During the Unification Wars, many of the powers chose escape to the galactic rim, rather than risk being subsumed or destroyed. While they lost access to most of the Golden Worlds, they gained autonomy and the ability to operate free from what they perceive to be the Realm’s pervasive influence. For example, the Miner’s Union and Trader’s Guild are both headquartered in Unbound space. While this does mean they are not bound by the Edicts, they are forced to maintain agreements and contracts with each House within the Realm. Those organizations consider the additional complexity and overhead worth it however.
But for every legitimate company or entity operating from Unbound space there are a dozen semi-legal or wholly criminal groups, with one organization in particular standing out above the rest. The Unbound are a coalition of pirate gangs and mercenaries who operate under the banner of Santiago Ortiz, the Pirate King. Their forces prey on every House’s ships and stations, with some of the larger and more dangerous groups even attacking planetary targets. More than one colony has thought itself safe, prepared to pay the Beggar’s Due only to find the shipment attacked by Unbound forces before it can even leave the spaceport.
In the past few decades Unbound forces have only gotten more bold, as the military assets once used to keep them at bay have been diverted to deal with alien forces. Of particular concern are the string of brazen attacks on House Sidana by Marcolo Ortiz. The son of Santiago is the self proclaimed pirate prince, having accumulated several Unbound fleets and armies. His last attack was on the world of Zulu. In advance of his attack he sent his fleets to perform raids on neighboring systems in order to draw forces away from his chosen target. He even went so far as to have some of his ships keep Realm forces occupied at their stations on each system’s perimeter, so that the Beggars were occupied and unable to lend assistance.
Once Zulu was only lightly defended, Marcolo struck going directly for the capital. His target was the Church of the Braid stronghold and he succeeded in kidnapping Catherine Sidana. This Braided noble was the House’s most qualified candidate to be the next Sovereign. Her capture has shaken House nobility as well as added to the growing unrest already permeating the House as its civil war grows in intensity. It is rumored that the Sovereign has commissioned multiple Operatives in order to get her back at any cost, while other Houses sense that House Sidana is weak and are busy preparing to take advantage in any way they can.
While the Unbound have many strongholds and secret bases, the most well known of these is Tortuga Station. Located in a dense nebula, this massive station is a hub for black market trade and all manner of illicit activity. House forces, as well as the Realm itself, have tried on multiple occasions to attack this base but have always been repelled or defeated by Santiago’s substantial fleet and the station’s own powerful defenses. With increasingly less military attention available to hold them back, it seems the time of the Unbound is here and that the galaxy will exact a heavy toll from their rise.
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