I'm getting rid of the ridiculous character limitations from CP...who in the hell would ever be a Rocker, for instance? Under CP rules, I'll bet everybody pretty much ends up as a Solo. All characters can be constructed from the skills and gifts outlined, in any combination.
Any character has 6 basic attributes...Strength, Intelligence, Constitution, Intuition, Dexterity, and Cool.
Strength is obvious; your physical strength. Your ability to use that strength is modified, in many situations by your dexterity, & vice versa. A gymnast, for example may need both high strength and dexterity, a watch repairman needs only dexterity, and a longshoreman needs mostly strength. Strength is modifiable by cyberware.
Intelligence is how smart you are; it will modify what you can learn, and how fast you can learn it. It can be, to some extent modified by cyberware, although this stuff is very experimental, and highly classified. You also run a very high risk of going insane with this kind of enhancement.
Constitution is your general state of health. This attribute affects how much damage you can take, or how well you respond to cyber surgery. This is not modifiable by cyberware, but built in biomonitors are common.
Intuition is part common sense, and part your ability to get a 'feel' for a situation. High intuition will affect your reaction abilities in most situations. It will also affect your ability to use cyberware and remain sane. This is also the controlling attribute for Psi.
Dexterity is your ability to control your body, hands, etc. It can be split into whole body or eye-hand coordination, if desired. Dexterity also controls your reaction time, hence, your initiative. Dexterity cannot be directly enhanced by cyberware, but reaction time can be, for instance, by the use of vision enhancement.
Cool is your ability to be accepted into society. A person with high Cool can blend in almost anywhere; you can be the person who shows up at a black tie affair in jeans, and get in, although your Cool will probably let you know to rent that tux beforehand!
Gifts: Some starting cyberware is a gift, some are Superpowers (ie: total cybering into a armored body with 14 built in weapons is only available at some unimaginable cost in faults!) After starting, cyberware can be acquired by anyone at only monetary cost, plus the possibility that you'll die, or possibly go insane during the procedure.
Psi is a Superpower.
These are cybernetic implants to give the possessor abilities above and beyond the human norm. There are cybernetic implants for everything from fashion watches (LED's implanted under the skin) to plastic surgery type stuff (metallic skin colors) to neural net hookups to body parts to full body replacement.
Cosmetic cyber implants are readily available and pretty cheap. Some 'cosmetic' work is actually pretty powerful...replacing your fingernails with stainless steel, or titanium retractable claws, implanting 'brass knuckles', etc.
Neural net connections are the next most common cyber replacement. These are the implantation of electrodes to allow the user to control computers, machinery, etc. However they don't usually involve much more than that.
Body part replacements, are more extensive. Arms, legs, hands, eyes, ears, noses (the ability to smell) are all candidates for cybernetic enhancement or replacement on up to full, chameleonic powered body armor. These have the advantages over neural net controlled external devices in that they're always available, can be concealed so that casual inspection won't reveal their presence, etc. They have potential disadvantages as well.
I don't have the 'inevitably you'll go mad' stuff completely from CP 2020, but you do run the risk of psychosis, which is greater as you increase the amount of cybernetic replacement. The type of replacement will also affect the chances of insanity; eyes, in particular, seem to be more prone to causing this problem, as are greatly enhancing the strength.
Just about any cybernetic device can be obtained as an external device, at approximately the same cost (lower, in some cases) but there are disadvantages to this approach as well. It is much more obvious, it can be stolen, and people who habitually use/wear the enhancements are at a severe disadvantage when not using them (their effected attributes or skills go down by twice the amount of enhancement for a period of days to weeks, depending on the device and period of use.)
The problem, of course, with many cybernetic devices, are their unavailability to most people. Powered chameleon armor with the auto tracking pulse laser (Predator gear) is only available to the highest levels of military 'black ops' personnel, and are simply not available on the black market. Soldiers with this as cybernetic implants are wholly owned by the government; external cyber gear of this type is also in use, but still not available. Imagine attempting to buy a B2 stealth bomber on the black market...
Of course, a PC could try to have one of these as a mega-Gift, if you want to be the single most wanted criminal on the planet...hell, Pablo Escobar was a traffic ticket scofflaw compared to you.
Psi powers do exist, but they are not readily available, and are spotty at best. Not much is known about these powers, mostly because the people who have them don't really want to be imprisoned for the remainder of their lives as they are poked and prodded to death at some secret government or corporate lab. Psi powers fall under the three categories of telepathy, telempathy, and telekinesis.
Telepathy is the ability to send and receive thoughts, surface or deep to and from other individuals. All of these are separate skills that start off at non-existent (very hard).
Telempathy is the ability to send and receive emotions or feelings to and from others. This would include the ability to sense life forms. Like Telepathy, each ability counts as a separate skill.
Telekinesis is the ability to move physical objects with your mind. The strength, reach, and speed of this movement is dependent on three separate skills for the gift.
I have broad classes and very specialized skills, costs to advance in them differ, depending on the skill.
Broad classes: Mechanical, Military, Computer, Social, Business, Science, and Art. Almost anything else you can think of is a specialization within those classes.
Sample Specialization skills:
Mechanical: Driving, auto repair, motorcycle, motorcycle repair, cybernetics repair/construction (different skills), gunsmithing, electronics (some overlap with computer) aircraft piloting and repair (although combat flying is a separate, military skill), lockpicking, B/E, etc.
Military: (many skills listed here are not strictly military in nature,some are, and require an appropriate character history to justify it.) Brawling, knife fighting, sword fighting, martial arts (any subspecialization the character deems appropriate), tactics, strategy, survival, light small arms, heavy small arms, heavy weaponry, artillery, combat pilots (specify vehicle class...fixed wing, helicopter, jet fighter, suborbital fighter, etc.) military cybernetics, military drugs/first aid/medicine, etc.
Computer: Operations, research, programming, netrunning, etc.
Social: Carousing, bribery, lying believably, interrogation, conniving, seduction, detecting lies, resisting interrogation, streetwise, etc.
Business: Business practices, corporate knowledge, marketing, stock market knowledge/manipulation, etc.
Science: Medicine, surgery, cybersurgery, chemistry, pharmaceutical synthesis/design, engineering, cybernetics design, metallurgy, etc.
Arts: Music, acting, journalism, photography, painting, etc.
This not meant to be an all-inclusive list of skills, merely a representative list of what I expect for skills. You can make them as specific or as general as you want: "I am trained exclusively in the maintenance and repair of the Toshiba X-l35 series of cybernetic arm replacement servo motors", or "I know how to fix stuff" can be equally useful in some situations, but the more specific a skill, the better you are at doing that, the more general, the worse. The GM will decide what applies in most cases, and arbitrarily determine if you are actually able to do the task at hand. As described below, these skills will require the least amount of GM interference, ahhh, make that GM determination.
Driving- You can drive 4 wheeled vehicles, such as cars, light trucks, and some ATV's. Driving large trucks, such as semi's, is a separate skill. You may also specify a particular type of vehicle (sedan, sports car, pickup truck, jeep, RV, etc.) for an additional +1 to that skill when driving that particular vehicle (without having to pay for that skill).
Driving, Large Trucks- A semi, or large bus is a sufficiently different vehicle that it requires a separate skill.
Driving, Construction Vehicle- you can operate most common construction vehicles, such as bulldozers, or graders. (operating a crane is yet another skill.)
Driving, motorcycle- you can operate a motorcycle, anything from a little 50 cc scooter to a 1500 cc turbocharged crotch rocket. Notice that getting a Terrible result roll on the latter could have very serious consequences!
Mechanic- you can repair most vehicles, given the proper parts and tools. Again, like for driving skills, above, a particular type of vehicle can be specified for an additional +1.
Mechanic, Heavy- You can fix Big things, trucks, construction equipment, elevators, trains, etc.
Mechanic, Aviation- You fix aircraft. Unlike other mechanic skills, here you must specify what kind of aircraft you can repair, single engine piston, multi engine piston, jet, large jet, helicopter, directed thrust vehicle (DTV). The more unlike the vehicle you are trained on you're trying to fix, the less likely you will be successful, ie: a mechanic trained on single engine piston planes will be nearly as good on a multi engine piston, but really bad at DTV's. Additional vehicle types can be bought as additional skills.
Mechanic, Marine- (small or large)- You fix boats (small, up to 35') and ships (larger).
Electronics repair- You fix electronic equipment, from tape decks and TV's to computers, and advanced external cybernetic devices.
Cybernetics repair- You fix implantable cybernetic devices as well as external ones.
Gunsmith- You repair, modify, and (with the right tools) can create all sorts of guns, from small pistols to milspec heavy machine guns and light artillery.
Pilot- you have been trained (at a civilian level) to fly; you must specify the type of aircraft: fixed wing, single or multi-engine, piston or turboprop or jet, helicopter, DTV (Directed Thrust Vehicle). This does not include the necessary training for combat pilot! That is a separate skill.
Locksmithing- You can make, install, repair, and break into mechanical locks, and many electronic security devices.
Breaking and entering- This is similar to Locksmithing, except you are skilled at covert entry; you can defeat a wide range of electronic security measures, pick locks faster, etc. You know enough about architecture to pick out vulnerable places in building layout, and are familiar with security practices.
Brawling- You can fight; most of your experience and training has been on the street or in bars, perhaps in basic training. This is simple street fighting, nothing fancy.
Knife fighting- You know how to use a knife, switchblade, bayonet, or tanto, perhaps. Again this could be from the school of hard knocks or military training.
Martial Arts- You have been trained in any one of several schools of martial arts. Pick a school; each school is a separate skill.
Sword Fighting- Actually a subset of martial arts; you have been trained in the use of the katana, probably the shorter, ninja style.
Light small arms- You've been trained in the use, care and feeding of small arms, such as pistols, rifles, and light and medium machineguns. You may specify a particular weapon, or type of weapon, for a free +1. Military weapons training, implies a military background.
Heavy small arms- You can use large rifles, heavy machine guns, things like door mounted helicopter guns, etc.
Heavy weaponry, power- You've been trained in the use of heavy guns, military lasers, pulse weapons, railguns, etc.
Heavy Weaponry, mobile- You've been trained to drive, navigate, and shoot things like tanks, APC's, mobile howitzers, etc. Again, this is a purely military skill.
Combat Pilot- Similar to pilot, above, but with the additional training, and experience in air combat. Note...you've been trained in military craft; trying to do some of the stuff you know, and will sometimes instinctively apply, in civilian aircraft can result in damage to or destruction of the aircraft!
Military cybernetics- You have experience in using, and maintaining, military cybernetic gear, predominantly enhanced vision/aiming/communication devices, and power armor.
Combat first aid- You've been trained as a field corpsman, essentially a paramedic. You're NOT a doctor, but you do know the use and application of many of the military drugs that have been developed and are used.
Computer use- An easy skill, just about everyone knows something about using a computer. You can get into unprotected, public systems, using the common interfaces.
Programming- you can make computers do what you want.
Hacking- You specialize in getting into protected systems. It's fun, it's challenging, it can be profitable, and it's illegal in most places.
Netrunning- You specialize in using your neural connection to move through cyberspace, invade other computers, interact with other netrunners, and generally disconnect from this plane. There are risks...there are times when your netrunner can get trapped in the net, unable to return to your body; sometimes death on the net means death for real. This is at a higher level than other computer skills, and requires a neural jack gift, and neural modem equipment. In rare cases, a netrunner's entire personality can be transferred to the net, and become a net ghost, a human who only exists as an electronic entity. By that time, however, you're rarely all that human anymore. Watch out for power failures, and pray you're backed up on tape somewhere!
Carousing- You know how to have a good time, and get others to as well. You throw a great party, the kind that people talk about for weeks (what they can remember of it!). This skill also implies that you can hold your liquor and/or recreational drugs.
Bribery- You've mastered the fine art of slipping the cop just enough to get out of that speeding ticket; you also know how to subtly offer a bribe to just about anyone, so that they don't really feel cheap and corrupt.
Lying believably- You have a silver tongue, especially when it involves getting you out of trouble. You can even get your mother to believe you most of the time!
Interrogation- You can crack people open like clamshells. Sometimes you're rough, sometimes you're sweet, but, eventually, they talk. In many cases all you have to do is start up a friendly conversation, and people will end up telling you their deepest secret in 20 minutes.
Conniving- You've sold snow to Eskimo's, wangled a brand new car for $100, and sold the Brooklyn Bridge so many times you lost count years ago. You like wheeling and dealing; sometimes it's a con, sometimes it's just a keen nose for the market.
Seduction- You can get just about anyone into bed with you, fall hopelessly in love with you that you can get them to do lots of things they wouldn't ordinarily dream of. This is a sexual-preference specific skill.
Detecting lies- You can pick out the slightest shading of the truth; yeah, that used car you bought was owned by a little old lady, but you can tell the salesman's hiding something. People have a real hard time getting anything past you.
Resisting interrogation- You're the silent type over there in the corner; you don't let much of anything slip. If they get rough, well, you just get tough, they'll have to work real hard to get anything from you, bucko.
Streetwise- You know how to walk the walk, talk the talk. The streets have been your friend forever, it seems. You can find out what's going down, when, and you can feel when it's time to bug out.
Business Practices- You know enough about business to run one, a smattering of accounting, legal, marketing, sort of a entrepreneur. This is somewhere between an two year or four year business degree. You may or may not have the attitude for a Corp job, but nobody's gonna rip you off, and barring catastrophe, you'll avoid bankruptcy, and even make a bit of profit next quarter.
Marketing- You can lay out a campaign that'll get em off their asses and BUYING. What, you may not particularly care, if you're paid well, and the style is right. You know how to manipulate and influence people with print, video, pr campaigns. At your most inspired, you've felt you could have given Saddam Hussein a good image.
Corporate knowledge- You were born to be a Corp. You know how they work, how to worm your way up, how to make sure nobody's worming their way past you. You know a lot of obscure information and gossip about all sorts of Corporate people, large and small. They think Corp is a dirty word..You know different. The time of the Nation is fading, fast, and the Corps are the new sun rising. You intend to be part of it.
Stock market- This is the life, high finance, low dealings, and base trickery. The stock market of the 20's is just like that of the last 20's, roaring. But this goes on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You've taken a pittance, raised millions and lost it all, sometimes all in the same day. You can look at the big board, tell who's hot, who's not, and what two Corps are going to war today.
Most of the science skills are self descriptive...
Medicine- You are an MD, generalist, but a specialty can be chosen, like surgery, which is fixing people; a common subspecialty is trauma surgeon. You can make good money working for some company like Realtime MedEvac. Cyberssurgery is a distinct specialty, and is required to attach/disattach cybernetic enhancements to people. All this also requires expensive resources to do. 'Shadetree' cybersurgeons exist, but only at the fringe of the underworld, and aren't always trustworthy.
Pharmaceutical/biological synthesis and design- The advances in medicine and molecular biology have created a wealth of opportunities to make pharmaceuticals and biological constructs of amazing specificity and utility. It is possible (expensive, dangerous, and highly illegal) to create a virus or bacteria that can infect only a single person, or people closely related. This is held in check, somewhat, by the fact that the techniques of creating these bugs leave them somewhat more open to mutation than normal. This makes it dangerous; you don't want your carefully crafted assassin bug to get out, mutate, and start killing everyone off! There have been several minor epidemics created just this way. On the other hand, industrial uses of created bugs is booming, as they can be kept under much more secure control, and under conditions that won't let them live outside of the intended environment. Pharmeceutical design is much more of a science now as well, and there is a constant demand for people to make and design new, illicit, drugs.
Cybernetics design- this is a specialized branch of engineering.
Most arts skills are useful as adjuncts to other skills, (acting, for instance, goes well with conniving and lying believably, and would make for a hell of a con man character). Some are useful for making a living, or can be careers in and of themselves, like journalism, photography, or music. Skills in graphic design would equally help someone with marketing skills as well as forgery.
This is where everything else is. I recommend leaving a few character points unassigned, or wise gifts from the GM to accommodate things that people forget, and need along the way. Miscellaneous is where you have Forgery, Criminal Knowledge, UFOlogy, and other sundry skills that might be useful.
This world isn't quite as bleak as the one in CP2020; but it's still a fairly grim place to live. I'll probably limit the setting to North America at first, not because I'm chauvinistic, but because it's easiest for me. Major cities have areas that are basically free-fire zones, and areas where the police still maintain a (heavily) armed presence. The corporations are not more powerful than the governments, but they still exert a major influence, and on corporate property are pretty well a law unto themselves.
The governments are busy fighting brush wars all over the place, and dealing with dissatisfied and restive masses. The PC's can be just about anything they want within this context, but will most often find employment as corporate or criminal free agents. They could be, for instance, a military covert action squad, but that would be far less likely to be operating in an urban area, the presumed setting most of the play.
Characters live in this world, and do have to have housing, food, and toys, all of which imply jobs of some sort. As mentioned before, the characters can be free-lancers, or they could work for one corporation or another, or the government.
Some urbs (What used to be cities), now are major chunks of continents...like BosWash...now a solid block of city stretching from New Hampshire to South Carolina. There are four Government entities in this region, and many, many sub-districts. Some areas have a high police presence, some do not. There are lots of opportunities for characters to gain legal or illegal employment.
Some police bureaus have their own Bladerunners, some contract it out, some merely post rewards...bounty hunting cyberpsychos is a lucrative, dangerous business. Cities, major areas, and even small neighborhoods have differing law levels from Terrible (Keep your powder dry, your eyes peeled, and move in packs) to Fair (more or less like Tucson today...generally law abiding, open weapons carry legal, within limits) to Superb (a misnomer if I ever heard of one...a Superb Law area allows no weapons, monitors the citizens constantly, and the police have unlimited powers to 'keep the peace' Many arcologies are like this, although some are more like communes.)
Outside of the cities are the Wilds. This is where the nomads live, and the crazy survivalists, and the religious fanatics, the freaks, and the few remaining small towns. Somewhere between Mad Max and Road Warrior.
Central and South America is a crazy balkanized quilt of corporate states, military dictatorships, and drug baron free-fire zones. Africa is much the same; Europe is reeling from a long series of petty wars, particularly in what used to be Eastern Europe, and now Eastern Europe exists as only city, corporate, and warlord states; Western Europe is better off, although Germany took a long time to recover from the absorption of East Germany.
The Mideast is, well, Beruit, circa 1984, pretty much sums it up; oil is expensive. Various Islamic states keep trying to foment an new jihad, but keep getting caught up fighting each other. China is overpopulated and inscrutable, India is just plain overpopulated, Japan Inc. is still going strong, and the rest of the Pac Rim is somewhere in the middle. Hong Kong was gutted by first, the flight of capital prior to 1997, and then by the savage suppression of the Independence movement by China in 2004. A renegade Chinese commander used several tac nukes on the city.
Russia is balkanized terribly...they'd be a real threat to world peace if they had any tech left, but they're reduced to tiny little bandit kingdoms, with maybe a tank or two, or the rare (and mostly unflyable) helicopter or aircraft. Little else but small arms and very surplus Red Army cyber gear.
Nuclear weapons are a dirty little secret in this world. Most of the big strategic systems have been mothballed or disassembled, but there are probably thousands of lower yield weapons around the world. Several major terrorist organizations are suspected of having them; China used them in the Hong Kong rebellion, Ulster was partially destroyed by one that either the IRA or the Ulster Defense Force set off, and they have been rumored to have been used in a variety of places elsewhere; either by government forces, or, in rare cases, by corporate forces.
There are numerous orbital factories, two L5 colonies, and several colonies on the Moon, all Government and/or Corporate in nature. Space exploration has shifted to space exploitation...the only reason a Mars mission is being planned is because it's viewed as a base for asteroid mining, and a way station for the proposed robotic 'mining' of Jupiter's atmosphere, now recognized as a rich source of hydrocarbons.
There is a fragile peace that exists outside the earth's atmosphere. Everyone is all too aware how vulnerable they are to accident/sabotage and the corporations have agreed implicitly to a non-violence pact in space. This, however only came about after the Sumitomo L5-A1 incident. There used to be three L5 colonies...
Everyone is also aware that this state cannot last, and there is a lot of covert research into hardening of orbital and lunar facilities to attack, and the development of a viable military presence in space.
It's pretty wide open, as far as adventures go. You can stay stubbornly free of Corp involvement, but there's a lot to be said for having some Corp patron up there on the 75th floor who wants to keep you in one piece. You need a job of some sort, you gotta eat, sleep somewhere, and pay for your toys somehow. You don't have to sign on to a Corp directly, they like using outside contractors for a lot of stuff. There's the street, lotsa little shops exist in the little nooks and crannies of the postmodern economy. You can go off to the Wilds, or South America, carve out your own kingdom if you want, and can hold it.
The cops, the Marines, the Army, hey, they're always looking for a few good chummers; if ya survive, and ya like action, it's not a bad way of life. Once you're in, they take real good care of you. If you're good, in general the creds will come. Once you have a rep, they'll come easier. The big problem, of course, is surviving till that rep is made.
Just about any weapon available today is available in the future, and many that aren't in existence. I'm not gonna make up anything but general descriptions, you can look to FudgeGunz to make up anything else. In general, all pistols are automatics, although revolvers are still widely available and cheap. Ammo, however is a different story. Modern guns use caseless ammo, with piezo or battery ignition. Antique guns require a gunsmithing skill to reload the brass.
General gun descriptions; use descriptions from CP2020 as necessary.
Micro handguns: specialized weapons, .22 or 5 mm cal. Usually these are short, 'hideout' guns, last resort backup stuff. with relatively short barrels, and low velocities, and damage. Equivalent to a .22 short, or long (NOT long rifle)
Small handguns: .22-.380 cal. Small lightweight handguns, easy to conceal, and they pack more punch than a hideout. These can readily be silenced, and with a subsonic round (at the loss of velocity, penetration and damage) will essentially make no noise.
Medium handguns: 9 mm. This is what the vast majority of guns out there are. Weight and concealability can be traded at some loss of ammo capacity.
Large handguns: Do you feel lucky, punk? This is the category for monster guns like the .44 mag revolver (10" barrel, natch!) or Desert Eagle .50 cal tankbuster. These things can be real powerful, but they're bulky, harder to handle (lower accuracy, especially after the 2nd shot) and harder to conceal.
Specialized handguns: This is the category for things like the T/C contender, pen guns, gyro-jet rocket guns, and toxin delivering air guns. Stuff like that...write your own specs, but they're expensive, and in some cases, illegal.
Small SMG's: 8 or 9 mm high ROF, low accuracy auto weapons. The Skorpion, MAC 10, or short UZI are classic examples of the class.
Medium SMG's: 9 or 10 mm high ROF, slightly more accurate auto weapons. The large UZI or Schmiesser are good examples of this.
Heavy SMG's: Tommy Gun, anyone? Fave of the Capone poser gangs!
Rifles, assault rifles, sniper rifles, etc.: Pick what you want (and can afford!) from what's available today, or make something up. Game time state of the art is stuff like the guns in Aliens, which is somewhere between a med. smg and assault rifle.
Weird weapons: This is the class for things like hand held Vulcan gatling guns (like Jesse Ventura's toy in Predator), hand held micro-mini guns (imagine a six barreled 2000-2500 round/min, electric .22...about 2ft long, awesome power in a small package), lasers, etc. All of these are highly illegal, expensive, finicky, and hard to get. Generally PC's will be hard put to get anything like this, although time and some good rolls on your gunsmithing skill will let you make them, given materials and tools. In many cases, the designs(ie: blueprints) will be hard to come by, particularly for esoteric military weapons.
Big Guns, We Need Big Guns!(tm): LAW's, bazookas, mortars, recoilless rifles, truck mounted gauss railguns, 20 mm Vulcan cannon, 25 mm Vulcan cannons, stripped down A-10 30 mm cannon, with the depleted uranium rounds. Hell, if you're in enough trouble to need this stuff, think about bugging out now!
Even Bigger Guns: Nuclear capability. As a hard and fixed rule, PC's will not get access to nukes. Even though many Corps are rumored to have nukes, these are very tightly guarded Corp secrets. If a PC learns of the actual existence of these things, very likely, that PC's life is not really worth much, a Corp that owns nukes won't flinch a second about murder.
The following descriptions are only of selected Corps, there are many, many others. Some of the smaller ones are subsidiaries of the larger ones, some are secretly owned, some ( a smaller and smaller number over the years) are still independent.
General Manufacturing GMf is a US based, widely diversified Corp that has grown rapidly since it started growing in the late '90's. GMf has fingers in just about every pie: defense, aerospace, consumer goods, heavy manufacturing. It has a variety of research arms, a large black ops unit, and is 50% partner (with Hughes OrbitSpace) in an L5 colony, and owns several low orbit, high orbit, and one lunar facilities outright. GMf is a public corporation, and is a heavy influence on the stock market. Worldwide, it probably employs several million people, with millions more working for them as independent contractors.
SonApp Apple Computer stunned the computing world as the first computer manufacturer to implement a neural interface and neural OS for computing systems, in the early 00's. Even more surprising , it had done so in relative secrecy, and not with government money. As a result, neural computing, like Athena, burst forth full grown into the world. However, the continuous research and development costs, and the ever-mounting security costs had drained the company financially, and severely restricted the further development of their conventional systems. The result was ever increasing costs and ever decreasing revenues. They had bet the farm again, and this time were going to lose.
Sony had courted the company for a long time, ever since they had entered an agreement to manufacture the original Mac Powerbook 100, in the late 80's. Nothing had come of it then, as Sony concentrated more expanding their hold on the entertainment systems, by controlling content, media, and hardware.
They did maintain a watch on Apple, and managed to plant a mole, a relatively highly placed engineer in Apple's computing systems division. While this was separate from their Advanced Products division, she was able to ferret out a considerable amount of information.
When Sony realized that Apple desperately needed an infusion of cash, they approached with a buyout offer. Apple AP security, however had blown Sony's agent, by this time, so Apple was able to negotiate a partnership rather than a outright buyout. Sony agreed, assuming that they would, as a result of their greater resources, be able to control the partnership. But years of concentrating on consumer entertainment had blinded them to the possibilities of the new OS. In a bloodless coup, the day after the partnership had taken effect, Apple's neurohackers, the first in the world, had completely and utterly penetrated Sony's computers and security. Every secret Sony had was theirs. This gave Apple an incredible amount of leverage, and put the partnership on a much more equal basis. Since that time, the two companies have slowly come to see the value of their arrangement, since Apple got the patents on the neural OS, and Sony had the manufacturing clout to make it THE standard, they both prospered mightily.
Taraska Engineering While Apple was developing the first true neural OS, Taraska was perfecting the design and manufacture of cybernetic devices. While they are not the absolute leader, (cybernetics design is a viciously competitive field) they have managed to attract and continue to attract many of the brightest designers. They have extensive contracts with government defence agencies around the world, and own four orbital manufacturing facilities. Taraska controls and cyber enhancements are coveted devices, and continue to command premium prices. (they start off as good devices, rather than fair)
Toshiba-Mitsui TM is a merger of two great Japanese corps with their roots in the original Daibatsu, or great industrial giants of post feudal Japan. It is a widely diversified manufacturing and service corporation. In fact, there are three countries which have completely contracted out to TM for all government services. TM is a good one for PC contacts because of the breadth of their operations.
Hughes OrbitSpace Hughes very nearly went bankrupt in the mid 90's, but managed to stage a comeback by concentrating on their satellite manufacture and operations. They did so well, that when, in 2003, NASA divested all orbital transport operations, Hughes bought them out. Hughes OrbitSpace now owns some 25 manned orbital facilities, three lunar facilities, and an L5 colony (50% owned by GMf) which they lease out space to various other corporations, while retaining all operational control. Hughes OrbitSpace now trans-ships nearly 70% of all goods flowing to and from the earth's surface. They are reputed to be a major Corp force behind lunar and orbital independence from Earth (UN in this case) oversight.
Sumitomo Heavy Transport, Ltd. Sumitomo is Hughes' closest competitor in the aerospace transport arena, and the unchallenged king of land and sea transport on Earth. Sumitomo, however, has lately been involved in a Corp war with Hyundai/Daewoo of Korea. Both sides have invested in HK subs, and have sunk several ships each. Also, dock facilities and fuel depots have mysteriously caught fire. HD is suspected in the most spectacular blow of the war: the destruction of the Sumitomo L5 colony in 2013. Sumitomo security also suspect Hughes had some involvement, since HD has no space lift capacity. Hughes has publicly, and privately, insisted that they had nothing to do with it. Indeed, Hughes, as the biggest target, has much to lose and little to gain by an orbital war.
Hyundai/Daewoo This Korean conglomerate, survived the abortive invasion by the North (in '95), losing some facilities in the bombing of Seoul, but otherwise in fair shape. These were separate companies, then, but soon realized, as a Korean company, they would do far better to consolidate their efforts. They capitalized on their traditional shipbuilding and heavy construction businesses to capture a lot of contracts from the Japanese and Americans in the capital-rich Pacific Crescent, the western half of the Pac Rim: Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and parts of Australia. They now have manufacturing and transport interests throughout the world. H/D, however, is embroiled in a serious Corp War with Sumitomo Heavy Transport. Both sides have conducted raids on the other's properties, ships, and other Corp assets. They are suspected of having been involved, or even carrying out the destruction of the Sumitomo L5 colony. Both Corps have very heavy security on at all times, so moving against them is quite risky.
Hunter, Jones, and Garcia. HJG is the largest private security firm in the world. They are contracted out to many Corps, cities, and arcologies to provide all police and security services. HJG operatives are generally well trained, and well equipped, and their standard contracts give them wide latitude in carrying out the job. Not people to mess with, but if you're good, and make a good impression with them, they're pretty generous as employers. They also will hire free-lancers on a regular basis to carry out irregular jobs; these are all "we will disavow any knowledge" type contracts, but if you're successful, you'll have no worries about the pay. Corporate honor is a religion with HJG. They are based in Melbourne, AU.
Real Time MedEvac RTM is the largest of several medical evacuation/trauma treatment companies. Like Trauma Team in CP2020, they're a heavily armed, well equipped ambulance unit. They can be summoned by the card method in CP202, or by implantable monitors that will automatically call them in under pre-set conditions. They are starting to extend their operations to low orbit. They're expensive, but worth it; if an RTM team can get to you within 30 minutes of critical wounding, or 5 minutes of clinical death, they have a 80-90% chance of successfully reviving you and patching you up. You may not work as well as before, but you'll be alive, and, most of the time, ambulatory.
Time/Warner/ATT Media TAM, or T'n'A as it's known by slang, is a byproduct of the first wave of the electronic networking revolution in the late '90's. This was the first company to tie together the medium, high speed optical and satellite networks, and the message, the vast overload of information and entertainment that the 1500 or so individual channels could provide. There had been earlier mergers of telecom and cable providers, but TAM was the first, the blockbuster. The US courts only allowed it because of the growing power of Sony, and growing laxity of the US courts toward anything that would help keep the economy going. TAM is only the largest of the many big entertainment Corps, but they are still the 800 pound gorilla of the business. They're even big enough that the reporters on the many news shows TAM produces are sometimes allowed to tell the truth.
Still, they're not the king of the muckrakers, by any means. With 3000 regularly scheduled channels, and an ever shifting number of pirate channels, the truth eventually gets out, about just about anything. How many people actually see it, however, is a really good question.
Bordoin Research BR is one of those 'black' companies. On the surface they're a marketing research think tank. Underneath, they're a diversified research organization specializing in espionage, both physical and cyberspatial. They do mostly Government contract work, but some Corps have used them as well. That a private Corp rather than the CIA or NSA does this work is another indication of the declining importance of the national state. About the only thing that the Government has that the Corps don't is outright military presence.