[AP] PRODIGAL SON, A Rogue's Tale - Book II

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Coupaholic
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Post by Coupaholic » Thu, 26. Apr 12, 20:04

I only wish Prime Ministers Questions was that interesting.

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Scion Drakhar
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Post by Scion Drakhar » Thu, 26. Apr 12, 21:54

Thanks stads. I'm always a glutton for praise.
Tohron wrote:We should start measuring your chapters in terms of "heart attacks induced"
:twisted: I do try.
Zaitsev wrote:I haven't tried AP, however, so take that with a grain of salt.
Miyagi say, "best block, don't be there." AP is different in unexpected ways but staying out of range of the enemy seems to work just as well in both games. Personally I believe the best defense against Xenon is the Mk I Eyeball.

Triaxx that was Brilliant! If that was a toss of the dice it was all crowns. Cheers, bro.


Now, without further ado:





6. Once more into the Fray

Right, so I had Gin park the Endless at the equipment dock in Omly and after all the tech’s got done bolting on the bits n pieces that’ll help this scout ship keep me alive until I get into Eighteen Billion I had just shy of six hundred thousand credits. You know, not too long ago that would have seemed like a lot of money. Of course since then I’ve spent more’n that on a quiet dinner with friends. So I guess it’s all relative. If I can acquire another jumpdrive I can get those freighters I picked up into some safer neighborhoods makin’ some trades. Of course, I need to get to those safer neighborhoods first. It shouldn’t be too bad. I just have to cross a sector full of homicidal machines that would like nothin’ better’n to terraform my ass. Well, anyway. Here I go.

*****

Right. So I zipped across Nyana’s Hideout and Scale Plate Green without incident. Then I slipped through the south gate in SPG and a few moments and a couple thousand light years later I emerged from the gate into X347. The first thing I saw was a Xenon J going head to head with a Teladi task force centered around a Gannet, and the Teladi were winning. It didn’t last long, though. A few moments later, while the Teladi valiantly tried to bring down that J a Xenon Q jumped in nearly on top of the fight. When I first came through the gate the Gannet had been laying into that J with Flails and Hammer Heavies, but by the time that Q arrived it seemed to have run out. Which resulted in the Xenon rippin’ ‘em a new one. Not even remotely interested in bein’ desert for the psychotic hardware I kept my nose pointed well clear of any trouble ahead and ran my little Rapier wide open until I hit the event horizon of the sector’s south gate. It was too bad, really. There was maybe a few hundred thousand credits in salvage floatin’ around in the wreckage of that Teladi task force. Funny thing about money, though. You seem to need to be alive to spend it.

Yeah.

So I’m now in the lovin’ embrace of the Teladi sectors and, honestly, if the lizards manufactured jump drives and I didn’t already have a rendezvous with a certain banker planned I just might stick around a while. The Teladi have always been pretty good to me. I mean they’d rob me blind in a heartbeat and sell my bones as delicacies to the Split but, you know, I’m okay with that. I understand them. The teladi make perfect sense to me. I mean it’s not like it’s a surprise that they’re cold blooded lizards, right?

Right. But I do have a rendezvous planned. Somebody is gonna tell me what happened to my money and I figure the best person to ask is the banker that had been handlin’ the account, and since I'm unlikely to get the answers I'm lookin’ for from a letter or a phone call that means askin’ face to face. You always get better results face to face. It’s hard to ignore a man when you’re face to face with him. Especially when he’s threatening to kill you. So, that means goin’ to Argon Prime.

In the meantime I need money. I think I’m gonna make my way to Legend’s Home and see if I still have enough rep with OTAS to buy jumpdrives. If I do I’ll get my freighters runnin’ Nostrop or something while I continue to travel westward. It also seems that the Military Outpost here has some advsats that could come in handy. I think I’m also gonna get rid of the Frag-bomb launcher that had been mounted in the Pericles and ... ooh ... buy another triplex scanner for the Tenjin.

*****

Well that was fun. I do enjoy a good punch up every now and then. Especially when I’m the winner. At the Military Outpost I bought five advsats and forty navsats, a few fighter drones as a last line of defense for the Endless, and a triplex scanner for the Tenjin. I wish I had more to sell but the one frag-bomb launcher did bring in over two hundred thousand credits. After we took off again I had the Endless move to drop one of the navsats over the center of the sector. As we were gettin’ underway we received a call for help from the local sidearms fab. The money wasn’t that great but it’s better’n nothin’ and I’ve been spoilin’ for a fight anyway. It amounted to about half a dozen light fighters who were all too stupid to realize I was shootin’ at their mates and one by one I managed to finish ‘em all off while they were tryin’ to appear threatenin’ to a station wrapped up in gigajoules upon gigajoules of shieldin’. One of ‘em was even nice enough to leave me his disco vanguard. It’s beat to hell and back but I’ll do somethin’ with it. Best of all I seem to have earned back some of the rep I lost with the Teladi and am now r4, a Company Trader. Woo-hoo!

Ahem. Anyway, I decided to land on the Endless and switch back to the Rapier to plot a course to Legend's Home. So after switching ships I launched, hit boost and rocketed toward the south gate for Ianamus Zura with Gin and the Endless following as close behind as they could manage.

In Ianamus Zura I discovered that the Teladi have completely redesigned and replaced their equipment dock. I suspect that there are more than just cosmetic changes but considerin’ that there’s somewhere in the neighborhood a half a billion credits to be found and scared up I didn't want to get distracted. I was better'n three quarters of the way across the sector when Gin entered behind me. We'd worked out ahead of time that unless I saw trouble she'd just come on after me, parkin' navsats ten klicks or so above the center a the sector as she passed through. So I scoot on through the west gate into New Income and from there on into Avarice.

It was bloody strange bein' back. It was even worse lookin' to the south and not seein' the monster I’d built. There was some wreckage floatin' about but other'n that my empire was gone as if it never was. The Teladi had already claimed the sector in my absence and parked a couple of stations to let everyone know. I don't know what happened to the terrans. I guess the fleet they'd sent in was too big of a military asset to leave guarding some rocks and rubble. I didn't quite know what to make of it. It'll probably trouble me later. That's the way those things seem to work. As it happens I'm either screamin' with rage, on fire with purpose, or numb and empty inside and the moment comes and goes. It isn't ‘til later, when I'm lyin' awake in bed or starin' out a window listenin' to the ice melt in my glass, when it all comes back to haunt me. After seein’ that wreckage that used to be my complex, I think I was numb. I barely noticed Montalaar, or Aladna Hill or Akeela's Beacon. I just pointed my ship at the next gate and pretty soon I was watching the city that is the OTAS HQ fillin' my forward viewscreen. When I came to it was like wakin' up from a dream. As I did I realized somethin', I'm bloody pissed.

I mean I’m really, really angry. I don't know if I've ever known anger like this before. In the past my anger has always been hot. It’s been fury and sometimes even rage, blazing hot, burning and nearly uncontrollable. This, though, whatever this is, it’s cold. The image that keeps flashin' through my head is a piece of metal at a forge, glowin' white and red with heat ... until it's quenched. Was that what just happened? Did the Terran Military just complete my forging? And if so, what have they made of me?

Whatever. Right now I can confirm that OTAS will sell me jumpdrives. So it’s time to bring the Endless in and buy one for the Tenjin to be transferred to the Mercury SF in Black Hole Sun. I guess I’ll then put it to work ... somewhere. I’ll need to keep it out of New Income or the Pirates will destroy it. Of course the Split will shoot at it too, and likely the Paranid. So I might be better off stickin’ any traders of mine in Argon sectors and even then I’ll likely have to be careful. Maybe I can make a profit in Akeela's Beac ...

What the hell is that? Huh. Well I’ll be. I’ve been sittin’ here flappin’ my gums and this whole time a ship I’ve never seen before has been starin’ me in the face. Betty’s callin’ it a Phantom which I kinda like fer personal reasons. Not bad. Not bad at all. It’s a definite improvement on the Express. A good lookin’ ship, too. I might just be in the market for one of those pretty soon. I wonder if I can convince Gunny to train some new psychopaths for me.

All right, anyway. Lets see if I can make some money ...

*****

A fella here was lookin’ for “an Argon M5.” Heh heh heh. I just happened to have an Argon M5. It only had three percent of it’s hull left, and plenty of melty lookin’ scorch marks from my HEPT’s, and no equipment whatsoever but he wasn’t exactly specific was he? Heh heh. So I sold that Disco Vanguard for a little over 55k. Not bad for a free ship that was practically scrap metal, eh? I also bought a jumpdrive to store on the Tenjin. Now it’s time to hop back to Black Hole Sun for that freighter. Err ... or rather it’s time to buy some e-cells so we can jump back to Black Hole Sun for that freighter. Bloody hell.

*****

Jeez! It took nearly two hours to buy and transfer a thousand e-cells to the Endless. The Tenjin had the largest hold and it was only able to carry two hundred cells per trip. The Mamba, seventy, and the Rapier ... not even worth the trip. But we’re done and now it’s off to BHS to collect one seriously beat to hell extra large Mercury super freighter. Damn thing better make me some money.

*****

Ok, the Freighter is now in Akeela's Beacon. It has a single 25mj shield and the leftover PAC from that Pericles, although it doesn’t have any combat software so it can’t shoot the thing. It has forty two percent of it’s hull and a top speed of 21m/s. I have less than two hundred thousand credits to my name and for the short term plan on parkin’ the Endless in Akeela's Beacon while I use the Tenjin to keep the freighter safe while it shuttles e-cells around. Oi. What have I been reduced to?

*****

Oh yeah. The instant I can afford it I need to fix that bloody freighter and upgrade it’s engines. In the time it took that Mercury to get from the gate to the Akeela's Beacon SPP delta I dropped six satellites, completed two defend station missions and one Xenon patrol. I did manage to acquire another scout ship, although I doubt I’ll find anyone lookin’ to buy a Fujin so it’s likely just scrap at a shipyard. I had the Mercury pick up 9700 e-cells but by the time it gets them anywhere the demand is likely to be gone. Oi. What a headache. At least it’s a relatively well defended sector. Lots of Argon military and OTAS ships to weed out some of the potential threats to my investment. I don’t like leavin’ that Mercury alone when so much of my existin’ funds are wrapped up in it but there’s nothin’ left to do in this sector besides watch that Mercury, and honestly that’s kind of painful. I think I’m gonna snatch the jumpdrive off it and move on.

*****

Right, so I moved back into Aladna Hill with Gin followin’. I think she’s gettin’ real tired of flyin’ the Endless. I mean I’m just guessin’. I don’t claim to understand women at all. But she did refer to the ship as a ‘two kilometer long brick with the maneuverability of a powered down derelict’ once or twice. Well, if Legion ever wakes up ... oi ... I don’t want to think about that. Right now that ship needs a pilot and she’s what I’ve got. I mean it’s got nothin’ to do with me not wantin’ to fly the two kilometer brick either. Really. It doesn’t. Well, not much anyway ... Bloody hell. Okay, maybe it does. To be honest, as aggravatin’ as this sitch is, it’s kind of nice sittin’ in the cockpit of a fighter again. My brain even seems to have adapted to my seein’ outta only one eye cuz I’m not bad. Maybe not as good as some a my guys ... were. Frak. Bloody frakkin’ hell I didn’t mean to go there. It’s been sneakin’ up on my the last few hours. Everythin’ that happened. Everyone that’s missin’ or dead.

Anyway, the truth is I don’t really want to be in charge of all those people on the Endless. If I’m gonna be honest, they kinda creep me out. They all seem to want somethin’ from me. I pass ‘em in the corridors and I can feel ‘em watchin’ me, eyes burnin’ holes in the back of my head ... or even worse crowdin’ around and tryin’ to get me to answer questions I don’t have the first clue about, or just touch me like I’m some kinda saint or somethin’. Worse still are the ones that think I’m to blame for everythin’ that happened in Avarice. Actually that‘s not true. I definitely prefer somebody screamin’ and shakin’ their fist at me to somebody starin’ at me like I’m some kind of savior gonna lead ’em to a promised land or some such drivel. I swear some of these folks are just odd. Glazed expressions, half vacant stares, watchin’ me like I’m gonna turn water into wine or revive the dead or somethin‘. I’m thinkin’ about havin’ ‘I’m just a bloody pirate’ stitched across my back. Or maybe tattooed on my forehead.

Anyhoo, earlier I’d had Gin drop an advsat back in Aladna Hill and once I was back in the sector I scanned the sector map lookin’ for anythin’ interestin’. The first thing I noticed was an unmanned Scout just south of the west gate. Not one to pass up free stuff I puttered on over to claim it. After I’d sent it on it’s way to the Endless I was contacted by an Argon Federation officer who was lookin’ for someone to hunt down and kill an escaped fugitive, and he was offerin’ a sizeable chunk of cash for whoever got it done. I accepted the mission and got lucky. The mark was in Akeela's Beacon. So I beamed some e-cells out of the Endless’ hold and jumped to the south gate in Akeelah’s. My target was near the west gate, though, so I spent another few cells short jumpin’ over. It wasn’t difficult. A couple of passes, a couple of bursts from the HEPT’s, a small explosion as the Raijin lost containment and I had 275 thousand credits more clink in my pocket. Which was very welcome. A few more like that and I can fix up that Mercury, install a couple more shields from OTAS ... which I probably sold to them in the first place ... and maybe I’ll even feel comfortable leavin’ the freighter alone.

Right then.

*****

Phew. I took on a patrol after that. Apparently somebody detected a buildup of Xenon and wanted additional security in between Aladna Hill and Light of Heart. The money didn’t look that bad, and since I’m pushin’ right up against bein’ broke right now, I decided to take it. In the end I destroyed fourteen ships for less than a seventy k payout. Twenty times the work as the assassination for a quarter the pay. Although I did make a point of scoopin’ up any missiles these Xenon dropped and I managed to claim a Buster that an Argon Pilot bailed from, and right after moppin’ up a small wing of N’s I happened to be lookin’ right at a fella sellin’ a disco for only 5600 cred. I decided to take him up on it. So I’ll be on the lookout for somebody wantin’ to pay me ten times as much to take it off my hands as I make my way west. So all a that should mitigate that pathetic paycheck some.

Durin’ the fightin’ my super freighter also reached the flail barrage missile factory but since I’m sat in the Tenjin and currently without a trade extension I’ll have to wait until I’m back aboard the Endless to complete the transaction. Although considerin’ how slow that bloody freighter is I have to wonder if that factory still needs the energy anymore. If not I’ll have to wait another few hours for that Mercury to reach the next one. Huh, what’s this?

*****

Well that was nice. A jumpdrive sure makes short work of those executions. A quick jump down to Avarice and some rather brutal destruction of a Buster Sentinel and I’m another 174k richer. I like assassinations. Quick, straightforward and well paid, and all that’s required an indifference to takin’ the life of another sentient being. Eh, what’s one more, right?

Anyhoo, I’m now in Montalaar and workin’ my way back up north to meet up with the Endless. I’m more than a little tempted to jump over to Ianamus Zura and buy some trade software for this Tenjin, though, seein’ as I’m spendin’ so much time in it. You know I think that just might be a go.

Alright.

*****

Okay, I installed Best buys/sell, a trading extension and some nav software in the Tenjin. Then I checked on the Mercury. I was right. Somebody’d come along and topped that factory off with e-cells. The MD forge on the other side of the sector is offerin’ 18 cred/cell but it’s over sixty klicks away and that bloody freighter is slower’n snot runnin’ down a wall. So, since I have some pocket change available now I sent it over to the Tradin’ Station for engine tunin’. I expect I’ll be gettin’ a message in a few hours tellin’ me it made it. Oh well. it was a free ship. I can’t complain. Well, I can. I just prolly shouldn’t.

I also overlooked the fact that the Tenjin was light on cells when I made the jump to Ianamus Zura and if I remember right the nearest power plants are down in Ceo’s Doubt, which I no longer have as a plot-able destination. So I’m makin’ my way under impulse power to buy enough e-cells to make the jump to Aladna Hill, where Gin is supposed to wait for me.

*****

I was halfway through New Income when I got a call on the comm. This bloody Teladi was terrified and beggin’ me to help her prevent some pirates from blowin’ up her Flower Farm.

“Oh, all right.”

It wasn’t hard, just aggravatin’. Half a dozen light fighters whippin’ around at three to four hundred meters per second makes for something of a headache. I didn’t have any light fighter killers on hand. I’d used all my wasps and the one disruptor and hurricane I’d picked up somewhere huntin’ down those Xenon. So I did a lot of tryin’ to anticipate where they’d be so I could intercept ’em. It’s not difficult, just time consumin’. The worst part was none of ’em were polite enough to bail or leave any valuable missiles behind either so there was nothin’ to supplement the pittance that Teladi was payin’ me to rescue her station. On the bright side the Teladi have promoted me again. I’m now r5, a shareholder, which should be reflected in the profit margins of future transactions. I also seem to have been gettin’ stealth promoted through the rep ranks of the Argon, who now consider me a Trusted Ally. I honestly don’t know to feel about that. For some reason I keep feelin’ like I should be checkin’ my wallet ...

Strange, that. I trust the lizards more'n I do my own kind. They're at least straightforward with me about wantin' to pick my bones clean.

Anyway. I’m still on my way to collect some e-cells.

*****

Well, all right. I docked at the SPPXL beta in Ceo’s Doubt and discovered I had 27 crystals in my hold that the power plant was willin’ to pay max price for. I dunno where they came from but I don’t mind sellin’ ‘em. After that I topped up on e-cells and just as I was about to undock my mercury let me know it had reached the Tradin’ Station in Akeela’s Beacon. So I had it’s engine tunin’ maxed out, givin’ it a top speed a exactly double what’d been before. Yeah. That’d be 42.2m/s. Oi. Now it’s on it’s way south into Legends Home to see about gettin’ some a those dents hammered out. In the end it’ll never be fast. In tip top shape it barely does over 70m/s. On the other hand it has a truly staggerin’ cargo capacity. Even without any tweakin’ of its cargo compression the thing will carry just shy of ten thousand units. So the trick with it is to deal in quantity.

Right. I guess I better jump up to Aladna Hill and meet Gin before she starts executin’ people. I really need to find another pilot for the Endless and get her back in a cockpit. An angry woman is never a good thing. An angry woman literally capable of tearin’ you limb from limb is just, well ... bad. Yes, very bad. Alright, so, onward and upward.

*****

I got another call about increased Xenon activity in the area and a request to patrol Aladna Hill. At least I’m gettin’ paid to shoot ‘em. It’s always better that way. I have to say, though, that huntin’ N’s with HEPT’s is aggravatin’. The Phased Repeater Gun Forge here has five guns to sell and havin’ used 'em in the past I’m thinkin’ about buyin’ a couple. At a hundred and sixty grand a pop it’s a lot of money, but it might be worth it.

*****

I decided to do it. I bought three since the Tenjin mounts an extra gun directly on top of the cockpit. I figure I’ll keep the HEPT’s for heavier targets, since they hit harder, and use the PRG’s for the fast movers.

Alrighty, then. The Endless is over in Akeela’s Beacon. The Mercury is headin’ down to Legend’s Home. Everybody seems safe so it’s time to plot a course through the pirate alley and on over to Argon space. The question is do I want to run or fight?

Or do I want to pad my pocket with a little judicious piracy?

Hmmm.

With this Tenjin I have the ability to vaporize freighters if need be so intimidatin’ cargo outta the holds a the unsuspectin’ freight traffic shouldn’t be an issue. Thanks to that Rapier I have both a freight scanner and a transporter so I can both scan potential marks and beam my ill gotten swag into the hold of ... I guess the Mercury. I’m sure not gonna use the Endless in pirate sectors. Not with over twenty five hundred people on board.

Okay, first things first. I need to get that Merc fitted with a jumpdrive so I can get it into and outta sector when I need to. I’ll also have to get the hold empty for incomin’ goods, which means sellin’ most of the e-cells in it’s hold. I’m also gonna need some software so it has the brains to ...

*****

Okay, well the Mercury was ... IS ... still on it’s way to the shipyard in Legend’s Home. I decided to take another mission to occupy my time. It was an interestin’ mission. Heh heh.

It was another assassination and I almost didn’t take it cuz the money was shite. Barely over forty k to kill a man. But Endy Kellar, the Argon offerin’ the mish, says to me, “I think you’ll like this one, Drake.” You know, like she knows me or somethin’.

“Oh yeah?” says I.

“Yes I think so.”

“Why’s that?”

“I guess you’ll just have to take it and see.”

“Uh huh,” I growled at her. “Your transparent, hon, but consider me curious. I’ll do it.”

I’m glad I did. You see the money was shit, but the mark was Terran. It was a whole wing of Terran Rapiers. Now I was only bein’ paid for the lead, a guy named Terral Yatar, but I made sure every last one of those Rapiers was ash before I was done, and with these new PRG’s bolted onto my bird it was a pretty good fight. Even so seven of those frakkers managed to put a beatin’ on my shields. They didn’t get through, but I was down to into the yellow before it was all over. Anyway, I’m feelin’ a little better about life even if I am still waitin’ on that damn merc.

*****

Another quick execution. This time a Teladi near the south gate of Akeela’s Beacon. Again for a pittance, not even forty k. Oh, well, sooner or later I’ll get paid what I’m worth ... and if not I’ll just steal it. You know, when that bloody freighter actually gets where it’s goin’. Damn thing still hasn’t reached the south gate of Akeela’s Beacon. It’s right in front of me, crawlin’ along like a slug on a rock. Bloody hell. Well I’m not gonna sit here and watch it.

*****

I always thought of Legends Home as a dead end, you know, like the outer space version of a cul de sac or something. Only it’s not. Not anymore, anyway. Where the hell did THAT come from? This bears further investigation.

*****

Trippy. Kind of reminds me of Split Fire. That planet certainly doesn’t look very hospitable. Of course tucked in behind Legends Home it sure seems like it’d be a nice, safe sector. I wonder if those asteroids could support a complex?

*****

Well it’s not the mineral jackpot of the galaxy or anything but it could support a small complex. Worth rememberin’ for the location if nothin’ else. At this point I’ve managed to really win some points with the Argon. They’re callin’ me a Federation Guardian. Which is good. In addition to some trade perks that opens up the option for hirin’ military personnel like pilots and crewman* for capital ships. Something I’m gonna need if I ever want the Endless to be able to use her guns.

In the meantime it looks like I’m as ready as I’m gonna get for ransackin’ the trade lanes. After all those missions and sellin’ the Mercury’s hold full of energy sells and all the missiles and junk that I don’t want, I was able to buy another 25mj shield, a jumpdrive and some software for the Merc, as well as repair it’s hull to 91% of maximum. Of course, now I’m dead broke. But that’s okay. You know why?

Because I’m armed.

Okay, I think it’s naptime.


*CODEA


P.S. I've been working on this post all day and haven't done as much proofreading as I could, so if I missed any typos or walls of italics or a URL string please let me know. Thanks.
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Post by Gosnell » Fri, 27. Apr 12, 03:44

A good read,Thanks

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Post by Triaxx2 » Fri, 27. Apr 12, 05:48

It was a bit of a knock together, but it turned out fantastic. Sometimes I manage that.

Great chapter. Just remember that you don't have to venture into pirate space to do piracy. Argon despise Paranid so they're fair game in Aladna Hill.
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Olterin
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Post by Olterin » Fri, 27. Apr 12, 05:51

Excellent timing, and a great read :D

...You may or may not hear from Malcolm and Tasha during the next two weeks - however, rest assured that they're out there, doing something ;)
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Post by Scion Drakhar » Sat, 28. Apr 12, 05:38

Thanks chaps.

Alrighty then.


7. Catch of the Day

So I woke up from a dream of hot desert winds on my face. They moved across the land like the breath of a God. Sand dunes shimmered where the waves in the earth crested and I could hear all those tiny bits of stone in motion, like an endless sigh. In the distance three pyramids pointed at the stars, and there was something familiar about the constellations above them. A new moon rose over the horizon, like a drawn bow with a brilliant star marking where the point of the arrow would be. I heard the wind sigh across the land, and within it I heard a voice. Mahees ... it whispered, Mahees ...

When I opened my eyes there was this taste in my mouth and for a few moments I didn’t know where I was. Even worse I didn’t feel like I was alone. I told the ship to turn on the lights and looked around, but I couldn’t shake the feelin’, like there were unfriendly eyes watchin’ me. I took a quick shower and brushed my teeth, but I was never able to rid myself of that taste. Even now it’s there, the bright, coppery tang of blood in my mouth.

A little while later I found myself a cup of coffee. Well, sort of. It’s some kind of freeze dried crap that melts into a cup of hot water and tastes like chewin’ on an old boot. After that I made my way down the hall to the bridge to check in with Gin. I didn’t really want to. I knew she was mad at me and I knew what I was gonna hear before she said anything to me.

“You belong here, Drake.”

“Yeah?”

“There are twenty five hundred people on this ship that need you to hear them. Kao has been organizing a security detail. The medical teams have been making sure everyone is healthy but we still need more food ...”

“Sounds like you’ve got everythin’ under control,” I said and started headin’ for the hallway. “I’m gonna head down to the ...”

“Drake!” she shouted at me. It was fierce enough to freeze me to the floor. I took a sip of the freeze dried crap in my cup and looked back over my shoulder. “Only a thousand people on this ship have occupations,” she told me. “The others have nothing to do and they are getting restless.”

“Well that’s great!” I said sarcastically. “We need gunners and technicians, scientists, navigators, machinists, mechanics, engineers, pilots ...” Her expression was grim. “What do you expect me to do, Gin? I’m just a bloody pirate! My skill set revolves around stealin’ ships and killin’ people! Not babysittin’ a couple thousand people who refuse to leave my ship.”

“Yes but you are all they have, Drake. Most of these people are single mothers or retirees and I don’t have the manpower ...”

“What about Odin?” I interrupted her. I was frustrated and I opened my mouth without thinkin’.

“What about Odin?” She snapped. Then her expression changed and I immediately clenched my teeth, wishing I’d kept them together in the first place, but it was too late. “Huh,” she said and I think I grumbled somethin’ about my bloody runaway mouth. “You know that could work. If you have him pilot this bucket that would free me up to ...”

“Gin, the Tenjin is the only combat ready fighter we’ve got and ...”

“I know. I know,” she snapped at me. “I’m not getting you out of it. But with just a little investment you could have the Mamba combat worthy, and Drake with the jobs you’ve been taking you could use a wingman.”

I nodded. “Fine, you can talk to Odin then.”

She immediately scowled at me.

“Okay. Okay. Then at least tell him I want to talk to him.”

She continued to glare.

“Please?”

She muttered somethin’ under her breath and stalked away. I watched her bend over a series of rapidly changin’ readouts on a peripheral monitor. I could see her lips movin’ but couldn’t hear what she was sayin’. I don’t think it was flatterin’, though. I sighed and walked away. Somewhere between the bridge and the hangar deck I found a garbage receptacle for the ’coffee’.

When I got to the hangar deck I started preppin’ the Tenjin and as I was goin’ through the pre-flight I decided to look over the Rapier as well. Both ships are pretty beat up. Fresh Teladianium welds cover the length of both hulls where I’d repaired breeches. I mean hell, I practically brought the Rapier back from the dead. The wirin’ harnesses in both ships are riddled with splices and bypasses and more than one short to ground that taxes the power supply systems with small drains. There are these strange hiccups in the Rapier’s nav system and the Tenjin’s targetin’ computer keeps tryin’ to start diagnostics even right after I finish runnin’ ‘em myself, indicatin’ anomalies the programmin’ can’t account for. Both ships need the attentions of competent technicians, which I don’t have, and possibly complete shipyard overhauls, which I can’t afford.

“Bloody hell,” I cursed. Then I went back to work reinforcin’ welds and bypassin’ shorts and otherwise gettin’ the Tenjin ready to fly and fight in outer space.

*****

It was nearly two hours before I decided to stop reinforcin’ the teladianium welds on the Tenjin’s hull. It wasn’t that I’d finished. In fact it was the opposite. I realized that I could continue workin’ on this bloody ship for days without accomplishin’ much more than acquirin’ some fresh burns. So I put up the tools and put on a flight suit.

A little while later I launched in the Tenjin. I left the Endless in Legends Home and made my way toward Hatikvah’s Faith. I had a couple of satellites and enough jump fuel to get out of a hot situation or two. I also planned on callin’ the Merc in once I started actually convincin’ traders to surrender their valuables and the Merc has even more fuel. Still, I don’t want to use it if I didn’t have to. Waste not and all that.

It’s odd, though, sittin’ here. I can feel somethin’ that’s been quiet for a while wakin’ up again. I’ve been drinkin’ ambrosia and eatin’ shaved beef and Taurian truffles. I’ve been smokin’ ten thousand credit cigars and makin‘ decisions involvin‘ half a billion credits. Now I need the money and I can’t find jobs that’ll pay what I need ‘em to. I’ve got a couple thousand people dependin’ on me and what I need to keep everybody safe and warm and fed is money, and I need it now. So it’s time to hunt again.

Thing is I’m not sat in an advanced hybrid corvette anymore. I don’t have an armada at my beck and call anymore. I’m not wrapped up in a gigajoule of shieldin’ with enough firepower to crack open a small moon. I’ve got a single beat up fighter and a whole lot of responsibility. I hope it’s enough.

*****

I cruised through Aladna Hill into Hatikvah’s Faith and once through the gate I angled up, above all the asteroids in the center of the sector to drop one of the three advsats I brought with me. As I was climbin’ I noticed that the Anarchy Port seems to be under new management, and they don’t like me much. Well, that’s alright. I probably wouldn’t like me either if I was them. Oddly enough, though, the Guild is still flaggin’ neutral. That might just warrant investigation ... some other time.

Right now there are freighters in the traffic below me. Food transporters and high tech traders, bio-transporters, weapon dealers. Split, Paranid, Argon, Boron, and Teladi. I need to find an easy mark carryin’ valuables and I need to take those valuables away from them. It can’t be anythin’ too heavily armed. A TM full of heavy fighters is off the menu. Anythin’ carryin’ more than half a dozen fighter drones is likely off the menu. Corporation freighters with escorts are probably off the menu; those bloody Jonferco escort Novas use plasma burst generators for one thing, and I have no interest in bein’ roasted today.

All right, one satellite away. Let’s look at the sector map.

There. Yeah that looks promising. A Boron weapons dealer. Let’s use the long range camera and see what we see ... Oh yeah. You gotta love the squids. You really do. I mean pacifist arms dealers?! What a concept! Weapon transporters in unarmed ships. Without escorts no less! I mean shit! That’s like free food.

Right. Let’s see what the sushi is haulin’ ...

*****

I opened the throttle and cruised up close to scan Squiddy’s hold. Mossies mostly but there was a couple Ion-d’s in there too and I decided I wanted ‘em. I used the HEPT’s to say ‘Hi.’ They obliterated that Dolphin’s shieldin’ and I switched to a single PRG to make scary noises against his hull. I just want his stuff, not his life. I put a few scorch marks on his ship and give him a call.

“Gimme,” says I.

He opened the back of his ship and everything in his hold came tumblin’ out into space. I let him go and called in the Merc cause I can’t hold much at all. 37 mossies and a pair of Ion disruptors, which I expect to come in handy somewhere down the road. It’s not a bad beginning but it is just a beginning. So let’s see what else I can get, shall I?

I skim the trade lanes and watch the sector map. I watch any hostile contacts closely and do my best to keep the freighter well away from those that get close. I have a close call with a pirate elite and a pair of harriers. It’s the elite that scares me. It’s weildin’ four PAC’s and one pass is enough to make a significant impact on the Merc’s shieldin'. So I go after it hard by throwin’ three silkworm missiles at it. It doesn’t survive the experience. After I destroy the elite the harriers can’t do enough damage by themselves to be much of a threat and I relax some. Then I wait for them to make mistakes and destroy them when they do.

A little while later a Boron high tech trader in an almost unarmed Mako passes me in the trade lane. A surreptitious scan shows me a hold full of microchips. Which are worth about 13k per unit. After makin’ sure he’s alone and that there’s nobody nearby who will take offense to me intimidatin’ him I fall in behind him and quickly strip his shield with the repeaters. As soon as his shield’s gone I deactivate two of the three guns so I can moderate how much damage I’m doin’. I don’t want him blowin’ up before he gives me those chips, now do I?

So, after a quick lesson in how vulnerable his ship is to my displeasure I give him a call. “Gimme,” says I. He does and I fall back to let him go but this dumb fishstick decides he’s not happy with his end of the deal and makes a play for my life. I guess I can’t blame him. I might have done the same, in his shoes. But he’s got substantially less ship than me, with only 10mj of shields and some IRE’s to make his point. I switch to high energy plasma and shut him up permanent.

As I’m scoopin’ up the chips and beamin’ ’em into the Merc’s hold I see a scuffle between some Pirates and the Split military. Knowin’ both parties will shoot at me as readily as each other if they get a chance I just hang back to watch and wait. I make sure nobody gets too curious about me or the Merc and after a while the Pirates are ash. A little while later the Split move on. leavin’ some goodies for me to pick up. It’s just a few missiles but I collect ’em. Every little bit helps.

After I scavenged the treasures out of the trash I decided to visit Nopileos’ Memorial again. At one time it was my favorite huntin’ ground. Bein’ that it’s just one long lane of traffic movin’ east and west it’s easy to monitor and easy to raid. So I entered the sector via the east gate with the Merc right behind me. I head about ten klicks above the trade lane and about fifteen klicks in from the gate and then had the Merc drop a satellite. I decide to leave the Merc by the satellite and head west. The idea was to drop another satellite and watch the entire sector for easy money. I’m about ten, maybe fifteen klicks from the Merc when I spot trouble.

I immediately sent the Merc back to the Military Outpost in Aladna Hill. But as bright as that decision was I followed it up with one a good deal more dim. I decided I to see if I could get close enough to drop the other satellite without those Pirates comin’ after me. As it turns out I couldn‘t.

Yeah. Nobody to blame but me for that. Well, I suppose I could have gotten mad at the pirates but they were in buzzards and busters and outnumbered me five to one. It wasn’t a fight I liked the look of. So I decided to change the rules.. Despite me pickin’ on their freighters the Boron still weren’t goin’ weapons hot for me. On the other hand I was pretty sure those pirates wouldn’t be able to say the same. And considerin’ the size of that taskforce maybe the numbers weren’t quite as stacked in the pirates favor as it looked at first glance.

So I swung about and led those pirates across the sector. Those Busters might have been able to catch me but I knew those Buzzards couldn’t. Teladi always think in terms of cargo and usually pay for it with their engines. Now I could have outrun ‘em but I didn’t really want to leave the sector. I think down deep I still think of it as mine. So I led ‘em on until I ducked under that Thresher and then waited to see if the pirates were stupid enough to get within range of that frigate’s guns. They were.

Heh heh heh.

It wasn’t done, either. There were a lot of bloody Pirates passin’ through the sector and they weren’t too particular about pickin’ the cargo out of the wreckage of the ships they smashed. In addition those Boron seemed more than willin‘ to smash the pirates, and the more all of that went on the more goodies I saw floatin‘ in the trade lane just waitin‘ for somebody to come along and snag. So I stayed well back and watched. I figured eventually there would be a lull in the density of hostile ships and I’d swing on over to claim the goodies. I got really excited when a Galleon showed up. I couldn’t help but hope for a show when that Galleon and that Thresher started driftin’ toward each other.

It wasn’t to be, though. Even worse, I got so distracted waitin’ for a show that these two bloody pirates snuck up and ambushed me. One was in a Nova. The other in a Kea. It wouldn’t have been so bad, as I could have outrun either of ‘em with minimal effort, but they were both weildin’ plasma burst generators. I bloody hate plasma burst generators. Those bloody flamethrowers are just downright scary. You can’t dodge ‘em. And for some reason they burn through both shields and hulls in frakkin‘ heartbeats. I managed to get behind the Nova and unloaded all of my remainin’ dragonfly missiles at him, which did a pretty good number on him. But before I could finish him off that Kea was roastin’ me again, and this time the sunnuva bitch got through my shields. So I fired all my wasps at the Kea to distract it and took off at a dead run for the west gate, which was by that point only about fifteen klicks away.

Just as I was enterin’ the gate a Boron Shark burst out of the event horizon in front of me. When I emerged on the other side in Danna’s Chance I saw another pair of Boron Threshers, one of which was enterin’ the gate I just popped out of. Pretty sure the fun in Nopileos’ Memorial wasn’t done, not wantin’ to miss it, and not bein’ ready to surrender all the swag that had been deposited in the trade lane I decided to jump to the south gate back in Nopileos to watch. I’m glad I did.

By the time I got back into the sector an Argon task force centered around a Heavy Centaur but complete with several Gladiator bombers was workin’ that Pirate carrier over. Once again I found myself very impressed with the ability of a pair of bombers to adjust the odds in a fight with a capital ship. Of course, I do suspect that some of that collateral damage was Argon. Oops. Either way, that Shark was still lumberin’ its way around the asteroids when those Argon finished off that Galleon.

I called the Merc in and was just about to start cleanin’ up the trade lane when I saw that pair of Pirates what jumped me. Starin’ at ‘em I realized that I wasn’t okay with the way we’d left things. It had left a bad taste in my mouth. It felt like I stared at ’em for a long time but I think it was actually just a moment, a few heartbeats or so, in between me seein’ ‘em makin’ way for that gate to Danna’s Chance and me decidin’ to follow ‘em.

I made a quick fly by of the merc and sorted myself with some of the missiles I’d acquired. It was still two to one after all, and they had those bloody flamethrowers. Before takin’ off after ‘em I made sure the sector was safe for me to leave the Mercury alone for a little while and then gave it instructions to pick up everything it could find. Bein’ as slow as it is I figured my fight with those two Pirates would be over, one way or another, before it reached the nearest crate.

I wasn’t able to catch up with them in Nopileos but they were only about ten klicks away when I reached Danna’s Chance. The first thing I did was target that Nova and unload all eight of the wasps missiles I had on me. The wasps themselves wouldn’t do much more than tickle that Nova but their job wasn’t to kill but to distract. The three tempests I sent after the wasps, they were the killers. While the missiles went after the Nova I rushed in and hit that Kea with everything I had. The missiles killed the Nova and that Pirate went down screamin’. I managed to stay behind that Kea, and away from the PBG’s for most of the fight but even so even a short burst from those bloody flamethrowers was enough to do a number on my shields. I really do hate PBG’s. Well, in somebody else’s hands anyway. Either way, though, they’re dead and I’m not and nobody’s gonna be tellin’ any stories about sendin’ ME off with my tail between my legs.

I WILL make these frakkers respect me.

Alright, I suppose I should go help that Mercury pick up all my stuff.

*****

After the merc and I picked the trade lane clean there was a pretty good lull in traffic and excitement. For the time bein’ at least, the sector was quiet. On the other hand the two Ore mines were both broadcastin’ help wanted beacons over the comms. So I took a couple jobs and sent the Merc back to the Military Outpost in Aladna Hill. There was a Split that wanted some asteroid scans and a Paranid what wanted a Teladi made dead. I took ’em both. The execution was down in Third Redemption. I was a little iffy on that one bein’ that it was in Paranid space. I’m rather sure that in Paranid core sectors I’m considered a persona non grata and probably even ‘shoot on sight’ but folks tend to be more lenient in the border sectors, and seein as how Third Redemption and Clarity’s End, which I’ll have to pass through on my way, are both border sectors I decided to risk it.

Since I had a pretty decent time limit on the execution and the scans the Boron wanted were in Nopileos’ Memorial and Hatikvah’s Faith I didn’t use my jump drive until I was short jumpin’ across Clarity’s. I didn’t go far out of my way but if there was an asteroid near my path I scanned it. Once I hit Clarity’s I targeted the far gate and short jumped across the sector, turnin’ around immediately upon re-entry. In Third Redemption I spotted my target near the north gate to Gunne’s Crusade flyin’ a Buster. I completed the job with a single thunderbolt and then hopped back up to Hatikvah’s to finish my scans. Neither job paid well in terms of coin but the return in terms of Reputation was incredible. There were also another pair of jobs when I got back, this time a pair of executions and both for the Paranid. They were in opposite directions but by this point I had both jump fuel and missiles so neither were a problem. Again neither paid very well in coin, but the reputation was staggerin’! I have to believe the Split were just lookin’ for an excuse to forgive me but the Paranid! After just three executions they’re callin’ me a Friend of the Priest King?! I don’t quite know what to make of that. At the very least it means I can hit a few of their freighters without their military gettin’ instantly hostile. Heh heh.

Frakkin’ Paranid. Arrogant, condescendin’, holier than thou, three eyed wind bags!

Ahem. Right, so anyway with those executions out of the way I’m back in Hatikvah’s Faith. I’ve been as far east as Freedom’s Reach for one of those executions and as far south as Third Redemption. In fact I’m most of the way back to Argon Prime. If I return to the Endless I can switch ships and make a quick dash up to Elena’s Fortune and that’s Argon territory. From there I’m home free. So I think I’m gonna have the Endless jump ahead of me and then make my way back through the pirate sectors over to Freedom’s Reach, keepin’ an eye out for any more targets of opportunity. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get a Boron to bail and bring home dinner. I do wish I knew some of Ea’t’s recipe’s ...

*****

Ask and you shall receive! Almost as soon as I was done recordin’ that last log I noticed this Boron Military Transporter in a bloody dolphin. I zipped in and scan him, and immediately see all those pretty little IRE’s. They’re not worth a whole lot of money but still worth sellin’, you know? In addition the squid has some advanced satellites that are always handy. So I decide to see if I can persuade Mr. fish to part with his goodies. I mean it’s not like he’s gonna shoot back or anythin’. Although I suppose those thirteen fighter drones coulda offered up a world of hurt ... Either way, I think flyin’ through pirate space in a dolphin was a bit more’n Squiddy’s nerves could manage. The instant I tapped on his shoulder I scared that squid clean outta his ship. Ha ha ha! So the fish is now on ice in the hold below and his ship is on the way to the tradin’ station in Aladna Hill. I didn’t get the IRE’s but that ship wasn’t completely empty, and if nothin’ else, I did catch dinner.

AAAH hah ha ha!
Last edited by Scion Drakhar on Sat, 1. Jul 17, 19:04, edited 2 times in total.
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Triaxx2
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Post by Triaxx2 » Sat, 28. Apr 12, 15:30

Split say: When in doubt, Sautee.

Great chapter.
A Pirate's Revenge Completed Now in PDF by _Zap_
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The Tale of Ea't s'Quid Completed

Dovie'andi se tovya sagain

Gosnell
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Post by Gosnell » Sat, 28. Apr 12, 16:17

Lucky escape,Damn PBGs.Thats some nice loot you got

angelofshadows
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Post by angelofshadows » Sun, 29. Apr 12, 04:27

agreed. one wonders whether recruits will be accepted into the revival of the phantom menace :roll:
There are 2 types of people in the world. Those that pee in the shower and those dirty f****ng liars.

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Scion Drakhar
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Post by Scion Drakhar » Sun, 29. Apr 12, 04:33

Thank you thank you.
angelofshadows wrote:agreed. one wonders whether recruits will be accepted into the revival of the phantom menace :roll:
Submissions are welcome. Just please remember that it's still early and the going is slow.

Ok without further ado:



8. Murder for Money

Right, well, I didn’t go straight home. Like I said I wanted to seek out a few more targets of opportunity. I was still on my way to the west gate in Hatikvah’s when I came across this guy. Now this was a Helios, a fighter bus. That cargo was very temptin’. Those Ion D’s alone are worth some effort to me and this frakker had a lot more than just the Ion Disruptors. But there were four fighters on that Helios. They were just a pair of Pegasi and a pair of Pericles but even so all together they could be dangerous, especially if the Helios chucked those MK II‘s into the mix as well. That cargo, though ...

What decided it was the absence of decent shieldin’ on that Helios. It was carryin’ a pair of 1gig shields but TM class transports can’t use anythin’ heavier than the 200 meg units. Which meant, one, they were cargo and thus steal-able, and two, he was only defended by a single 25mj shield ... and those fighters. But all of a sudden those fighters weren’t lookin’ like much of an obstacle. So I surrendered to greed and strafed him with phased plasma from the repeaters.

The first Pegasus went down as fast as I could shift my aim from the Helios. The second I threw a wasp at. The first Pericles tried playin’ chicken with me and the pilot bailed from a ship with forty five percent of its hull left. The last one I chased down, riddling it with holes from the repeaters. My shields took some hits but I’m pretty sure it was all from the Helios’ guns, and once I started shootin’ back it was all over. I stripped that three eyed polesmoker’s shield and called him up laughin’. Tellin’ him to surrender his cargo or get ready to meet his ancestors. He cursed at me a lot. He called me all sorts a names, a couple of which were truly inventive. But he gave me that cargo. Most of it anyway. He didn’t have the sense to leave off when I was done with him, though. So in the end I turned the plasma throwers on him and vented his engine core into space.

Sometimes it’s real hard to forget that I’m an evil man. The Paranid did for a moment but they know better now.

Anyway, I called in both the Merc and the Endless. I collected the treasures I could and had the Merc collect the ones I couldn’t. I had everything beamed aboard the Endless includin’ dinner, who now waits for me in my brig. When the goodies had all been accounted for and transferred over to the Endless for sorting I claimed the Pericles. Then I sent the Merc to the Teladi tradin’ station in Freedom’s Reach and the Endless to OTAS HQ in Legend’s Home where I’ll sell what I don’t want and store what I do. I decided to sell most of the dumbfire warheads, especially the low yield missiles like the firelance and firefly, although I did keep twenty three tornadoes that I picked up somewhere. Dumbfire missiles don't lock on. That makes 'em nearly useless against fighters. Against slower movin' targets like capital ships, though, a high yield dumbfire can actually slip past defenses that a targeted warhead can't, makin' 'em unexpectedly useful, and Tornadoes are some a the best of that bunch. They're dumbfire swarm missiles packin’ eight 50k warheads and boastin’ a speed of over 300m/s. As such they can hit mighty hard, especially when fired in salvoes. So I figured I’d keep ‘em for a rainy day. I also kept the Ion Disruptors, the PACs and the Mass Drivers but sold the four Frag Bomb launchers that I’d accumulated. Now that it's all done I have over 1.5 million credits to play with. I also have some guns and some missiles to bolt onto the Mamba. If I can convince Odin to help me out with the Endless I can put Gin in a cockpit and use her on my wing.

I guess I can take a breath ... Oh shit!

*****

Bloody fallin’ asleep at the wheel. As I was distracted and conductin’ my trades four pirates snuck up on me. Even worse, they were faster than I was. Three medium fighters and a scout and by the time I looked up that Harrier was all over me.

It was a brief, brutal conflict. I cut my throttle and whipped my nose around, applyin’ the manueverin’ thrusters to be unpredictable. Even so those IRE’s are hard to dodge and my shield was bein‘ peppered. The instant I had that Harrier in my sites I opened up with the phased repeater guns and slagged him. By that point the three M4’s were on top of me.

I used the boost extension and shot past them. Then I cut throttle and tumbled again as they were comin’ around for another pass. I re-engaged my thrusters and fired my last two silkworm missiles, one at the Buzzard and one at the Buster. The elite seemed to have already been in a scrap and was pretty badly damaged. I hit it with the HEPT’s and it was gone. I swung my nose up to follow the closest Pirate, which turned out to be the Buster. It had survived the silkworm but was by then hamstrung and barely limpin’ along. It was an easy kill. I looked around for the Buzzard but apparently it hadn’t survived my missile. My shields were tickin’ up from just over sixty percent.

Brother, do I miss the Magus.

*****

Muthafrakkin’ sunnuva ... grrrr!

I looked around Hatikvah’s Faith for a few more mizura but other than a Boron Military Transport with a full compliment of fighters and not enough cargo to justify either the risk or the murders I decided to press on to Nopileos’ Memorial. I was closin’ in on the gate when right in front of me this bloody Pirate Carrack jumps out of the gate. There was this moment of pure shock followed by the sudden and immediate need to duck and dodge the bright gobs of fiery blue death that Carrack was chuckin’ at me.

Frak!

Since I’d left the tornadoes on the Endless there was nothin’ to do but run. It didn’t take long to realize that Carrack wasn’t gonna give up either. At this point I have to think that there’s a bounty on my head cuz every time these Pirates see me they go outta there way to come after me. Not wantin’ to be bothered with shakin’ the bloody thing I just short jumped through the gate into Nopileos’ Memorial to continue on my way.

Bloody hell! My bloody hands are shakin’! I hate that! I need a bigger ship. I need missiles. Twenty or thirty typhoons woulda made short work of that Carrack.

Well, crisis averted at least. Let’s see if I can make some money.

*****

So I’ve been noticin’ a pattern in term of the targets I pick. I mean I tend to leave the Teladi alone to preserve a workin’ relationship and I’ve been avoidin’ goin’ after the Argon, which also isn‘t exactly a shocker. It’s not that I feel patriotic or anythin’. I’m certainly not itchin’ to go join the military or sign up as a privateer ... at least I don’t think I am. They’ve put out a broadcast to anyone in good standin’ with the government, which currently includes me, requestin’ assistance with the war effort. Now normally I wouldn’t even consider it. It seems absurd ... yet, bein’ subsidized by the Argon Federation to go and kill Terrans?! It‘s got a nice ring to it. At the very least I’ve been avoidin’ poundin’ on the Argon just to keep the option open to buy high tech goodies. Which leads me to the Split.

For me, wagin’ war on the Split was always about helpin’ Ps’y. The truth is I tend to like the Split and now I don’t even know if Ps’y is still alive, and for some reason they seem to be givin‘ me a pass. So do I want to continue harrassin’ them and risk makin’ an enemy of Rhonkar? I mean if I get the opportunity to hurt Families Njy or Tkr I probably won’t pass it up. But I feel kind of iffy about continuin’ the campaign in Ps’y’s absence ... and right now the Split aren’t shootin’ at me. I don’t know why that is, but either way, it is. For the time bein’ at least, the Split have called off the hunt. So, for now at least, I’ve been lettin’ it lie.

The Paranid aren’t so lucky. I hate the Paranid. I really do. I’ve always hated the Paranid. I don’t know if it’s cultural, or if it’s because they killed my da, or if it’s because one of ‘em took my eye, but I hate ‘em. At this point I can’t even be in the same room with one of those giant, three eyed monstrosities without feelin’ my trigger finger itch. So when I came across a Paranid Weapons Dealer only carryin’ a pair of pegasi for defense I did take a closer look.

In his hold I saw a pair of high energy plasma throwers, three phased repeater guns and five frag bomb launchers, as well as a few 5mj shields. So, in combination with my general inclination to make the Paranid bleed, that was enough to provoke me.

I opened up on that Helios with the HEPTs and burned through about half of the things 2x200mj shieldin’ before they accepted that I was serious and launched their fighters. Now pegasi aren’t much of a threat and I destroyed both in short order. That Helios was usin’ all of the guns it had available, though, and even seemed to be cyclin’ ‘em to best effect. I took a beatin’ before finally gettin’ it to drop freight, and it never dropped everythin. But I did get a pair of Frag Bomb launchers, one HEPT and three of the 5mj shields. That Helios’ captain never laid off, though, and in order to feel safe callin’ the Merc in I destroyed it. I don’t know how many were crewin’ the thing. Five? Ten? Plus the pilots of the pegasi. What’s a few more lives?

Frak. I want a drink.

*****

Noplieos’ Memorial didn’t have anything I felt like riskin’. There was a good sized Boron Military Patrol movin’ through the center. It was centered around a Kraken and a scan showed that it had plenty of flail barrage missiles aboard. So I decided to avoid provokin’ it by goin’ after any of the Boron freight traffic passin’ through the sector. Not that there was much I was interested in. A single Military Supply Transport in a Pleco fighter bus had a couple phased repeater guns and a single Ion-D which I might have made a play for if not for that Kraken. Even across the sector I’d have been in trouble if that Kraken’s crew had decided I needed killin’.

So I decided maybe it was time to rendezvous with the Endless in Freedom’s Reach and make a burn for ... home?

Frak.

Argon Prime.

I am gonna want that drink.

*****

Danna’s Chance. I found a Boron Military Supply Transporter with some nice goodies aboard. Problem was it had thirty six fighter drones as well. Now a dozen drones is a pain in the ass but with some mossies and wasp missiles they’re manageable. Three dozen is lookin’ a lot like suicide. But that puppy had forty advsats, ten Hammer Heavy torpedoes, which sell for over 80k each, a pair of Ion-D’s and a hundred and eleven mossies. I decided I was gonna do it, but I was gonna do it smart. I called in the Endless and emptied it’s hold of mossies and wasps, hurricanes and disruptors and also took a dozen drones of my own. There were some additional pirates in the sector and considerin’ both that I was gonna be preoccupied and how aggressive they’ve been lately I decided to send the Endless south into Freedom’s Reach. Then I hit the freighter. Turns out all my preparation was unnecessary. That freighter’s pilot was a little jumpy. Better safe than sorry, though, right?

So, I claimed the freighter. It’s actually in pretty good shape. It’s got over eighty percent of it’s hull, some fighter drones AND a jumpdrive. I sent it down to the tradin’ station in Freedom’s Reach. I’ll figure out what to do with it later. Then I picked up it’s former pilot. He’s now coolin’ his heels in the cell next to the other Boron I snagged. I wonder if Kao knows how to cook Boron?

*****

I landed on the Endless and switched to the Rapier to make the burn over to Argon space. Brennan’s triumph was a blur, but Split Fire was a little scary. It wasn’t the Galleon. In this Rapier I can outrun a Galleon. Those Kestrels were another matter entirely. I don’t know where all those pirates were headin’, way out west the way they were goin‘. I looked for a pirate base or anythin’ that might be a destination but I didn’t see anythin’ and didn’t want to stick around long enough to risk those Kestrels comin’ after me. In this Rapier I don’t think I could take one of ‘em, much less two and I know better’n to think I could outrun ‘em. It turned out all right, though.

I made it through to Elena’s Fortune where I watched a Dragon lead some Pirates against one of the orbital weapons platforms protectin‘ the Military Base. I’ve never considered attackin’ one'a those things a wise course'a action when sat in a anythin’ less'n a destroyer and those chaps found out why in short order. In the wreckage, though, there were a few Banshee missiles worth callin’ the Endless in for. I guess now it’s on to Presidents End ... hold on, I‘m gettin‘ a call.

*****

That was ... different. This bounty hunter by the name a Daron Silarne just gave me a call. One of the first things he tells me is how much he was recently offered for MY head. It was flatterin’, if a little disturbin’. Somebody offered him ten million credits for me. First thing I asked him was whether he planned to collect.

“No,” he says. “I don't.”

“Really?” I cocked my head at him. “Why not? That’s a lot of money.”

“Well, boyo, cos I happen to owe ya.”

I laughed. “Not that I’m complainin’, but Daron I’ve never seen you before in my life.”

“Not me, laddie. But my sister? You met her, I think. And her boy.”

I frowned at him, completely without a clue.

“My nephew’s name is Victor, Drakey boy. Not too long ago he was in some trouble and you got him out of it. D’ya remember him?”

I stared at him for a moment and then nodded. “I remember him.” I said. “You’re sister‘s name is Mina.” I could see the resemblance by then. Around the eyes, and the shape of the jaw.

“That it is, lad,” he says, “that it is.”

“How is he?” I asked. “Victor? Does he ... remember?”

“No, boyo, except maybe in nightmares. I pray he never does. Mina remembers, though, and she told me enough to make it plain what ya did. So no. I won’t be taking that Split’s money. Nor will I be wishing any harm to ya.”

“A Split,” I echo.

“Aye, a Split,” he says. “Some lackey for one of the Families, I'd wager. I’m not sure which one but his clothes were made out by way of Zyarth Dominion, you know the weaves they use?"

I nodded.

"So," he goes on, "if I had to bet I’d put my money on either Njy or Tkr. It’s not like you’ve been exactly friendly with them, now have you?”

“I suppose that depends on your definition of friendly,” I said, smilin' at him. “Well you’ve done me a service, Daron, and I appreciate it ...”

“Think nothing of it, lad. You helped me and mine out. You did right by that boy. As a matter of fact I’ve got some business ye might be interested in. Feel like killing a three eye?”

“Usually,” I grinned at him.

“Tell you what, you get this feller fer me an I’ll let you keep the whole bounty. My way a saying t'anks. Here, let me send you the contract.” A moment later I was grinnin’ even wider. It’s almost the kind of money I’m used to. “You know,” I said and met his eye again. “I think it’s time to go kill me a three eyed giant.”

"Right ya are, boyo. Right ya are indeed."

*****

I had the Tenjin launch on autopilot and spun the Rapier around to meet it. I beamed into the Tenjin from four kilometers away and then used the jumpdrive to short jump to the north gate. The instant I re-entered the sector I turned around and slipped through the gate into Farnham’s Legend. I repeated the process to skip across Farnham’s Legend into Atreus’ Clouds and again into The Hole. As I exited the east gate into that obnoxious green puke the Boron seem to love so much the computer was pickin’ up the target ninety klicks away and my jumpdrive wasn’t gettin’ me any closer.

After checkin’ the clock to make sure I had enough time I pointed the nose of the Tenjin at the mark and maxed the throttle. Then I sat back and waited. It was a Yaki Susanowa and it was all alone. An easy kill. Daron really had done me a solid.

When it was all done I scooped a couple’a missiles outta the wreckage and thought about that kid, Daron’s nephew, Victor. His mom’s name was Mina. He’d been kidnapped and held for ransom. His mother was incapable of comin’ up with the money so they rented her out to Ogre, er ...Uguras ... Hee-roo ... somethin’ somethin’ Gradias the eleventh or twelfth ... frak if I know. The Teladi I had runnin’ the House of Dreams. Anyway I met Mina when Ogre tried to bribe me with her. It wasn’t until the next day when I found out about her situation. For reasons I’m not gonna get into ... it hit a nerve. I sent Ea’t to go get the kid and after they brought him back we found out that he’d been molested ... which really hit a nerve. I ended up nukin’ the pirate base where the kid had been held.

What can I say? I’ve got a soft spot for kids.

After that I got two more assassination gigs from business owners that had been abused by Boron pirates. Both of ‘em had been referred to me by Daron and both of ‘em had paid well. The last one ended up in Herron’s Nebula, where another business owner contacted me, again because of Daron, to ask me to protect his silicon mine. When it was all said and done I looked at my bank account and found myself pleased. I tell ya, killin’ people is a real good way to make a livin’.

Well, I've had my fun. I think it's time to go ... home.
A Pirate's Story.pdf(KIA) by _Zap _ From Nothing.PDF(complete) by _Zap _ Prodigal Son(active) Original Thread, Prodigal Son_PDF

Triaxx2
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Post by Triaxx2 » Sun, 29. Apr 12, 15:25

That was awesome. I love this chapter.

I can't wait until you reach Argon Prime.
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Coupaholic
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Post by Coupaholic » Sun, 29. Apr 12, 19:56

Nothing like a trip down memory lane.

Gosnell
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Post by Gosnell » Mon, 30. Apr 12, 03:32

:) 2.am and reading your thread nice job.

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Tohron
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Post by Tohron » Mon, 30. Apr 12, 06:05

Three updates on one page! That's certainly a rare sight - hope you can keep it up! Assuming you're going to get the money back, I'll be wondering if you opt for a missile frigate or bomber as a missile defense platform (if you do go for a bomber, the OTAS Auster is the best-defended) - either way, Drake has ample reason to keep it on hand and stocked with Mosquitoes in case of a hairy situation.

Triaxx2
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Post by Triaxx2 » Mon, 30. Apr 12, 13:17

No, what Drake needs is a Destroyer. Filled with Mosquitoes.
A Pirate's Revenge Completed Now in PDF by _Zap_
APR Book 2: Best Served Cold Updated 8/5/2016

The Tale of Ea't s'Quid Completed

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