Yatela Crime Syndicate
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|Yatela Crime Syndicate|
|Founded|| E7-124 (as the Yatela Gang)|
E7-125 (as the Syndicate)
|Activities|| Organized criminal activities of all kinds|
Fighting other criminal groups
Fighting the Maze Police
|Leaders|| Don Michael Yatela|
The Yatela Crime Syndicate (also called Yatela Syndicate or simply the Syndicate) is a major faction in the Mazes. It is the largest criminal organization in the Mazes, possessing the largest territory (5 towns) and being the largest player in most illegal activities.
The Yatela Crime Syndicate's styling and appearance are in line with that of a stereotypical mafia, right down to the trench-coats, fedoras, and Thompson submachine guns. Its organization is also typical of a mafia, with an overarching leader known as a Don (sometimes kingpin) at the top of the organization. At the Don's side is a right-hand man known as a consigliere or counselor, assisting them in all major decisions and being the Don's most trusted confidant. Under the Don is a small number of underbosses or simply bosses. Each boss is usually in charge of part of the organization's territory; in the Yatela Syndicate's case, each boss is in charge of one of the towns other than the faction's headquarters.
Below each boss is a collection of crews and groups with various skills and specializations. A typical criminal crew or gang is led by a caporegime, each of which is in charge of several enforcers (also called soldiers), in turn, assisted by a network of associates. Together, they cause crime of all sorts.
Although members of the Yatela family have served the Syndicate at all levels, all Dons have been, so far, male descendants of the organization's founder, Ignazio Yatela.
- Don: Michael Yatela, in charge of Greening
- Consigliere: Vance Valaso, first cousin of the Don
- Underbosses: Michael Yatela's siblings, each in charge of the other towns: Antonio "Tony" Yatela (Baden Town), Soren Yatela (Garica Block), Nicky Yatela (Lenox Corner), Lenny Yatela (Viris Area)
- Many capos and enforcers
- Countless associates
Etymology of Syndicate terms
Many words used in Syndicate terminology are derived from the Tal language - the Tal words used are depicted in this section in bolded italics. They are as follows:
- Don: From Doni (Master, overlord).
- Consigliere: From the Common word counsel and the Tal suffix -iris (a medieval equivalent of the Common -ist), literally meaning "he who counsels" or "he who gives advice".
- Caporegime: From Kapi (Chief, leader) and Rezim (Regiment, brigade). Kapirezim therefore literally meaning "chief of a brigade" or "brigadier".
The Yatela Syndicate is involved in virtually every type of criminal activity that exists in the Mazes, being the "market leader" in most of them. These activities include, but are not limited to; Highway robbery, protection rackets, thefts and robberies, fencing of stolen wares, various forms of slavery and forced labor (mostly debt slavery, though instances of sex slavery in prostitution rings are evident), contract killing, various forms of extortion, criminal damage, and more. In particular, since the completion of Operation Toss the Pineapple in E7-696, the Syndicate has a virtual monopoly on the redlight industry, being in control of over 90% of prostitution rings, the largest and most successful strip club (Club 380 in Garica Block), as well as several porn production outfits.
The Syndicate's motivations are purely financial, only seeking to expand their business and maintain if not expand their influence and their territory. Although the organization is known for supporting human purity, not allowing halflings and youkai to be any more than simple associates to the organization, they do not seem to have any interest in the conflict between the Maze Military and the Youkai Nation.
See also: History of the Mazes
The Yatela Gang
In E7-124, Ignazio Yatela, then 18 years old, founded the Yatela Gang alongside his brother Guido and a small group of friends, in the town of Greening. Initially one of many small gangs that existed in the town, Ignazio quickly built a reputation for a results-first, objective-driven attitude. Within their first year of existence, the gang ran the most successful protection racketeering business the town had seen in a while, drawing the ire of other gangs.
Ignazio was undeterred by the constant challenges issued to him or his members by other gangs, but when a rival gangster shot one of his friends and fellow founding members of the gang, Ignazio responded by sending his brother to find and kidnap the rival gangster's parents and brothers, executing them in front of the rival gangster one by one, before killing him. The Yatela Gang declared war and committed acts of extreme violence and brutal retribution to all that opposed them. Soon, other criminal groups in Greening were faced with the choice of complying and working for Ignazio or face inhumane deaths.
By E7-125, a little over a year after the gang's formation, the Yatela Gang had either absorbed, eliminated or drove out all other gangs in Greening, dramatically increasing in size and reach. Being an agglomeration of former individual gangs, united under the Yatela banner, the gang renamed itself to Yatela Syndicate.
The Syndicate's first expansion plans
Ignazio designed a five-year expansion plan, which would allow the Syndicate to expand its reach outside of Greening and have a presence in multiple other parts of the world. This was achieved with the formation of settling parties and the foundation or capture of four new towns: Baden Town, Garica Block, Lenox Corner, and Viris Area.
By E7-130, six years after the Yatela Gang was first formed, the Syndicate was in full control of five towns, already becoming a dominant presence in the Southeastern Zone. The organization's businesses expanded and diversified quickly, soon becoming the Maze Police's #1 threat.
Death of the founder and start of the Yatela dynasty
Starting in E7-190, Ignazio Yatela, now well over 80 years old, began showing signs of weakness and started delegating more and more of the day-to-day management to his brother, Guido, and other, younger members. Unable to do much physical activity, the old man ended up confined to a wheelchair or bedridden. By E7-193, he started getting visions of his imminent death, and formed succession plans; on his deathbed, he declared that all Dons of the Syndicate shall be direct descendants of his, ensuring that the organization would always be under the control of the family, effectively forming a dynasty. In Pentema 18 of that year, Ignazio Yatela died of old age, the seat of power going to his brother, Guido.
Guido spent his short tenure guiding and forming Ignazio's son, Giuliano, born in E7-142 and now 52, to his future role as Syndicate Don. Months later, on Ultima 22, Guido suffered a stroke and died before he could be brought to a hospital. Giuliano Yatela, son of Ignazio, was now in charge of the Syndicate and the head of the organization's second generation, beginning the second step in a long and successful line of Syndicate Dons.
The Lenox Corner heist
In E7-205, Don Giuliano was still in charge of the Syndicate when the organization suffered its first major setback, at the hands of the Silverlight Guild. Lenox Corner's jewelry store had just been the victim of an armed robbery, perpetrated by what the jewelry store manager described as "scary larceners in silver armor". This was how the Guild gained its modern name, the Guild of Silver Larceners. With well over 1 million worth of precious goods stolen from them, the Syndicate had every reason to go after the Guild and deliver retribution.
However, uncharacteristically for the organization, Don Giuliano did not organize a violent response. It is rumored that the Don had tried to meet with the Guild's leadership to discuss a partnership, interested in recruiting them, attempting to gain the Guild's talents and skills for the Syndicate's benefit, in exchange for the Guild no longer hitting any of the Syndicate's assets and establishments. If true, these plans ultimately did not result in any kind of partnership, as the two organizations remained separate and rivals. Don Giuliano's consigliere at the time, Donato Siberio, expressed worry that the lack of punishment would result in the Guild being later emboldened to attack the Syndicate again.
Over 200 years later in E7-414, on Nonama 11, Consigliere Donato's worries were proven true. The Guild of Silver Larceners was back, and they had nothing less than the entire town of Greening as their target, intending to rob the entire town of its riches. Greening was invaded by a team of roughly 50 heavily armed and armored Larceners, and the crew was halfway into robbing every last store and establishment in the social square when the Syndicate finally responded with heavy firepower of their own, with gun battles erupting in every corner of the town. The Larceners could not "rob the whole town", and were forced to bail out. Many of their "bag-men" had been hit and forced to lose their loot bags during these battles, leading to a partial recovery of stolen wares. However, despite the sheer amount of rounds fired that day (over one thousand, according to an independent estimate, none of the Larceners were killed; the Guild only sustained seven wounded.
The Syndicate never publicly revealed exact figures, but it is believed that at least four associates and enforcers were killed. The value of the stolen goods was estimated to be between 2 and 4 million.
Don Benito Yatela III, leader of the Syndicate at the time, declared that from this day onwards, the entire Guild was marked for death; any personnel who are members of the Guild or associated with them was now the enemy of the Syndicate. The Don's statements were essentially a declaration of war, cementing the bloody rivalry between the Syndicate and the Guild.
A year later, on E7-415, Duplima 27, Don Benito III's revenge plans went in motion. Hundreds of Syndicate personnel, led by several capos, were sent to the Northern Zone, in the direction of Gimrun. However, they stopped short of entering the Guild's town; instead, posting themselves at the town entrance and along the town's routes. The plan was simple, but remarkable in its cruelty and logic: Don Benito III intended for his forces to systematically attack anyone attempting to enter or exit the town, creating a stranglehold on the town's trade routes, effectively laying siege without directly attacking any members of the Guild.
Despite several attempts to dislodge the Syndicate forces posted in the Northern Zone, and even a desperate cry for help by the population to the Maze Police (who refused to intervene, because Gimrun does not follow Standard Law), the siege is very effective and Gimrun is effectively cut off from the world, forced to rely on their meager food and water production methods and rationing what they have to an increasingly hungry and isolated population. The siege lasted exactly one year, at the end of which Don Benito III issued a message to the Guild, stating that further attempts to steal from the Syndicate would be punished even more harshly.
The Syndicate had accomplished their revenge, leaving the town of Gimrun and the Guild of Silver Larceners severely weakened. Total casualties are unknown, but it is believed that a significant amount of inhabitants (and presumably, Guild members) died of hunger or thirst as a result of the rationing. The Guild ceased all activities outside of their town for many years to come.
Operation Toss the Pineapple
In E7-693, Michael Yatela became the Syndicate Don, promoting his siblings to the rank of underboss. With Michael in the seat of power in Greening and his siblings in each of the other towns in the Syndicate's control, the organization began a new diversification and market consolidation plan: Operation Toss the Pineapple. The name of the operation comes from a derogatory term used to refer to youkai escorts, seen as stereotypically exotic, like a pineapple.
The objective of this plan was for the Yatela to seize control of the redlight industry (adult entertainment and sex services) within three years. The operation started in E7-694, with the purchase, coercion, or destruction of rival prostitution rings, with a particular focus on driving out youkai prostitution. By E7-696, the Syndicate gained control of 90% of all escort crews in the Mazes, managing to successfully eliminate youkai escort businesses from public view through violent repression and dissuasion.
This operation was seen as a shift in the Yatela Syndicate's priorities, gaining a previously unseen political angle. The Syndicate's leadership continues to assert that their only interests are to do business and make money, asserting that the decisions made during Operation Toss the Pineapple were nothing more than "just business". The Youkai Nation did not issue an official statement, but it is believed that relations between the Syndicate and youkai activists had been significantly harmed as a result.