The Angel Cartel
The Angel Cartel is regarded by many law enforcement agencies as the most powerful and dangerous criminal organization in New Eden. The main reason for this assessment is the extent and scope of the cartel’s criminal activities. While most of the major outlaw factions have operations spread throughout the cluster, the Angel Cartel is notable for the extent to which it has insinuated itself into the core empires, as well as its considerable interests in the outer regions. Few other criminal organizations, for example, could boast of strong links with the Minmatar underworld while at the same time illicitly supplying slaves to the less scrupulous holders of the Amarr Empire. When these interests are set next to the cartel’s powerful presence in the Gallente illegal drugs market and the sinister tendrils it has inserted into the Caldari corporate world, it can be seen that the Angels’ reach is long indeed.
The cartel has established itself as a power in the lawless outer regions, in particular the aptly named Curse region, where it controls numerous stations and colonies. The impressive military power of the cartel is perhaps most strikingly illustrated by the fact that it has an entire division, the Guardian Angels, dedicated to protecting the interests of its main partner in crime, the Serpentis Corporation. The connection with the Serpentis has served to give the Angels a permanent presence in the Fountain region, making the cartel one of the few criminal organizations to maintain major holdings outside its home region.
The Angel Cartel’s reputation for ruthlessness and brutality has served to prevent interested parties from scrutinizing the organization’s operations too closely, but those who have, perhaps foolishly, made it their business to study the cartel soon learn that it is more than a mere crime syndicate. The cartel has shown a marked interest in technologies new and ancient. It has made its headquarters in a region believed to have been the home of the First and Second Jovian Empires, and it typically discourages exploration and inquiry into its domains with a swift and absolute response. All this said, those students of the Angel Cartel who have survived long enough to put their thoughts on paper all agree on one point of note: the Angel Cartel seems to regard capsuleers as its greatest threat, not rival pirate groups and certainly not the old empires.
The history of the Angel Cartel is shrouded in mysteries, rumors, and legends more contradictory and puzzling than most, but what is certain is that the cartel in its current form began to come together some time in the early period following the formation of CONCORD in BYC 3. Several accounts mention cartel operations in the Heaven constellation at this time, and the first mention of an “Angel Cartel” is dated to YC 4. It is assumed that the cartel chose its name in reference to the Heaven constellation that would become its headquarters.
The origins of the Angel Cartel prior to the first mention of its name are subject to much speculation and many conflicting theories. The most commonly accepted account is that the cartel began as a grouping of pirates and scavengers who aimed for and eventually achieved dominance over the lawless inhabitants of the Heaven constellation. The constellation, and the Curse region as a whole, had for a couple of centuries been one of the most attractive destinations for adventurers and freebooters from the core regions.
On the edges of the civilized world yet relatively accessible, Curse had much to recommend it to those of a mind to rove in search of a lucky strike—or who, just as often, simply wished to prey on others at a comfortable distance from law and order. The presence of many ruins in the region also suggested the previous dominion of a powerful civilization, which some suspected to be a precursor of the recently revealed Jove Empire.
Minmatar Rebellion and Angel Dominance
It was not long after the first suspicions arose of a Jovian connection with Curse that the Minmatar Rebellion took place, an event which heralded a new influx of refugees, often heavily armed ones, into the region. All semblance of order rapidly broke down, as old scores were settled and new conflicts erupted. The most powerful groups began to band together in ever larger cartels and contended for supremacy over Utopia and the Heaven constellation.
The Angel Cartel in particular boosted its numbers so much that they went from controlling and developing the Utopia system and Heaven constellation to having an entire region at their mercy. Along the way they defeated other cartels who has sought to profit from the immigration, and absorbed others into their ranks.
A few years after it coalesced, some ten years after CONCORD was founded, the Angel Cartel had achieved total control of Utopia and the surrounding systems. From that key position of power, it was not long before the Cartel became the unquestioned power in the Curse region. The Cartel however did not leave it at that. Their position of power began to attract outlaws from around New Eden, and likewise they sent out forces beyond their home. The Archangels division in particular was tasked with this and are still the most common one to meet outside of their home.
Amidst the Ruins of the Jove
The initial influx of adventurers to Curse was made up of Amarr explorers and renegades of one kind or another, and in sparse numbers at that. Nevertheless, it became clear that another civilization had relatively recently occupied the region. To the disappointment of prospective slavers, no remaining inhabitants were ever found, even where intact structures stood among the desolation of the rest of the region. In most cases nothing but rapidly crumbling ruins were found, as if the withdrawal of civilization itself had triggered a hasty decay.
In later decades, and particularly in the century before the Angel Cartel emerged, the population of scavengers and pirates making the Curse region their home became more varied, with many escaped Minmatar in particular choosing it as a hiding place from the wrath of the Amarr Empire. Nevertheless, the first Amarr explorers left their mark on the gateway constellation they called “Heaven,” and its systems retained the names the Amarr had bestowed on them. In the decades following Amarrian first contact with the Gallente and the Caldari, particularly adventurous or hunted individuals from those nations found Heaven an attractive destination. The first stations began to be built, with the Utopia system becoming the natural hub of the constellation.
Soon after the Jove made themselves known to all the empires, the few remaining archaeological expeditions in the Heaven constellation came to the realization that the crumbling civilization that had once called the Curse region home had to be Jovian. Eventually evidence amassed that the ruins of the lost civilization in the Curse region were indeed Jovian, and that the artifacts recovered dated back to the First and Second Jove Empires.
It is to this day hard to say just how much the Angels uncovered, and they remain tight-lipped about their discoveries. Publicly they will often downplay the role that Jovian technology might have played in their own rise to power, but what is certain is that the design of their ships bears a remarkable resemblance to that of the Jove. However practically these hulls perform more alike to the Minmatar ships, being fast, agile and packing a lot of punch.
It is unclear if this ship design emphasis is a preference that has served the Angels well, or if they adapted what they knew due to a lack of actually valuable technology left behind. Alternatively, some have suggested that much Jove technology is likely so advanced the Angels were not able to even operate it. Suggesting this is far more upsetting to the Cartel than the implication that their technology is stolen.
Protection Pact with Serpentis
In the century since it achieved control of Curse, the Angel Cartel has rapidly grown in power and currently is, without question, the most feared criminal organization in New Eden. One of the organization’s most important moments came in YC 75, when it struck a deal with the Serpentis Corporation to provide protection in exchange for access to Serpentis stations and research.
This deal turned out to be so mutually beneficial that the Guardian Angels, once tasked with R&D, became security specialists for the Serpentis Corporation and their former responsibilities were passed on to the Salvation Angels division instead. Stations were erected in each other's respective home regions as well, making it so that both are special in having stations not only at the heart of their seat of power but also on the other side of the cluster. This has given both organizations strategic advantages in having multiple staging points spread widely around the edges of the New Eden cluster.
The deal with Serpentis also brought the cartel into its first major conflict with another faction. Guardian Angel forces clashed with Mordu’s Legion when the latter made an incursion into Serpentis Prime in YC 106. The incident is yet another unsolved mystery in the history of the cartel, but is speculated to have involved research into highly advanced technology.
Mordu's Legion Incursion
In YC106 it was Mordu's Legion that embarrassed the Guardian Angels when the former led an incursion into Fountain. Muryia Mordu himself led the operation, and Guardian Angel commanders Brynn Jerdola and Setele Schellan took to the field to chase him and his troops back out. The conflict had been a tactical cat and mouse game until they arrived. Even during the ensuring battle the Legion suffered only minimal losses and caused the Cartel forces to retreat and regroup. During this however Mordu ordered his own fleet to return home.
It is unknown if the Legion got what it came for or if they simply felt they were outnumbered in Serpentis home turf. Luckily for the Angels, it did not jeopardize their relationship with the Serpentis and the lessons learned from this incursion were put to use to strengthen the perimeter against any other unwanted invaders.
War with Sansha's Nation
In mid-YC 108, the Angel Cartel found itself on the defensive against its longtime regional enemy Sansha’s Nation, the latter based in the nearby Stain region. Major attacks by Sansha’s Nation forces against cartel holdings in the Impass and Feythabolis regions marked not only an unusual resurgence in Nation activity but also an escalation of the two outlaw factions’ rivalry into open war. The events of this period of warfare between the Angels and Sansha’s Nation also saw an uncharacteristic reliance by the cartel on capsuleer allies. Speculation suggested that Sansha’s Nation incursions into Cartel space were aiming to seize ancient technologies uncovered by the Angels.
What is remarkable about this conflict is that the Cartel called upon the help of capsuleers to drive the invading forces back. Indeed it seems that Dominations diplomat Xavier Khun had been in contact with the then sovereignty holding alliance Ascendant Frontier
for a while already. Eager to prove their worth and might to both the Cartel and Nation, they deployed in full force alongside the Cartel.
While at first it seems that the Nation had the upper hand, the capsuleers turned the tide and ultimately destroyed the Sansha's Nation fleet in full for only some minor losses. They even went as far as to take out the POS that the Nation had deployed as a staging base. While the conflict died down after that, the Angels maintain a very hostile attitude towards Sansha's Nation.
Infiltration of State and Republic
Two of the most notable incidents in recent history involving the Angel Cartel took place in YC 110. The first incident, in January of that year, was astonishing mainly for its revelation of the weakness of the Caldari State at the time, with Secure Commerce Commission investigators revealing evidence of the Angel Cartel’s infiltration and financial backing of several Caldari corporations. The second incident demonstrated just how brazen the cartel could be, as it invaded and occupied the Skarkon system of the Minmatar Republic in May YC 110.
Itsukame was a Caldari corporate start-up who made headlines in YC 109 when they subsequently poached high-profile researcher Dr. Grant Arataka from Lai Dai, and announced an important breakthrough in the use of unstable wormholes for transport technology. This attracted the attention of the SCC, as improving the capabilities of mobile jump-bridges is classified as military technology.
During the routine work to grant Itsukame an exclusive patent to produce this technology it was found that they had received substantial financial aid from various corporations with ties to or acting as a front for the Angel Cartel. This further implied that the Cartel acted as a silent partner and that Itsukame was thus in part under their control. This is a direct violation of SCC regulations and led to an escalating court battle between the Caldari State and and the SCC.
After seizing substantial amounts of data from Itsukame and an investigation that lasted well into YC 110, it was discovered that as much as twenty Caldari corporations were implicated. While most were small, Zainou Biotech was one big name that stood out. They however pointed out that anyone can invest in their publicly traded stock and that they were the victims here.
Content with what they had still achieved, especially as this had put the State and CONCORD at odds, the Angels withdrew their money and shut down the uncovered fronts, no doubt sending everything right over to the next scheme.
Shortly before the YC 110 collapse of the Minmatar Republic's government, the Archangels claimed democratic sovereignty over the Skarkon system. The Skarkon Crisis carried on throughout May and June, with the Minmatar Republic apparently powerless to do anything about the cartel’s occupation.
Local inhabitants, indeed, appeared to favor the cartel both in their comments and in an apparently free and fair referendum held by the Angels. The inhabitants of Skarkon II, dissatisfied with the failing promises of the Midular government to 'clean up' this dangerous system, had sided with the Archangels in a ten million signatures petition, as well as during the system-wide referendum. Being so close to Curse, the Angels had evidently been growing their influence over the local population for a long time.
The Skarkon Crisis was one of several incidents cited during the vote of no-confidence in the emergency parliament session of the Republic called by Republic Parliament head Maleatu Shakor in June. Ultimately, coincidentally with the Starkmanir discovery, the Cartel withdrew with haste and informed CONCORD that all claims were now to be considered void and rescinded. While CONCORD now considered the situation resolved, many kept discussing what could have caused this strange turn of events. No official word by the Cartel was however given, they simply carried on their business as if they had gotten what they wanted out of the affair.
Today, the Angel Cartel remains as powerful, fearsome, and enigmatic as it has been throughout its history. Few in New Eden will lightly cross the Cartel, and even the most capable criminals know better than to challenge its control of the black market throughout much of the cluster. Even so, it remains the case that perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Cartel is its pursuit of hidden knowledge and lost technologies. The true purposes of the Cartel are as covert as the identities of its famously anonymous leadership.
The Angel Cartel’s culture famously emphasizes loyalty and discipline above all else. The absolute requirement of all Cartel members is that they act first and foremost in the interests of the cartel. Everything else, including their lives, is secondary to this, and deviations from cartel discipline are understood to be punished with implacable ferocity. So far as can be ascertained from the outside—given that Cartel discipline includes the usual criminal code of silence enforced with unusual dedication—the Angel Cartel’s main divisions are organized in a quasi-military structure somewhat akin to the organizational framework adopted by guerrilla fighters. It is possible, indeed likely, that this came about under the influence of former Minmatar rebels who joined the organization.
The cartel is known to be unconcerned with the racial origin of its members, considering that anyone can join the Cartel as long as they accept its discipline. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Cartel has a significant proportion of members from Amarrian and Minmatar bloodlines, but it is clear that its large membership includes many of Caldari and Gallente origin. From the evidence of recovered bodies, surveillance imagery, and the few known Angels captured alive, it has been established that the Cartel has a culture of tattooing where markings signify certain achievements, membership of subgroups, or ranks. This practice appears to be a very degraded form of Minmatar tattooing culture with, for instance, the commonality that the penalties for unearned tattoos are harsh.
The Angel Cartel is also known to have an extensive and rich slang that has to a significant extent influenced the slang of criminals across New Eden. In many places this slang has become a criminal lingua franca. The Angels have been heard to refer to themselves in rather exalted language as “Angels of the Book,” a reference that as yet remains an enigma but possibly refers to some internal code of honor. It is also true that the various divisions of the Cartel are competitive, and members have been recorded speaking of other divisions in mildly disparaging terms or by using diminutive nicknames, such as “Salvies,” for the Salvation Angels, or “Arseangels,” for the Archangels. Competition between divisions, and within them between subgroups, appears to be a universal and essential part of the Cartel’s operational culture.
As far as criminal activity is concerned, the Angel Cartel is indiscriminate. So long as an activity is illegal and can turn a profit, the Cartel will happily take its due part in it. Of note here is the very strong cultural prohibition against profiting from legal activity. This prohibition is so strong that it is one of the few details of Cartel culture to have been credibly established beyond all doubt. Full members of the Cartel apparently disdain legal commerce so strongly that it is against their code to engage in it. As a result, the Cartel has much expertise in corrupting and suborning others into carrying out such legal transactions as it finds necessary. The Cartel also appears to take delight in making apparently legal activities illegal through various devices, thereby allowing themselves to profit according to their codes of honor. The Cartel infiltration of various Caldari corporations in contravention of Caldari and CONCORD law is one such example.
The Angel Cartel is not above preying on other criminal organizations. Indeed, this is one of its major activities within the core empires, and there are relatively few underworld syndicates powerful enough to resist paying the Cartel its cut. The cartel has little inhibition when it comes to the damage its activities do to the law-abiding inhabitants of the cluster, appearing to regard noncriminals as implacably beneath it. Angel Cartel activities are known to include drug and weapon smuggling, slaving, piracy, colony raiding, and many other forms of large-scale criminality.
The Angel Cartel’s top leadership is marked by one characteristic above all others: secrecy. The identities of those who sit at the top of the cartel, the supreme leaders of the Dominations division, are closely guarded. How many they number is unknown, although such investigations as have been carried out have strongly inferred that the leadership does number more than just one man or woman who wields all power. Even that inference may simply have been allowed to exist as yet another smokescreen. The truth is that very few people know the truth, and they are all among the cartel’s most fanatically loyal members.
Aside from the Dominations, however, many divisional leaders and subcommanders can be found throughout the cartel’s quasi-military structure. Every Angel answers to somebody who ranks higher in the organization and every Angel is to some extent trained to lead. This is not least because of the leadership role the Angels often arrogate to themselves in local criminal networks. The identities of those who administer the cartel's divisions—such as Trald Vukenda of the Dominations—are at least known, but it is certain they report to the hidden masters of the Angel Cartel.
Even though its absolute nature is unique, the Angel Cartel’s leadership practices secrecy that extends throughout all aspects of cartel operations and is a strong influence on the subsidiary leaders. An Angel Cartel subcommander will be a master of misdirection and subterfuge. Many are the law enforcement agents who have captured a local cartel “leader” only to find they actually have a ridiculous dupe on their hands. The cardinal law of the cartel has also been seen to operate with total ruthlessness when a real leader has been captured. In almost every case, the cartel has successfully carried out assassinations of captured commanders or cell leaders they could not recover. Those few who the authorities have managed to protect have suffered mind wipes, apparently brought on by self-triggered hypnotic implantation. The Dominations know well that the oath of silence can not stand up to modern interrogation techniques and clearly demand special safeguards from their leadership cadres.
The Angel Cartel’s overall structure is militaristic and hierarchical in nature, with several key divisions existing on a permanent basis to fulfill the main needs of the cartel, and a scattering of minor divisions for highly specialized purposes.
The Archangels are the largest division of the Angel Cartel and are the most commonly seen in space. They constitute the main force taking part in piracy, smuggling, and raiding. Like all the main cartel divisions, the Archangels use a range of distinctive ships known throughout New Eden for speed, firepower, and durability. The novelty and uniqueness of cartel ship designs makes many wonder as to their origin, but the Archangels are certainly not revealing anything. Archangel installations can be found in Curse and Fountain, and their forces can be found patrolling twelve regions of south and east New Eden, from Feythabolis to Cache. The Archangels are so prevalent and large in size that some of their subdivisions, such as their Gistii fighters, have become well known.
The Guardian Angels are the next major division of the Angel Cartel, tasked with protecting Serpentis operations across New Eden but particularly in Fountain and the neighboring regions where Serpentis influence is felt most. Guardian forces are so closely integrated with the Serpentis Corporation’s own formidable military that many who encounter them assume their forces to be part of the Serpentis organization. The relationship between the Angel Cartel and Serpentis is indeed very close, but the Guardian Angels’ first loyalty is to the cartel. For their part, the Serpentis are under no illusions on this point. Guardian Angels are less wedded to the unique technologies used by the cartel than the Archangels and can often be seen using Serpentis equipment. This very likely stems from a combination of convenience and the cartel’s typical reluctance to share its secrets, even with so close an ally as Serpentis.
The Salvation Angels are an old division of the cartel that trace their origins back to the scavenging days of the nascent Angel Cartel. A largely noncombat division, the Salvation Angels are nonetheless a key element in the cartel, responsible for building and maintaining ships, stations, and other facilities. The Salvation Angels are rather notorious within the cartel for their tendency to interfere with the operations of other divisions, but they are tolerated mainly due to their essential role. The division is responsible for all resource extraction, salvaging, and refining work, as well as logistics and supply for operations and installations. The Salvation Angels are also routinely involved in mop-up operations, where they salvage from the wrecks of friend and foe. Occasionally they live up to their name by rescuing survivors from the wrecks of cartel ships, another reason why other Angels tend to be more amused by the prying of the “Salvies” than anything else.
The Dominations are the command division of the Angel Cartel and are both enigmatic and elusive. Dominations ships very rarely venture beyond their bases in Curse, though they do maintain a presence in the Phoenix constellation—no doubt to keep an eye on both the Guardian Angels and the Serpentis. While the Dominations division evidently consists of an extensive staff, with several stations and a support fleet, the actual leaders of the Angel Cartel are never seen in person by anyone other than perhaps a select few personnel. Absolute secrecy as to the identities of the top leadership of the cartel has been maintained by the Dominations for a century. This secrecy naturally fuels speculation as to the cartel’s true purposes. Whatever the reason for their fanatical devotion to hiding their identities, the Dominations leadership have no intention of allowing the veil to slip.
From time to time the cartel finds it convenient to set up other divisions for specific purposes. These divisions may or may not have formal names, but in general they report directly to the Dominations. It is possible that such divisions are either functionally named or perhaps are known by the name of their leader. Since many of these divisions are engaged in covert activity, it is likely that many are simply given code names.
Renegade Amarr and escaped Minmatar were amongst the first to join the ranks of the Angel Cartel and have always been prominent within it, but just as Curse has always had the interest of all the races so has the Cartel never discriminated in its recruitment. This has helped them to become the largest and most powerful criminal organization within New Eden, a status which its members wield with pride.
It is important to note that the Cartel includes within its numbers those which it still owns but who have sworn to serve. For a slave of some skill or talent that the Cartel finds of interest this can be a way to secure a permanent home rather than to be traded on as living wares. The most clever and fortunate of these might in their lifetime or through the generations rise up into positions of certain leadership.
If there is a profit in something, the Cartel probably is involved in it. When expected profit over time drops they will just as soon abandon it in favour of more lucrative opportunities. This flexibility allows them to maximize their income flow and dedicate ample resources to technological advancements. However, they do not exclusively chase short-term opportunities.
Full members of the Cartel are prohibited from profiting from legal dealings, and the organization will often go out of its way to make things illegal so
they can be engaged in when profitable enough. This stance, which may
seem odd to outsiders, is believed to be a means to ensure loyalty and abolish weakness in the leadership cadres. The use of associate members, proxies and unwitting dupes to carry out legal business is common.
One constant source of income for the Cartel is the pact with the Serpentis Corporation. The protection offered by the Guardian Angels entitles the them to a cut of all trade profits from Serpentis stations. This ensures a steady trickle of ISK that then gets reinvested into ensuring its continuation.
When it comes to doing business, the Cartel maintains a high standard of professionalism. This allows its agents to blend in and foster connections with some of the most high profile individuals and organisations in the universe. At times, this even leads to certain contacts changing sides, either sticking at their present occupation to act like a double agent, or abandoning their post to work for the Cartel.
By virtue of its origins, the earliest form of income for the Cartel was mining. To this day ore, ice and gas form the foundation of industry, and are thus in continued demand. The Salvation Angels specialize in "ninja mining", the practice of extracting high-value ore in nimble ships that can escape at the slightest sign of a threat. With capsuleers now roaming all corners of space this is a necessary precaution. However, in areas where they are less likely to be found, or that simply are safe enough to operate normally in, dedicated bases are formed to maximize profitability. Naturally, the Angels are not above hijacking loads of ore or other valuable resources from legitimate miners to funnel through their industry or smuggling operations.
Due to offer and demand, and the fat wallets of those desiring them, luxury goods always carry a hefty price markup. This has caused the Cartel to specialize in the cultivation, extraction and production of them. As planetary conditions are not always ideal in systems where the goods are most in demand, not to mention either regulations complicating things or lack thereof being a hazard in itself, it is common for the Cartel to simply set up space infrastructures at undisclosed
Smuggling happens in a variety of ways, from quick agile and cloaking capable vessels to hiding things amongst other cargo or simply forging the documents that would make the transport appear legal. Goods range in shapes and sizes, and as per Cartel habit people and animals fall under cargo too. The business connections that the Angel Cartel has built up prove invaluable in their smuggling operations, and their best relations are known to call upon the network when they need it as it is one of the best out there.
Slavery and Prostitution
The Cartel benefits from employing slaves as cheap labour. The slave trade in itself also brings in a tidy sum. It is then no surprise that this extends into prostitution, brothels, and the production of x-rated holoreels.
Unlike with the Amarr, slavery is a purely economic affair. The use of Vitoc is rather more exception than rule, unless the slaves obtained were already on this substance which makes the continuation of control through the drug often the cheapest and easiest method possible. Vitoc slaves are also considered less valuable as maintaining their supply of antidotes is troublesome and expensive. Some Amarr however are happy enough to provide Angel slavers with this at a markup sum or in exchange for fresh breeding stock. Slaves owned by the Cartel are generally well
taken care of, as 'damaged goods' neither sell nor perform as well.
As slave ownership and trade is not tied to religion, the general consensus within the Cartel is that one should not partake in it if not desired. Buying slaves to free them or seeking to root out the practice is frowned upon as this goes against long-term profit and internal stability, with the exception of a guarantee that the freed slaves were to become loyal Angels. While some former freed slaves within the ranks are not always happy with this, they do realize that charitable practices can backfire or show undesirable weakness.
To those finding themselves in good standing, the Cartel is willing to bargain some of its technological developments. Many pilots view outlaw technology as an acceptable edge, especially when CONCORD does not disprove of ownership or use thereof. While the Angels are smart enough to keep the best things to themselves, they've certainly realized how lucrative supplying both capsuleers and common people with their goods can be. Black markets across the cluster also always seem to carry a steady supply of Cartel branded items, although the sources of those can be questionable as bought and salvaged goods are often near impossible to tell apart.
The Guardian Angels are credited for the design of both the Cartel's own ships, as well as those of the Serpentis Corporation. While its own
ships are all unique creations, the Guardian Angels combined their own
technology with that of the Gallente when developing a fleet setup for
the Serpentis. This was done because many Serpentis pilots already had
extensive experience flying Gallente hulls in the past.The Daredevil is
somewhat of an exception here, as a modified Dramiel hull was chosen to
serve as the base for ship. This was by express order of Sarpati, who
admired the sleek yet intimidating aesthetics of the Dramiel design.
All of the Cartel's own designs bear Jovian influences, and it is said
that the Machariel is even directly based on an old Jovian design. The
technology used in each hull is however distinctly their own. From the
very beginning the focus of the Angel Cartel fleet has been on speed and
superior firepower, to which the designs lend themselves well, in
addition to looking the part.
Angel Cartel hulls
Production of both Cartel and Serpentis ships falls on the Salvation
Angels, whom also do continued research and development for them.
Factional variants of ship modules and ammo go hand in hand with having
your own hulls, and here the Cartel has developed a range tailored to
their needs and methods of operation. Projectile weapons,
missile launchers and their matching ammo, propulsion and armor modules
are just a few examples of what exists in Angel flavour. All of them are
designed to push the limits in terms of damage, speed, or defensive
Designed to benefit capsuleers that work for the Angel Cartel, or are
willing to pay enough on the markets, the Halo implant
set comes in a regular and a low-grade set. Both
match the regular and limited implant sets, but have the additional
capability to lower the signature radius of the ship the pilot commands,
thus making it harder to be locked on.
Drugs and Boosters
While the Cartel is mostly a dealer and distributor of illegal substances, and leaves the production and advancement to its partner the Serpentis Corporation, it has amongst its variety of personal technologies one component that is found in a plethora of hallucinogenic drugs everywhere: Angel Cartel Dust.
This fine grained powder can be used both as a main ingredient or to enhance or alter the working of other active ingredients. It is nearly never used in its raw form due to its potency, but can be mixed with other chemicals to develop drugs for dream enhancing and visions to full-blown lifelike hallucinations that can last up to a week. There have also been experiments where the component was used to rework the memories of users, both for good and for bad. However due to the unpredictable nature of hallucinations this route has never gained much scientific success.
Angel Cartel Dust is found in both the common versions of Blue Pill and Sooth Sayer, as well as their booster equivalents with the exception of the Synth variants. Due to the strong link of these boosters with the Angel Cartel, CONCORD has pursued their replacement by other substitutes as a hardline requirement.
A booster experiment called Crystal Dust was started up in Tvink by the Thukker Tribe. The booster has Angel Cartel Dust as one of its main components and improves a pilot's overall performance by weaving illusions to help predict the outcome of various actions, almost as if clairvoyant. Despite its potency it never really found its way into the market, as when the dangers of booster use because apparent the project was considered unsalvageable and subsequently official funding was halted. The facility in Tvink is however still operational under the lead of the remaining scientists who managed to find a money source elsewhere.
A logical offshoot of the Cartel's developments in military equipment is a side-market in personal hardware and electronics. This isn't limited to their own creations, but also encompasses Cartel variations of existing tech. These devices and parts are popular with hackers and counter-security specialists due to their superior performance and greater capabilities, causing many to be flagged as illegal within Empire space. This is to the great dismay of technology aficionados who have to resort to the black market to get their hands on them.
Like most factions, the Angel Cartel has its own specific methods of encryption. To go along with this software of both protective and offensive nature exists, all to keep those who are not allowed to access data out and of course to try and break into the systems of enemies and other interesting parties. This however is all a closely guarded secret and the one technology that will likely never be made available to outsiders.
The Angels are present in the weapons market too, with an assortment of big and small arms and matching ammunition, most of which instantly ensure personal security due to their aggressive nature. Here too we find both modifications of existing technologies, as well as some exclusive designs. Popular yet highly illegal is ammunition that acts on contact of skin and has the ability to incinerate, pulverize into shrapnel that slices deep into the body, or even uses nanotechnology to make its way into the bloodstream and cause all sorts of horrific harm.
As the situation lends itself, the Cartel seeks to get involved in whatever is beneficial or lucrative in the short and possible long term. While many technologies never integrate themselves into the core portfolio of the Angels, they realize that versatile knowledge and experimentation are key to staying ahead. As such many become a means to an end and are abandoned when they have served their use. Some of these curiosities are found on markets within the lawless corners of space, sought after by collectors.
Territory and Relations
The Angel Cartel makes its home in the Curse region, with the Heaven constellation as its center. The Utopia system was the first to see stations built in it and control spread from here out until it spanned the entire region. While no further territorial expansion has taken place since, the Cartel does regularly roam the surrounding regions of Feythabolis, Catch, Wicked Creek, Scalding Pass, Insmother and Detorid.
Angel Cartel control over its space is influence by the ever-changing empires of the capsuleer alliances of the outer regions. The Cartel is wise enough to know that it is better to hold a single region and safeguard it than to overextend itself and risk losing control of everything.
The Serpentis are the Angel Cartel's closest allies. While their home regions are astrographically located on different sides of the cluster, the Serpentis have several stations out in Curse, whereas the Angels hold a presence in Fountain that extends beyond the deployment of the Guardian Angels.
Starting out as hired muscle and moving forward as business partners, the relationship between the Angels and the Serpentis is one that finds its strength in the symbiosis between both groups. Where the former has found it more lucrative to outsource research and development to the latter, the reverse is met in the Serpentis being able to focus on their specialization and leave the practical application of their technology as well as most matters of protection up to the Cartel.
Sansha's Nation and the Angel Cartel are directly opposed, both in ideology as well as due to border conflicts. While the Catch region is under capsuleer control, the old remnants of the Nation patrol it heavily, bringing them right next to the Angel's home in Curse. The Angels exercise a high level of vigilance around Nation patrols and keep close watch, striking back whenever the Sansha try and cross the line. These incidents have far lessened in frequency now that the Nation is holding incursions through most of known space. However it would be folly to assume that the Angels would be any less desired as potential members of the Nation's collective.
Sisters of EVE
While the Angels pay little mind to the Sisters as long as they stay out
of their way, the SoE regard them as some of the worst criminals in the cluster. Should the Cartel somehow find themselves in a situation where aid is needed, the Servant Sisters will do it as is their humanitarian duty. But in the Angels' dealings with illegal slavery and other human trafficking they form a direct opposite of ideals.
While the Amarr like to keep their best slaves to themselves, less desirable slaves or numbers that have grown too many but and have little market value may find their way into Cartel hands. Even good slaves may come this route when the price is right.
The reverse situation also happens. Holders who hold little qualms as to where their slaves come from, and are merely interested in boosting their numbers for the sake of status, may obtain them from the Cartel complete with false documents as to their origin. After all it would be seen as disgraceful and even in some cases as a violation of the Scripture to have these amongst one's numbers.
It is also interesting to know that the Heaven constellation and its systems were named by early Amarrian explorers who took to the region of Curse in search for additional slaves. Since it is from this constellation that the Angel Cartel got its name, the Amarr are in some way responsible for the namesake of New Eden's biggest criminal organization.
Knowing the drive of the megacorporations to succeed against each other, the Cartel sees a weakness in some that they are most willing to exploit. After all there are only so much results that good and honest competition can achieve. A little funding here in return for some of the profits vanishing into one of their shadows accounts, a little assassination of a key figure at an unfortunate time there, the Cartel is most happy to pull the strings by employing the methods they have mastered.
Should their hirers seek to not honor the contract, the Angels will have no scruples to go public and throw them under the proverbial bus. With honor being so integral a part of society, the problem will be taken care of by its own people and the Cartel loses nothing for it. They'll even welcome the publicity.
Furthermore, as might be expected from their opponents in the Gallente Federation, some Caldari State citizens carry vices that rival them. As there is far less tolerance for these within society those with the means will turn to the Cartel to see them fulfilled.
When it comes to the Thukker, The Cartel has always had a good relationship with the independent lesser caravans, self-governed clans as well as selective settlements out in the Great Wildlands. But they also deal with the Minmatar underworld at large. While the average law-abiding Minmatar will condemn the Cartel for their dealings with slavery, regardless of these being with the Amarr or others, the less scrupulous will disregard this and engage in deals that do not directly harm their people.
Known for their culture of pleasure sometimes bordering on outright hedonism, some Gallente have always had a great interest in recreational and enhancing substances. Unfortunately for them the large majority of these are not legal and thus must be obtained on the black market. Knowing to have good customers in them, the Cartel is most happy to peddle its wares to the Gallente. And while not all might share these views, there is a certain level of tolerance if one can keep their habits within limits. As such, nobody raises an eyebrow to the consumption of illegal drugs during parties so long as those involved do not cause trouble or sink to the level of being outright junkies.
The Angel Cartel firmly believes that at present their biggest possible threat in New Eden is the capsuleers and the alliances they congregate in. Their immortal nature as well as the great wealth they seem to amass so easily could topple what they have worked for all these years should they become a primary target. Luckily for them the capsuleers seem all too caught up in power struggles amongst themselves to launch such a plan.
There are some within the Cartel who feel that for this reason it would be best to befriend some of the capsuleers and bring them on their side. Indeed some capsuleers seem to willingly pledge their allegiance to the Angel Cartel. While initially hesitant to recognize this, and concerned about what ulterior motives these pod dwellers may have, in recent years the Cartel has openly recognized some individuals as part of their own. Likewise it has also outright denounced some capsuleers which it feels besmirch the name of the Angels. Membership even for these immortals is a privilege rather than a right. And for the rest of them, those who call themselves enemies of the Cartel, they will employ all their strategies to keep them at bay and even attack capsuleer ships.
Brynn Jerdola and Setele Schellan
Respectively the chief scout and chief of operations of the Guardian Angels, Brynn Jerdola and Setele Schellan are two of only a few cartel divisional leaders known to have engaged in combat in space. The two led the Guardian Angels’ response to the Mordu’s Legion incursion into Serpentis Prime in August of YC 106. While they ultimately failed to stop the Mordu force from escaping, they appear to have themselves escaped censure, remaining in command positions in the Guardian Angels.
One of the few cartel figures to have openly spoken in public and directly to capsuleers, Xavier Khun was considered to be the main diplomat of the Angel Cartel during the period of intense and open warfare between Sansha’s Nation and the Angel Cartel in YC 108. While Khun was nominally a member of the Archangels, many have speculated that he was in fact a high-ranking leader and perhaps even a Dominations member. While it is indeed possible that Khun was a member of the wider staff of the Dominations, the possibility that he could be one of the leaders of the Angel Cartel itself is dismissed by most. Xavier Khun held a meeting with a number of capsuleer corporations and alliances in YC 108, with accredited representatives of the Salvation Angels and Dominations present. For a short time during the Nation-Cartel conflict he was a prominent figure, drumming up capsuleer support wherever possible. Once the conflict died down to a lower level of intensity, Khun disappeared from the diplomatic scene and has not been seen since.
An apparent Angel Cartel renegade, the individual known as “Commander Origen” led cartel forces in a takeover of the Minmatar Republic’s Konora system in July YC 111. While the incident had echoes of the Skarkon Crisis, the situation in Konora escalated rapidly, and there were massacres when pro-Republic protesters were killed by Angel troops. In a surprise development, the Angel Cartel declared Commander Origen and his forces renegades acting in breach of “cartel law.” A Minmatar task force struck at the Angel renegades two days later and decisively defeated them. Fleeing renegade ships were reportedly engaged by Angel Cartel forces waiting in the neighboring N-RAEL system. The fate of Commander Origen was never satisfactorily established, and the entire affair, involving collusion with some Konora officials, remains mysterious.
As CEO of the Dominations, Trald Vukenda is seen by many as the administrative head of the Angel Cartel. In reality, while he is certainly a powerful figure, he has no authority over the other main divisions, such as the Archangels or the Guardians. However, it is unthinkable that Vukenda is not one of the few in regular contact with the secret leadership of the cartel. That alone makes him a formidable power within the Angels.
Gotan Kreiss is the head of Dominations Internal Security and is responsible for the internal security of the cartel in a wider sense. While she has no mandate to interfere directly with the other cartel divisions, she is respected and feared throughout the organization. Her views on matters of Cartel internal security leave little room for argument.
Hakim Stormare is a scoundrel and a rogue of Intaki ancestry that roamed New Eden for decades before entering the service of the Dominations as their chief of security actions. In cartel jargon, a “security action” is what the Angels do to anyone who is a threat to their security. In this regard Stormare’s reputation for cruelty is well appreciated and he is possibly even more feared than Gotan Kreiss, not that there is much reason to fear one less than the other.
Chief of operations for the Dominations, Mizuro Cybon has a certain air of vulnerability about her petite body that she notoriously plays on in her efforts to get her way. In reality, she is as resilient and sharp as a coil of razor wire. Anyone she ensnares in her schemes is sure to regret the experience, if they survive it.
Tobias Kruzhor, known throughout the cartel as “Raze,” is the right-hand man of Trald Vukenda. Some consider Raze to be the real power behind Vukenda, as he keeps all enemies at bay and any friends of Vukenda in check. Again, it is unlikely that such a well-known figure is really one of the true leaders of the cartel. Having said that, one theory gaining some currency in recent years suggests the “hidden masters” are an elaborate ploy hiding a truth that is kept in plain sight of everyone.