Operating from the heart of the Curse region, the Angel Cartel is today the largest and best organized of the space-based criminal factions. The Angels are divided into several groups, each with a very special function. It is commanded by the Dominations and in the century they've been lurking in deep space they have stolen, plundered or sabotaged countless number of ships and kidnapped, molested or murdered thousands of people. The Angels recruit members from all the races, and are thus not bound to any one zone of operation, which spans almost the entire known world. Many believe that the they got their power by uncovering Jove technologies hidden in their ancient homes, including the Heaven station now infested by the Angel Cartel.
The very first mentions of the Angel Cartel trace back to YC4, not too long after the formation of CONCORD. Back in these days it was just one of the many pirate cartels fighting for power in the Heaven constellation, which was a place of interest for adventurers and treasure hunters alike. It's vicinity to civilized space, yet far away enough and outside the reach of the Empires made it so that one could hide from the law all the while looking for some undiscovered source of riches.
The Amarrians -- to whom the Heaven constellation and Utopia system amongst others thank their name -- had previously searched the region in the hopes of finding prospective slaves, but to their dismay they found that whichever civilization had once lived here had since vanished and left behind only ruins. So it was that the Angel Cartel was one of the new groups that formed amongst the new settlers. As the Amarrians turned their attention elsewhere, it was now mainly escaped Minmatar that began to make their home here and formed the initial core of the Angel membership. However even then the Cartel saw benefit in not restricting itself to one race and they recruited freely amongst all whom were interested. It is this diversity that in part gave them an edge over other groups in the region until they eventually became the de facto power in the Heaven constellation, and would eventually come to rule Curse as a whole.
Jovian technology recovery
When the Jovians made themselves known, suspicious arose and eventual evidence came up that the ruins of the lost civilization in the Curse region were theirs, and that the artifacts recovered dated back to the First and Second Jovian 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, whom are fast and agile and pack a lot of punch. Again, it is unsure if this is a personal preference that has served them well, or they actually went with what they knew because either there wasn't much valuable left behind, or the technology is so advanced the Angels were in fact not able to crack it. Suggesting this however is about just as upsetting to the Cartel than the implication their technology is stolen.
Minmatar rebellion, control of Curse and further growth
Ten years after the founding of CONCORD, the Angel Cartel emerged victoriously as the dominating force in the Curse region. It is thanks to the influx of the Minmatar rebellion that the Cartel boosted its numbers so 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.
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.
Protection pact with Serpentis
Another important key development in Cartel dominance took place in YC75. It was then that the Angel Cartel made an offer of protection to the Serpentis Corporation in return for access to their facilities 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 both facilitated operations as well as has strategic advantages in having multiple staging points spread on opposing edges of space.
Mordu's Legion incursion
In YC106 it was Mordu's Legion who brought the Guardian Angels to embarrassment when the former led an incursion into Fountain. Mordu himself led the operation and 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 the 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
The Angel Cartel and Sansha's Nation have always had some minor scuffles and a certain level of rivalry as their home regions of Curse and Stain are in close proximity of one another. However in YC 108 they became entangled in war when the Nation started to lead incursions on Angel holdings in Impass and Feythabolis. It is said that the reason for these attacks was that Sansha's Nation was interested in possible Jovian technology that the Angels had uncovered.
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 hold the Nation in disregard for it still.
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 the next year, 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 collapse of the Minmatar government in June YC 110, the Archangels claimed democratic sovereignty over the Skarkon system. The inhabitants of Skarkon II, dissatisfied with the failing promises of the Midular government to 'clean up' this dangerous system, sided with the Archangels in a ten million signatures petition as well as during a system-wide referendum. Being so close to Curse, the Angels had for a long time been growing their influence over the local population. This event was one of several cited during the vote of no-confidence in the emergency parliament session of the Republic called by Republic Parliament head Maleatu Shakor. However, 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 came for.
Whom and how many are at the head of the Dominations, as well as other key divisions is rather a bit of a mystery. While the public faces are known, they are certainly not the only ones with power, and it is hard to tell even how much power any public face holds at all. Furthermore great effort is taken to shield and obfuscate their identities and lives through means of ambiguity and even the intentional spreading of misinformation. This both ensures their safety and maintains their security against outside elements.
What is known however is that everyone answers to someone. The structure in use is quasi-militaristic. Similarly, even the most low ranking members are trained to lead as everyone is expected to either rise up or bring in new blood. Local criminal organizations who show promise are sometimes offered to be assimilated within the ranks of the Cartel, something which some expressly aspire to as they acknowledge the power that the Angels hold.
Some notable leaders within the Angel Cartel include:
- Trald Vukenda (Dominations, CEO)
- Tobias Kruzhor (Dominations, Chief Operative)
- Gotan Kreiss (Dominations, Chief of Internal Security)
- Hakin Stormare (Dominations, Chief of Security)
- Mizuro Cybon (Dominations, Chief of Operations)
- Xavier Khun (Dominations, Diplomat)
- Brynn Jeroola (Guardian Angels, Chief Scout)
- Setele Schellan (Guardian Angels, Chief of Operations)
- Domination Seraphim
- Domination Cherubim
- Domination Throne
- Domination Malakim
- Domination Nephilim
- Domination Saint
- Domination Warlord
- Domination War General
- Domination General
- Domination Commander
- Angel Legatus
- Angel Tribunus
- Angel Praefectus
- Angel Tribuni
- Angel Primus
- Angel Legionnaire
Cartel life relies on strong discipline and strict adherence to the hierarchy. Orders given by those higher in rank are expected to be obeyed without question. Due respect is expected to be shown to those of higher rank, which many feel is only natural given that rising through the ranks is based upon proof of loyalty and service.
The Angels sometimes refer to themselves as a family, even though blood ties are not always present. They view their faction affiliation as the most important factor in life and will put this above all else, including member's racial origins. This however does not mean that racial customs are given up as well, and many members keep the traditions of their upbringing. For example there is a tradition of tattoos within the Cartel that traces back to the original Minmatar members. The Cartel however tends to make these things their own rather than continue them as they were for old time's sake. So it is that Angel tattoos, like the Minmatar counterpart, are more focused on the personal achievements and ranks of that member while tribal affiliations within the Republic itself are less important, especially for members of Minmatar origin who have grown up within the Cartel itself. In their case, new motifs have begun to develop that reflect, in some ways, their Cartel heritage.
When it comes to language, the Angel Cartel is unique in that due to its membership it has developed a slang that is a mixture of various languages from around the cluster together with their own words. This differs from other outlaw factions whom tend to have their language of origin at the core of their vocabulary. It is said that this slang mixture began as a running joke until eventually it became the new normal.
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 Angels also 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.
Area of operations
The Angel Cartel made its home in the region, with the Heaven constellation as its centre. 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, ScaldingPass, Insmother and Detorid. Their control is at the ever changing hands of the capsuleer alliances, and 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 both.
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.
The Sansha and Angels 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.
Servant Sisters of EVE
While the Angels don't mind the Sisters as much as long as they stay out of their way, the SSoE 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. And 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 mega-corporations 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. And 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. And 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.
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.
The earliest form of income for the Cartel has been mining[^15]. Ore and minerals form the foundation of industry, and are thus in continued demand. The Salvation Angels have specialized into '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.
Bio-farms and luxury goods
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 aren't 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[^16] at undisclosed locations.
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.
Displaced Minmatar were amongst the first to join the ranks of the Angel Cartel and created a majority for their race, but just as Curse has always had the interest of all the races so has the Cartel never discriminated in its recruitment. This helped them to become the largest and most powerful criminal organization within New Eden, a badge which its members wear with pride. It is important to note however that not all slaves within the Angel Cartel are in fact escaped or liberated. The Cartel includes within its numbers also 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.
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.
Production of both Cartel and Serpentis ships falls on the Salvation Angels, whom also do continued research and development for them.
Angel Cartel hulls
Weapons, modules and ammo
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 capabilities.
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 its strong link with the Angel Cartel, CONCORD has stated its 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. Those in the know can tell you where to find the product leaves this facility.
Hardware and electronics
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.
In the weapon market too the Angels are present 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 and / 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.