Empress of Sol
In the year 2188 Stardyne is incorporated under Terran royal license.
Stardyne is tasked by Queen Katrina the III to build superior space faring vessels and to advance research into Ion and other drives.
Stardyne has three ship-yards in orbit around Earth. There are rumors of secret yards in the Asteroid Belt.
If you pilot a ship in space, you are likely piloting a Stardyne vessel. About 90% of space-going vehicles are produced by Stardyne. Other corporations build spaceships, often Stardyne buys them out or undercuts them to the point that they are forced to sell out. The few small survivor corporations depend on vital parts and licensed technologies from Stardyne, not to mention third party replacements and upgrades.
The year after Stardyne’s incorporation, 2189, Stardyne performs three hostile take overs. They assume the corporate holdings of the megacorporations Pioneer, Thrust and FaStar. These three megacorps together hold about 40% of the Terran space transport market. Each has an orbital ship-yard. Each is also poorly managed and in trouble financially – making them ripe targets for the newly formed Stardyne. Further, each has a trusted line of products.
Pioneer was one of the oldest space transport companies still in existence. Pioneer was incorporated under Terran royal license in 2164. The founders took ion-drive engineers that had been working in commercial aviation and turned them into bulk space freighter engineers. One of Pioneer’s first major orders was for 75 PIONEER I freighters to Helion just after they were incorporated in 2168. Helion continued their association with Pioneer, purchasing 300 PIONEER IIIs in 2172. The PIONEER III was a very large freighter, designed with the needs of Helion and other megacorps in mind.
In 2180, Pioneer announces that they are producing the first new model in 8 years, the PIONEER IV. The IV is a much smaller freighter, smaller than the PIONEER I. It is intended for private haulers who want to deliver cargo faster. This model is quite popular, injecting needed funds into a megacorp that had settled into making replacement parts and aftermarket modification kits for older models.
By 2185, talk was buzzing that Pioneer was working on a new model. The success of the IV in the private market led Pioneer to examine that market more closely. In 2186, investors were given a glimpse of the new model, the PIONEER V. The PIONEER V is all sweeping lines, a lifting body that feeds into a blended wing. No vertical control surfaces. The engines are slung under the wings, which seem to droop with the weight of the engines, preventing them from interfering much with the general aesthetic of the freighter. This was very different from previous models, which were more spartan – functionality trumping form.
Pioneer announced a possible release for the V in late 2187. The date was pushed back. Stardyne’s first act was to file injunctions against Pioneer, keeping them from signing contracts on PIONEER V orders. Stardyne knew that Pioneer had a hit on their hands. Pioneer was merged into Stardyne, the PIONEER series with its reputation for stoutness, long service and huge list of owners clamoring for replacement parts, became the first model in the Stardyne line. And, indeed, they were correct; the PIONEER V was a very popular model. Thousands of them ply the space-lanes to this day. If one were to buy enough replacement parts and upgrade kits, one could build a “New” PIONEER V even today, and many small shipyards do exactly that, such is their popularity.
Stardyne continued the PIONEER series. The VI is a large passenger liner. The VII is a no frills freighter, essentially an update of the III. The VIII is a military version of the V. The IX is a giant freighter, three times the size of the III, with all the updates of the VII.
As a note, Thrust primarily built and installed upgrade engines. FaStar built racing yachts, luxury yachts, police and security shuttles and had just gotten into fighters before being assumed into Stardyne. All Stardyne vehicles have the option of upgrading to higher quality “Thrust-Star” branded engines. The Thrust-Star series of police/security shuttles and space fighters are still quite popular. The racing division brands all of their vehicles “Stardyne Racing powered by Thrust-Star.”
There are rumors of Stardyne burying alternative drive technologies for fear of cutting into the Helium3 economy and lowering their profits as well as those of Helion. No proof of this has come to the surface.