What is it called ?: The organization formerly known as Brand and Chen’s Essence Labs (BCEL) has long since shed that moniker, and is presently referred to simply as “The Company”.
Where is it ?: The Company has a truly global reach, with chapters throughout the Union, Pantheon and Regime territories. It is a remote city indeed which has no Company Facility.
Who runs it ?: The Company’s personnel are primarily the copies referred to as “Company Men”. These creations of the secretive Copyer are believed to be imitations of a human who worked for the original organization, and was chosen as the template for future generations. These rank and file copies perform the general labors of the facilities, processing requests and communicating with outsiders. Above them are the Chens, copies of the original founder of essence theory who perform the scientific labors of the facilities. These are the beings which oversee the Process, and catalog each result. Parallel to the Company’s own hierarchy there will usually be an Ultra or two tasked with security, though this arrangement depends largely on the relationship that the Company has with the local governing bodies.
But who runs it ?: In theory, the Company is a truly decentralized cooperative, with each facility looking to its own operations, budding to establish new centers when opportunities arise. Given the soulless nature of its personnel, however, it is apparent that there is a power behind the Company. The generally accepted theory of this power’s identity is the mysterious “Copyer”, an Ultra who is reputed to be a part of Prevailer’s Regime’s inner circle. Above him/her, of course, would be Peggy Martin herself.
What does it do ?: The Company’s primary motivation seems to be to make available to every living being the option of undergoing the Process. Throughout the Pantheon and the Regime, the Company’s doors never close. Any human who wishes to take their chances with the Process has only to report to their local facility. In the Union the facilities operate under a quota, only producing so many Ultrahumans a year. This number rises and falls, but generally seems to be calibrated to keep the Union at a military disadvantage when compared to its rivals.
Does it do anything else ?: Yes, the Company Facilities also perform the kind of city services that used to be delegated to governing bodies when the local authorities are unable or unwilling to do so. Company Men emerge to undertake construction projects according to a schedule that only they are privy to, and protein paste is available free of charge to any who ask. The Company fixes technology (to the extent that it is able, basically equivalent to a gifted mechanic) and gives out counseling sessions.
What does it mean that the copies are ‘soulless’ ?: They have no will. A Company Man will do whatever he is told and betray no initiative otherwise, unless that would contradict an earlier order. Presumably, when they are created, they are given their operating instructions by their creator, which prevent them from betraying the Companies overall objectives.
Why am I the only one who thinks this is incredibly shady ?: You are not.