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The Rossum Corporation is a nebulous drug conglomerate based in the United States. They also fund a science laboratory at Freemont College.
They designed the drugs that made the Dollhouse possible, and are one of the parent organizations of the Dollhouses. The LA Dollhouse is underneath a building with a Rossum sign in the lobby.
Neither of the corporation's two founders is actually named Rossum. The name, according to Clyde 2.0, is a reference to Karel Čapek's play R.U.R. or "Rossum's Universal Robots", which tells of humanity being replaced by artificial people.
Rossum is the world’s largest manufacturer of MRI imaging equipment, and the neural map of each patient scanned by their machines is added to Rossum’s database of persona constructs. This provides Rossum with a massive collection of personas from which to program Actives in their Dollhouses. In addition, Rossum has a worldwide network of diagnostic medical laboratories which similarly aggregate the results of every blood test that pass through their labs.
Rossum operates a secret subsidiary organization informally known as Dollhouses, using wiping and imprinting technology to provide programmable people for a variety of services, often sexual. Profits from the Dollhouses go towards Rossum's research.
Rossum operates a military branch, Scytheon, which uses ex-military Actives in a role similar to private military companies, codename Mind Whisper. The former Actives are linked "telepathically" through a technology called Neuro-Radio. (S2: "Stop-Loss")
Other operations include psychotropic drug research.
Rossum was founded by Clyde Randolph and his college buddy, later revealed in "Getting Closer" as Boyd Langton. These two developed the wiping and imprinting technology. Randolph was later betrayed by Boyd and consigned to the Attic in 1993, replaced by Clyde 2.0.
Recently, Rossum was targeted by animal-rights activist Caroline Farrell, who broke into the labs at Fremont with her then-boyfriend Leo Carpenter in order to document Rossum's treatment of its animal subjects. As luck would have it, the two stumbled across the corporation's experiments on humans, which led to them being pursued by the building's security. Leo was killed in the ensuing action. Farrell, with the help Rossum rising star Bennett Halverson, was later captured in Tucson after bombing another lab. She was pressured into signing a contract with the Dollhouse. The injured Halverson, who lost the use of her left arm, was viewed as a casualty and eventually ended up working for the D.C. Dollhouse.
In 2009, the labs at Fremont were compromised again after researchers Owen Johnson and Sam Jennings thought to sell the secrets of the N-7316 memory drug to Rossum's Swiss rival Bel Med Tech. Johnson got cold feet and tried to back out, and so Jennings drugged him with the N-7316 unintentionally causing him to commit suicide. Before then, Johnson touched Jennings and another student, transmitting the drug to them and then to others, causing an epidemic of hallucinations, flashbacks and euphoria on the campus.
Later, Senator Daniel Perrin publicly accused Rossum of withholding medical research and conducting illegal human experiments. It turned out that Perrin was an Active placed in his position of power by Rossum via the DC Dollhouse, and his investigation of the company was only the lead-in to his "discovery" of evidence exonerating them from any wrongdoing and implicating their rival drug companies of nefarious deeds. Rossum's ultimate plan appears to involve using Perrin as a puppet in government to pass laws for them.
Rossum was heavily damaged by an attack by members of the L.A. Dollhouse.
In the future, Rossum's ambitions grew out of control. They start offering clients "full body upgrades" into Actives -- the prospect of immortality -- for a 9-figure sum, en route to the future shown in "Epitaph One".
Eventually, Rossum's short-sightedness caused their plans to spectacularly backfire. Due to their heavy proliferation of mind-wiping technology across the globe, it was eventually leaked out to the government of China. With the genie out of the bottle, China perfected Rossum's research into remote-wiping, to the point that a human's personality could be completely re-written using a simple phone call. China then sent out a global signal that reprogrammed anyone listening to a phone into a mindless "butcher", causing the apocalypse.
Rossum itself survived this event after a fashion, carving out fiefdoms for itself in the devastated North America by mind-wiping survivors into their army of actives. Their main base in Arizona was re-dubbed "Neuropolis".
- While not canon, a promotional website created for the Rossum Corporation, suggested that Rossum operates from over 48 locations worldwide, including Antarctica (The website itself mentions there are 48 locations worldwide, but the series has mentioned additional locations opening). The website itself only listed 22 of the locations, which are presumably Dollhouses, the rest being offices/research laboratories etc.
The website is no longer active. (one of our members has purchased the domain name, however, expect this to be back online very soon)
Origins of The Company Name Edit
It is likely that the name of the company "Rossum" was based on the 1920's play "Rossum’s Universal Robots" by the Czech writer Karel Čapek. The storyline of the play was based around a company producing artificial people ("robots") out of synthetic biological matter.