Random Notes: This is the final chapter in this parody of The Men Who Built America. Thanks for almost 900 views.
Week 1: Rockefeller
The doors to the royal court were opened by two high ranking demon, standing in front of the jarred open doors. Guided by for mamono guard around him, the man of the hour walking into the courtroom. To the left of him, the viewing stand, packed with spectators and press, and to his right, the jury stand, occupied by a mix of mamono and humans alike. In the viewing balcony above, the royalty watch with a mix of fear for their own wealth and curiosity. Pretty sure even a few Lilims were there too. Why wouldn't they show, as this was about to be the biggest case of all time, and a true test of this new council.
Following the very train crash that changed his life, Rockefeller had built Standard Oil from nothing to a pinnacle of industrial achievement. He had beaten his rivals time and time again and has used his power with the other two titans in an unprecedented way. However, now he faces a situation beyond his control. One that threatens to destroy all that he made, including the way business he helped. He sat down in his defendant seat, looking up to the judges of the council. They looked middle-aged and experienced, having a stern look at Rockefeller. They treated him as they treated the other cases before him. A defendant on the other side of the majority.
A Hakutaku in the quieted everyone down as the trial commenced. "We now are in session for the Council vs Standard Oil. Will the defendant like to say any words?" Everyone locked their eyes on Rockefeller, shaking my head. "Very well then. Let us begin questioning, shall we?"
Week 1: Ford
Meanwhile, a new generation of entrepreneurs and investors were on the rise, coming up to be able to share the podium with the three titans. They were lead by a bee princess named Harlow Ford, a bright royal heir to soon leave her hive and make her own kingdom. Before that responsibility comes back to her though, she had a different kingdom she wanted to create, and innovation to bring to it. Cars had already been around ever since someone had the idea to put an engine on wheels and went with it, but they were too expensive to be bought by most town dwellers. Ford's idea was to change that, but first, she had to get through ALAM.
The Association of Licensed Automobiles owned the patent to the automobile, and everyone that made or wanted to make a brand had to go through them first. If they didn't, the Association will sue and blackmail them under. Now, it's up to them to decide whether Ford could go on.
"The Ford car is durable, light, and adjustable for many different mamono," she started off, handing pictures to the approval board for them to look at. "It can reach unprecedented speeds with its a four-cylinder engine, and it will be the first of it's kind to be affordable for the common dweller." She backed up as they talked it over, occasionally shooting glances at the bee girl in a royal silk dress. After a few minutes of deliberation, they turned back to her.
"Your application is denied." The Pharoh in the center said in a monotone voice.
Harlow looked devastated. "What? but why?"
"Your car simply isn't royal enough for our taste," the Anubis beside the Pharaoh responded, looking overly bored of her.
"And it looks like it will fail within the first few years. Just look at your prices!" The Sphinx finished, holding the paper up to the light.
The Pharaoh looked at the Sphinx, then back at Harlow. "Yes...any which way, your brand has been denied. Now have a nice day." The bee girl was then poofed outside the pyramid-shaped building as the doors to it locked. She tried opening them to no avail, as the magic lock held. Saddened, she trudged back to her soon to be husband's home. He was already cooking a meal while looking staring at the schematics, impressed. He heard the door open and close behind him as Harlow sat at the dining table silently. He walked over and kissed her on the cheek, then place a plate down in front of her.
"Pancakes with honey on top, for my sweetie," he said as he sat down beside her, smiling. "So, how did your meeting go?" Harlow looked up at her and tried to fake a smile, but she couldn't. "They rejected my idea..."
"Oh no...well you know what? Forget them. Just produce it yourself anyways!"
"I can't do that, however..." she said, twirling the fork on her plate. "If I do, they will sue me."
"Well, just sue them back right? Now that I think about it, can they even own the car in entirety?"
That was when a lightbulb went off in her head, although that might just be the light bulb above them getting brighter for a second. She kissed her husband back, her wings buzzing. "That was a brilliant note, my love. I have an idea that we can do...
Week 2: Ford
Harlow, her husband, and a honeybee servant of theirs were wheeling her new model of the Ford car out onto the driving path. This one, called the Model B, is the newest one she has created. However, to start mass producing it with her own soon-to-be hive, she must make a name for herself. To accomplish this, she challenged the leader of the biggest car company to a race. Alexa Winston was known as the faster driver in the work and a high-ranking member of ALAM. If Harlow's wins against her, it could be her big break. The only problem is, she doesn't know how to race a car.
She kisses her husband good luck then got in her car, driving up to meet the Apophis in her own car at the starting line. She pulled up her breathing cloth and put on her work goggles, revving up her 4 cylinder engine Alexa revved her own. The servent honeybee stepped in between the two cars and marched to the starting line, raising her hands. Both engines roared to life, preparing to launch off. Nodding to both of them, the honeybee brought them down, the cars launching past her as the race started.
Alexa took off faster, taking the lead early on as Ford is left to only trail her closely as they went down the turns. Alexa's car was able to turn sharply around the corners, Harlow's car keeping pace well but gradually falling behind. Soon the gap between them grew to the length of one car, and they were approaching the final sharp corner. Coming out of it, Harlow put her foot on the gas as hard as she could, close to overworking the engine as she started to catch up to Alexa. Close to the finish line, she had pulled up beside her, looking to be neck and neck as the final hundred feet before the thin tape that marked the finish. With a final turn of the engine, the Model B crept forward, crossing the line first.
Harlow has just become the fastest person in the world, getting her instant fame and recognition. She uses the publicity to it's fullest, making her first car factory within the growing kingdom that was becoming her hive. Before long, she is putting out 15 cars a day, pricing them low enough for anyone to buy. Her success puts her on the map, and ALAM takes notice. They file a huge lawsuit against Ford for infringing on their copyright for the automobile, looking to subdue Ford's business for their own.
Week 2: Rockefeller
While the case against Ford is about to get underway, the case against Standard Oil is heating up.
"It says that you donated over two hundred thousand to McKinley's election, and made numerous backroom deals to tip it in his favor. Is this true?" The Hakutaku said to Rockefeller, never losing that patronizing stare into his eyes.
"I wasn't the only one on that election you know?" he responded without care.
"Yes, but all the other companies have already been split up."
Johnson scoffed annoyed. "What about U.S. Steel? General Electric? I don't see anyone going after Morgan's two largest companies..."
Everyone looked at each other, suddenly feeling very awkward at this statement. Juliana had managed to keep her monopolies together through a series of deals and favors with multiple governments. Her biggest deal was a canal built through a large island bridging Zipangu and the Mist but also acted as a barrier to a river that cut through their borders. Such a canal could cut travel time for so many trading shipments and commercial business, but no one has had the power to manage such a feat...until now.
Acting as the middleman building companies, she donates 7 billion dollars in today's currency and got the project to start. Workers being blowing away at the landscape and digging trenches for water, magic users creating barriers to prevent sickness on a large scale. It becomes one of the largest projects ever conceived in the history of the lewd world and made possible only by the pioneered steel, electricity, and gasoline, and the financial might of an old guard.
Despite the obvious effect that monopolies have had on the world, their way of business is still at risk and isn't going to last forever.
Week 3: Rockefeller
Rockefeller had fought off everyone that has come before him, be it a rival like Morgan, politicians like Bryan, or his predecessors like Scott. However, today is judgment day for himself and his company as he sits in front of a panel of judges. He has done everything he could, but now the fate is out of his hands.
"Time after time again, we have heard testimonies and seen documents of how through sheer force, evil techniques, and everything in between, you have built an empire too big for its own good. The painted picture of Standard Oil isn't very good to your side John," the Hakutaku said to him, seeing a twitch in his eye. It seems someone finally struck a nerve in the presumed heartless entrepreneur.
"Before we continue on with the verdict, is there anything at all you would like to add?"
Everyone turned their eyes on the defendant, expecting something frantic in his defense. He simply looked around, sighed, and opened his eyes like a grandfather tired from all the incoherent noise around him. "When I came into oil," he started, "There wasn't all this talk about evil companies."
"There was chaos, bad quality, and a product with a bad name because no one thought of anything but to be first. I was the one to bring order, a uniform quality that became the standard for today. I was the one that turned a falling industry into a global conglomerate that anyone and everyone could rely on. All the talk about ruthlessness and unfairness that popped up now was simply business when I first became a power, shutting down your opponents before they shut down you, and no one complained because, without a degree of ruthlessness, you will be gone."
"No one complained when my booming business provided a steady source of income for the ones that needed it. No one complained when my consistently safe lamps provided light for everyone that didn't have it. Oil is what this world runs on. What you all call monopoly...I call it enterprise."
Week 3: Ford
In an adjacent courtroom to Rockefeller, Harlow Ford's case is about to begin. In the past time between the race and now, she had spent it making herself on the side of the people. Despite orders to stop, she had continued producing her Model B car for the masses, using a new method of production called the assembly line. It sped up production tenfold, and made cars even cheaper to produce, and even cheaper to sell. She made more factories outside her hive, paying her non-honeybee workers with a wage that many other places did not offer, and a shorter workday. She made herself the anti-Rockefeller as the case went through court, and as it winded down to a verdict, she eagerly, stepped to the door one last time, preparing for the endgame as she went inside.
"In light of the evidence for the case of ALAM vs Ford Motors, the judicial council has reached a decision," Said the lead member of the panel as both sides awaited its decision. Harlow's wings had been vibrating all morning in preparation of the end, not knowing which way it was going to go. She calmed herself as best as she could and looked up to the panel, ready for the answer.
"The panel has deemed it illegal for ALAM to own the patent to the general automobile, as it is an idea and not a brand. For that reason, ALAM must dissolve all current royalties it owns in the industry then turn to a differently purposed organization, and Ford Motors is allowed to continue on its own free resolve," the gavel knocked on the wood as the doors to the room flew open, excited buzzing coming from Harlow. She had won and she can keep her business. Then she realized something and stopped flying around the main corridor of the courthouse.
"Wait, if I won, than that means that-" her self talking was cut off by the thumping of a door. She turned around to see Rockefeller holding back a mob of reporters trying to talk to him after to trial ended. He was pretty strong for a human.
"Hey Ford, can you help me with this?" he said, still human so not able to fully close the door. Harlow hurried over and helped him push, getting the door closed with a click then quickly locking it with her foot on the knob, then pasting the space between the door and wall with particularly sticky honey from her pouch. They both backed up, seeing the door vibrate but holding. Harlow then turned to Johnson, feeling nervous in front of the economic giant.
"S-so...how did your trial g-go?" She asked nervously, seeing a disappointed gleam in his eye. "Standard Oil has been broken up, but I still hold a stake in each company. Even still, it's doesn't feel right to me to lose so badly. How did yours go?"
"I get to keep running my c-company..."
"Ahh, good for you I guess," Rockefeller said, looking at the honeybee and getting an idea, a smile forming on his face as he took the female's hand and walked her out to her car. He helped her on her driver's seat and closed the door, smiling. She smiled back and started to the car, ready to leave when she heard a cough. She turned her head back to Rockefeller, still smiling.
"I know I have a reputation for crushing my opponents, but would you like an investor? A supplier of fuel?"
She got more nervous as she didn't know where he was going to go with this. He chuckles and shook his head. "No no no, I'm not going after you. I am just annoying someone else...so would you like one?"
"Sure..." she trailed off, quickly driving away wondering what she had done.
Ford's win over ALAM opened the floodgate for all the people that had an idea and wanted to get big. Arthur Davis got the idea to put an engine on his mail bike, and soon motorcycles gained worldwide use. Maliko Hershey, an alurane had the idea to make her nectar into candy, and soon a new industry of sweets was born and will rival the Sabbath's stronghold of candy. Leonarda Factora, a Leanan Sidhe, brought makeup originally for the aristocrats mainstream and created a line of beauty products for the masses.
This new breed of entrepreneurs is doing business a different way. They are making products the population enjoys while paying workers a wage they can comfortably survive on. The era of Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Morgan is over...
...but the era of Ford and the middle class has just begun.
As for the three titans, they might not control the world, but they are still as relevant as ever before.
Cars and engines that run on Standard Oil's gasoline, and light made with kerosene.
Factories and homes lit up by Morgan's electricity.
Kingdoms and castles, Order and Demon, created and expanded to new heights with Carnegie's steel.
They wouldn't be possible without the ruthless and cunning investors and titans that used their might to bring their own product to life.
Johnson may have lost his court case, but he still had a stake in the companies created from his breakup. They will go on to become giants and make Rockefeller more money than he could have imagined. His net worth grows to 660 billion in today's money, making him once again the richest man in the world.
Morgan herself retires from finance, finally done. The Makai stock market shuts down in her commemoration, an honor only held for Makai's and the World Hill's royalty. Juliana Morgan essentially created finance as it is, and even Rockefeller and Carnegie, the two most powerful, come around to know it. They realize that they are truly now apart of history, and it won't be long until they are left behind and forgotten.
They have one last rivalry, a contest to see who can give away more. Carnegie spends most of the 76 billion in today's money she gives on education and the cursed libraries that fuel it. However, even here Rockefeller will best Carnegie with his higher worth. Between making his own global foundation, and the gifts and checks he spends on services, he gives off what will total to be 100 billion in today's money.
Thanks to the long financial lives of the titans of industry, everyone can suddenly find themselves able to make their own name and the once dark and truly depraved world came to technological light.