Aniki Universal Cybernetics Laboratories, Inc. - known best as Aniki Labs - is a major research and development conglomerate operating out of the Armoa System portion of the Evermorn-Armoa Binary System. Once one of the most successful and influential corporations in the Cobalt Protectorate core region, Aniki Labs has become permeated by Sephiasism and Cinnabar Hegemony agents to the degree that they are now engaged in a losing war of seccession against the Protectorate's Cobalt Knights.
Demography and Population
Because Aniki Labs is a corporate entity rather than a civilian one, it has a comparatively small population of children, the infirm, and other 'non-combatants.' Membership in the organization is nominally a matter of employment, not birth, thouth the isolation of Armoa and further flung outposts mean that the corporation is often the 'only game in town' for young people entering their working years. Many (though by no means all) employees of Aniki Labs make use of the corporation's outpost's artificial wombs (see Technology) to produce families rather than relying on contact with the opposite sex. At the same time, adult members of the corporation also enjoy direct access to the many wonderous biomedical technologies produced by the corporation at insider prices, meaning that even elderly employees can be productive almost until their last days. These conditions have created a circumstance where Aniki Labs is, in effect, the most well-educated and productive micro-nation in known space.
Aniki has terrestrial, asteroid, and ship-based facilities. Before the Armoa Conflict (see below), Aniki Labs had offices throughout Protectorate space, including outposts in places as far-flung as Valleybridge and Lepidos. The corporation was one of the only human-based business organizations to expand beyond the limits of the Evermorn-Armoa Binary System, as speed-of-light lag makes such long-range arrangements difficult to maintain. Like the Protectorate as a whole, Aniki Labs uses a system of subsidiarity to ensure a continuity of services and practices over extreme interstellar distances. Indeed, it was these distances that ensured that the cultural contaigon of Sephiasism did not significantly spread beyond the Armoa System. Aniki Labs subsidiaries in Periphery systems are not per se at war with the Protectorate, though they have been quick to distance themselves from the home branch to maintain this state of relative peace. Still, isolated instances of terrorism launched by true believers embedded within said subsidiaries have forced Protectorate forces to keep even the most loyal-seeming subsidiaries at arms length until the Armoa Conflict can be decisively resolved. Many subsidiaries have since broken off to form new businesses or merged with similar local concerns, such as White Mountain Laboratories based on Lepidos, to avoid such complications. The Armoa Conflict was sparked with the eponymous Armoa Incident, wherein Aniki Labs agents accepted an offer from the Hegemony to turn against their Evermorn Strategic Colony Initiative employers and steal the ESCI Dandelion, and automated colonial seed ship. At the same time, Aniki began hostile actions to take the rest of the Armoa System from the hands of the various corporate entities and small-scale asteroid colonies located there. With their powerful HLAI, high-acceleration raiding craft like the ALV Pyre Dawn, advanced electronic warfare capabilites, subverted agents within the other factions in the system, and generallly loosened ethical sensibilities, Aniki Labs made great initial gains against their Protectorate loyalist neighbors. Nevertheless, the superior endurance and hardened computer systems of the Cobalt Knights have granted that faction the upper hand in what has become a war of attrition. Now, Aniki Labs holdings in Armoa shrink every year as the Protectorate's long-range craft slowly starve Anikite outposts of vital planetary resources (see Imports).
Aniki Labs vessels tend to make use of nulear salt water rockets (NSWR) which, while dangerous if damaged and occasionally difficult to fuel, have exceptional thrust-to-weight ratios and decent specific impulse - though not as much specific impulse as the Cobalt Knights' own duterium-tritium fusion torus drives. Aniki Labs makes extensive use of parasite carriers (i.e. ALV Sephias' Spear) and drones; unlike the Protectorate, though, this is a matter of logistical calculation rather than any moral concern for the lives of pilots who might be lost in action. Aniki vessels of all types are typically armed with ultraviolet laser batteries, shaped charge fission torpedoes, and electronic warfare suites. They have been known to carry engineered bioweapons on occasion for use in boarding actions, heightening the fear and disgust provoked in their Protectorate enemies.
Aniki Labs earns the begrudging respect of Cobalters everywhere for their incredibly advanced brain-computer interfaces (BCI), HLAI platforms, animal sapience implants, and other sentience enhancements. Indeed, the current state-of-the-art brain-vehicle interfaces used by the Cobalt Knight spacers (such as Enzo Salt) are all based on Aniki Labs intellectual properties. Aniki Labs also dabbles in artifical exograft and artificial womb technologies, among others. The loss of Aniki Labs as a develoment house has somewhat impeded the technological progress of the Protectorate as a whole. The end of the Armoa Conflict may see the less reprehensible members of Aniki Labs recieve a legal reprieve in exchange for a [life sentence of sorts] : continuing their work for the good of medical science.
Sephiasism is a Patronism-related religious movement of indeterminite provenance that primarily revolves around the intentional deification of the self. The fosters a sense of overweaning superiority in the adherent, but also encourages ambition, self-perfection, and the seeking of the approval of others. For the scientists of the Armoa branch of Aniki Labs, self-perfection meant setting aside certain ethical considerations in pursuit of the scientific ideal. While most Aniki Labs scientists in the Periphery were too skeptical to easily fall prey to the Sephiasist mindset, a small number of Head Executive Board members developed cults of personality around themselves after being exposed to these ideas, precipitating the organization's utimate decline into enmity with the notably eco-conservative Cobalt Protectorate.
Aniki Universal Cybernetics Laboratories, Inc.
Like most descendants of the Cobalt Protectorate, Aniki Labs does commerce primarily involving resource chips, with carbon-graphene chips being the most common unit of exchange. The ongoing conflict with the Protectorate writ large has distorted the market for these chips, bringing elements important to multicellular life up in value while cratering the market for precious metals.
When it was in good standing with the broader Cobalt Protectorate, Aniki Labs was highly efficient at extracting resources from low-gravity bodies in the Armoa System. As the Armoa Conflict drags on, however, the Cobalt Protectorate has exerted increasingly strict control over territory in the Armoa System such that important minerals for the survival of Aniki Labs colonies - such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and sulphur - have become increasingly scarce. Starvation is setting in for Aniki Labs, with radioactive transmutation efforts only able to provide a paltry fraction of what elements are required for the survival of the Aniki employees and their families. The rest must be acquired through grey- and black-market means, which includes smuggling by Cinnabar Hegemony agents and Obsidian Shores humanitarian aid groups. In return, Aniki Labs pays their supporters with technology, less vital rare elements they still have in supply (i.e. heavy water for fusion fuel), and intelligence gathered on the battlefield regarding the Cobalt Knights vessels, equipment, and tactics. Aniki Labs aquires the remainder of the vital elements through rigorous scavenging and commerce raiding, including incursions into the Evermorn System and the ingress routes for freighters from various adjacent systems. In rare cases, desparate Aniki Labs crews have been known to take volunteers - or captives - and feed them to material recycler systems so that their auto-factories can create fertilizer. It is for this reason that many Cobalt Knight analysts believe that it is only a matter of time before Aniki Labs resistance collapses and the Armoa Conflict will soon reach its end.
Individual Aniki Labs subsidiaries feature a merit-based corporate heirarchy that, while sometimes byzantine, elevates the brightest and most successful to positions of power within the organization. All corporate functions are replicated at the local level both to ensure redundancy and because doing so allows for the company to be more responsive to local market conditions. The Subsidiary Executive Boards of each individual subsidiary report to the Head Executive Board located at the company headquarters in Armoa. The Head Executive Board sets overarching policy for the entire organization.
Official State Religion
Aniki Labs, as a proxy for revanchist Cinnibar Hegemony, attempted to 'steal' a Protectorate seed ship in what has come to be known as the Armoa Incident. While Aniki Labs was once in good standing with their Protectorate employers, the Protectorate responded to this act of brood parasitism by launching a punitive campaign against Aniki Labs assets in the Armoa System. This war has persisted for many decades, but seems set to wind down in the coming decades as the Protectorate slowly squeezes the Armoa colonies' resources, including phosphorus for food and uranium for nuclear salt water rocket fuel.