Zaibatsu. The great family-controlled banking and industrial combines of modern Japan. In 1937 the four leading zaibatsu controlled directly one third of all bank deposits, one third of all foreign trade, one half of Japan's shipbuilding and maritime shipping, and most of the heavy industries, along with heavy influence in the major political parties.
The leading Zaibatsu were Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Dai Ichi Kangyo, Sumitomo, Sanwa and Fuyo. After Japan's surrender in World War II, the breakup of the zaibatsu was announced, and reemerged some time later in the 1950s as keiretsu. The decision of these groups in post WWII era to pool their resources greatly influenced Japan's subsequent rise as a global business power.
Over the next century, times changed. People changed. Information was power, and the corporations had it. Politics became superfluous, nothing more than a figurehead for those that truly held the reigns. Corporate war and takeover became far more lethal than ever before. Alliances were dissolved. The keiretsu drew back and retook the name zaibatsu in violent resolve. Rivalries became a bloodbath between the hired muscle of the zaibatsu as each vied for power.
Corporate secrets were trade bait. Many of the street hackers took such advantage that new software was developed for use within the modern, virtual computer world. Those that tried running the net ran the risk of being tagged themselves for destruction. Feedback programs were developed to short out a hacker's board and cause potentially fatal backlash to the unfortunate soul still plugged to the board. Later still, sentry programs were developed, a lethal firewall of sorts that would attack the hacker's mind itself while the hacker was travelling the networks. Those that managed to evade such firewalls - and there were very few - always described the program they had encountered visually as a demon, whether that demon be a firebreathing hell hound, a twisted cartoon character ... or a humanoid assassin.
One of the most infamous of these programs was drawn aesthetically straight from late nineteenth century Japan. That of a daisho wielding samurai, hair red as blood and chilling eyes that struck fear into the mind of any unlucky enough to encounter it. There were whispered rumours of its existence, but nobody could confirm it. There were no netrunners that had encountered it and remained alive. The program was said to move with such speed that the only glimpse of its presence you would receive before its 'swords' delved deep into your neural patterns was the flat inhumanity of its golden eyes.
The Battousai program was the deadliest of its kind.
Heavily influenced by the game system Cyberpunk 2020. Rurouni Kenshin Fanfiction AU, set circa 2030, where almost all net interaction is virtual and information is power. This will tell the tale of Himura Kenshin, modern day street samurai and former brilliant programmer for a leading zaibatsu, before tragedy involving his greatest achievement - the black ice sentry, Battousai - drove him into seclusion. Now, years later, he will return to the ugly world of street politics and corporate war in an effort to help an unconventional netrunner find her brother.
The runner's name is Kamiya Kaoru, and she is the only person to have encountered the Battousai program and survived. But not for long, if the corporation has anything to say about it...
In light of the fact that QuickEdit over at www.fanfiction.net will mercilessly butcher some parts of this story (i.e. if I try to insert symbols, email headers, the like), I've decided to test-run Zaibatsu here at LJ.
I probably won't be posting chapters. More likely snippets, scenes and background in chronological order. If the story appears to be going well (because let's face it, this IS an experiment for me, so I'm a little nervous) then I will somehow reformat it so that ff.net approves it and upload.
In the meantime, read as you will and I hope you enjoy!