Lets talk about Horizon.
Horizon is the newest member of the Triple-A block. In fact, the history of the Horizon Group doesn’t date much father back than the Crash of ’64. Lets take a trip down memory lane for a bit.
History and Apocrypha
The history of Horizon starts with a group brilliant, of forward looking idealists in the early ’60’s who decided to form a think tank to address the problems that LA faced during that period. The City of Angels had recently been abandoned by the CalFree government, and a devestating earthquake rocked the city in ’61, destroying LAX. The City of Angels was alone, and, by itself, incapable of restoring itself to its former glory.
There’s no record of the names of any of the people on the think tank, but they called themselves the Horizon Project. Formed just the year before to try to deal with the several other problems LA faced, they took it upon themselves to fix Los Angeles in its darkest hour, when no one else could. And they did it with one phone call.
The Pueblo Corporate Council was a few hundred miles to the west in Arizona. PCC had lots of money but no sea access. Helping LA could be a win-win for both parties.
And it was just that simple.
One phone call to put a few ideas in people’s heads and the Horizon Project had proven that they could tackle seemingly impossible problems. So they looked to the other issues. But in order to do that, they’d need money and infrastructure. So they formed the rest of the Horizon Group as a means of gathering revenue and tackling problems, with the Horizon Project as its brain-center.
But it was another disaster, just three years later, which catapulted them into Triple-A status.
Horizon had begun working on a Wireless Internet prototype almost as soon as the Group was formed. When the Wire Matrix crashed, they had the solution in hand, ready to be implimented before the dust had settled. LA had a net up and running again before the month was finished, where the rest of the world was waiting the better part of a year. Some places in the Amazon still aren’t up.
The Horizon Group
Which brings us to the modern Horizon. Horizon is lead, theoretically, by its CEO Gary Cline, an Ork action movie star from the 50’s who was hired on as CEO almost as soon as Horizon formed its corporate shell.
However no one’s entirely sure exactly how much power Cline actually has. The VP’s of each subsidiary are given a LOT of leeway in their dealings so long as they don’t negatively impact Horizon’s image, and the Horizon Project still exists, independant of Cline’s influence and theoretically still acting as the brain center of the entire corp. More disturbing, leaked documents refer to the governing body of Horizon as “The Consensus” and God knows what that could be.
Conspiracy theories about it always seem to come off trite or cliche, and no one takes them seriously. But of course, that tends to happen when you’re dealing with a company that cut its teeth in the PR game.
Here are some of the subsidiaries of Horizon and what they’re best known for
- Horizon Americas: Horizon Americas is the umbrella organization for Horizon’s dealings in North and South America. There are similar subsidiaries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South-East Asia. Horizon Americas concerns itself with Matrix development in third world nations of South America, Agriculture (Edging Aztechnology out of the market in parts of the West Coast), and Pharmaceuticals.
- Horizon Transglobal: This is the part of Horizon that deals with its satilite network and orbital infrastructure. However, its budget seems awfully high for how simple a task its given.
- The Horizon Project: The founding brainchild of Horizon still exists. There isn’t a list of its membership and no one really has any idea what they work on, besides the occasional charitable outreach program. But surely, the innermost sanctum sanctorum of one of the most powerful corperations in the world must have more to it than a simple charity think tank.
- The Dawkins Group: Doesn’t exist. There is no record of them on any Horizon document, but rumors of them are abound, both in the Shadows and in the intelligence files of foreign nations and other Corps. Allegedly, these are Horizon’s SpecOps troops, specially trained to be as effective at propeganda and counterinformation as they are at stealth and combat. The Dawkin’s Group is believed to seek out and destroy “dangerous memeplexes” which is to say, ideas or cults which could destabilize society. More often than not, this is done through infiltration and internal destabilization than by actual combat, but they’re said to be able to hold their own
- Pathfinder Multimedia: This is Horizon’s studio. Its made of pieces of Disney, New Line and a few others. This is Horizon’s most public face and perhaps its biggest money-maker. Its said that Cline has the most dealings with Pathfinder, and personally hand-picked its VP.
- Charisma Associates: This PR firm was Horizon’s first big business move. CA was hired by Tir Tangire, the Elvish nation in what used to be Oregon, to refurbish its image after a particularly embarassing political debacle. Did it work? Well, the Tir is now one of the wealthiest tourist destination on the planet with a overwhelmingly content population. I’d say yes.
- Singularity: How to describe Singularity? Google. Think Google. They’re Horizon’s programing department, trying to find new and innovative ways of using the Wireless Web and the new Augmented Reality tech. So yes, pretty much the Google of the future.
A View from the Shadows
Horizon’s an odd case. Traditional wisdom about Megacorps figures that, in order to have become as powerful and wealthy as they are, a Megacorp must be an soulless, evil entity bent only on acquiring more money and power.
And when viewed through that lense, Horizon is particularly chilling. After all, more than any other Mega, Horizon has done extensive, cutting edge research into how the metahuman mind can be manipulated and has the means of projecting that influence over most of the world.
Many people are certain that Horizon would like nothing more than to turn everyone into mindless puppets, dancing on strings of jingles and memeplexes.
But… they haven’t. They use their wealth and power for charitable causes. They wield the Dawkins Group to take down dangerous cults. Its as if someone went through an awful lot of trouble to buy all the parts neccessary to create an atomic bomb and then used it to create a generator to power impovershed neighborhoods. There’s a fundamental dichotomy here.
Different Runners have different opinions on how evil or not Horizon actually is. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.