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The Five Families, otherwise known as the Families, is a loose alliance of street militias and gangs that survived the Los Angeles Riots of 2027. Though originally a disparate group of competing criminal enterprises, the organizational skills and common purpose gained during the riots caused the groups to band together for mutual protection from what they claim is corporate oppression. After the riots their numbers swelled with refugees who had been driven from their homes by the violence. Many of these refugees stayed with The Families once the riots were quelled, as they were driven out of their homes illegally by the newly-formed CLED (Chronosoft Law Enforcement Division), in the LGL’s version of ethnic cleansing.  They have become nomads, living along the mostly abandoned Los Angeles subway system in the deserted stations and barely functioning trains.
All of the Families began as street gangs, loosely organized criminal associations that terrorized the streets of Los Angeles as far back as the 1980’s. Though they have all gone through numerous name and leadership changes since their inception, each was formed along ethnic lines that followed their local neighborhood demographics. The riots changed that, giving diverse cultures a common enemy to band against – the corporations. The gangs joined with regular citizens driven from their homes by invading rioters or vengeful police, forming militias for neighborhood protection. The most prominent militias switched from defense to retaliation, striking out against the corporate and government entities they blamed for their troubles.
The militias were a diverse group. The South Central Crew was largely African-American, formed to exact retribution for the Jackson 5 incident that started the riots. The Hollywood Starlets were a middle-class white organization in South Hollywood that banded together to protect their neighborhood; once the riots settled down, the Starlets disbanded. The Echos were ethnically diverse, boasting membership from all areas of Echo Park. Los Magos was a curious melding of the Hispanic street gang Eastsidez and the virtual hacker gang The Magic Men. Aided by the coordination of the hackers, Los Magos conquered most of East LA with the exception of the neighborhood in Boyle Heights protected by current Los Angeles mayor Arturo Soto. Big Asia was a short-lived and fractious gathering of the various Chinese, Korean and Japanese gangs in Central L.A.
The one thing that all of these militias had in common was their socio-economic status. Their membership was predominantly lower middle class and the poor, hard hit by the devastating effects of the 2026 Budget Crisis and the resulting riots. The Local Governance License run by Chronosoft, Inc. is determined to displace all the poor people, round them up into one neighborhood and slaughter them. 
Of the organizations that survived the riots, five have achieved organizational cohesion and prominence. They are Los Magos, El Diablos, AsiaTown, The Bottle City Boys and The New Panthers.
Los Magos was one of the most successful militias during the riots, and they remain the leading family to this day. Led by a fabled figure named Los Reyes Magos (The Wise King), this family is mostly Hispanic and Latino. Having merged in the late teens, many of the various Hispanic gangs became politically active, empowered by their shared Hispanic heritage. The Eastsidez gang was the most powerful before the riots and when the unrest began, they contracted the hacker gang The Magic Men for logistical aid. The leaders of the two gangs recognized the awesome power of their shared assets and merged the two into Los Magos.
El Diablos were originally part of Los Magos, but disagreements about the division of profits from their illicit businesses caused them to splinter from the main group in the early days of 2028. Their ethos changed as well, with their entire structure built along the concept of leadership through survival of the fittest. As a result, their leadership has changed at least three times in the year since its founding, each time through the assassination of the leading figure. The leader of El Diablos must resign oneself to constant challenges from subordinates.
The Bottle City Boys are the most reclusive of the Families. Members of the Starlets who refused to lay down their arms saw the success of Los Magos’ use of hackers and took the concept to heart. Most of the members of Bottle City are hackers who spend the majority of their time in crèches, jacked in to the GlobalNet. The Starlets soldiers are the muscles of Bottle City, but there are precious few of them. Originally known as the Kandorians, from the citizens of the shrunken Kryptonian city of Kandor in Superman comics, the threat of a lawsuit by the owners of the Superman trademark convinced them to change their name to Bottle City Boys.
AsiaTown is the Chinese, Korean and Japanese remnants of Big Asia that stuck together after the riots. Though they are considered one family, they are in fact multiple ethnically pure gangs that represent themselves as one entity with three representatives on the Parliament.
The New Panthers are the politically motivated members of the South Central Crew who stayed together after the riots to advocate for African-American issues. Many of the members have adopted African war decorations, wearing tribal paint in public at all times. Despite the ostentatious hostility of this practice, the leadership is dedicated to a non-violent resistance to corporate oppression. 
The Five Families are held together through the Parliament, a loose legislative body that settles disputes, sets regulations for business and determines profit-sharing among all the Families. Each of the Families has one vote in the Parliament, though up to five representatives determined by any method can be sent to sessions. While the Families must earn their own keep, they are required to share a certain percentage of their profits with all the other Families for the betterment of the whole organization. The majority of the Families earn their living in various criminal enterprises, from drug trafficking, to prostitution, pornography, software piracy and smuggling.
The Subway System
Due to chronic underfunding, corruption and mismanagement, the Los Angeles Subway System had fallen into significant disrepair in the years before the Riots. Only the poorest would use the services, and it had become a refuge for criminal activities. The establishment of the Chronosoft LGL administration did nothing to change this, as the company put most of its transportation investment in its new dirigible service. The Families saw their opportunity and took it, for all intents and purposes squatting on the train system and claiming it as their own. Only the bravest, poorest or most foolhardy citizens of Los Angeles would use the subway, and they must do so at the pleasure of the Families.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009
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