Harrington Industries was, for a brief time, the largest corporate conglomerate in the history of the human race. It was a Megacorp among Megacorps, and its growing influence over the political and economic levers of power resulted in the Second Civil War and the downfall of the Technocracy during the Third Civil War.
Early HistoryEditHarrington Industries had its humble origins in the Harrington Institute of Design, ostensibly a small training school for Interior Design professionals founded by Frances Harrington in Chicago in 1931. In reality, it was a cover organization for a training school for mages, run by The Syndicate, part of the Technocracy. While training artistic-minded Mundanes to become product designers and advertising copywriters for the Megacorps in Chicago's Loop, the instructors there kept an eye out for any potentially awakenable minds among their students. They weren't so much looking for new Technocracy recruits as they were looking for people ripe for recruitment by their rivals in the Council of Nine Mystical Traditions. Sensitve, artistic-minded souls were exactly the kind of people to awaken as mages and flock to the mystical-minded Traditions rather than the scientific-minded Technocracy. These people, once identified among the art and design students at the Institute, could either be re-directed into the Technocracy's ranks, or put under surveillance to catch any agents of the Traditions who might try to recruit them instead....or simply quietly made to disappear. As the 20th Century wore on, the school branched out into other cities, under a variety of names, but always aiming for artistic-minded young people in their teens and twenties, directing them into special secret classes in Magick once they awakened.
Gehenna and AftermathEdit
When Gehenna shocked the entire world into acknowleging the existence of True Magick, the Technocracy found itself besieged on all sides by foes, rivals, and supernatural evils even worse than they were. In response, they created the Tech Infantry, and began drafting Mages and Werecreatures into their ranks, to battle the Vampires, Traditions, Nephandi, Marauders, and others vying for control over the destiny of humanity. But building an army is not easy, nor is turning untrained recruits into disciplined soldiers. The Harrington Institute provided experienced instructors to train the first waves of Tech Infantry recruits. After the War of Gehenna was over, they established a large network of Harrington Institutes, boarding schools for the children of Mages and Werecreatures serving in the Tech Infantry, and other awakened children or children of the awakened, to prepare their minds for the awakening process...and indoctrinate them with patriotic fervor for the new Earth Federation and its leadership. With the new economic and political elite made up largely of mages, or humans desperate to see their kids grow up as mages or with mage allies and friends and spouses, this quickly became a very lucrative enterprise indeed. Government subsidies to educate the orphans of fallen TI soldiers sweetened the deal even further.
Expansion out of EducationEdit
With this newfound profit engine, the Harrington Institute became Harrington Industries, a holding company that not only owned boarding schools for the awakened, but which began investing in other industries as well, particularly in industries close to the Federation Government's checkbook, such as defense and technomagickal research. As their first generations of graduates became the new elite and dominated the halls of power, their alumni association became a powerful social and business networking tool, and the gossip overheard there meant lucrative opportunites to get in on the ground floor of many developing industries, from ion drives and power armor to tachyon communications and jump gate construction. Harrington Industries grew in size and profitability, and eventually was holding controlling stakes in many other corporations, and smaller stakes in countless more.
Rise of Maeve HarringtonEdit
Into this environment came Maeve Harrington. As mages themselves, the Harrington clan was not exempt from the Draft, and generations of losses on the battlefield whittled down the branches of the family to one. Inheriting sole control of the busniess empire soon after her retirement as a decorated war hero, Maeve Harrington married Michael Rappaport, himself a leading industrialist from a family that controlled their own Megacorp. With her fame as a war hero, and his fame as a dashing playboy, they quickly became the most talked-about tabloid celebrity couple in the Federation. They rode this wave of fame, appearing as spokespeople in their own advertisements, and their respective family companies both prospered even more than before, going on a spree of buyouts and takeovers of rivals to bloat up as truly enormous corporations even by Megacorp standards. They had a child together in 2207, Stephanie, but then Michael died tragically only one year later.Finding herself now the sole owner of one huge megacorp who had just inherited a controlling stake in another, Maeve merged the two companies together under the Harrington Industries name. She continued her acquisitions and mergers with other corporations, constantly staying ahead of her competition until she could buy them out. When she married her former squadmate Lwan Eddington, he refused to retire from his post in the Tech Infantry. Unwilling to be apart from him during long deployments, she used the increasing political infuence that came with her economic clout to secure his appointment as Marshal of the Federation. Now safely ensconced in Avalon, he could be near his family, which by now included a son, A.C. Eddington.
But this marriage between the economic and political might of the Harrington Industries fortune and the political and military might of the Tech Infantry severely worried other power blocs within the Federation elite. Fearing the complete domination of the Federation economy by one Megacorp, even The Syndicate became nervous, despite Maeve's membership among their ranks. The New World Order, long established as the political powerhouse of the Federation, was absolutely terrified that they would lose control to this unholy marriage between money, power, fame, and influence. Something had to be done.
Second Triumvirate and the fall of Maeve HarringtonEdit
The Second Triumvirate was formed to oppose Harrington and Eddington. Richard Fox, head of Internal Security, and Arthur Clarke, head of the Raptors, both former squadmates of Harrington and Eddington in the 86th Platoon, joined forces with political kingmaker Samuel Wall, President of the Senate. With the Bug threat seemingly dealt with for the time being, they cancelled several lucrative government contracts with The Ferret Works and other Harrington subsidiaries. Next, they engineered a sex scandal by accusing Lwan Eddington with having an illicit affair with Brigette Campbell, one of his subordinates. Dishonorably discharged from the Tech Infantry and imprisoned on G2, Eddington's political and military clout was neutralized. When the Triumvirate forced Anti-Trust legislation through the Senate in 2223 and moved to break up Harrington Industries as a threat to economic competition, Maeve Harrington finally struck back: she threw her company's support behind The Liberation, and the Second Civil War was on.
However, a Megacorp like Harrington Industries has far too many physical facilities to be invulnerable against a government roused against it, and the physical basis of her wealth was soon confiscated or destroyed outright. Harrington's wealth, great as it was, still was not quite enough to give the Liberation the resources to take on the Tech Infantry in open combat for long, and Maeve Harrington was far too public a figure to go into hiding with any success. Although the renewed strength of the Liberation led to the breakup of the 2nd Triumvirate which had threatened her, Maeve Harrington was now a wanted woman, and she was soon hunted down by InSec and captured. Threatened with the loss of her children, she turned on her allies and betrayed the Liberation's leadership and hideouts to the Federation, and soon the Second Civil War was over...but not before the Liberation got their vengeance by assassinating Maeve Harrington with a car bomb.
Stephanie Harrington and the Daughter CorporationsEdit
Stephanie Harrington now found herself as, on paper at least, the richest woman in the Tech Infantry. Harrington Industries, or what was left of it, had been broken up into twenty separate "Daugther Corporations". Although Stephanie was allocated a large share of stock in each of these companies, it was not a controlling share in any of them. The war and the economic shakeup caused by the breakup of Harrington Industries had caused a recession, and desperate to repair the economy, the government finally allowed the Harrington Daughter Corporations to bid for government contracts again, and they were instrumental in turning the Federation economy around in the early 2230's. Harrington quietly regained controlling shares of her companies and began to put Harrington Industries back together, but to allay suspicions of her restarting The Liberation, she became a vociferous supporter of the Federation...but expressed it by donating generously to minor parties in the Senate. She built these minor parties up into the Minority Coalition, a third party holding the balance of power between the two major parties, the Populist Party and the Liberty Party.Stephanie Harrington was herself elected to the Senate in 2240 as the representative from St. Michael's Star, but refused to throw her support behind either of the major parties. The following year, she was shot and gravely wounded by an unknown assassin while walking into the Senate Chamber. The bullet was a specialized magical weapon, which carried a viral toxin that could not be cured by the best medical science or life magick available. Stephanie Harrington was put into a stasis coma to await further study of her disease, and the Minority Coalition fell apart without its leader. The resulting political and economic instability resulted in the Third Civil War, when Marshal Sarah Dunmeyer of the Populist Party attempted a coup against Chairman Abdul Johnson of the Liberty Party. At the end of that war, Arthur Clarke nationalized many Harrington Industries facilities and subsidiaries, and imposed close government control on the rest. Although the company prospered in many ways due to the immense government contracts it recieved to build Clarke's war machine, it had lost its autonomy, and no one shareholder could claim to have a controlling share.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Harrington Industries was largely based on the increasingly ridiculous wealth and business interests of Honor Harrington in the later books of her series. The connection with the Harrington College of Design is a retcon that amuses some of us, but doesn't make any significant changes to what was actually established in game canon.