The TriOptimum Corporation (also Trioptimum, or simply Tri-Op), is a fictional multinational megacorporation within the futuristic world of the System Shock video game series. In the style of many cyberpunk science fiction narratives, TriOptimum is immensely powerful, and in terms of its power it rivals or surpasses many nation states in its influence. It also engages in morally questionable technological research and business practices can be compared to such malevolent fictional companies as the Weyland-Yutani corporation from the Alien series, or Omni Consumer Products from Robocop.
Though is never expressly stated in game when, or by whom, Trioptimum was officially founded, information contained in the first System Shock computer game is that Trioptimum and its primary competitor, The Tetra corporation, were both founded from two twentieth century soft drink corporations who continued to expand beyond their traditional areas.
By the year 2072, when the events of the first System Shock are said to have taken place, Tri-Op was the largest corporation on the planet, ruling over millions of citizens on earth, and on colonies elsewhere in the solar system, including the Citadel space station orbiting Saturn.
Despite its power, the company was apparently still the target of hackers. As is revealed in the opening cinematic of System Shock, one such hacker (the player) is caught trying to remotely access files regarding Tri-Op's Citadel space station. To avoid prosecution, the hacker, under the instigation of corrupt Tri-Op executive Edward Diego, released the ethical constraints on Citadel's computer AI, SHODAN, causing it to "go rogue". After killing most of the station's inhabitants, SHODAN is finally prevented from completing her various destructive plans (which included the annihilation of the major cities of Earth) by the efforts of the player during the course of the game.
As is revealed from the backstory of the game's sequel, System Shock 2, when these earth-shaking events were made known to the public, along with news of similar rogue behavior within other corporate AIs, a massive backlash occurred against the megacorps and TriOptimum in particular. The national governments of Earth, portrayed before as weak and ineffective against the corporate might, now band together into the "Unified National Nominate" (UNN), and imposed severe military and political restrictions over business with the help of an expanded military and secret police force. Though the UNN attempted to take over corporate holdings completely, Tri-Op and the others still had a sizable military force of their own and resisted, eventually leading to an uneasy truce between the two parties.
Thirty-five years later in 2107, the global situation had seen little change, and technological advances have slowed considerably thanks to UNN restrictions. Events rapidly change, however, when a UNN Nobel Laureate working for Tri-Op, Marie Delacroix, presents preliminary research on the viability of a faster-than-light device. Despite Delacroix's fears about the device's reliability and unexplored side-effects, TriOptimum forges ahead and by 2111 a working prototype has been produced, and a starship - dubbed the Von Braun - has been constructed to house it.
System Shock 2Edit
Despite months of debate between TriOptimum and the UNN (which is repulsed by the idea of Tri-Op being the sole owner and beneficiary of such an awesomely powerful device), a compromise is reached by which the Von Braun will be allowed to make its first interstellar voyage, but only with a military escort - the heavy destroyer Rickenbacker - tethered to it to provide "protection" for the journey into the unknown.
The brutal company man Anatoly Korenchkin is chosen as captain of the Von Braun (despite suspicion by some that he was responsible for the assassination of a particularly prominent anti-TriOptimum UNN official), with Delacroix being charged with keeping her invention in working order as chief engineer - all the while still vocally advocating the need for further testing of the device. A UNN Navy captain, William Bedford Diego is chosen to head the Rickenbacker. Despite being the son of the infamous Edward Diego, he is a staunch military man and virulent opponent of all things TriOptimum.
The immense political and public pressure the launch date is pushed ahead, and the two ships embark in early 2114. After a four month trip during which relations between the corporate and military elements have become increasingly strained, the unimaginable happens when on June 10, 2114 a distress signal is intercepted coming from the unchartered Tau Ceti system, located billions of miles from any Earth colony - triggering the events portrayed in System Shock 2.
It is not revealed at the end of the game what impact the news of the Von Braun incident has had on TriOptimum, or even whether it has reached the company at all. The rumored sequel will likely address these issues.
Technology and ProductsEdit
Portrayed as a corporation devoted to developments in military, scientific, and also consumer technology (the three main aspects that form the "Tri" in the TriOptimum name), the technological research and ensuing products of Tri-Op are understandably quite numerous. Almost any technology of significance the player might encounter in the System Shock series, from the various medical hypodermic syringes to the giant bulk of the Von Braun itself, were apparently constructed directly by Tri-Op, or by one of its subsidiaries. Though a complete listing would be nearly impossible, there are several products by the corporation encountered in game which rank above the others in importance for the needs of the player.
For a more complete description of the robots found within System Shock 2 see XERXES- controlled enemies
When he was singled out by TriOptimum Corporation to head the Von Braun on its history making voyage in 2114, Korenchkin at first faced strong opposition from UNN Navy captain William Diego. Diego (who himself would be put in charge of the Von Braun's UNN escort, the Rickenbacker) strongly suspected the ambitious Korenchkin of having assassinated a key UNN official who had stood in the way of the Faster-Than-Light drive's approval.
A strong "company man" who believed in the advancement of Tri-Op over all else, Korenchkin and Diego (a staunch enemy of the company) would be at the head of the confrontational atmosphere which would come to permeate the expedition over the next four months. All this changes with the arrival of a distress signal from the Tau Ceti system. Anatoly is ecstatic at the promise of discovering extraterrestrial life, and when an expedition is sent to the planet from which the signal is emanating, both he and Captain Diego are the first to set foot on its surface - each desiring the most glory for his perspective sphere.
When they find the source of the unknown signal, it seems to be coming from a large crash crater, one that is filled with hundreds of mysterious egg-like structures. Overcome by a strong psychic force emanating from the eggs, and seduced by its promise of power, Korenchkin orders that the eggs be taken aboard ship and the entire Hydroponics deck of the Von Braun be devoted to their future care.Now effectively absorbed into this alien force (who call themselves "The Many" ) along with Diego, Capt. Korenchkin becomes one of their greatest assets. Rejoicing in their quest to return to earth and absorb its population into their numbers, Korenchkin also heads the struggle against the Many's few remaining enemies aboard ship, including Marie Delacroix; the "Machine Mother", SHODAN; and her "avatar", the player.
Though Diego eventually rebels before he can be completely overtaken by the Many's hive mind, Korenchkin reaches the full potential of his transformation and attains the form of a Psi-Reaver. In this form, he eventually forces the player to face him on the deck of the Von Braun, an encounter which - depending on the actions of the player - can ultimately result in his permanent demise.
Marie DelacroixEditThe chief engineer on the starship Von Braun in System Shock 2.
Though Marie Delacroix was apprehensive about the reliability and possible side effects of her faster-than-light drive design, she was nevertheless pressured into partaking it its trial run aboard the specially designed Von Braun in 2114. After the attack of The Many four months later, she serves as the primary member of the resistance, assisting in the research of a bio-toxin dubbed 'Toxin A' meant to halt the Many's growth, and helping SHODAN gain control of the ship. Though she is eventually betrayed by SHODAN and killed, she manages to leave a message for the player, warning of the dangers the malevolent AI poses.
- System Shock 2 English Game Manual, gives basic game-world overview of TriOptimum and the UNN