At this point, Pulse is a sprawling media empire 600+ years old. MarsCo is literally as old as creation. Not to say anything bad about Big M, if you need a pair of really comfortable shoes and a kemeta that says “looks like ₢10 but it’s really free with my subscription,” go with MarsCo. If you’re still wearing kemetas anymore. And Pulse? “Go big or go home” is just not sustainable. Not in 2750. If you go big, you miss the stories that make up life, the trends that really matter. We’re MODE. We’re here for your life. We’re here for you. —Krysteen, MODE Marketing Team
Just over a hundred years ago, Sol changed in a big way. The Whisper attack on Luna and Transcendent Technology’s appearance at the MegaCorp boardroom sent waves of unease through Vector society. New religions sprang up. The normally content Vector populace had to answer the same questions that had plagued humanity for thousands of years…unsettling questions like “do we have a future?” and “does all this mean anything, really?”
Uncertainty and discontent play havok with corporate bottom lines, and the corporate world looked to the one group that promised it could turn the cultural mood ring back to blue: Pulse.
Really, Pulse promises all sorts of things.
That said, Pulse was well-placed for this sort of feel-good campaign, with its thumb on the system’s trends, most of Sol’s celebrities in its pockets, and if it came to that, some of the better recreational biochemistry in the system. They were born ready for this.
Except…except that the fear and uncertainty went further down than anyone thought. The Vector youth looked at a world that didn’t have the answers they needed, and rejected the ones they were given. Angry teenagers and volatile college kids were doing the unthinkable: turning off their video streams. An entire generation was moving away from corporate easy answers, looking for their own meaning in protests, in massive parties seasoned as much with anger as music and chemicals, in the natural world, in developing a maker community instead of a buyer community. This had to stop.
It had always been easy to focus on the big picture. The megacorps created society, it adapted to their needs. But suddenly, even Pulse found itself behind the times. They needed to bring the Transcendent Generation back into the fold, and the best way to do that was to give them their own voice.
Your trends. Your stars. Your life.
In 2750, popular culture is the opiate of the masses, and nobody knows popular culture like Pulse. But as a media giant, even PULSE can’t keep up with the frantic pace of youth culture. Worse, the megacorps are the one thing stable enough to rebel against. When Pulse started losing track of the Transcendent Generation, they picked an elite team from their fashion, athletics, consumer research, PR, and cosmetics divisions, put them in a board room lined with dry erase boards, and gave them a simple set of instructions: “find the next big thing. You will be given the key to the restroom when you have envisioned a mission statement. Lunch will be served after deliverables.”
MODE came out of that meeting. MODE would be light on its feet, perpetually beautiful, and both trendy and trending. MODE would reflect the culture of youth, and when university kids protested in the streets, MODE would print their banners. And above all else—possibly unique in the megacorp world, and definitely a new direction for a Pulse subsidiary—MODE would listen. Research, report, redesign, repeat. MODE representatives wouldn’t just film the mass protest, they would be in the crowd. They wouldn’t write the review of the 50,000-person rave, they’d be on the floor, six puffer stims in and one with the cosmos. Their mission wasn’t to shape the trends (not that this was discouraged!) but to give Pulse the tools to reflect them, and incorporate the voice of the new generation into the roar of the crowd and the beat of the corporate heart.
None…yet? ASR is not a strong supporter of MODE, since the young company never let go of the “Scientists as geeks” mindset that colors Pulse comedy and culture. But MODE loves ASR’s gear, and gives their new gadgets a spotlight they haven’t had before.
One corporation continually serves as MODE’s foil and whipping-boy: MarsCo. “Your Parent’s Corporation,” “Grandma M,” “Three Bs–Big, Boxy, and Baggy” “So 700 years ago.” As the ancient and venerable bastion of Vector culture, MarsCo has become MODE’s biggest target. It’s a matter of time before MarsCo moves against the smaller corporation, and MODE will likely spin the persecution into their next big campaign.
♃ MODE isn’t just reporting, they’re collecting. Someday they’ll have the marketing strength and presence to shape the consumers of tomorrow. When all your incoming employees listen to the same news feeds, how long before you have to change your choreography to dance to their tune?
♃ It’s kind of an open secret that immortality exists, but it’s reserved for people who are truly irreplaceable. Still, it’s strange how MODE celebrities never seem to age…
♃ TTI’s changed things, and not for the better. Pulse has maintained the facade of their ancient grudge with ASR, but the media megacorp’s biggest enemy is TTI, who created the dark cloud that hangs over the current zeitgeist. MODE is a return to the company’s morale-raising roots, and their new weapon against Transcendent Technology. Why else would all their talking heads have names that sound like they cribbed from TTI’s employee roster?
Key Products and Services
Youth and counterculture research; fashion and beauty, youth-focused publications and video, cultural viruses, food supplements and chems, the hot new celebrity of the year.
It’s hard to find a room full of MODE employees, they rarely sit still. Broadcasting from the field, embedded in the scene, chasing the latest star, MODE agents are always on the move.
They’re also eerily young. MODE has a bad habit of transferring its agents to Pulse or MarsCo when they start to show their age, so their employees tend to make heavy use of their Pulse discounts on enhancements and revitalization therapy. They tend to look strangely, agelessly, artificially perfect until age 60 or so, when the cracks start showing through the foundations. The ageism runs deep in the company. When they’re hosting senior executives from other companies, MODE employees often make a game of having two entirely separate conversations in the same room, one for the diplomat’s benefit, and the other much nastier, coded in slang and the latest references.
Much moreso than their parent company, MODE is investigative and even empathetic. MODE employees know how to listen, or at least how to rotate their ears in a way that suggests listening. They’re obviously better at dealing with the younger crowd, but when a MODE employee remembers to turn on the charm, they’re adept at getting people to share their stories, and sometimes a bit of juicy gossip.
Much to the annoyance of every other vector in the system, MODE employees change their names and their looks every ten years or so. It’s not a requirement, but “freshening up” is a tradition in MODE, and if you’re not in on the latest wave, you better wear the last one really well. They usually hold onto a last name and their Pulse employee ID as a way to guarantee that their Ledger’s updated and they get the invites to the company party, but the wave of trending fashion, names, and body types gives outsiders the impression that there are only 200 or so MODE employees, and they’re all named “Kylee.”
This year, MODE has adopted the cold northern naming conventions of TTI, particularly Russian names, and a certain wintery, pale and flowing fashion. The reason for this is has not been revealed, and TTI is unsure of whether they should welcome this as a friendly overture or expect a wave of unwanted media attention over the next 3-5 years.
Going by Radio Free Deimos’s “subsidiaries” alt rules, MODE employees may choose from a modified version of PULSE’s skill set: Sneak, Navigate, Streetsmarts, Survival, Athletics, Swim, Inspire, and Investigation. Streetsmarts and Investigation are the key proficiencies of MODE, and one point of every block of MODE proficiency points must be from one of these two skills.