Karnes was an explorer known for his piloting skills and heroic deeds. In 2633 he explored the M-421A system.
Tired of his life, he stopped hating the Kilrathi or loving the Confederation. In 2644 he decided to disappear without leaving any trace. He turned renegade and became a pirate. He became the leader of a band outcasts based on a location they named Tortuga. Being totally outside the law and the policies of the Confederation or the Kilrathi Empire they harassed any ship indiscriminately. Their arsenal of ships included fighters from any faction. Karnes piloted a Sabre. Trawn was his second in command.
Around that time his fame was legendary. Citizens considered him a hero who disappeared mysteriously. The holo-vid The Last Hero was based on him. Children, like Todd Marshall, considered Karnes their idol. The Confederation knew his whereabouts but did not divulge this information to the public, as the defamation of a popular hero would harm the morale among the citizens.
During a raid against a Kilrathi transport, two Confed pilots entered the vicinity and the pirates turned against them. Karnes, displaying his legendary markmanship, disabled the pilots' Scimitars with precise shots. With both Scimitars incapacitated, one pilot, Maverick, offered their surrender and they were taken to Tortuga.Karnes invited the two pilots Maverick and Maniac to dinner explaining his lifestyle and inviting them to join him. Later, upon the arrival of a Dorkir-class, Karnes visited his "guests" in the dungeon interrupting their fight, to invite them to participate to the attack, if they don't mind whether it's Terran or Kilrathi. Maniac pretended to accept, and was given an Epee, which however had a disabled weapons system.
Indeed, during the raid Maniac broke off and attempted to contact the TCS Tiger's Claw. Karnes pursued him and disabled the Epee with a direct hit. Maniac managed to get a lock on Karne's Sabre, but the weapons are disabled. Karnes was smarter than allowing a newcomer to fly a fully functional fighter. Maniac chastised his idol for his choices, while Karnes was ready to destroy him. He stopped when Trawn notified him that the Kilrathi transport was a bait. Prince Thrakhath stopped torelating the presence of border pirates and sent a massive fleet of Sartha against Tortuga.
Karnes moved away leaving Maniac stranded, and found his group annihilated. He begun a desperate move alone against a whole swarm of Sarthas. The debris of his ship was later seen floating among the remnants of the battle.