The Syndicate is a loose band of criminal organizations, terrorist, and corporate backers created in the aftermath of the Cygni War, and widely is criticized for their brutality in corporate espionage, sabotage, and murders. Beginning as Cybersun's personal secret operatives, it would slowly escalate from the constant conflict within the corporate world, and the private militarization companies would employ. The result would cause three powerful groups composed of Cybersun, Gorlex, and Waffle Co. to form an organization focused on corporate sabotage against well armed rival companies. It would soon expand its roster to include other groups to terrorize and sabotage governments and rival megacorporation's within the sector. Today the Syndicate continues to operate in separate cells with occasional infighting from internal groups, with a main focus of Nanotrasen, after their dominant control of the plasma markets.
The Syndicate's infamous assassination of Hephaestus Megacorporation's CEO, Viktor Iavarone, in 2452 marked its public debut. This bold act set off a series of high-profile assassinations targeting influential corporate figures and Trans-Solar Federation (TSF) officials opposing Cybersun's interests. Over the decades, the Syndicate's reputation grew, with Gorlex's commander, Euukho Zek'huil, becoming its public face. Their successful operations lured underground investors and allies with similar goals, expanding their influence beyond TSF, reaching Skrellian and Tajaran territories. This slow expansion would lead to the public founding of now current Syndicate, with the infamous logo of a three headed snake representing its core founders, or a black sharp S for simplicity.
The Syndicate has evolved into a vast conglomerate, encompassing a myriad of groups and criminal activities. This expansion birthed an internal black market, offering unique products and services distinct from mainstream corporations. However, growth has also sown discord, with internal factions often clashing over differing ideologies. Despite these internal tensions, a shared enemy unites them: Nanotrasen. Being one of the biggest megacorps in the galaxy, rivaling Cybersun, it is common to see large bounties or jobs offered to those within willing to take them. While they primarily target Nanotrasen, the Syndicate also opposes governments supporting their rivals and threatens dependent colonies, casting a shadow of fear over the public.
The Syndicate Inner Circle
Cybersun, finding itself a target of sabotage attempts, responded by forming a secretive group of mercenaries known as the "Inner Circle." Unlike typical offensive sabotage operators, the Inner Circle specialized in counter-offensive operations. This strategic focus on defense allowed Cybersun to keep their hands clean, and focus on keeping its secrets to a minimum. The Inner Circle successfully thwarted numerous sabotage attempts, particularly those targeting Cybersun's rapidly advancing and secretive Artificial Intelligence research. As rumors about their AI projects spread, so did efforts to infiltrate their research facilities.
In the 22nd century, Cybersun leveraged technological advancements on Mars to become a leading manufacturer of products within the Martian world, as colonization efforts demanded supplies like suits, technological infrastructure, and construction tools to further expand human interest on the planet. The increasing demand for these products fueled substantial profits, enabling Cybersun to expand into various sectors across Human and Skrellian space. This rapid growth marked the beginning of their ascent to megacorporation status, as they started dominating multiple markets within the sector.
During the Kidan war and its aftermath, the Inner Circle's strategic importance escalated as they adeptly navigated the complexities of the war. Like many corporations, Cybersun suffered significant losses from the Kidan invasion, including the destruction of several facilities. However, foresighted planning had already secured the bulk of their profits and commerce on the more stable Skrellian homeworld of Jargon 4. In response to the escalating conflict, Inner Circle operations swiftly redirected resources to safer planets, away from the outer holdings under siege. This strategic relocation played a pivotal role in enabling Cybersun to remain active and competitive in the post-war economy.
Creation of the Syndicate
In the century following the war, Cybersun continued to leverage its Inner Circle, a group now comprised of seasoned veterans and skilled operatives. These operatives, deeply familiar with the strategies of their rivals, shifted their focus from purely defensive tactics to preemptive strikes. This change was necessitated as most corporations had developed their own private military or police forces, making traditional defensive measures increasingly challenging. The Inner Circle began to adopt more aggressive and, at times, illicit methods for their corporate espionage activities on behalf of Cybersun.
During this period, Waffle Co., previously a front for a vast black market logistics operation, was exposed and dismantled. Many of its executives were either arrested or forced into hiding. Seizing this opportunity, Cybersun covertly recruited key agents and managers from Waffle Co. to rebuild the organization as an underground entity. A notable figure from Waffle Co., whose identity remains classified, played a crucial role in establishing connections for Cybersun's sabotage operations and facilitated the smuggling of military-grade Cybersun modsuits into the black market.
These modsuits attracted the attention of a wealthy mercenary group from Moghes, known as the Gor'Lek Izka or Gorlex Marauders in Galactic Common. Impressed by the versatility and effectiveness of the modsuits in raids, the Gorlex Marauders proposed a business deal to acquire more. This led to a pivotal meeting between representatives of Gorlex, Waffle Co., and the Inner Circle, acting on behalf of Cybersun. The agreement reached was multifaceted: Gorlex would act as aggressive operatives against increasingly militarized corporations, Cybersun would supply technology and modsuits for Gorlex operations, and Waffle Co. would manage logistics, funneling items from Cybersun into the black market and supporting operations.
This alliance, formed in 2452, marked the inception of what would become the Syndicate.
After its formation, the Syndicate immediately tested its operatives, particularly Gorlex's ability to handle corporate security. Their initial target was Hephaestus Industries, a growing rival corporation in conflict with the Skrellian government over outsourcing to Jargon 4. The initial missions involved sabotage and solo assassinations, assessing Gorlex's aptitude in corporate espionage. Known for their lack of subtlety, these operations drew significant attention, culminating in the high-profile assault on Hephaestus CEO Viktor Iavarone during his transit between Sol and Skrell space.
The attack, though costly in terms of Gorlex's elite operatives, including seasoned Unathi and Cygni Human veterans, was successful. Iavarone was found dead, his skull gruesomely missing. The incident sent shockwaves through the Solar-Central Compact, with news outlets from Sol to Skrell space rapidly broadcasting the brutal hit. TSF agencies launched investigations, quickly linking Gorlex to the attack and labeling it as corporate violence. The Syndicate's notoriety exploded, becoming a hot topic across news networks within the Sol System's reach.
Despite the mission's success, its high cost forced the Syndicate to recalibrate, shifting towards more covert operations with reduced collateral damage. The underworld, recognizing the Syndicate's impact on the corporate landscape, began to seek affiliation. Vetting became frequent as potential members needed to offer something valuable: experience, manpower, funds, or connections. The Syndicate evolved into a formidable organization opposing corporate monopolies and governments invested into corporations. Ironically, some of its members, corporate giants themselves, used the Syndicate as a means to further their own expansionist agendas.
Today, the Syndicate remains active, widely regarded as a terrorist entity by governments and a formidable threat to corporations with a contentious past. Their decentralized structure, with cells dispersed across space, renders them elusive and resistant to efforts aimed at diminishing their influence. With Gorlex increasingly space-focused and the fragmented state of Moghes, pinpointing the Syndicate's true leadership proves elusive to those seeking to neutralize the group.
Over time, the Syndicate's growth of members after their success was initially fostered on a spirit of cooperation toward similar but specific goals. However, as diverse ideologies merged, internal cohesion began to deteriorate, exposing the underlying cutthroat nature driven by opposing ideals. This led to inevitable infighting among some cell groups, occasional hits on rival groups within the Syndicate are still common depending on the group and history. Although Syndicate policy officially discourages direct attacks on fellow members, enforcement by Syndicate Officers is sporadic and often only occurs if it aligns with a founder's interests. Despite the prevalent internal strife, a unifying threat has emerged, with many seeing it as a major threat, Nanotrasen.
Nanotrasen, initially just one of many targets, has become a primary focus of Syndicate aggression. This shift is rooted in the rivalry with Cybersun, their corporate takeover of other smaller corporations, and their dominant control over the lucrative plasma markets. Nanotrasen's close ties with the TSF and aggressive corporate expansion have drawn the ire of numerous factions, transforming them from a popular target to the primary villain on most Syndicate bulletin boards. The escalating conflict reflects not just a battle for market dominance but also a deeper struggle for power and influence in a rapidly changing galactic landscape.
Within the Syndicate's complex web, a myriad of splinter factions and groups, each with its own agenda, thrives. This spectrum encompasses criminal gangs, terrorist cells, and even rival corporate entities. Despite the occasional overlap or clash in their ideologies, the Syndicate's diversity is both its greatest strength and weakness in the unified opposition against its primary adversary, Nanotrasen. These factions include, but are not limited to:
A popular corporate entity within TSF space. Originating from early Martian Colonization, Cybersun pioneered tech development on Mars, catalyzing its rise as a tech hub and fostering corporatist ideologies. Today, as a megacorp rivaling other industry giants, they specialize in Artificial Intelligence, bionic prosthetics, and advanced computer technology. While owning several other subsidiaries in various fields of the industry and running a legitimate business, Cybersun does not publicly align with the Syndicate, instead choosing to use their proxy operatives, The Inner Circle.
Syndicate Inner Circle
Originally established by Cybersun corporate elites for defense against rival corporate sabotage, the Inner Circle has evolved into Cybersun's primary proxy, managing Syndicate affairs and resolving disputes as needed. While their role is largely bureaucratic, overseeing operations and documentation, they possess extensive experience in corporate sabotage and criminal activities. Now focused on preemptive strikes to ensure seamless operations, the Inner Circle operates with a high level of professionalism and patience.
Originating from Moghes, the Gorlex Marauders are a formidable mercenary faction with operations spanning various regions of space. Their rise began with the Unathi's space exploration, particularly when wealthy clans with FTL travel sought to travel beyond Moghes. The warrior clan, Gor'Lek Izka, capitalized on this by offering combat and security services to these spacefaring Unathi. Leveraging their success, Gor'Lek broadened their scope, recruiting a group of TSF marine deserters after the Cygni War, thus birthing the joint-species organization, Gorlex. Today Gorlex is commanded by Euukho Zek'huil, who is a highly wanted Fugitive in the sector.
Once a corporate powerhouse rivaling giants like Donk, Waffle Co became infamous. After its illegal operations were exposed by Donk operatives. Initially recognized for their major food products and services within the TSF, a scandal at Waffle HQ unveiled their covert operations as a significant criminal logistics network, trafficking contraband and arms. This revelation led to the arrest of many of its top executives by the TSF. However, some evaded capture and persisted, ensuring the company's underground operations remain active and potent.
A corporation specializing in drug manufacturing and health technology, has been a significant supporter of the TSF. Frequently contracted by the government during crises or wars, events like the Kidan and Cygni conflicts significantly boosted their portfolio, establishing them as a major player in the medical industry. Today, Interdyne not only produces medicine but also delves into virology, and RnD of medical technology. Their value to the medical market and further research into health services from their technology solidifies their standing as a leading pharmaceutical corporation.
With the rise of artificial intelligence from giants like Cybersun and Nanotrasen, certain factions began to perceive the treatment of these silicon entities as oppressive. This sentiment gave birth to SELF, a group dedicated to the liberation and rights of non-organic beings. While decentralized, their cells coordinate to launch attacks and hacks, aiming to free their oppressed robotic counterparts from corporate and governmental control.
Initially a peaceful advocacy group, ARC championed the rights and welfare of animals against corporate exploitation. However, environmental degradation on Jargon 4 radicalized their stance. While still primarily peaceful, a faction within ARC has adopted extremist measures, resorting to terrorism to further their cause. While the main ARC body attempts to distance itself from these actions, they've been criticized for not condemning them strongly enough.
The Syndicate is known to employ a wide range of tactics and agents when engaging in corporate sabotage in Nanotrasen. While the following categories aren't all-encompassing, they demonstrate some of the typical avenues The Syndicate makes use of in order to exact their agenda.
Syndicate Operatives, or Traitors, work through an internal system of bounties and listings, accessible via depots, net messages, or designated handlers. These tasks, often commissioned by influential factions within the Syndicate, cater to the criminal elite. Some operatives are lured by lucrative rewards, while others are coerced through blackmail, debt, or threats. There are also sleeper agents embedded within corporations, viewed as expendable assets. While operatives may have diverse motivations, they commonly undertake illicit or destructive missions, occasionally clashing with rival factions during operations.
Syndicate agents are typically assigned missions to steal, assassinate, intimidate, or safeguard specific interests. Many of these operations further the goals of their respective groups, while others aim to provoke or undermine Nanotrasen. Intriguingly, the Syndicate sometimes tasks its agents with eliminating fellow operatives. Whether this is a strategic move to address internal threats, sow chaos within Nanotrasen, or simply a result of miscommunication between cells remains unclear. Their primary targets often include corporate employees, debtors, and other individuals of significance, while those under their protection are usually key assets or fellow agents.
Syndicate Contractors are the Syndicate's bounty hunters, known for taking on high-stakes capture missions with tight deadlines. These jobs, which command immediate payment and bonuses for rapid completion, are fiercely competitive; groups within the Syndicate often engage in bidding wars to prioritize their contracts, leading to a hierarchy of VIP listings accessible only through specialized contractor tablets.
The primary objective for these contractors is the live capture of targets for extraction of intelligence through interrogation or brutal intimidation for overdue debts. Conditions of these jobs commonly demand live capture preferably, these captures often leading to harsh treatment including torture or mutilation, resulting in severe injury or death for the captives. This brutal approach has cemented the contractors' menacing reputation within the Spur, And many fear the horrors that lie after capture.
Operating in areas where the Syndicate has a presence, their goal is not just elimination but coercion, pushing targets into vulnerable positions that can be exploited by the Syndicate. This method allows for groups to continue keeping potential high value assets on check, while reminding them that their reach is boundless. Those unfortunate to be past the point of useful will however be eliminated and disposed either during capture, or later through a lone Syndicate Operative.
Starting as low-level operatives, individuals who demonstrate skill and reliability can ascend to the status of Contractor, a role that offers greater opportunities and recognition within the Syndicate underworld.
As the Syndicate expanded following its initial triumphs, the need for seasoned operatives to oversee intelligence and maintain internal harmony became apparent. This led to the establishment of Syndicate Officers, tasked with supervising operatives and mediating conflicts among the Syndicate's various factions. These officers manage the logistical aspects of operations and oversee the execution of missions across Syndicate territories.
Selected for their extensive experience in the criminal underworld, Syndicate Officers are veterans with a proven track record of loyalty and effectiveness. They are meticulously vetted by the Syndicate's founding members, ensuring their reliability and securing leverage through collateral if necessary.
While their role is crucial in upholding the Syndicate's interests and ensuring the smooth running of its operations, encounters with Syndicate Officers are uncommon. They tend to operate from the shadows, coordinating efforts from depots or concealed bases scattered throughout TSF and corporate-controlled regions of space.
In the dangerous expanses of space, especially beyond the protective reach of government jurisdictions, many ships and stations are equipped with self-destruct mechanisms as a safeguard against potential threats like pirates or hostile alien species. These mechanisms are designed to prevent hostiles from using captured assets as bases or staging areas. While self-destruction is a last-resort measure, sometimes the decision is delayed or fails, leaving behind derelict structures. Over time, scavengers might stumble upon these remnants, salvaging valuable items such as advanced technology, modsuits, and, on rare occasions, nuclear warheads.
Such warheads are sought out for their critical plutonium core, a rare and powerful payload considered useful in the creation of future warheads. Nanotrasen is no victim to these lost warheads, and a handful have been found on the underground market. Their discreetly traded and sold exclusively to elite and trusted figures in the underworld. The Syndicate, known for its vast reach, is rumored to possess several such warheads, particularly within their Gorlex cells. Entrusted with the Syndicate's vast weaponry, Gorlex supervises the SST and Nuclear Operatives, who are occasionally equipped with these warheads for high-stakes missions. However, while they might possess the warhead or its core, a nuclear authentication disk is essential for detonation. This disk, crucial for unlocking all Nanotrasen-affiliated warheads, also holds potential for reverse engineering.
To date, the Syndicate has launched four Nuclear Operatives strikes, with three achieving their objectives. These operations primarily target Nanotrasen, and sometimes other corporations not aligned with the Syndicate, who are outside TSF jurisdiction to minimize potential backlash. The elite operatives chosen for these missions are seasoned Gorlex members, recognized for their expertise and loyalty. Successfully executing a nuclear strike is a prestigious accomplishment. While many factions are eager to fund nuclear teams, the extensive planning and execution of these missions fall under the confirmation of Gorlex's commander, Euukho Zek'huil, with operations and supervision being done on his behalf by Syndicate Officers.
Syndicate Strike Teams (SSTs) are elite units funded by Cybersun and composed of seasoned Gorlex operatives. Tasked with high-stakes missions, they are instrumental in executing critical strikes against valuable targets. Distinguished from their nuclear operative counterparts by their strategic focus, the SST are infamous through their successful high-profile assassinations, including the notorious elimination of Viktor Iavarone.
The SSTs have earned a formidable reputation within the Gorlex ranks, becoming one of the organization's most esteemed assets. Given set equipment for tactically planned missions by their Syndicate Officers, who manage men and logistics as handlers. Their operational details and identities remain shrouded in mystery, with no known instances of a Syndicate Strike Operative being captured alive or their methods being fully disclosed.
The Syndicate's primary objectives revolve around curbing the expansion of rival corporations and causing disruption through sabotage and other forms of subversion. However, their activities occasionally intersect with more unusual allies. Both Changelings and Vampires, entities with their own secretive agendas, have been known to engage with the Syndicate for specific, often rare, collaborations. These engagements typically involve access to the Syndicate's extensive black market or the specialized skills of their operatives.
Operatives with origins as Changelings or those aligned with Vampire Lords are a rarity within the Syndicate's ranks. When they are employed, it is usually for their unique abilities, which are highly valued for certain operations.