Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me...
Examples:Anime and Manga
- Starship Operators: The crew of the Amaterasu were a bunch of space cadets on a training exercise when their homeworld was conquered. So they started a guerrilla war funded by filming their fights for a reality show.
- Star Wars: Han Solo
- The entire human species became Space Cossacks in Titan A.E. after the destruction of the Earth.
- Dune: According to Fremen legends, they were once runaway slaves.
- The Hyperion Cantos has the Ousters, who fit this trope quite nicely.
- This was the background for H. Beam Piper's Space Vikings, in the book of the same title. "At the end of the Big War, ten thousand men and women on Abigor, refusing to surrender, had taken the remnant of the System States Alliance navy to space, seeking a world the Federation had never heard of and wouldn't find for a long time." Eight centuries later, their descendants have begun raiding into the territory once held by the now-collapsed Terran Federation.
- In C. J. Cherryh's Alliance/Union universe Conrad Mazian's fleet become pirates after the Earth-Union-Alliance war ends and the Earth Company abandons them. The Merchanter's Alliance may also count, comprising a number of nomadic merchant families and one station (plus one of Mazian's ships who defected) who got tired of the war between Earth and the Union and formed their own faction.
- The Dendarii Mercenaries in Vorkosigan Saga play with this. They are a little like Cossacks, being irregulars in the service of Tsarist Russia Recycled In Space and they contain individuals escaping from social pressure on Barryar including Elena and her husband and in a different way Miles himself. However they mostly contain people from any and every world in the Nexus. Also they play the "screening the Empire from external threats" role.
- The Nomads in Star Ways by Poul Anderson.
- Asimov's Foundation has the Trader subculture, which roamed the galaxy trying to push Atom Punk gadgetry - first as a stalking horse for the Foundation's Path of Inspiration, and eventually as straight economic conquest by hegemony. Despite one of their own, Hober Mallow, taking complete control at the end of the first novel, Foundation and Empire has a major subplot of the small Traders in the field rebelling against the Merchant Princes who claimed to rule them. The only thing that prevented all-out civil war in the Foundation was the Mule.
- Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy has the Free Traders, a clannish Proud Merchant Race who live and die in their trading starships and look down on planet dwellers of all species as vermin (with varying degrees of irony). A play written by a minor character about the founding of the ship Sisu explicitly has the first captain take his family into the void because of his disgust with the evil ways of "fraki".
- Firefly: "...take me out to the Black, tell them I ain't coming back. Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me"
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine the settlers on the Cardassian frontier are rebelling against both the Federation and the Cardassians. They are usually treated semi-sympathetically even though they are sometimes adversaries.
- In both versions of Battlestar Galactica the remnants of the Twelve Colonies' fleet are fleeing to earth.
- In The Space Gypsy Adventures the Space Gypsies claim to have originated on a planet that was destroyed by a nova thousands of years ago. Due to more recent persecution by the Federal Alliance many of the few who remain free have resorted to smuggling and theft.
- Traveller: Has a lot of examples of this. Among them are the Vilani Kimashargur, The Classic Traveller volume "Pocket Empires". And much of the history of the Sword Worlds as well a sample campaign from the Gurps volume of that name. Many others.
- In the Battletech universe, there are the Clans, descendants of the old Star League's military who went into exile following the League's collapse. They are an interesting example as by the beginning of the main storyline they have become the dominant power in their own space and hold many systems of their own. Their warrior culture is enforced rather than necessary.
- Raynor's forces post-Mengsk's betrayal in Starcraft are an example if this.