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Pirates of the Outer Worlds

Leadership: Rasvan Saroyan
Military/Civilian Assets:

Saroyan and his franchisees are by no means the only pirate enterprises in the Outer Cluster, but they are certainly of the most powerful. The Outer World Pirates operate in remote and sparsely-populated systems well away from the sphere of influence of the established nations. While the Pirates do not have de jure control over any planets, they operate or inhabit dozens of outposts on barren rocks and half-terraformed dustworlds disguised as legitimate frontier settlements. From their outpost settlements in the sparsely-populated Outer World systems, the Pirates operate black markets peddling every conceivable vice.

Business is easy in the lawless Outer Worlds, but the populations and fortunes to be had are quite low. The real money comes from trafficking drugs, arms, and women into "civilized" space. And in order to do business on the planets of the established nations, the Outer World Pirates have acquired fleets of starships in order to get illicit goods from Point A to B. Massive ore freighters have long been the favored mules of pirates, who discovered that vast holds laden with dense metal ore were perfect for concealing small starships buried inside the ore which were in turn laden with a smaller quantity of much more profitable illicit cargo. Recent captures of pirate-operated mule freighters has resulted in a crackdown and much more stringent checks.

While unarmed smuggling vessels comprise the majority of the pirate fleet, the Outer World Pirates operate a number of armed vessels for detaining and hijacking other ships in deep space. Of these, there are many corvette-class vessels: fast, nimble craft used for ambushing merchant vessels and destroying their escorts. But the Outer World Pirates also possess heavier starships: hijacked destroyers and dreadnoughts that serve to defend their enclaves from unaffiliated pirates, or glass settlements that failed to pay their protection tribute.

History:

As long as there are ships, there will be piracy. For thousands of years, pirates have menaced seagoers on the watery seas of ancient Earth. And in the vast emptiness of space, it is no different.

As soon as the survivors of Earth began expanding beyond their destination worlds and colonized the surrounding planets and systems, piracy resumed amid the stars. Merchant freighters ferrying goods and wealth between planets were targeted by pirates in poorly-patrolled reaches of space. The established nations constructed starships - mainly corvettes and frigates - to prevent unchecked piracy. These patrol vessels were effective in reducing piracy, but they were expensive indeed. Established nations could only increase taxation enough to cover the costs of patrolling important trade routes and guarding the Jump Gates. Piracy was therefore, never stamped out, but rather exiled to the more remote corners of occupied space.

Far removed from the reach of pirate-hunters, pirates built up strongholds on remote worlds. Resupply stations in asteroid fields, subterranean bunkers carved out of craters on lifeless rocks, modular settlements within glacial crevasses of iceball planets: these overlooked, inhospitable locales became favored pirate ports throughout the Outer Worlds. From their remote bases of operation, pirate warlords built up strength and wealth, made forays into the civilized systems, and wrought havoc until their presence could no longer be tolerated and the aggravated authorities were sent out to obliterate the offending pirate stronghold. For centuries, piracy occurred in a cyclical basis: quiet lulls with diminished pirate activity after a brutal crackdown, followed a gradual increase in hijackings and attacks until the next crackdown occurred.

The past twenty years have been something of an anomaly - a deviation from the usual cycles. For nearly twenty years, a lull in piracy coming from the outer systems has prevailed and pirate forays into the populated systems has come to a near-stop. This lull in space piracy does not seem to be caused by an increase in the efficacy or frequency of pirate patrols. Rather, it is suspected that many of the pirate outfits in the outer worlds have been consolidated into franchises operated by Rasvan Saroyan - a soft-spoken but ruthless warlord of Armenian stock. Collecting modest tribute from his franchisees, Saroyan allows his pirate vassals to operate more-or-less however they please, so long as they do not attract unwanted attention. For the better part of a generation, the pirates of the Outer Worlds appear to have shifted their focus on building wealth through smuggling rather than outright banditry. Though Saroyan's pirates are now more reserved with their violence, his freebooters are just as cruel and remorseless as ever: using slave labor to operate planet-spanning opium farming projects and kidnapping girls to sell as brides. The pirates have not abandoned their brutality, but rather seem to be holding it in reserve. But for what purpose, nobody but Saroyan knows.
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