The Kasballica Mission
It is not only the legitimate authorities who have much to gain from the exploration and exploitation of the Koronus Expanse. For centuries, criminal organizations have attempted to benefit from the wealth and power that flows back from the Expanse, with varying degrees of success. The Kasballica Mission, based in Footfall, is the latest and most successful in a long line of these criminal groups.
The Kasballica has a long and bloody history that predates the Calixis Sector. Carried into the sector to settle the worlds of the Drusus Marches in the aftermath of the Angevin Crusade, a dozen old and established criminal syndicates from worlds in Segmentum Solar warred silently even on the colonist transports that took them to newly-conquered worlds. By the time the transports finally reached the Drusus Marches subsector, the war was almost over, the shattered remnants of each crime baron’s armies slowly rebuilt into a single, larger one—the Kasballica.
In the centuries that followed, this singular organization fragmented again, splitting into more localized interests on several worlds, communicating only through their rulers, self-declared barons, dukes and princes who each ruled over a single world’s Kasballican enterprises. Rivalries sprang up, and the line between healthy competition and outright war became blurred as each fought to obtain wealth with which to dominate their rivals.
Then the Koronus Passage opened, and suddenly a new source of wealth emerged, granting a new lease on life to the fractured organization, particularly those parts of it that had made in-routes into the Cold Trade—the sale of forbidden xenos items throughout the Calixis Sector. Within a decade, the internecine war had stilled, the assorted factions regarding the new opportunity as too great for any one crime lord to handle alone, and they moved to infiltrate Port Wander.
Their operations on Port Wander were a limited success for a time, hindered by the relatively small population of the starfortress and its abundance of Imperial authority figures unwilling to let an independent criminal organization get in their way. Their efforts were further set back by the siege of Port Wander, which prevented them from accomplishing anything for nearly a decade. After the Imperial Navy reclaimed Port Wander, the Kasballicans there departed, seeking a better base of operations in Dewain’s Footfall, the new and more lawless settlement on the far side of the Maw.
Unfettered by the laws of the Imperium, and able to exert its power across the breadth of Footfall’s society, the Kasballica Mission (a term which refers specifically to the Kasballican operation on Footfall), thrived as it had never done before, and soon, Footfall’s Prince of the Kasballica was as wealthy as his peers within the Calixis Sector. It was not to last; seeing their investment turned against them, the other Kasballica factions pressed their peers in Footfall. The end result was a resurgence in the secret war between the Kasballican factions that continued for well over a century, weakening the Kasballica Mission to the point where its rivals in Footfall were able to hinder its efforts.
Between the increasing presence of the Amaranthine Syndicate, arms dealers hailing from the city of Gunmetal on distant Scintilla, and agents of the Malfian crime lord Iridan Nox, the Kasballica Mission was struggling to maintain its place on Footfall. The secret war between the Calixian Kasballicans and the Mission on Footfall ground to a halt, as both sides realized that neither would profit from being forced out of the Expanse.
The aftermath of the secret war brought a greater degree of stability, and the Mission was rebuilt to consist almost entirely of trusted vassals and retainers from the other factions. With rival criminal organizations from further afield moving in on Footfall, the Kasballica could ill-afford another schism. The new structure of the Mission was to ensure that it remained under the control of the Kasballica in the Calixis Sector, which in turn would maintain stability for the organization,
When the Maw closed in 813.M41, this plan paid off. Amidst mass starvation, it was only the Kasballica, whose vaults were well-stocked with supplies, who managed to endure with little loss of power or life, as all around them begged and scrounged for those same supplies. When the Maw reopened at the end of that year, the Kasballica Mission had not only managed to hold out against the settlement’s starvation, but had thrived in spite of it, gaining new ground and extending its influence across Footfall further than it had ever done before.
With every year, the Kasballica Mission attempts to negotiate better and longer-lasting deals with passing Rogue Traders. Lacking the resources to venture out into the Expanse by themselves, they must content themselves with trade deals, dealing illicit goods for a cut of the profits. This has always been sufficient, for there are precious few routes through which one may sell such proscribed items. Because of its long existence, and in part thanks to its recent resurgence, the Kasballica control many of the illicit trade routes into and around the Calixis Sector. However, when speaking of power and wealth, sufficient is never enough, and the Kasballica are not content to sit on their laurels and make do with what they have already accumulated.