Marauders

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Marauders

As one of the eldest civilizations spanning across thousands of star systems, it would be foolish to think the skrellian territories manage to stay free of criminals and illicit organizations. All across the territories, smuggling rings, extortion rackets, underground science labs, and organized crime can be found operating behind the scenes. The organization at its disposal a very large network of relations, complemented by several fragile alliances between various other established criminals throughout the Jargon Federation, which has pushed a reputation of them temporarily hiring anyone competent enough to fulfill their goals, wilfully or forcefully.

Ti'Rakqi

Ti'Rakqi, or "Free Smugglers", are the oldest, largest, and most notorious group of Marauders known throughout the Jargon Federation. Initially founded over a century ago, shortly after the first contact with humanity, Ti'Raqki has continually expanded its operations throughout the skrellian frontier known as the Traverse. Whilst deemed "dangerous" by the Jargon Federation, the Ti'Rakqi are far from such. They instead facilitate smuggling both internally and outside of the Jargon Federation, operating similarly as a "Black Market Operator".

They are largely a peaceful mercantile faction that has simply found a rather lucrative gap in the economy, which has utilized advanced technology to mask their radio signals, radar positions, and faster-than-light wake. Smaller ships operating for the faction are known to embolden their radar signature, reporting themselves exponentially larger in order to deter intervention from official, and non-official, authorities across the Orion Spur. The Ti'Rakqi operate primarily inside the Jargon Federation but sometimes venture out to the greater Orion Spur before returning to their base-of-operations that remains unknown; only the Captain of the spacecraft being privy to the details of their base of operations. They have slowly begun expanding their influence throughout the fringes of the Jargon Federation, most notably the Estuaries.

Those that have been either exiled or discharged by the Ti'Raqki are often supplied with false documents, which in turn can be used to start a new life outside of the Jargon Federation.

Home Base

Ippitaq or "Hidden City" is, by all means, considered the Headquarters of the Ti'Rakqi. Its name is token to the fact that its location is unknown and kept hidden by the usage of various machinery that is meant to dim or even completely cease all electromagnetic interference generated by the inhabitants of the asteroid.

Ippitaq currently functions as the main proponent of the Ti’Raqki economy, mostly built up out of technology scrapped from the Era of Synthetic Oppression. Despite the age of the machine capital, it generally manages to produce enough goods (supplemented by industrial workers) to sell to its customers nestled amongst the stars. Those that aren't put to work producing goods may often find themselves working regular types of jobs; physicians, engineers, or even security details to ensure that those surviving on the asteroid can live in relative comfort. Life on Ippitaq functions independently of the greater Orion Spur, yet the only true worry is if their operations will cover this month's maintenance fee.

The Star-Admiral keeps a rather short list of those authorized to know its location— mostly Captains of the fleets. Additionally, those entrusted of its location are kept on a short leash, and those in the upper echelon of the Ti’Raqki have psionically-linked explosive devices that trigger upon specific circumstances implanted. One such circumstance is speaking or writing the location of Ippitaq. Others typically include disobedience and possible defection.

Some say that the “Hidden City” includes a number of data-caches located on the surrounding unremarkable asteroids, and by connecting to them, coordinates are able to accessed and the entire network of Ti’Rakqi safehouses, fleets, and treasures are subsequently revealed.

Culture

Day-to-day life in the Ti’Raqki heavily varies depending on spacecraft, career choice, and even location, but there are several experiences that some may have in common. Barracks, and even smaller dormitories, are known by many as “coffins” due to the small sleeping area allocated, resembling that of a casket, alongside recreational activities usually being limited to holodecks or simple psionic games.

Most fleets stick to a meritocratic approach when it comes to defining whether those working in the Ti’Raqki have what it takes to be useful aboard the smuggler spacecraft. It is encouraged to perform your best at all times; those that do not are usually made examples, sometimes resulting in their detention or even being exiled to the depths of the voids they traverse. Roles aboard the vessels are usually selected through a combination of interviews, experience, and negotiations.

The Ti’Raqki opiates on a titular hierarchy and is considered extremely far from what is used to govern the Jargon Federation. Acting similar to that of a military operation, the smuggling operation is "governed" or "lead" by a singular entity known as the Star-Admiral. In order for one to be declared the Star-Admiral, they must have been selected as Heir-Apparent by the previous reigning Star-Admiral before their death; however, there are circumstances where Star-Admirals can be ousted from their positions, and instead replaced.

Officially, the Sector Administrators of the Traverse outwardly display an “intolerance” towards the Ti’Raqki, even vowing to dedicate a sizeable portion of their resources in order to stop their “unlawful” and “immoral” operations. Unofficially, many holding out in the Traverse recognize the Ti’Raqki as merely a way of life, or even liberators to some, due to their entanglement that has supplemented the local sector economy. This view is usually propped up by the fact the inner-sectors often abuse their position as suppliers in turn for political capital— those not caving in to their abuse usually being booted from office for failing to satisfy the consumer needs of the colony they represent. Some planets, far enough from the clutches of the Jargon Federation, purely operate beneath the Ti’Raqki and shun the Federation— they are often referred to as “The Freed”.

Rankings

Qu’fup (Star Private)

This is the lowest section in the faction, comprised of newer recruits or those that have been demoted. The Qu’fup do not have many privileges across the fleets and are often crammed into barracks aboard detachable shuttles instead of proper quarters and are heavily “discouraged” from using any of the recreation facilities around the fleet. Interestingly, it seems that any Listeners that have been identified in the Qu’fup move up faster than their Receiver contemporaries.

The Trial of the Private - To escape the lowest rank, a Skrell must declare their intent to move up the rankings, and then, if the group of Qu’oot they work most closely with believes that the Qu’fup is competent, they will organize a trial for them. The trial changes drastically based on the Qu’fup’s role in the fleet. An engineer would get a different trial than that of a Pilot, but, generally, each trial is constructed carefully in order to be fair.

Qu’oot (Star-Ensign)

The considered more-experienced of the newer recruits, the Qu’oot are one of the most populated ranks throughout the entirety of the Ti’Raqki and receives a greater quality of living to that of the Qu’fup, usually enjoying a smaller bunk as well as easier access to recreational activities that any particular fleet can provide.

The Test of the Ensign - The trial undertaken by the Qu’oot is far different to that of the Qu’fup. The Trial can only be invoked if the Qu’oot initiating it can succeed in three fights against their fellow Qu’oots; one of body and one of mind. The loss of even one challenge immediately disqualifies them from promotion to that of Lu’oot. Even the nature of the promotion has some social impact as well. If a Qu’oot is constantly being challenged and consistently losing, they begin to lose reputation until they make a visible effort to shape up; should they fail, they’ll eventually be demoted or even exiled.

Lu’oot (Star-Lieutenant)

One of the highest roles offered in the Ti’Raqki, the Lu’oot are the leaders and masterminds behind the organization. They reside in their own private quarters and are typically assigned their own spacecraft, which they will operate under the banner of the Ti’Raqki. Despite the political structure of the Ti’Raqki heavily relying on a meritocratic system, the Lu’oot requires a combination of both age and experience. Younger Lu’oot will be given command positions, akin to Heads of a Department, whilst the older Lu’oot will have the entire command of a specific vessel, akin to that of a Captain.

The Trial of the Abyss - The Abyss Trial can be invoked at any time from any Lu’oot. The Trial is extremely simple, and that is to beat the Star-Admiral in either a challenge of the mind or that of the body. The Challenger gets to choose between whether it will be Physical or Mental, and if the Lu’oot wins, they become the Lu’Vru’qos, if they lose, they are demoted back to Qu’fup. Due to the respect given to the Star-Admiral, it is hard to get promoted again, since initiating the trial implies you think their way of commanding isn’t good enough. So far, only five Abyss Trials have been held. Each time the Star-Admiral was declared victorious, except for that of the battle between Xioshi and his predecessor.

Lu’Vru’qos (Star Admiral)

The Rank of the Leader of the Ti’Raqki. They have complete authority and expect unwavering loyalty to the organization. The Star-Admiral is appointed typically after the death of the previous Star-Admiral, but specific circumstances (such as invoking the Abyss Trial) can circumvent this tradition. The current presiding Star-Admiral is simply known as Xioshi.

Xioshi, Lu’Vru’qos of the Ti’Raqki

A very psionically powerful Listener and tactical genius by skrellian standards, they managed to climb the ranks most in part to their profound psionic abilities— rumors perpetuate that presence can be felt across an entire star system. It is unknown where they hail from, many assuming their origin is somewhere in the expanse of the Traverse.

Whilst initially it was his psionics that allowed him to slowly begin to climb the ranks, it wasn’t until he was promoted to a commanding position aboard the Kaz-qi’Thum that his tactical prowess was unveiled. Several operations had ended in a resounding success solely based on the efforts of the ambitious Lu’oot.

His reputation far superseded that of other Lu’oots, and eventually culminated in his invocation of the Abyss Trial, whereby he bested his predecessor and ultimately rose to that of the Lu’Vru’qos. A combination of his powerful psionics, a stellar reputation, and his tactical abilities is what has secured his reign for almost thirty years.

Notable Fleets

Kax-qi'Thum

Kax-qi'Thum, or when loosely translated "Iron Cannons", are two massive Planoq-Class spacecraft that have become the flagships of the entire operation of the Ti'Raqki. Typically, they are escorted by approximately twelve to fifteen Ayoni-Class spacecraft, who have the sole objective to ensure the protection of the Kax-qi'Thum and their cargo. It is not uncommon for these Ayoni-Class fleets to splinter and encounter various elements throughout the universe.

The Skrell aboard these twin sister ships have become to recognize one another as Qu'Draa, or even Qrra'Myaqq, mostly in part to the considerably long history involving both the behemoths. The battles the two have survived, both from the Jargon Federation and other malevolent entities lurking deep inside the voids of the Orion Spur, have left many scars on both their hulls and the surviving crew.

Diingi'Lumiik

Diingi'Lumiik, or when loosely translated "Harbingers of the Void", are three monumental Qaqii-Class spacecraft that have managed to instill fear across the entirety of the Jargon Federation. Designed and subsequently outfitted with technology meant to destroy any ability to retaliate against these dreadnoughts, the Diingi'Lumiik is considered the hub of tacticians amongst the other fleets operated by the Ti'Raqki, and has the ability to produce additional corvettes— thanks to the Skrell implementing shipbuilding abilities into the Qaqii-Class vessels. The fleet notably acts as protectors of the Ti'Raqki assets, including planets that choose to pledge unwavering loyalty to the mercantile group.

The Skrell aboard the triplets come to see one another as friendly rivals, always doing their best to "outdo" one another. Whilst this has worked out favorably numerous times in the heat of the moment, this has lead to a rather intense personality developing among those that choose to call triplets "home". The fleet has witnessed many interstellar battles leading to many a Skrell referring to themselves as "hardened veterans" of the Orion Spur.

Tana’raq’iq

Tana’raq’iq, or when loosely translated “Scavengers”, aren’t a singular fleet, but in reality dozens or even hundreds. They’re quick to operate and aren’t contained to any one particular class of spacecraft. These fleets usually engage in small smuggling operations or even minor piracy. They have begun to become somewhat of a blessing in disguise, regularly breaking the perimeter into the inner-sectors to get what they can before returning back to the hub of the Ti’Raqki, asserting their defiance of the Jargon Federation.

Skrell active these fleets can be defined as the “wildcards” of the Ti’Raqki fleets, often due to their escapades which can involve anything from smuggling people out of the Jargon Federation, to launching an all-out ambush on the Lukala patrolling the borders. One never knows what to expect from the Tana’raq’iq.

The Star-Admiral has only one enforced rule for the Captain of these fleets: the capturing of Skrell is strictly forbidden. It is unknown why the Star-Admiral enforces such, and very few ever openly question it.

Veq’Luuq

The Veq’Luuq, or the “Void Hunters”, are groupings of ships underneath the Ti’Raqki that are not a singular unified fleet but a large mass of individually acting ships. The largest ship in the Veq’Luuq would be a Qrolis-ship, but it’s not uncommon for alien ships to be stolen, retrofitted with skrellian technology, and added to the Veq’Luuq. These ships are usually commanded by an experienced Qu’oot (or rarely a young Lu’oot) and commonly staffed by Qu’fup trying to prove themselves ready for the Trial of the Private.

The captains of the Veq’Luuq are given far more freedom to act as they please. These captains are allowed to partake in any business they want, wherever they want, however they want to do it, so long as they return to Ippitaq once every three months and fork over a third of their total profit to the main fleet. In exchange for their cooperation, they are given offers to them for repairs, upgrades, additional crew members, equipment, and unique tools for a fraction of what it would cost at a typical criminal-aligned port.

Similar to the Tana’raq’iq, the Veq’Luuq have a mandated rule of not taking Skrell Prisoners.

Trade

The Ti'Raqki largely relies on their ability to smuggle goods across the Jargon Federation with a sizeable portion of their operations usually dedicated to selling goods to the Traverse, which in turn assists in alleviating the Traverse's reliance on the inner sectors. Whilst their operations usually require potential customers to provide a rather hefty sum of credits, they have begun allowing bartering to occur due to the recent economic collapse originating from the lack of Phoron.

Their economy survives rather insularly and relies heavily on a system of bartering amongst the fleets. The Star-Admiral will designate certain fleets to fulfill services such as repairs or even obtaining resources for long hauls (such as foodstuffs). Their internal economy is usually supplemented by the industrial efforts on Ippitaq with thousands devoting their time to producing both consumer and luxury goods which are, in turn, either utilized by the fleets or packaged and sold to the Traverse.