The Sky Pirates, also known as the Eco Pirates, is a faction in The Lost Frontier. Introduced as nothing but a hostile band of eco robbers led by the roguish Captain Phoenix, the Sky Pirates eventually grow to be an ally to Jak, Daxter, and Keira as they ultimately discover the truth of their battle against the Aeropans. Their mobile base and flagship was the Phantom Blade, and their hometown was Far Drop.
Before The Lost Frontier
The Sky Pirates' early history remains somewhat unclear. It is known that Captain Phoenix eventually came into a position of leadership of the "outlaw crew", though could just as well have founded the faction himself. He recruited his crew from the pirate town of Far Drop, a safe haven for outlaws, smugglers, and passers-by as it eluded Aeropan detection for most of its history. Phoenix once recounted his "first heady days" as captain, reminiscing on "the camaraderie, the smell of burning eco" and "the pillage", eluding to the Sky Pirates' original role as robbers who hunted the frontier for helpless travelers.
The true motive for acquiring his crew, however, was Phoenix's rebellion against Aeropa. A once-commander of the Aeropan Air Forces, Phoenix revolted against his people after discovering the Dark Warrior Program, an unethical and experimental dark eco program leveled against innocent civilians as a means for winning their current war against an unnamed threat. The city's leader, Duke Skyheed, refused to stop the program, thus Phoenix kidnapped and marooned their lead scientist, and at some point came into the ownership of the Phantom Blade and his band of pirate rebels.
Phoenix soon made strong connections with those at Far Drop, making it his second home and gaining many friends there. A golden statue in his likeness was erected in the city square, and the Sky Pirates' insignia was hanged all around the town. A multitude of pirates inhabited the town, likely making it their second, immobile headquarters, and Phoenix was often the topic of conversation on the streets. At some point, a pirate known as Klout became the Phantom Blade's first mate and Phoenix's right-hand man.
The Sky Pirates made their debut in the opening cutscene of the game, attempting to carry out a routine eco raid, this time against Jak, Daxter, and Keira, who were in the middle of traveling to the Brink via their Hellcat airship. The raid began with three pirate raiders assailing the ship, before the Hellcat was grappled by the Blade. Phoenix and Klout proceeded to land on the plane and attempted to extort any eco they might have. The raid was unsuccessful, as a short fist fight ended in a close shave at the end of a turret operated by Daxter. Phoenix returned to his galleon, and the trio were forced to land on Brink Island due to the bullet holes inflicted by Daxter.
After repairing the ship, Jak, Daxter, and Keira returned to the skies to assist the ACS Behemoth, a seemingly defenseless Aeropan flagship that had fallen under attack by pirate raiders. The reason for both the Behemoth's and pirates' presence remains unknown, though it could be due to the pirates attempting to prevent the Aeropans from finding the scientist Phoenix had marooned.
Phoenix made his second appearance after making off with Keira's eco seeker, which she had just acquired from Ruskin and Skyheed, the chancellor and duke of Aeropa, respectively. After Keira attempted to lunge after the seeker, Phoenix made off with both her and the artifact, which prompted Jak to chase after him. The chase ended in yet another force-landing, though Jak soon thereafter fixed his ship and forced Phoenix to let him board the pirate galleon after impairing it with his Hellcat. By now Keira was set up on the galleon with a workshop to further her research on the eco seeker, and, while withholding her knowledge of the Sky Pirates from Jak, forced a truce between him and the captain.
In order to maintain the truce, Jak cooperated with Phoenix, and eventually went to Far Drop to retrieve supplies for the necessary coming voyage in the name of repairing the eco seeker. While there he met Barter, who asked him to defend the town from dark mutants in exchange for the supplies. After it was completed, Phoenix showed his appreciation for Jak by making him an honorary pirate and official helmsman of the Phantom Blade. Other than honoring Keira, it is unknown why Jak unquestionably shifted his alliance at this point, as he was still unaware of the pirate's history with the Aeropans.
After one of the Sky Pirates' routine raids, they recovered an Aeropan Heavy Bomber. As a sign of gratitude, Phoenix gifted it to Jak. Shortly after this, Jak discovered an injection chair identical to the one with which he was experimented on from Jak II, and since it was found in an Aeropan facility, this was Jak's first clue as to the truth behind the battles. Shortly after this, while at the Aeropan barracks, Phoenix revealed everything to Jak. After hearing the Captain out, Jak vowed to fight the Aeropans alongside Phoenix and the Sky Pirates.
Immediately after this, the Phantom Blade was ambushed by the barrack's automatic defense system, and incurred significant damages, though Jak ultimately managed to save them. Later, while at Sector Zero after having acquired the third and final coordinate sphere for the eco seeker, the Blade was yet again ambushed, but this time by the Aeropan flagship, the ACS Behemoth. Jak successfully stopped the initial attack and returned to the Blade, only to deal with a siege on the upper deck after the Behemoth had grappled onto the galleon. He successfully repelled the Aeropan boarders, and defended the galleon from the battleship's turrets and gunships by heavily damaging the side of the Behemoth with lob turrets and rapid-fire turrets.
Finding the core
The pirates are now able to locate the eco core with the eco sphere fully operational, which points them back to the research rig. Phoenix recalls that it was built over strange formations, which they surmise to be the eco core. However, since the Aeropans can now detect them, they decide to leave the Phantom Blade behind so as to go in undetected. Klout promises to get the crew ready and follow in once they reach the core, but instead leads Skyheed through the path blazed by the group, in exchange for cash.
As a result of Klout giving knowledge to the Aeropans of the eco core, Far Drop, and the Phantom Blade herself, a "secret admirer" from Aeropa sends Phoenix a secret transmission that the Aeropans have laid siege to Far Drop. This prompted Jak to defend the town as well as stop the Behemoth with Keira and Phoenix's support. After this another message was transmitted to the pirates to use the barracks warp gate and infiltrate Aeropa for a retaliatory siege. Once there, Keira knocked out Aeropa's long-range sensor array in order to allow the Phantom Blade and her crew to get to Aeropa.
While at Aeropa, Ruskin reveals himself to be the aforementioned "secret admirer", as he believed Skyheed had gone too far. Skyheed thus disposed of the chancellor and proceeded to fight Jak, but ultimately fled away in his personal heavy fighter after sustaining considerable damage, which prompted Jak to chase after him.
After chasing him in circles and getting nowhere, Keira tells Jak to return to the Blade. Skyheed thus returned to the Behemoth, and the two flagships prepared for battle. After an exhaustive airfight, Keira finished modifying the Hellcat with a high-power eco laser, allowing Jak to increase his firepower. Alas Phoenix made the choice to sacrifice himself and his Phantom Blade by intercepting the dark eco stream received by the Behemoth, destroying the galleon and making the Behemoth vulnerable. Jak used the eco laser to finish the battleship off, "for Phoenix."
It is unknown if Phoenix took his remaining crew down with him, as they were previously on board and it was never illustrated that they had gone anywhere else. Nevertheless, the Sky Pirates were not featured further for the short remainder of the game, thus their fate is unknown.
The Sky Pirates consist of typical "pirate"-like individuals, many having eye patches, peg legs, parrots on their shoulders, and all talking with a stereotypical pirate accent. There are a few notable exceptions, including Phoenix, Klout, pirate radio tower operators, and Dirk Hardpeck, who talk with an accent comparable to that of the Aeropans (though Klout has an Australian drawl moreso than an English), and don't otherwise exhibit a "pirate"-like persona, other than the fact that they are initially portrayed as swashbucklers and plunderers.
To add to the pirate's stereotypical persona, they frequent Barter's tavern, a small pub in Far Drop, where they can be seen drinking and often getting into bar fights. All pirates seem to pilot Sky Raiders as their plane of choice. Some, such as the plane racers and Phoenix have their own customized raiders, though the difference is mostly in the paint job and also a notable difference in size.
Ghost pirates also existed at Sector Zero, and they also flew ghostly Sky Raiders which were capable of connecting laser beams to other Sky Raiders. Both the pirates and the planes were a glowing, translucent green color, and evidently were slimy in texture. When Jak would shoot them down, the pirates would free fall in his direction, damaging his plane on contact. Daxter would often complain about the slimy texture of the pirates, commenting that the interior was ruined because it was dry clean only.
The Sky Pirates logo consists of a skull with an eye patch and a slight smirk, with two swords crossing below. It can be found on the many flags and banners hanged around the Phantom Blade and Far Drop. This in combination with the Phantom Blade's skull figurehead (and overall classical galleon design) adds to the pirate mythos of the rebel faction.
Behind the scenes
Inside the Phantom Blade, situated in front of the staircase leading to the wheelhouse, is a sign that reads "Open Sky" in the Precursor alphabet. This in combination with the usage of the term "sky pirates", as well as the setting being on the edge of the world, is an obvious nod to The Edge Chronicles series by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.
Furthermore, there are clear parallels between the Sky Pirates and the Underground from Jak II (though there is as of yet no evidence that the similarities were purposeful references). Both are rebel factions revolting against a tyrannical government responsible for a Dark Warrior Program, and both were led by former officers from the opposing faction (the Underground's being Torn).