Surrogates are groups that were once members of the Starguild, but which fell from grace; nevertheless, they have managed to maintain some Stardrive and Starforces. They are outcasts, groups with no secure planet or base of operations. Ranging from pirates to smugglers to mercenaries, Surrogates exist as tools of the Starguild. While the Imperium and Starguild in general do not allow intercompany feuds, there are no such restrictions on the Surrogates. As a result, Surrogates are used for the Starguild's dirty work. In exchange, they receive Stardrive maintenance and repair.
Surrogates are hungry predators, eager for a job. They are opportunistic, independent, and well armed. While members of the Starguild have theoretically been at peace for decades, scores of battles take place each year, one company's forces against another company's Surrogates. That is why there are so many Surrogates currently on Rhand; some had been retained by either the Imperium or Trident, while others had come to the planet in hopes of future employment.
Most Surrogate communities were small, with 4 to 8 thousand Starcaste and no Bondsmen population. The alien Strak and Varsha served as their domestic work force. Surrogate communities were mobile and had a Spartan life style. Most civilians were members of the militia, and almost all were trained with weapons.
In social terms, Surrogates were above the Landcaste, yet not full members of the Starguild. They are an independent and harsh people, accustomed to life as refugees. All the members of a Surrogate community grow up knowing they will have to fight.
Most Surrogate enclaves had no high-tech capability and were spared Spectral bombardment. They were also remotely located and thus most were not affected by the viral attack. Today, their communities are rising from the carnage in good order. They are organized, disciplined, well armed, and have the best manufacturing capability on Rhand.
This manufacturing capability does not include high technology, but they are well equipped to produce mechanical parts and tools. This is because the Surrogates always tried to be as self-sufficient as possible. Although this meant that much of their technology was right out of the 20th century, and kept them primitives in the eyes of the Starguild, it minimized their reliance on the Starguild. To embrace the needs of high technology was to embrace the Starguild, something the Surrogates tried to avoid.
Today, this simple technology gives them an advantage. Their machinery is crude by Starguild standards, but easily repaired. It does not depend on fragile high technology, and long after Starguild machinery has broken down, the Surrogate's equipment will be functioning.
Surrogate groups recognize that they control what might be the last mechanical and tooling capability on Rhand. Knowing that they have only to hold out long enough for the other groups' high-tech equipment to break down in order to win in the long run, their clever leaders are keeping a low profile. Right now they cannot stop a well armed Starforce, but the Surrogates believe that in a few years that will have changed, and their forces will be more than a match.
A few of the Surrogate groups were hit by the Spectral viral attack. These groups are now drawing the attentions of Spectral Pathfinders, for they are organized, have a strong sense of military tradition, and also have a long-term grudge to settle. Surrogate Visser groups are possibly the greatest destructive element on Rhand today.