This article is about the profession. For a list of space pirates, see Category: Space Pirates.
Space pirates are exactly what they sound like - pirates in space. They can be lurking nearly anywhere, waiting to attack unsuspecting cargo ships or passenger vessels for loot or worse. They vary in their degree of danger - some will steal your cargo and let you go free, while others will plunder, maroon, sabatoge, kill, exterminate, assimilate, mutilate, eat, attack, shoot, stab, poison, and cook you, not necessarily in that order and all while generally saying terrible things about your mother. A particularly nasty breed are the Bureaucratic Pirates of Pallidon IV who will enslave you for filing and paperwork in horrible environments like the basement world of Sporla.
Because space pirates hate authority, which usually puts a crimp in their extralegal activities, they can be useful allies when trying to overthrow an evil government or something. The lesser of two evils, as it were.
Space pirates in the Milky Way galaxy were wiped out in the Dordellis Wars. However, sapient nature being what it is, successors quickly arose to replenish them.