Continuing from my previous essay on the Arasaka Corporation, this essay focuses on Militech International, the other major player in the Fourth Corporate War. For further reference, check my other essays on the alternate history of R. Talsorian Games’ Cyberpunk tabletop roleplaying game. The flip side of the coin from Arasaka, Militech International is a case-study in how toxic both paramilitary corporations and American exceptionalism can be.
Founded in 1996 by Italian weapons designer Antonio Luccessi under the name Armatech-Luccessi International, Militech International was not initially a major player on the world stage. Luccessi first gained the attention of the American government during the time of the Collapse, the period in the Cyberpunk alternate history where the economy of the United States went into freefall due to the machinations of the Gang of Four. Luccessi submitted a weapon design to the cash-strapped United States government, who was looking to replace their standard-issue rifle. While Armatech’s submission did not win the contract, it did catch the attention of USMC General Donald Lundee, a member of the Joint Chief’s of Staff who was overseeing the trials. Owing largely to the bureaucratic quagmire Washington D.C. had become at that point, Lundee resigned his commission and took over as CEO of Armatech, with Luccessi serving as the chief weapons’ designer of the company.
By 2003, the Second South American Conflict had begun. The weapon chosen by the U.S. government, which was a poorly-designed and malfunctioning weapon, caused thousands of service members to die in the tropical hot zones. Using his connections from his time in the Pentagon, Lundee swooped in, capitalizing on the situation on securing contracts with the U.S. government. This influx of capital allowed the company to expand rapidly, taking on the new moniker Militech International. By 2004, Militech International was the chief supplier of arms and equipment to the U.S. military. This success soon led to others, as Militech weapons became the standard used across the world, putting them in direct competition with the Arasaka Corporation. The company also began expanding into private military contracting, training professional soldiers to serve in all facets of existing military hierarchies around the globe.
Cracks began to surface in the 2010s, however. Lundee’s motivation was similar in scope to Saburo Arasaka’s: setting up Militech International as the preeminent MegaCorp on Earth. The conflict in Hong Kong between the Maoist Loyalist Cabal (a hardline group within mainland China’s Communist government) had contracted Militech to provide military support to suppress a number of Asian corporations (including the Arasaka Corporation) who were attempting to liberate Hong Kong. While not as large a conflict as would later be seen during the Fourth Corporate War, the fight against Arasaka was something Lundee pushed for continuously, much to the consternation of the Militech board of directors.
The single biggest boon for Militech International occurred in 2020, when the former President of the company, Elizabeth Kress, became the President of the New United States. Using her close ties to Militech, President Kress began setting up Militech with even more lucrative contracts, practically giving Militech International full access to the U.S. military. Behind the scenes, Donald Lundee became even more paranoid of those around him, seeing everyone as attempting to undermine his vision for Militech. When Militech accepted a contract to assist OTEC with security forces during OTEC’s clash with CINO, who had contracted Arasaka Corporation to serve the same function, the stage was set for the two MegaCorps to go head-to-head, something Lundee had anticipating for a long time by that point. The story of Militech is much the same as the story of their rival Arasaka: A MegaCorp driven by the singular vision of one man with no regard for the consequences of his actions. It would have been far too easy for R. Talsorian Games and Mike Pondsmith to simply make Arasaka the “bad guy” and Militech the “good guy” in the game’s source material. Instead, what we get is a story where we see the excesses and arrogance of our real-world corporate entities cranked up to eleven. For years in the real-world, we’ve heard stories of the abuses of power perpetrated by private military contractors, who receive generous contracts from the U.S. government and operate outside the military hierarchy (which isn’t saying much considering the excesses found within the U.S. military industrial complex). Militech International is not the “hero” of Cyberpunk. It’s an example of what happen when there are no checks and balances against corporate malfeasance.
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