Purpose:

The Banque International des Echecs is a pro-Carolinian megabank based out of the EuroZone of the Atlantic Federation and is rather quietly one of the major forces inside not just the EuroZone, but the Federation as a whole. It is a right-leaning financial powerhouse with interests in colonizing space, the military-industrial complex, manufacturing and heavy industry, and clandestine financing.

Basics:

The Banque is enormously and obscenely wealthy. It has multiple arcologies devoted to its operation, most in Europe, but several in North America, Asia, and Polynesia. This allows them to handle financing from Parisian galleries down to third-world dictatorships. While nominally eurocentric, the Banque has substantial off-world holdings, ranging from mining charters in the deep solar system to the enormous and opulent near-earth habitat Ultracael (Latin: Beyond the sky)

While not the largest or most powerful banking corporation in the Cosmic Era, BidE might be the most influential. While it cannot compare to the portfolios of the Nipponese Bank of the Red Sun, or the new Hanseatic League's banking arm, it is much deeper inside the machinations of the Atlantic Federation.

The How of this is relatively simple. BidE has six AISCs that manage its assets, and are consultants to the M12 and the Andromeda Council. Obadiah, Gideon, Jephthah, Abdon, Ehud, and Amariah were all constructed to support a pro-francophone civilization and culture to flourish inside the Atlantic Federation and crafted a financial fortress around these interests. To this end, the six AISCs took what the Federation could create, and its assets and welded them to the French sanguine spirit. 

The Rebirth of an Old Nation

The Banque International des Echecs seems an unlikely standard bearer for the Carolingian Reformation, but that is exactly what it is. The adage of he who has the gold makes the rules has been embraced by the Banque and those who support it. There are other powers in the Federation who seek to guide it. The Hanseatic League thinks to lead with technology. The Atlantic Commonwealth grasps for power with orators, politics, and committees. The megacorps and the Great Lakes Republic think to lead through the strength of arms and weight of ships. They all ignore a common thread between them. The golden threads of the Banque.

The North American heavy industries thrive with Banque backed contracts. Politicians rely on generous and often anonymous campaign donations. Tech firms and weapons designers often don't look at who is signing the grants and checks to keep their operations flush with cash and few care. Because of this, the Banque, and the Carolingian interests have full access to the full might of the Atlantic federation in a manner that would even make the Federation Council sick with envy.

Opposition and Rivalry

The Banque and the Carolingian Reformation have a number of interests against them. The most obvious is the centuries old France vs Germany Reformation vs the New Hanseatic League. Despite many francophone cities being refused membership in the League, the Reformation still has discrete backdoor access to League data.

The Banque has quietly financed the construction of four Hanseatic pattern warships for the Reformation. Of the four, two are complete. The Richelieu and the Dunkerque are operational battleships, though technically unknown and unregistered in any fleet listings. The Jean de Arc and the Alsace are either months or a year away from completion at the submarine yards at St. Nazaire. All four ships are built around multiple four-barrel turrets equipped with heavy naval particle cannons and are easily a match for the Hanseatic dreadnoughts and pocket battleships.

The AmeroZone of the Federation has favored the construction of the much vaunted Federation class Battlestars, each capable of launching a half dozen squadrons of aerospace fighters while packing the firepower of a battleship. The Banque and the Reformation don't have such grandiose plans and have opted to take the Scandinavian and Australian route, purchasing secondary ships being retired from the AFAF navy and refurbishing them. To this end, the Reformation has six medium battlestars in its fleet. The le Clerc, the de Gaulle, the La Fayette, the Petain, the Rochambeau, and the Duke of Orleans.

The Banque and High Mobility Warfare

The Banque and warfare are intimately tied together. Centuries ago, the French were the best in the business of war, and provided a huge amount of war material for sale, both in terms of vehicles and arms, but mercenary forces as well. War is big business, even in the Cosmic Era where the Industrial-Military Complex has lost the power it held in the Petroleum Era. The Reformation and the Banque rely on importing tech and exporting fighting forces. The high mobility mode of war favored by the Reformation, with its combat drops, airmobile artillery, drone standoff weaponry, and mobile fortifications is highly profitable as many of the components are considered fully expendable.

Combining Ouvrage mobile fortresses, orb craft, standard template construction installations, drone weapon drop pods, and high speed carry-all assault craft, the Banque has a large volume, high profit industry to keep it's subsidiaries employed and its coffers full. Adding in Dassault Nationale's mech, aerospace, and power armor exports, the Banque is doing well.

Why Does the Banque Matter to Anyone?

This is a good question, there is already a ton of material on the Cosmic Era and what is the point of this piece? The answer is 'Good Enough', because that is what the Banque does. Groups like {Hawwer Industries] are about extracting profits at the cost of performance by selling to the worst of the worst. The Hanseatic League is always looking for a way to break the paradigm and are making hypertech marvels and terrors that will never see production or combat. But then there is the Banque and the Carolingian Reformation, Daussalt and Nexter, Fabrique Nationale, and the other firms operating under the francophone aegis. They aren't changing the game, they are slicing out the largest profit margins, or exploiting a specific market, they are in the business of making Good Enough, making a lot of it, and using that leverage to make sure what they want, they get.

In Battletech terms, Hawwer is building mechs with primitive systems and components, and accordingly low performance. The Hanseatic League is sitting on Clan Tech, complete with the price tag. For the price of one Hanseatic League heavy omni-mech, the savvy buyer could put three Banque sourced assault mechs onto the field, or eight Hawwer mechs, of which half will be out of service due to mechanical issues, two more will break down in combat, and the last two are just toast.


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