- "You're going to pull a Marg Sabl closure maneuver? Why not? It was a good idea… a decade ago."
- ―Unidentified Alliance observer.
Privateers approved by the Alliance High Command received a letter of marque and reprisal specifying the terms of the agreement that included not only the share of their profits with the Alliance, but also several forbidden activities such as slavery. The Alliance did not want to trust absolutely those independent agents, and thus, after the first stages of this experiment, they assigned an observer to ensure that the privateer would not break the said terms. The observer also served as a contact between the Alliance and the privateer, and provided commonly-unwanted advice to the privateer.
To ensure the privateers would not be unhappy with the deal, the observer never had command privileges aboard the privateer's ship. Nonetheless, the observer was usually disliked by the pirate crew, and vice versa: the Rebel privateer Dharus had four successive observers, all of whom asked for a transfer to a different job.
Observers were commonly veteran officers of the Alliance or, less frequently, bureaucrats, free agents, or supply agents. When the observer had experience in Alliance Intelligence, he or she was commonly a "23er", having survived twenty field assignments with a twenty-three percent odds, and having faced mandatory retirement.