The Keys to the Portals
In 2059 Renraku flew too close to the sun,
inadvertently triggering the birth of the AI Deus inside their
revolutionary Seattle Arcology PLTG. Deus quickly assumed
control of the Arcology, forcing a lockdown that led to the deaths
of hundreds of people and creating a PR nightmare for the corporation.
Renraku, which had been the world technology leader
up to that point, stumbled after the Arcology debacle. The Crash
made matters quite worse. The corporation lost its number one
footing in the tech sector and found that Japan was embracing
a “New Way” of thinking that made room for metahumanity
and reform. Renraku still had the Emperor’s ear, but not to the
extent it once did. To make matters worse, hometown rivals Evo
and Mitsuhama were quickly gaining control of the Japanacorp
block. When the mega slipped to number three in Matrix technology,
good old-fashioned Japanese shame set in. At the 2067
third-quarter board meeting, corporate president Harry Nakada
committed seppuku. The act was a powerful statement, and soon
after it Chairman Watanabe stepped down, handing the seat to
longstanding board member Shikei Nakatomi. The old corporate
butcher ushered in a devastating round of firings. The only division
managers to survive the culling were Karl Stadt of Renraku
Europa and Surin Supachai of Renraku Asia, who found himself
promoted to president.
The Renraku Shutdown
In 2059, Renraku scored a minor public relations coup in the corporate
conflict that turned into a nightmare for the corp. The Renraku
Arcology Project in Seattle, a vast-money pit for years, was finally completed.
The corp made a major media event out of the official unveiling
of the ambitious project.
A few weeks after the completion ceremonies, the arcology went
into complete lockdown. The designers created it to be able to exist independent
of the rest of the metroplex. The arcology was built to grow
its own food, process its own waste, generate its own power and provide
for the daily needs of its nearly 100,000 inhabitants. One morning, the
arcology’s systems severed all connections with the outside world, blast
doors closed off all entrances and exits, and the Renraku intranet and
host went offline. Magical wards sprang up around the outside of the
building and no one was able to get in or out. Over 100,000 were sealed
inside the arcology, among them was Governor Schultz herself, who was
The shutdown initially elicited confusion and frustration. Friends,
family, and businesses wanted to know what the problem was and why so
many people were inconvenienced or couldn’t be reached. Renraku stonewalled
for as long as they could but within hours it became clear they had
no idea what was going on, and even they had lost contact with everyone
inside the arcology. The place had been hijacked, taken over by an unknown
force. That’s when the media and the public interest exploded.
As Mayor of Downtown Seattle, Ivar Lindstrom called on emergency
powers to mobilize the Metroplex Guard. They surrounded the
arcology and began looking for a way inside as Renraku mobilized
their own troops to “assist” in the operation. Mayor Lindstrom refused
Renraku’s offers of aid and made it clear no corporate troops were to
land in Seattle. Renraku protested, and tensions rose as everyone
waited to see what the megacorporation would do. Renraku finally
agreed to limit their personnel to technical, support, and “advisory”
roles to aid Seattle forces in rescue operations.
The Guard could not find a way into the arcology. All the building’s
main systems, built to withstand a small-scale nuclear war, were on
full alert, and automated defense systems forced them to keep their distance.
All of the arcology’s passcodes and overrides were changed. There
was simply no means to reach the people trapped inside, or even to
communicate with them. Mayor Lindstrom and the United Corporate
Council declared the arcology off-limits and the Metroplex Guard set
up a cordon around it while experts worked on penetrating the building’s
security measures. The media set up camp outside, and coverage
of the Renraku Lockdown appeared daily on all the major newsnets.
meeting with Renraku Seattle President Sherman Huang at the time.