Outlaws, Pirates and other "undesirables"
“It is very human to refuse order. To throw away laws and ways of the society that brought one up. Often this leads to both the best and the worst in human behavior and while, on its own, is not a negative trait, if compounded by other, much worse, impulses that run unchecked in some areas of space, very ugly results often follow. But even in these outlaw sectors, innovation and creativity can surpass those in what we call ‘civilized’ space. It is often to malicious ends, but we can still learn and adapt them.”
GHA Outlaw Space Primer Manual
Any colony, station or even a ship of any size that denies affiliation with either of the major faction and is connected to outlaw activity in any of them gains the status of “Outlaw” in both the GHA and UEN. These are also sometimes proverbially called “Rogue” or “Pirate” and while a fair chunk of such societies are indeed “might is right” style pirate and criminal organizations, a good fair of them are goodhearted hacker communities, well meaning anarchists or socialists trying to create a small utopia based on their views, or science societies whose general views are shunned by the majorities in their respective factions and who have chosen to leave them to be able to perform their research without the red tape and outside of the law of the factions (this can both mean just out-of-the-box type research, controversial but “moral” topics like AI research, or purely immoral topics like human gene manipulation on live organisms)
While small to medium size spaceships can usually survive on a raid to raid, or in the case of being more peacefull oriented, stop to stop basis, large ships and any other more stationary constructs need a relatively steady flow of money and resources, which means not only having some form or income (drug refining and smuggling, piracy, kidnapping for the less them moral ones, ‘silent’ sponsors and benefactors, manufacturing and trade for the less violent ones) and a small fleet of ships is necessary for the continued survival.
Rogue colonies and space stations are typically hidden away on the far Fringe, rogue spaceships tend to prowl around the Border Colonies, while retreating to the Fringe if they attract too much attention. While both factions officially considered all operations of this type criminal, the degree to which they actively hunt and prosecute Outcast societies depends on how much of a nuisance they are to their own operations. Both the GHA and UEN have accepted the fact that considering the vastness of space, it is not possible to actively prosecute all activity of this type, but rather keep an eye and ear out for the malicious ones and counteract to their actions. The UEN is especially adept at this and a special division of the Spec Ops Core is dedicated to infiltrating the Border/Fringe Underground and keeping an eye on the activities there.
There are several well known, “major” Outcast societies:
The Annonymous Fleet, a nomadic gathering of ships big and small is a well known center for exchange of information and technology between hacker communities. The Fleet is known to form and reform seemingly at random and maintain its own, separate cross system subspace communication network to track their movement and “meetups”, no actual information is exchanged on “the wire” however and one needs to be known in the hacker community to even be trusted enough to approach the Fleet.
The Scientific Exchange is more a broad term used for most “moral” research communities that fall under the Outcast designation in the UEN and GHA. This Community is often present among the Anonymous Fleet meet-ups and is centered around pursuits of science that fall out of the mainstream spectrum of mainstream science in the GHA and UEN. The Exchange maintains a standard of ethic guidelines which, while do not completely rule out research into weapons for example, do not accept biological warfare as an acceptable avenue of research and put on heavy restrictions on any experimentation that involves living beings that must be met before any help is rendered to those seeking help in such avenues.
The SE maintains two stations in the Border Regions – Seshat and Mimir Stations that are the public face of the society and the best way to get in touch with them and also serve as repositories of knowledge from both the GHA and UEN. While both tend to be highly monitored by both societies, the continued support and protection from both the Anonymous and Vigilant Fleets ensures the safety of both stations as well as the independence of societies associated with the SE.
The Vigilant Fleet, which in its organization is very similar to the Annonymous Fleet, is the peacekeeping organization of the Border and, to a lesser extent, Fringe systems. The fleet is composed of vigilantes and bounty hunters forming a loose alliance and securing a general system of practices that guarantees they maintain some standards of law enforcement (unlike those who choose to work the systems not aligned to them and there is a fair share of non-aligned justice seekers as well.) Members of the Vigilant fleet actively track down and arrest or eliminate those who move against legitimate operations within the Border and Fringe systems.
There are also several Pirate or outlaw alliances operating in the Border and Fringe systems, but they are more clandestine in nature. The Crimson Raiders specialize in kidnappings and whole colony sacking in the Fringe Systems, reportedly operating out of their own mobile Fleet. The Pale Marauders specialize in extortion and drug distribution. Finally, the Shadows are renowned for their “protection” services and extortion.
Notes on Outcast Characters:
Due to the nature of the outcast society, characters stemming from them are as varied as the groups there. Characters living as outcasts are probably more likely to have both connections and skills related to less then legal activity, as well as access to underground knowledge, but this is not a rule of course.