The Pirates of Orion cover the entire Alpha Octant, but by the time of the General War, few of them were actually Orions. Orion originally joined the Federation as an ally during the First Romulan War. Because the Federation needed Orion technology, ships, and shipyards, the Federation made a deal that gave the Orion province special autonomy. Among other things, this meant that the Orions (not the Federation) enforced Federation law inside Orion space. Pirate organizations based on Orion took advantage of this, becoming the headquarters of a far-reaching criminal operation including piracy, smuggling, and creating illegal mining colonies on unclaimed planets. The territory of the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Gorns, Kzintis, Lyrans, and Hydrans was overlayed by a network of fiercely independent criminal cartels. A crimelord led each cartel, and leased parts of his area to individual pirates as franchises for various criminal operations. One pirate might lease an area in which he had the sole right to attach merchant ships, while another pirate might get the franchise for all smuggling into and out of the Rigelian system. Each of these minor pirates was supported by the cartel network which bought stolen or smuggled goods, repaired damaged ships, bought and sold captured freighters, and traded in intelligence information on shipping schedules and police patrols. Most of the independent ship captains operating piracy franchises used light raiders or raider cruisers; the cartel itself maintained heavy cruisers which it used as enforcers to deal with those who poached without a franchise or failed to pay their franchise fees.
Orion ships are designed to avoid detection, being basically flat with angled hull plates to scatter any scanner beam that touches them. Internal volume is half as much as a regular warship of the same class, but this comes at the cost of miniaturized systems, high maintenance costs, and a distinct lack of crew comfort. The hexagonal structures on the wings are passive sensors which detect scanner beams at long range (before the ship doing the scanning can detect anything) and will then rotate the ship to be edge-on to the scanning ship, allowing it to evade detection while on its way to raid, smuggle, or illegally mine something.
The Raider-class light cruiser (sometimes called the “Raider Cruiser”) was the backbone of the Orion Pirate forces during the period before the General War. It is equivalent to the light cruiser of most fleets in firepower although (like all Orion ships) it quickly becomes combat ineffective when damaged. It is an excellent ship for its purpose: attacking cargo ships. While most pirates prefer to prey on unprotected ships, this vessel can defeat or disable most pre-war escorts and police ships. These ships became increasingly ineffective during the General War when freighters tended to move in convoys. There are three optional weapons mounts, one in the nose and one in each wing. The wing mounts cannot hold heavy weapons.
The ship is available in a variety of materials. Ships are unpainted, use standard flight stands available from many sources, and, while designed for gaming, make fine display pieces.