Sun premesis. Having now spent several years as office watchdog, he has become accustomed to the bland bureaucracy of the corporate environment and developed a compartmentalised sense of duty. He prefers to stay out of people's way in the hope that people will in turn stay out of his and the man's normally placid demeanour of disinterest can quickly turn gruff and belligerent when his usual routine is presented with an anomaly.
(This section is in progress)