Majestic Industries (MI) is the largest manufacturer of spelltech in the world. Founded by Agemnos, the Daedra Lord once considered the master of avarice and ambition, MI has led the way in integrating the relatively new technologies of electronics and computing with the long-established disciplines of magic. Businessmen and pundits disagree widely about whether MI's influence has been more postive or negative, but none can dispute that it has shaped the world as it is known today.
The manufacture of many types of spelltech requires access to powerful natural mana sources, so most of MI's production facilities are located on or near major mana springs. The best-known of these technomagical factories is in Metamor City itself, but Agemnos has also negotiated successfully to place facilities in the Great Eastern Range (a remote annex of the Dragon Federation), on the island of Manzona, and in several parts of Irombi, Fan Shoar and the Southlands. Agemnos abides by the letter of whatever agreements he signs with the nations that house his facilities, so he will often tweak the language of the contracts to make them more favorable to his company if he can get away with it. Thus far, he hasn't even tried to pull one over on Majestrix Kyia.
MI's world headquarters are located in the nation of Algra, in western Kitchlande. Over the centuries Agemnos has carefully shaped Algra into a client state that is completely oriented toward serving the interests of Majestic Industries, which is by far its most prominent employer and tax-paying organization. MI keeps Algra financially solvent and politically stable, and the government gives MI a place to do business with virtually no interference.
In addition to its publicly-known facilities, MI also has private testing grounds and laboratories that are known only to their staff, the MI upper management, and some of the better government intelligence agencies. One facility that is under particularly tight wraps is the Tanaatha Complex, located in a particularly remote portion of Algra near the mountains on the country's eastern border. This walled and spell-shielded compound is home to Project Tanaatha, one of Agemnos's most ingenious and appalling creations (see below).
Majestic Industries pioneered the creation of the WorldNet and still manufactures most of the spelltech needed to access and maintain it. Refer to the linked article for more information about the WorldNet and its history.
Once, before the Great Fall, it was said that Agemnos would grant his supplicants anything they desired -- wealth, fame, power -- in exchange for their souls (and sometimes the souls of a few select others, if they could manage it). The foolhardy mortal would live out a life of luxury and prestige, usually until some other usurper came along and had them assassinated. Then the individual's soul would remain bound inside a mystical gem, a convenient and portable power source to fuel Agemnos's own schemes. The poor trapped soul would quickly go insane in its imprisonment, and might spend centuries in dreams or nightmares of its own making until it was released -- or became so wearied and spent that it was useless to Agemnos, at which point he discarded it.
Agemnos is no longer collecting souls in gems, but he is still in the business of granting wishes at a heavy price. Majestic Industries helped create the WorldNet and still has important concerns and interests within the nets that must be protected, but not everything that MI must do to watch over its interests can be done from outside. It is possible, of course, for any individual with a spelljack to enter the virtual domains of the WorldNet and experience them as if they were reality, but there are limits to how long a person can remain safely connected -- the brain loses all capacity to detect hunger, thirst, or pain in the host body while it is jacked in. MI needs extended, "deep-cover" agents inside the nets to track threats to its interests, and that requires staying connected longer than is healthy for any normal being.
Enter Project Tanaatha. Named after a mythical Elven princess whose spirit wandered between the stars searching for her lost love, the Project was conceived of as a way to permanently immerse a person in the virtual realm of the WorldNet, giving the person an unparalleled ability to use the processing power and information-stores of the nets in conjunction with a sentient human mind. Such a person could act as a "god in the machine", manifesting his or her avatar almost anywhere, integrating data at speeds far faster than a human could ever accomplish alone, altering the environments of the virtual world at the speed of thought. Such a person would be the ideal agent to watch over events on the nets and ensure that MI's interests were protected.
Project Tanaatha started small and grew over the course of twenty years, as the researchers were able to increase the integration of the human mind with the technomagical systems of the computer networks. All of the research was performed in the utmost secrecy, in the Tanaatha Complex in Algra (see above). In its current incarnation, Tanaatha consists of a top-secret facility housing more than fifty subjects, each of which has been stripped down to a "brain in a jar"; each subject's central nervous system floats in a dense, nutrient-filled solution, attached by thousands of wires to the largest and most intricate spelljacks ever built. All of these subjects were "volunteers" -- which is to say, Agemnos performed some major favor on behalf of themselves or their families, and required this as payment for services rendered. Mana fields charged with positive energy help to keep the disembodied brains healthy and young -- it is estimated that they could live for three or four hundred years in this state, given proper maintenance spells and a steady supply of needed nutrients.
The subjects themselves, of course, have no perception of being a brain in a vat, since all their old sensory connections have been severed and replaced with connections to the WorldNet. From their own viewpoint, they walk as virtual gods in a virtual world; their broad access to processing power and information databases allows them operate like mathematical geniuses with eidetic memories, at least under most circumstances. Their avatars -- their "bodies" -- are whatever they wish them to be, and they can alter the programming of the virtual world almost instinctively, and by little more than sheer force of will. Majestic Industries refers to these agents as angels in internal documents; the terminology has leaked out into general WorldNet parlance, but to most users it simply means a person with unsually great control over the WorldNet's virtual environments who often meddles in other people's affairs (for good or ill).
The existence of Project Tanaatha is a tightly guarded secret, known to only a handful outside the installation where the brains are kept. Even those who know of its existence generally believe that it consists only of MI employees who spend a lot of time jacked in, supported by nutrient feeds similar to those given to a person on life support. Hardly anyone suspects the truth, and those who would suggest it would almost certainly be ridiculed as paranoiacs.
Meanwhile, individuals traveling the deeper, darker corners of the WorldNet often report encounters with individuals who seem to be able to come and go with impunity, to alter the operational parameters of a domain instantly, to act with the speed and decisiveness of a computer but the rationality of a sentient being. Urban legends run rampant about self-aware computer programs that have "come to life" in the technomagical world of the nets, or of ghosts that became trapped in the virtual world on their passage to the afterlife. Serious net-runners and government agencies discount these stories as outright fiction or the exaggeration of encounters with ordinary system administrators, never guessing how close to the truth the reports really are.
So far, there have been no visible detrimental effects on the psyches of the Project Tanaatha agents; while they are now effectively indentured to MI for the rest of their (considerably prolonged) lives, they seem to find satisfaction in their work and generally find the simulated experiences of the virtual world to be acceptable imitations of real-world experience. The project is still young, though, and no data exists on how well the mind will accept simulated experience as a substitute for reality over a longer period of time. The brain, of course, has no idea whether the data it is being fed are real or simulated, as long as the data are of sufficiently high quality to be accepted as equivalent to real experience. Current simulations of reality in the online world are very, very good, at least for short periods of time, but it may not yet be possible to perfectly fool the brain -- certainly, customers at the Hedonists' domain enjoy their virtual sexual encounters, but they still often report that the online experience lacks the intimacy of a flesh-and-blood encounter with another being. Whether this "hollowness" of the virtual experience is severe enough to lead to psychosis in the Tanaatha agents is something that only time will answer.