Crime in Fenspace
Not everybody who's made it Up is nice.
Organized criminals got into Fenspace the same way everyone else did: they handwaved some vehicles (or had someone else 'wave some vehicles for them) and headed up. Then, for the most part, they settled down in quiet locations away from the major traffic lanes and built up their resources.
However, it's difficult to actually commit crimes when you're hidden like that, so they started preying on honest folk (some more quickly than others). Their depredations slowly grew until May 2012, when the SOS-Con began Operation Great Justice, Fenspace's "war on crime." This initiative lasted until the destruction of the Dark Tower (a.k.a. Boskone Prime) in January 2014, when Operation Great Justice and the Space Patrol inflicted a major blow against the organized criminals of the time.
Military initiatives, no matter how strong, have never been able to wipe out civil problems. Organized crime still exists in space, and probably always will.
Organized Criminal Groups
Most Fen lump all organized criminals under the heading "Boskonians". This is a gross over-simplification.
Many of Earth's major organized crime groups are active in space, not always in co-operation with each other. (The rivalry between at least one Columbian drug cartel and at least one Yakuza group was the direct cause of the destruction of Crystal Osaka in 2013, for instance.) If they are known to exist on Earth, they probably have at least a representative somewhere in space to keep an eye on their interests. There are also many "home-grown" criminal groups in space.
After Operation Great Justice, these groups made the Patrol's "Most Wanted" list:
- The El Capone Gang, an amalgamation of various movie-gangster Fen, is the top criminal threat in Fenspace today. They have close contacts with (or been infiltrated by) many organized criminal groups back on Earth, which makes them the official heirs to the Boskonian legacy. They have their hands in every criminal enterprise known to Fen.
- The Tanglewood Boys, gangsta-rap Fen who use the U.S. East coast as their inspiration, are mostly small-time extortionists. However, their number is nearly as large as the El Capone Gang, which makes them a major threat to law and order.
- The last known large group of organized criminals in space are the Star Bloods, gangsta-rap Fen who prefer the U.S. West coast as their inspiration. Preferring to control the gambling trade, they are often at odds with the El Capone Gang and their backers. Combined with their natural rivalry with the U.S. East coast Tanglewood Boys, this makes them a more vicious group than their low numbers would suggest.
- The newly emergent Criminal Guild appears to has picked up the Boskonians' government contacts that weren't ferreted out by Operation Great Justice. Madam Marciano, a refined beauty with Gothic tastes, is one of their leaders. She is believed to be a cyborg, and is known to control The Twelve Sisters, utterly-loyal female android assassins with a Gothic-Lolita fashion bent who don’t mind collateral damage.
- Dr. Asmodeus Grey, the former Super who created the Catgirling Machine, is the only individual listed on the Patrol's "Most Wanted" list. He was believed dead until the records from Boskone Prime were cracked; his current whereabouts are unknown. He is wanted alive, despite calls for his immediate execution, on the off chance that he knows a way to reverse the effects of the Catgirling Machines.
- The Bugrom are extremely-biomodded insects created by "Queen Diva" and commanded in battle by "Dark General Katsuhito Jinnai." Diva is obviously an extremely good bio-geneticist. Given the increasing numbers of Bugrom encountered, either she has a mass-production line or has managed to breed her troops. The Bugrom started showing up in early 2014.
- Rather than focus on the business of crime, Big Fire is an ideological organization bent on World Domination by any means. While their numbers are still small, the organization's existence has forced Fenspace to acknowledge the existence of "super villains." There are rumors (aren't there always) that Big Fire is a front organization for an older syndicate. Some say this organization began forming as early as 2008, and some say it has been around for much longer. Believed to be Asian in origin, it is said to have drawn the survivors of the Tongs and the triads into its core, and is ruled by a man that is so powerful, so evil, as to rival the Devil. But, of course, these are just rumors.
- The Concordat is probably the most insidious threat to Fenspace and ‘Danelaw interests, in that they feel they own Handwavium, and thus have the right to control it and do with it as they please. While little else is known about them, their mere existence has led to various ‘Danelaw governments tightening regulation of Handwavium while paradoxically allowing more people access to it.
As far as anyone in the Patrol knows, no serious organized criminal group calls itself "Boskonians" - that name is applied to criminals by Fen, not by themselves.
Types of Organized Crime
Organized crime on Earth breaks down into some clearly-identifiable activities, some of which do not translate well to Fenspace.
In Fenspace, extortion is widely considered to be a form of robbery, which is illegal.
Small groups of Boskonians make a profit extorting protection money out of isolated fen. ("That sure is a nice oxygen reclamation system you have there. Would be a shame if something were to happen to it.") Fenspace being primarily a cashless society, most of the protection "money" is actually goods that would otherwise be used for barter.
Extortionists have the advantage of being able to move fast, and their threats are often very effective.
In regions where the Patrol is nearby (such as the Supers enclave in Kandor City) or where citizens routinely take the law into their own hands (such as the Browncoat settlements on Ganymede), extortion is risky. In other areas, it can be quite lucrative - most people will pony up the money because of the chance that the Boskonians could sabotage their food, water and air supplies before the Space Patrol could do anything to save them.
Gambling and Prostitution
As of 2014, gambling and prostitution are not illegal in Fenspace.
But that doesn't mean they're safe activities. Organized crime is accustomed to being in charge of these businesses on Earth even where they're legal, and they don't take infringement on their "turf" lying down. A new establishment in either of these fields should expect extortion and terror tactics to be used against it until it capitulates, unless it becomes more expensive for the criminals to continue the harassment than they'd gain after the takeover.
Successful casinos and brothels in Fenspace either have arrangements with the local organized criminals, are owned by the criminal element outright, or are very good at protecting themselves.
Slavery is illegal in Fenspace, and has been since the Articles of Convention were signed at Anticipation.
The scarcity of usable living room in space makes owning slaves problematic, so slaving operations in Fenspace focus on obtaining "stock" for the Earth market. There is enough demand among unscrupulous mundanes for biomodded pleasure-slaves that capturing, forcibly biomodding, and brainwashing Fen is a sufficiently profitable activity for organized crime to handle.
As of 2014, there are no illegal drugs in Fenspace.
This is less because of the libertarian nature of Fenspace, and more from the fact that addiction to incapacitating or mind-altering drugs is self-correcting in space. (People who drug themselves into a state where they can't tend to their own needs quickly end up dead from oxygen deprivation, either because the air in their suits or cars ran out, or because they walked out an airlock without a pressure suit.)
Since avoidance of "hard" drugs is a survival trait in Fenspace, there is little market for organized criminals to fill. Generally, they don't bother.
Organized crime does take advantage of conditions in space to harvest or otherwise create drugs that can be sold on Earth. The most notorious of these is thionite, a powerful hallucinogen derived from certain strains of Venusian terraforming bacteria.
|Just because handguns are legal in Fenspace doesn't mean they aren't controlled. The vast majority of large ships and stations regulate who is allowed to carry weaponry while on-board, in order to reduce the chance of accidental death and structural damage. (While most handwaved hulls are impervious to firearm bullets, there are plenty of tubes and conduits that handle electronics, oxygen, and temperature control to be ruptured in a gunfight.)|
As of 2014, there are no illegal weapons in Fenspace. The use of weapons of mass destruction (such as "kaboomite") near any inhabited station was outlawed in the Treaty of KandorCon, but ownership of them is not illegal per se.
However, many Fen don't bother to go armed. One can only cram so much into a vehicle, and there's no hostile wildlife in space. More importantly, there's no pre-existing source of food Out There. Given a choice between a chaingun that he'll probably never use or an extra day's worth of groceries that he'll definitely eat, most Fen choose to pack the food. Weapon caches exist mainly on larger ships and stations that have room for luxuries (such as Grover's Corners and Stellvia), and in areas where the local culture is heavily influenced by Fen from areas of the United States where personal weapon ownership is encouraged, but most of these people brought their weapons with them when they left Earth.
Also, weapons larger than sidearms and rifles are too expensive for most Fen to purchase. (As of 2013, only Boskone and the Great Justice team had military-spec hardware in any great numbers, and most of that was homebuilt.)
Since most of the people in Fenspace who want weapons already have the weapons they can afford, there is little market for organized criminals to fill. Generally, they don't bother.
Because of the unique nature of Fenspace economics, it quickly becomes obvious which companies are being looted from within (the amount of biomass coming from the companies increases without obvious cause), and the companies' owners can take appropriate steps before major harm is done.
As of 2014, it is not illegal to share data of any sort in Fenspace. Most factions have rules against divulging secrets, and many respect the concept of copyright to greater or lesser degrees, but the highly libertarian nature of Fenspace as a whole makes it impossible to place an outright ban on data transmission.
This gives certain people ideas. Download servers that are illegal on Earth, ranging from the political to the mercenary, flourish in many areas of space. Some of these servers are operated by the criminal element.
Because of these servers, many Earth-based governments do not allow their citizens to access the Interwave, and some of the governments that do allow such access monitor it closely.
Terrorism in Fenspace is kind of an odd duck. Fen are beautiful examples of targets for all kinds of terrorists, from al-Qaeda to Operation Rescue, but terrorism tends not to happen in Fenspace. This is based partly in the diffuse nature of fen government; it's harder to strike fear in a nation when that "nation" is made up of fewer people than the population of Luxembourg and spread out all over a volume millions of times larger than Earth.
A few terrorist (or "terrorist") groups, like the Sons of Turner (a white-power movement affiliated with like groups in North America and Europe) or the Red Brigades (the classic communist terror group from Italy, revived for a new century) have found homes in Fenspace. However, these groups seem mostly content to isolate themselves within small habitats as they try to create their utopias. If or when these attempts fail, the situation may change.
The biggest terrorism-related threat plaguing Fenspace, and the one Great Justice (and after them, the Patrol) spend most of their energy combating, is the threat of groups using fen technology to strike at Earth. The idea that a group could throw "small" asteroids and comets at juicy targets on Earth is very tempting. It's bad enough that this almost happened to Aukland by accident in 2011; most people in Great Justice and the Patrol have spent some sleepless nights dreading that someone might try doing it on purpose. Thankfully, most terrorist groups don't have the contacts necessary to pull this kind of stunt off. One (thankfully rare) exception to this are the Sons of Rome, a negative-growth deep green movement that attempted to drop a dinosaur killer on Earth in early 2014. The attempt failed, but a large number of the Sons escaped the Patrol.
There isn't any obvious risk of genocide in Fenspace, even given its cultural diversity. However there is the obscure faction Goodlife, who while they don't directly threaten genocide, have as their aim the extinction, not just of humanity, but all Life from the Universe.
- The Space Patrol - Law Enforcement in Fenspace