I have been reading The Republic of Pirates: B eing the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard which discusses such pirates as Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and “Black Sam” Bellamy. The book uses original sources to relate pirate activity and more import for this post, the reasons why sailors of the late 17th and 18th centuries turned to piracy along the eastern seaboard of colonial America and the Caribbean to the Spanish Main.
Sailors lived a physically harsh life with little or no monetary rewards. Their working conditions were dangerous and often deadly. Discipline aboard ship was brutal. Disease and infection was common. They either were paid poorly or not at all.
In the face of all of these degradations, some men (and they were mostly all men) turned to piracy. In so doing, they developed a society which was largely democratic and used the Bahamas as their bases of operations. Basically, they drove the colonial government out and lived as they pleased. Anarchy suited them. Merchants who were not pirates themselves fenced their goods and established taverns for drinking, prostitution and eating when the pirates came ashore. There were bakers and other tradespeople, too, making up small communities.
It occurs to me that this state of affairs would work very well to form a basis for Dirty World Station, Captain Star Runner’s home port.
Dirty World Station started out being the gateway to a planetary colony of human settlers. The corporation supporting them failed. It failed in large part because the colony itself failed. I’m not sure it is necessary for me to think a great deal about the reasons for its demise except to say that its survivors developed a strong distrust and dislike for any government or business eminating from Coalition space.
They evacuated to Dirty World Station but were never given paid passage home. The creditors of the corporation insisted (and the courts backed them up) that the settlers had not fulfilled their contracts and so were not owed anything. In fact, they owed the corporation’s creditors.
The settlers, now marooned on the space station, set about letting everyone on the Northern Frontier (space outside Coalition borders) that they were open for business. Anyone could dock there with any sort of cargo., no questions asked. They brought on the best repair equipment they could lay hands on and provided a good communications network. A spacefarer’s basic needs could be met. If the spacefarer didn’t cause any trouble, they were welcome and could ply their trade whatever it might be.
Over time, Dirty World Station developed its own democracy for those who chose to stay aboard the station and they fortified it in case of attack. It becomes a hotbed for discussions about creating an alliance with other discontented settlements throughout the Northern Frontier.
There are three notable exceptions:
- The Sacred Worlds
- Queen’s World
- The Republic of Space
These entities want to be independent states with their own governments and rules. Efforts will be made to form non-aggression pacts with them.
It further occurs to me that this reimagining of Dirty World Station and its history and place on the Northern Frontier will make it unnecessary for Star to go to Pirate’s Cove. All that I have written about this space station can be transferred aboard Dirty World Station and thus a more in depth look at DWS is possible.
Lots of rewriting to do but a tighter and more coherent story will emerge.