The Crown Cooperative
Formal Name: The Crown Cooperative
Also Known As: The Crown, Britain, Albion, the Cooperative
Major Corporations of Note:
Wynter Crossplanetary – Candy, narcotics, alcohol, and other vice products, film and sim-stim media
zeCom Media – News-media and conventional video entertainment
Price-Apex Motors – Vehicles
picoNet Communications – Digital communications security
Bank of England – Financial services
Geographic Regions: Great Britain, Ireland, and various island territories once part of the British Empire, such as Guernsey and the Isle of Man
Chief Executive Officer: Preston Wynter, CEO of Wynter Crossplanetary
Capital City: London, England
The Crown stands independent, and stands strong. Refusing to be a part of the Accord or the PAX, the people of the British Isles and Ireland have something close to a nationalist sense of pride in their culture and heritage. Although the monarchy has no actual governmental powers anymore (as opposed to the very real influence wielded by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg over the affairs of the Accord), the people of the Crown still largely acknowledge the ceremonial legitimacy of His Majesty, King George VII.
The rest of the world mostly finds this “Britishism” sort of quaint, and with the steady decline of national cultural touchstones globally many foreigners find themselves adopting British culture and style, sometimes mixing it with the Chinese influence that has been prevalent everywhere since C-Day.
The Crown is a global media juggernaut. zeCom Media dominates the world of journalism and conventional video information. Wynter Crossplanetary is on the cutting edge of sim-stim entertainment, turning London into the 22nd century Hollywood for the production of sim-stim products.
Squeezed between the economic pressures of the Accord’s immense financial markets, the PAX’s military might, and the shipping power of the Empresa, the Crown competes with culture, art, entertainment, and vice. Intangible exports that make it indispensable to the people of other syndicracies.
Sim-Stim (short for Simulated Stimulation) allows an individual to experience another person’s senses that have been wired into an implant. Sim-Stims are sometimes live feeds, but are usually recorded and edited for maximum excitement and enjoyment. An individual using a sim-stim recording experiences what it was like to “be there” from someone else’s sensory perspective, although it doesn’t enable you to know what the person was thinking at the time. It’s become a huge entertainment business, in a wide variety of genres and industries, and Wynter Crossplanetary is at the forefront of it.
Wynter creates sim-stims for almost every conceivable taste and desire, ranging from the conventional to the almost perverse, and has turned London into the heart of the sim-stim production industry. Most sim-stims are created in carefully scripted environments, with actors playing out scripted scenes in closed set environments to simulate specific events for the end user to enjoy a full body storytelling experience. But there’s also a smaller “gonzo” industry of sim-stim production that records real (or at least, claiming to be real) experiences and sells them instead. Even rarer are those who charge a lot of money for live feeds, as viewers jack directly into a person’s mind and see events as they happen. Live feeds are extremely difficult and expensive to pull off, so they’re very rare, but they do exist.
There is an extremely dark side to the sim-stim industry, a side Wynter and other reputable companies don’t operate in but independent purveyors happily occupy the niche of. Recordings of murder, simulated or possibly even real. Recordings of suicide, where the user experiences the recorder’s last moments before death. Recordings of even… darker things.
Authorities try to root out these sorts of businesses and put them down, not just for the public good, but because of the threat they present to the legitimate side of the sim-stim business.
Cybernetics and genetic engineering have changed the face of sports forever. Athletics competition are no longer about who trains the hardest and has the best genetics, because those things can be circumvented with upgrades, implants, and modifications to the body and mind.
Many forms of conventional sports are no longer entertaining enough to modern audiences to survive as professional leagues and merely exist as hobbies to small groups of enthusiasts. It is not enough to simply run fast, or jump high, or throw far. These things are trivial accomplishments to a cyborg or a genetically augmented human. However, one form of competition that has actually increased in interest is combat sports; people are increasingly enthralled in watching these enhanced individuals violently test their mettle against each other in as direct a fashion as possible.
Because augmentation reduces the risk of death or even very grievous injury dramatically, much of the public abhorrence to these sorts of activities has waned and they’ve become more socially acceptable to enjoy, and the methods they use have been amplified to make them more thrilling. Many modern combat sports bouts now use advanced weaponry (with less-than-lethal ammunition… usually) and are not much different than the gladiatorial arenas of ancient Rome.
There are professional gladiators who make these bloodsports their career, and they’ve also proven to be a lucrative side venture for Freelancers, who leverage their fame and stateless status into a form of celebrity. There are even Freelancer-specific fighting circuits now, dominated by Lancers like Superia, who often spend more time in the arena than doing mercenary work. Such Freelancers blur the line between entertainer, pit fighter, and mercenary.
The Crown Cooperative is home to the largest and most popular circuits for combat sports, with the biggest arena competitions held in London each year.