NextWorld is a projection firm with a reputation as a private security firm to the respectible world, and a dark and ruthless reputation in the underworld. Unlike their two main competitors, the Orpheus Group and Terrel and Squib, NextWorld will take almost any job, no matter how illegal or dangerous.
Official jobs offered include bodyguard work, private surveillance, and security consultations; unofficial ones include assassinations, industrial espionage, and blackmail. All agents of NextWorld have backgrounds in military, law enforcement, or intelligence. NextWorld prefers them because most of these people have developed an insensitivity to violence, something that it considers imperative in its line of work.
Although the initial projectors were skimmers, many more of NextWorld’s mercenaries ended up as sleepers. There are also a few ghosts and hues employed as well. However, as NextWorld is not a research facility, its projection technology is becoming hopelessly outdated, limited to what it had to begin with. Combined with the dangerous nature of their work, NextWorld has an extremely high agent loss rate.
The firm was started as a by-product of Soviet Union experiments on sensitives and psychics called Project Zmei. The government rounded up dozens of people, many against their will, and attempted to make them into a sort of superagent for the GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence.) It failed miserably, but General Alexis Derkov took copies of the Project Zmei research with him anyway when he fled the country shortly thereafter.
He was later approached by Sir Alfred Williams, a former troubleshooter for DeBeers Diamonds and Sydney Riley, an American businessman, who had formed a company of professional mercenaries. Hoping for Derkov’s military connections, he gave them something better, the information on Project Zmei. Through extensive experimentation (and stealing research notes from the Orpheus Group), the three created a number of projectors. NextWorld was formally created and announced shortly thereafter.
NextWorld was hired by Uriah Bishop, head of the Missionary Works of the Holy Ghost, to perform an elaborate operation to destroy Orpheus Group and anything associated with it, including files and surviving employees. Sir Williams, now the CEO of NextWorld, refused the contract at first, deeming it too immoral even for him. Derkov, the Chairman of the Board, disagreed; he had secretly been accumulating followers all along and decided that it was his turn to lead the company. Shortly thereafter, Sir Williams mysteriously died in a car accident, and Riley was coerced into following Derkov. The followers of Williams who were not killed fled and went into hiding, waiting to strike back against Derkov when the time was right.
Derkov moved forward with the attack. Twelve agents, in a carefully planned operation, completely destroyed the Orpheus compound and slaughtered most of the employees; those who escaped were extremely fortunate or not present at the site. Bishop never specified for them to stop there though, and the company decided to continue to pursue the survivors and get paid for it.
The End of NextWorld
Derkov hired a new CEO, former Canadian mercenary and NextWorld agent Jean Dupree to replace the late Williams. Dupree ordered agents to continue hunting for Orpheus personnel. He also began extensively hiring agents from third-world countries, many of which held no regard for international law and did not understand the technology involved behind projection. These agents considered disposable and used for the highly secret assignments, while older agents were put on more legal, although still questionable, assignments. Terrel and Squib even hired NextWorld to stage an attack similar to Orpheus' in order to rid itself of some questionable agents and allow it to focus on the pharmaceuticals branch of business.
The company also stopped taking new clients, instead becoming the permanent hires of a few selected customers. Tied in with the continued income for tracking down Orpheus personnel, NextWorld became single-minded in eliminating the competition. This began to affect its growth and income, to the point that NextWorld itself was in serious danger of folding. In addition, Bishop grew tired of the slow pace of finding and destroying the Orpheus stragglers, and began sending Spectres after NextWorld agents on assignments to serve as a warning to hurry up and finish the job.
The company eventually disappeared off the map, but whether it was because of its shoddy business practices, Uriah Bishop’s impatience, or the revenge of Williams’ followers is not known.