Sunday 8 April 2012

Port Imperiale's denizens.


As well as the myriad number of active pirates in Port Imperiale, it is also home to all the usual dregs of society that cluster around such types. Dingy bars and clubs abound, supplying everything from alcohol, drugs and prostitution (Human, Joy-Sim and even more 'exotic' species) through to far worse things, if one were to search for them…

The support staff in Port Imperiale actually outnumbers the pirates, but you wouldn't think that by looking around the city. These are the mechanics, traders, bar owners, hydroponics maintenance staff, and everyone else that works to support the pirates in continuing to bring in wealth to Port Imperiale. Usually former pirates themselves, or occasionally freed captives, these individuals are well aware of the volatile nature of the pirate crews, and tend to keep out of their way whenever possible, congregating in their own bars and social areas, well away from drunken, trigger-happy pirates. Retired pirates, whether through age, injury or having saved enough over the years to quit the dangerous business of raiding, (but not enough to escape Jamakeer entirely) exist in abundance in the Port. These vary in stature from filthy beggars, pan-handling for enough money to buy the next drink/drug of choice, to the relatively well-off, who tend to open their own bars or trading emporiums, through to the fabulously rich, living in armoured, usually underground compounds with their own staff and private security forces.

Organised groups in the Port tend to be of the following types:

Pirates, obviously, make up a large proportion of inhabitants in Port Imperiale. Most of these pirate bands are small privateers, headed by a captain with a single fast ship and a close-knit trusted crew around them, though a few are larger planetary raiding forces, equipped with many ships and raiding fighters, with hundreds of press-ganged crew and well-equipped landing parties. Some are even alien races, with Squat, Eldar and even Ork raiding parties making the Port their base of operations. These different groups exist in a state of petty vendettas, temporary alliances, and occasionally, outright war with each other.

The Black Guards are the only thing in Port Imperiale that resembles a police force, though, as they are taken from the ranks of the pirates, and their wages paid by the Council of Nine, their guardianship over the Port is a perverse one, more resembling enforcers for an organised crime syndicate, than a true police force. Their remit is twofold, meting out a system of instant justice for serious transgressions, such as theft from 'protected' traders, and premeditated murder, as well as punitive fines for whatever real or imagined crimes they come across. However, their main task is the hunting down of Chaos Cultists in the Port. The Council of Nine knows that nothing is more likely to bring the vast armies of the Imperium down upon them than the increasing psychic resonance of chaos cultists, so it is in their best interests to wipe out the foul taint of chaos from the Planet. The Black Guards can mete out punishments as appropriate, varying from fines, through mutilations, enforced slavery, up to execution, though for the crime of being aligned with the forces of Chaos, the only punishment is death by fire. They are a feared force, even amongst the most hardened of pirates, as there is no appeal from their verdicts, and punishment is instantaneous.

Scrappers are the people that actually dismantle the spacecraft captured by the pirates. Though a few are tied to certain pirate warbands, they usually live in a temporary and uneasy alliance with whichever group have hired them to do the work of dismantling each ship. Their work is a skilled, dirty and dangerous one, removing anything of value, and melting down the rare and expensive alloys that make up the ship's components for sale on to the traders, leaving the former ship as a skeletal hull, lying in the wastelands around Port Imperiale to corrode away in the hostile environment.

Slavers operate the lucrative trade in misery that is the lives of the captured crews, selling them on to whoever is willing to pay the highest price. If the former crewmember is lucky, their skills will be recognised, and a Pirate Captain will buy them up to replace lost crew, offering them the chance to (eventually) buy themselves out of their slavery and become a full crewmember themselves. If they're unlucky, or not skilled, they can end up being sold on to be worked to death in the ore processing plants, or even to whatever fate it is that happens to slaves bought up by the Ork warbands…

Criminal Gangs that prey on the pirate hordes are an ever-present threat, eager to relieve them of their latest payout whilst under the influence, occasionally even going so far as to steal the organs from their bodies, and toss the corpses into the tunnels for the ever-present Ambulls to tear apart. A few of the more organised and better equipped gangs will even risk bringing down the wrath of the Council and the Black Guards to rob a particularly wealthy trader, though this is uncommon, as no one wants the wrath of the Black Guards on them, unless it's really worth it…

Miners are still present on Jamakeer. Whilst the planet was effectively strip-mined by the Adeptus Mechanicus and their vast machineries centuries ago, making commercial mining unviable, there are still enough small veins of rare ores and precious metals left to make small mining camps profitable. These groups usually consist of small teams of Squats, who spend months at a time underground, only returning to Port Imperiale when their food supplies run out. Mining is a very risky business, as the entire crust of the planet is fragmentary and unstable due to excessive mining, and if that weren't enough, the tunnels are infested with Ambulls, Grox, and rumoured infestations of Genestealers and worse.

Scavengers also trawl the myriad tunnels, as well as the long-abandoned settlements that litter the surface, not for ore, but for equipment and valuables left by the former miners and other inhabitants. Away from the Port for long periods of time, they live in the toxic wasteland, only able to remove their breathing masks in the confines of their vehicles, some even having gone to the extremes of having cybernetic implants to make theim more resistant to the toxic dust and smog out in the wastelands.


Trading Parties are always present in Port Imperiale. Generally leaving their large and vulnerable ships in orbit, they land in small shuttles with a well-armed retinue, in order to deal with the traders, before transporting their purchases up to their ships after fixing a price. Whilst trading in Port Imperiale is a nervous and fraught experience, it is usually relatively safe for the traders. The Council of Nine knows that the continuation of trade is essential for the continued survival of the settlement (and the best way to line their own pockets) so attacking a trading party is a crime punishable by execution at the hands of the Black Guards. That's not to say it doesn't happen, Criminal gangs and Cultists have been known to attack trading parties, and even occasionally Pirate warbands have too, but this is a rare occurrence, and traders will generally have more to fear when they return to more civilised space and have to answer tricky questions from the Adeptus Arbites about where their stock came from.