The long strange trip
Millions of organizations do business within and without the Imperium. Most of these are limited to one or two worlds. A few thousand trade over one or more subsectors, a few hundred cover one or more sectors. Only a few firms are truly Imperial in scope; these are known as megacorporations. Staggering in size, these organizations are so large that no one person can know everything they are concerned with at any given moment. Total shares of stock, annual profits, number of employees are all astronomical. Many organizations are so large that different divisions of the same megacorporation may actually be working at cross purposes. In most regions, megacorporations merely own the land their installations are on, but in some areas they control entire planets, either directly or indirectly.
Most megacorporations are organized very much like smaller companies (with a board of directors, a president, and vice presidents), but the board and the higher level executive officers of the company are largely out of contact with the day to day (or even year to year) functioning of the company. These upper level executives serve to plan general policy and long distance actions. The most important executives, in terms of personal power, are the various regional managers (by whatever name they may be called). A regional manager may control only a small portion of a megacorporation’s total assets, but many hold more power in some regions than the representatives of the Imperial government. A small number of Imperial regulatory agencies have power over megacorporations, and they are subject to any applicable local taxes, but, provided they do not blatantly violate Imperial sovereignty, regional managers can usually conduct their company’s business as they see fit. Because a direct confrontation with the Imperium would be bad for business, intentional violation of Imperial laws is done only on a covert basis.
Except for those pre-dating the Imperium, all corporations engaging in interstellar commerce are required to possess an Imperial charter. This is indicated by the letters LIC following the company name. LIC stands for Limited liability Imperial Charter. Occasionally, corporations make use of archaic titles, such as the Terran Ltd, Inc, Amt, AG, SA, etc. This is done either to indicate that the company predates the Third Imperium (rarely the case) or to add charm and quaintness to the title.
A few Vilani megacorporations are still in business under their Vilani titles (Makhidkarun, Naasirka, Sharurshid, and Zirunkariish). The names, at least, date back to 1st Imperium times, and were the names of the Imperial organizations, half-industrial trusts, half-government bureaus, which controlled commerce in the Vilani Imperium.
Imperial Mega Corporations
The following are the 13 Imperial MegaCorporations in operation:
■ Delgado Trading – Military hardware, miniaturization, minerals, publishing, trading, recreational products.
■ GSbAG – Starships
■ General Products – Heavy industry, starships, vehicles.
■ Hortalez et Cie – Banking, investments, finance arrangements.
■ Instellarms – Military hardware, military units, strategic planning.
■ Ling-Standard Products – Mining, electronics, vehicles, weapons, consumer goods.
■ Makhidkarun – Communications, computers, entertainment, recreation.
■ Naasirka – Information retrieval hardware and software, robots, electronics.
■ Sharurshid – Trade and speculation, luxury goods.
■ Sternmetal Horizons – Mining, manufacturing, energy supplies, food synthesis.
■ SuSAG – Chemicals, pharmaceuticals, geneering.
■ Tukera Lines – Passenger and freight transport, trade and speculation.
■ Zirunkariish – Capital investment, real estate, insurance.