RICHARD VILLIERS AND MILES LANIER
Richard Villiers is the owner and CEO of Novatech Inc. Miles Lanier is Novatech’s head of corporate and personal security. The two men are friends as well as partners; not only do they run one of the world’s most powerful megacorporations, but they also managed to rip apart one megacorp and almost destroy a second. They are cold, calculating and deadly businessmen who almost always succeed. On the rare occasions when something doesn’t go right, you don’t want to be in their way.
Richard Villiers began his career as a corporate raider who somehow came to own the Boston-based corporation that developed the first gray-market cyberdeck. When the company’s two owners died under mysterious circumstances, the corporate offices were ransacked and their research destroyed. Within a few years, however, Villiers – the trashed company’s sole owner – was able to offer to Fuchi the remains of his corporation. Among its assets were the cyberdeck concept, which had the potential to make Fuchi a megacorp and put it on the Corporate Court. In exchange, Villiers demanded and got one third ownership of Fuchi. Many years later, clever maneuvering enabled him to destroy Fuchi and come close to taking down Renraku in the process. He came out of the corp war richer, more powerful, and more feared than any other CEO on the planet. His machinations swiftly became known as the “Villiers Maneuver,” in which someone seemingly sabotages his own work only to reveal something stronger and better in its place.
Miles Lanier has been with Villiers since … well, no one really knows how long. All people know is that he created the building blocks of megacorporate security. Every decker, street sammy and rigger who ever attacked a Fuchi – owned company knows what a genius (or evil bastich) Lanier is. His only weak spot was magical security – or so everyone thought, until the new Novatech headquarters in Boston was unveiled. Early astral recon shows it to have some of the tightest magical protection in the world.
Miles Lanier became a household name when Dunkelzahn bequeathed him a seat on the Renraku board of directors. Lanier publicly claimed to have had no previous contact with Dunkelzahn (that he knew of, anyway), and several investigators have since corroborated that statement .. To all appearances, the Renraku bequest came as a complete surprise, which Lanier soon turned to his and Novatech’s advantage. While on Renraku’s board of directors, Lanier exposed Renraku’s deepest secret-a plan for Matrix domination. Simultaneously, he revealed that he was working for Villiers and Fuchi during his entire tenure on the board. This revelation, together with Renraku’s mysterious Matrix crash and problems at its Seattle arcology, almost collapsed the corp’s entire cybernetic research division. When Richard Villiers publicly announced the formation of Novatech, Lanier sold his Renraku shares (making him very, very rich) and agreed to work for Novatech as head of security.
When roleplaying these two characters, remember that both are businessmen first and foremost. They crush, dismantle and confuse their competition. Exactly how they do that can change radically from situation to situation, as long as they can plausibly claim some kind of victory. Owing a group of shadowrunners a favor is a minor inconvenience if it means harming Renraku and giving Novatech an edge. Shadowrunners are pawns in struggles between titans, and Lanier and Villiers will use them as such. However, they also understand the metahuman animal better than most and know they’ll frequently need runners to do things they can’t take care of personally.
With Villiers and Lanier, even life and death are business. Neither man got where he is by underestimating anyone, not even a bunch of newbie runners.
Miles Lanier is in his mid-forties, though most people who’ve met him swear he’s only thirty. His youthful appearance works to his advantage, as people tend to underestimate him. He’s a bit taller than average, somewhat slight, and generally looks like a typical corporate suit. His chestnut hair always looks about a week overdue for a cut. Lanier’s most impressive feature is his eyes. They’re brown, so dark they look almost black, and he never seems to blink. Many people assume Lanier has cybereyes, though he never says whether they are or not if asked about them. His eyes show strength and confidence and tend to make people believe anything he says. More than a few of the world’s toughest sammys and meres say Lanier has the eyes of a warrior-they display the coldness and harshness of man who has seen death many times from the winning end.
Lanier rarely smiles or laughs, and he tends to let his actions do the talking. A keen observer, he notices things most people don’t see even after having them pointed out
Richard Villiers is Lanier’s opposite in almost every way. In his mid-fifties, Villiers looks it. He appears to be a man at the height of his powers, but still young enough to keep his kingdom growing. A bit shorter than Lanier, he is also more solidly built and darker, with black hair and an olive cast to his skin. He has no obvious cyberware and credits a photographic memory for his amazing ability to recall things.
In addition to being a businessman, Villiers is a salesman and showman to the nth degree. Wherever he goes, he’s the center of attention. A master strategist, he knows just when and how to spring things on people. No longer married, Villiers usually travels alone; he is consistently touted as one of the sexiest men and most eligible bachelors in the UCAS.