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In the resulting vacuum of the Virus invasion of the Vargr Extents and the resulting flood of refugees from the Collapse, Vargr refugees often went hungry, sick and unsheltered, and the traditional family and pack bonds, already shattered by war, almost disappeared altogether. Only the strongest and most charismatic Vargr could prevail in this frenzy, and slowly these imposed a strict order upon the refugees, aided in no small part by corsairs and previously established Vargr politicians and corporations. By 1148 the strongest of these "topdogs" had cobbled together a semblance of order and had begun to turn their camps and fellow refugees into communities.

The chief institution to evolve were the Goenghoedz, or "Self Community Groups." These were primarily fellowships or charitable funds established by the surviving fait accompli governments, and assisted by generous Regency financing and donations, that were run by the refugees themselves. Many were not originally criminal organizations, having been founded by Vargr activists and wealthy refugees as a means of centering relief efforts and/or bringing their needs to the attention of the Regency government. Initially they distributed food, blankets and medicines, but eventually evolved into quasi-bureaucratic entities. The slowness and disorganization of the Regency's inital relief efforts convinced many Vargr that Norris and his government were untrustworthy or racist at worst, and inept at best. Many had received shabby treatment from local authorities, and were the subject of intimidation and threats by vengeful locals. As they progressively sorted out their own problems, this distrust became a critical barrier between local refugee communities and assimilation into the Regency mainstream.

Many of these groups eventually created their own extralegal methods for self-government, including taxation and policing. On many worlds it became impossible for Regency or local authorities to secure the cooperation of Goenghoedz and their supporting groups. At this time the Vargr Pack did not formally exist beyond this petulant passive-aggressiveness, though the Goenghoedz' tax collection and policing agencies often ran on their own with little respect for even the laws drawn up by the refugees themselves. Education and assimiliation slowly drew the best and brightest Vargr into the mainstream, and slowly the camps were consolidated and closed. But these refugees were followed by tax collectors and their enforcers, and these groups slowly became outlaws in the legal sense.

Aided by generous taxation (extortion) of income from refugee groups, the Goenghoedz developed along two parallel tracks. One part was legitimate, and after the Representational Reforms, these community groups became political machines for the election of Vargr represenatives to the Regency Senate. On the other hand was the growing criminality of the associated muscle and supporting infrastructure, as the net of illegality was spread farther to generate further income. Many Goenghoedz leaders became quite corrupt. For its part, the Regency actually amplified the power of these groups through a series of poorly thought out welfare and assistance measures that ended up creating a wider income base for the Goenghoedz and their collectors.

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.