The Battle of the Seraphim Grand was a space battle fought above Keystone between forces of and allied to the Yellow Jackets space pirate group and forces allied with the owners of the Seraphim Grand Orbital Resort. The battle took place between 28 and 29 November 3284, and began and took place mostly in and around the Seraphim Grand space station, though tertiary fighting occurred in the orbital space of the planet Keystone.
Since the 3260s, the Yellow Jacket space pirate group had grown to become among the largest organized criminal syndicates in human-occupied space. After the downfall of the Orionese based Dragon Syndicate, and the rise of the Fenian Daggers, the Yellow Jackets positioned themselves as the second-largest gang of space pirates by the late 3270s. They committed numerous acts of domestic terrorism, murder, and grand theft across Terran space.
By the middle 3280s, they had accumulated a large fleet of combat-capable manned spacecraft and illegally modified them with internal jump drives. This enhanced their independent warfare capabilities and brought them closer to direct armed conflict with the Union military and with their rival syndicates.
On 24 November 3284, a squadron of Yellow Jackets spacecraft docked at the Seraphim Grand Orbital Resort, a hotel-casino resort orbiting Keystone. Almost six hundred pirates flooded the resort and began making a ruckus, harassing guests and being loud and rambunctious in the casino area. However, they did not commit overt acts of violence or coordinated aggression, and were allowed by Seraphim management to continue their stay. The resort was considered by its owner and director, Alexandria Jensen, to be a 'neutral zone' where criminals, aliens, businesspeople, and others could mingle in peace. However by 28 November, Jensen considered the Yellow Jackets to have overstayed their welcome.
Jensen directed his security personnel to keep tabs on the space pirates. At the same time, Yellow Jacket street soldiers continually provoked guards and guests alike. This was soon to turn into violent conflict.
For reasons still unknown or classified, at 11:00PM on 28 November, a group of Yellow Jackets attacked a viridian casino patron with assault rifles. The incident escalated into a massive firefight in the casino, which spread throughout the station as guests fled and carried news the fighting. Yellow Jackets across the resort began indiscriminately killing guests and fighting with security personnel and rival gangsters who were visiting the station. Some small gangs allied to the Yellow Jackets joined the fight. According to published reports, the commander of the Yellow Jacket crew was captured and interrogated, during the course of which he recorded the interrogation and sent radio messages to the crews of the spacecraft, ordering them to detach from the station and begin firing upon it.
The squadron of around ten Yellow Jacket spacecraft detached from the station and began an indiscriminate missile barrage, damaging the station and also shooting at fleeing civilian spacecraft. A group of casino patrons, identified as crewmembers of the corsair ship Blackbird, began a counter-attack in defence of the station from their spacecraft. Another patron, retired naval officer Jason Glass, utilised his personal combat craft Glass House to perform swift-moving missile and machine gun strafing attacks on several pirate spacecraft. However, the Glass House was severely damaged and captured in the midst of battle. The Blackbird destroyed several pirate spacecraft; a few others crashed into each other in the chaos of such close-ranged space combat. After its main weapon was disabled, the Blackbird rammed another pirate ship and suffered catastrophic damage. Despite the valiant defence, an illegal nuclear-tipped missile was launched by a pirate spacecraft as it fell into Keystone's gravity well, and destroyed the Seraphim Grand. Around 9,000 civilians died in the attack. Many of the station's staff, including Alexandria Jensen and his entourage, escaped in life pods prior to the final missile strike.
Around a dozen pirate ships arrived via warp jump as reinforcements, and prepared a second round of attacks on the defenders. Within minutes, however, a battlegroup of Space Forces craft arrived on the scene and ordered the pirate ships to power down their weapons and shields and surrender. When they refused, the Space Forces obliterated all but one of them in a series of laser strikes. The one Yellow Jacket ship that was spared was the one that contained Jason Glass' personal craft; a pinpoint strike had effectively disabled the ship, and allowed a group of Naval Infantry to board the pirate craft and seize control through tense hall-to-hall fighting. Glass was rescued, relatively unharmed.
The battle saw the deaths of nine thousand civilians and the destruction of the Seraphim Grand resort-casino; the space station had an estimated value of 250 billion Galactic Exchange Credits. The station was insured and reconstruction on an identical rebuild of the casino was began in late 3285. In 3287, Jensen & Co. settled out of court for an undisclosed sum to be paid to the families of the deceased.
The battle is reckoned as the beginning of the Pirate War. The flare of tensions between the Yellow Jackets and their rivals at the Seraphim Grand would escalate in short order into a galaxy-wide gang war.