I like the Pirates idea. There is a GREAT deal of potential which will not be utilized till after release. Since Pirates are out to get all they can they usually have no need to murder colony ships filled with millions. Instead I would like to see a notification that we need to pay 'Paul's Buccaneers' 100 credits or they will destroy 'Colony ship 123B'. This would give us some interaction with them, allow pirates to get cash to get stronger and potentially save a Colony ship or whatever so it can continue its mission.
Let the player choose to kill off his ships or pay of those marauders! I feel we have a DLC in the making, yes this idea is in fact stolen from Distant Worlds but that mechanic was fun, if nothing else for me to have the option to tell 'Derek's Destroyers' to go to hell or some other satisfying text option!