Soldados – 'Soldiers'. A badass gang forming just before the Urbans, and holding together until about a dozen years ago (c. 2048)—though they'd lost a lot of steam power before that. Their tat (tattoo) was a black cross, with a heart at its intersection. The heart dripped with blood—three drops—from the tip of the knife stabbed through it.[1]

There were some offshoots of Soldados in New Jersey, and in Boston, but primarily, this was a New York gang, turfed in Spanish Harlem (also called El Barrio). Their biggest rivals, internally, were the Lobos, though they supposedly had a truce during the Urbans, and absorbed the Lobos thereafter. Externally, they went to war regularly with the Skulls, for territory, product, and general pissiness. If you had the tattoo and weren't a member, you'd be dragged before their council, beaten, and the tat would be removed with acid.[2]

For full membership—which included the tat—ten-years-old was the cutoff (gang initiation could start as early as the age of eight). Full membership required combat; for the three drops of blood to be on the tat, blood had to be spilled in that combat; the black X at the bottom of the cross symbolizes a kill. Only members with the X could serves on the council.[3]

Seventeen years ago (Spring of 2043) there was an explosion on Soldado turf, at a school dance, that killed one (Ronni Edwards) and injured twenty-three minors and two adults (Chaz Polaro was injured). It caused several thousand dollars worth of damages.[4] Lino Martinez and Steve Chávez had taken over as captains by then.[5]

Their turf ran from East 96th up to 120th; solid fourteen blocks from the East River over to Fifth. The eastern slice between 118th and 124th, that was the hot zone of the battleground, that was where each wanted more territory—that was where the bombings took place.[6]

  1. Salvation in Death (ISBN 978-0-399-15522-2), pp. 88, 89
  2. Salvation in Death (ISBN 978-0-399-15522-2), pp. 89, 101
  3. Salvation in Death (ISBN 978-0-399-15522-2), pp. 89, 90
  4. Salvation in Death (ISBN 978-0-399-15522-2), pp. 222, 242, 255, 323
  5. Salvation in Death (ISBN 978-0-399-15522-2), pp. 242, 253
  6. Salvation in Death (ISBN 978-0-399-15522-2), p. 279