The Long Night
The only major Earth syndicate to survive the Fall almost unscathed, the triads dominate the solar system’s underworld by their sheer membership size and a history of centuries of economic and political influence. Having evolved into legit enterprises and small economic consortiums already before the Fall, the triads gained a foothold during the early colonization of space thanks to the masses of Chinese workers. Since the Fall, they have used their influence to spread to numerous habitats, taking advantage of the disparities in wealth and restrictive refugee policies to create flourishing gray and black market enterprises. Part of their success also lies in their continual utilization of ethnic Chinese social cues to ensure their insularity.
Though numerous small triad outfits exist, usually isolated to a particular station, there are four large triad groups worthy of mention. Each of these wields enough influence to engage in system-wide criminal activities. Traditionally they operate through small to medium-sized gangs local to a specific habitat or use their legal outfits as a font for their endeavours.
The 14K Triad controls a large part of the casino industry and the various forms of illegal gambling, betting, and rigged lotteries. Through their Galaxy Entertainment Group, a legal casino and gambling hypercorp, the 14K maintains tight connections to politicians, celebrities and influential entrepreneurs in several habitats and can afford the luxury of a private police force, the Pai Gow (Double Hand). Using the casino business for money laundry, they are also heavily involved in loan sharking and credit/ID fraud.
The Shui Fong—though smaller than the 14K—caters to the vices and addictions of indentured habitat workers, miners, and other laborers, supplying drugs and illegal XP, running prostitution rings, and arranging illegal pit fights and gambling tournaments. The origin of the Shui Fong’s fierce rivalry with the 14K lies in the ruins of Earth’s pre-Fall history, but the hatred between the two factions was carried into space and continues to simmer.
The Sun Yee On once ranked second among Earth’s biggest triads, with over 25,000 suspected members. They profit primarily by selling cheap copies of nanofab blueprints and rigged makers and fabbers. Legal products are distributed through their Wushuang Corporation, while illegal goods are patched together by enslaved infomorphs in virtual sweatshops in remote corners of the mesh. The Sun Yee On’s second main profit source are fake Earth nostalgia items, such as jewelry, documents, coins, and other collector’s items.
The Big Circle Gang is the smallest of the four triad factions with only approximately 8,000 members. They run a large part of the solar system’s drug trade, producing organic drugs, smart drugs, and narcoalgorithms of all kinds in secluded habitats or abandoned asteroid mining and processing facilities converted into drug labs.