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Starfield - How To Join The Crimson Fleet

Engage in a bit of piracy as a member of the Crimson Fleet in Starfield.


The Starfield Crimson Fleet is a group of pirates preying on hapless merchantmen and civilian vessels all over the Settled Systems. The forces of the United Colonies have had enough, and they need someone to put an end to the menace. That's where you come in--a person on the inside--where you can either dismantle the pirate roamers from within, or enjoy the chaos that you've unleashed.

How to join the Crimson Fleet in Starfield

The Starfield Crimson Fleet quest is called Deep Cover. It's not available at the start of the game. Rather, you'll only receive it if you commit a crime in a system controlled by the United Colonies. Here's a quick summary:

  • If you get caught stealing or assaulting someone in New Jemison, a guard will approach you.
  • Alternatively, if contraband is detected on your ship, you'll get detained.
  • There's also a third method, which is to simply talk to the United Colonies SysDef personnel.
Left: You could get caught while stealing from an ATM; Right: Your contraband could get detected via ship scan.

United Colonies SysDef and an offer you can't refuse

Regardless of your decision, you'll be well on your way to joining the Crimson Fleet in Starfield once you meet up with Commander Ikande. He has an offer you can't refuse: go to jail for your crime, or find a way to infiltrate the Crimson Fleet. Naturally, you'll want to choose the latter.

Since you're undercover, Ikande tells you that the pirates might ask you to commit crimes and atrocities. The choice of how to proceed in those situations is entirely up to you. However, if you're caught by United Colonies forces, you'll still need to pay fines.

Commander Ikande gives you an offer you can't refuse. Well, technically, you can, but what's the point?
Commander Ikande gives you an offer you can't refuse. Well, technically, you can, but what's the point?

Deep Cover: Cydonia

The next task for the Starfield Crimson Fleet takes you to Cydonia on Mars. Here's a quick summary:

  • Talk to a corrupt Trade Authority officer named Saoirse. Give her 1,000 credits so she tells you more about a shipment of Aurora, a drug that's being moved around in the Settled Systems.
  • In the Cydonia bar, give the sample to Adler Kemp, and say that he might be able to help you "move cargo."
  • Adler wants you to collect the dues from a fella named Karl, who's in the Deimos Miner's Quarters. You can either pay his debts (3,000 credits), pass a Persuasion check, or attack him outright.
  • Return to Adler and he'll mention a ship called the Astraea. This leads to the next quest called Rook Meets King.
The tasks in Cydonia lead to a high-ranking member of the Crimson Fleet.
The tasks in Cydonia lead to a high-ranking member of the Crimson Fleet.

Rook Meets King: Naeva, the Astraea, and Austin Rake

The Starfield Rook Meets King quest involves Naeva, a high-ranking member of the Crimson Fleet. Here's the gist:

  • Fly to Europa, where you'll find the Astraea ship orbiting the moon. Hail the ship and talk to Naeva, who mentions someone named Austin Rake, a former member who has since escaped.
  • Head to Enceladus and hail the Ragana, a civilian transport that's hiding Austin Rake. You're presented with several options here:
    • UC SysDef: You can board the ship to talk to the captain and crew.
    • Crimson Fleet: You'll still be able to board the ship, though the demand is quite intimidating.
    • You can tell the crew to kill Austin Rake.
    • You can immediately open fire to destroy the ship.
  • If you boarded the Ragana, you'll be able to talk to the captain. This gives the option to let Austin Rake go (he'll stay in hiding and there will be no hostilities). Alternatively, you can attack and kill everyone.

When you're finished with these tasks, return to Europa and talk to Naeva once more. In our playthrough, we chose the UC SysDef reply, and we let Austin Rake escape. As such, we were able to provide this reply to Naeva: "[Lie] Austin Rake is dead. The Ragana survived."

Make a decision about what you'll do to the Ragana and Austin Rake.
Make a decision about what you'll do to the Ragana and Austin Rake.

The Lock and The Key

After completing the above objectives, Naeva will give you the coordinates to The Key, a massive star station that houses the bulk of the Crimson Fleet's forces. You can find it orbiting the planet of Suvorov in the Kryx system.

Upon docking, there's a short scene involving two pirates. Naeva will then greet you, taking you on a tour of the base and introducing you to various NPCs. At the end of it all, you'll meet the head honcho, Delgado. You're a member of the Starfield Crimson Fleet faction now, but he still wants you to head to the prison complex known as The Lock, sort of a way to prove yourself.

Naeva will introduce you to her pirate pals.
Naeva will introduce you to her pirate pals.

Additional tips when joining the Crimson Fleet

Here are some additional tips for those who plan on joining the Crimson Fleet in Starfield:

  • UC SysDef has another major mission for you called Burden of Proof. This goes hand-in-hand with the other objectives, since the goal is to recover documents and data slates regarding the pirate group's activities. You can bring any evidence you find to Lieutenant Jillian Toft.
  • The Crimson Fleet has its own Trade Authority vendor, which means you can sell contraband and stolen items. Even better, The Key space station doesn't conduct a scan--that would make no sense since they're lawless vagabonds.
  • There are quests that give you alternative options and responses (i.e. UC SysDef or Crimson Fleet), as well as actions that are more nefarious (you're working with pirates, after all). Bear in mind that getting caught committing these crimes still nets you a bounty. Moreover, your good-natured companions (i.e. everyone) will not approve of evil actions, too.
  • By default, Crimson Fleet vessels will attack you on sight. However, once you become a pirate newbie, they'll turn into friendlies. As such, we don't recommend joining until much later in the game, since you'll end up with fewer ships for target practice and XP gains.
  • Conversely, Crimson Fleet ships and NPCs might be designated as targets for certain quests or mission board tasks. They'll appear as friendlies if you've already joined the faction, though you'd still be able to attack them. As far as we can tell, this did not cause further hostilities with the faction, though we can't confirm if this will be the case for every quest.

That's all you need to know about how to join the Crimson Fleet in Starfield. Don't forget that there are still other factions that you can encounter, such as the United Colonies, Freestar Collective, and Ryujin Industries. You can also learn about all these rival forces in our factions guide.

Starfield is a massive game with numerous planets to explore. For other tips and tactics, you can visit our guides hub.

Jason Rodriguez on Google+

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