The Red Hessians are a criminal group composed largely of unemployed miners operating out of Rheinland space who attack civilian and commercial targets of opportunity.
The story of the Hessians emerges from the turbulent history of the Dresden system, the mining heartland of Rheinland since the beginning of the third century. Mining there was dirty, dangerous work, but Daumann and Kruger had little reason to lose sleep over the welfare of their employees. The price of the occasional disability pension or life insurance policy was nothing compared to the money made from extracting and refining the metals and materials that fed Rheinland industry.
As the 80-Years War wound down to its ignoble conclusion, Rheinland found itself virtually bankrupt. Kruger and Daumann released thousands of employees throughout Rheinland. Promises of bonuses were left unfulfilled, and in many cases, miners were left completely destitute. An uprising was almost inevitable. A group of miners took control of the Daumann Heavy Construction facility on Von Rohe's Day in 700 AS.
The revolt soon spread from Dresden to the rest of the Rheinland, gaining widespread backing from the legions of newly unemployed workers. The industrial heart of Rheinland stopped beating; the Popular Revolution had begun.
Within five months a new coalition government was established. Both Kruger and Daumann were required to pay reparations, and all Rheinland companies were forced to comply with a newly ratified Workers' Rights Convention. They have been careful to adhere to the letter of the law, if not the spirit. The compromise left many that had fought in the revolution bitter. Many workers could not accept the prospect of working for their old taskmasters and decided to form the Red Hessians, a group dedicated to destroying the two companies.
It was not long before Red Hessian political ideals were replaced by greed, which has led them to become more like pirates than activists. The police have been forced to maintain a significant presence in Dresden in an effort to prevent Hessian strikes from clogging the gears of Rheinland industry.
The Hessians have gradually expanded, assisted by their close proximity to Stuttgart Food shipments and an extensive Jump Hole network within the southern Sirius Sector. They now own a string of bases in the southern Rheinland Border Worlds. In Omega-5 they encountered their first real obstacle -- the Corsairs. They have fought the Edge World faction to a tenuous stalemate, with the Ronneburg base barely holding on against the stronger Corsairs presence in that system. Fortunately, they live in a rich area of Sirius in terms of raw materials, especially Diamonds. Their preferred targets are Daumann and Kruger, although almost any shipper is vulnerable to attack.