First off, I feel it important to thank both Rosemary and Jack for setting me on this train of thought. After some discussion of the issue with both of them last evening, I feel that it is an arguement worth sharing with the interent at large.
Secondly, I would like to point out right now that just because I am obviously pro-pirate, this does not mean that I am con-ninja. There is an age old debate (some may say feud) between the two groups. Who would win in a fight? I say it's all subjective. I will not say one is better than the other, because I honestly believe that they are evenly matched. Ninjas travel alone, are stealthy and excellent fighters. Pirates travel in large groups, are drunken brawlers, loud and clumsy, but they're tough and weathered from years on the open sea.
So, although a ninja could outfight your average pirate, a ninja cannot necessarily outfight your average fifteen pirates. Bruce Lee might have been able to, though.
Besides, neither group really has the moral high ground. They're both brigands and theives. So you see, they're pretty evenly matched.
So why do people think that one group is better than the other? Like I said, its all about the subjectivity of the fight. Numbers, as mentioned, play an important role. But more important even than numbers is the geography on which the fight takes place. For example, in any sort of forest ninjas have an unprecidented advantage, whereas were some ninjas to attack a pirate ship, they would be finished. The deabte as to why this is true can be left for another day: Today's discussion is on the important geography of "IN SPACE."
In my discussions, it seemed that in the forum of IN SPACE, Pirates had the advantage. I will admit that Rosemary had some convincing arguments for the ninja side and that I disagreed with her assesment of ninja superiority, because I was advocating the Pirate side. Seeing that we could not solve this dilema on our own, I asked an impartial third party for his opinion: Jack believed that Ninjas would be at a disadvantage IN SPACE.
The arguements ran something like this: Ninjas would be able to harness the energy of the universe to use it against the pirates ... something about toaism that I didn't fully understand, but it seemed to me like this energy harnessing isn't something that they couldn't have done while still on earth - I mean, it's accessible anywhere in the universe, right? So how is this an advantage in space? (This is an open question, please feel free to answer it. This debate is far from over, I'm just giving my views.) So, the ninjas it seem don't get any advantage from mystical energies.
The Ninjas furthermore would be but at a disadvantage in a zero gravity environment. Although they are renound for their speed and agility, as soon as gravity is gone, this means nothing - everybody must learn how to move in a low or no gravity environment. And, the pirates may not have as well trained bodies, but once those bodies weigh relatively next to nothing, the muscles can do things they couldn't before. Zero gravity, it seems, levels the physical playing field between the two factions. And if Science Fiction has taught us one thing, its that hardcore fights in outer space always happen when there is no gravity. I mean, Moonraker, anybody?
Of course, the title of IN SPACE also leads to more questions about subjective geogrpahical location. Is it literally in space with space suits, or between pirate and ninja spaceships, or on space stations, or on another world?
If the fight is in space suits, then I think the pirates have the advantage. The discussed negating of the ninja agility bonus in a no gravity environment would affect the ninjas' ability to fight, but the space suits would further encumber them, causing them to lose more of their agility advantage. The pirates, meanwhile, are used to being somewhat cumbersome. Furthemore, Ninjas are always at a disadvantage in open areas - as mentioned, they are sneaky, and thusly do not fight well in open areas. Lastly - if science fiction has taught us two things, they are that hardcore fights in outer space always happen when there is no gravity and that space pirates always wear harcore armour, thus protecting against ninja stars etc.
The fight between ninja and pirate spaceships would probably be the most balanced fight IN SPACE between the two factions. Pirates may have a slight advantage in that they have been using ships since forever, but the spaceship isn't exactly like your average schooner. It comes down to technology and positioning when fighting with large spaceships. This isn't a real issue when the two factions fight on earth, because ninja's don't sail.
In a fight on a space station, I must admit, I think the ninjas would have the advantage. By nature, space stations are dark, sparsly populated, full of narrow passages, nooks, cranys, and ductwork to crawl through. Thus, the environment is perfectly suited for the sneaking ninja, whereas the drunken pirate is suffering from the "dark back ally" syndrome.
As for fighting on another world - well, you can assume that the world will have earth-like environments, and determining the winner of a battle on that world would of course again depend on the geography. It would be just like fighting on earth, but with mushroom trees and weird names.
So, it seems that ninjas do not in fact gain any significant advantage when fighting pirates IN SPACE. I invite your comments on this particular debate - I am interested to see what the world has to say on this issue.