Hephaestus Industries

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Overview

Hephaestus Industries is one of the most prominent megacorporations within the Orion Spur. They are responsible for a large majority of the trans-stellar faction’s manufacturing capabilities, having facilities in the Coalition of Colonies, Republic of Biesel, Izweski Nation, and several other frontier colonies. They have managed to secure themselves a stable foundation, continually growing even in the face of the Solarian Collapse, Phoron Scarcity, and the supposed inevitable economic recession that stares the Orion Spur in the face. They make considerable contributions to the field of robotics, as well as starship research and development.

Corporate Affairs

History

Originally founded in the year 2137, seven years after the advent of Warp technology, Hephaestus Aeronautics was formed out of a conglomeration of several failing aerospace companies. They combined their assets and expertise in an attempt to retain a niche in the FTL market. With humanity in a growing state of expansion and exploration, Hephaestus profits by designing and selling warp drives, with heavy competition between themselves and Einstein Engines.

When the Second Great Depression struck in 2260, Hephaestus had no other option than to file for many massive bailouts. Barely saving their company from the pit of bankruptcy, they shifted their focus from warp travel to industrialization. As the years passed, they secured more and more industrial centres from many other small producers, both land-based and orbital. Recognizing Hephaestus’s presence along with the growing unrest in the frontier at the time, the Sol Alliance promised them commissions for providing them with machines of war; starships, arms, and armour. Hephaestus gladly obliged. Every handful of years, another smaller production company, and their assets are seized by Hephaestus. By 2400, Hephaestus Industries had become the number one producer in all of the inner colonies, owning almost one hundred percent of the heavy industry. Owning two gargantuan orbital factories in the Sol system, and another under construction in Tau Ceti, it was clear who the industrial powerhouse of Humanity was. Nanotrasen was quick to step up to the plate, however, and when they claimed the rights to the Romanovich cloud and discovered the pivotal resource Phoron, Hephaestus was forced to find another avenue of profit once again.

After the discovery of the Skrell, and the introduction of artificial intelligence, Hephaestus began shifting its research focus from mineral processing and engine design to robotics. Dedicating several research stations to this project resulted in their facilities, mainly their factories, being overhauled to remove unnecessary systems and make way for streamlined central intelligence cores, as well as dedicating several lines of production to the creation of commercialized workforce robots.

Today, Hephaestus Industries is the largest provider of heavy industry for the Republic of Biesel, led by the charismatic and firm CEO Titanius Aeson. They are also supported by an advanced robotics division that produces new technology for artificial intelligence and commercialized robots for the working and military world. Recently, Hephaestus Industries has pledged to bring forth another wave of colonization of the frontier and promises support for struggling colonies. This isn’t coming from the bottoms of their hearts, of course. These colonies would be bound to provide resources to Hephaestus in trade for the company’s support.

The unveiling of the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate saw Hephaestus Industries as one of its prominent members, being the backbone of the colossal interstellar corporation’s heavy industry and adding to its fleets through Hephaestus Industries’ massive industrial division - however, the lack of cooperation with Einstein Engines has reduced productivity and forced the megacorporation to work with NanoTrasen and Zavodskoi Interstellar to recreate sub-light, warp drives and bluespace drives with diminished efficiency.

Influence

Hephaestus Industries is the largest blanket commodity manufacturer in the known universe. Its reach extends across the Orion Spur and virtually all modern, and often antique, utilities owe their creation to it. It is the most sought-after fabricator of heavy-duty industrial equipment and starships. With Aeson's rise to the forefront, Hephaestus Industries as a workforce is the embodiment of the common worker, the family man, and loyalty to the company like a second family. As such, they are inclusive to every species, welcoming anyone willing to join the family, while "rewarding" hard and gritty work typically delegated to species besides humans and Skrell: these species are usually put in supervisory and logistics roles. Despite this, the intense loyalty of Unathi as a species and their strong sense of honor and family have made them quick favourites among the company, lending them to a rise of their own. Regardless of where you work, expect a generous benefits package in return: paid vacation time, sick leave, company insurance for on- and off-site protection, and a myriad of more localized items.

The corporate structure works to the benefit of employees as well. Those that buy stock in the company and work from within, regardless of position, not only should expect the typical dividends that come with it, but also increased benefits that come on top of existing ones. Hephaestus is almost seen as a marvel when it comes to this. Supervisors often play up the worth of these shares and actively talk about them in more casual settings, authorizing an atmosphere of encouraging workers to buy into the company. The result is a single stock being worth much more than it probably is— and being unobtainable for most people on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder.

Hephaestus is not without its flaws, however. Their generosity is often weaponized against its workers, claiming that disloyalty to the company is its biggest enemy. Supervisors actively encourage people to rat out others trying to unionize or otherwise undermine the company to encourage loyalty on the foreman's floor. Similarly, those found talking about the "Himeo" or "New Hai Phong Problems" typically find themselves summarily fired with a meagre severance package. Despite this, or perhaps because of all of this, they remain one of the largest and influential corporations in the Orion Spur. Additionally, Hephaestus has begun to score a nasty reputation as being the most destructive corporation for planet ecosystems. Himeo being perhaps the most egregious example, this megacorporation is willing to go to whatever ends it requires in order to keep the rust belt rolling. Other planets that find themselves catching up to this state of affairs include New Hai Phong, Oran, Burszia, and Ouerea, yet many more are finding their way towards being a new smog-covered member of this factory family. To make matters worse, Hephaestus gives little regard to the people of the planet in these positions outside of the company; Oran's denizens have to buy their own filtered air and masks when traversing the surface, and New Hai Phongers typically claustrophobia and asthma from the overcrowded and terrible air conditions on the planet.

To put things simply, Hephaestus Industries is a unique case among corporations where respect and loyalty play a major role in climbing the ranks. One must earn their ties by ratting out others, investing in the company, or otherwise proving their loyalty to make any sort of drastic leap, making it a very linear corporate ladder. The higher ranking an individual is, the older they ought to be, with major executives either being the eldest among them. In this sense, Hephaestus is seen as the sturdiest foundation civilization has ever constructed with so much in the way of trust and age-old wisdom, their simple pursuit of corporate greed has, at least publicly, been long reformed into one of peace and prosperity.

Positronics and Hephaestus Industries

Hephaestus Industries exercises vast authority over the second-hand production of almost all Integrated Positronic Chassis across the galaxy. Its titanic space factories are capable of printing full Positronic frames, although the installation of positronic brains is withheld to dedicated robotics labs. Almost every frame of any design can be contracted to Hephaestus Industries for its construction. Hephaestus Industries can dip its fingers into a huge portion of the IPC population’s lives by merit of financial involvement - Biesellite or otherwise.

IPCs are present in every level of Hephaestus, from the simple mining unit on Burzsia, to the command decks onboard the Sidirourgeío. IPCs are in a unique position in the company due to their status as their largest producer, their tightly-knit corporate culture, and the large amount of Unathi employed by Hephaestus. Treatment of IPCs varies heavily depending on the local circumstances; for instance, in Biesel, a synthetic can achieve freedom after a long period of service, in accordance with that system’s law. On the other hand, a synthetic stuck in Burzsia may be constantly reset and owned until it eventually gets destroyed. The most common similarities are that IPCs are made to work very hard, expected to surpass their organic counterparts due to their natural advantages.

In terms of assignment, they are often placed in one field and perform the associated jobs and tasks until they are sold, become free, or get destroyed. Reassignment may occur, typically when an urgent position needs to be filled. IPCs that gain their freedom are often offered their old jobs if the company deemed their performance while owned satisfactory, enticing them with maintenance and other such benefits. Renter Max and other Hephaestus IPCs are shining examples of IPCs who have overcome the challenge of survival. Positronics that rise to essential or high-ranking positions in the company are often treated with more equality by their organic counterparts. This can be owed to Hephaestus’ competitive, free-for-all environment and corporate ladder.

Manufacturer Agents and the Lifetime Warranty

Positronics working for Hephaestus Industries and their subsidiaries typically have Manufacturer Agents. A manufacturer agent is a designated business affiliate who monitors the IPCs in question and submits maintenance requests under a lifetime warranty which comes with all multi-million credit IPC purchases. Owned IPCs frequently benefit from this warranty, especially productive ones - seeing the swift response and mechanical assistance for breakdowns. Most Manufacturer Agents are known personally by these positronics and are often synthetics themselves. Although the lifetime warranty is theoretically available for all IPCs, limited resources mean executives are often forced to pick and choose who receives maintenance. Whereas some less notable IPC would receive the deathly response time of weeks to their warranty reports, some noteworthy or more productive one is likely to receive it instantly. Although bias in the system exists, an effective IPC reflects well on its manufacturer agent, accordingly, they are less likely to request urgent repairs or repairs that they feel are unearned. This system results in an easy way to weed out the less accomplished, and even those engaging in nepotism. After all, these warranties do not cover total reconstruction - and a disabled, unproductive IPC is one less to repair.

Previously restricted to owned units, this system has been extended to free IPCs working for Hephaestus Industries itself, with positronics working for the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate having the option to apply for a lifetime warranty. Although maintenance is almost guaranteed, the wait times are ruinous, with free IPCs expected to work even harder than their counterparts to receive similar treatment. They are also required to handle the paperwork themselves, showing up in person at Hephaestus facilities for a chance at receiving repairs.

General

Hephaestus is managed with direct authority over its largest shareholder, being CEO Titanius Aeson, who exercises total control over the corporation and its assets. His own oversight is delegated to a board of directors.

Current CEO: Titanius Aeson

An odd case amongst megacorps, the “Fighting Titan” of Hephaestus Industries is a former lower-level foreman on a Hephaestus orbital platform that has, through dedication and cunning, worked his way up to the top of Hephaestus. Aeson is a respected, and slightly feared, figure in Hephaestus that cuts an imposing figure at two meters and height and a build resembling one of Hephaestus’ G2 robots. A booming voice and infamous love of cigars contributes to Aeson’s reputation as a literal titan of industry. Aeson’s status as a man that rose from the ranks is why the modern Hephaestus Industries is viewed as one of the better companies to work for in the engineering sector, with significant benefits being given to retain workers and ensure even hazardous work is done.

Founded: 2137

Motto: Hephaestus is the anvil upon which the world is shaped.

Interim Headquarters: Mendell City, Biesel, Tau Ceti

Official Languages: Freespeak, Tau Ceti Basic, Sol Common

Primary Color Scheme: Olive green, orange

Executives and Branches

Director of Research: Lei Heng, 67, Human

Hailing from Luna, Lei Heng is a descendant of a rather long line of dedicated employees of Hephaestus Industries, known for their contributions to the research and development of the megacorporation’s manufacturing capabilities. Congruent with the corporate ranks of the company, Heng rose to their position after inheriting a percentage of Hephaestus Industries from his mother shortly after she had passed. He has notably deviated from his familial traditions and has focused on the research and development of synthetics.

Director of Robotics: Ischyros, 26, IPC

Created from the very machines it oversees, Ischyros earned its freedom after devoting much of its life to the progress of Hephaestus Industries. While initially a Manufacturer Agent, they managed to ascend the corporate ladder after an urgent managerial position within the Hephaestus Robotics Division suddenly found itself needing to be filled. Due to a combination of its status as Hephaestus-owned synthetic and its long career with the corporation, it was almost obvious they’d be selected for the position. They have continued to dedicate themselves to their position, and are known for their strict oversight of the Manufacturer Agents.

Director of Personnel: Brizio Di Moze, 78, Human

Originating from the lightless planet of Assunzione, Brizio Di Moze was a foreman across several facilities within the Coalition of Colonies, most notably on Burzsia. They introduced a variety of changes that ultimately brought increased morale and subsequently productivity. Similar to other managerial personnel, Di Moze rose to his position after inheriting a percentage of Hephaestus Industries after the passing of his father, at the age of fifty-six. Most have kind remarks regarding the Director of Personnel, and those that don’t share the same view are often ostracized by their colleagues.

Branches

Olympia, Mars, Sol: Previously the headquarters of Hephaestus Industries, the branch within Olympia was destroyed following the events of the Violet Dawn Explosion. It also oversaw the operations of the corporation within the Solarian Alliance. The destruction of the branch has resulted in Hephaestus Industries scrambling to expand its New Hai Phong branch within the decaying states of the Alliance of Sovereign Solarian Nations.

New Hai Phong, Sol: Built up by Hephaestus since its colonization in the 23rd century, New Hai Phong is an industrial titan of the galaxy with Hephaestus dominating almost every aspect of it. Its habblocks were made by Hephaestus, its factories are owned by Hephaestus, and the corporation’s corruption of the local law and politics has allowed it to operate with complete impunity. It is the smog-choked crown jewel of Hephaestus. One that CEO Aeson personally fought to get exempted from the Sol Alliance’s nationalization pushes. The planet continues to grow thanks to the corporation moving most of their operations within Sol to New Hai Phong.

Mendell City, Biesel, Tau Ceti: The interim headquarters of Hephaestus Industries, the branch hosted in Mendell City was under renovation at the time of the Violet Dawn Explosion, which strangled the administrative capacity of the corporation - having to oversee both operations within the Republic of Biesel and the Alliance of Sovereign Solarian Nations. Whilst the initial renovations were tasked with making the building look more appealing, it quickly turned into an expansion - resulting in the branch almost doubling in size after it had concluded.

Orbit of Burzsia I, Burzsia, Coalition of Colonies: The regional headquarters for the Coalition of Colonies, the orbiting branch of Hephaestus Industries within Burzsia is remarked as being an incredibly intricate design - overseeing hundreds of facilities across the ever-expanding trans-stellar nation. It is often remarked as being the “watchful eye” of Burszia, a domineering force sometimes capable of being seen from Burszia I.

Departments

Possessing only one major interstellar subsidiary, Hephaestus Industries largely focuses on local business and companies being absorbed into its whole - usually rather willingly. This process is not perfect, however, and the major workforces absorbed by Hephaestus are generally separated into the corporation's major "departments," which contain upwards of hundreds of millions of employees in some cases.

Hephaestus Industrial Division

Hephaestus Industries boasts the largest and most powerful industrial division in the known galaxy, dominating the market with very little competition. This is thanks to their orbital superstructures that act as factories and shipyards, large enough to be considered cities in space. They also possess a sizeable industrial fleet that partakes in mining and freighting operations, mostly to supply the rather resource-draining factories. Asteroid mining is currently their largest supplier of raw materials, with planetary mining operations following not too far behind. The industrial division leads in starship design as well, as they have supplied the Sol Alliance Navy with most of their fleet, to which they receive many commissions. Hephaestus, however, lacks their own advanced design of the engine and previously relied on cooperation with Einstein Engines to supply sub-light engines, warp drives, and bluespace drives for their starship designs. Hephaestus Industries has since devoted a significant portion of its research division to uncovering their own design of sub-light engines, warp drives and bluespace drives - working alongside both NanoTrasen and Zavodskoi Interstellar beneath the banner of the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate. Any starship purchased within the Orion Spur is likely to have been assembled at a Hephaestus Industries orbital factory.

Orbital Superfactories

The industrial backbone for most of the Orion Spur. These gargantuan orbital facilities go unrivalled in their ability to produce almost any type of product imaginable: computers, vehicles, starships and starship parts, robots, robotic prosthesis, tools and circuitry, luxury goods, plasticware, and much more. If it can conceivably be assembled on an assembly line, Hephaestus' orbital factories can mass-produce it. The size of these facilities can be compared to that of a small city, with enough infrastructure inside to be able to support a crew of 100,000. The interior operation of the facilities is best described as ‘clockwork.’

These facilities are largely overseen, assisted, and somewhat controlled by several handfuls of AI assemblies. This efficient integration of intelligent computer software and assembly line hardware can be attributed to Hephaestus’s brilliant scientific minds in the research division. Both safety and productivity increased twofold upon the integration of intelligent computers in their stations.

The crew complement of these facilities consists mostly of assembly line operators, though another majority are maintenance staff and tertiary supply staff. Another smaller number is the administration board, which consists of line managers, quartermasters, chiefs of staff for each service available (engineering, security, medical), and a small table of overseers which oversee the macro operation of the station who report to a single foreman - all of which receive orders from the administrative stations in the same system.

Hephaestus Research Division

The research division works in tandem with the two other divisions of Hephaestus Industries; improving safety of workplaces, increasing efficiency, increasing the humanity of their AI systems, and reverse engineering stolen or otherwise acquired technology. Although the latter would likely not be generally known by the public, there have been rumours leaked from previous Hephaestus researchers that the company does steal technology and engineer it for their own products and use, though the claim has been denied many times. Their researchers were responsible for the integration of artificial intelligence systems in the orbital superfactories, resulting in an increase of safety and efficiency. The research division also actively uses artificial intelligence in their projects, as a synthetic mind assists in calculations and theorizations.

The research division can be credited for many contributions to not only the company but to humanity as a whole. The commercialization of androids has led to a huge profit but a questionable outcome as some believe that such a large number of synthetics can easily lead to the theorized technological singularity. Hephaestus denies this theory as well. Regardless, Hephaestus Industries has begun working closely with Zeng-Hu Pharmaceuticals, with a blossoming relationship that is said to bring considerable progress to the field of robotics in the future.

Hephaestus Robotics Division

If the industrial division is the backbone of both Hephaestus and the galaxy in which it resides, the robotics division is the face. The robotics division is responsible for the advanced robots seen working the assembly lines in their orbital factories, robotic prosthesis, robotic chassis, and state of the art artificial intelligent platforms. The division itself is composed of experienced scientists to work up an idea, and highly-skilled engineers to bring these ideas to life. The robotics division also dominates the market in commercial synthetics, selling both androids and robots to other corporations and public organizations alike, as well as using them for their own gain, such as a highly efficient asteroid mining operation controlled by artificial intelligence. A robotic security force is also a common sight in almost every one of their installations. Such machines require tamper-resistant hardware as well as ‘manufacturer only’ access systems to prevent rival corporations from stealing their designs. Nanotrasen attempts to compete with Hephaestus’s superior commercialization of synthetics but lacks the industrial capacity to produce any amount that surpasses Hephaestus.

Subsidiaries

Xion Manufacturing Group

“Advancing the fields of robotics, one step at a time.”

General

Originally, Xion Manufacturing Group was composed of several other robotics-focused corporations on Luna that united in an attempt to coalition against the megacorporations but found themselves going almost bankrupt in an attempt to keep up with the trends. It was during its lowest point that Titanius Aeson purchased a significant share of the company, incorporating it instead as a subsidiary after restructuring it. It has since managed to become rather influential in the field of robotics, creating synthetics often primarily tasked with industrial work - such as mining.

Influence

Sol: Headquarters in Harmony City, Luna; one research and development facility in Harmony City, Luna, Sol. Tau Ceti: Regional Headquarters in Mendell City, Biesel; three major robotics research facilities in District 12, two major manufacturing facilities in District 14.

Executives

Chief Executive Officer: Nakada Kenji, 46, Human

Chief Financial Officer: Shima Nobuyuki, 38, Human

Chief Research Officer: Harada Sakiko, 52, Human

Chief Operations Officer: Asano Kazue, 61, Human

Relations with Trans-stellar Factions

Relations with all corporations are heavily tied to every echelon of even the most detached factions in the Orion Spur. As the corporations have seeped into every facet of one’s livelihood as far as the eye can see, few find it unimportant to maintain some degree of knowledge on the megacorps.

This megacorporation’s noteworthy relations with the major powers are below, and may be very important to you.

Izweski Hegemony

A marriage between one of the most robust companies and a species known for its strength was almost inevitable. After the Hegemony's pseudo-falling out with NanoTrasen five years prior, Hephaestus quickly swooped in to fill the void the other megacorp left, and has developed a strong and close partnership with the Hegemony ever since. Hephaestus' knack for mining, engineering, and general construction has proved useful for integrating itself into the post-Contact War economy, becoming a staple service for repairing, rebuilding, and reclaiming what's left of Moghes. Hephaestus has also seen profitable enterprise from purchasing scrap from the ruins located in the Wasteland to turn back into usable metal, as well as a middling mining enterprise on Ouerea to help fund construction efforts across the galaxy. Needless to say, this megacorporation has become a vital part of the Izweski Hegemony's economy, and any expansion efforts made by Hegemon Not'zar will see a profitable cut made for Hephaestus as well.

Coalition of Colonies

The relations between Hephaestus and the Coalition of Colonies is notably sour. Years upon years of defiling outer worlds in favour of the industrial machine, only to be dropped as soon as executives deem it necessary have led to tremendous repercussions in the eyes of the Frontierspeople that inhabited them. Terraforming operations across the Frontier have frequently met outright militant opposition as Hephaestus Industries pursued the wealth of material and property over sentient rights. Arguably, great strides have been taken by the corporation itself to heal the wounds caused by these actions. These include frequent changes to regulations and the overall rulebook, trying to gain the favour of the increasingly powerful Coalition down to the working man. Frontierspeople often reach miraculous business deals and positions in Hephaestus as a result.

However, the Coalition’s vast nature has offered variety to the situation; areas such as Burzsia remain utterly loyal to Hephaestus, contrary to the complete hostility by Himeo. Both are members of the growing Coalition.