The Space Pirates are a race of arthropod-like... uh... space pirates that regularly appear as enemies in the Metroid series. They also serve as the most frequently recurring villains of Metroid: Third Derivative.
As a nomadic race, the Space Pirates have very little culture to call their own. They survive as a whole by taking technology, resources and culture from the other races they meet, usually forcibly. Combining this with their "survival of the fittest" mentality, they seek to improve the quality of their race and strengthen their influence upon the galaxy.
While always a menace, they started to be perceived as a serious threat after seizing a cargo of creatures native to the planet SR-388. Seeing the potential of these "Metroids" as a weapon, they started devoting a large amount of effort and resources into building a base where these creatures could be studied and trained.
This fortress, located on the planet Zebes, was eventually located and destroyed by noted bounty hunter Samus Aran.
As many of the Space Pirate survivors acted quickly to recuperate from their losses, others started searching for alternate sources of energy. They eventually found it in the form of Phazon, a highly-powerful mutagen that covered much of the surface of the planet Tallon IV. The Space Pirates started finding ways to use this substance to their advantage, as well as sent out multiple scout parties to find other sources of the material, such as the planet Aether.
While Samus routinely halted their operations on various planets, she would later unwittingly come to the aid of the Space Pirates by locating the original source of the Phazon and leading them directly to it. However, it is also apparent that the Space Pirates had already built a stronghold on the planet by that time.
Space Pirate ClassesEdit
The Space Pirates are organized by hierarchy. Clear favoritism is shown to those on the upper rungs, while lower rung classes tend to receive most of the unwanted work. Still, the Space Pirates are not beneath rewarding outstanding talent and potential, and class changes are given at times.
It should be noted, though, that the Space Pirate race is highly reliant upon cloning methods to reproduce in an effort to retain the best possible physical traits among individuals. As such, most Space Pirates are specifically created to fill perceived niches.
The lowest of the low, Degenerate Space Pirates enjoy almost none of the benefits of Space Pirate society (they should consider themselves fortunate that they can even use a weapon if asked), and are frequently used to fill demeaning positions.
Still, they serve a very useful purpose to the Space Pirates. The degenerate class is the only class that still breeds naturally, as opposed to using the standard cloning methods of the other Space Pirates. Combined with the high mortality rate that the class usually exhibits, the result is an easy method of identifying, weeding out, and harnessing genetic mutations that may prove beneficial to the Space Pirates in the long run. (But not beneficial to the degenerate, who is typically disintegrated during the extraction process.)
On a Phazon-based planet like Nemesis, the potential of mutation is higher as exposure to Phazon increases, so the degenerates are kept close to the material in an effort to aid the process. The Space Pirates have built small islands that float just above the Phazon core for such a purpose.
These Space Pirates are of only minor stature in the Space Pirate ranks. They are frequently relegated to guard duty and non-battle positions. During lulls in the action, they are known to drink stimulant juice and gossip about current events. There is no evidence to date regarding whether or not they carry weapons.
Green Worker ClassEdit
Largely adapted from the other worker class, these drones show a great improvement over their predecessors in terms of physical ability and intelligence. They fill the position of guard duty and often carry enough weaponry to do a good job of it.
The first green workers to appear in the comic are a pair of Tactical Recon Grenade Troopers, or TRGTs, who appear in #215. Since then, equally potent but less explosive green workers have continued to represent the lower class villain set.
The Technician Class is closely related to the two common Worker Classes due to their DNA being nearly identical to the DNA of both Worker Classes. Technicians receive a great deal more training than their green counterparts because they are required to service and use complex equipment that may be too much for the normal Pirate to use.
Although Technicians are equipped with better tools and weapons than the Workers, they don't go into melee combat situations. Technicians mostly pilot vehicles, navigate for other pilots, or man turret weaponry instead. Technicians first appeared in #405.
The Space Pirates, although renowned for their violent tactics and ability to assimilate foreign technology into their repertoire, have had less success at actually creating new technologies. Attempts to create a class devoted to scientific innovation have been largely unsuccessful.
The hydra caste, while an improvement over earlier castes, is considered a failure as well. While members have shown an aptitude for genius and invention, as well as a talent for performing multiple tasks at once, they eventually proved too untrustworthy and erratic for regular use in the Space Pirate ranks, or even to be trusted with a weapon (most likely due to the intentional multiple personalities of the caste). Perhaps the Space Pirates will find more success in the future.
While multiple members of this caste supposedly remain, the only hydra class Space Pirate introduced in the comic so far is JD.
An upper-level class of Space Pirates specifically devoted to battle situations. They are better armed and armored against assailants, and are frequently used for high-risk combat situations and as a second line of defense against attack.
Despite the fact that Samus has met very few combat troopers during her mission so far, they have had a large number of appearances in the comic. They appear as early as #14, and have been a regular threat ever since, usually to Joey. One member of the class is also apparently assigned to aid Ridley.
The highest level of Space Pirate currently known, aside from the individual generals. They are extremely well armed, highly resistant to damage, and are frequently in possession of additional abilities to aid them in combat. Even fully armed, Samus has had a large amount of difficulty taking down members of this class in the past.
However, true to their name, these Space Pirates are not very common in the comic. The most well known is Mother Brain's assistant, TKE-215 (possibly short for "techie"). Aside from him, Elite troopers have so far only appeared in #137, #199, #310, #376 and #382.