“In effect, to live outside the system you must kiss its ass. These are not free people. They are merely masochists.”
—Manka Warlock on Free Booters
Free Booters are a loose term for those 500,000 individuals that live outside the system (typically in deep space) without persecution by that same system. They are tolerated because they cause no problems for Master System and sometimes help it. From any of the half dozen officially tolerated Free Booter outposts, Free Booters trade needed supplies (like murylium) for information that Master System could not acquire alone, such as information about certain rebellious Administrators, who the Free Booters have regular dealings with.
Among Free Booters, any form of money is worthless. Anyone who controls a transmuter (machines that can rearrange matter into any desirable object or substance) controls everyone dependent on it. The true medium of exchange is information, innovation, and ideas—but there is a single commodity that is always welcome, and that is murylium. Because a transmuter cannot take power from its own sources and needs an independent, direct source; it requires this scarce substance of absolute purity to function. For this reason, all Free Booters need and will pay well for murylium.
Free Booter outposts will often pay very handsomely for things brought to them, due to the high levels of competition necessitating an honorable business reputation. Because Free Booter overlords want things exclusively for themselves and wish not to become a non-market, they will often deal fairly in the open and only cheat when they are absolutely certain they can get away with it.
This is a society of smugglers and vagabonds, not free individuals. They exist with limited freedom because they are more convenient to Master System to be left alone and profited from than to be stamped out or subjugated, and so the Free Booters must work tirelessly to maintain the status quo out of fear of the System they hate and supposedly exist separately from. Due to the scarcity of murylium and advanced technological resources, they often more resemble bandits or shrewd and impoverished traders than freemen. Originally entirely pirates, their toleration by Master System has softened them, and left them with only the old ships from their pirating past.(ref?) Even still, compared to most humans they are a hard people. They consist of all races; Colonials (humans modified to survive extreme environments on foreign planets), Earth Humans, even genuine (albeit rare) Aliens, and they keep their word only so that they may maintain a profitable business reputation, but will happily break it if they think they can get away with it.
The Covenant Edit
“By the authority of Master System I command you to halt and identify yourselves.”
“Since when did you have such authority? You are keyed to no one on this ship, a fact you well know. We have committed no criminal acts that would cause an exception. I stand on The Covenant.”
“And I step on it.” —Val Hawks and Arnold Nagy
The Covenant, or Compact, is a loose treaty and set of mutually agreed-upon rules between Free Booters and Master System. It is all that stands between the Free Booters and annihilation. The Covenant ensures mutual non-aggression, although mainly it is the Free Booters who are truly compelled to follow this due to Master System’s superior might, and the right to privacy so long as there is no probable cause for a Val to remove it. In effect this Covenant, like Master System itself, has many cracks and is not always adhered to, as Vals and Free Booters alike will violate the Compact if they believe they can get away with it.
However, should either side make a public show disregarding the pact, then it would set a dangerous precedent, meaning that both sides would act to protect it under the scrutiny of others unless fully prepared to break it. Indeed, when the Pirates of the Thunder broadcast a Val threatening to break the Covenant, dozens of Free Booters came to defend the Pirates, lest they find themselves alone in a similar situation without aid down the road.
Known Stipulations: Edit
- Right to Privacy unless a Val has probable cause to revoke it
- Mutual nonaggression
- Limited Self Determination
- Freedom of Movement for both signatories
Free Booter Holocaust Edit
Shortly after stealing the Pirate One, Master System ordered Deep Space Command to send out humans and robots to attack all known Free Booter congregation points. Simultaneously, a cohort of SPF under the command of two Vals stormed Halinachi and destroyed all ships docked there. Eight Halinachi ships managed to escape to a hidden redoubt, but they had to use all their automated fighters to cover their escape and salvaged very few possessions from their old life, left only as refugees low on murylium. Other Free Booter Outposts were even less lucky, with almost no survivors. All Free Booters that remained either joined the Pirates of the Thunder or went into hiding. All told, thousands died in the beginning days, hundreds of ships were destroyed, and tens of thousands fled into uncharted space to hide. The death toll continues to climb all the while that Master System exists, and those that hide live without access to new sources of murylium, the substance they need to maintain their life support systems to survive.
Halinachi Refugees Edit
The Halinachi Refugees were these eight ships and their crews that escaped the destruction of Halinachi:
- The Espiritu Luzon (Savaphoong’s Flagship)
- The Kaotan (Captained by Ikira Sukotae)
- The San Cristobal (Captained by Maria Santiago)
- The Novovladivostok (Captained by the “Tough sounding man with the Questions”)
- Chunhoifan (Captained by Chun Wo Har)
- The Indrus (Captained by Ravi Paschittawal)
- Bahakatan (Captained by Ali Mohammad Ben Suda)
- The Sisu Moduru (Captained by Megan, “Meg the suspicious lady”)
In the series Edit
Lords of the Middle Dark Edit
- Main article: Lords of the Middle Dark
In Lords of the Middle Dark, the Free Booters are only mentioned obliquely as an organization that is sometimes sought in vain as a refuge.
Pirates of the Thunder Edit
- Main article: Pirates of the Thunder
The Pirates of the Thunder seek out the Free Booters as a source of information to begin their days of pirating, but are caught early on by Vals. They destroy the first and drive off a second through intimidation, but this moves Master System to ultimately dissolve the Covenant and destroy the Free Booters once and for all. They begin by storming all Free Booter bases and end with the holocaust of all remaining Free Booters among the stars. Of half a dozen bases, only Halinachi’s had survivors, a total of eight ships. Six of these, Savaphoong’s ship the Espiritu Luzon included, joined the Pirates of the Thunder, while the remaining two were destroyed to prevent their knowledge from falling into Master System’s hands.
Savaphoong attempted to contact some of the remaining Free Booters in hiding, but of those he could find none had any useful information. In fact, they expected to hear news and get information from him, so withdrawn were they. Of the original half million Free Booters, less than a hundred thousand remained, and more were being discovered and culled all the while.