Scorpia (whose name comes from Sabotage, CORruPtion, Intelligence and Assassination, their main areas of operation) is an extremely powerful, wealthy and ruthless criminal organization, and serves as the primary antagonistic faction of the Alex Rider series. They are the overaching antagonists of the novel Stormbreaker and the main antagonists of the novels Scorpia, Snakehead and Scorpia Rising. They also appeared in the 2020 TV show adaption of the novels as the overaching antagonists of the first season.
Scorpia was founded in Paris, after the end of the Cold War, when spies from world governments, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, saw they would be unemployed, and decided to make their own money. Scorpia was formed by twelve such spies - including Zeljan Kurst, Julia Rothman, Major Winston Yu, and Doctor Three. They were all assassins, and they planned to kill people and bring down governments and elect their own corrupt governments. They also wanted to keep poverty in existence, since "it has its uses".
Their first missions were successful - they set fire to a Russian forest and elected two corrupt governments, as well as other operations that led them to be a force to be reckoned with.
In their early years they recruited assassins Yassen Gregorovich and Nile Griffen, and Yassen met the MI6 agent (and later traitor) Ash on the island of Malta.
By the time the audience meets them, in Scorpia, three members of the executive board have died: one from cancer, while the other two had been assassinated.
In 2005, Scorpia had planned an operation named Invisible Sword, which, if successful, would give them millions of dollars and ruin the special relationship between Great Britain and the United States. They planned in using nanoshells to infect thousands of English children in London and release the poison inside, killing them all at four o'clock on a certain day if the English and American governments did not obey Scorpia's terms, which included America withdrawing all military and secret service operatives from every country on Earth, destroying their nuclear weapons and long-range conventional weapons systems, paying one hundred million dollars into the World Bank and the President of the United States resigning at once. America did not acquiesce, and Scorpia decided to go ahead and kill the children. But thankfully, Alex Rider had infiltrated Scorpia and managed to defeat them for the first time in their history, resulting in the death of Julia Rothman, acting executive of Operation Invisible Sword.
They tried to kill Alex in revenge, by having him shot by a sniper outside MI6, but he survived and they were again humiliated.
Four months later, Scorpia met again to rise again to power and overcome their last humiliation, and were given a crisis to orchestrate in Australia: to destroy a conference about world peace, designed to rival the G8. Scorpia never wanted the conference to be filmed, and Major Winston Yu, designated acting executive of "Operation Reef Encounter", as the plan came to be known, sought to kill them by launching a tsunami from a bomb placed in the seabed in a tectonic plate fault, making the result chaos seem a natural occurrence. Again, it was foiled thanks to the Australian intelligence service putting Alex Rider into Scorpia again, and resulting in Yu's death. Scorpia were now beginning to lose credibility and nobody feared them any more.
The Horseman file
Two operations - both in the Middle East - had been passed off to other organizations instead of Scorpia, and they were beginning to get edgy. But they had planned a long vengeance against Alex Rider. This was called "Operation Horseman" and consisted of a wealth of evidence saying MI6 had used Alex in their operations, which was illegal because Alex was only fourteen and therefore too young to do anything independently in the eyes of the law. So Scorpia had a brilliant plan - they would blackmail the British Parliament into sending back the Elgin Marbles to Greece, the statues' homeland; if Parliament did this, Scorpia wouldn't reveal the truth that they had used a child illegally.
However, if Parliament refused, they would publicly humiliate them by revealing all the evidence and shooting the American Secretary of State (who did not think of Britain as a world power) and making it look as if they had killed her and starting a war. But all this was averted by Alex Rider. They had a scheme to use Julius Grief, a clone of Alex, into making the world think that Julius was Alex when he assassinated the Secretary. But none of this happened and Scorpia were finally made to shut down. They were a laughing stock now, and many of their leaders were arrested for life, including Zeljan Kurst. However, some of them, including the Grimaldi twins, survived.
Scorpia were a powerful, ruthless and brilliant organization; their headquarters were in London, Venice and Paris, and former Gestapo agent Max Grendel masterminded the idea for a "floating headquarters" in the Paris river. However, some of their members were greedy and foolish, such as Levi Kroll, and Max Grendel himself. Grendel was notable for suddenly saying he would retire, at the age of 73, but one never retired from Scorpia. So they killed Grendel with a box of scorpions, saying it was a present.
Scorpia had global contacts, and they got their assignments from billionaire clients, who said they would pay them huge amounts if they killed people or orchestrated disasters; alternatively, executives could mastermind plans for Scorpia's benefit. Their only weakness was Alex Rider; because he was technically a child, he could survive where adults couldn't, and sneak into places adults couldn't, and be unnoticed. So he was the cause of their downfall in the end.
The organization disbanded in 2007, and most of their surviving leaders are imprisoned.
- SCORPIA serve as the Big Bads of the entire Alex Rider series, with MI6 being the Bigger Bads.
- What SCORPIA really want, a Third World War, is what makes them so powerful because this stops MI6 and the CIA from simply bombing them as neither organization wants a Third World War to happen and thus SCORPIA can hold them both to ransom with this threat.
- They are significantly similar to SPECTRE from the James Bond series.