The characters are wasps from the devastated nest of Ys’drktha. The other survivors from the cataclysm are being held and tortured in the pits of the neighbouring Ak’thaan nest, being slowly dismembered and eaten by drone wasps or fed to the writhing masses of larvae.
What about a 'criminal' society with distinct laws - for stealing, the larger the value of something stolen, the less punishment the courageous thief recieves (but must return it of course). For this pirates(?) caught petty thieves deserve to be punished harshly. If you take, you better take a lot.