Eclipse Phase | AUSTIN, TEXAS | 2015-2019 A.D.
The Bahala Na, Red Markets and Trading with Others
Not quite a collective, the Bahala Na are the swarm’s local crime gang. The original members were part of the Filipino Bahala Na (“Come What May”) gang on Earth who ended up on one of the refugee ships rescued by the strikers during the Fall. The gang members seized control of two small ships through dubious means as the fleet fled Earth. Though originally they made some efforts to run protection rackets and seize control of nanofabbers within the swarm, they were countered by a unified show of force from some of the other collectives and told in no uncertain terms that if they wanted to stay with the swarm, they’d have to put a stop to their predatory anti-social tactics. The gang has since found their niche within the swarm, primarily running contraband for other cartels around the inner system. Their criminal activities within the fleet are largely relegated to blackmail, running swarm cat gambling rings, and leaning on non-scum traveling with the swarm for protection money. Bahala Na members are identified by a question mark tattoo that is rendered the traditional way: by cutting the design into the skin and rubbing ink into the wound. Other traditional tattoo designs on obvious parts of the body (face, arms, hands) are prevalent on older members, whereas younger members also sport more modern nanotats.
Red markets are the equivalent of black markets in autonomist areas. Guanxi tends to apply more in red market settings than @-rep. Exchanges of goods, services, or favors are typically backed by the threat of violence. Among the scum or anarchists, if someone acts like an asshole, cheats you, or doesn’t live up to their end of the exchange, traditional autonomist remedies are applied: shaming, loss of rep, ostracization, or organizing a community response. In red markets however, the typical recourse is violence or otherwise inflicting damage. Red markets often deal with goods and intangibles that are uncommon or unpopular in the local autonomist community. This can include drugs that elicit antisocial behaviors, experimental technology, bioweapons, secrets, violence, rep network gaming, and blackmail, among other things. Though red markets are not illegal and do not need to hide from the authorities (as autonomist zones have no law or authorities), they often still operate on the sly so as to minimize repercussions and unpopularity from local autonomists who find red markets distasteful or threatening.
TRADING WITH OUTSIDERS
The scum do not use money within the swarm, but when dealing with outsiders they often buy and sell with credits. How exchanges of goods and services is handled with external sources is entirely up to individual scum and their collectives. Usually any credit earned by the scum is turned around and spent on new ships, repairs, or rare elements for nanofabrication, as well as black market goods and hand-crafted and bespoke items. Inner system parties that wish to acquire something from the swarm often find themselves owing favors or working on the swarm’s behalf in some way. In this way, the swarm maintains a network of debts and third-party middlemen that allows it to bypass some of the restrictions and red tape they often face when dealing with hypercorp and political authorities.