Gender: Non-binary (they/them)
Allegiance: Pirate ship Anantanakharat IX / Anan9, previously Tigmamanukan / Tigma
Riang was born into a family on a small postal spaceship, Tigmamanukan, which went between the larger generation ships in the 2400s. In the utility- and role-oriented structure of the 2400s, Riang's family trained them in their trade: delivering goods and communications between ships. Riang grew up meeting and trading with a wide variety of people, moving between rebel, colony and generation ships, developing a respect for the customs and sense for the mood of others. They were taught navigation, mechanics, and stock-keeping.
The family's survival depended on their livelihood, which meant keeping their ship maintained and constantly engaged in its missions. It was on one of these missions that Riang first met Keliling. The two got to know each other over several years as children, whenever their ships came into contact. Riang had older brothers and did not grow up with many children their own age, so looked forward to seeing Keliling, as ze was friendly, enthusiastic and happy to see them.
When the two were 21, they hijacked a small mechanic's pod and began their "pirate" life, attacking other ships for resources to get by - occasionally distributing them to rebel ships they deemed in need - and attempting to stay ahead of the colony and generation ships' reach. For the first two years, they did this in conjunction with four other space pirates, who were older and more experienced, on a hijacked and converted fuel transporter ship. A fire broke out onboard, leading to the destruction of the ship and the deaths of the other pirates: Riang and Keliling escaped the explosion by chance. Thereafter they continued being pirates, but never stayed attached to one ship for long - needing to hop frequently in order to stay ahead of enemies.
It is 2437. Riang is currently on their ninth pirate ship, Anan 9, with Keliling, having just successfully stolen goods from a large colony ship.
Gender: Non-binary (ze/hir)
Allegiance: Pirate spaceship Anantanakharat IX / Anan9; previously, generation ship Mayari
Keliling was born on a large generation ship, Mayari, peopled by the descendants of the rebels who fought their way onto the last ships to leave Earth on the Day of Reckoning, back in 2049. Keliling was taught to have deep pride in hir inheritance of this spirit of rebellion, and the stories of how the beginning of this new society was fought for and won.
Keliling was brought up in the utility-focused society of this ship, with everything tightly structured in order to support life in space. Strict controls were in place in order to minimise waste (especially as the intended population of elites and highly-specialised experts were not who were on the ship when it left Earth). Keliling had experience as an apprentice farming a limited number of crops, in mechanics and in sanitation, as well as some rudimentary medicine.
Mayari was supplied with occasional goods and communications by Tigmamanukan, Riang's ship. It was on one of these missions that Keliling first met Riang - the two children got to know each other when their ships came into contact.
When the two were 21, they hijacked a smaller mechanic's pod and began their "pirate" life, attacking other ships for resources to get by - occasionally distributing them to rebel ships they deemed in need - and attempting to stay ahead of the colony and generation ships' reach. For the first two years, they did this in conjunction with four other space pirates, who were older and more experienced, on a hijacked and converted fuel transporter ship. A fire broke out onboard, leading to the destruction of the ship and the deaths of the other pirates: Riang and Keliling escaped the explosion by chance. Thereafter they continued being pirates, but never stayed attached to one ship for long - needing to hop frequently in order to stay ahead of enemies.
It is 2437. Keliling is currently on hir ninth pirate ship, Anan 9, with Riang, having just successfully stolen goods from a large colony ship.
Gender: Non-binary (name as pronoun)
Allegiance: Nazar’s ship, the Sang Kancil
Born on Penang isle in the last days of island land-living, Nazar was raised in a large familial community in a rapidly changing environment. By the age of 10, sea levels rose to the point that Nazar’s community was fully afloat, trading goods like nets, fish, tools and information in order to survive. Nazar learned to swim and row sampans from an early age, but it was only after the community was hit by a tsunami when Nazar was 18 that Nazar left with remaining family and friends to move down the coast in several larger boats.
Nazar worked with this crew of 30, apprenticing as an engineer and communications officer for the ship. Over time, the crew dwindled. Almost half were lost to a major storm, some to health problems, desertion, and people choosing to take their chances on land rather than on water. When there were only four remaining crew members, the ship received a communication that space launchpads had been built and that people with skills could bargain their way onto newly built generation spaceships leaving Earth. Nazar’s mates dream of hijacking and smuggling away on the spaceships. However, all three died or abandoned ship before they could see it through.
It is 2049. Nazar survives on the ship by bargaining with coastal traders, outrunning patrol ships, and scaring off would-be aggressors by rigging equipment and technology to pass as a strong pirate force. Nazar operates out of the Melaka Straits and rarely ventures to the deep ocean, preferring to be within sailing distance of shore. Alone on the ship, Nazar started to plan a spaceship heist so as to carry the dreams of their old friends and family to the stars, and break away from this drifting life.
SHIH YANG (石陽)
Gender: Female (she/her)
Allegiance: Red Flag Fleet
Shih Yang (石陽) was born in Guangdong province. She was a sex worker who worked in a floating brothel in Guangzhou until 1801 when she married notorious pirate Cheng I, and agreed to lend her power to her husband's endeavours by formal contract, which granted her a 50% control and share.
Shih Yang and Cheng I formed a massive coalition by unifying small gangs into a federation of 400 junk ships. By 1804, this coalition was a formidable force, and one of the most powerful existing pirate fleets, now known as the Red Flag Fleet. When Cheng I died, Shih Yang immediately began maneuvering her way into his leadership position. By 1809 she commanded over 800 large junks, 1,000 smaller ones and a 70,000 strong mixed-gender crew.
The gang collected money, raided camps and ships, and raided Chinese river towns and coastal villages demanding a contribution. For years, the Red Flag Fleet under Shih Yang’s rule could not be defeated, neither by Qing dynasty officials nor by Portuguese or British bounty hunters. After a negotiated surrender in 1810, Shih Yang was pardoned for her piratical career, and successfully retained many ships in her fleet, including approximately 120 to be used for employment on the salt trade. She also arranged for pirates in her fleet to be given positions in the Chinese bureaucracy, subsequently moving her family to Macau and opening a gambling house and a brothel.
It is 1839 and Shih Yang is back on the sea, advising the Governor General Lin Zexu in naval fighting against the British during the First Opium War.
ADMIRAL ZHENG HE
Gender: Male (he/him)
Allegiances: Yongle Emperor (永樂帝)
Zheng He was born Ma He (馬和) in Kunyang, Kunming, Yunnan. At ten, Ma He was captured by the Ming armies at Yunnan. He was castrated and was placed in the service of the Prince of Yan (Zhu Di). Ma He spent his early life as a soldier and often participated in Zhu Di's military campaigns against the Mongols. He gained the confidence of the prince and so received a proper education while at Beiping, despite the then-Emperor’s belief that it was better to keep eunuchs illiterate.
After ascending the throne as the Yongle Emperor, Zhu Di promoted Ma He as the Grand Director of the Directorate of Palace Servants, conferred the surname "Zheng" to him, and later elevated him to Chief Envoy. Zheng He's religious beliefs became all-embracing and eclectic in his adulthood, including his dominant devotion to Ma Zu (deity of sailors and seafarers), as well to the faith and practices of Islam, Buddhism and Taoism.
It is 1407 and Admiral Zheng He is on his way back from his first treasure voyage under the Yongle Emperor with a fleet of 27,000 men; designed to establish a Chinese presence and impose imperial control over the Indian Ocean trade, impress foreign peoples in the Indian Ocean basin, and extend the empire's tributary system. While returning from Calicut, Zheng He is informed of pirate Chen Zuyi’s domination of Palembang and the Melaka Straits. Zheng He’s fleet kills 5000 pirates, destroying 10 pirate ships. Chen Zuyi and his lieutenants are captured and are currently being taken back to Nanjing for execution.