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There are all sorts of people available for hire in the Age of Secession, all fulfilling differing needs. Many are of course of the undesirable Epsilon-Class, although some may be Delta or even Gamma. A rare few, the bored nobles and people of wealth, may even be Beta or Alpha-Class. Whatever their motivation, and their background, they broadly fall into certain categories.


In every case where the Interstellar Merchants Guild is involved, all that is required for the activity to be viewed as ‘legal’ under Imperial Law and – for the moment – all House Laws is a Letter of Marque.


ASSASSINS – Assassins usually work alone, very rarely in groups. They accept money for the elimination of a target, or multiple targets. Typically, sanctioned assassinations will be paid for through the Mercenary Bonding Office of the Interstellar Merchants Guild, although just as many are carried out on a private, unregulated basis. Sanctioned and legal assassinations are those paid for through the IMG; unsanctioned assassination is little more than murder, and accordingly is a crime and against Imperial Law. Strangely, since the Dissolution, most Houses have kept to Imperial Law and not rescinded this in their own, emerging national laws.


BOUNTY HUNTERS – Bounty Hunters can work individually, although they are typically in small groups or units. They will only ever accept sanctioned work through the Mercenary Bonding Office, as otherwise they are no better than criminals. They used to find considerable amounts of work due to the nature of law and order. Every House followed its own laws, which were either more draconian or more permissive where Imperial Law did not cover the issue concerned. What was against the law in one House landholding, would be allowed in another, and criminals would often go on the run to the safer areas. Accordingly, bounty hunters could be drafted in to go and fetch them. Or kill them. Regardless, as the Empire dissolves, and Imperial Law has less meaning, and as the Houses fight and the Enforcers and Adjudicators no longer work cohesively cross-border, more and more bounty hunters make their money.


MERCENARIES – vast military outfits that are available for hire. They might be dispossessed or ex-military people, usually, or pirates or privateers with military-grade equipment and letters of marque. Mercenaries were once protected, but with Imperial Law breaking down in favour of House Law, there have been examples of some Houses amending their laws and making mercenaries (who fight against them!) illegal. Mercenaries have no allegiance to a House beyond the money they are being paid.


PIRATES – Completely illegal, the pirates have no legal protection whatsoever. If caught, they will be sentenced according to Imperial Law. This essentially means execution.


PRIVATEERS – Like pirates, only they have letters of marque and typically only reveal them if caught. Also like mercenaries, in that they work for payment, but unlike them in that they are typically loyal to one House, and only that House. A privateer will be protected from execution, but may have their equipment confiscated before being returned to their House. Since the collapse of the Red Empire, privateers have less standing, and may well be executed according to House Law where it has taken precedence.


ORGANISED CRIME SYNDICATES – Vast organisations of criminals, stretching across boundaries and Houses. They are typically against all laws, although many have legitimate businesses as fronts. Many of the organised gangs are closely aligned to one particular House, though, and will be tolerated by that House providing they do their dirty work when needed. Good examples are the Vanquistadoreans for House Vanquise, Salchuzura Mara for Cervantia, Ndrangaizza for Calamarite Confederacy, Wai-Mai Tong for Zhou-Zheng Compact, and Quito Canton Cartel for the Nacrimosan Collective. However it is very much a case of shades of grey, as the gangs will often find themselves on the wrong side of their home nations as well as being tolerated.

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