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A small but very determined segment of the Zenetan culture broke away from the rigid mold of their kin, taking their ambition and need for personal gain to the space lanes. They became pirates, preying off the unfortunate and taking by force what their world could never give them. These pirates were distrustful of each other, but their shared vision of riches was enough to keep them loosely knit and a potent force in the Uncharted Territories.
Zenetan pirates mark their own with forehead brands and gang murals - tattoos that identify them to friend and foe alike. Many sport facial tattoos, covering large areas of the face from forehead to chin. Once they choose the pirate's life there is seldom any going back - the markings are permanent and testify to the wearer's former profession.
Pirate loyalties appear to be fluid; whether or not they know the adage "honor among thieves," they certainly don't live by it. Their nominal leader is usually determined by force, strength, guile, or betrayal - in short, by any means necessary. As long as a leader pulls in the profits, the other pirates take his orders. If his skills seem to fade, it opens the door for usurpation of power.
Most Zenetan pirates use a nasty device called the Flax, a magnadrift mesh seventy-five million zacrons long. It is invisible to even the most sophisticated scanning equipment, snaring and immobilizing ships and leaving them ripe for boarding and looting. Zenetans "liberated" the Flax technology from a xenophobic species who used it to protect themselves from outside contamination. It didn't take the pirates long to determine the possible benefits to their business.
In addition to seizing and raiding ships, the Zenetan pirates also work as guns for hire, selling their services and skills to the highest bidder. Whenever anyone needs guile, treachery, or sheer firepower, the pirates can be counted on to provide them - for a price. For the most part, the Zenetan government turns a blind eye to pirate activities, making token arrests from time to time just to keep neighboring worlds happy. Rumors persist that the government secretly backs the pirates. Those in power loudly deny such stories, but after successful raids, the government storehouses always seem to have a new supply of goods for distribution. Whether by design or coincidence, the people benefit, and no one on Zenet complains.
One faction that is not happy with the pirates is the Peacekeepers. They view any group that flouts authority as a disruption of order and a threat to power. They track, capture, and prosecute any pirates detected in their space. Within the protection of the Flax, active pursuit is difficult - but there is always the chance of a break in the web or a foolhardy pirate ship venturing away from its safety.
- (1.13 "The Flax")
- (2.20 "Liars, Guns and Money - With Friends Like These...")
- (2.21 "Liars, Guns and Money - Plan B")