Longshore crew Keepsake
During the Abandonment, the Natives of Keepsake supplemented their subsistence aquaculture with hunting sunbursts for their meat and skins. The skins were often traded with nearby villages for other goods that the inhabitants of Keepsake could not provide for themselves. This continued after Recontact, the Natives taking advantage of the GEO's acceptance of subsistence-level sunburst hunting by Natives.
Around six years ago, George Sefanova, an up-and-coming young member of the Native Emancipation League (NEL), identified Keepsake as a potentially useful resource for the NEL. To support its good works, the NEL needs a large and steady income. A lot comes from charitable donations, but the NEL prefers to take a cut from Native-run commercial projects. George realized that Keepsake's sunburst hunting be transformed into such a project, despite the commercial exploitation of sunbursts being banned by the GEO. He approached the village's Chair, Eleanor Johnson, and made his pitch: the NEL would support the village's sunburst hunting by finding buyers for large shipments of sunburst hides in exchange for a large share of the projects. In return, George would ensure that much of the money given to the NEL would be spent on various projects in the village.
After a debate in the village council, Eleanor agreed and the plan was set in motion. (Eleanor could have applied for a licence for the hunting, but George persuaded her against it, for reasons of morality and expense.) Over the years, various public works projects were undertaken Keepsake. Horatio Johnson was sent to Longshore, trained as a paramedic, and returned to a custom-made clinic. Street lighting was installed in the village. The NEL distributed infrastructure grants, so most people could buy maincomps and other equipment and connect them to the village's new CommCore satellite hub.
The sunburst hunting continued to be done by villagers, but with new, automated equipment bought through the NEL. Much of the work was done by young villagers, eager for the risk. The hunting was co-ordinated by David Transson, a Warden native to Keepsake. The hunters operated out of a base hidden in a mangrove swamp on the northeast coast of Fable Island. The hides were held there until they could be smuggled out via the Hanover emporium ships calling at Longshore. Hannibal DeSouza, the Native Patrol officer, was never conscientious and was soon persuaded to help with the hunting and selling of the hides. Occasionally, and generally in the early days, enforcers from Poseidon First were called in to protect the trade.
However, some of the villagers were not so happy with the sunburst trade. Many remained aloof, not getting involved in the trade, but accepting the benefits. But a few actively campaigned against it. The most vocal of these was Defender, one of the community's two dolphins. He had strong ecological convictions and connections with the Blue Water Circle (BWC), and was shunned by many in the village. Little would have come of this had not Jessica Saunders fallen for David and become his lover. Gustav Saunders, Jessica's husband, disliked the sunburst trade anyway and now hated David personally. Defender capitalized on this affair and persuaded Gustav to secretly pass him information on the sunburst trade and other goings-on in the village; Defender passed it on to his BWC contacts. The BWC were interested in Keepsake's sunburst hunting, because they also needed an income to finance their struggle against the Despoilers.
Things came to a head when Gustav discovered that Jessica was pregnant by David. Gustav persuaded Jessica to reveal where David was going on his next trip out of the village. Gustav told Defender, and Defender told the BWC. A BWC cell was waiting for David at an island between Keepsake and Longshore. They ambushed him, killed him with a soft spurt's poison, and dumped his body. David's body was discovered by a private Long John prospector, who alerted the Longshore Crew, and the rest is history.