“Answers in an uncertain world.”
Logo: a stylized panther prowling in a circle around a starburst
Note: This is non-canon, but fleshes out some details for several events in HSD’s history. Use it if you like, but this Megacorp is purely a fan invention.
20 AE: A cabal of passionate Felidae leaders bring together unhappy hemivectors, humans, and felines to build an alliance against Marsco and canine dominance.
43 AE: Genotype, Bastion’s first target, focuses its efforts on ratkind, leaving itself vulnerable to corporate attack.
125-145 AE: Genotype is brought into a two-front war: a feline economic and social crusade and the rise of the mouse rebellion. They are ultimately discorporated.
146 AE: Bastion gains ownership of some of the most desirable land assets and much of the intellectual property of Genotype. This slows down the recovery period of the following plague years, and Bastion supports a number of healthcare riots.
295 AE: Spyglass grows into a megacorp, partly following a wave of creds from “secret investors” and a technical diaspora from “dissatisfied ASR employees.”
310 AE: Bastion begins to abandon its land holdings and change its focus to Sol’s tradeways.
430 AE: IRPF is spun off as its own corporation, and Bastion’s profits plummet.
500-520 AE: In a bid for relevance, Bastion attempts to create a feline pride movement and spark a race war with rabbitkind. It works, but the rabbits win.
520 AE?: The heads of the two remaining Bastion subsidiaries clash. Bastion is officially disbanded as a corporation, though it had faded out of the ranks of the megacorps years before.
Where there’s conflict, there’s profit. Every war has at least two clients who’ll happily pay to get an advantage over their rival, or level out the playing field, or buy back the edge they somehow lost. For every feud, Bastion had spinoff companies working both sides, selling weapons and intelligence. And where there wasn’t an active conflict, Bastion funded independent agents to lay the seeds for future profits.
Bastion’s roots go back to the earliest days of Sol’s corporatocracy, when humans still held the reigns of power at MarsCo, and ASR and Pulse were still finding their legs. A trio of lovers and business allies, all first-generation members of Felidae, looked into the future of Sol and saw a lasting alliance of humans and Clan Canidae under the MarsCo banner, and pledged that this would not happen. They contracted with the weapons manufacturers and researchers that weren’t directly owned by MarsCo (at the time, ASR was primarily focused on artificial intelligence and hadn’t taken the role of “warshaper.”) They reached out to other disenfranchised groups—hemivector refugees, humans who had managed to alienate themselves from MarsCo or were trying to find some insurance against an upcoming purge. Of those few humans that escaped the “last human family” pogrom, almost all of them worked under Bastion.
Bastion made money and found its power in conflict, supplying weapons, mercenaries, strategic consulting, and elite espionage specialists to anyone who could afford them. And when your rival is armed and preparing its first strike, it’s amazing what you can afford.
Where there wasn’t conflict, Bastion planted its seeds. Long before Spyglass opened up the concept of whistle-blowing for profit, Bastion undermined Genotype, drawing public attention to the plight of mousekind and waging a multi-front economic and social war campaign against the much bigger corporation. When the mouse rebellion overthrew their oppressors, they were not lacking for weapons…and when they won their freedom, Bastion ended up with much Genotype’s former holdings. Funny how that works out.
With the collapse of Genotype, Bastion officially joined the ranks of the Megacorps. Pulse was not pleased, as Bastion seemed to be the antithesis of everything they’d worked for, but the mid-100s were a challenging time for Big M and its affiliates, as Sol’s medical system had broken down and long-forgotten plagues were weakening Mars’s infrastructure. And it didn’t help that Bastion funded public protests over health care and the new ledger system.
Bastion’s glory days spanned some 150 years after the collapse of Genotype, until a young intelligence agency found itself flush with money from secret investors and disenfranchised ASR technical experts. Though it would take centuries, Spyglass’s mysterious rise to power around 300 AE marked the beginning of the end of Bastion, and their ground-based revenue began to dry up. So they took to the tradelanes, leaving their Mars holdings to slowly decline.
Bastion’s last bid for relevance came in about 500. The IRPF had crippled them on two fronts, firstly by making spaceways piracy much less profitable, at least on a large scale. Secondly, IRPF largely rewrote the concept of “war,” replacing good, honest military mayhem with complex contract subclauses and negotiated hot zones. Bastion’s remaining subsidiaries began a campaign of public dissent and dissatisfaction, easy to do 10 or 15 years after MarsCo virtually shut down the solar system over the Whisper/Pale Man threat in the late 400s. There’s nothing quite like a war to get the economy moving and make new heroes. But Sol had lost its taste for outright war, and rabbits can become surprisingly good warriors when they have to. The race war Bastion tried to create led to the corporation’s dissolution, its remaining subsidiaries turning against each other in the end.
Besides the necropolis of their home territory on Mars (see “Bastion“), very few traces of the megacorp remain…though they have had a strong legacy. Three of the megacorps of Sol—IRPF, Spyglass, and indirectly Progenitus—rose to power to protect Sol and build accountability into Sol’s corporatocracy. Without Bastion’s disloyal opposition, it seems unlikely that MarsCo would have allowed Spyglass to flourish or divert its resources toward funding the IRPF. But on a deeper level, the rivalry between Canidae and Felidae was strengthened, even fostered, by Bastion. Without their work, “cats vs. dogs” would have faded with the rest of humanity’s cultural baggage. The fact that there’s still a family grudge, still a chip on Felidae’s racial shoulder, is Bastion’s “greatest” contribution to Sol.
It was Bastion’s business model to make enemies and turn them against each other. The corporation thrived on instability, and bred grudges for fun and profit. But there were a few special rivalries.
Was Bastion ever a threat to MarsCo? Hardly. But it was a threat to the calm, predictable governance of Vector society, and any effort to create a lasting peace in Sol was undermined by the conflicts Bastion spread and funded. MarsCo never moved directly against Bastion, but they did sponsor the corp that eventually ruined them.
While the rivalry between Spyglass and IRPF is the stuff of legend and film today, Spyglass is older than the IRPF by something like 150 years. In its early years, Spyglass won its white hat by attacking corporate abuse, and Bastion’s network was a much safer target than any of the MarsCo-owned corporations. Today, Spyglass’s business model is surprisingly similar to Bastion’s, but their first major triumph was dismantling Bastion from without and within.
“Paranoia” would be the name of the game in Bastion. The company invested most of its power in a web of subsidiaries. By the early 300s they’d abandoned the concept of “corptown,” using their Mars resources for manufacturing and backing away from responsibility to their citizens. As they moved their focus to the tradelanes, the company became almost entirely decentralized, investing its power in a network of subsidiaries. The staff of Bastion ~400 AE could fit on a single frigate. When they collapsed in the early 500s, there was no true staff of Bastion, its board was made up of the highest-level executives of its two biggest subsidiaries. Depending on when in Bastion’s history you looked, the culture varied wildly. In the early days it was cutthroat, with internal rivalries and competing pet projects fighting for funding and dominance under the banner of “survival of the fittest.” Later, it would be difficult to find anyone that was even aware that they were a Bastion employee.
The only consistent element through its history is that Bastion was controlled by, and heavily favored, cats. Even this helped weave a thread of “us against them” through the company’s culture, since it defined itself in part by their corporate monoculture. It was less apparent in the rank-and-file, but if you wanted to move up, you better have long whiskers, night vision, and that special feline grace. No dogs allowed.
None, though the family names of proud Felidae lineages were pretty common in upper management. By and large Bastion stuck to MarsCo’s name patterns.
Stealth, Athletics, and Communication, the skills favored by Felidae, are common in Bastion, as were skills focused on diplomacy (usually with the intent to disrupt positive relations, but fundamentally it was the same skill…)
2.0 — Bastion offered boons in Sabotage, Protocol.
2.0 — Proficiencies: Finance, Command, Express, Coercion, Street Smarts, Deception, Pilot