STRUCTURE : OVERVIEW The Consortium is a highly complex organization with multiple divisions and military branches. Each section will focus on a specific aspect of the Consortium and explain it in as much detail as necessary. Some sections are more detailed than others, either due to subject matter, current information level, or extrapolation. All the sections can be placed into the following categories (please note this is not the order they are detailed in): Military: - Consortium Ground Forces - Consortium Naval Forces Administration: - Client Management and Acquisition - The Golden Board - The Defilers (while capable of military actions, they have a much larger administrative role) Services: - The Consortium Rackets - Black Market Management - Drug Development Control - Slaving Operation Control xxx STRUCTURE : GROUND MILITARY FORCES The Grenadier Corps: The lowest soldiers in the Consortium, the Grenadiers could technically be described as an explosives team specializing in bomb defusing, mine planting, and general sabotage. In practice, this amounts to a slave army which is considered completely disposable by the Consortium. The individuals who attempt to scam, run, or otherwise defraud the Consortium out of money are hauled away, have a control chip inserted in their brains, and are transferred to the Grenadiers where they will work for the rest of their likely short lives. This is not necessarily to say that the Consortium invests nothing into the Grenadiers, but considering that they die so often, they’ve learned not to invest significant resources into them. They are responsible for navigating minefields, attempting to defuse bombs (they are given some basic training on how to accomplish this), setting traps for enemy forces, acting as bait, having to work in hazardous conditions, as well as being the first to deploy in major conflicts. Grenadiers do not live long, with the average lifespan being three months after first deploying (excluding training), although the Consortium only requires six months of ‘service’ before their debt is paid off. The number of individuals who can claim this are in the low thousands, so dangerous is the work. Rumors surrounding the work range from horrifically dangerous to almost ludicrously wasteful, such as one that claims the Consortium sends Grenadiers into toxic planets to work as a source of disposable and insufficiently protected labor instead of utilizing proper protection or droids -- odd considering how practical the Consortium normally is. Grenadiers are not involved whatsoever in high-profile operations within the Consortium, as it rather contrasts with the elite and clean image they project to their clientele. The Mercenary Corps: The Consortium, to the surprise of quite a few, actually does not have an extremely large standing army that answers solely to the Consortium. The majority of their manpower comes from the contracting of mercenaries who they develop working relationships with. Joining the Mercenary Corps, however, is invitation-only, and the Consortium has standards each mercenary group must meet before they are even considered. A clear track record of success is one, professionalism and reliability is another, and a lack of major clients is a third. The Consortium has positioned itself to be the place for up-and-coming merc groups to make a name for themselves. However, when they are part of the Mercenary Corps, they can only perform work for the Consortium, even if they can recruit. Contracts are done on a one-year basis without exception, with only the Consortium being able to terminate without repercussion. While contracted by the Consortium, the mercenary groups are treated very well and outfitted with essentially whatever they want, within reason, of course. The Consortium expects them to perform well if they are required, and being cheap is not something they do. This has made them especially appealing to struggling mercenary groups, although in return for this, they have to perform whatever the Consortium wants without question. This is not difficult in some cases, as sometimes they’ll just be assigned to guard duty or as garrisons on one of the fleets, but sometimes they’ll be called in to assist in slaving operations, perform hits on civilians at the behest of one of the Consortium’s clients, or witness or participate in other unsavory aspects of the Consortium. While the high pay and free outfitting is enough to keep most mercenary groups quiet, some have refused orders and have subsequently been pressed into the Grenadier Corps. Word has subsequently spread, and the more principled merc groups steer well away from the Consortium. The Yellow Vests: This is the first ‘true’ infantry division of the Consortium, and more exclusive than would be expected from this division. Most are drawn from Mercenary Corps, particularly those who have worked with the Consortium for multiple years and are determined to be ‘trustworthy.’ It is considered a significant promotion, and the Yellow Vests have a lot of perks associated with the position, such as higher pay, access to off-duty ‘events’ the Consortium hosts, and the privilege of being able to choose a high-quality slave should they desire. Their name comes from their yellow armor, which, if the rumors were to be believed, was something Tyber Zann assigned his more elite soldiers so he’d know that they weren’t the disposable ones. They have since evolved from ‘slightly more competent soldiers’ into a well-trained and disciplined fighting force. They are used for protecting critical Consortium assets and locations, and serve as guards for Consortium events and guests. If a Defiler ever needs military support, it will almost always be the Yellow Vests who are sent to assist. Traditionally, they are also equipped with rare (and illegal) disruptor weapons which while they are useless against shields, are devastating against armored or unarmored opponents. They also carry thermal detonators and mass driver rifles if shields will be used against them. Intentionally or not by Tyber Zann, the distinct color of the Yellow Vests makes them extremely easy to pick out in a crowd or firefight, and as they are considered figures of authority within the Consortium, guests and the Mercenary Corps know to go to them if there is trouble or they have questions. Unless the question or concern is particularly inane, the Yellow Vests will assist as much as they can. An interesting note is that none of the Yellow Vests undergo any sort of conditioning or means of ‘insurance.’ It appears to be assumed that if you’ve reached this rank, you aren’t going to leave it. A risk, but there are far more benefits associated with simply staying loyal than defecting, so it should perhaps not be a surprise that we never heard any stories of Yellow Vest defections. Or the Defilers simply covered them up. The Droid Works: The Consortium has been using droids since they took control of Hypori back in the Galactic Civil War, and have utilized them to great effect. They have largely eschewed cheap and disposable droids, and instead focused their resources to more complex, if expensive, units. The first is the Droideka Mark IV, which retains the same mobility advantages (and disadvantages) as the original model, but has had the chassis, shield generator, and weapons heavily upgraded. The Mk. IV in particular features a modular weapons system where the droidekas can be equipped with rocket, laser, and mass driver weapons as opposed to just lasers. There is also the IG-8000 War Droid which was based off of the old droid bounty hunter IG-88 who worked with the Consortium for a brief time. This assassin droid was designed primarily as an anti-organic weapon capable of dispensing poison gas, radioactive contamination, and carbonite or other substances that organic soldiers would need additional equipment to handle. It is bulkier than the original IG assassin model, and widely considered extremely dangerous, even if rather rare. The final droid of note is technically more of a mobile automated platform, which was stolen from Rebel Alliance designs, who had themselves stolen it from the Empire. Regardless, the Consortium continues to use the Mobile Defense Unit (MDU) for establishing forward positions as it can be configured to serve as a platform for turrets, ysalamiri cages, sensors, and more, provided that there is sufficient time to establish it. These are the only units the Consortium sells regularly. The Canderous Division: This is a fairly small division as the need for armored vehicles is often limited due to the work the Consortium performs, but for vital planets they are kept in reserve. The name used to only refer to the Canderous-class assault tank, but has since been adopted to the rest of the division. There is, of course the assault tank still in use, a krill-shaped hovercraft that has since been updated to produce a weak shield. The primary weapons are still twin mass drivers mounted on a swivel cannon that can aim in any direction. It is among the most versatile of the Canderous Division, and employed for precision operations. The Pulsar Tank was developed to be a singular anti-vehicle weapon, and that is still what it does today. Utilizing treads and not hovertech, it does have mobility disadvantages and the only weapon it has is the massive plasma cannon that can damage or destroy most vehicles in one hit. The chassis has been improved, but the reactor for the vehicle is still highly unstable and more than one Pulsar has been known to inexplicably explode for no apparent reason. Which is more confusing since the Consortium had supposedly removed the ‘self-destruct’ button many iterations ago. The primary artillery unit the Consortium uses is the Missile Attack Launcher (MAL) which is another hovercraft, and highly mobile. Much like the improvements to the droidekas, the MAL has been adapted to be modular and be able to fire a wide variety of missiles from standard, to inferno, to carbonite. They are normally utilized for taking out heavily fortified enemy positions, and are rarely deployed due to their limited numbers as the Consortium is reportedly wary of other criminal organizations acquiring and reverse-engineering the designs. The final and most common vehicle is the F9-TZ Mark II Transport, which is primarily how ground forces are moved from location to location. What separates this troop transport – aside from the fact that it is enclosed and well-protected – is the fact that it has a cloaking device which allows it to approach with limited amounts of noise due to it also relying on hovertech, and subsequently allows for a far wider range of approaches than simply being restricted to land. Its only drawback is the more limited capacity, but due to the vast numbers the Consortium employs, it is unlikely this is a major issue. And unlike the first iteration, this one also has weapons systems. xxx STRUCTURE : NAVAL FORCES The Consortium is not considered a major naval power, even in the Outer Rim, even though the fleets they possess are among the most advanced. This is exclusively due to their limited size and how long it takes to produce their most dangerous units. It should be noted that a fleet is largely not required for major Consortium operations to take place, which is the best explanation for the limited fleet size – if it were deemed important, there would be a significantly larger investment than what currently exists. The Consortium Navy is divided into three fleets, each with a different focus. The Pirate Fleet: This is both the largest and weakest fleet within the Consortium Navy. As the name implies, the Pirate Fleet is primarily used for piracy and low-risk operations where resistance is not significant or expected. Attempting to pin down exactly what kind of ships comprise the fleet is more difficult than you would think, because this is essentially the Mercenary Corps of the Navy, with many of the merc groups maintaining ground and space units. The ships utilized range from models hundreds of years out-of-date, to cutting-edge designs. It all depends on what the mercenaries choose. In any case, the Consortium works to ensure that the Pirate Fleet is in the best shape possible, in return for the mercenaries providing a source of contextually cheap manpower without risking their more important assets. The Pirate Fleet is dangerous for cheap and ill-trained militaries like the ones the hutts maintain, but they tend to collapse fairly quickly if faced with appropriate defenses and a competent defense. The Pirate Fleet is composed of mostly fighters, bombers, and at most some light-frigates. Investing in anti-fighter defenses is your best course, and the Black Sun in particular has been overwhelmingly successful in preventing runs by the Pirate Fleet on their territory, though conversely, has led to the Pirate Fleet improving their own tactics and making them more conservative when considering targets. The Protection Fleet: This is the first fleet that contains proper Consortium units, and the sole purpose of the fleet is to protect and defend Consortium assets. Considering that the number of planets and locations the Consortium controls are few and far between, this means that almost every single major Consortium-controlled location will require nothing less than a full fleet to reliably deal with. The Consortium is able to maintain an absurdly high quality of their fleet due to their small size, and have dedicated teams of engineers and designers to continually improve on their current designs which they go to great lengths to ensure are not spread across the galaxy. The Consortium protects their assets, and if anyone dares to claim they have schematics of Consortium spacecraft, they will likely be dead within the week, in addition to anyone else they may have told. I suspect this would become infeasible if the Consortium were to engage in a proper war with the Alliance, Empire, or even the Mandalorians or Ascendency, but for now, no one is able to acquire the schematics or reverse-engineer Consortium spacecraft. Supposedly, only a few people in the Consortium have access to them, and the Consortium does their best to dispose of critical components of destroyed spacecraft. As for what the fleet contains, this section will focus on what is exclusive to the Protection Fleet as specific ships will be elaborated on within the War Fleet, so it should be assumed that anything that is in the War Fleet should be expected in the Protection Fleet, especially in regard to the number of battleships employed. The most important assets are the Class-V Consortium stations, of which there are at least one to two at every major Consortium location requiring protection. These stations are equipped with enough firepower to fight off a small fleet on their own, and more curiously, the majority of these stations are automated and only have a small maintenance crew, leaving more room for the garrison which is much larger than other comparable space stations. They are also notably the only fleet to employ the Interceptor X frigate, which is a slow missile craft that has a high damage potential, which is offset by the slow and easily avoidable nature of the spacecraft. This does not make them ideal for the Pirate or War Fleets who do not typically engage in prolonged battles, but for defending places of interest? They are excellent, and the Consortium employs them liberally throughout the Protection Fleet. The War Fleet: In the rare times the Consortium wishes to make a statement or engage in a critical battle, they will call upon the small, yet exceptionally dangerous War Fleet. Composed of the best assortment of Consortium ships, it is easily among the most powerful fleets in the Outer Rim and would be able to hold their own against Alliance or Imperial fleets. There are relatively few units, but each one has undergone extensive iteration, testing, and refinement over literal centuries. The primary fighters utilized are the StarViper M-6, an aurek-shaped fighter that is deceptively small, which is due to design improvements. In contrast to the original iteration, all StarVipers are automated drone swarms outfitted with light laser weapons. Their most dangerous tool is their liberal usage of buzz droids and as such, are surprisingly effective against even larger ships. The Skipray Blastboat M-3 is also utilized, and its greatest improvement has been in maneuverability without sacrificing damage output. They only have one corvette they still utilize, and the constant refinements to the Crusader-class corvette justify this. Acting as an anti-missile, fighter, bomber spacecraft, the Crusader is rather versatile, employing point-defense lasers that are powerful enough to pick off missiles, and now are capable of shredding enemy fighters and bombers that get too close. The most significant change to the Crusader is that there are an equal number of point-defense lasers and standard laser cannons, with the Crusader being able to switch between them at will. This is an exclusive choice, however, as the ship simply does not have enough power to maintain both at the size it currently is. The main frigate the War Fleet employs is the Vengeance-V, which has been greatly improved upon since its acquisition by Tyber Zann. This iteration of the Vengeance-class frigate supports shielding, thicker armor, and a longer cloaking system that made it so dangerous beforehand, though the shielding cannot be active while the cloaking is utilized. It retains the exclusive mass driver weapons, making it extremely dangerous to shielded spacecraft, and it’s employed in surprise flanking attacks after their cloaking is used to move them into position. There are supposedly fewer than fifty of these in existence, but this was not verifiable. The final two battleships are notable due to their capabilities and rarity. The first is the Aggressor-class destroyer, which was a prototype design stolon by Tyber Zann from the Empire. It was initially proposed as a ‘high-risk, high-reward’ type battleship by Imperial designers, but there were too many vulnerabilities and weaknesses to justify the expense, so it was never developed further. Zann took the designs anyway, refined them with Mandal Hypernautics, and turned them into capital ship-killers. Their primary weapons are two massive cannons, one that fires an ion pulse powerful enough to strip the shields off of almost any spacecraft, and a plasma cannon of equal size and destructive potential. In theory, this could take out a capital ship in one hit, should the aim be true. But while the destructive potential of the Aggressor cannot be understated, there are a significant amount of weaknesses that the Consortium has had trouble correcting. The ship is slow, poorly defended (due to how much power the main guns take up), delicate, and poorly shielded. It also doesn’t help that if the Aggressor misses, it won’t get another shot for at least fifteen minutes. In short, these ships are near-worthless without a supporting fleet, and heavily vulnerable to bombers and smaller spacecraft. It is likely for this reason that the Consortium only has six of these in existence (not including the Merciless), and seem unwilling to develop more. Their more versatile battleship is the Keldabe-class, which functions far more reliably as a capital ship, equipped with a significant amount of laser and mass driver weapons, heavy plating and shielding, and the latest iterations have small complements of StarVipers and Skiprays to mitigate their shortcomings against smaller spacecraft. There are also a small number of point-defense lasers from the Crusader integrated into the battleship that is capable of being maintained throughout a battle. One of the most unique capabilities of the Keldabe is the shield-leeching technology that was first developed during the Galactic Civil War, and has been extensively refined since then. Improvements have led to the shield leeching being longer, stronger, and able to now steal from multiple nearby spacecraft since it leeches from all spacecraft in a set radius around the ship, as opposed to the previously directed and inefficient leeching beam. This comes with some downsides, namely that it does not discriminate, and can strip shields from allied spacecraft, it requires the Keldabe to be in the frontlines, and while it works, the majority of power needs to be diverted to the weapon. Still, when supported by a supplementary fleet, it more than proves itself. It is unknown how many of these battleships are in existence, but there are no fewer than twenty spread throughout the War and Protection Fleets. xxx STRUCTURE : THE DEFILERS Since the beginning of the Consortium, their most infamous and effective tools have been the Defilers. They were placed in charge of a majority of Consortium operations and only Zann, Urai, and a select few others had any sort of authority over them. Their responsibilities ranged from sabotage, assassination, diplomacy, management, and more. Tyber Zann was obsessed with reliability in what he clearly saw as his most useful assets, and when he initiated the Defiler Program, he made do with what he could find. Teenage orphans were preferable, though a good portion of his Defilers consisted of men kidnapped and subjected to his crude brainwashing programs. These programs were based on several Imperial research projects, and while they were effective, they had side-effects of personality loss, mental disorders, and sometimes killing subjects. The more developed the subject was, the more likely the brainwashing would fail. Repeated brainwashings were effective, though the critical capabilities of Defilers were reduced. This was not an issue for Zann, as he only needed tools to perform somewhat complex tasks (consider that the Consortium was nowhere as sophisticated and refined as it is today – many operations involved intimidation, combat, and assassination. Diplomacy was not considered as important). Over time, the distinctive red armoring of the Defilers came to represent the Consortium to the majority of individuals aware of the criminal empire. In that period, Defilers were more varied, coming from all sizes and species. They were exclusively male due to the advantages of female Defilers being reduced due to continuous brainwashing and the focus of the Defilers as a more militaristic arm of the Consortium. Over the years, the Defiler Program has been refined significantly, with Zann in his last years moving to just raising orphaned boys within the Consortium and conditioning them that way with limited brainwashing. These Defilers were notably more effective, and Zann created several different training regimes to specialize them. Generation II Defilers were developed a short time before Urai took command, as he believed there needed to be a revision in the purpose and capabilities of the program itself. He felt more could be done with it, and invested significant resources into investigating the feasibility of growing gene-edited operatives from a series of templates. There were very few Gen-II Defilers put into active service from my understanding, as the majority were failures -- the concept was largely untested and didn’t fit the requirements of what Urai wanted. However, a few successes were born and were so far beyond baseline humans that Urai tended to utilize them more for management and strategy than in field work. Four Gen-II Defilers existed, and while the Gen-III Defilers are more stable and refined, they do not possess the intellectual and adaptable capabilities of Gen-II Defilers. It is suspected that at least one or two of these Defilers still exist, as their lifespans are likely well beyond the normal range, and they were too valuable for them to be deployed recklessly. Consortium records do state the confirmed deaths of two, but fail to mention if any of the generation is left. Something to consider. They could very well be in operation now. Unfortunately, no physical details were able to be recovered on them, but they would be noticeably older, and as they are from an older generation, would be male humans. Regardless of the failings of the Gen-II Defilers, they paved the way for the Defilers that exist today. Gen-III Defilers were conceptualized soon after Talia Zann began developing the Hundred-Year Plan with Urai, which involved a reinvigoration of the Defilers. There were a few important aspects to the Gen-III Defilers. Every single one of them would be grown with doubled acceleration. This would allow the Consortium to acquire at least twenty to thirty years of peak performance before retiring them, and them being grown would ensure that they couldn’t be infiltrated and had the ability to develop them within the Consortium from the very beginning. All the Defilers would be exclusively human from a variety of templates which would be enhanced genetically to be faster, stronger, and smarter than the average human. These would include males and female, as alien species would be an unjustified cost for little benefit. No Defiler would be under one point eight two meters, and each would receive conditioning and control chips making them immune to betraying the Consortium. Unlike the original Defilers, Gen-III Defilers would be able to develop their own personalities to an extent, much like Gen-II Defilers were originally intended. Talia believed they would be more ‘motivated’ to willingly serve the Consortium if they were allowed a degree of human connection, though this is incapable of overriding their innate loyalty to the Consortium. This has proven to be a correct decision, as the Defilers now are regarded highly due to the supposed ‘humanity’ they possess, which puts clients more at ease. The final component to the program was the refinement of the Specialization Regimes Tyber Zann instituted near the end of his life. These were to be heavily expanded and improved, to ensure that the Defilers were fully capable of carrying out their tasks. This is a good time to note that Defilers are not one-size-fits-all tools anymore. Visually, they always look the same. In function, they could very likely have completely different skill sets from other Defilers. These are the Specialization Regimes that are currently utilized by the Consortium. Assassination, Intimidation, and Sabotage: Defilers within this program are trained in the art of death. They are given access to the most dangerous firearms in the galaxy and by the end will be able to identify almost any weapon on sight, as well as have an intimate knowledge of how each one works. They are trained by bounty hunters, trackers, and ex-intelligence officials in tracking down and eliminating targets with or without collateral damage. You will be interested to note that one of Cynthia’s contracts with the Consortium involves the training of Defilers in this specialization. They receive some psychological education in regard to being deployed to intimidate, threaten, or extort individuals, as well as physical and psychological torture classes with practice on live individuals (typically inferior slaves). Their final piece of training revolves around sabotage of major and minor systems, vehicles, and buildings, as they receive training from explosives experts and are educated in electronics and architectural engineering. Diplomacy and Manipulation: The diplomatic arm of the Defilers, those who enter this program are put through a battery of classes with a focus on a half-dozen fields of xenopsychology (human, near-human, hutt, chiss, and killik), four fields of specialized psychology (Jedi, criminal, Imperial, chiss), and finally three fields of political science (Alliance, Imperial, chiss) I am not sure why there is a distinct focus on the chiss, and the closest theory we have is that Xabiar is one of the most frequent clients of the Consortium, and perhaps implies that they are considering trying to break into the Ascendancy? Not important for now. The purpose of these Defilers is to acquire and assist in the management of new clients. They are affable, well-spoken, and professional, and have an uncanny ability to tailor themselves to what is best able to manipulate the client. They are responsible for writing detailed dossiers on their assignments, and are additionally trained by freelance assassins and ex-intelligence agents. These are not the most dangerous Defilers from a physical standpoint, but they are far more important in terms of expanding the influence of the Consortium. Racket Creation and Management: Each Consortium racket and event is orchestrated and managed by a Defiler, no matter how big or small. As should be expected, these Defilers are educated in all major fields of economics, three psychology fields (revolving around addiction and marketing), as well as a number of creative arts classes such as holovid creation, digital art, and music production. While optional, a surprising number of these Defilers appear to be writers as well, and some write novels on the side to provide an additional revenue stream for the Consortium. Three of the books written by these Defilers are galactic bestsellers, and they all focus on the collapse of significant galactic institutions, such as the Alliance, the Empire, and the Jedi. While I doubt these Defilers would put such obvious hints as to their plans in literal novels, it is something worth looking over. For the most part, however, these Defilers manage their operations with near-droid-like focus, while making sure to work on slowly increasing growth, adapting to economic changes, and ensuring that law enforcement is predicted and mitigated. Slave Grooming and Development: Defilers placed into this program perform a function we had previously been unaware of until now. We had assumed that slaves were handled by a specialized team, and while this is technically accurate, we did not realize that they were managed by a highly specialized group of Defilers. Defilers who are in this specialization appear to fulfill two roles – teaching and grooming. They, for lack of a better word, fill the role of parent figures for the young slaves during their earlier development. They are responsible for teaching them language, basic education, and rules of being a slave. This extends to more specialized skills – both education and otherwise – that the Defilers oversee and teach. These Defilers receive additional conditioning to ensure that they do not become attached to their wards, and as such, these Defilers are notably more reserved and mechanical than their brethren. The only final notes on the Defilers as a whole worth considering are their equipment. Their armor is distinctly red and while initial Defilers took inspiration from Mandalorian armor, modern Defilers clearly take greater inspiration from Clone Wars-era Republic clone troopers and Imperial Stormtroopers as it is more sleek and refined in comparison to the segmented pieces of earlier iterations. The helmet is largely unchanged, however, and is a highly-developed – if more fragile – piece of equipment. It is, I would describe, a Mandalorian helmet if you added the inverted triangle of Darth Vader’s mouthpiece onto it. It also supports several armored antennas, giving the helmet a greater range of communication than other similar pieces. Defilers almost never take off their helmets, and appear to only do so when they are alone or with other Consortium peers. Weaponry varies, and they have no standard armament. Their loadout completely depends on the mission, though they tend to prefer long-range and disruptor weaponry. If it is not completely clear by now, Defilers are exceptionally trained and intelligent. We cannot afford to underestimate them or consider them merely as one specific thing. They can be assassins, diplomats, saboteurs, teachers, and soldiers. The only good news we learned was that there are no more than ten thousand currently deployed, which is a relatively low number for an organization this size. xxx STRUCTURE : BLACK MARKET MANAGEMENT Black markets are nothing new in the galaxy. So long as there are illegal items, weapons, equipment, and substances, there will always be those willing to skirt the law to get what they want, provided they have the credits to do so. Black markets are usually – at best – in a sectioned off and shady building in a city or backwater planet. Looks really don’t matter. You only go for the goods, and if they have what you want, you’re happy. However, most black markets tend to have the same pieces of equipment. Military-grade weapons, imported animals or beasts, sometimes experimental and unsanctioned technology, rare items for collectors such as genuine beskar Mandalorian suits or a working lightsaber. Very rarely do these break the mold of offering something truly exemplary. Which, to most, isn’t bad. However, the Zann Consortium does not cater to the ordinary of the galaxy. The black markets run by the Consortium are only available to the criminal elite of the galaxy, of which even the hutts don’t bother competing with since it would require a higher investment than they are willing to put up. They are also not ongoing or restricted to one particular location. The word is put out months ahead of time, which will reach certain individuals who will then be given instructions on how to register. This is an exclusive event. The Consortium does not allow just anyone to visit their markets. We were unfortunately unable to confirm exactly what criteria the Consortium uses to clear their guests, but we suspect it is examining their financial state, job or station, political connections and affiliation, and likely a few psychological factors. There will usually be a specific theme or collection which is advertised, intending to draw a specific crowd. Some markets will carry weaponry, others armoring and battlesuits. Still more are exceptionally specialized, such as Jedi and Sith memorabilia, or Force-related artifacts. How detailed or general the Consortium advertises their markets as appears to depend on how much of one thing they have at a time – or this could be deliberate to continually throw off people as to what they actually have. Returning to the subject of the markets, they are held in some of the most prestigious places in the galaxy, each paid for by a one-time shell company backed by the Consortium for ‘business events.’ These are in suites and ballrooms, from the 500 Republica on Coruscant to the Star Cluster Casino on Nar Shaddaa. The Consortium will pay millions of credits for a one-night event – because they will make it all back with only a few sales. Inside, the guests are treated exceptionally well, and as this is designed to be both a business venture and social event, guests are encouraged to talk to each other as they browse the various items for sale. Refreshments will be served, of course, and tailored to species and cultures present. Consortium slaves carry out these duties while live music plays in the background. The items for sale will almost always be nearly impossible to find anywhere else. Merely illegal technology is considered dull at events like these. The clients who visit these events are not looking for a single weapon or item, they want something exceptional. Diseases and viruses tailor-made to target specific species or bloodlines; nanoweapons able to control others or wipe out planets; plans for new, complete, or unfinished superweapons are in greater demand than you would expect. Some items are more obscure, but nonetheless irreplaceable finds that are certainly legitimate, as the Consortium requires verification of all items before being sold. Some of what has been sold is somewhat unbelievable and seems to be – to myself – wild pointless chases across the galaxy. There’s been descriptions of tombs filled with rakatan mind prisons, and planets which house factories under their surfaces. Yet it is tantalizing enough for many to buy, simply for the potential such a discovery might yield. Sometimes it isn’t even something physical, but information. Computer viruses, intelligence on certain individuals, holovids of certain events, secrets and knowledge just waiting for someone to pay a small fortune to possess. The Consortium does not care what anyone does with the things they buy, so long as it doesn’t interfere with their own business. The security at these events is, as you would imagine, tight. The managing Defiler personally greets and checks the identity of each guest, and the Yellow Vests are strewn throughout the room, and in front of all entries and exits. For safety, the Consortium always rents out the entire floor, and has garrisons of Yellow Vests standing by in case things go very wrong. There are also ysalamiri spread throughout the entire event, and the cages are specialized and decorated, and are essentially treated as an exotic addition to the event, which will only disturb a certain kind of client. However, many usually do not notice the heavy security due to the calming atmosphere, attractive slaves, items for sale, and chatting with their peers. The protection simply fades into the background, and trouble is usually quickly and swiftly dealt with. But the Consortium is always watching, and the innocent-looking slaves are listening and reporting everything they hear to the overseeing Defiler. The clientele for these market events have apparently attracted some very high-profile individuals. All of the highest-paid and lethal bounty hunters in the galaxy have at least attended these events once, and every terrorist, crime lord, and assassin of note has also participated once. I’m not sure how everyone else felt when Xabiar walked into the room with a smile on his face, but if anyone felt uneasy, they weren’t brave enough to verbally express it. I should note that it isn’t uncommon for one of the Consortium leaders to grace these events with their presence. Tyrell Zann in particular enjoys hosting them and chatting up the guests. Urai Fen has also joined such events, though isn’t quite as talkative. Tora Zann notably detests these events, which Tyrell and Urai are likely grateful for. Black Market Management itself can be divided into four different divisions: Guest Management and Invitation: This division is responsible for sending out and reviewing the guest list for a particular market. The initial invitations are sent out and sanctioned by the Defiler in charge, and as additional requests come in, background investigation is (presumably) performed and the guests are either accepted or rejected. Vendors are also handled by this division, and their items are validated and cleared for sale, and the price to host them is negotiated, as well as the fee for any successful sale. The Consortium tends to take a minimum of ten percent per item sold, and the hosting fee is waived if a vendor sells out completely, giving extra incentive to vendors who want to make a little extra money. You may be wondering if the Consortium usually buys items before they go to sale, given what they have access too. The answer is surprisingly no, and it is one of the reasons the markets are such an event. Tyrell Zann has stated that “Such actions taken would undermine the integrity of this event, and if we want one of the many items that are hosted, we will bid and buy it when everyone else has the opportunity to.” How principled. He isn’t making it up either. The Consortium absolutely buys things at their own markets, though this is usually pretty rare, and oddly enough, on extremely obscure items and pieces of information seemingly of little use. Tyrell and Xabiar once entered into a pretend bidding war over a defunct rakatan artifact while both of them were chuckling to themselves as if it was some kind of inside joke. On a side note, we should find it concerning that this terrorist appears to be on good terms with Tyrell Zann. Birds of a feather and all that. On-Site Security: While simple and straightforward in concept, this is more involved than one might expect. Organized by the Defiler overseer, it requires hand-picking the Yellow Vests, security systems, and slaves which are to be utilized. Specific contingencies are drawn up and drilled in replica buildings months beforehand, as well as training to take down any individuals who could potentially become ‘troublesome.’ If any important Consortium figures such as Tyrell are present, adjustments need to be made to take into account extra security. I wonder how safe guests would feel if they knew the Yellow Vests ‘protecting them’ had a plan to kill each and every individual in the room, and more importantly, how to do it when as few people as possible were watching. Item Procurement and Itinerary: I will immediately note that ‘Item Procurement’ does not refer to any of the items for sale. The Consortium does not actually sell anything directly at these events, as that is done through more traditional channels. It refers exclusively to the actual furniture and infrastructure necessary to host the event. Your tables, chairs, glasses, food, and drinks, which need to take into account multiple species on the guest lists. They need to allocate chefs, slaves, transport, and hire musicians and event planners, you get the picture. They are, in a word, the ‘party planners.’ They determine the atmosphere, the theme, and are the ones who actually rent the location through a disposable shell company, and decide when and how everything will happen. So-called ‘impromptu’ speeches that Tyrell will sometimes give are completely scripted, as are most ‘disturbances’ such as a person showing up rejected on the guest list (anyone who legitimately tried this would be taken to the next room and shot), or a slave spilling a platter of food and being dragged away by the Yellow Vests. All theatre. Prevents the night from becoming too dull, and acts as a fine distraction to make the guests feel amused, protected, and elevated in their exclusive status. After all, they are clearly superior to the fool who was kicked out of this very event. It’s impressive, the tricks the Consortium will pull to secure their audience. Can’t deny that it’s effective. Market Finance and Projection: This is the most mundane of the divisions, and is responsible solely for allocating money away for the markets, as well as predicting their estimated earnings over the course of the event. It is very straightforward and there is little to really talk about here. They essentially figure out how much it will cost, and how much they are going to make. I suppose the only thing of note is that cost is not really an issue for them -- considering we recovered a report showing that the Consortium made over five hundred million credits in one night, I can see how cost would not be an issue. Interestingly enough, the markets appear to be held at least once every galactic financial quarter, although some years they will only hold three markets, instead of four. Still, interesting to note.