|(any known faction)|
|Heavy Fighter: Pirate Vendetta|
|Corvette: Pirate Admonisher|
|Cruiser: Pirate Kestrel|
Piracy and the Empire
Once the undisputed governmental body in the galaxy, the Empire placed high emphasis on security and stability. Crime, such as it was, found itself contained on the surfaces of individual planets, and even then it was fought with considerable efficiency.
But the Empire is only a shadow of its former self. The cancer that first began to corrupt it following the end of the Golden Age has made the mighty arm of the Imperial law brittle, and the Incident shattered it. Now, the Empire only manages to maintain law and order within its core systems. The Great Houses look after their own, with varying degrees of success. In the remaining inhabited star systems, there is only that law which the locals enforce on themselves. This has prompted manufacturers of combat ships and space-capable weaponry to move onto the civilian market.
It comes as no surprise that illegal elements have capitalized on these developments.
In an environment where force of arms is the only law that matters, there will always be those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of others. These are the pirates, the ruthless robbers who think nothing of human life and who will stop at nothing to get what they want. Pirates are present wherever there are merchants to be preyed on, even in the face of a standing police force. Despite this, interstellar trade persists, as the cessation of trade would be many times more disastrous than the plague of piracy.
It is important, at this point, to distinguish between two kinds of pirates. The first kind consists of base thugs who have scrounged together (or stolen) a ship and some weapons and are looking to make easy money off those trying to make a honest living. Oftentimes these pirates are social rejects with nothing to lose. This makes them unpredictable and dangerous, but they are still preferable to the other kind of pirates: the organized ones. These are the capital letter Pirates, and they come in Clans.
The Pirate Clans
A Pirate Clan is a hierarchy of organized crime. Each Clan is headed by a Clan Chief, who has absolute power over the proceedings of the Clan. The Clan Chief is surrounded by his most loyal minions, who are bound to the Chief by anything that works - blackmail, coercion, narcotic dependency and mental conditioning being some of the more common methods. Below the Chief is the body of the Clan. Though there is no set system of ranks amongst the regular Pirates, they invariably establish some sort of pecking order to put each Pirate in their place.
A Pirate who belongs to a Clan is subject to severe peer pressure and inhibition of personal freedom, but the benefits are worth it. As Pirates are outlawed almost everywhere else, their only chance to lay low, sell their loot or buy new supplies is with the Clanworlds, and Clanworlds are open only to Clansmen. What's more, a Pirate can feel reasonably secure when on a Clanworld, as any Pirate who turns on another Pirate will be ruthlessly dealt with by the rest of the Clan.
A Pirate Clan can hardly be called a unity, considering they are bound by fear rather than trust, and this is what prevents the Pirates from expanding their territory through the galaxy. But their cohesion nevertheless allows Clans to mount a serious fighting force if need be. Clans often have heavily armed combat ships at their disposal, which is one of the reasons why their Clanworlds have never been wiped out by the Empire or one of the Great Houses.
The Pirates, in short, are a blight on the galaxy. It will take exceptional effort to end their reign of terror - and even more to unite them under one rule.