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The Corporate Oligarchy
The city of Arcadia is governed by a network of megacorporations that have staked claims to territories around the city. Each corporation has an army of private militia, which is used to enforce a mutually agreed upon law established using galactic trade agreements.
The most prominent corporations that hold power are Galavantier tech, Tenshinn Security Tech, Valeynuran Systems, and the Ubiquitous Paragon. Other companies have been permitted to grow and weave their influence into sociopolitical matters, but not first without proving themselves with the size of their treasuries.
Always there at the right place and the right time, the Enforcers are the ruthless pseudo-justice system of Under. Unchained from their moral code centuries ago, they now wander the streets in their enigmatic crusade.
No one knows what they are; machine, alien, or some horrific genetic experiment. They keep their features hidden, swathed in black tattered robes that drag on the concrete, their faces a void of nothingness. But the extremely perceptive can pick up a glint of fluid metallic claws protruding from their sleeves.
The Enforcers are often spotted raiding the popup marketplaces, apprehending their victims and disappearing without a trace. The market vendors have adapted to this behavior, constantly on the move and changing their caravan routes.
Where they take their victims, alive or dead, also remains a mystery. Most theorize they reside in bases deep into the Fringe, but no one has ever been in far enough and returned to tell the tale. But the horrors that captured ne’er do wells are subjected to is left completely to the imagination of the most disturbed individuals, amplified with a dash of hearsay. All will agree that capture is a fate worse than death.
They are not unique to Arcadia, but are found only on planets run by a prominent corporate oligarchy. Not one single company takes the blame, or credit, for releasing the ferocious horde into the galaxy. But Uppercity dwellers need not fear of encountering these bloodthirsty priests of order; they rarely stray far into the Civilized territory, leaving the pseudo markets and public elevators in peace.
The Shadows are a specialized group of mercenaries led by a spooky man named Scorpio. They are a breed of elite scouts, often hired to gather intel or to closely tail specific targets. They contrast with typical mercenaries, who are used for their guns rather than their discretion.
They observe. They follow. For a time specified by the client, the Shadows will tail a target and report on its every movement. If requested, and for additional fees, they may even offer limited protection to the target if the client wishes them to remain alive.
No one knows the location of their central base of operation, or their numbers. Attempting to unearth their location against their will is an easy way to an early grave. They take pleasure in running potential clients through hoops in order to contact them. If the client doesn’t want to exert the effort to find them, they won’t have any interest in completing the job.
First, a thread of planted rumors are to be followed to locate an Emissary stationed somewhere in the Undercity. The targeted Emissary will then listen to the details of the job, and if the task is withing the acceptable limitations the Shadows perform, the Emissary will discuss it with a Head Officer in their jurisdiction. If the contract is accepted, a different Emissary will inform the client.
Capturing a Shadow agent is extremely rare, but not unheard of. Extracting information out of one will prove even more difficult, as they tend to carry a wide range of evasion technology on their person, both lethal and nonlethal.
If the identity of an agent is somehow revealed, mandatory genetic reconstruction is assigned, but only if they have been given permission to remain active within the guild and redeem themselves. Otherwise, they are executed.
A mark of failure is tattooed on the genetic code of the surviving agent, taking form of marker proteins in the DNA strand. Too many marks on an agent’s DNA causes the individual to be reassigned to clerical work, if they have proven their continued worth.
The Experimentalists hold the status of vermin to anyone in Under, and only a whisper of rumor to those in Upper. They prey upon unsuspecting wanderers in small hunting parties, usually led by one altered scientist and a group of horrid abominations they call servants.
They use a terrifying arsenal of chemical, biological, and radioactive weaponry to overthrow their quarry. If the victims don’t melt into a puddle of goo from the first onslaught, they try their custom brewed mutagens to alter them. If only bits remain intact, they collect them and use them for flesh grafting projects to create more minions. Either way, it’s a losing situation for the poor damned souls who crossed their path.
The minions can take shape in many forms, from golems made from pieces of other creatures, not necessarily human, to reptilian or even bug-like creatures grafted with metal-like exoskeletons. Even though the processes are the same, each creature is unique due to the erratic nature of substances used in creation.
Its exact establishment is unknown, but many agree it started with a group of rouge doctors and unhinged scientists, unbound by the chains of morality. While many of the most flourishing biotech companies are guilty of crimes against humanity, the Experimentalists are chaotic, inflicting horrors on passersby without any evidence of reason, or scientific method. They simply shoot, and watch the results unfold as their victim writhes in agony in front of them.
Though other groups have been uncovered on other planets, they are not nearly as organized or as large as the one on Arcadia. Their numbers are uncertain, but many facilities dedicated to producing more minions as well as mutagens can be found scattered about the Fringe. Many mercenaries have been hired as cleanup crews to search and destroy these places, but very few are willing to risk their lives and sanity, despite the lucrative pay.
The Cartographer’s Guild
The Cartographers are a group of individuals dedicated to reclaiming the Fringe, steadily mapping unknown areas for the safety of settlers in the Undercity.
A particularly crafty gathering, they work with a network of other mercenary guilds as well as military police and gang forces to procure their resources. Considered a neutral force by all parties, they are considered a protected group by many in Under.
To maximize their profits, they also take to mapping out large corporate run facilities to sell to the highest bidder, often mercenaries who want an edge on their next mission.They do not guard their secrets, openly offering their maps for a price, usually in exchange for a favor or a supply cache for a new expedition.
The group is generally friendly and welcoming, but are wary of malicious intent. Known to be inhumanly perceptive, they have ways of extracting a traveler’s true intention.