Erik Gunnarson of the Wallglass Investigations Agency discusses the nomadic tribes that wander the galaxy in converted dredger megaships.
“It’s well known that there are many travelling communities – groups of people who prefer to live on the move rather than settle anywhere. Proudly independent, they survive on the fringes of civilisation and tend to avoid interacting with the authorities. Those commonly known as the Dredger Clans are among the most successful.”
“Dredger-class bulk cruisers convert both natural and man-made minerals into raw resources, to sustain themselves on deep-space voyages. Improved hyperdrives and fuel-scooping systems made this design redundant long ago, but some were taken over by nomads and kept operational.”
“These dredgers are now a type of generation ship. Each hosts tens of thousands of people, whose cultures have evolved – or devolved – over decades or centuries. Some are true loners while others have formed alliances, or occasionally gather to increase their gene pools.”
“Typically these clans act as scavengers, quickly passing through systems to steal anything not locked down. Several take what they need in more aggressive ways, such as raiding unprotected outposts.”
“A few have even darker reputations. I remember being told as a boy: ‘If you don’t behave, the Phagos take you away in your sleep and eat you up.’ All my childhood nightmares came surging back when I discovered there may be some truth to that story.”
“More recently, I’ve heard rumours that a rarely seen Dredger Clan has resurfaced. Naturally, Wolfe has rushed off to find out more. Hopefully she’ll be able to increase our limited knowledge of these mysterious tribes.”