Commerce raiding, usually referred to as "piracy", is the act of robbing and/or hijacking spaceships. Piracy usually is conducted for the purpose of seizing valuable commodities from civilians, usually House shippers and corporations, but sometimes is aimed at hijacking ships, sometimes large ones, either for sale or use by the pirates themselves.
It is noteworthy that some civilians tend to call any unlawful faction in Sirius "pirates", though the line is in actuality much blurrier. Many pirates, such as the Corsairs, Outcasts, Red Hessians, and Liberty Rogues, supplement their raiding with smuggling of valuable (and often illegal) commodities such as Artifacts, Cardamine, and Diamonds. In many ways, smuggling is preferable to piracy, as the income is steady, and generally less resources are lost due to combat, making smuggling a more efficient way to increase overall faction resources.
Pirates scan the cargo bays of ships belonging to factions that are neutral to them. If the cargo is particularly valuable, or the pirates happen to need that specific commodity, the pirates usually demand that the shipper dump their cargo or face destruction. Most pirates will simply jump factions that are hostile and destroy them, then take their loot, if any is to be had. Pirates also regularly attack Trade Lanes to disrupt travel along them; the Trade Lane will come back up after a while, but this allows Pirates to stop a convoy for long enough to jump it and seize the cargo. When disrupting Trade Lanes, it's usually best to let the Trade Lane go back online after successfully stopping a convoy with a valuable cargo: this lets possible reinforcements fly right by to the far end of the lane, rather than forcing them to stop and engage.
- Liberty Rogues - The first pirate faction the player encounters in Sirius, the Rogues are a motley, disorganized criminal faction that relies on sheer numbers more than cunning. Drawn from Liberty's economic underclass, their diversity and general lack of cohesion make them "jacks of all trades" in the underworld, but masters of none.
- Xenos - A radical terrorist organization that, for various reasons, oppose foreign influences in Liberty. They are mostly comprised of dispossessed and disgruntled miners from Colorado. They have no true allies and oppose almost everyone.
- Lane Hackers - Formerly Ageira Technologies employees, the Lane Hackers are able to track valuable shipments passing through Trade Lanes and can easily capitalize on this by seizing the cargo themselves or selling off the shipment information to their allies.
- Junkers - A widespread and resourceful pirate organization, the Junkers use the cover of scrap collectors to haul valuable and possibly illegal goods in and out of Liberty, Bretonia and Rheinland. They are friends to most criminals but are enemies with the Xenos and are unwelcome in Kusari.
- Mollys - Violent terrorists who hold a serious grudge towards BMM because of overworking hapless Dublin miners into submission and death. They are quite numerous but have no true allies in Bretonia whatsoever. While their strongest presence is in Dublin, they can be found almost everywhere in Bretonia.
- Gaians - An eco-terrorist group that sprung forth when the beautiful planet Gaia was threatened by the BMM trying to harvest Cobalt from it. Located mostly in Edinburgh, the Gaians perform assaults on BMM, Orbital Spa and Cruise and Planetform. In addition to this, they also regularly attack the terraforming operation on planet Harris in Tau-31.
- Junkers - The Junkers of Bretonia are mainly situated in the Southampton debris field of New London. There they operate Trafalgar Base, acting as a crossroads for criminals like the Mollys, Gaians and Corsairs.
- Blood Dragons - More of a revolutionary front than a pirate faction, the Blood Dragons fight for the liberation of Kusari from corrupt elements within the government and certain corporate elements, especially within Samura Heavy Industries.
- Golden Chrysanthemums - Another Kusari revolutionary front, the Golden Chrysanthemums take feminism to new and violent extremes in their attacks on Kusari targets. The Golden C. are somewhat less "pure" than the Blood Dragons, mostly due to their association with the Outcasts and growing use of Cardamine.
- Farmers Alliance - The Farmers Alliance is less of a terrorist front and more of an unofficial corporate tool of Samura to keep Synth Foods out of Kusari markets, which in turn protects Samura's local monopoly on Fertilizer production. Unfortunately for the farmers, Synth Foods has recently been able to successfully lobby the Kusari government for access. The Farmers have stepped up attacks on Synth Foods convoys, but aren't averse to jumping other corporate cargos.
- Hogosha - The Hogosha can be considered the Sirius Sector version of the Yakuza crime syndicate on Old Earth. The Hogosha despise the Junkers, and have used their contacts to ensure that Junkers stay out of Kusari. The Hogosha are viewed by many in Kusari as a "necessary evil", and despite their criminal activities, they support the status quo and are largely tolerated.
- Red Hessians - The Hessians are a very powerful group descended from disenfranchised miners from Daumann and Kruger, straddling the border between Rheinland and the Edge Worlds. They are funded both by piracy, targeted mostly but certainly not entirely against their old bosses, and by smuggling Diamonds, which they mine themselves. They are bitter enemies of the Corsairs.
It is notable that the Edge Worlds pirate factions are seen in multiple places in House space. The Outcasts mostly focus on Liberty, Bretonia, and Kusari, where their main Cardamine markets are. Meanwhile the Corsairs tend to stick to Rheinland and Bretonia space, though they are pushing into the Sigma Border Worlds to connect their Artifact smuggling routes to the Hogosha of Kusari. It's also worth noting that the Junkers are attempting to position themselves as middlemen for the criminal factions of Sirius, since they also do the legal dirty work of waste collection in House space. However, it seems that both the Outcasts and the Corsairs may have plans to ditch the Junkers in favor of less independent-minded distributors.