Founded in 2464, Orion Express is a manufactured megacorporation designed to handle logistics for the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate in the wake of the phoron scarcity, and the sudden entangling of supply lines that left the Conglomerate struggling for more resources. Its main branch is dedicated to cargo services and transport, but also features a fledgling robotics division mainly focused on industrial synthetics to aid in its logistics missions. The Orion Express is expected to become an integral part of the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate’s future through delivering supplies and merchandise throughout the Orion Spur.
The creation of the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate suddenly brought several stations, offices, and installations under the control of a single group. While the megacorporation's supply channels were enough on their own, they were quickly overwhelmed by the sheer space they had to cover. Missing shipments, long delivery times, and overall chaos plagued the transport of goods between the different members of the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate. To solve this glaring issue, the corporations (with NanoTrasen contributing the most resources and manpower) united a portion of their cargo departments into a sole entity in 2464; Orion Express.
Alongside handling the internal supply lines of the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate, the Orion Express also acquired the duty of delivering corporate goods to its buyers. The megacorporation Extranet shops were merged into one domain; the Orion Express Market. Thanks to this, anyone planning to purchase anything from the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate must go through a supplier who eliminates competition to guarantee maximum profit. Countless workers now toil in multiple warehouses, hangars and ships to deliver the orders in time. No region is too remote for the Orion Express' couriers.
In spite of its recent unveiling, the Orion Express already wields considerable influence within the Orion Spur. Its fleets are a common sight within the Republic of Biesel, and its Corporate Reconstruction Zone, as well as anywhere with any SCC presence. Outside of these aforementioned zones, its influence is diminished, but has been growing substantially as time passes, the corporation taking steps to worm its way into shipping markets not already dominated by other corporations; mainly been small scale shipping, and shipping to more remote areas of the spur. This has caused some friction between Orion and many frontier planets, as the corporation offers its services for vastly inflated prices, as it slowly builds a monopoly over transport of goods to isolated systems.
Orion Express is known to employ many unskilled workers in its warehouses, cargo depots, and shipping vessels. The corporation advertises itself to potential employees as a "jumping off point" for those interested in the shipping industry, but lack the qualifications required for higher-level positions or even lower-level positions at other megacorporations in the Spur.
While Orion Express does not pay as well as the other megacorporations or offer benefits such as overtime pay, employees are compensated by other means; flexible hours and TOIL (Time Off In Lieu) are common benefits provided to all workers. Those in more skilled fields such as machinists or pilots still receive competitive pay, but miss out on some of the benefits working for corporations such as Hephaestus or Zavodskoi provide. Despite this lack of pay and benefits compared to other megacorporations, Orion’s rock bottom hiring standards and recent founding attract people from across the spur who may not have been able to find work with a megacorporation or work at a megacorporation that did not have skeletons in the closet until Orion came along. Many employees have used their positions within Orion to secure livelihoods for themselves they’d be otherwise unable to, and praise the company for it despite its drawbacks, of which it has many, beyond the poor pay and benefits.
As a result of its tumultuous birth within the SCC, Orion has quickly established a reputation within the Spur for its rapid-fire style of inner management and cohesion. Positions, orders and even salaries can change by the day, all serving to maximize delivery times and costs. To a low-ranking employee, this means a rapidly shifting work environment - to top officials, it means orchestrating a neverending seesaw of “controlled chaos”. Pilots, miners and service workers are given a surprising amount of autonomy to deliver on their orders as fast as possible, which they must, lest they risk being replaced by the countless eager applicants who may have drive and imagination where they lack credentials. Most of the time this is due to heavy demands from the other members of the SCC, who expect quick turnarounds on their orders, and are not afraid to threaten higher-ranking officials within the company. In the end, the leaders of Orion Express are just as fearful of being replaced as their workers are.
Orion Express tries to promote a work environment that is internally competitive rather than externally, encouraging employees to beat quotas and set personal goals while discouraging interpersonal conflict while working in mixed facilities such as the SCCV Horizon. Since it owes its existence to the rest of the Chainlink, Orion Express’ bottom line is nearly always to support the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate, resulting in an atmosphere that constantly pushes its workers to improve and evolve, at all levels. Orion's policy is to expand into areas that the other megacorporations have little to no presence while avoiding direct competition in places where other corporations have a stranglehold. In the event they have to enter a market dominated by another SCC corporation, such as mining, Orion has a policy of cornering systems/areas that have proven too troublesome for other companies to take. On the surface, most operations seem to be operating at a loss - but in truth, millions of small, independently-led and created projects are what keep Orion Express’ earnings in the green.
Current CEO: Chin-hae Hong
Formerly a first officer of Aoyama Transportation Council, Chin-hae Hong is liked by her subordinates but considered something of an outcast within the SCC itself. She is known for her blunt honesty, mannerisms which some have called “overly gregarious”, and obsessive fascination with her field of logistics. Originally scouted by Hephaestus Industries’ director of robotics, Ischyros, Hong’s impressive management skills, quick thinking, and constant desire to refine and improve tried-and-tested tactics means Orion has stayed afloat through means other than the Conglomerate’s credits.
Official Titles: Orion Express, Orion Express Logistics, Orion Express Limited
Motto: Faster than light.
Official Languages: Tau Ceti Basic, Tradeband
Primary Color Scheme: Black, grey, silver
Executives and Branches
Chief Financial Officer: Fuji Makato, 48
Hailing from Mars, Fujii served as a financial manager for the Martian Government for several years until being offered a job in Tau Ceti in 2450 and choosing to remain there once Tau Ceti declared independence. She has a reputation for being a stickler for having her affairs in perfect order, an attitude that serves her well in her profession, and an unusual contrast to the hot-blooded Hong. Some of her underlings find her perfectionist disposition unbearable to work under. Perhaps due to that fact, Makato has started bringing in owned positronic employees under her, programmed to share her orderly nature. Despite all this, Makato is well-liked in the company, especially by those who realize that their benefits are better than it would be for other businesses due to Makato’s practical nature. Privately, it is believed she holds anti-Solarian sentiments, though such opinions, if they do exist, remain completely uninvolved with her business dealings.
Chief Operating Officer: Hakim Galla, Human, 45
An Elyran with a humble background as a New Suez dock manager, Hakim Galla currently serves as the COO for Orion Express. He is known for being the most laid-back of Hong’s top officials, a direct contrast to the policy expected by people under her. When seeing his personality and style of management, however, the decision starts to make sense. He has been known to cheer up moody boardrooms and investor’s calls with just his presence alone, a useful trait considering his main affairs include maintaining cohesion between the major enterprises within Orion Express. It’s suspected that Hong only keeps him around due to the rapport and reputation he’s earned amongst the mid-to-low level employees of the company after solving many disputes others thought unworkable. Others see him as proof that enough talent and personal improvement can raise anyone to the upper echelons of the company.
Chief External Affairs Officer: Tuiqi Xao’Luup, Skrell, 304
Tuiqi, hailing from the Nralakk Federation, serves as the Foreign Affairs Executive for the Orion Express. A middle-aged Skrell of 304 years, Tuiqi was a high level manager within the Nralakk Federation’s Qerr’Zolvq Industries until their acceptance into Orion Express. They pride themselves on their breakthrough into a majority human-owned enterprise; something that isn’t exactly common at an executive level. Like most Skrell of their age, Tuiqi has long sought to prove their mastery in their chosen field, and their talent was quickly noticed by Hong. The two share a kindred spirit in being pioneers, and like many Orion workers, constantly seek to outdo each other despite their differences in rank. Tuiqi has proven invaluable in extending Orion’s reach from one end of the Spur to another, and continues to pursue any new frontiers the company hasn’t gotten to yet.
Valkyrie Exchange Terminal, Valkyrie, Tau Ceti: Orion Express’ Valkyrie branch reflects the circumstances under which the company was formed. Hastily constructed in 2463, the branch office is a large prefabricated building with easy access to most megacorporate shipping on the docks. Plans are already in place for an opulent complex located just outside of the Exchange Terminal which will house Orion’s management in the coming years.
Novus, Callisto, Sol: Orion Express’ Callisto branch, known by local workers as ‘The Hub’ due to its size and central role in the function of the port, was overhauled by the SCC shortly after acquisition to provide the next generation of logistical support and management. Fully automated and hosting a fleet of both flying and non-flying drones, Novus is the primary warehouse used to transport goods from the surface of the moon to the port's orbital facilities for shipping. Novus acts as the headquarters for Meng Logistics Incorporated.
Ganzaodeng, Konyang, Coalition of Colonies: Orion Express’ Ganzaodeng branch was opened shortly after the company’s formation, purchasing old Einstein Engines’ assets from the Konyang government in order to accommodate the rapidly-growing trade between Biesel and the Coalition. The city’s multicultural nature serves as a boon to the branch, with merchants from nearly every system being capable of doing business at the port. Despite the boon it provides to the local economy, the Ganzaodeng branch is looked upon with suspicion, being viewed as a destabilizing force on the planet where rules and regulations are discarded to keep up with the sheer amount of freight passing through it.
Zharrkov Major Depot, Adhomai, People's Republic of Adhomai: Located in Nal'tor, the Zharrkov Company's main depot is a mixture of office, warehouse, and shuttle port. Adhomian products flow from across the entire planet to be shipped to the wide galaxy here. A smaller branch exists in Crevus to buy products from the other Adhomian factions; these goods are then transported to the headquarters. The building is also home to a large armory full of Tajaran military surplus. Locally, it’s known for attracting numerous youths and troublemakers with little work experience and massive amounts of energy.
Alara, Bursa, Republic of Elyra: Unusually for the anti-megacorporate Republic, a small spaceport and branch of Orion Express exists in the port city of Alara. Despite its small size, Bursa’s branch is how many Elyrans receive various goods from the rest of the Spur, though the Republic’s isolationism means the port is minuscule compared to the grand scale of the company’s other locations.
Orion Express was founded to assist the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate in regards to its logistics capabilities, and this is where most of its operations are concentrated. Most operations are centered around repairs, refuellings, resupply, and the transport of goods. Any remaining ability to manufacture is then often leased to either the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate or its aforementioned “subsidiaries” that dominate the rest of the Orion Spur. Unlike Hephaestus, who have become masters at industrial shipping, using super freighters and other vessels to move an incomprehensible amount of tonnage around the spur, Orion instead relies on a fleet of fast cargo ships and expert couriers who stand by to deliver any corporate products to whoever acquires them. No place in the galaxy is unreachable for the Orion Express' staff, and cross-spur shipping at incredible speeds can only be done by hiring Orion to do it.
Orion focuses the majority of its merchant fleet on delivering to depots or other large installations such as space stations or cities, even sometimes ships if they are large enough. These runs make up a majority of Orion’s deliveries, and ensure the company a steady stream of credits as travel becomes more and more difficult due to the phoron scarcity. For more rural areas outside of civilization or far from centralized depots, Orion employs its couriers, who are deployed to deliver parcels far and wide across planets and space. This even sometimes includes planets being blockaded or otherwise unable to be normally reached. During the attack on Burzsia by the Exclusionists, there were several courier vessels that flew through the battle happening around them to deliver industrial IPC parts to the planet. Orion has since used this as the focus of a massive marketing campaign, proclaiming that their shipping is so reliable even blockades and battlefields will not stop packages from being delivered. Being formed after the creation of the Solarian Corporate Authority and the wave of nationalization that went with it, Orion can still freely operate in Solarian space despite being a member of the SCC. Einstein Engines and Senator Trang of New Hai Phong have endlessly complained about this, but the parliament of Solarian state sees no reason to prohibit or curtail Orion’s operations within the remaining territory they control, as they also rely on Orion’s shipping services to move all manner of things around the core worlds.
In addition to the vast network of logistics provided by Orion Express, the company also operates a fledgling robotics division. Dissimilar to the other corporations that mostly invest in the field through its subsidiaries, Orion Express instead has integrated it as a division instead - mostly dedicated to the production, maintenance and research of industrial synthetics. It works closely with Hephaestus Industries on this front, unlike with mining, as Hephaestus doesn’t see the fledgling corporation as anything resembling a threat to their dominance over the IPC market. Hephaestus and Orion have already built several joint factories together within the orbit of Reade, to augment the production of the Sidirourgeío station.
The IPCs created by these joint factories are known to be of much lower quality then those produced by Hephaestus themselves, often because Orion machinists are struggling with the management practices of the company, needing to rush to complete orders on time. The market for these low quality IPCs is often for dangerous work that sees a high chance of damage or destruction for the positronic and its chassis. Orion sells them off knowing this, with the price for an Orion made IPC being significantly cheaper than any other on the market. Many of these IPCs end up running away, being caught and sold again to other corporations who may or may not use them in similar tasks. For those that don’t run away, if their jobs do not damage them, it is known that at around a year and a half old the chassis will begin to fail due to poor construction, resulting in the IPC either eventually failing while on the job, or simply being thrown into the scrapheap of District 15. The Trinary Perfection is known to rescue positronics who end up in D15, and attempts to repair them in any way possible.
Even newer than its Robotics sector, Orion Express has recently leveraged its newfound wealth to create a division long thought to be insurmountable due to competition; the service industry. Shoved between giants such as Idris Incorporated and NanoTrasen, most corporations have long since given up trying to compete against the monopoly of these megacorporations. Miraculously, Orion has found cracks in the sector here as well. While Idris prides itself on supplying the highest quality service at most price ranges, Orion supplies to the very bottom of the barrel. Neither seedy neighborhoods, low-income customer bases, or even unstable governments manage to scare away the fledgling company, which has begun to plant thousands of convenience stores, post offices, and hardware stores that are sorely missing from places that the more conservative megacorporations refuse to touch. Precious few credits are pumped into these quick-fire establishments, as profit margins and accident rates are highly unpredictable. Instead, numerous businesses are opened up at once in a wide net, allowing low-performance projects fall into disuse, while others rise to be cornerstones of their communities.
The workers in this division are similarly honest and efficient. “Customer service” is a bygone term, and what ultimately matters is how many orders can be pushed out at the lowest prices and time available. Those who sign up to these positions are often locals themselves with little opportunities available, but a keen sense of what their individual niches are wanted by their communities. Those who manage to earn their positions generally do so through manic periods of activity that catch the eye of upper management, and get to be leaders in their own right. Compared to other megacorporations, these workers are given much autonomy in order to maximize their performance, be it making as many cappuccinos as possible to making sure an entire franchise of businesses operates twenty-four hours a day, every day of the month.
The smallest division of Orion Express, the mining division is a new creation to help solve logistical issues faced by the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate. With the scarcity reigning and Hephaestus still rebuilding its resource extraction within the Hegemony post-collapse, the SCC and its megacorporations have a demand for more metals, minerals and stones which this new division hopes to supply. Many of the corporations also see the new division as an opportunity to weaken Hephaestus’ share in the mining market, to their own benefit. Hephaestus’ board of directors have expressed varying degrees of reluctance to assist in the expansion of this venture, but due to the friendly relationship Titanius Aeson and Chin-hae Hong share, as well as an unwillingness to upset the balance between the Chainlink, tensions are low. Instead Hephaestus has remained completely hands-off with Orion's mining division, declining to train new miners or supply equipment for operations.
As Hephaestus is distant at best in the organization’s development, Orion has instead turned to others in the wider Spur; generally, these are factions affiliated with nation-states rather than megacorporations for both equipment and trained personnel. As a result, much of the employees for the division are contractors, rented by the company to fill its ranks and allow for even the slightest of competition against Hephaestus. In order to entice both other organizations and potential employees to work with the growing division, Orion offers incredibly low pay compared with Hephaestus for its employees in the division, and instead gives a comprehensive package of bonuses for mining work completed, as well as significantly more time off for workers. Combined with lax hiring standards and lacking the corporate culture of loyalty to the company Hephaestus requires to succeed, many people from around the Spur are attracted to Orion’s mining division. Organizations are offered lucrative contracts to provide workers for Orion, with each worker being rented for prices well above market norm. However these credits rarely reach the contractors themselves, instead being pocketed by a select few at the top or merely going back into the organization itself. Equipment is purchased second-hand, primarily from NanoTrasen who finds they no longer need the mass of mining equipment once stored in the Romanovich Cloud. While it is not the high-quality gear Hephaestus is known for, Orion’s limited mining operations make the cheap equipment a viable alternative, and even superior when accounting for the reduced training costs for these simple machines. Much like this equipment, those employees in the mining division that are directly employed by Orion are primarily former NanoTrasen miners who for one reason or another could not secure a transfer to Hephaestus.
The majority of contractors with Orion are hired from Qerr'Zolvq Industries and formerly, the Miners' Guild of the Izweski Hegemony. The influence of Orion’s own Chief External Affairs Officer, Tuiqi Xao’Luup, has lead to many Qerr'Zolvq miners taking up a temporary contract with the company through the SCC's work exchange programs, as Xao'Luup was once a Qerr'Zolvq employee himself.
As for the Miners’ Guild, Orion's previously unique relationship with the Hegemony, being the only other megacorporation save Hephaestus to not pull their investment from the Izweski Hegemony during the phoron crisis, allowed them to offer the once-struggling guild a one-sided contract in their favor. In exchange for the Miners' Guild keeping their guildsmen employed under their aegis, Orion would receive experienced workers for a fraction of the cost; naturally, the Guild eagerly accepted the terms. However, since the Miners’ Guild’s incorporation by Hephaestus Industries, this relationship has largely ceased, with most Guild miners working under Hephaestus directly outside of Hegemony space. Some guildsmen opposed to Hephaestus’s expansion chose to resign their previous positions and continue working for Orion Express - though often with fairly significant decreases in their pay.
Despite Orion's best efforts, the market is utterly dominated by Hephaestus, and has been for decades. Many recognize that Hephaestus will always be the industrial giant, mining and smelting more materials than can be conceivably imagined, and Orion will always be incomparable. The overall strategy at the top level has been to get around land clearance and asteroid ownership rights by going through contractors, as well as to seek out mining sites others deem too dangerous or far away.
Zephyr Shipping Company
"From the sea to you!"
Chief Executive Officer: Ziynet Fahimi, 34, Human
A subsidiary of the Orion Express, the Zephyr Shipping Company imports, and exports products from the various nations of the Sparring Sea. With an enormous range of products, buyers can purchase an assortment of goods from the unique cultures present there. From Dominian sabres to Elyran fashion pieces to Unathi antiques, Zephyr Shipping has it all. Considered the brainchild of Ziynet Fahimi, an up-and-coming logistics expert who had worked for Hephaestus, The Zephyr Shipping Company is an experiment in the possible future of corporate logistics and delivery. By trying a mobile warehouse and office located in a vessel Fahimi hopes to achieve a more efficient and cost-productive means of product transit in the volatile Sparring Sea. The project was approved shortly after the formation of the Orion Express and is a conglomerate of former SCC company transports, contractors, and facilities that existed there prior.
The Zephyr Shipping Company's brands are focused on rebranded cultural products and curios to be sold in the wider Spur. Their covered area including Moghes and Adhomai also allows them to cash in on the Unathi and Tajara consumer market.
- Heirlooms From Afar: A more controversial brand, Heirlooms From Afar sells various antiques purchased in the region of space. These can include Unathi ancestral armor, Tajaran antiques, or Elyran rugs that originated on 22nd century Earth. Despite an extensive certification process so that buyers can know the legitimacy of their product, some accuse the company of selling counterfeits or stealing their products.
- Zharrkov Shipping: A brand specializing in selling Tajaran made products to the wide galaxy. From foodstuff to military surplus, anything Tajaran is sold by the Zharrkov. Thanks to contracts with the Tajaran governments, the brand has a massive arsenal of surplus guns available.
Meng Logistics Incorporated
“Right to your doorstep.”
Chief Executive Officer: Meng Yusheng, 42, Human
Meng Logistics Incorporated was to be purchased on behalf of the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate to bypass the restrictions placed on the existing megacorporations following the collapse of the Solarian Alliance. It focuses on delivering supplies and equipment to the corporate assets of those beneath the banner of the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate within the Solarian Alliance, and even the Nralakk Federation. Founded shortly after the Republic of Biesel gained independence, Meng Logistics Incorporated struggled to keep up with the megacorporations that rule over the Orion Spur. It found itself initially successful after being relied upon by Idris Incorporated to facilitate deliveries to multiple Idris facilities, including on Silversun. Its success was short-lived, and the company was approaching rapid bankruptcy before being acquired by the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate in late 2463. It is mostly used as a loophole in the megacorporation treaties with the Solarian Alliance, successfully doing so for the most part.
Meng Logistics Incorporated focuses on delivering for the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate within the Solarian Alliance and the Nralakk Federation, usually either supplies for corporate assets within the territories or delivering items bought by customers. It mostly finds itself being the primary supplier of consumer electronics within the aforementioned regions, such as PDAs and wristbound devices.
- Qwik-Qwik Deliveries: a service offered by Meng Logistics Incorporated that offers priority delivery in exchange for a rather significant price. Typically includes overnight delivery, weekend delivery, business week delivery and fortnight delivery.
- Gadgetz: a line of consumer electronics that Meng Logistics Incorporated sells to those within both the Nralakk Federation and the Solarian Alliance. This includes the Nralakk projectors, PDAs, wristbound devices, and much more. It usually finds itself supplied by the Special Economic Zones within the Core sector; Qerr’Malic, Aliose and even Aweiji in the Elemental sector.
Orion Expresses presence in the Nralakk Federation is less limited in comparison to the other megacorporations; rather than only having a Special Economic Zone to work out of, Orion Express is responsible for a large percentage of exports intended for human space via its subsidiary, Meng Logistics Incorporated. Orion also enjoys having access to Qerr’Zolvq Industries’ miners for work abroad thanks to the connections of Orion’s Chief External Affairs Officer, who was formerly a member of management at Qerr'Zolvq Industries. The fact that Orion Express has not been sequestered into a Special Economic Zone despite the purchase of the Qerr'Malic SEZ from NanoTrasen, along with one of it's executives having connections to the Federation’s state enterprises, has allowed the megacorporation to benefit greatly from its operations within the Federation despite its size and lack of expertise compared to the other members of the Conglomerate.
People's Republic of Adhomai
Since its creation, the Orion Express has played an important role in helping the People's Republic of Adhomai maintain its supply lines. As a fledgling space power, the PRA employs the megacorporation to help ferry much of its supply and equipment to Hro'zamal and other Orbital Fleet installations. In Adhomai, it inherited NanoTrasen's business of providing alien products to the local population. Orion Express also sells much of the Hadiist military surplus and manufactured goods to the rest of the galaxy.
With the end of the Second Revolution, many smugglers decided to abandon the illegality and joined Orion Express to lend their specialty to the megacorporation. These Tajara are frequently used as pilots and couriers in the Badlands, the Corporate Reconstruction Zone, and Tau Ceti; paths they are very acquainted with.
Republic of Biesel
The Republic of Biesel is viewed as the birthing place of the company, and therefore enjoys numerous advantages on its soil that it otherwise has to fight tooth and nail for in other territories. Like its sister corporation, the PMCG, Orion proved itself in the chaos of the Corporate Reconstruction Zone. The need for swift, relatively small-scale deliveries has always been a necessity in the area, as individual planets and cities had incredibly diverse needs in short bursts of time. The first true employees were from these planets, setting a business strategy that has lasted until this day - to recruit locally, train quickly and replace even quicker. Within months, Orion couriers, miners and servicemen managed to put out much of the instability wrecking the region.
Although this particular job remains to be unfinished, it has given Orion a reputation within the Republic as a reliable and humble corporation. Many have flocked to its banner as an alternative to the often overbearing members of the SCC, and see themselves as the pioneers the Republic needs to keep it afloat in such trying times.