The Inter-Corporate Wars, often shortened to Corporate Wars, or simply the ICW, is an informal term used to refer to a large series of intersystem conflicts between the Syndicate Coalition and the Nanotrasen corporation, lasting from 479 FS until 497 FS, for a total of 18 years. These campaigns are precedented by corporate lobbying and courtroom disputes. It can be split into two periods: The first 15 years developed as a cold war, while the last 3 fell into paramilitary conflict. The conflict was put to an abrupt end, as the economical attrition have caused major fatigue amongst both sides. The official death toll is unknown.
Causes for the war are debated, and vary per participant. Nanotrasen cites the casus belli as a terrorist attack on Lacerta Station backed by Liberation Front radicals and Concordat eccentrics. Cybersun claims leaked documents of intentional sabotage towards their products, and ultimately place the blame on the escalation of corporate sabotage, while the GEC and ACLF claim the explosion of centuries-long history of employee exploitation.
Nanotrasen (NT) was founded in 280 FS, and started as an electronic communications specialist. A revolutionary breakthrough in telecommunications granted the company an economic boost, and permitted it to create multiple subsidiaries for further company growth. One notable venture was into a brand new mineral, plasma, which multiple stations and colonies were established to study and gather plasma. After two centuries of gaining more territory, the company expanded into a corporation worth millions, but policies within the now massive company had become outdated, and were perceived as abusive.
Following a hunger strike in 321 FS, one of the stations separated completely, and formed into the modern-day Anti Corporation Liberation Front (ACLF), the oldest and first founding member of the Syndicate. They were followed by the Galactic Engineer's Concordat (GEC), created in 360 FS, an unionization initiative amongst NT engineers after a major colonization project by part of NT.
From 321 to 479 FS, efforts of opposition against NT began to slowly gather momentum. Actions taken against NT by the ACLF before the war include boycotts, protests of newly created installations, and in one case, a blockade of a newly-founded colony.
Course of the war
In 479 FS, the ACLF announced its intentions to investigate the business dealings of Nanotrasen to the public, and invited organizations to support its efforts. This is widely regarded as the first move by the Syndicate into the war. One such organization, the Student-Union Association of Naturalistic Sciences (SUNS), officially announced its support for the ACLF a year later, in 480 FS.
Following an agreement between the ACLF, GEC, and SUNS, the three factions became the core members of the Syndicate Coalition, officially founded in 483 FS as a group initially dedicated to working to bettering the employee treatment of Nanotrasen, but ultimately snowballing into an anti-trust campaign against Nanotrasen.
Shortly after the founding of the Syndicate, Cybersun Industries, a corporation rival to Nanotrasen, took interest in the effort in 484 FS, and began allocating economical resources towards the group, including the recruitment of the Gorlex Marauders into the Coalition, a mining colony abandoned by NT. The induction of the Marauders marked a turning point in the Coalition's threat to NT, who's brazen militant tactics changed their perception regarding the Syndicate.
The ICW was a highly unconventional war as it was fought between groups that didn't have a professional or official military standing, nor was it found feasible by either group to develop one. As such, the war brought along the development of a new type of warfare, colloquially known as operative warfare - both sides employed small, well trained and equipped operation teams for the purposes of corporate defense, sabotage, and interception.
Each of the Coalition's members contributed in different ways. The Liberation Front provided organization and coordination between all the groups, while its more radical elements, joining forces with the Marauders, formed the mainline fighting element of the Coalition. The Concordat provided much needed manufacturing and equipment development for the operative forces, forming an alliance with Cybersun and SUNS for their research and development teams. An additional faction, the Donk Corporation, assisted in operation of supply lines.
Initial bouts of conflict in the sphere of the ICW involved the theft, destruction or disruption in the development of critical items of both sides, mostly directed by Cybersun. These operations escalated from stealing, to destruction, and then assassinations. Teams grew from single-digit agents or petty bribes to specialized rapid-strike teams involved in the destruction and bombing of stations and colonies (nicknamed Nuclear Operatives after their extensive use of nuclear warheads). Forces that clashed with these operatives ranged from basic security teams to dedicated emergency response officers.
The Syndicate weren't the only ones taking action - Nanotrasen, utilizing its large pool of amassed scientific prowess, experimented with multiple projects to put a quick end to the Coalition's offensive. Many of these were taken to the field, with wildly varying degrees of success. One of the most iconic was Project Lehmur-Schur, now known as Bluespace Artillery. The technology developed under the project's name weighted the destiny of the war firmly in NT's favor, with its greatest use demonstrated in the near complete annihilation of the SBC Starfury - however, the potential of Bluespace Artillery paled in comparison to the Gateway Project's.
The Gateway Project
One of Nanotrasen's jewels was their attempt to make a massive network of teleporters to instantly transport matter across space. Preliminary tests demonstrated the technology to function adequately, and as though errors were present, the circumstances and desperation to put an end to the war caused a disregarded for the technology's defects. This - predictably - backfired immensely. On the day of the technology's reveal, an unexplained, simultaneous activation of the portal network caused a violent electromagnetic pulse before every station and outpost with a Gateway in it vanishing. Executives, the force guarding them, and investors present at the unveiling were, presumably, killed, and their bodies remain missing to this day.
Overall, the ICW is considered a Pyrrhic Syndicate victory. The significant resources and total war industry committed by the Coalition into the conflict massively withered both sides' overall capacity, and left entire swathes of sectors devastated, abandoned, or otherwise affected negatively.
The terms of the ceasefire agreed upon by the forces of the Coalition and the Company were mostly determined by the Syndicate, and demanded a rework of Nanotrasen's internal workings and policies. Nanotrasen lost a majority share of their assets, destroyed, lost, or abandoned. Most programs backed by NT started a slow march towards decline.
The full extent of the facilities, colonies and stations abandoned by Nanotrasen is unknown. Even to this day, multiple faculties are being re-discovered and salvaged by frontier teams.
Many of the facilities in the frontier abandoned by Nanotrasen and the Syndicate have deserted. A select handful formed into Inteq Risk Management.