home - contact - credits - news - links - history - maps - art - story
comic strips - editorial - souvenirs - Yahoo forum
1 August 2005
edited 18 November 2010
Krupmark Island - Government
(Such as it is...)
a short essay by Walter D. Reimer,
writer of "Luck of the Dragon"-- a story of the Ni family of Krupmark Island
There is no organization that actually governs Krupmark Island, only a loose clique of the strongest and best-armed. I based it on an amalgam of EE Smith's Boskone and the Mafia.
The best illustration of Krupmark's government is a bucket of crabs, each trying to pull the other down while trying to advance higher. The strongest ties between elements on the island are not blood or loyalty, but self-interest, family ties and an almost feudal obligation system. While the chain of command and the tier of obligations is similar to that of Italian or Russian organized crime families or Oriental gangs, the overall structure is Boskonian. (In Chapter 22 of Luck of the Dragon, I inserted a cameo appearance by EE Smith himself – could he have had Krupmark in mind when he wrote the Lensman stories?) Each part of the hierarchy is busily trying to undermine the next higher level, and if they succeed it's because that higher-up was too weak to protect himself.
The top layer of the various criminal groups will combine to ensure that certain things get done (maintenance on the airstrip and the radio system, etc.) but they are very suspicious of each other's motives. This echelon actually numbers less than twenty (the number fluctuates, sometimes drastically) with a total island population estimated at about five thousand. The top layer can act together if a collective danger threatens, calling upon the midlevel and lower level for support. The lower echelons act out of self-interest whenever possible, but realize that they are on the island because the top layer allows it.
The mid and lower levels include entrepreneurs such as the Ni Family and Lars Nordstrom, and the various "sporting houses" on the Beach. Interestingly, the madams of the various houses (most of whom are protected by factions higher in the pecking order; those who are not have their own private `security') meet periodically to compare notes and determine who should not be allowed in.
The lowest level is composed of solo operators (shopkeepers, itinerants, etc.), slaves (yes, there are slaves on Krupmark, usually personal property), servants and employees of the various business concerns.
Speaking earlier of Oriental gangs, the Tongs do have a presence on the island, but not to the same extent as they are present on Casino Island (and nowhere near as prevalent as Hong Kong, Macao or Kuo Han). Their primary reason for being on the island is to act as middlemen for the flow of illicit substances and money between the US West Coast, Spontoon and Kuo Han.
How does Krupmark fit into the overall society in the Nimitz Sea area? The various businesses on the island pay a tribute to the Althing ("protection money" is a rude phrase) and in return the Naval Syndicate doesn't attack. One of the island's obligations to the Althing is to act as a sentinel. There is a small camp on Mt. Krupp that acts as an observation post, although it is not manned constantly.
There are no laws on Krupmark, but there are rules. Certain people are not to be killed or kidnapped, and certain areas are off-limits to the occasional gunfight. Almost everyone on the island carries a weapon of some kind, which can give rise to some spectacular firefights but generally guarantees that people watch their step.
Walter D. Reimer
Boskone is from the science fiction novels of E.E. 'Doc' Smith (his Lensman series). They are an alien space empire and culture that acts out as malicious, manipulative & criminal.