Corporate Chicago

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Self-sufficiency is the name of the game in this town. I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life, read a lot of books, and lived a lot of what most folks call history. I remember when I was a kid and everything affordable was made in a sweatshop in some Asian country. Made for a lot of foreign dependence, and I’m sure that was one of the many nails in the coffin of the old USA. Now Chicago learned from this, and they have done one hell of a job making themselves as self-sufficient as possible. Materials may still have to come in from other places, but this ‘plex has the blue-collar crowd to put it all together right near home. Add in a few of Chicago’s own hometown AAs and a healthy AAA presence, and you have the Chicago corporate scene. It’s important to point out that their are very few A-rated or mom-and-pop operations in Chicago (and as noted previously, many of the mom-and-pop organizations that are there are propped up by the man mainly to annoy the megas). The A-level corps tend to get gobbled up or torn apart by the sea of sharks that is Chicago, and the gap between the haves and the have nots is huge in this city.

All of the Big Eight have offices in the Core, most in their own towers, spires, or pyramids. Work is always coming from them to go after one of the other seven or one of the AAs here in Chicago. It’s the scene every runner knows so I won’t rehash it too much. Chicago was the Second City, and now it technically is the largest city in the UCAS since most of New York is corporate ground, and no one cares about a Metroplex surrounded by hostile Native Americans, and companies have known that for decades. This is still the big leagues, it’s just a lot more doom and gloom than glitz and glam.

Here’s a rundown on a few of the major players in town.

Truman Technologies
This is truly Chicago’s hometown corp, and they are happy to show it. The Truman Tower is the icon of downtown. The building features an amazing lobby on the eighth floor, just above the seventh floor Skytrack Monorail station. Below the station is building maintenance, including some housing for most of the staff. Due to the height of the building, the street level is nowhere near the bottom. There are at least seventeen subfloors that I know of, and there could be more. The seventeenth subfloor has a Gentech research facility. I don’t know what is on any of the other subfloors, but it can’t all be building maintenance.

The company made its fortune with ESP Systems but now operates almost completely under the Truman logo. Truman Simsense Systems makes the hardware, while Truman Distribution Network gets the chips to the people. There are dozens of other Truman-branded operations, and Truman is definitely the most trusted corp in Chicago. They aren’t AAA and have plenty of enemies in the city who are, but thanks to the hometown advantage none of the Big Eight have been able to challenge their Chicago supremacy.

Daniel Truman is the head of the company, but that really doesn’t matter to us. He’ll never be the one hiring you, and if he is you better line up your affairs, cause you’ll be dead before the op is over. The big fish in this city don’t hire the deniable assets. Truman uses a lot of local fixers and Johnsons instead of trying to keep it all in house. That gives them one more level of plausible deniability, especially when they are playing against competitors who have a seat on the Court.

I only mention Fuchi Americas because they have a big office downtown and they are the biggest rival to Truman Tech. The two probably spend more cash stealing ideas back and forth than developing them in the first place. At the top it’s some bigwig pissing contest, but down here on the street it’s work. Sometimes the jobs are so fast and furious you are turning around and stealing things you just handed over to Mr. Johnson. Luckily here in Chicago every- one remembers that biz is biz. We are deniable assets to everyone; if that wasn’t the case, we’d go from being shadowrunners to company men real fast.

Another issue Fuchi is facing right now is the trouble MCT is bringing in for all the Japanacorps by backing the Yaks. Fuchi has been running some of their own ops to try to help cut those ties lately because they are sick of having their employees beaten and bruised for the shape of their eyes. It’s not a one-way street, though, and MCT and the Yaks fire back regularly.

Fast Flesh
Though everything we average folks ingest is soy, soy, and more soy, the well-to-do all over the world still get real meat, and ninety percent of the meat that chews American grass comes through Chicago for processing. Fast Flesh is the reason. But all this meat coming through isn’t their real money maker. Fast Flesh has some super secret hormone/steroid/syn- thprotein blend that they use on their own livestock that allegedly brings the stock to full (and beyond) growth in only a month.

This growth research could mean a fortune in other industries as well, so Fast Flesh is the frequent target of Matrix attacks looking for the formula. Break-in attempts are pretty regular in an effort to find samples, but these guys are tough nuts to crack. They have solid security, but their best defense is red herrings.

Brilliant Genesis, Fox, Living Life
The big studios do a lot of jobs against each other, and that pays off on both sides for those in our line of work. These three are the biggest names in simsense in Chicago and though they all distribute through Truman, they fight tooth and nail for the best actors, directors, and writers in town. The problem is they use their runners like they use their stars. They only like what’s new, hot, and shiny. Once you’ve worked a few jobs and they’ve wrung what they can about your life story out of you for their next flick, you stop getting calls. A lot of the work is baby sitting jobs. It’s decent work, as long as you can tolerate stars and starlets who need protection from extractions or from their own dumb-ass selves and who are clear in the opinion that they are a whole lot more important than street scum like you.

They all operate offices in Dream Town, but their work takes them all over the city, even into the Noose for recording. Some of the best jobs are the ones that involve protecting the stars while not letting them know what you’re doing. The studios want the real feel for the recordings but don’t really want to risk their cash cows to a random ghoul attack.

UCAS Steel and Manufacturing
No one in this city ever seems to remember the dark side of UCAS Steel. Back in the early thirties the workers at one of the plants near Calumet went on strike. To end the strike the company closed the plant where they worked. It was an efficient solution—if there were no jobs, there could be no labor dispute. The workers had no other employment options, and eighty-seven percent lost their homes. UCAS Steel bought up the foreclosures. Eight months later they announced they were reopening the plant. Workers were offered employment as long as they lived in company housing, accepted the pay schedule as presented, and accepted the housing fees the company charged. UCAS Steel made a killing by increasing their net value through property-value increases. At the same time they increased their profit margin and productivity by making sure the workers understood the alternative. They know how to play hardball and aren’t afraid to do so.

Their CEO, Linda Jenkins, who was the plant manager in Calumet who shut the place down, is now looking to further expand the corporate portfolio. She’s completely obsessed with Dream Town and simsense productions in general. She’s begun cultivating relationships with some of the smaller studios by offering UCAS Steel plants as settings for sims. (Hot Steel, from Forbidden Garden Studios, has been a big hit in the adult sim sector and was filmed at a UCAS Steel plant.) The efforts have not gone unnoticed by Truman (who is rumored to be an ex of Jenkins). It looks like all the passion may not be gone from that relationship—it’s just now a passionate hatred. Trouble and work aplenty can be expected from here.

> You’re overlooking Shiawase, who own the trash and sewer contracts, and who are always trying to get better deals with the City Council. Shiawase Envirotech is interested in cleaning up Cermak, but no one will meet their price.
> Purple Nurple

> Lone Star is all kinds of hot ‘n’ bothered for Eagle Security as well.

> What do the cops have to do with corporate raiders?
> N00b

> I could write a book, kid.

> That’s actually a pretty good idea.
> FastJack

> Me? I don’t have patience for it. But maybe I know a guy …

Corporate Chicago

The Genesis Concept Neoproxy