Outlaws is collective noun for people who live outside the laws of the United Empire of Earth, either as part of a structured faction, or as independents. Loosely organized groups are called outlaw packs (often refering to piracy packs). Outlaws typically reside in unclaimed systems or off the beaten path, often in makeshift habitation - be it a planetside camp, dereleict space-station or hidden asteroid base. It is currently not known if a UEE Civilian or Citizen can be literally declared an Outlaw and be stripped of all of its rights or if the term refers to their self-imposed life in unclaimed Systems.
When Humanity first pushed outwards into the starts, a new wild-west was created and outlaw activity ran rampant. It was initially very hard with the technology of the time to be able to police the void between inhabited locations with armed defenders. Not to mention that before the formation of the UNE, there simply was no agreed law in space.
When NavJumper Antoine Lebec discovered the Nul System in 2290, the system was not claimed due to a percieved lack of useful resources or terraformable planets. As such Nul became the first outlaw haven, a legal no-man's land beyond the reach of Earth's law.
By 2341, Nul had grown quite a reputation as a hideout for pirates and smugglers, and when the UNE was formed in 2380, Nul was not brought under the protection of UNE law, allowing the problem to fester further.
In 2438, the Cathcart system was discovered by fugitive Adelaide Lorris - an unfortunate naming choice given that her law-enforcement "nemesis" who she named it after - Marshall Winton Cathcart - would later kill her, but it's an appropriate namesake for a system that would become notorious regardless. With no planets, the UNE weren't particularly impressed with the find. Due to the system's lack of real use, and with no local residents, the UNE put Cathcart under military classification and began using it as a 'junkyard' of sorts.
In 2445, UNE Navy Pilot Dominic Thapa discovered a jump point in Cathcart leading to a new system, given a bland military designation. The pathfinders' first assessment of this new system was one of potential, but with a problem - because it could only be accessed via Cathcart, which remained military classified. Rather than risking opening Cathcart to civilian traffic, they attempted to make use of the system themselves - successfully terraforming the 4th planet and experimenting with terraforming the 2nd - a smog planet akin to Venus.
By 2468 however the government began to face a significant budgetary shortfall from the terraforming of the 2nd planet, and the expensive development of the system was quickly stopped. A compromise was settled upon - rather than giving free access to civilians, the system would only be accessed by a single corporation, so as to maintine strict control of Cathcart. Mining rights to the system were sold to the Hathor Group for a considerable sum. The subsequent lack of government and public oversight allowed Hathor to run the system as they saw fit. The name Hathor soon became synonymous with the system, but you probably know it as Nexus.
The military presence in Cathcart dwindled and access to the sytem got easier and easier, with later jump points discovered linking there. Without a proper claim on Cathcart, a repeat of Nul was inevitable. Few laws were enforced over in Hathor, allowing crime to become commonplace - the only viable economy outside of mining, and this activity bled through to Cathcart. Over time, Cathcart became a home for criminals, who built makeshift bases from the carcasses of scrapped ships. Eventually one concentrated mass of scrap emerged - the outlaw base, and so-called pirate capital - Spider.
Gangs began to stalk the flight paths between the jump points and planets in Hathor, preying on any ship they came across. Combined with the Hathor Group's stranglehold on the system, this disuaded most people from visiting and most businesses from setting up operations.
Things were made worse when the Min system was discovered in 2473 via Hathor - a system consisting only of a rogue planet and its four orbiting moons.
The Pyro system was discovered in 2493 by company Pyrotechnic Amalgamated. The survey ship they dispatched simply noted the overall disarray of the planetary system, the difficulty of finding transportable resources and the unlikelihood of successfully terraforming anything there. At the system's centre is a red dwarf with unpredictable solar flares, and this can be a hazard to ships traversing it, making it an ideal ambush site.
In 2509, an outlaw pack colorfully known as Daybreak Marauders made a name for itself knocking over convoys in Ellis. Advocacy agents eventually figured out that they had been operating out of an as-yet undiscovered system - Helios.
Goss was discovered around 2516, a highly popular destination, and outlaws began to base themselves within a stellar emission cloud known as the Olympus Pool.
In 2531, a penniless Jake Tapps - the navigator of the Merry Crow, sold the ship's extensive logbooks to finance a longtime SLAM habit, and the Hades System was officially registered by the Dynamo Corporation. Interest in the system skyrocketed once exploration ships conducedt their initial survey. While the system was deemed totally inappropriate for terraforming, they located significant evidence that all of the worlds were once home to an extinct spacefaring society. While busy trade lanes were well patrolled, the system went unclaimed, leaving plenty of nooks for outlaws to hide in.
Odin was discovered in 2532, and with no strong terraforming candidates, the system was dedicated to industrial development. Various mining outposts were established. One such outpost being mining powerhouse Shubin Interstellar's Archon Base - located within The Coil - the remains of the system's former first planet, and it's plagued by electrical storms and dust clouds. This formed the perfect place for the outlaw group OMC to thrive, running protection rackets with local miners including Archon.
Under the reign of the Messers, the term 'outlaw' took on a darker meaning - a word propagandized to refer to anyone who stood in the Messers' way politically. One company that initially thrived under the rule of the Messers was terraforming giant Gold Horizon, who built space stations across Human space. Under contract from Pyrotechnic Amalgamated, they built a station in orbit of Pyro V.
The station was only in use for a short time though, before being abandoned along with any hopes of earning a profit from the system. With Pyro then generally vacated by corporate interests, the station quickly fell into use as a meeting place for squatters, runaways and black market deal-makers, earning the monicker Ruin Station - the only significant human presence in the system. Despite the dangers of the crumbling halls, the station's popularity grew along the same path as Spider, with outlaws gradually adding to the station's infrastructure.
In 2571, the UEES Olympus entered the Nul system, attempting to subjugate a growing refugee and criminal element of both Human and Tevarin that had been fleeing since Messer's ascension to Imperator. The ragtag group of ships were no match for a fully armed carrier, but they had a stroke of luck. The Rear Admiral stationed aboard the Olympus was desperate to turn this simple sweep-and-clear mission into a boost for his career, and ordered the carrier to personally pursue the refugees. The thing about large ships though is that they really aren't designed for use in close proximity to planetary bodies. Sure enough, the Olympus got caught in the gravity well of the planet Ashana. The surface impact presumably killed everyone onboard, and the crash quickly attracted scavengers who began to pick the ship clean, until they realized it's a more pleasant environment than the windswept caves they had previously called home. With the Navy not dispatching another force to eliminate the wreckage, squatters moved in and turned the Olympus into an outlaw town of the same name.
In 2582, NavJumper Carla Larry discovered the Nyx system, located on the border of a dark nebula enshrouding the orbits of all three worlds. This nebula went on to characterise the system, playing havoc withship sensors and making it the perfect hiding place. QV Planet Services set up mining operations in the asteroid belt between the 2nd and 3rd planets, known as the Glaciem Ring. The largest facility was a town-sized mining settlement on the planetoid asteroid Delamar, intended to support a small population of miners and engineers - a barebones station outfitted with only the essentials and a minimal amount of creature comforts. Unfortunately for QV, maintaining mining operations proved to be too costly. Unable to turn a profit or even sell their rights, QV abandoned their facilities in Nyx. The region became home to a number of small asteroid-based settlements, fringe colonists seeking anything from life outside the reach of the UEE to a platform from which to engage in piracy. This ragtag band of undesirables would go on to characterise a counter-culture in opposition to the Messers that grew in potency over the next 200 years.
In 2587, Naval Combat Pilot Lt Eli Price was assigned to the UEES Virtue in Castra as part of a defensive line intended to guard against the nearby Xi'an Empire. Encountering signs that trade lanes had been attacked, Price discovered the jump point that the raiders had been emerging through. Traversing the jump, he found their staging area on one of the planets. By listening in to the outlaws' comms, he heard chatter not indicative of greed or malice, but of survival against an oppressive regime, and this unnerved Price, but it didn't dissuade him from reporting the outlaws' presence. A day later, strike teams secured the new system, Oya, wiping out the inhabitants as they tried to flee.
In 2654, Corsen Messer nationalized all "terraforming support" concerns, leading to the collapse of Gold Horizon a year later. This left behind dozens of near-indestructible former-GH stations across the UEE, that would later become renowned for criminal activity much like with Ruin Station.
In 2655 - a small group of activists seeking to escape the totalitarianism of the Messers found refuge in Delamar's vacated QV mining facility. It was dubbed Levski after the 19th century Bulgarian revolutionary Vasil Levski who shared their dream of an egalitarian society. The People's Alliance of Levski, as they come to be known, transformed Delamar into a hotbed for political radicals and anti-UEE sentiment, and once barren tunnels now prime real estate. As word of this 'free town' spread, many anti-Messer activists, intellectuals and pacifists found their way to Levski. They aspired to create an idyllic, leaderless society built around mutual responsibility. Unfortunately, this resulted in an endless debate over how to achieve these goals. Over the years, a criminal element took advantage of their lack of leadership, taking up residence in the tunnels.
The Fall of Hathor
Known Outlaw Factions
Supposedly the first Outlaw gang to boost a spaceship in-flight. While the original gang is long gone, numerous copycats have revived the monicker with varying success.
Likely an offshoot of the NovaRiders, the Low Riders currently operate in Stanton.
This powerful criminal syndicate has tendrils across most of Human space, with a mafia-like code of conduct.
An outlaw pack operating in Stanton, with ties to Ruto.
Odin Munitions Corporation
A crazy yet competent band of pirates, thieves and thugs known to operate in Tyrol and Odin.
Pirates based in Nul, who attacked the Clowns.
Another group in Nul.
Other Known Participants in the 2944 Outlaw Armistice
People's Alliance of Levski
While not generally regarded as an outlaw faction in the current era, this egalitarian society in Levski, Nyx rejects UEE law. Many residents prescribe to a pacifist ideology, but others exploit this to conduct dangerous criminal activity.