Kobayashi Maru was the name of a murderous street gang that used to operate in what is now known as "Chinatown" during the 1920s and 1930s. Though they initially worked without much publicity outside of their base of operations, the gang's workings and MO have since been popularized by the Star Trek franchise, which used their concept of "no-win" standoffs for their own Starfleet training exercise, named, funnily enough, as the "Kobayashi Maru" test.
The Kobayashi Maru gang was founded by Kobayashi Maru, a sociopathic butcher who wanted to live life on the wrong side of the law due to his sociopathicity. He quickly graduated from butchering cows to his own human neighbors, and enlisted the help of local black market dealers to cover-up his crimes, lest he expose them when being put to trial. More concerned about their businesses than a sociopath in their midst, the dealers agreed to help, and the gang was born.
The gang initially operated entirely on Kobayashi's whims. For a while, this proved to be highly beneficial for the black market dealers. Rising corruption in the city enabled them to bribe the police to look the other way while Kobayashi carved up their competition and sent photos of the carved up competitors to the other competitors who were still alive. This resulted in the business of Kobayashi Maru's acolytes to skyrocket, and they generously paid back the butcher for his help.
However, Kobayashi's growing bloodlust attracted a lot of unwanted attention to the gang, and with the arrival of a new police chief, the noose began to tighten. Search warrants for their holdings became a near commonplace affair for the gang, to the extent that they tried to distance themselves from their sociopathic founder. This resulted in one of the dealers unwittingly selling a fellow gang member's dismembered body to a customer, following which he was arrested, tried and executed. Kobayashi had made his point.
However, they decided to move their base into another district, where they would arrive as unknowns and would hopefully face a corrupt enough police force that would enable them to carry on with their lives in peace. The opposite turned out to be the case, however, and they soon found a SWAT team at their doorstep. Though they were acquitted in the subsequent trial thanks to some technicality, Kobayashi knew that they could no longer operate on the short leash the police was keeping them on. It was then that he formulated a tactic that would go on to become the gang's legacy.
The Kobayashi Maru standoff
The gang went underground following their acquittal, and Kobayashi decided that they would shift their focus from murder to kidnapping and rape. Through a highly spread out schedule, and targeting homeless people whom nobody cares about, and gay people and hookers who were outlaws themselves, they managed to build up a major arsenal of hostages. The black market dealers were initially relieved, as keeping people under captivity never attracts the kind of attention that a discovered dead body might. They thought Kobayashi's needs had changed, and that they could peacefully carry on their business while Kobayashi kept having his way with their captives.
However, their hopes were dashed when Kobayashi, after 2 months, revealed that he wanted to not only murder innocent people again, but also display their bodies in public. They dared not plead with him to stop because of what had happened the last time, and so meekly went on with his plans.
However, Kobayashi had conjured up an elaborate plan to prevent ever getting caught. He made an alliance with every street gang that operated between the police station and his own headquarters. These gangs in turn threatened the police with "dire consequences" if they ever encroached on their "legitimate businesses" without a warrant.
The police would only know the dire implications of these threats when they went to take in Kobayashi for questioning in connection with a disemboweled woman that had turned up the other day. En route, they saw a massive truck full of hostages being ferried into a warehouse allegedly owned by a street gang. Too concerned about the hostages to look the other way, the cops decided to investigate the warehouse even without a warrant.
What happened next would become the "legacy" bit of Kobayashi Maru's legacy. The police were promptly ambushed from all sides by gang members, who proceeded to kill as many of them as they could. The officers who managed to escape the firefight were taken out by snipers on the payroll of Kobayashi. And the street gangs then destroyed all the evidence connecting them to the crime.
This scenario repeated itself with an alarming and embarrassing regularity, to the extent that murders of both civilians and police officers became almost endemic to the region. The police force stopped even trying to investigate murder cases after a while, knowing that doing so would result in a "no-win" scenario eventually. The Kobayashi Maru gang became notorious in the district for outsmarting the police force so comprehensively, and lawlessness prevailed in the region for almost a decade.
Decline and disappearance
The Kobayashi Maru gang went into decline once Kobayashi decided to enlist in the United States army following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Realizing the exciting opportunities for combat and bloodshed that lay ahead, most of the gang members followed suit. The gang-induced lawlessness came to an abrupt end, to be later replaced by war-induced lawlessness.
In an ironic case of poetic justice, all Kobayashi Maru gang members were either killed off in enemy ambushes, or were taken as Prisoners of War, following which they were sodomized and skinned alive by their enemy counterparts. They were never heard from again, and their exploits were unknown to today's world until development began on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Star Trek's Adaptation of the gang's tactics
Among the many things researched for the Star Trek film were the two World Wars and what happened between them. It was during this time that scriptwriter Jack B. Sowards discovered buried police documents relating to the gang's arrest and acquittal. Further snooping brought him the personal diary of deceased Officer Tim Haven, who was the police chief during the peak of Kobayashi Maru's murderous spree. Further research into the Second World War revealed to Jack the eventual fate of the gang members, but by then, he was more than satisfied with what he'd obtained.
He used his findings to plot the opening sequence of the film, wherein a Vulcan named Lt Saavik attempts to save a stranded ship named after the Kobayashi Maru gang only to enter into a Klingon neutral zone, giving the aliens the perfect excuse to kick her ass. It is later revealed to be a training exercise designed to test the Lieutenant's character during a doomed, no-win scenario. Jack has admitted that he intended this scene to inspire training modules in actual law-enforcement agencies, so that the police are better prepared to handle gangs like Kobayashi Maru in the future.
- And just like the snipers hired by the original gang, the simulation uses unfair means to defeat the Lieutenant, making it truly unwinnable.