Terran Combine - History
Tue Sep 06 2022 (Updated: Tue Sep 06 2022) - 4 min read
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Arising from a merger between three of Earth’s largest mining consortiums, the M.E.R.C. (Mineral Extraction and Refining Corporation) was the original form of what would eventually become known as the Terran Combine. The corporation initially made a name for itself by securing the contract to supply resources for the Scipio project, humanity's first permanent and sustainable orbital habitat, via a series of heavily guarded back-room deals. The M.E.R.C would go on to further success, both above and below board, by making strategic use of Earth’s vast population of underemployed and poverty-stricken people to provide most of the resources needed for early colonization on both Luna and Mars.
At the same time, the Mangold Consortium, a contemporary of the M.E.R.C., was quickly establishing itself as a major player in the fields of orbital and deep-space engineering. Sitting on a hoard of patents in the field of material science, the Consortium was one of the major providers of space infrastructure, often mocked as acting like a cartel in the industry with Binderburg and later the MPL.
Despite all the hate from the outside, the ranks of Mangold's employees largely consisted of skilled workers welded together by the dangers of space construction and their willingness to leverage their hard-to-replace skills to leverage very profitable terms of employment. These unions would survive the coming merger and ultimately became one of the defining features of the Combine.
When Tenebris announced the “grandest project in human history” - the construction of the Sol Dyson Sphere - and the ushering in of the age of energy-tech, there was a major conflict about who would provide the necessary work to construct the sphere. In the end, a bid won out that would see the combination of the two's capabilities brought to bear: calling on Mangold’s capital and engineering expertise, alongside the M.E.R.C.'s logistic capabilities and human resources. In 2190, to help oversee this fifty-year long effort, the two megacorps officially merged and rebranded as the Terran Combine.
However, once the project was completed, the Combine's prospects seemed to wane. While the Sphere opened new frontiers to colonization and development, the Lunar Directorate's decision to allow its public use placed the Combine in direct competition with other megacorps, such as the MPL and the recently formed Atlas Syndicate, simply to reach these new opportunities.
Not content with playing second fiddle against the two government-backed giants, and refusing to succumb to the pressure of enacting abusive practices on its workforce (thanks in part to internal pressure from the powerful unions embedded in the Combine's structure), the Terran Combine came up with a plan of their own. Over the next several decades, the Combine would make good use of their scrupulous records from the Sol Dyson project to begin construction in secret.
In 2340, the Terran Combine revealed the completion of their own private Dyson Sphere, the first outside the direct control of the Lunar government and the oversight of Tenebris, and declared de-facto independence from the Lunar Directorate. In doing so, the Combine became the first major faction to achieve corporate sovereignty, establishing a pattern of corporate governance and autonomy that would redefine the course of human history. This separation sent shockwaves through the galactic establishment, and quickly led to other factions rushing to follow in the Combine's footsteps, acquiring their own spheres and independence. Ultimately, this movement would result in the establishment of the Sovereign Six.
With sole command of its own Sphere, the Combine now had access to a source of virtually limitless power and interstellar transportation, which they quickly used to begin an unyielding surge outwards. Due to their decision to rather dramatically cut ties with the Lunar Directorate, as well as their rocky relationship with the Martian MPL, the Combine has stayed stalwart in their function as a truly independent entity, acting wholly apart from governmental allegiance or interference.
As a result, it was the natural decision for them to remain unaligned during the second Lunar-Martian war, focusing instead on maintaining a strong foothold in the Omega region, and planning expansion further afield. The Combine was one of the first factions to place their mark on the Spiral Expanse, seeing it as an opportunity to once again prove their relevance, and establish a series of strong territorial claims before the other sovereign factions arrived.
While this latest project has caused an informal ceasefire between the Combine and its old rivals in Atlas and the MPL, it is undeniable that tension over the division of space, resources, and contracts remain. While the Combine continues to provide one of the best avenues of employment for those looking to escape the inner systems, they remain on edge, alert for both raiders and corporate agents that might step in the way of their worker's prosperity.