Considered the second most dangerous group of combat craft encountered in space, pirate vessels come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and are used by extremely diverse groups. Although the most famous Pirate groups are the Orion Clans and Families, the Ferengi are also know to support Pirate activities. To understand pirate vessels does require an understanding of Pirate operations. To successfully operate a pirate vessel or group of pirate ships requires a surprisingly businesslike approach to construction, operation and target selection. Most pirate vessels are geared towards specific mission objectives, and are designed to keep initial costs and upkeep to a minimum. Many pirate vessels must also operate as legitimate haulers and tradesmen to allow for trade of stolen or contraband material. Pirate operations must also take into consideration travel times, escape routes, hiding places and enemy patrol routes even before beginning a planned raid. Although some pirate groups do operate on a purely opportunistic outlook, most successful pirate groups have extensive ship support capability, intelligence networking and political clout to allow them to survive close enough to habitable systems to operate successfully Pirate vessels are designed to be easily constructed, easily repaired and difficult to detect. Most are built for speed, rather than combat capability. Many pirate vessels are under-shielded when compared with other vessels of a similar size. This allows for increased firepower and extra cargo room for captured cargo. Pirate vessels are also built simply, to allow easy repair and a quick learning curve for new crew members. Many Orion pirate vessels are a surprising hodgepodge of various races sub-systems. Ferengi pirate vessels are rarely the same from one ship to the next, with a successful captain upgrading and increasing the vessels abilities with their profitable operations. Other pirate groups often purchase auction vessels or wrecked / abandoned ships and spend considerable effort re-arming and sometimes upgrading such vessels.No matter the source of the ship, most pirate vessels are designed to attack a target, usually from behind, down the targets shields and incapacitate their drive capabilities. Pirate vessels then dock with the crippled ship if time allows, or use surprisingly sophisticated transporters to capture desired cargo. Some pirate vessels are designed for Hit-and-Run raids, capturing a block of cargo and determining it’s contents later. Other pirate vessels are designed to capture an entire freighter or transport and either tow or pilot the vessel to a hidden base. Pirate frigates are not unheard of, nor are fighter wings and other more legitimate vessels. Many pirate vessels are simply modified standard vessels, such as Sloops, Tenders, Salvage vessels and even Yachts. Because of the wide diversity of pirate vessels, most classifications are mission based, rather than class based. Although many missions to lend them selves to a specific vessel class, most pirate vessels are different, even from class to class.



The most basic of all Pirate Vessels, Blockade Runners are designed to be fast, nimble, lightly armed pursuit craft. Blockade Runners usually operate alone or in small groups, dictating unique tactics. Blockade Runners primary mission is to attack light craft, disabling them and either using transporters or boarding actions to steal cargo. Nearly all Blockade Runners are designed to capture only a small portion of a targets cargo, usually less than 100 SCU worth of valuables. This gives Blockade Runners a tight margin of operation. When faced with larger prey, Blockade Runners are used in a harassment role to force target vessels to force a global defense pattern. Blockade Runners light construction and small size give these unique ships a tactical advantage during operations. Most prove very difficult to detect, and can often hide in areas where larger or heavier warships would be detected. Blockade Runners are also more maneuverable than vessels of a similar class, relying on speed over brawn to protect the crew. Although able to  attack and disable freighters, Blockade Runners are no match for escorts or destroyer, and will almost always run from cruisers or other heavy combat vessels. Blockade Runners are by far the cheapest combat vessel to construct. Blockade Runners are short range vessels and can only operate several weeks out from a support facility or home base. Because Blockade Runners also conduct legitimate trade operations, many are able to openly operate near Orion Colonies and within the Triangle. Currently, Blockade Runners are almost exclusively seen operated by Orion Pirate cartels, although recent information concerning Ferengi family operation may change this in the near future.



Unlike a standard Raider, Commerce Raiders are designed to attack larger convoys and groups of vessels, including military convoys. Most Commerce Raiders are equipped with heavier weapons, heavier shields and powerful warp drives that allow them to close quickly with intended targets, disable multiple targets and quickly escape, even while under attack from escorting ships. Commerce Raiders are extremely difficult to maintain, even with a full pirate base available. To successfully achieve their goals, Commerce Raiders must employ multiple independent sensor systems, multiple independent transporter systems as well as other unique systems designed to help transfer cargo from varying points. Commerce Raiders are often considered more dangerous than most other pirate vessels. Standard pirate vessels will disable their intended target. Once disabled, crew men aboard a disabled vessel will often not risk injury or loss of life, allowing the pirate vessel to take what they will and leave. This unspoken gentleman’s agreement has been effective for both parties, but is quickly dismissed when Commerce Raiders are used. Because of the relatively short ranges associated with transporters, Commerce Raiders will use overwhelming firepower on their victims to disable their targets in one small group. Internal damage is often heavy, with loss of life considerable, even at the best of times. This has lead to heavy resources dedicated by most governments to tracking down and destroying most Commerce Raiders and their support systems. Although Commerce Raiders can capture significantly more material than other pirate vessels, their construction, modifications and upkeep often make their operation outside the profit range of most known pirate families. Most specialized capture equipment is simple modifications of existing technologies, rather than any true advance of technology. Many ships simply add in extra transporters, power cells, computers and other equipment. This can quickly drive up the cost of most Commerce Raiders. Expense associated with the purchase of heavier weapons also significantly increases the cost of Commerce Raiders. Many also suffer heavy damage in their operations, further reducing overall profits. Because of these restrictions, true Commerce Raiders are somewhat rare, especially near well patrolled space lanes. None the less, the dangers associated with Commerce Raiders requires between 60 and 75% of all anti-pirate forces to concentrate their efforts on locating and eliminating Commerce Raiders and their support.



The Infiltrator class of pirate vessel is though to be used as a scout type vessel by larger pirate cartels. Infiltrators, often no larger than a Prowler or Blockade Runner, are one of the most expensive investment undertaken by a pirate group, and signal a massive commitment by a group to a particular area. Infiltrators bristle with sophisticated sensor and detection equipment, as well as extensive communication and intelligence gathering sub-systems, often rivaling the major Governments. Infiltrators will rarely participate in combat or raiding operations directly, observing operations from a-far. Although able to act as a Command vessel, Infiltrators are rarely used in this capacity and in fact rarely communicate with other vessels, using highly localized and specialized communication protocols to keep hidden. Like other pirate vessels, Infiltrators are designed for short range operations, only able to remain in the field for 6 months or less. Infiltrator command, while prestigious, is somewhat dull for the average Pirate captain. Infiltrators are used almost exclusively by the Ferengi, although several versions are know to be fielded by the Orion cartels.



By far the largest and most dangerous of all Pirate vessels, the Man-o’-war is likened to a heavy cruiser or even a battleship, and is one of the most targeted pirate vessels encountered. Only a few classes of Man-o’-war are fielded by the Orion Pirate Cartels, and construction of these massive vessels can bankrupt a family who does not know how to use such a resource. Most Mano’-war vessels are designed not for cargo raiding, but for operations against Government warships, ground instillations and even combat squadrons. The Man-o’-war is usually heavily armed, and is an equal match to most Cruisers. Man-O-Wars are extremely difficult to field, as their construction can not easily be hidden. Once a ships is know to be operating as a Man-o’-war, they become the target of large scale operations by anti-pirate forces. On the few occasions that the Man-o’-war is employed for raiding operations, it is usually used to board multiple vessels in a convoy, capture them and then escort them, even under fire, to a staging area or Pirate base. Unlike other pirate vessels, Man-o’-war will stand and fight against enemy vessels, forcing a heavy toll for the re-capture of taken freighters. Man-o’-war vessels are almost always mission specific, unable to operate longer than a month away from support facilities. Man-o’-war vessels are also much less stealthy, making operations even more difficult. Freighter crews who are unable to escape from a Man-o’-war are advised to abandon their vessels as Man-o’-war captains will often maroon or kill a ships crew after capturing the vessel.



Marauders, primarily a Ferengi operated class of vessel, are cruiser sized long range pirate and commerce vessels. Like Blockade Runners, Marauders conduct both legitimate and pirate operations. Unlike most other pirate vessels, Marauders are designed for deep space operation well away from home ports and bases. Although an expensive initial investment, once fielded, Marauders quickly pay for them selves in both legitimate operations and secretive operations. Marauders are easily able to overpower single freighters and defend against larger escorts and combat vessels. Unfortunately, Marauders can rarely pay for their operations by capturing a single freighter. Constant raids or legitimate trade are required to keep the Marauder viable. Like the Blockade Runner, Marauders are more subtle in their combat operations, drawing less attention to them selves by allowing ships and crews to go on their way after surrendering their cargos. Unlike Blockade Runner, Marauders can quickly bring heavy firepower to bear when necessary. Marauders are equal in firepower to most medium cruisers and even some heavy cruisers. Unlike other pirate vessels, Marauders are very luxurious, often the pride of both crew and captain. Marauders have large cargo facilities and surprising communication systems that allow for a multitude of operations. Ferengi versions of Marauders are know to be the backbone of the Ferengi fleet, serving as both cargo vessels and military combat vessels.




Although a seemingly standard class of pirate vessel, Pirate Frigates are not a popular choice for most pirate operations, and yet can be used to yield tremendous gains. Pirate Frigates are designed to overtake a target, transport troops aboard and capture the vessel in tact. Captured vessels are later sold or converted to pirate use, and even scrapped for spare parts to help support pirate activities. Such operations are surprisingly complex and difficult to maintain. Targets must almost always be pre-chosen and researched to insure success. Often and “inside man” or men must also be used, further reducing profits and increasing danger. While the loss of some cargo to pirates will often be accepted by most captains as a hazard of the job, the loss of a full cargo and the ship itself often brings a dangerous response from captains and crews who are targeted. Armed response is common, as is a fanatical defense against the pirate incursion. Pirate Frigates must be able to down an enemy shields without damaging the ship or drive, and must also be able to maintain pursuit of the intended target even at warp speeds. Troops must quickly be transported to several key locations with enough support to capture the areas without damaging the vital equipment. Although cargo is rarely transported from the target vessel, Pirate Frigates must maintain expensive specialized transporter system to support their troops. Large troop compliments further reduce profits, and force the targeting of larger freighters and even passenger liners, many of which are escorted. Although most Pirate Captains will refrain from killing target crew for fear of creating a suicide mentality among freighter crews, some will go to extremely violent measures to insure compliance, further increasing tensions. To insure some modicum of compliance, Pirate Frigates must often allow escape pods and even shuttles to escape unmolested, many of which can easily call for help. Despite the setbacks, Pirate Frigates can often capture significantly more valuable ships and cargoes than most pirate vessels. Although several attempts must often be abandoned, a single successful capture can net handsome profits. Pirate Frigates are often re-armed military craft purchased from various sources. Many must undergo extensive modifications to fulfill their mission profile. When newly built, Pirate Frigates are easier to build, but no less expensive. With recent advances in transport technology, and the use of special interference systems on some freighters, Pirate Frigates are becoming more popular, allowing troops to use transporter enhancing buffers and other systems to insure capture of the best cargoes. Special booby-traps and system damage are also used to insure that responding escorts and rescue vessels must render aid before perusing the pirate vessels, allowing escape.




Roughly destroyer sized, the Privateer is the second most common pirate vessel. More heavily armed than a Blockade Runner, the Privateer is also designed for raiding of single cargo vessels and small, unprotected convoys. Privateers are often converted vessels purchased from other major governments and are designed to quickly overpower a fleeing cargo vessel, board or use transporters to capture cargo, then flee before security forces arrive. Unlike Blockade Runners, Privateers have much larger cargo capacity and can easily capture an entire cargo hold of valuables. When used in other roles, the Privateer conducts operations similar to Escorts and Destroyers, defending larger vessels, captured prizes and bases during combat operations. Unlike Blockade Runners, Privateers are less subtle in their attacks, and will often significantly damage a target vessel to quickly gain its cargo. Privateers, like Marauders, are longer ranged than other pirate vessels, and can operate independently for months and even years. Despite being purchased from other governments, Privateers are often extremely expensive to re-arm and upgrade, but can be fielded much faster than keel built Blockade Runners.




Raiders are the third most common class of Pirate vessel encountered. Most Raiders are the size of  a Corvette or Gunboat, and are similarly armed. Raiders are almost always used in concert with other Raiders and larger vessels against both Military targets and large convoys. Squadrons of Raiders can quickly cripple a target vessel, then move off to provide harassment support against other targets. Raiders are extremely inexpensive to construct and maintain, and have gained popularity in recent years. Most Raiders can conduct atmospheric operations, making them a popular alternative to the space-bound Blockade Runner. Raiders can also conduct operations from a command vessel or small base located in deep space or in-system. This gives raiders a unique flexibility not seen in other Pirate vessels. Raiders are extremely maneuverable, often able to conduct operations with fighters and combat shuttles when required. Raiders do have cargo transporters, with some able to capture up to 10 SCU worth of cargo, although they are rarely used in this capacity. Raider captains are often even more swaggering than their Blockade Runner counterparts, and are known for taking dangerous risks during missions. Raiders can often be difficult to detect and pursue even under ideal conditions. Raiders main advantage is in a heavy forward strike capability. Nearly all weapons associated with a Raider are designed for extremely precise attacks, capable of downing a shield and disabling a single system quickly and efficiently. Most raiders use large numbers of short range weapons, rather than moderate numbers of medium range weapons. At close quarters, raiders are very dangerous, but are much less effective at greater distances. Raiders are extremely short ranged, requiring a base or command vessel to operate for extended periods of time. This requires an extensive outlay from Pirate clans, but often allows a greater number of targets to be considered by planner.

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