The Serpentis Corporation is a cutting-edge research, development, and manufacturing corporation specializing in biochemistry and the production and distribution of high-technology pharmaceuticals. To put it more bluntly, Serpentis is one of the foremost manufacturers and smugglers of illegal drugs in New Eden. Concentrating primarily on the lucrative Gallente Federation market, Serpentis networks ship neural boosters and other drugs across the cluster in vast quantities every day. As a major source of illegal drugs and the crime associated with them, the Serpentis are high on the priority list of criminal organizations monitored by law enforcement in New Eden.
While Serpentis networks uncovered in the core empires are more or less readily dealt with by the authorities, the one advantage that the Serpentis Corporation holds over many other drug syndicates is its control of the Phoenix constellation of systems in the outer region of Fountain. Over the years, the Serpentis have established many subsidiary facilities and installations in neighboring regions and the hidden folds of deadspace. Their alliance with the Angel Cartel has brought them both additional security and a foothold in the Curse region, where they have many manufacturing and storage stations. From their well-protected bases in nullsec space, the Serpentis are able to control a large portion of the illegal booster market with little concern for the forces of law and order.
In the early days following the development of the first neural boosters, many perfectly legal corporations researched and manufactured these new “wonder drugs,” hoping to build a fortune on their promise. Unfortunately for these companies, and for more than a few early adopters, it soon became clear that prolonged use of the new drugs could have bizarre and often fatal side effects. The core empires quickly moved to ban almost all neural booster drugs, at a stroke driving this lucrative new market underground. At the time, one of the smaller booster research firms, named Sarpatis, was owned by a Gallente biochemist named Igil Sarpati. The Sarpatis Corporation was contracted by the Gallente Federation to investigate the potential for neural booster use in their military. When the Federation Senate later banned boosters, Sarpatis quickly collapsed, sharing the fate of almost all other companies that had invested in the booster trade. Not long after the company closed down, Igil Sarpati died. Suddenly leaderless, his family looked set for obscurity and relative poverty.
The Sarpati story might have ended there had it not been for the drive and determination of Igil’s adopted child, Virge Salvador Sarpati. Of Caldari parentage, the young Sarpati became the head of the family after his father’s untimely death. The collapse of his father’s company, and the worsening of the family’s circumstances that followed, marked the young Sarpati for life. Evidently the youth endured much mockery from his contemporaries, but the experience only fired his determination to restore the Sarpati family fortune. Preferring the name V. Salvador Sarpati, and with a talent for business, the new head of the Sarpati family was eventually able to found his own company. Taking an old form of the family name, he called it the Serpentis Corporation. Sarpati knew that research and development could be lucrative fields so long as the work were sufficiently diversified to limit the risks. Over time, he maneuvered the Serpentis Corporation into a leadership position in the field of space colonization and industrialization technologies. In an echo of his father’s work, space medicine became a particular field of interest to the young executive, and thus by proxy to his corporation’s large R&D division.
The Serpentis Corporation necessarily began life as a Gallente Federation–based company, but even by Gallente standards it possessed a very cosmopolitan character from its first days. Due to the way his father had been treated and his early experiences in Gallente society, Sarpati became increasingly antagonistic toward the Gallente Federation, and as his corporation grew, his disdain for the Gallente reached a point where he allowed only Caldari corporations and officials access to the higher echelons of his organization. In the end, Sarpati decided on a total break with the federation and began to look for ways to escape the limits of Gallente law.
At the beginning of YC 75, Sarpati settled on a plan. He acquired a system in the Phoenix constellation and named it Serpentis Prime. Rapidly building an advanced space station, he transferred his core operations to Serpentis Prime and began to expand his research ventures into forbidden territories. Part of Sarpati’s strategy was to open his station to the inhabitants of the Fountain region, earning their support and favor. That many of these locals were criminals and outright pirates was of little concern to him. Once he had established himself, it is believed that he retrieved his father’s old neural booster formulas from the family archives and turned his research facilities over to working on them. The Serpentis Corporation was now set on a path that would lead it well beyond the confines of the law.
Salvador Sarpati took a great risk when he opened his station to outlaws and pirates, but he made sure to get his corporation powerful protection. In an extraordinary and dangerous move, he struck a deal with the notorious Angel Cartel for protection of his station and facilities. In return the Angels would get a cut of Serpentis trade and access to any research breakthroughs the Serpentis Corporation made. As the Serpentis operation expanded, the Angels expanded their protection force. Over time, this deal has been so lucrative for the Angels that they have found it worth building an entire division, the Guardian Angels, dedicated to protecting Serpentis space. With the help of the Angel Cartel, the Serpentis developed their own security forces, with Salvador Sarpati eventually able to command a powerful navy in his own right.
While Sarpati’s fortunes have steadily risen over the decades since he founded Serpentis, the effort has not been without setbacks. CONCORD’s Directive Enforcement Department considers Serpentis vessels fair game and offers large bounties for their destruction. The law enforcement agencies of the Gallente Federation are particularly concerned about combating the Serpentis drug-smuggling and money-laundering operations in their jurisdiction. As an outlawed organization, the Serpentis Corporation is often the target of other nullsec factions or capsuleer groups. In YC 106, for instance, the Mordu’s Legion mercenary corporation raided Serpentis Prime and is speculated to have escaped with data on several prototype technologies being researched by Sarpati’s scientists.
V. Salvador Sarpati was well established as a foe of the Gallente federation by YC 107, but even the keenest Serpentis watchers were startled by his hijacking of one of the Federation’s Soltueur-class Titans in May of that year. Personally leading a Serpentis strike force, Sarpati successfully boarded the FNS Molyneux before flying it on a long journey back to Serpentis Prime. The incident, notable enough to begin with, is remembered for the large involvement of capsuleer forces attempting to both help and hinder Sarpati and his escort fleet as they escaped toward Fountain. Reaching Serpentis Prime successfully, Sarpati was able to call on reinforcements that covered the hijacked Titan’s retreat into the security of Serpentis docking facilities. The daring operation shocked the Gallente Federation and served as a reminder of the lengths to which Sarpati was willing to go to harm the empire he held responsible for his father’s decline.
With its power and military capability increasing, in YC 108 the Serpentis Corporation judged the time ripe to stage a takeover of the Outer Ring Excavations (ORE) conglomerate. A series of carefully planned operations in the first quarter of the year culminated in the capitulation of ORE in April YC 108. The federation, seeing yet another expansion of Serpentis influence in the outer regions close on Gallente space, reacted by warning the Serpentis not to expand any further toward their regions. CONCORD itself considered the threat so dire as to back the federation’s position with promises that deadly force would be used against any Serpentis attempt to encroach on Gallente space.
The Serpentis were evidently little cowed by words alone, and in September YC 108 they staged another raid on federation dockyards, this time stealing a Nyx-class supercarrier from the Federation Navy. This hijacking did not go as well as that of the Molyneux, and while the supercarrier was successfully jumped to nearby nullsec, capsuleers swiftly tracked and destroyed it. Even so, a significant federation asset had been lost, and the fact that the theft had been carried out in Luminaire—home system of the Gallente and the cultural heart of the federation—only served to add insult to the injury. Sarpati, as usual, reveled in both the discomfiture of the Gallente and the fillip to his notoriety.
The Gallente Federation responded to the audacity of the Serpentis by stepping up its patrols and interceptions, and scored some successes against drug shipments in the following years. Serpentis vessels running under false flags and illicit transshipment points were raided with increasing frequency. In some cases the fight against the Serpentisbacked drug trade revealed their use of other organizations, either through infiltration or in criminal partnership. The affair of the designer drug called “Rise” and the Illoren organization revealed Serpentis schemes within Intaki society in the federation, perhaps aided by their sometime associates in the Intaki Syndicate. The interest in corrupting the Intaki appeared to be confirmed when it was found that Serpentis enforcers regularly made use of the Aenebra, an Intaki “death cult” notorious for combining drugs, rituals, and assassination in its activities. Once again, it seemed, V. Salvador Sarpati was working his long-term plans against the federation.
With many of his operations disrupted and several schemes exposed, Sarpati evidently chose discretion over escalation, and for some years now there has been a lull in overt Serpentis activity, particularly in terms of grand heists, military raids, and the like. That said, despite the entry of capsuleers into the neural boosters market, and a limited legalization of the weaker forms of the drugs, Sarpati’s core business of drug manufacturing and supply has continued with little interruption. The market for his products is vast, and the people of the Gallente federation are prosperous enough, in the main, to afford his tempting and addictive offerings. The question today is what Sarpati will do next. No one doubts that the man called “The Snake” still hates the Federation, and the Gallente authorities continue to maintain a vigilant watch over the Serpentis sphere of influence.
In its origins a Gallente corporation, the Serpentis organization still retains a certain family resemblance to the many large and perfectly legal corporations that operate across New Eden. It is, as a fact, part of the corporate culture of the Serpentis that everyone within the organization behaves, at least outwardly, as if it is just another research and development conglomerate. It is standard for Serpentis executives to express shock and vigorous reproach if anyone so much as suggests that the corporation is a criminal organization involved in drug smuggling and racketeering on a grand scale. This peculiar play-acting, carried on by people who clearly know what they are about, takes place at every level of the Serpentis Corporation. Whether it is an aid to indoctrination or merely one of Salvador Sarpati’s sardonic jokes is unclear. Given the byzantine mind of Sarpati, it is very likely a little bit of both.
The veneer of legitimate corporate culture practiced by the Serpentis is accompanied by a deep organizational devotion to free market principles and meritocratic advancement. It is, on the one hand, quite acceptable to discreetly bribe your way into a desired position, but if you are incapable of fulfilling the new role, your contract is likely to be terminated, a circumstance that in the Serpentis Corporation is very definitely final. Those who earn their place by enhancing the profits of the Serpentis Corporation are infinitely more secure. A line is drawn very clearly at disruptive means of advancement. Sabotage or murder of colleagues is strictly forbidden and will usually be grounds for dismissal. Very few risk the consequences and those that do very rarely profit from their ill-judged actions.
Conversely, the rewards for merited advancement in the Serpentis Corporation are very high. The corporation ensures that even low-level workers are at the very least comfortable and well paid. Managers can expect a very high standard of living, and the upper executives live in luxury every bit as lavish as a Gallente corporate exec enjoys. V. Salvador Sarpati himself has gathered a varied and multitalented retinue about him. The most frivolous of them live with him in the Serpentis Prime system. There they spend their days in idle games and frolics without a worry in the world. Sarpati himself is an active participant, although his boundless energy and ambition always draw him back to his schemes and his empire. The more determined members of the inner circle are scattered across the Serpentis stations in Fountain and Curse, helping to run the Serpentis Corporation according to Sarpati’s wishes. In many cases, the ultimate goal of a member of the Serpentis is to one day enter Sarpati’s retinue.
Perhaps inevitably, use of drugs and neural boosters for recreational purposes, and more besides, is a significant aspect of Serpentis culture. While Sarpati does not enforce any kind of no-users policy on his drug empire’s employees, he does insist that use of his products be in due moderation and not impair the efficiency of his organization. Woe betide anyone who fails in their allotted tasks due to drug intoxication or a booster-invoked seizure on the job. Sarpati enjoys seeing his staff take their share in the rewards of the drug business, but he has no patience for fools who lose themselves in a narcotic haze. Another side, arguably darker still, to the drug culture of the Serpentis is the extensive use of combat boosters and psychoactive drugs by the security and military divisions of the organization. Serpentis security troops are feared not only for their efficiency and ruthlessness but also, perhaps primarily, because they commonly have all human emotion drugged out of their systems.
In many respects the Serpentis exhibit a mix of Caldari efficiency, Gallente curiosity, and Minmatar determination in much that they do. The only major cultural influence that is given short shrift by the Serpentis is the Amarr, with their ever-present religiosity. Sarpati himself considers religion a trap for the mind, and his disdain is reflected in the attitudes of his people. The Serpentis will happily stoop to using religion as a tool, as they have on several occasions in the service of peddling their pharmaceutical wares, but they have nothing but contempt for the religious habit of mind.
Structure and Leadership
The leadership of the Serpentis Corporation is unambiguously vested in the person of V. Salvador Sarpati. As the founder, guiding light, and public face of Serpentis, Sarpati can be said to embody the organization in all its aspects. Even the Blood Raider Covenant’s Omir Sarikusa does not quite achieve the level of identification with his organization that Sarpati has made sure to maintain with the Serpentis Corporation.
For the enemies of Serpentis, the elimination of Sarpati is at the top of the list of measures they would like to be able to take against the organization. It is possible, indeed, that if this were ever achieved, Serpentis might just collapse. The prospect seems unlikely, however. Sarpati’s transhuman status is unclear, but most believe that he is a capsuleer or, at the very least, has cloned and backed himself up to such an extent that assassination is practically impossible.
Such is the genius of Sarpati, and so admired are his achievements and intellect within Serpentis, that, for the organization’s executives, managers, scientists, workers, and fighters, there is only one leader that matters: V. Salvador Sarpati. Even so, Serpentis is a large organization, and using the corporate model, Sarpati has ensured that there is competent direction at every level of his empire.
At the core of Serpentis operations is the corporation that V. Salvador Sarpati built to redeem the fortunes of his adoptive family. Ostensibly a research and development outfit gone rogue, the Serpentis Corporation oversees research, manufacture, and distribution of a myriad of illegal drugs and narcotics. In the main, Sarpati has chosen to keep the different activities that the Serpentis are involved in under the single roof of the Serpentis Corporation. The corporation therefore has large security and logistics divisions within its structure, as well as many research and industrial sections dedicated to various products. Secure in its Fountain and Curse stations, the Serpentis Corporation does little to hide the nature of those products. To be sure, the Serpentis are no strangers to clandestine activity, and the corporation’s distribution arm’s pilots are masters at the black arts of smuggling.
An exception to Salvador Sarpati’s preference for organizing all activity under the Serpentis Corporation umbrella, Serpentis Inquest is believed to be exclusively focused on research into areas other than the pharmaceutical concerns of its parent company. The rumors hold that Inquest’s research ranges from forbidden AI experiments, through black cyberimplants, and on to alternative methods of cloning and consciousness transfer. CONCORD appears to believe that Serpentis Inquest certainly has an interest in implant and cloning technology, but for the rest it makes no comment. The staff of Serpentis Inquest, so far as anyone can determine, never leave the corporation’s single research station orbiting the first moon of Serpentis Prime VI. It is certain that nobody, whether in the Serpentis organization or in interstellar law enforcement, has any interest in talking about anything that would force a confrontation in the Phoenix constellation.
While the Serpentis Corporation still relies heavily on the Angel Cartel for military aid and protection, the forces of Serpentis are by no means to be dismissed. While often seen working hand in glove with the Guardian Angels, the Serpentis military carries out its own operations with the efficiency and ruthlessness demanded by Salvador Sarpati. The commanders and elite fighters of the Serpentis fleets are known as the Shadow Serpentis. Rumored to take a cocktail of combat drugs that deaden their emotions and heighten their aggression, the Shadows are justly feared throughout the Serpentis sphere of influence.
V. Salvador Sarpati
The evil genius, as some would say, at the top of the Serpentis organization, Virge Salvador Sarpati founded the corporation and built it into the drug empire of today with absolute devotion. Preferring to be known as “V. Salvador Sarpati,” the leader of Serpentis is sometimes referred to as “The Snake,” though never in his hearing and only by enemies and the most daring of his servants. Truth be told, while he keeps up an appearance of disliking the nickname, Sarpati takes a rather perverse pleasure in it. Near-obsessive preoccupations with long-term schemes and mysterious research projects, and his ever-present hatred of the Gallente Federation, are key to understanding Sarpati. Nevertheless, the health and prosperity of the Serpentis Corporation remain his chief concerns, all else being a means to an end for this enigmatic crime lord.
The beloved adoptive father of V. Salvador Sarpati, Igil was a brilliant Gallente biochemist who founded a startup company specializing in neural boosters. His timing proved poor, and within only a few years the Gallente Federation, in common with the other core empires, had banned the new class of drugs due to deleterious and often fatal side effects. The Sarpatis company collapsed and with it began the decline of Igil Sarpati. He died relatively young—Salvador believed this was due to his broken spirit—and left his adopted son, Virge Salvador, as head of the Sarpati family. If there is one man that Sarpati still honors, it is his gentle and inquiring, long-dead father.
While Salvador Sarpati’s adoptive family are a key part of his retinue, one member of the Sarpati house, his sister Santimona, has rejected an idle life of privilege in Serpentis Prime, along with Salvador’s criminal and underworld activities. As a high-ranking member of the Servant Sisters of EVE, Santimona mocks her brother and his criminal lifestyle at every opportunity, calling him the “King Serpent” and Serpentis Prime his “royal court.” For his part, Salvador returns her contempt, calling her devotion to the sisters a “meaningless collapse into quasi-religious sentimentality.” Privately, Sarpati knows that the Sisters are not to be underestimated and he is careful to keep an eye on the activities of his estranged adoptive sibling.
Silphy en Diabel
While by no means a member of the Serpentis organization, Silphy en Diabel is a useful ally for Sarpati, as her control of the Intaki Syndicate guarantees its friendly relationship with his organization. The two are old acquaintances, en Diabel originally coming to the attention of Salvador due to the friendship she once had with Santimona Sarpati. When Silphy later achieved control of the Intaki Syndicate with Sisters of EVE’s aid, Sarpati saw an opportunity to establish a useful business relationship, while at the same time putting one over on his sister. Silphy en Diabel readily agreed to Sarpati’s proposal that the Intaki Syndicate and Serpentis Corporation collaborate in their efforts to control the Gallente Federation black market. The two organizations mutually profited; when, as it inevitably had to, the partnership emerged into public view, the Sisters of EVE and Santimona turned their backs on Silphy en Diabel. Once again, the Snake’s schemes had come to fruition.
Tuvan Orth is a trusted commander in Serpentis and is responsible for the internal security of the organization. Orth took part in the hijacking of the Gallente Soltueur-class Titan FNS Molyneux in YC 107. He is possibly the most wanted man in the Serpentis Corporation, next to Sarpati himself. He is reputed to be fearless and, unlike many Serpentis fighters, eschews combat drugs. Orth is known to be exceedingly arrogant and almost as egotistical as his master. Remarkably, by all accounts the two men get on very well with one another. It is considered likely that Tuvan Orth is a capsuleer, but there is no clear evidence for this.
Fazin Oorund played a key role in the Serpentis takeover of the ORE conglomerate in YC 108, providing Serpentis forces with intelligence and access from his position as an ORE station administrator. For his efforts, the traitor was appointed the position of lord admiral in the Serpentis forces and assigned the role of liaison between the Serpentis Corporation and ORE operations. He is not a popular figure within either Serpentis or ORE.