Human Piracy

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NOTE: Current pirates or privateers would find it impossible to begin a legitimate career on the Horizon. Ex-pirates or privateers would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to do so with some exceptions which will be noted below.

For nearly as long as humanity has sought to explore the cosmos there has been a criminal element which has sought to profit from it while remaining firmly outside of the reach of justice. Pirates have long been a scourge for humanity across the Orion Spur as while individual pirates and pirate groups may be caught and tried, the temptation has always remained. Modern human pirates in the Orion Spur are a constant threat to interstellar shipping and an incredibly diverse group, including actors ranging from disillusioned miners to military deserters to state-backed privateering groups.

A History of Marauding

“No force in interstellar history has caused quite as much damage as the lowly pirate driven by little more than their own greed and often piloting little more than repurposed civilian vessels,” - Except from Violent Non-State Interstellar Actors of the Spur, a Solarian Naval Academy textbook commonly read by new students.

The first human pirates emerged well into human colonization of the Sol System, and were initially very little more than miners who had opted to turn to criminality due to a lack of employment prospects due to the Crisis of 2127, which devastated the economy of Earth and its colonies until the early 2130s. With the economy on the mend these miner-pirates mostly disappeared by the 2140s, with the last holdouts vanishing in the 2150s due to patrols by the then-new Solarian Navy. While these early pirates posed little threat and typically instead robbed fellow miners in their region, they were not the last pirates created by humans.

As humanity expanded beyond the Sol System into its neighboring systems over the 22nd and 23rd centuries more opportunity began to emerge for pirates. What was once a singular system rapidly became dozens, then hundreds, and created a vast amount of space for pirates to both hide in and raid. These pirates, rather than their precursors, instead targeted interstellar shipping enterprises such as those of megacorporate actors and took the plunder back to concealed hideouts, often later re-selling the goods on the open market for an increased price. The Solarian Navy stretched itself thin to deal with this piracy and was gradually given more and more power to do so, often finding itself able to supersede local governments. Economic devastation in the 2260s and the Interstellar War only further contributed to this problem as the ranks of pirates were swelled by deserters and desperate individuals who had lost their livelihoods.

Flag of the Navy of the Sol Alliance.
The ensign of the Solarian Navy, which has been both a major force against piracy and, at times, a contributor to it via desertion.

Following the Interstellar War piracy wracked both the Coalition, particularly in the Weeping Stars DMZ, and the Outer Ring of the Alliance. Attempts to reign it in by the Coalition and Alliance were initially unsuccessful, and piracy continued for much of the remainder of the 2200s. Only in the early 2300s, with a reinforced Solarian Navy and Xanu’s fleet having been repaired, was piracy contained. Not ended by any means, but contained to the point where it was no longer considered to be a serious problem. It remained but the Outer Ring of Sol continued to profit and expand, with new colonies such as Konyang forming, as the Coalition similarly improved its situation. The advent of the Warp Gate Project and the centralization of Solarian travel in San Colette further damaged pirates, who could now no longer rely on easily interdicting ships with their own, and weaker, warp drives.

To the south, in the Sparring Sea, a different kind of piracy emerged in the wake of Elyran independence and the War of Moroz: privateering. The Empire of Dominia, loathe to risk its fleets in open economic warfare with Elyra and concerned piracy would destroy its colonial ambitions, instead opted to pay pirates to attack its rivals. The Dominian relationship with privateering has continued to the present day despite the protests of its neighbors and has, ironically, made the Empire one of the nations least troubled by piracy.

Piracy would not seriously trouble the Alliance until the mid-2400s, when the problem began to re-emerge in much of the Outer Ring due to ongoing economic hardships and corruption in the Solarian Navy, which often looked the other way if enough money was paid to them. Despite attempts by reformers throughout the 2400s to address systemic problems in the anti-piracy doctrine of the Alliance the situation eventually became too much to manage and, following the Violet Dawn incident, much of the outer Alliance was written off as too difficult to control due to piracy and Navy corruption. Following the Collapse the situation became even more dire for these “written-off,” regions as they were flooded with bands of well-armed and desperate military deserters.

In the 2460s piracy is entering what seems to be another golden age throughout much of the human Orion Spur. In the Wildlands pirates and deserters alike have been given nearly free reign by the retreat of Solarian authority, with the Southern Wildlands in particular suffering more acutely following the further destabilization of the region by the Skrell. In the Biesel-occupied Corporate Reconstruction Zone much of the same issues appear as the under-equipped and poorly-trained Tau Ceti Foreign Legion finds itself unable to keep pace with civil unrest and stellar banditry. To the south, in the Badlands and Sparring Sea, privateers, pirates, and navies fight for supremacy in an area which has seen the major bluespace gate become significantly less active, thus resulting in more warp-based — and interceptable — travel and commerce. In the Coalition spillover from the Wildlands and CRZ has led to banditry along its western border. In the Alliance’s remaining territory the Navy zealously guards the borders and looks on helplessly as pirates ravage formerly Solarian territories. While the majority of these pirates are human, Unathi have become known as pirates and brigands due to the actions of a few of the species who saw opportunity in raiding space lanes in the decades that followed first contact. These Unathi slowly infested the Badlands and Sparring Sea, starting out small but gaining momentum until Unathi pirates and their fleets were some of the most well known in the spur, raiding from the Sparring Sea to Biesel itself.

The Spur, it would seem, is ravaged by piracy and instability as it careens towards a phoron-based economic collapse. Whether or not it shall pull back from this precipice remains to be seen.

Piratical Equipment

Due to their informal nature and diverse origins most pirate groups do not employ weaponry or ships on the same level as their military counterparts. Instead human pirates often rely on improvised, ersatz, or otherwise custom-made equipment such as repurposed civilian ships given more armor and, at times, military-grade equipment they have managed to acquire. Much of the ship-to-ship arsenal of the modern pirate consists of repurposed mining equipment as a laser intended to cut apart rocks is typically more than enough to force an unguarded freighter to pay a fee or hand over some of its cargo. The crews of pirate vessels are most typically armed with an eclectic mix of civilian industrial equipment, civilian weaponry, and — for higher-ranking or more important members, such as officers and marines — limited amounts of military-grade equipment.

Privateers and deserters, on the other hand, are often much more well equipped and thus significantly more dangerous than their pirate counterparts. However, they are significantly rarer than more typical pirates due to requiring more materials to remain effective. Privateers get around this issue through the support of an interstellar nation which provides them with the raw materials and manpower needed to continue their day-to-day operations. Deserters, on the contrary, have no such support network and often decrease in efficiency, and thus become less dangerous, as time goes on and more and more military ships or systems are replaced by easier-to-maintain civilian equivalents.

Legal Status

How piracy is viewed legally varies from nation to nation. Additionally, statutes of limitation vary from nation to nation. This situation is further complicated legally by the presence of non-human piratical actors who occasionally seek refuge, or hideouts, in human space to avoid the wrath of their governments. Privateers add on further complications as not all nations recognize them or hire them as legitimate actors.

The traditional emblem of the Alliance of Sovereign Solarian Nations' security services.

The Solarian Alliance has long held a hardline stance against piracy in its borders, and piracy targeting an Alliance-flagged vessel is punishable by death in both Solarian civil judicial code and in Solarian military law. Pirates caught by the Solarian Navy are typically sentenced to death after a military-run trial and executed on the same ship which caught them. Deserters-turned-pirates received similar treatments with even shorter trials. Pirates who do find their way to a civilian court typically meet the same fate as their military-tried counterparts as pirates elicit little sympathy from juries and judges across the Alliance. The luckiest will find themselves sentenced to hard labor for multiple decades. Rumors of extrajudicial executions by the Navy of pirates have long abounded but are rarely investigated due to widespread public hatred of pirates. While it is officially illegal, Solarian military law recognizes privateers as legal combatants which are to be treated as prisoners of war. This regulation is a relic of the Interstellar War which has seen limited use in the centuries since, but has been applied to some cases involving the Wildlands.

Like much in the Serene Republic of Elyra, how one is punished for piracy or privateering generally depends upon citizenship status. Those rare Elyran citizens accused of piracy are treated as social failures and often forcibly rehabilitated in order to turn them into a productive Elyran citizen, though some recusants and recidivists find themselves involved in less savory work — such as Medinian mercenary service — regardless of the government’s attempts to save them from themselves. Non-Citizen Persons, or NCPs, meet much harsher judgments and are generally given one of two punishments: death or hard labor in service of the Republic. Those given the death penalty are often regarded as those beyond redemption such repeat offenders, pirate officers, murderers, and phoron thieves. Those chosen for the convict labor program are often sent to locations most Elyrans are loathe to go such as the shifting tectonics of Medina or the chemical planets of Aemaq. Labor convicts are often watched over by IPCs owned by or working for the Elyran state. Privateering is illegal in the Republic and capture privateers are given wildly different treatments depending on their nation of origin. Generally, unathi are treated far more harshly than humans. Where humans are repatriated, Unathi are instead often condemned to execution or convict labor due to the Republic's historically poor relations with the Hegemony. Rumors that some authorities on Medina seek out and employ privateers such as the Goddess’ Flotilla to secure phoron for the planet have long been denied by its government.

Though it is considered by many to be a nation of uptight nobility and vainglorious aspirations, the Empire of Dominia had long had a far more dynamic relationship with pirates and piracy than any other human nation. The Empire has long held a hardline stance against piracy: if any pirates attack a Dominian vessel, they are to all be punished for their sins with execution without exception unless they opt to convert and serve as privateers for the Empire. Many, for obvious reasons, choose this second option. This harsh punishment has long been contrasted with a generous policy of paying and hiring privateering forces to harass its opposition. As a result the Empire is paradoxically a major cause of piracy which is itself almost entirely free of the issues it funds. This has long infuriated the Coalition and Republic of Elyra, along with the Hegemony and many tajara nations, who view the Empire as waging what is essentially an undeclared war on them. The Empire has denied this — and long denied any official connection to privateering — and claims it is simply an outlandish conspiracy designed to undermine its legitimacy. The major Dominian-backed privateering entity is the Goddess’ Flotilla — an organization so large and well-organized it is considered by some Elyran officers to simply be another branch of the Imperial military. The unathi houses of the Empire fund their own privateers.

The Coalition of Colonies has several legal oddities concerning its prosecution of piracy. Through a series of regulations and loopholes all piracy cases in the Coalition are prosecuted on Gadpathur which, unlike most other member states, allows executions. Most pirates who are prosecuted on Gadpathur have essentially already been found guilty by a court elsewhere in the Coalition and those who arrive on the planet find themselves subject to a quick trial followed by an execution. Gadpathur does not prosecute individuals who have committed piratical acts against Solarian vessels in Coalition space due to the planet’s hardline stance against Sol. Individuals who have committed piracy against Solarian vessels in the Coalition are generally extradited to Sol itself via Xanu due to most in the Coalition valuing trade over the grudges of the Interstellar War. Privateering is officially illegal under Coalition law, but captured privateers are generally held as prisoners and later exchanged with their nation of origin. Pirates seeking to escape justice and gain asylum find little sympathy in the Coalition, which either executes or repatriates them depending on species and national origin. A distaste for piracy is one of the few things the Coalition and Hegemony agree on, and Ranger patrols often unceremoniously “lose” Unathi pirate prisoners near Hegemony patrols.

Notable Pirates and Privateers

Solarian Deserters

“Above all things the deserter is a COWARD who has abandoned the Alliance and their fellow citizens to danger in order to preserve their own life. If you desert you not only betray yourself and your duty, you betray every citizen of the Alliance you swore to protect,” - Solarian Navy Handbook, circa the early 24h century (excerpt).

NOTE: While Solarian deserters more generally may readily find employment on the Horizon, a member of an anti-Biesel pirate group would not be employed on it. Solarian People’s Liberation Front characters would not find employment on any SCC facility.

An organization as large as the Solarian Navy, which has millions of personnel under its command, will understandably suffer from desertion at some level regardless of how hard it tries to prevent such from happening. Desertion has become a particularly acute issue in the wake of the Solarian Collapse due to the defection of entire fleets to other nations, petty statelets, and — of course — some simply turning to piracy or mercenary work. Thousands of Solarian sailors and marines along with hundreds of ships defected or were written off as lost following the collapse of Solarian control in what has now become the Wildlands, though many now harass the Republic of Biesel’s so-called “Corporate Reconstruction Zone,” for both profit and patriotism.

The flag of the League of Independent Corporate-Free Systems, a major warlord in the Northern Wildlands which has become known for piracy carried out under the guise of liberation from corporate influence

Out of the two sectors which make up the Wildlands the Northern Wildlands has been ravaged less by piracy than its southern counterpart, but had found itself the home of ferocious fighting between Solarian statelets and the mercenary groups which often support them. Deserter-pirates are, of course, present as well and serve as a major issue for the three powers of the Northern Wildlands which has made most unable to fully claim their territory as fully controlled. The League has, out of the three powers, always suffered from this to the most noticeable extent, and has caused spillover into the Coalition near Konyang which has resulted in the deployment of Coalition vessels along the border for anti-piracy operations. The Shield Pact has suffered from similar issues and its piratical issues grow more the further out one is from San Colette, its most important system. The use of mercenaries such as the Free Solarian Fleets have been vital in keeping at least some, though hardly all, of the Pact free of the scourge of piracy. The Front suffers from the least piracy-related issues simply due to having the largest fleet. However, Front forces are known to requisition civilian supplies and ships to bolster their forces and have been deemed little better than pirates by many due to this. Those heard saying this in public by the Front often find themselves quickly placed in front of a military tribunal and are often executed as traitors to the Alliance.

In the south the issue of piracy has been felt much more acutely due to the presence of the Southern Fleet Administration, a Solarian Navy group which declared a Biesel-backed successor state which was destroyed by the skrell. The skrell, who many view as only caring for Jargon, did not clear the SFA out completely and effectively have allowed many ex-SFA pirate bands to form in the Southern Wildlands and terrorize the region. Spillover from the SFA’s former bandit realm has become an extreme problem for both the other two post-Solarian statelets in the region and the nations which ship through — or are adjacent to — the region such as the Republic of Biesel, Republic of Elyra, and Empire of Dominia. The Solarian-aligned statelets in the region, the Solarian Provisional Government and Southern Solarian Military District, have long cooperated together regarding the threat but recently have begun to cooperate with forces beyond their borders. SSMD vessels, in their ceaseless effort to hunt down and eliminate the SFA remnants and other pirates, have been observed cooperating with the Elyran Navy, Dominian Imperial Fleet, Hegemony, and — at times — Biesel-flagged vessels or non-SFA independent actors such as the Goddess’ Flotilla, a Dominia-affiliated privateering group. Rumors of foreign naval officers and officials visiting Visegrad have recently begun to circulate, though none have been confirmed.

The Corporate Reconstruction Zone, caught between both sections of the Wildlands, has suffered from issues present in both sections since its creation. Piracy by former Solarian Navy vessels is common in all but the most well-policed areas due to the Republic’s small armed forces and corporate paramilitaries being spread thin and rarely equipped well enough to fight better-armed and better-equipped former Navy pirates. Worsening the issue is the loyalty many regions on the western fringe of the CRZ still feel towards the Solarian Alliance and the animosity they feel towards Biesel, which many view as a corporate-run occupier which only wishes to enrich itself. Navy pirates in the CRZ often find safe refuge in these systems when they must rearm, refuel, and repair their vessels. Their Biesel pursuers, often hired mercenaries or under equipped and undertrained TCFL volunteers, almost never challenge these pirate safe havens.

The Solarian People’s Liberation Fleet

“The corporations will call me a terrorist, a murderer, a mercenary deserter, a fascist warlord. I am none of these things, governor. I am, above all else, a protector of the Solarian people,” - Rear Admiral Augustín Cabanas (2426 - ) during the relief of Hang Tuah’s Rest, March 2463.

The most notable of all anti-Biesel pirates on the fringe of the CRZ, the SPLF is a group made up of a motley assortment of Solarian Navy personnel, local system defense forces, and displaced refugees from the Wildlands and CRZ which operates in a region of the CRZ along the Biesel-Sol border known as “the Hinterlands,” by Biesel-aligned forces. It is led by Mictlani Navy officer Agustín Cabanas and has been a notable threat for Biesel in the Hinterlands which has seen the region effectively out of Republic control since the Collapse. The region has long been the most pro-Solarian section of the Wildlands and the SPLF, which raids corporate assets and gives them to the planets of the Hinterlands, has become ludicrously popular in it. This popularity, and a steady flow of refugees from the broader CRZ and nearby SRF, have ensured the SPLF had not lacked for recruits, supplies, or ships. Many of the SPLF’s recruits have previously cut their teeth in anti-corporate actions on planets such as Mictlan, and a large number of its current members are thought to be affiliated with the Samaritans of Mictlan.

The core of the SPLF is an unusual one: the 15th, 16th, and 17th squadrons of the disgraced 35th Fleet now most commonly known as the founder of the SRF. These three squadrons and their flagship, a powerful Rome-class battleship, defected from the Front after its conquest of Lycoris and found their way to the Hinterlands in early spring 2463, where they helped the beleaguered remnants of the Solarian Republic of Hang Tuah Rest’s System Defense Force fight off a major incursion by the Tau Ceti Foreign Legion and several PMC units. The squadron leader, Rear Admiral Cabanas, made an unusual choice: the assets gained from the destroyed TCFL force would be split between Hang Tuah’s Rest and the squadrons, effectively saving the planet. This won him immeasurable approval from its residents and the squadron’s reputation grew rapidly in the Hinterlands as it saved more pro-Solarian worlds and distributed the supplies of more corporate convoys.

While it still remains centered around its ex-35th core the SPLF has grown over the intervening months and is now a messy amalgamation of Navy vessels, SDF ships, and civilian auxiliary vessels which have been armed and armored in the dockyards of the Hinterlands to better withstand Biesel’s forces, which they often engage on “liberation raids,” outside of the Hinterlands where they rob corporate or Biesellite assets and return to their isolated and cut-off territory with the spoils. This has made them many allies in the Hinterlands but few friends in the broader CRZ aside from the Solarian loyalists who often flee to the region in hopes of avoiding the Republic’s forces. Now, with the recent citizenship declarations by the Republic, more and more Solarians are fleeing to the SPLF and its Hinterland in hopes of either resisting Biesel or fleeing into the Alliance as a refugee. There are even rumors of Solarian Navy vessels and SPLF auxiliary freighters — most typically Ox-class freighters hastily painted Solarian green and given weaponry — meeting on the border to exchange supplies and transport refugees. Biesel, it seems, may have a much larger problem than it expected inside of its borders.

23rd SFA Tactical Group “Beauchamp’s Marauders”

“Thinking to get at once all the gold the goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing,” - Aesop.
The ensign of the Southern Fleet Administration, one of the major successor states in the southern human wildlands. The gas giant featured in the upper left of this ensign is the fleet's berth.

Anti-piracy operations by various actors in the Southern Wildlands have broken much of the SFA’s cohesiveness and fleet-level coordination, but some SFA groups remain cohesive despite this. The 23rd Tactical Group, consisting of several squadrons, is one of these groups and is led by Commodore Daniel “Danny” Fitzpatrick, a veteran of the 10th and longtime personal friend of F.R. Beauchamp. Considered to be on of the 10th’s most adept officers prior to the Collapse despite his extreme corruption and history of violence towards his subordinates, Fitzpatrick has survived what his fellow SFA warlords — most of them also Commodores — have not by staying low and avoiding the attention of other naval powers. When Anastasija Siljan launched her attack on the Orchard Moon, the 23rd — which may have shifted the engagement in her favor — was nowhere to be seen.

But despite being more coordinated than their fellows the 23rd is no less debaucherous or cruel than any other SFA warlord clique. It targets defenseless ships and robs them of their cargo, ransoms their crews, and kills any who resist. They are wantonly cruel against skrell or Foreign Legionnaires they capture, viewing them as the reason for the SFA’s collapse and the Alliance’s collapse respectively. And, even worse for them, the elimination of larger and more prominent SFA groups has placed a spotlight onto them, and the 23rd has recently been engaged by the pirate-hunting forces of the SSMD. Despite Fitzpatrick’s success so far it seems his career may be coming to an end, regardless of how much violence he uses to keep himself in charge.

Corporate Privateers

“Few wars are quite as vicious as the ones corporations wage in the shadows,” - John Schmidt (2412 - 2454), anti-corporate Tau Ceti-based author speaking to the Sol Alliance News Network shortly before his death under mysterious circumstances in 2454.
NOTE: Corporate privateers are often regarded as disposable, secret assets and would not be readily found on the Horizon. An Einstein Engines-affiliated privateer would never be hired on the Horizon.

A broad category of corporate funded and officially unofficial mercenaries, simple pirates, and desperados, corporate-funded privateers have long been used by megacorporations as assets used to interfere with their opposition while officially remaining on neutral, if not good, terms in order to maximize profit. Corporate privateers have long worked, fought, and died in the shadows and have long deliberately avoided acquiring the attention many of their counterparts have. Almost all corporate privateers, perhaps unsurprisingly, originate from Eridani’s Dreg population. Many have attempted to interfere with a megacorporation and have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get out of the Corporate Federation and avoid a messy execution. Corporate privateers are typically active in the Corporate Reconstruction Zone, where Einstein Engines has attempted to interfere with the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate, but can be found across the Spur with notable exceptions such as the Serene Republic of Elyra, Empire of Dominia, and certain regions of the Coalition and Alliance such as Sol itself, Himeo, and Light’s Edge.

Corporate privateers, due to most typically only attacking the assets of other corporations they are paid to harass, have a lower impact in terms of total violence than their piratical counterparts. However, their targeting of corporate assets often means they cause greater financial losses to the Spur as a whole, particularly when higher-value shipments such as Einstein Engines communications equipment or SCC medical assets are damaged. It is, however, something of an unwritten rule to not target phoron shipments as the damage— even in the view of Einstein — to the Spur’s economy would be too great.

Corporate privateers captured by government naval forces aside from the Elyran Navy or Imperial Fleet— both of which execute them, assuming the Fleet does not capture Zavodskoi agents — often quickly find the proper palms greased to permit their release and are quickly back on the job. Privateers captured by the competition are another means entirely, and their fates vary wildly from corporation to corporation. Some will attempt to “flip,” the privateer. Most will simply have them disappeared instead of going through the trouble. Life, after all, is cheap in the Spur. And nowhere is it cheaper than amongst the Eridanian Dregs.

Empire of Dominia-Affiliated Privateers

“When I act I do so to carry out Her will. Some will call me a simple cutthroat killer for the actions She demands, but they are fools to say so!” - Lord Admiral Carmelita Orona (year of birth unknown) in an unaired interview with Dominian state media.
NOTE: House Kazhkz privateers are occasionally hired by organizations outside of Zavodskoi Interstellar due to their backgrounds. While being hired outside of Z.I. is not impossible, it is difficult, and former Kazhkz-affiliated privateers outside of Zavodskoi will always be underpaid and more closely watched compared to their colleagues.

The Empire of Dominia has long co-opted pirates in the Badlands and Sparring Sea to its own ends. While this has long drawn the ire of its neighbors such as the Hegemony, Republic of Elyra, and Coalition, this effort to engage pirates, and its own extremely harsh policies against piracy, have made the Empire relatively free of the issues commonly encountered in other nations. Those pirates hired by the Empire as privateers are often quite diverse and include both humans and unathi, with some funded by House Kazhkz even consisting entirely of unathi. While looked down upon by the Imperial Fleet and House Zhao, Dominian privateering operations have long formed a crucial part of the Empire’s economic strategy in the region by denying its competitors safe transit through the region outside of bluespace.

The Imperial standard of the Empire of Dominia. Offical Imperial flags are a rare sight on privateering vessels, and many instead utilize hand-made copies produced by the ship's crew.

While the Goddess’ Flotilla — a large and semi-religious privateering organization consisting almost entirely of human Ma’zals — may be well-known in the region itself, no organization features more prominently than House Kazhkz when Dominian privateering is thought of in the broader Spur. Often consisting entirely of unathi drawn from the great house itself or recruited from other unathi pirate groups, House Kazhkz privateers are known for their flamboyance and ability to make a profit — much of which goes back into House coffers in order to continue their operations. Despite these characteristics, House Kazhkz privateers have long been looked down upon by the Imperial Fleet and House Zhao, both of which are hesitant to provide the privateers with supplies. The Emperor, who has intervened on behalf of the larger Goddess’ Flotilla, has long been hesitant to do the same for Kazhkz privateeers in order to avoid angering House Zhao, which has long formed the backbone of the Fleet.

The Goddess’ Flotilla

NOTE: Members of the Goddess’ Flotilla can be found on SCC facilities and are almost always Zavodskoi employees. Finding employment outside of Zavodskoi is exceptionally difficult for Flotilla members.

The Sparring Sea and Badlands are home to the greatest modern privateering organization in the Orion Spur: the Goddess’ Flotilla. Under the command of Lord Admiral Carmelita Orona, a Ma’zal from Alterim Obrirava, this militant coalition of pirates, Fleet deserters, and Imperial citizens has wreaked havoc on Elyran and Hegemony shipping for nearly thirty years and has done far more damage than the original pirate groups it formed from. The Flotilla has long had the unofficial backing of the Empire of Dominia and has used this to retain its edge against its targets, and to promote what it's leader views as the Flotilla’s Goddess-endorsed crusade against those in the region which do not honor Her, who must either pay tribute or suffer holy retribution. Being in the same privateering business as House Kazhkz when it was first formed there were worries that the Flotilla would clash with it and cause further division at the highest levels of power. The Emperor, at the advice of the Caladius who wished to forestall potential conflict and increase their own profits, agreed to a solution which would ease these possibilities. The Emperor privately decreed that House Kazhkz would not operate in the same regions of space as the Flotilla, those regions being the closest and most traveled regions to the Empire; instead offering the Kazhkz’s lucrative contracts to take their raiding further afield to more dangerous, but wealthier areas of the spur. Recently, this has meant the Southern Wildlands, where Kazhkz privateers raid the loosely controlled territories of the Southern Solarian Military District and Southern Solarian Provisional Government.

While privateering within the Wildlands is considerably more dangerous due to the remnant Solarian Fleets holding enough combat power to challenge the entire might of the Imperial Fleet, causing heavy losses among the privateers, it is much more profitable both in terms of Imperial contracts and the loot gained from a far more developed region of space. This has earned the Kazhkz a surprising amount of respect from the Flotilla, combined with the religious reputation of the House, as well as a lack of competition between the two amplifies this respect. When Kazhkz ships transit back towards Dominia through the Sparring Sea, they often run into ships of the Flotilla looking for raiding targets or heading further out towards the Badlands. It has become common practice for one or both of the captain’s to invite the others crew aboard for a short celebration, and for the crews to intermingle after spending perhaps months on end with each other. Many privateers, both Flotilla and Kazhkz look forward to these meetings, as it is one of the only times a blind eye will be turned to alcohol, or butanol, being consumed aboard.

The Flotilla is significantly better-equipped than its piratical counterparts due to its status as an unofficially state-backed privateering organization intended to fight the enemies of the Empire in the region, particularly the Serene Republic of Elyra. Much of this equipment is surplus or otherwise decommissioned equipment “sold,” or “misplaced,” by the Imperial Fleet such as dated Empire-class cruisers which are, despite their age, fully capable of engaging and destroying military and civilian targets alike with their 608mm “Thunderer” main armament. Despite their unofficial status, letters of marque are held by many Flotilla captains and House Zhao, though often with reluctance, is sworn by decree of the Emperor to honor them. House Zhao’s officers often look down upon the Flotilla despite this decree, viewing them as little more than useful chaff and overzealous Ma’zals barely fit to use the equipment provided to them. Many Zhaos do not believe the Flotilla is ultimately loyal to the Empire as it was founded by a deserter and many in its ranks are Imperial Fleet deserters. They may say they represent the Goddess’ will, but who is to say if this means they are loyal?

The sailors and officers of the Flotilla are mostly drawn from the Ma’zal population of the Empire and are often deserters from the Imperial Fleet who have opted to switch to a less strict organization. Others are adventurous civilians from the Empire, or rarely beyond its borders, who have fallen for the romanticism so often associated with a free life in the void. Unathi are almost never found in the Flotilla, instead preferring privateering groups backed by their great house. Those that are found within the Flotilla are usually outcasts, unable to fight alongside Kazhkz privateers for whatever reason and will generally shy away from those who do. Faith is a near-universal constant in the Flotilla regardless of an individual member’s origin and the Flotilla itself is well known for its uniquely quasi-religious structure where a ship’s captain is also its head religious figure, and most crews will host a mass sermon before entering combat. Flotilla officers will often powder their faces white and draw red lines on their face like those of a Tribunal priestess, and many additionally opt to dye their hair red as a further sign of devotion.

Lord Admiral Orona herself is said to strictly uphold these religious codes. A woman shrouded in mystery, little is known about Orona’s background beyond vague strokes. While her year of birth is unknown Orona is known to be the child of Ma’zal workers employed by the Helium-3 industry on Alterim Obrirava and was intensely religious. She joined the Imperial Fleet and rose to an unknown rank before allegedly hearing the Goddess, who commanded her to begin a holy crusade against the Empire’s enemies in the Sparring Sea and Badlands. Orona then deserted and has since formed the Flotilla around herself, commanding it from an unknown location said to be on the edge of Dominian space. Her status as a Goddess-touched individual — a woman able to commune with the Goddess and interpret Her words — has not been confirmed by the Holy Tribunal.

The Flotilla, despite its crusade-based origin, generally employs violence as a last resort and instead relies upon its fearsome equipment and reputation. Many independent merchant vessels in the Sparring Sea work tithes to the Flotilla into their budget, and some even opt to hire a follower of the Holy Tribunal to negotiate with them. Orion Express has begun to incorporate this into their shipping practices for the region, hiring Tribunalists, even some former members of the Flotilla, as negotiators on their behalf. On the other hand, Hegemony and Elyran Navy vessels serve as the main opposition for the Flotilla in the Sparring Sea and it generally avoids engaging them, instead preferring softer targets such as the lone Elyran or Hephaestus merchant vessels it often captures for ransom. Besides these nation-states and corporations, the Flotilla also interacts with the many Unathi pirates who roam the Badlands and Sparring Sea. Their relationship with most Unathi pirates tends to be one of mutual distrust but not outright hate, with both sides wanting to mostly leave each other alone. This sense of mutual isolation doesn’t apply with Hiskyn’s Revanchists, led by Fer’is Hiskyn, once Fer’is Kazhkz. Her husband was killed for not wanting to join the Empire by the Unathi who would go onto form House Kazhkz, and after a short battle which she lost, she swore vengeance upon them and the Empire itself. Whenever vessels flying her black and red skull adorned flag spot vessels belonging to the Flotilla, they attack, attempting to board as many vessels as possible regardless of their own losses. Those who surrender and are human are spared, however any Unathi are immediately put to death. While significantly less well equipped then the Flotilla, and too small to cause any significant harm, the Revanchists are a small thorn in the Flotilla’s side, harassing larger Flotilla forces within the Sparring Sea and forcing the diversion of raiding groups to squash these efforts to intrude on the Flotilla’s hunting grounds. Both the Flotilla and Imperial Navy have attempted to deal with the Revanchists for some time but have had little success aside from destroying vessels whenever they appear.

The Goddess’ Flotilla, like the broader Empire of Dominia, is bound by a code of honor. The Flotilla Code, as it is commonly known, can result in severe punishment if broken and is said to come from the mouth of the Lord Admiral herself. Goddess’ Flotilla sailors, in addition to the Code, are expected to follow the Holy Tribunal’s edicts and Imperial law, at least when in Dominian space. The Flotilla Code can be viewed below:

The Flotilla Code

I. There is no authority higher than the Goddess, for She is our creator and to Her we return. The captain is the highest authority aside from Her aboard a ship, and in a squadron the captains shall vote amongst themselves for a leader. The Lord Admiral can appoint a flotilla leader as is necessary.

II. Every crewmember of the vessel, even if ill, is entitled to his or her share of the prize once it has been collected. Prize money can be withheld for misconduct at the captain’s behest. Defrauding the ship is to be punished by marooning on the nearest inhabitable planet.

III. No heathen or heretic is allowed to be amongst the Flotilla. All found shall be allowed one opportunity to recant and convert. If they deny this, they are to be marooned. If they accept and continue to disobey Her, they are to be executed. Willful assistance of a heretic or heathen shall be punished at a captain’s discretion.

IV. Keep your equipment issued to you by the quartermaster clean and ready for combat.

V. Cowardice in the face of the enemy shall result in marooning. Abandonment of one’s station without good reason will result in execution.

VI. Do not strike fellow crew aboard. Disputes which cannot be resolved by a captain or officer shall be settled off ship via a duel to first blood.

VII. Betrayal of the Flotilla to its enemies shall be punished by death.

VIII. Followers of Her will shall not be intentionally harmed by the Flotilla.

IX. Vessels which have paid their tithe shall not be harassed by the Flotilla. Vessels which have paid for a tithe and escort are to be aided if they are involved in a pitched battle.

X. A Flotilla engineer entrusted with running a shipyard is to be assisted whenever possible, for they are the lifeblood of the Flotilla.

XI. A Flotilla member who loses limb or is otherwise disabled in service is to be paid double prize for their last prize, and provided with the funds to pay their Mo’ri’zal by the Flotilla.

XII. Any prisoner taken shall be treated with courtesy and respect until their ransom is paid, at which point they shall be delivered posthaste. To harm a prisoner shall be met with death, for it is considered to be harming the Flotilla’s prize.

Unified Sadar Fleet

“A Sadar is undeserving of even the name with which they were born,” - Common Scarab Fleet saying.
The unique emblem of the Scarabs. A symbol which is, at least officially, not to be used by Sadars.
NOTE: Members of the Unified Sadar Fleet are rarely found outside of it due to their commitment to serve it until death. Any former members will do their best to keep affiliations with it secret.

Most cast out from the closely-knit ships of the Scarabs simply languish and often perish before they make it to civilization, or encounter another ship. Those that do not resign themselves to their fate and simply perish often find themselves in the ranks of the United Sadar Fleet, a loosely-knit band of rogues and cutthroats who have taken the traditional Scarab beliefs of camaraderie and loyalty to one’s vessel and family aboard it and twisted into s belief that whatever must be done in order to survive. To the typical Scarab the USF are a band of cockroaches tainting the broader Spur with their corruption of the Scarabs’ traditions, and should be destroyed on sight. To the Fleet themselves they are simply beleaguered outcasts attempting to make the best of a situation forced upon them by the broader Scarab fleet.

Those exiles who do join the Fleet do so via a ritual where they declare themselves to be loyal to it and it above until death, and to never abandon their fellow Sadar no matter what happens. This has made the Fleet an extremely tightly-knit and secretive group as few former members exist, with most serving until their deaths. The Fleet is isolationist and rarely interacts with the broader Coalition — or Spur — aside from raids it launches on isolated spaceborne outposts and unprotected vessels in order to acquire the supplies they need to survive and continue their policy of isolation.

These raids have never been documented on a planet with gravity as the Fleet mostly lacks the more modern ESS the Scarabs use and must make due in the environment their form has adapted to. For this reason raids on vessels and stations almost always start with the disabling of its gravity generator in order to allow the Fleet to fight in its natural environment. Raids on vessels with backup generators or magbooted crews are often far less successful as many of the Sadar raiders have never set foot in gravity and are entirely unprepared to experience it. More modern civilian ships which have entered the Coalition market recently, such as Himean designs, often feature these backup generators to defeat Sadar raids. Many are even armed sufficiently to fight off the ancient Scarab vessels the Sadar are known to pilot, and some have even destroyed them.

This lack of success has caused the Sadars to be significantly less prevalent in recent decades, with many officials proudly stating the pirate group is on its way into history. But this lack of activity has led to rumors the Fleet is planning to, rather than simply lay over and die, launch an exodus into uncharted space in order to find a new paradise for themselves. This is, of course, only a rumor. But it is a rumor which, due to the secretive nature of the Sadar, is nigh-impossible to confirm or deny. Even if not grounded in reality, it will doubtlessly remain for the near future.