Often when the protagonist of a speculative narrative must struggle against an unfeeling world, that world is represented by a faceless conglomerate, a near-governmental corporation which seems to control facets of society wherever the character looks.
So in Stock and Trade, our latest genre fiction feature series, we’re looking at fictional corporations. Today, we’re featuring the Union Aerospace Corporation
Union Aerospace is the mega corporation responsible for all the trials of the Doom video game franchise. As the player moves through the trilogy of games, they see the Union Aerospace logo on boxes, computers, and doors, and in Doom 3, they get to read more in-depth details about the corporation by way of letters and lab reports.
The company began as a side project for media mogul Thomas Kelliher. Kelliher had expanded his media empire, Union Media, across much of the world, but in 2015, he decided to get into the space-race, putting portions of his vast fortune into the effort to reach Mars.
In 2025, the new Union Aerospace was founded to participate in the Joint Mars Expeditions, a cooperative of governments and corporations with a focus on reaching Mars, and establishing a base there. The missions were successful, and Union Aerospace became famous as one of the corporations who helped put men on Mars.
The company grew its holdings over the next 75 years, and by the turn of the century had become one of the most powerful entities in the Solar System under the direction of Ian Kelliher, Thomas’s son. The company was invested in transport, bioresearch, energy, and defense technologies. It had a large stake in the military forces and governments of the world, and by many accounts was more in control of commerce, law, and trade than any government.
It wasn’t long, however, before their research, especially in the field of transportation, became too controversial to continue on Earth without backlash. The company placed research labs on Deimos and Phobos, the natural satellites of Mars. The goal was to harness wormholes for the transportation of cargo and passengers. The advance would have revolutionized almost all aspects of society, but it had a terminal flaw.
The researchers had successfully created a ‘gateway’ which linked a point on Phobos with a point on Deimos. For a short time, it seemed to work well, and people and good traveled freely between the two, but after a time, goods began to come through soiled and rotten, and men would come out the other side insane or worse. Before anything could be done, Deimos vanished from the sky of Mars, and Phobos was over-run by creatures from another dimension, which resembled the human ideal of daemons.
A single retired marine managed to fight his way through Phobos base to the Gateway, and then across Deimos, which seemed to be suspended above a perpetually flaming planet. He managed to stop that invasion, but new portals began to open on earth, in the ensuing war between Earth and the forces of the alternate universe’s Mars, which people call "Hell" the infrastructure of Union Aerospace was destroyed, and almost all of their personal were killed.
It took approximately 30 years for the world to recover, and when it did, Ian Kellier, with generous financing from world governments, refounded Union Aerospace with an entirely new staff. The objective this time was to study the gateway technology, and find a way to ensure that no further invasions would occur.
The Union Aerospace scientists relearned the gateway technology, and put it into practice, so that methods for stopping them could be tested. This time, all gateways were opened in test chambers which serves as attack choke-points, so that entrenched marines could take out approaching demons as they passed through the gate. The experiments, on Mars itself this time, were a success, and eventually the technology to nullify the gates was perfected.
Soon after this, however, a disgruntled former employee gained access to the base, and caused gates to open all across the Mars facility, much more than the new blocking technology could handle.
The demons quickly overwhelmed the base, killing almost everyone. Once again, a single marine manages to fight his way through the base, into the gate, and across the wastes on Hell to seal the emerging super-gate, which would have brought an entire army of demons onto mars. The future of Union Aerospace is unknown at this point.
An alternative version of the company appears in the box office flop film based on the video games. In the film Union Aerospace was a genetics research firm, and the ‘invasion’ is a genetic engineering accident.
Union Aerospace represents the worst of the worst. The corporation does have a face, that of Ian Kelliher, and that face is one of profit mongering and two-faced disrespect of international laws. The corporation is the epitome of the idea that someone with enough resources can do whatever they want, no matter how many people get hurt, or how many laws are broken, they can always fix it with money.
Of course, until Hell breaks loose in your research facility, and then money doesn’t help anymore. One confusing aspect of the story is why the governments of the world allow Kelliher to ever run anything again after his negligence in the first incident, which cost millions of lives.
Come back tomorrow for the final entry in this series, in which we’ll be taking a look at the Soylent Corporation.