The On'nin Ikemen1) (The Secret Handsome Men) are a secretive criminal organization in Yamatai that provide the few services entirely illegal in within the Empire: secrecy, cigarettes, private soul transfer usage and memory tampering. They are an organization formed primarily from the dregs of society, mostly Geshrin and Nepleslians who survived the plagues and constant warfare on Yamatai through various means (in many cases, simply being off-world during the purges) and returned to a culture that became increasingly militarized, artificial and repressive to certain desires. PANTHEON places people under constant observation through the eyes of the PANTHEON system, the ubiquitous security cameras in Yamatai and the eyes of every artificial NH-series android ever produced still connected to the network.
The absurdity of their ability to turn profits on the sale of cigarettes, chewing gum, mindware, and illicitly procured bodies compounds the relevant issues caused by a lack of privacy on Yamatai proper and the social stigmas against eating in public. The simple act of providing surveillance-free smoke houses and chewing gum-enabled bars.
Despite the valued, illicit services the teams offer, they operate as public organizations and maintain offices throughout Yamatai. Often, the Ikemen are valued members of their community, providing cheap manual labor and financial services to locals with the money accumulated from their illegal tradecraft. They also take part in local festivals as prominent actors in the performance of ancient Yamataian holiday traditions. During the recent Yamataian food crisis, the organizations proved helpful in distributing foodstuffs to underserved neighborhoods that would have otherwise gone hungry in the face of strict state-mandated rationing.
The Ikemen use a traditional yakuza-style power structure based on Oyabun or 'godfathers' who take in vassals or hostages for training, in a fashion similar to pre-Ketsurui samurai. Heads of families take in the children of friends and associates to strengthen the bonds among the organization and create loyalty towards the current Oyabun. Older members (known as kyodai, or older brothers) mentor younger players (known as shatei, or little brothers) in one-on-one relationships with the Boss' approval.
The Ikemen derive power entirely through the respect of the community by funding reconstruction after the various wars and other charitable projects, taking in war orphans and keeping the streets clean. Their connections to the intelligence community keep them largely secure from censure over their non-violent activities, although clashes with the YNP over murders and other violent crimes are not unheard of.
Despite being smugglers, the Ikemen are not known to make any substantial profit from the distribution of chewing gum or cigarettes, exchanging these goods for jewelry their customers order through the Yamatai Prestige System, accumulating symbols of status which are ostensibly worthless.
The Nekoyanki are Nekovalkryja inductees into the On'nin Ikemen organization who are disillusioned with Imperial structure and red tape and want to help people on a more personal level. They are observed largely to prevent too many of their secrets from becoming public knowledge through PANTHEON's espionage. A majority of these are NH-17 and similar outdated body types which have seen their existence repeatedly outdated by the creation of newer and weaker NH-series androids. Nekoyanki are known to have two distinct styles of dress: an 'nee-san' face where they dress similarly to male and non-Neko On'nin, and a 'nadeshiko' guise they present to the public- ironically dressing up in traditional Yamataian clothes.
They provide a crucial service to the organization, by being beneath the notice of other Neko and often work as observers in controlled areas of Yamataian cities. Nekoyanki are occasionally used as muscle due to their superior physical strength, but tend to be avoided due to their utility in other places.
Dekotora are truckers and other courriers in the On'nin, who act as fixers and smugglers. Their name derives from a Yamataicization of the Nepleslian word 'decoration', referring to their intricately (and often gaudily) decorated shuttles and land vehicles- which often provide convenient hiding places for smuggled goods. Dekotora make use of modified shuttles and other light spaceships that can tow acre-long chains of standard shipping containers packed full of chewing gum, cigarettes, old model Neko bodies, and smoke paraphernalia (imports of water pipes from the mysterious Iromakuanhe have recently risen in demand). Dekotora tend to be Nepleslians of Yamataian descent, upgraded with cybernetics that make them one with their gaudy 'space trucks.'
Another common form of transportation, the Itasha are normal Yamataian cars, but painted with images of Yamataian War heroes such as Kotori, Hanako, and Eikan Minato. These are not ironic images feigning Imperial support, indeed, many Ikemen are really big fans of such great Yamataian celebrities and follow their exploits on SANDRA with almost religious fervor.
The On'nin Ikemen operate many legal industries in Yamatai, particularly certain goods and services they make primary use of. The uchuu pachinko2) parlors and arcades give them stable revunue streams, and they trade in luxury goods like leather jackets, combustion motorcycles and barbershops where patrons can get 'traditional service' from Nepleslian-trained barbers.
Koya are secret clubhouses maintained by the On'nin, essentially artificial nodal and PANTHEON deadzones offered by the organization. Despite their nefarious appearances, often being concealed in the basements of arcades, bars and in otherwise poor districts, they are often little more than private meeting rooms. Many koya exist simply to allow customers in bars to smoke or chew gum in private, or allow political rivals who cannot afford to lose face places to meet discretely and discuss matters — or other more visceral experiences. Some koya are reputed to play host to secret fight clubs where Ikemen members fight it out to injury without paying fines for being involved in brawls, and spectators can watch and bet on bloodsport fighting.
Perhaps most disturbing are rumors that some koya are used by high-profile corporate and military leaders to conduct off-the-record negotiations. Tales of zaibatsu mergers and clan takeovers have spread like wildfire in the most low-class neighborhoods where the shops are located. The validity of these stories is hard to confirm, as PANTHEON's reach does not extend within a koya's walls.
Amusingly, the Ikemen tend to be fervent nationalists in spite of their dislike for the current governance and social structure of Yamatai. When anti-Yamatai terror groups or criminals convene in koya to avoid scrutiny, they often find themselves exposed shortly thereafter.
The Soap Hoses operate as traditional Yamataian onsen with one notable difference: customers can pay a little extra to buy illegally-procured mindware upgrades and obsolete Nekovalkyrja bodies. Want to be trained in the Ketsurui Samurai warrior arts? The Ikemen have just the knowledge upgrade for you — along with all of the involuntary nationalism and twitch reflexes that go along with it. Want to pilot starfighters or shuttles? They've got those infopacks, too! But you won't know how to fly the most state of the art equipment by a longshot.
Additionally, the Ikemen provide people wanting to transfer to a Neko body without going into the military a route to attain that dream. Old NH-29, NH-17, or even more obscure models are available for the right price. Most customers are old men and nerds who want to live out perverse fantasies, and many indeed end up paying off their debt to the Ikemen by working as willing sex workers. Like their mindware, the bodies provided by Ikemen Soap Houses tend to be worn or second rate and many have problems with their metabolism and motor functions, forcing their new occupants to lead particularly inactive lives compared to their old, non-Neko bodies. The most pricy and fully functional Neko available are usually NH-29 that were intercepted when the UOC was forced to turn over all Yamatai Star Empire equipment years ago.
There is no real 'uniform' for the Ikemen, but they do tend to dress similarly, despite this. The standard look for the organization is pantsuits of various designer makes. Cells will usually dress fairly similar, with some favoring longer coats, others forego ties and wear their shirts unbuttoned underneath their jackets. Usually gauche jewelery is worn to denote wealth and status, though the trinkets are rarely worth as much as its wearer pays to purchase them.
Oyabun tend to wear black suits, white collared shirts, and black ties regardless of their cell or syndicate. Their plain, respectable manner of dress is intended to command the eternal admiration of their more wildly dressed underlings — as well as the respect of other bosses. Much like their lower-ranked brothers, however, these suits can often be cheap and classless. But every now and again, an Oyabun will have a real fashion sense and outshine his less clothes-conscious fellows. These pretty boys rarely last long or climb the ranks to dominate rival cells, though.