S&S does not have the long history that other large mega-corporations are known for. The company started its meteoric rise less than 20 years ago when twins Emma and Renate Schäfer decided to put their combined medical and business expertise to work in a joint venture. Renate was a prominent medical researcher and Emma had a natural gift for branding and marketing. The company started out making experimental painkillers and palliative treatments for the pandemic of 2095. The initial products were highly effective, but each of the twins held equal shares of the company and Renate was reluctant to make profit a priority, declaring on more than one occasion that her products should help humankind as a whole in the long run and not merely make her rich. She was nominated for both the Medicine and Peace Nobel Prizes but asked not to be considered for either.
After a few years, Renate retired from public life and from the S&S board of directors. She hasn’t been seen in public for over a decade and she announced her retirement in a recorded message. Emma immediately took over the position of CEO and the company began to change its business strategies and research priorities. S&S started focusing on developing and aggressively marketing opioids, painkillers, and performance-enhancing drugs. These highly addictive drugs were first introduced as part of new medical cocktails for common ailments, but after a few years, the company began selling them as separate more potent products, at an increased price.
With both the masses and the elite hooked on their products, some because they had an actual need for treatment and others because they were addicted to their recreational use, S&S lobbied the Unified Swiss Commonwealth of European States into relaxing the quality requirements for drug manufacturing and legalizing almost all recreational drugs. The company then started developing cheaper, less pure, and more harmful recreational drugs to keep the masses dependent on their products, while offering a premium safer line of drugs to its richer customers. At the same time, S&S started building and managing drug rehabilitation centers all over the globe, offering people the chance to break free of their addictions. However, the rehabilitation’s costs are so out of reach for most people that they often end up being indebted to S&S for decades to come. On some occasions, the company has offered to reduce the debt of those who accept to take part in medical trials as subjects.
Shortly after securing this apparently endless stream of revenue, S&S started heavily investing in researching and producing high-tech prosthetics and genetic manipulation technology. Some of these enhancements are aimed to augment physical performance and are popular amongst athletes, soldiers, and the like, while others offer connectivity to technological devices, such as neuronal implants which allow the user to interact with computers and other devices without the need for any peripherals. Although some are so dangerous that they require regulation, S&S products have no problem finding their way onto the black market, often straight off of the assembly line, but under other brands and with lower quality. The company has been accused of using its products to interfere with its customers’ bodily and mental autonomy and has been on trial for these accusations more than once. All cases have been dismissed in a matter of minutes due to obscure interpretations of the law which absolve S&S of any responsibility. All the judges involved in the cases so far have been seen receiving complimentary implants and recreational premium drugs after the rulings. The laws that forbade this type of behavior were repealed in previous years thanks to the lobbying S&S had done.
Conspiracy theories seem to imply that S&S is constantly trying to secure human test subjects for its R&D Department and that they are ultimately involved in human trafficking. Some even imply that the company has been trying to secure cloning technology that would provide them with nearly endless test subjects, even though they publicly have taken a position against the legalization of cloning. The company does have an agreement with a London-based defense company that has several contracts for managing private prisons that allows S&S access to inmates for testing. Whether or not the defense company is legally allowed to make use of their prisoners in this way has been the center of a lot of debate.
S&S’s buildings and uniforms all share a minimalistic aesthetic, often in colors that project a hospital or health clinic look. Their main office in Zurich is a domed sleek white building. This building houses the company’s main laboratory, where the company carries out its drug development, experimental research, and equipment production activities. This lab rivals the most advanced genetic manipulation facilities. At the bottom of this immense workplace is a pool of antiseptic and refrigerant liquid, which is pumped throughout the building’s walls by the main energy core, a lustrous radiant orb that gives life to the whole operation. Suspended above the cooling liquid hangs a catwalk, flanked by vats of cryogenic liquid with test subjects inside. The content of the vats is cataloged as “organic material” and no other details are available.
Most S&S personnel sport lab coats, scrubs, or PPE made of hydrophobic material to prevent stains and contamination. A filthy appearance is considered valid grounds for dismissal within the company. This strict dress code and the constant threat of discipline give visitors and employees alike the feeling that they are in a place where they should always keep their voices and head down so as not to invite punishment.
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