From publisher blurb:
The Federation is a union of a number of planets and allied species of various kinds. Federation Known Space is a territory shaped a lot like an egg. The most advanced part of Known Space, the Core Worlds, are the yoke, while the expanse beyond that yoke is an untamed wilderness called The Fringe. And beyond the Fringe lies the Unknown.
The Fringe is largely a lawless place, despite being nominally under Federation control. While influence from the Federation planets does exist, that influence is spread too thin and to wide. At the same time, the many worlds of the Fringe hold the promise of freedom and vast stores of unspoiled resources ready for the taking. In such a place, the lawless thrive. Vast fortunes are made...by the pirate and mercenary bands that prey on the weak and helpless. Not to mention the corporate conglomerates, who exploit their workers in any number of ways, far from the watchful eye of the Federation enforcement agencies.
In this dangerous realm, small colonies largely depend upon the meager resources their corporate sponsors choose to send them, or in some cases must hire their own militias and protection at an expense that they can ill-afford. Concepts such as “Law and Order” are thus thought as something that is bought and sold, going to the highest bidder.
In such a realm, there is little respect and less money dedicated to active police. And most of what few such organizations there are thought of as ineffectual at best, corrupt or incompetent at worst. They are also underpaid and overworked. There are, though, a dedicated few who still try to keep the peace and bring law and order to the outlaw worlds of this wild region – the famed Star Marshals.
The Star Marshals are an elite law enforcement outfit under the nominal control of the Federation. The core stated goal of the Star Marshals is to keep the Fringe safe from the various criminal elements that infest it.
However, their true goal is to keep the chaos and crime of the outer regions from spilling back into the Core Worlds. Their job is immense and never-ending, policing a huge amount of space with scant resources and even scanter aid from both the Core Worlds and the Fringe (who tend to resent outside influence on their territory, except during the immediate aftermath of a terrible crime that they are ill-equipped to handle).
Thus each day the fearless men and woman of the Star Marshals must battle a tide of never-ending lawlessness and hostilities. Space pirates are, of course, the most plentiful foe that the Star Marshals must face, and frequently (but not always) the crimes that they commit are the most horrific. However, in fact the tasks deeded to the Star Marshals run the gamut from dealing with criminal and/or exploitative corporate actions, rebellious military generals, and alien incursions into Fringe space. Those that succeed at these daunting tasks become legend. Those that fail are simply dead.
In the end, the task of the Star Marshals in endless and thankless, but those few that hear the call, answer it and conduct themselves with pride and honor.
In the vastness of space, few will ever see justice, unless you bring it to them.