Crime and Terrorism
- 1 A Brief History of Modern Crime
- 2 Major Criminal Organizations
- 3 Major Radical Political Groups
- 4 Nonhuman Criminal Organizations
A Brief History of Modern Crime
The early years of human spacefaring and colonisation were tightly controlled affairs, reserved only for highly trained specialists whether government trained or corporate employees, but as efforts progressed and space travel and habitation became increasingly viable for the common man, so came with it a reduction in oversight, and where mankind goes, so do his vices.
As the profits of extra-terrestrial operations began to climb, shrewd figures among the criminal underground saw nigh limitless opportunity for expansion into sectors heretofore only imagined. Even as humanity was limited to the Sol system, the isolation of space offered unrivaled privacy and dubious jurisdiction of earth's strict laws. The wealthiest groups - often criminal syndicates formed to secure the sheer logistical organization and funds required - were able to establish themselves on Luna and beyond, exploiting fledgling colonies and constructing small, legally grey manufactories that would funnel cash and contraband back to their Earth-based bosses. Many would fail, bankrupting themselves or finding themselves so weakened by their ambition that law enforcement were able to easily decapitate them and leave the remains to be scattered to the wind or absorbed by other organizations. But those who succeeded would surely come to dominate Solar organized crime and beyond for centuries to come.
The chaos of the Second Cold War was critical to the cementing of several of today’s largest criminal organizations as the “big players” in human space. Shortages of critical war materiel and most critically, food led to an explosion in smuggling activity. Those few able to provide critical goods to the Selune Federation would stand to make a vast profit, and earn a reputation as saviors among Federation citizens all the while. Raids on legitimate transports were common, and the war saw a marked spike in both the brazen confidence and armament of many then-fledgling groups.
The gradual consolidation of near entire business sectors into massive Trans-Stellar Corporations, and those corporations’ grip on the political landscape has only allowed for deeper ingrained corruption than ever before. Due to the sheer scale of some of the largest corporations, smaller branches and subsidiaries acting as fronts for criminal activity often slip through the cracks, and their affiliation with larger, legitimate corporations has been known to dissuade scrutiny from law enforcement and other government agencies.
Organized crime in the human core systems has suffered countless blows through the years, not least the formation of SolGov itself and establishment of a central enforcing body, which has driven many large groups from the core and out into the mid or rim systems, though the most entrenched and "legally" established groups such as Nos Amis have retained a sizable presence in the core. The decriminalization and legalization of many major narcotics led to the total collapse of several dominant groups - particularly long-standing cartels - creating a power vacuum in other sectors that would lead to decades of violence across the rim systems of the time, the effects of which can still be felt in systems such as Zhu Que to this day. While organized crime sweeps are frequent, and specialized law enforcement units are often highly funded - and with high-grade arms corporations such as Hephaestus Industries keen to be seen as vital backbones of law enforcement - the sheer scale of many operations means that truly eradicating a group is nigh impossible, and any time an organization is driven from an area, it will only be a matter of time before another moves in to fill the void.
Major Criminal Organizations
This is by no means a comprehensive list of criminal organizations operating in 2563, but rather a list of some of the most influential groups in human space. Thousands of smaller groups exist, many independently, but some acting beneath one of these far-reaching organizations in some capacity.
|Key Activities:||Smuggling, illegal arms trade, fraud, racketeering, counterfeiting.||Influence:||Throughout SolGov space, including core worlds.|
Nos Amis, or “Our Friends”, is a large scale crime syndicate with roots going back almost 500 years. Formed in the midst of the Second Cold War, the organization thrived by smuggling restricted goods into the Selene Federation. By the time the Federation was annexed, they had become exceptionally wealthy and had gained a life-saving reputation among many former rebel colonies. They would continue to dominate the illegal arms trade in Sol for many years, beating out and essentially absorbing many old Earth-organized crime groups who had lacked the infrastructure for interplanetary logistics and bankrupted themselves in the war.
Operating more like a business than many other groups, Nos Amis relies on a complex system of delegation, with lower-level bosses often having no contact with those more than a few levels above. This acts both to shield the leadership of the organization from prosecution, and allows branches to operate independently almost indefinitely in the event of an attempted ‘decapitation’ by law enforcement or rival organizations. Lower-level employees may indeed have no knowledge of their affiliation, and on rare occasion a small TSC has been exposed as a Nos Amis cover operation, to the apparent shock of most of its staff. Their structure has made removing the group from their deep entrenchment in core and mid system business and government extremely difficult, and they remain one of few groups of their size able to operate effectively in heavily policed systems. They are believed to be still headquartered in Alpha Centauri.
Nos Amis are however limited by their reputation as old-fashioned, and are known to be particularly xenophobic and technologically conservative. Noted poor relations with positronics limit their potential influence as human society evolves, and their hesitance to deal with alien races leaves them at a marked disadvantage on the frontier.
|Key Activities:||Smuggling, illegal arms trade, human trafficking, sex trafficking, slave trade, cybercrime.||Influence:||Mid and rim human systems. Ties to Eutopia.|
One of the oldest human criminal organizations in SolGov space, with origins in the 20th century Soviet Union. Now far removed from its Russian cultural roots, and from Earth itself, the organization is more accurately comprised of thousands of smaller groups which largely operate independently. Though the individual groups have been known to clash over territorial disputes, they are typically loyal to the overall organization above all others, and will ruthlessly defend one another from rival organizations and law enforcement.
Known for their extremely strict hierarchy and exceptionally deep pockets owing to their political ties in a number of profitable rim-systems and heavy involvement in high-risk cybercrime, the Russian Mafia are infamous for their almost military levels of organization and armament. Some groups have been known to operate small armed fleets, though few engage in open piracy. The Mafia are best known for their smuggling operations, including large scale human trafficking for every purpose from the exploitation of refugees, sex trafficking, and providing 'workers' for off-the-grid and usually illegal deep space colonies. They are a popular supplier for Eutopia's dubious slave trade, and are offered some protection by the secessionist system’s most wealthy.
|Key Activities:||Cybercrime, illegal research.||Influence:||Thought to be galaxy-wide.|
Sampatti, or “Material Wealth” is a secretive, yet infamous cybercriminal group with no apparent political affiliations. Though information on the group is sparse and near impossible to confirm, they are thought to be "hackers for hire", acting in the interests of anybody with the right connections who is willing to pay. Despite their influence, the group’s first confirmed activity dates back only 32 years. Leading theories are that the group is headed by either Mercurials or Positronics, quite possibly utilizing information technology strictly forbidden by the Five Points. Fears that they are developing, or have already developed advanced artificial intelligence have placed them as a high priority among more conservative-leaning law enforcement agencies.
Major publicized cyber attacks credited to Sampatti have included leaks of classified Hephaestus Industries internal reports - exposing human rights violations in at least 12 fabrication facilities and leading to countless lawsuits, loss of profits, forced reforms, and the company's single greatest PR nightmare - and a security breach which drained over 6.8 billion Thalers from the government treasury of the Tau Ceti system. The losses were reimbursed by the SCG, but led to total overhauls of SolGov cybersecurity systems across the galaxy.
|Key Activities:||Political/Corporate corruption, assassination, bribery, insider trading, fraud, destruction of evidence.||Influence:||Throughout human space, especially corporate colonies.|
Officially a “trade guild”, the legality of Xin Cohong is dubious at best. The guild was originally formed as a cooperative venture between corporations and governments across early Chinese extrasolar colonies in an effort to forward the ambitions of its members on the highly competitive new frontier by means of under the table dealings out of view of their rivals.
Xin Cohong has since evolved to include politicians, wealthy executives, and other key public figures throughout human space. While membership is not strictly illegal, it is not usually in the interests of its members to advertise such due to the organization’s questionable reputation. Due to the group’s extensive political influence, prosecution of its members has proven difficult, as cases built against them often find key evidence goes missing, or witnesses uniquely uncooperative.
Golden Tiger Syndicate
|Key Activities:||Racketeering, fraud, robbery, money laundering.||Influence:||Human rim-systems.|
Not a single group, but rather an alliance of dozens of small and mid-sized organizations united in order to compete with much larger groups without interfering too heavily in each others business. Primarily comprised of Chinese Triads and Mafia, as well as Japanese Yakuza and other smaller Southeast Asian organizations that would otherwise have fallen by the wayside on the galactic stage. Infamously ruthless in their enforcement of rackets, the Syndicate maintain their influence through a campaign of fear and violence.
Notable member organizations include the Pan Jung Tong, which once held Chinese-owned industry on Titan under its thumb but has since been largely driven to the edges of human space, and the Phact Yakuza, which dominated illegal activity the Phact system until they were brutally expelled by the growing militaristic law enforcement of New Kyoto, but have remained powerful in surrounding systems and outlying off-the-grid habitats.
|Key Activities:||Piracy, raiding.||Influence:||Rim-systems on the Human-Tajaran border.|
Probably the largest human-based pirate group in the rim systems, operating primarily between Human and Tajaran space, as most of the Human-Skrell border is dominated by Skrell Ue-Katish pirates, and the militarized borders of Hegemony space are too heavily patrolled for effective raiding. Most of their targets are transport vessels - both freight and passenger - moving between rim systems or to and from Tajaran worlds, as well as outlying habitats and facilities in rim systems. However, some have been known to venture further into SolGov space for richer pickings.
The “Gang” is truthfully a loose alliance of many pirate crews and fleets which usually operate independently but have been known to come to one another's defense against local or SCG retaliation, turning them into a remarkably formidable force despite their general lack of modern purpose-built or military grade equipment.
While the gang is primarily made up of humans, mostly former rim-world workers driven to crime by desperation, or criminals fleeing persecution in more effectively policed space, others are former spacers initially working in exchange for their lives, and crews often include Tajaran members, including some led by Tajaran captains. While mostly reliant on raiding for supplies, the gang is known to operate several out-of-system habitats as refuelling and trading hubs, as well as smaller, secretive in-system outposts.
Major Radical Political Groups
While countless fringe political groups exist throughout the galaxy standing for almost any cause imaginable, a few large groups stand out on an interstellar scale.
Nation of Mars
|Core Beliefs:||Martian independence, anti-federalism, multinationalism.|
Often shortened to simply “NoM”, the Nation of Mars is a multinationalist radical militia group demanding the independence of Mars and ultimately the dissolution of the Solar Confederate Government. The group has claimed responsibility for a number of high-profile assassinations, bombings and other attacks targeting government and law enforcement with little regard for collateral damage or public image.
While primarily operating in Sol, they have claimed credit for a number of attacks on SolGov facilities, vessels and personnel throughout the Core Worlds and the Sagittarius Heights , often with support from local national independence movements. While more legitimate, peaceful independence movements have officially distanced themselves from the NoM, some major activist groups’ donations have been passed on to the group.
Revolutionary Solar People’s Party
|Core Beliefs:||Anti-corporatism, anti-capitalism, workers’ rights.|
The RSPP are an extremist anti-corporate political group known for involvement in several armed uprisings on corporate-dominated colonies and facilities, including supplying weapons and volunteers for the successful overthrow of the corporate-run former government of Casini's Reach just over a century ago. The Party operates a permanent armed wing, the Solar Revolutionary Army, which has been used both to support existing actions, as well as undertake destructive raids on a variety of corporate facilities throughout human space, often those with poor records for workers rights or in retaliation for specific violations by their parent company.
The group has split on several occasions over ideological particulars and personal disagreements, and now the organization externally referred to as the RSPP consists of several smaller parties with almost indistinguishable goals, but minor differences in technique and or structure.
Nonhuman Criminal Organizations
The Qerr-Glia and Ue-Katish
See: Skrell Criminality