Nebula is a powerful American conglomerate headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Already a domestic powerhouse by the 1930s and internationally influential by the early 2000s, the corporation is publicly involved in a myriad of industries: amusement ride manufacturing; food production; pharmaceutics; publishing; shipping; biotechnology; and the steel and chemical industries included among them.
Behind closed doors, Nebula's research extends into less accepted fields and employs less acceptable methods. Not only is the corporation researching the "liquor of immortality" and the existence of nonhumans (such as vampires and dullahans), some of its employees have been known to illegally experiment on humans and other live subjects.
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Nebula is established by Cal Muybridge a few decades prior to 1934 as a subsidiary which manufactures amusement park equipment and plans public events. Thanks to Muybridge's expertise with money, the company expands its business into many different fields. It manages to withstand the Stock Market Crash of 1929.
Nebula owns the transcontinental luxury express Flying Pussyfoot. Following the incident that took place over the course of December 30–31, 1931, Nebula compensates and silences many of the passengers by paying them off. With the aid of Senator Manfred Beriam, they are ultimately successful in covering up the incident and decommissioning the train.
The Mist Wall, a gigantic skyscraper serving as Nebula's headquarters in New York, is the setting for the climactic conflict that takes place in September 1933. Huey Laforet plots to bomb the location and kill its employees for an experiment, summoning his factions Larva and Lamia to steal the incomplete immortality elixir reported to be stored in the building.
In the ensuing chaos, various members of the Martillo Family, Gandor Family, and Jacuzzi's Gang along with the Lamia and Larva converge on the building through a series of coincidences and misunderstandings. Senator Beriam, who funds a portion of the Mist Wall's research, reveals to Tim that all twelve hundred Mist Wall employees have become incomplete immortals without their consent due to Nebula employee Renee Parmedes Branvillier. He states that he tried to argue against such a plan, but also makes it clear that the Mist Wall is his 'laboratory', with the implication that through Nebula he will be able to rid the world of Huey and the immortal threat.
Senator Beriam assists Nebula in covering up the Mist Wall incident as he did with the Flying Pussyfoot.
Due to escalating issues with the Lamia in Chicago, Renee grants Don Placido Russo of the Russo Family and several of his executives incomplete immortality in exchange for their promise to capture the Lamia on her behalf. Placido Russo hires Graham Specter to track down the Lamia or face dire consequences. Meanwhile, Nebula captures hundreds of Hilton vessels in Chicago to use them in their experiments. Nebula is able to identify the Hilton vessels thanks to Sham, who has secretly betrayed Huey by feeding Nebula information through a vessel stationed under Renee. Sham tells Huey his vessels were kidnapped as well.
When the Russos and Graham fail to capture the Lamia, Renee devours Placido, Krieck, and the other immortal Russos.
After Nebula successfully kidnaps Frank, several of Nebula's buildings and facilities in the Nebula-controlled town Elleson Hill are blown up by Rail and Sham. Rail, Nice Holystone, and Miria Harvent are later captured by the Runorata Family and brought to Nebula's Chicago headquarters, prompting members of Jacuzzi's Gang along with Graham, Shaft, Christopher Shaldred, and Ricardo Russo to go on a rescue mission and storm the building.
A showdown eventually occurs on the garden roof of Nebula's Chicago headquarters between Renee and her researchers and the several loosely aligned factions listed above. Renee flees to the ground level when her researchers prove to be no match for Graham and Christopher, only to be confronted by Huey, Sickle, and the Poet. Huey removes one of her eyes in retaliation for his own eye being taken, and retrieves Frank from Nebula's clutches. Surveying the damage on the rooftop, Chairman Muybridge is somehow optimistic despite the huge losses to his company on the grounds that at least Nebula knows a little more about what Huey and his followers are doing.
In the early 2000s, Nebula approaches the Japanese company Yagiri Pharmaceuticals with a merger offer around the time Yagiri's stocks start slipping. While Nebula is involved in pharmaceutics, the Yagiri family suspect the conglomerate is really interested in the research of Lab Six: research into the head of dullahan Celty Sturluson. As Nebula contacted Yagiri around the time Lab Six's chief Namie Yagiri started her research, and specifically demanded control over the lab and its research, it is clear they must be aware of the head somehow. Most likely they were informed by one of their scientists, Shingen Kishitani, who severed the head in the first place.
Though Namie and other Yagiri employees initially resist the merger, Nebula succeeds in buying out Yagiri Pharmaceuticals; however, Namie absconds with the head before they can acquire it. Nebula does not give up on finding Celty's head, with Shingen eventually securing it and sending it back to Chicago for them.
- The Mist Wall - A tall white skyscraper serving as Nebula's headquarters in New York. Setting for the climax of September 1933.
- Chicago Headquarters - Nebula's main building, and where its chairman is based.
- Elleson Hill - A small town near Chicago
Persons of Interest
- Cal Muybridge: Nebula's founder and chairman.
- Renee Parmedes Branvillier: Director of Nebula's sixth pharmaceutical development department. An immortal researcher using the company to advance her experiments.
- Homer: Head of Nebula's New York branch. He is conspicuously absent when the Mist Wall, Nebula's NY headquarters, is stormed in September 1933.
- Rubik: Once a regular customer of the Daily Days and once affiliated with the Runoratas, Rubik now works in Security at Nebula's Chicago headquarters.
- Sham: One of Sham's vessels is stationed at Nebula's Chicago HQ, through whom he relays news on Huey's machinations to Renee. He has planted another vessel among Renee's subordinate researchers without her knowledge or permission.
- Shingen Kishitani: Shingen is one of Nebula's researchers, belonging to the division investigating nonhumans whose existence is not publicly acknowledged. He often disregards Nebula's goals in favor of his own frivolous endeavors, and is primarily affiliated with them for funding purposes.
- Emilia Kishitani: Shingen's wife and assistant, Emilia is said to have met him while researching vampires for Nebula.
- Egor: Originally hired by Shingen to capture Ruri Hijiribe, Egor was later 'hired on' by Nebula to work as Shingen's private errand runner.
- Senator Manfred Beriam: A powerful politician who hates immortals, Beriam claims to go "way back" with Muybridge and has worked closely with Nebula throughout the 1930s. Despite his hatred of immortals, he has provided funding towards Nebula's laboratory researching the liquor and worked with Nebula to cover up certain incidents including those involving the Flying Pussyfoot and Mist Wall. He pays their Chicago headquarters a visit in September 1933, and another in December 1934.
- Placido Russo: The don of the Russo Family in the 1930s, Placido, Krieck, and other Russo executives are made incomplete immortals by Renee in 1934. In exchange, she instructs them to capture the Lamia alive on Nebula's behalf. When the Russos' attempts fail, she devours Placido and the other incomplete immortals as a consequence.
- Bartolo Runorata: The don of the Runorata Family in the 1930s, Bartolo like Beriam seems to have some history with Muybridge. He and his entourage pay Nebula's headquarters a personal visit in December 1934, where he attempts to negotiate with Rail—who possesses some of the explosives that Czeslaw Meyer originally intended to sell to the Runoratas three years prior.
Notable Test Subjects or Candidates for Testing
- Celty Sturluson: Celty is a dullahan who allowed Shingen to experiment on her in exchange for safe passage to Japan. Although Nebula was initially interested in Celty's body, they later become more interested in acquiring her head. Her head is ultimately transported to Nebula's Chicago headquarters under Shingen's direction. More recently, her head apparently showed some change, though Namie Yagiri took it as her imagination.
- Ruri Hijiribe: Considered for testing by Shingen, whose superiors ultimately rejected her candidacy out of a belief she would yield little in the way of new discoveries.
- Shizuo Heiwajima: Considered but ultimately rejected as a viable test subject (most likely due to his volatile temper).
- Nebula's name has been commonly mistranslated as Nebra over the years. Yen Press' print edition of 1931 The Grand Punk Railroad: Express notably spells Nebula correctly on page 165, only to use 'Nebra' twice on page 194. Both instances of 'Nebra' have been corrected to 'Nebula' in the digital edition.
- There is also an instance in the English dub of Durarara!! when Izaya Orihara refers to it as Nebra.
- Nebula appears to be infatuated with the work of Carnald Strassburg, a German artist hailing from Growerth. Multiple Strassburg paintings hang in their Chicago headquarters, the bronze statue outside of which is also said to have been designed and cast by him. Nebula's very emblem is rumored to be Strassburg's own design.
- Nebula is purportedly business rivals with the Gardastance Group, another incredibly powerful corporation based in Chicago. The Group's former chairman, Rude Gardastance, is known to Muybridge in the 1930s and may have some sort of debt to him.