Page 1 of 1

[DiD]Eye of the storm - Book 2 (TC 3.2)

Posted: Mon, 3. Sep 12, 05:25
by Zaitsev
So, the eye of the storm wouldn't let go and the other story I was planning on doing wouldn't take off, so I'm back again.

As I wrote in the other thread I had so much left to tell when that Q killed me, and then Triaxx2 came along and suggested that I let Rahne's brother continue the story. Also, thanks to Nathancros for giving me inspiration when I was trying to find a name for the Wolf ;)

EDIT: Added some screenshots. Also took a few extra to show the Wolf frigate in all its glory, as Scion asked me to take a few shots of Cadius' ships. So there you go :)


Chapter 1 - The fire still burns

Captain's log 768:05:01 - 11:13

I looked outside. The swirling spirals of the wormhole danced across the hull of my Wolf, the Sanguis Angelus, or 'Blood Angel'. I missed my old Cerberus, but it had become somewhat of a hot potato after that fateful day when my parents were killed by the Xenon and I had started asking questions. The wrong kind of questions, obviously, like what the name of the incompetent idiot who had been responsible for the patrols in the sector was.

Instead of answers I got smokescreens, and, when I didn't stop digging around, men who had threatened to do very unpleasant things to both me and my sister. I didn't care for myself, but I cared for my sister, so I backed off. For a while, at least. Then the recording fell into my lap and things got a hundred times worse. Someone was very eager to get their hands on that recording, so I thought it best to disappear and hope I could shake them. So I sold the Cerberus to some two bit Teladi in Grand Exchange, used my savings and the connections I had made during my time with the Angels and bought the Sanguis Angelus and its two friends. Then I started drifting from place to place, just stopping to take the odd job and pick up the necessary supplies before we disappeared into the shadows again.

The only thing that really kept me sane during this was the thought of my sister. She had gone into hiding herself, running a small merc company with some of her friends. I still checked in on her from time to time, although I took great care not to reveal myself.

Then things started going haywire, and our unknown friends started positioning them selves around Rahne. I couldn't warn her directly, as they would have come after us both, so I did the next best thing and sent her the recording, hoping she would figure things out by herself. I didn't like it, but it was the only viable option I could think of. Besides, she might have ended up in even greater danger if I hadn't told her. Something was stirring, and we needed to be prepared. I could feel it in my bones. Something big …!


"So, where the hell did you manage to put us this time?" I looked at Kali Logan, my navigator, as the Sanguis Angelus came through the jump gate and drifted into the sector. We had been hopping around the arse end of the Commonwealth for a year now, trying to keep our pursuers off our backs.
"Ya know the dead end sector? The one southeast of Gaian Star? That's where we are."
"Oh, great. The arse end of the arse end of the Commonwealth. Well, I suppose we could have been worse off."
"Yeah, like Argon Prime," Jako Barrett shot in. He was my XO and resident spreader of dry wit.
"Funny, Jako. Real funny."
"Eh, boss?"
"Yeah, Kali?"
"Bad news, I'm afraid." Oh no, not again …
"The navcom died again, didn't it."
"Yeah, afraid so." I shook my head and sighed. Well, after almost a year without proper maintenance I wasn't really surprised. If anything surprised me it was that this bucket of bolts had held together as long as it had. You can say what you want about Split ships, but they're built like a brick shithouse.

"So, business as usual, captain?" Jako asked.
"Yeah. We need supplies and spare parts, and we're running low on money. Again." It was the same as it had been for the last year. Jump to a new place, befriend the locals, make some money, get the necessary supplies and spare parts, then chill a bit and get the hell out before the gaver came knocking.
"Alright, I'll find a nice place to camp."
"Good," I said. "How are the swords doing?" The 'swords' were our two Chimera heavy fighters, Gram and Durandal. We used them for everything from scouting to cargo hauling, though.
"Just fine," Jako said. "Should I do the honors or should you?"
"I'll do it this time. I need to get rid of some stick rust anyway."
"That just sound so wrong, boss," Kali grinned.
"Ah, for frak's sake, Logan," Jako said exasperated. "Get your bloody mind out of the gutter, will ya?"
"Why?" Kali quipped. "It seems to have such a great time down there."
I just shook my head and headed for the docking bay.

A few minutes later I was sitting behind the stick of the Durandal, running through the last of the pre-flight checks.
"Durandal to Sanguis Angelus. All green, request permission to launch."
"Sanguis Angelus to Durandal. Permission granted. Happy hunting, captain."
"Thanks. Durandal out."

Now, let's see what we can find on the other side.


Asset list

M7 Wolf - Sanguis Angelus
M3 Chimera - Durandal
M3 Chimera - Gram

10 marines (and look what I got :D )

1000 credits

Posted: Mon, 3. Sep 12, 05:25
by Zaitsev
List of mods and scripts I use:

No complex tubes
CMOD 4.14
Aldrin Asteroid Pack - asteroid 4
X-tra ship pack v2.01
AI Ammo Cheat
Anarkis Defense System
Missile Supply
Missile defense mk2
Pirate Guild
X-tra jobs unleashed w/Civilians (outdated, but still working)
Yaki Armada
Advanced Hyperdrive
Equipment RnD
Improved Boarding
Improved races v15.31
Marine repairs
Drone carrier
Bonus pack
Asgard O'Neill
HKP Enhanced Missile Barrage
Visible ranks for pirate and yaki
Enhanced mission briefings

CODEA and associated scripts might be added later.



Conditional DiD - Excluding gate crashes, autopillok stupidity and bugs/glitches I might encounter. I may also reload from a previous save if I run into any plot bugs.

Can only use repair laser on fighters, TP and TS. Anything else will have to be repaired by marines or at a shipyard.

Only military ships, that is TM, M6, M8, M7, M2 and M1 may use the P2P jump drive, and only M7, M2 and M1 may use energy-free P2P jumps. All others have to use e-cells to fuel the jump drive.

No Argon ships in the fleet, unless captured or bought second hand.

Be as self sufficient as possible when it comes to weapons, shields, missiles and equipment.

Infrastructure for the fleet, i.e. weapon-, shield-, and missile production, is restricted to unknown and pirate sectors only. 1 MJ shield factories, satellite- and drone factories are exempt from this rule.

Argon rep can be raised to complete certain plots and get certain stations that only the Argons have, but after that it's all out war.

The O'Neill in the unknown sector needs extensive repairs to become operational and can not be used or moved from the sector for at least seven ingame days. A shipyard and a space equipment dock is needed to repair it and make it operational again. The ship is unique and can not be reverse engineered, and if it's destroyed it's gone forever.


Misc. information

Game: X3: TC v3.2
Start: Nostalgic Argon, modified via cheat script.

Posted: Mon, 3. Sep 12, 20:27
by Sabrina Bergin

Nice to see you writing again, I love your work.

Posted: Wed, 5. Sep 12, 06:21
by Zaitsev
shaun bergin wrote:Zaitsev:

Nice to see you writing again, I love your work.
Thank you :) Then I'm sure you're going to love the next one ... ;)

I tried to make William, which is our hero's name, a bit different from Rahne, but I don't know if I succeeded. Anyway, enough rambling.


Chapter 2 - Ignorance is bliss ...

Captains log, 768:05:01 - 16:23

Nice. A soup sector. I had been trying to avoid them for ages, but somehow they seemed to show up when I least expected it. Time to check how nice the locals think I am.
"Durandal to Sanguis Angelus. Do you copy?"
"Loud and clear, captain. How are things out there?"
"Foggy. How are we doing with the locals?"
"One quick and dirty rep hack coming up … Yeah, the nerd says about average, but we're running low on pirate rep. You might wanna start there." I heard some growling in the background as "the nerd", Kyra Logan, muttered something I imagined were rather salty curses. She was well aware of the fact that she was one of the most skilled computer hacker I had ever seen, and she hated to be reminded about it. And yeah, she's Kali's sister and almost complete oposite.
"Maybe we should stop raiding supply convoys when we need stuff and don't have the money to buy it," I said. "Thanks anyway. And be nice to her, or I'm gonna let her control the temperature of your morning shower tomorrow."
"I heard that!" she yelled in the background. Someone on the bridge snickered.
"Alright, I better go butter up to the locals. Durandal out."
And now for the oldest trick in the book, namely to find some traffic and follow it until I hit a gate.

The place looked kind of deserted at first, but it didn't take long for me to find some ships drifting across the sector. They seemed to be moving in an east-west pattern, so I was probably looking at two other gates here. I picked one of the ships heading east and tagged along, or rather overtook him in two minutes. They had obviously never heard of engine tuning, so the pace was rather glacial.

"Oh, bugger." Hostiles. I quickly scanned them to see if any of them posed a threat to me, but the only one of them even capable of catching me was the Harrier and I could easily deal with it. If I had to. I didn't want to, as making the locals even more angry seemed like a bad idea, so I pointed the nose a few extra degrees to starboard and kept my distance. I didn't plan on sticking around for too long, and the Sanguis Angelus packed enough of a punch to go toe-to-toe with just about anything the pirates could throw at us, but still. Bad idea.

Speaking of which, the ship was in need of an overhaul, as the navcom was just another one of an increasing number of things not working properly. I needed to find a Split shipyard and take it from there, though, as I didn't trust any of the others to not bork up or rat on us. I did have a contact in Family Tkr, but that was going to be one hell of a trip and I would have to raise my Split rep again before I tried something like that. It was probably going to cost me an arm and a leg too, I figured somewhere around five million or so. In other words, a bit more than the thousand credits we had to spend right now.

There, now. The east gate, leading into a sector called Maelstrom. If I remembered correctly it was mostly empty, except for a few pirate stations and the gate leading north to Teladi sectors, so I turned around and headed back to check out Gaian Star instead.

West gate, and more hostiles. Again, nothing that would pose a real threat to the Durandal, but I kept my finger on the trigger just in case. Lucky for me, and them, they behaved nicely.

Ah, Gaian Star and all the red sky you can take. Now I just had to find the pirate base … Ah, there it was. Hiding behind an asteroid, not saying a word. The local boss obviously thought high enough of me to not turn his laser towers against me, so I headed over to check things out. That, or he didn't think a Chimera would pose enough of a threat to his base that he could be arsed to mark me as a hostile.

That's the nice thing about flying a fighter. You're a nobody. Things small enough to care are either nice, stay away or die quickly, and the bigger things just don't give a frak because they know you'll die of old age before you get through their shields. A frigate, on the other hand, is noticeable and not so much about sneaking around as puttin' your foot through the front door. Add the fact that there are few mercs who fly anything bigger than a corvette and you could just as well put up a sign saying "I'M HERE!" …

But I digress.

I docked at the station and had a look around. It was the same as I had seen a hundred times before. Husks of old ship welded together, then it seemed like they let a bunch of kids loose with fifty packs of chewing gum each to make it airtight, bolted on a reactor that threatened to blow every minute or so and dug up some age old air scrubbers that obviously had an option every normal commonwealth counterpart lacked, namely "extra stale air". Throw in some extra stale pirates and start rockin' the place.

They didn't have anything of interest that I could afford, so I picked up fifty e-cells and left, heading for Maelstrom. I noticed a 'Nid offering a station construction mission as I left, but the pay was bad, I couldn't afford the station in the first place and I seriously doubted I would be able to convince some TL-captain to haul his big ass across some Xenon sector and then head straight into pirate country. That's the disadvantage of being a nomad, you're kind of limited when it comes to resources. Heck, I wouldn't even know what do do with a TL anyway. My sister got the trading genes, I think.

Crossing the unknown sector between Gaian Star and Maelstrom I ran into some old friends. Yes, the hostile pirates were still there. They had even gotten a few new friends to keep them company, so I pulled up high above the ecliptic to avoid … misunderstandings. They would probably lose the following argument, but it was too great a risk to take. Not to mention that it was getting pretty cramped out here and the whole gang would probably jump me if I as much as looked at them funny.

Maelstrom. Another soup sector. I'd had enough soup for one day though, so I just wanted to get out as soon as possible. I found a pirate Caravel to follow, but since the concept of engine tuning seemed a bit like showing a lighter to a caveman for these folks he wasn't exactly blazing across the sky.

After testing my patience for about five minutes I'd had enough and started looking for other ships to follow. Seemed like luck was on my side, as a Teladi recon ship, a Harrier Hauler, came through the gate behind me and headed northeast. Presumably to the north gate and the more civilized parts of town.

Heh. 'Civilized.' What an irony that I longed for it, when I had been living like some sort of barbarian for the last year. Scavenging, stealing, begging, killing and doing all kinds of dirty work just to put food on the table for me and my crew. Then again, I would sell my soul to keep my crew safe.

Drifting into Merchant Haven I started looking for missions, but it seemed Lady Luck had turned her back on me. Go fetch a ship? Nah, couldn't afford it. Get 197 tanks of space fuel for some dubious Splitl? You wish. Convoy raid, now that was interesting. A Paranid wanted me to make sure a convoy that was setting out from Nathan's Voyage never reached its destination. To make it even more tempting it was an Argon convoy, and to put it mildly I didn't exactly harbor any love for the Argon. They could go dance on the surface of Sonra for all I cared. That, and he paid rather decently for someone who was as broke as me.

Since I didn't have any coordinates for Nathan's Voyage I had to pull a fast one and use the mission data to lock on to the gates of the unexplored sectors and then make an in-sector jump to the next gate. Simple, but it worked and I had the convoy in my sights in no time. Time for one of us to die, and it sure as hell wasn't going to be me.

He was trundling along with no worries whatsoever as I closed in and lined up. I gave him a wake up-call by strafing his Vulture from nose to tail with my HEPTs, something that earned me an earful of squealing on all frequencies. Geez, if I didn't know better I'd say it was a girl screamin', but the face appearing on the comlink and begging for mercy belonged to a man. I think. Sorry, pal, I'm all out of mercy.

I was sort of hoping that one of them would bail, but they both chose to go down with their ships. That, and they both squealed like pigs. All I got for it was a couple of Rapier missiles and making the local gaver angry, so I picked up the missiles, targeted Grand Exchange and got the hell out. It didn't exactly make me popular amongst the Argon, but the gullible bastards would thaw up soon enough if I just did a few missions for them. Wonder why they were always willing to forgive. Ah, heck if I knew. I didn't really care, either. What it did was make me 10 676 credits richer, plus the Paranid now viewed me as a Friend. Race ranks. Bah. Could be worth it to raise it enough to get some Hurricane missiles, though. Unless they were still mad at me after I raided that convoy in Unholy Descent last month.

Back in Grand Exchange I went looking for more missions and found this little treat. M-hm. Xenon patrol. I could kill those bastards all week long. For free. That says a lot when you have to twist and turn every credit at least four times before you go and buy anything. So I accepted and moved to the center of the sector, waiting.

"Ah, frak."

Oh yes. Two Xenon G missile frigates, three L heavy fighters and three M interceptors, all wrapped into a nice, tight formation. None of them posed any real threat to me, though, as the fastest ships, the Ms, were 17 m/s slower than the Durandal even when fully tuned. And these guys weren't fully tuned.

And now a little demonstration of Xenon inner workings 101. They may appear fearsome, and in large numbers they are. However, they have a rather simplistic programming that says 'go medieval on anything that attacks you', which leads to the following …

"Rapier missile installed."

So I sat at a rather comfortable twelve clicks, targeted the rearmost L in its formation and sent a Rapier up its tailpipe, turned around and ran away. As predicted they went bonkers, and since every ship in the formation had different top speeds they spread out rather nicely across the sector. I couldn't take on the entire group, but I was perfectly capable of dealing with three Ls who were suddenly all alone without the support of their brethren. Three Ls soon became three clouds of space dust, and since one of the Gs had taken a particular interest in me I thought I'd introduce it to the two Pteranodon heavy destroyers guarding the shipyard. That got ugly in a hurry to say the least, and I even managed to nail one of the Ls zipping around.

The other one ended up tangling with a fighter group close to the east gate, so I scooted over to lend them a helping gun. Since the CPU running the show had obviously forgot to actually give them some missiles it was being manhandled. Or chiphandled or whatever. It blew, and I got my money. Plus the Teladi rank of Company Trader, a combat rank increase to 'Skilled' and a rather substantial load of missiles floating around. Okey, scavenging time.

I distinctly remembered passing a Military Outpost in Merchant Haven, and I was on my way there when I checked this mission beacon. Nah, not a mission, but a Boron selling star charts. I bought the one over Zyarth's Dominion, as it contained jump gate coordinates and would save me the hassle of either flying across X598 or have to fly all the way around. Money well spent, I'd say. Now, where was that military outpost …

"Hey, are you the weapons dealer?"
"No, I'm a houssseplant. What can I do for you?"
"Funny. Well, I've got something I think you'll like." She gave me an inquisitive look. "A Hammerhead, plus some other goodies." Her jaw dropped and she looked like she was on the verge of wetting her pants.
"Do you have it here?" I swear she was drooling.
"In my ship. Chimera, docking bay seventeen. You'll get it after you've paid me." The drooling disappeared, and instead she looked like she had swallowed a bag full of lemons. I might not be much of a trader, but I knew how to deal with Teladi. Very, very carefully.

After a bit of haggling I got just a hair over ninety one thousand for my missiles. Not all bad, but far away from the five millions I needed for the overhaul of the Sanguis Angelus. I planned on being gone by the end of the week just in case the gaver caught on to us, so I didn't really have much time. Urgh. What was it Rahne said about trading? 'Supply and demand. And know your market.' Or something to that effect. I might give it a shot if the opportunity presented itself. Soldier, scavenger, mercenary, pirate, killer, taxi, freighter pilot and now trader. Wonder where it would end?

"Probably nowhere good," I said to myself as I launched from the military outpost. As I drifted into space I spotted a taxi mission, and while the pay was miniscule it would give me a chance to explore a bit. Besides, Teladi were usually decent passengers although they had the habit of nagging and screaming about 'lossst profitsss' if you took too long.

I was passing through Tears of Green when I spotted a convoy looking for escorts. I looked into it just for the heck of it, and damn what a reward. Almost three hundred thousand. I could probably do it and still make it to Company Strength with the passenger, as she had given me some two and a half hours to complete it. It was tempting to try and cash in that kind of reward, but high risk often followed that kind of money. I was alone in a relatively slow ship, and I only had four Rapiers to help me out of the inevitable tight spot. In the end I accepted, though, as the benefits of the possible reward far outweighed the disadvantages. Besides, if all went to hell in a handbag I still had my passenger.

And to hell in a handbag it went. First I got three Fujins, which I knocked out of the sky pretty quickly. Then I got an assorted gang of Fujins plus a Raijin Sentinel, which proved to be a bit more problematic. One of the freighters got shot down, and I knew that spelled trouble since it meant less targets to spread the fire across. Yet another assorted gang came through, and I knew I was screwed. I knocked down two of the Fujins, but the freighters had lost too much of their shielding and they popped like balloons. Frak, that was a week of supplies down the drain. Oh, well. Back to the taxi mission then.

Passing through Bright Profit I spotted a Yaki offering a mission. Pretty substantial pay too, but since I had to fly back through a whole slew of hostile sectors if I did it I declined. Besides, I had to keep myself on someone's good side if I was ever going to get my paws on enough money to give the Sanguis Angelus the overhaul she needed, and I had already pissed off the Argons. I might piss them off even more, if the opportunity arose.

Company Strength, and another taxi mission. For a 'Nid, this time. This one had a more decent paycheck attached to it, so I accepted and told the lizard to shuffle over to the side. There was plenty of room, and the little green one was getting off in a few minutes anyway. Onward to the flail factory to drop off my first passenger, then.

Both missions went smoothly, and I suddenly found myself some 21 000 credits richer. In addition I was promoted to a Telado Shareholder and a Paranid Priest Confidante. Then again, gaining rep was about as hard as hitting the floor after you had jumped off a chair. And no, zero-G environments don't count.

Bright Profit, and I somehow managed to get myself involved in another escort mission. The Teladi offering it said it would be 'easy', but then again freighter captains had the habit of calling anything short of a full scale attack 'easy'. She told me they were expecting Xenon company, which made it all the more tasty for me. I do enjoy a good chip smashing. Alright, I'm just gonna drop off these passengers, then we're good to go.

First wave consisted of a handful of Ns. If these guys would stay nice and tight, this wouldn't be a problem. That worked for about fifteen seconds, before one of the freighters turned around and started heading for the local flower farm.

"Excuse me, miss … Galeis Huridis Tissmaneos the third, but what 'n' the blue hell are you doing?"
"Xsssenon fightersss. Mussst protect profitsss."
"You do realize that we will lose a defender if you run off like that?"
"Sssave profitsss."
"Oh, I beg your pardon. I didn't know stupidity was one of your more prominent features, so I'll try to break it down; We need your tail gun out there to put some extra hurt on the Xenon and spread the fire amongst the targets. If you run off I'm gonna put you in the 'collateral damage'-bin and leave you to die. You read me?"
Apparently not, as she hissed something about 'profitsss' again and kept going. In the meantime I had three other freighters to worry about, so I turned and burned to engage the Xenon.

It worked. Sort of. Only drawback was that one of the freighters was now so dinged up it limited the convoy's top speed to 19 m/s. This could get interesting.

I sort of got my herd of cats through the gate when miss Tissmaneos the third decided it was safe to come out of hiding, a very relative term since I had an M zipping about, and started heading for the gate. I, on the other hand, considered shooting her myself. Nah, bad for business. And my already minimal patience, but that's another story.

I also spotted this little guy. Wonder if it was heading home or something?

And back to reality. The bloody nightmare continued in Tears of Greed as the freighters ran off left and right to protect their 'profits', leaving me in the middle running back and forth like a whipped dog to try and keep the Xenon off everyone's back. After the third freighter had sought refuge by docking at some random station I felt the urge to introduce 'head' to 'navigation console'. Preferably the Teladi pilot's head to her own navigation console. Repeatedly.

In the end two freighters made it, as the first one was killed on approach to the station and the last one – that's the slowpoke who hid in the first place – got some nice holes drilled through her cockpit when six Xenon jumped us and smashed her already drained shields. Told ya it was going to kill ya.

With the mission a complete and utter failure I headed for the first station I could lock on to, docked and went looking for the bar. I needed some very stiff drinks to wash the stupid out of my brain.



M7 Wolf - "Sanguis Angelus"
M3 Chimera - "Gram"
M3 Chimera - "Durandal"

149 489 credits

Posted: Wed, 5. Sep 12, 07:30
by Triaxx2
Awesome chapter. What the [expletive of choice] does 'gaver' mean?

Posted: Wed, 5. Sep 12, 07:54
by Zaitsev
Triaxx2 wrote:Awesome chapter. What the [expletive of choice] does 'gaver' mean?
Thanks :)

Gaver is british slang for police. I don't know why, but William always talks to me in a british accent, so I just went with it. Sort of James Bond-esque. Or William Regal, if you're into professional wrestling.

That, and I read Nuklear-Slug's "wanton use of ...", came across the term "rozzers" and ended up finding a list of slang terms for police officers on wikipedia. "Gaver" and "bottles" were the ones that stuck :p

Posted: Wed, 5. Sep 12, 12:28
by Triaxx2
Ah. Got it. I always think the 'fuzz'.

Posted: Thu, 6. Sep 12, 21:19
by Sabrina Bergin

Is actualy spelt " Gather " ie as in to round up (Gather up) criminals, suspects etc.

Love the story.

Posted: Mon, 10. Sep 12, 06:27
by Zaitsev
shaun bergin wrote:Gaver:

Is actualy spelt " Gather " ie as in to round up (Gather up) criminals, suspects etc.

Love the story.
In this case I guess I'm only as wise as my sources :P It's always interesting to learn new stuff though, and when I think of how I would pronounce "gaver", or "gavver" as I've also seen some sources spell it, it actually make sense.

I'm afraid I got bad news, though, as my Chimera ran into a rather angry Xenon P during a patrol. And since I'm now out of relatives I guess this story truly is dead :( Seems it was just one of those stories that were never meant to be told ...

I'll post the rest of the chapters I have, then I'll see if I can get the gears running on this other thing I've been thinking about.


Chapter 3 - Drink and drink and fight.

Captain's log, 768:05:01 – 20:45

After half a bottle of what tasted like one quarter space fuel and three quarter bilge water I felt the stupid had diluted enough for me to start flying again. Stars, what a bunch of morons. Maybe the next bunch would be better, but I doubted it. Seriously.

As I left I spotted a new mission. Someone who wanted me to return an abandoned ship, or 'snatch and patch' as Rahne used to call it. The pay was good and it wouldn't be too much of a hassle, so I accepted and headed to Grand Exchange to pick up some e-cells for the jump. I'll admit the thought of stealing it crossed my mind, but I had promised myself to play nice with the Teladi. At least for now.

I had just bought 200 e-cells and was on my way back to the Durandal when this Argon caught my eye.
"Ey, matey. Are you interested in some star charts?" I thought about it. Information was always valuable.
"Maybe. What have you got?"
"I've got Tears of Green, Bright Profit and this really nice one over Family Zyarth." Well, I was thinking about moving into Split space, and having some idea of where I was going would be a plus.
"I'll take the one over Family Zyarth."
"Excellent choice. That'll be 1 559 credits." I paid the man and headed back to the Durandal. Time to go pick up that Manta.

A quick jump later and I was in Wastelands, with the Manta hovering a few clicks off the west gate. I came through the east gate, so instead of traversing the sixty five or so clicks I targeted the west gate and did an in-sector jump. Why screw around more than you have to? And now for the fun part, namely patch the hull up enough for the HISS to stop complaining and run the engines at full power.

Note to self; the semi-organic compound in Boron hulls is hell to fix. I did manage to patch it up, though, so now it was just a matter of ejecting the jump drive and a few e-cells from the Durandal, hook it up to the ship's systems and we would be good to go. So a quick EVA trip back to the Durandal to drop the necessary stuff and an equally quick trip to the Manta to pick it up and install the jump drive and we were ready to go. I programmed the autopilot to jump to Tears of Greed and then got the hell out before the jump drive fired. Then I just had to endure the equally fun part of trundling all the way back to Tears of Greed to pick up the jump drive.

Weeell … That didn't go quite as planned. That is, things went nicely up to the point where I told the Manta to dump my jump drive and move to the station where the owner awaited. At that point I was still making my way across Midnight Star, and was doing just fine. Even the autopillok behaved properly and hadn't managed to send me on collision course with anything big and immobile even once. I had no worries at all and even agreed to pick up some entertainment chips for a 'Nid in Grand Exchange. Then, as I closed in on the east gate the beacon for the jump drive died and when I got to Tears of Greed it was gone. Another note to self; either get the Sanguis Angelus up and running or get some cheap TM and a couple of fighters to act as a jump drive bus. It would be kind of a large investment, but once I was done with it I could just sell it again.

What happened there I really don't know, whether it was some freighter jock who ran over it or the seals in the containment box that broke down and introduced delicate electronics to explosive decompression, but it wasn't there. So now I had no jump drive and a mission I couldn't possibly do without a jump drive, which was just friggin' great.

I was kind of desperate to get my 'Nid rep up a notch or two, and I had one last straw; a pirate base that used to be located in deep space, north of the north gate in Bright Profit. Chances were the Teladi had finally grown tired of it and leveled the whole thing, but I had to check anyway. Okey, south then.

Nope, nix, nada, niente, zip, zilch, squat, dick, jack shit. The base was gone, and so was my last hope for completing the 'Nid mission. With time running out real fast I had no choice but to abort the mission. I kind of needed a jump capable ship, and since I had pissed off the Argon my only other option for the moment was to head south to Queen's Harbour and Atreus HQ. Make 20 grand just to lose a 101 grad part was not good business. To add insult to injury I stumbled across an assassination mission that would have pushed me close to the half million mark. If I had still had a jump drive, as the time limit was hardly enough to get across the sector I was in. Some days it seems it's not even worth getting out of bed.

Or …
Yeah, consolation price. One of those 'bring me x amount of y ware in t minutes'-missions. In this case 80 e-cells in sixteen minutes, and I still had 95 e-cells left in my cargo hold. It felt like the universe was attempting to pat me on the back and tell me it would be all right, and that thought actually made me smile for some reason. Life is funny. And yeah, I made it.

Entering Company Strength I almost got my eardrums blown out, as a Teladi was shrieking on all frequencies that she needed pilots for a Xenon patrol stretching from Company Strength to Queen's Retribution. Now, since I was heading in that direction anyway I might as well get paid for flying there. Besides, I would get plenty of chips to smash on the way.

First wave was an M and a handful of Ns. Since I didn't have any missiles to attract the attention of the Ns I went after the slower M instead and let the rest slide. I came in from the side and said hello with my HEPTs, but it didn't seem very happy to see me as it turned and attacked almost immediately. A couple more HEPT salvos in its face and the shields were almost gone. My turrets then opened up and munched on it a bit as it flew by, before a few HEPT volleys up the tailpipe finished the fight. I even got paid to kill it.

In the meantime the rest of the group had moved north and was tangling with a few rapid response ships, fighters and capitals that maintained high alert around the clock and were ready to scramble at the sign of any threats. I decided to lend them a helping gun whether they liked it or not, so I targeted the nearest N and filled its path with hot plasma as it was about to do another attack run. My volley hit home, and the N died rather quickly as its reactor wasn't designed to function with holes burned through it. I nailed a few more too, before the rapid response force mopped up the rest and my benefactor ordered me to fly to Sanctity of Corruption.

New sector, same deal. Another M and its handful of N companions appeared, and there wasn't any price for guessing where these guys were heading. I also spotted a nice prize floating around, maybe a leftover from the Xenon? I did the same thing I had done in Company Strength and went for the one that was the easiest to catch.

The M died rather quickly, and since the response forces were slow in this sector I aimed for the middle of that swarm of Ns and just plowed through them with blazing guns and turrets. My shields were beaten down into the forties, but by then most of the Ns were space dust anyway. They also left a whole lot of loot, so I scooped up whatever I could find with the intention of selling it once I reached Queen's Harbour. Especially the Remote Guided Warhead I had picked up would probably go for some twenty grand at least, and that meant buying the jump drive wouldn't set me back as much as I had thought. Joy.

A few minutes after the last N went down I was ordered to fly to Queen's Retribution, where the patrol ended and I got my payment. I also spotted a Xenon group milling about, so I thought 'what the heck, I'll do these for free' and headed for the nearest one. Once again I just plowed through the middle, and once again the Xenon proved to be no match for the Durandal. My shields never went under forty five percent, and the chips died like flies around me. My Boron rep climbed a few notches for my trouble, and the local Ranking Guild obviously thought I had killed enough to make me a Sharpshooter. Alright, onward to Queen's Harbour.

I picked up a few star charts on the way to Atreus HQ, as they were kind of cheap and one never knew when such information might become useful. The one over Menelaus' Oasis was particularly interesting, as it revealed the position of the south gate. It led into an unknown and unclaimed sector, one that I had visited about a year and a half ago when Rahne's Angel-team had used it as staging ground for a raid against the pirate base in Menelaus' Oasis. Since it was a dead end not many traveled there, which made it a perfect hiding place for the Sanguis Angelus. The unknown sector we were placed in now might be better suited to keep prying eyes away, but my pirate rep was … well, not good. I could probably fix it, given some time, and my 'Angel' had enough bite to handle most of what the pirates could muster, but I had this gnawing feeling in my gut that told me to move it and I decided to listen. Now then, let's dump these missiles and get our selves a shiny new jump drive.

Boron stations always made me feel weird. It was like some sort of inverted fish tank, where the fish was outside and looking in at those funny air breathers on the other side of the glass. They did have the necessary accommodations to allow non-Boron species to enter it, but they also had large, fluid-filled parts were the Boron swam around freely. I'd hate to think about what would happen if someone attacked the station and the walls broke down in here. Alright now …

"Evenin'. You the weapons dealer?" The Boron shuffled its environment suit around and looked at me.
"Why, yes. I am." It chirped in that super-happy voice all Borons seemed to use on their translators. "What can I do for you on this most wonderful day?"
"I have a few missiles I would like to sell."
"Serendipitous! What do you have?" I fished my data pad out of my pocket and gave her the list.
"Oh my, that's a rather big one." It mumbled as it went down the list. I couldn't help but smile. "I will take them all for 35 700 credits," it said as it handed me back my data pad. "How does that sound?" About average price for the lot. I doubted I would get any better deals.
"Sounds good, I'll take it. The missiles are outside, on the cargo hauler."
"Marvelous. I will transfer the payment right away." A few moments later my data pad beeped, confirming that the payment had been received.
"Nice. G'day."
"Have a safe trip." Yeah, most likely not.

Five minutes later I had a mechanic on its way to install a jump drive too, although it frowned when I told it I was flying a Split ship. Still, it shuffled along on those metal spider legs and got me a new jump drive. Somehow it was enough to increase my trade rank to Vendor. Not that I really cared at all. As I said, I'm not into trading and if I have to do any of it I usually get someone who know something about it to do it for me. Well. Enough of that. Time to get some e-cells and test this thing.

Remember what I said about pirates and bad feelings? Well, they came true as I was offered an assassination mission worth half a million credits. Of course the mark had to be a pirate, which would probably send my already dubious rep plummeting. Still, I had half a million reasons to kill the bastard and I could always kiss pirate ass later should I need to. Now, let's see …

The mark was in Menelaus' Oasis, and going off a hunch I jumped to the south gate and landed almost in its lap. It had an angry pirate Buster hanging around, but he couldn't do anything before the Nova I was assigned to take out was an ever expanding cloud of charred metal and organic molecules. The fish died squealing, and since I didn't have any interest in making things worse than necessary I turned away from the rabid Buster and escaped through the south gate.

After a quick look around the unknown sector to see if I could find any nasty surprises, I jumped to Queen's Retribution to check freighter prices. Ships were easy to get rid of, and since it would take bloody ages to ferry enough fuel for the Sanguis Angelus to make the jump to its new home I decided to get a Dolphin to do the job. That is, if I had enough money.

It turned out I did have enough money, so I ordered one and equipped it to be my private loot hold slash multipurpose freighter. A Split Caiman might have been better due to its greater speed, but since I didn't have the rep to buy it I had to stick to the Dolphin. In a fantastic glimpse of imagination I named it Pachyderm and wandered off to see if I could find something useful to do while the shipyard built my ship.

Urgh. I think I've got a case of the stupid again. Yeah, I accepted a covert mission for an Argon woman. Against my better knowledge, thank you very much. Let's just say I've done them once or twice before, and these guys might be the only ones dumber than freighter pilots. It's the stuff that will give you nightmares. Or the uncontrollable urge to slam your head against a bulkhead until you pass out. However, since there were no Xenon sectors the dimwit could fly through, and consequently get himself killed, I decided to do it anyway.

What? I'm supposed to follow a Vulture Super Freighter? Oh, boy. Better break out the comics, cause this is probably gonna take a while. Or three. On the bright side my Dolphin was finally finished, so I sent it south to Queen's Harbour to get a jump drive and some e-cells. Welcome to the fleet, Pachyderm. Now I just had to follow Captain Greased Lightning over there to Gunne knew where, if I didn't fall asleep behind the stick first.

Alright, he's moving. Match speed, aim the nose at the gate and wait, wait, wait. Then wait some more. And another bit. And then some more. Let the Vulture fly through the gate and then … drum roll, please … wait! Then fly through the gate myself, find the bastard and wash, rinse, repeat. He headed north toward Queen's Retribution, and for a moment I imagined it trying to snail its way across X598. I had never seen them go on for more than five sectors though, so worst case scenario was that I had to tag along all the way to Bright Profit.

As I approached the north gate in Queen's Harbour I met Pachyderm, and a rather angry pirate in a Harrier Vanguard. He was stupid enough to attack head on, and a few blasts from my HEPTs made him a dead pirate. Okey, I guess some of the pirates could be just as dumb as the one who had just flown through the gate in a Vulture SF. Shallow end of the gene pool and all that.

She continued to trundle north, so I had some fun with 'Pachy' in the meantime. I got the jump drive and had stuffed it with 1100 e-cells, and now I sent it to Menelaus' Oasis to trade that piss poor 1 MJ shield for some proper 25 MJ shielding. As it turned out the shield complex there only had one shield in stock, and they were also running low on BoFu. Even I could figure out what to do with that, and since Queen's Harbour had a BoFu factory I could probably get Pachy to fill 'em up. Heh, looked like I might end up a trader after all. That would have to wait, though. Right now I needed to refuel the Sanguis Angelus, so I sent Pachy over and ordered it to move into transporter range. The navcom was still borked though, so I had to jump back there myself and transfer the navigational data from the Durandal. Work, work, work.

To make a long story short the Vulture SF did stop in Bright Profit, and the whole deal made me some ninety one grand richer and made me an Argon Federation Member. Yeah, gimme a minute and I can give you detailed instructions on where you can stick it.

A few moments after I got my rank increase I received a funny message 'calling all pilots' to Omicron Lyrae to help integrate the Terrans into the Commonwealth. It had been three years since the gate to the Sol system had been reopened, but the Terrans had been pretty anal about not letting unauthorized ships into their system. There were rumors flying around about massive ships and highly advanced technology though, so it might be worth the trip. If not for anything else, then just to take a look at what they had. Besides, Terran connections might be worth something later on. Yeah, I might just do this. But first I had other business to attend to.

"Encrypted channel open. System wide burst transmission selected."
"Durandal to Sanguis Angelus. Do you copy, Jako?" I had to wait a few seconds before the reply came back.
"Loud and clear, captain. What's up?"
"Our pirate rep just took a dive, so I want you out of there. I've got a cozy new lair for us, and I'm on my way back with the coordinates as we speak. And I hope you didn't shoot down the e-cell load I sent you."
"Nah. Jin's trigger finger was itching for a moment, but we stopped him before he splattered it all over the place." Jin t'Spr was my tactical officer, and being your typical Split he had the habit of shooting first and not bother with any questions. "But … 'Pachyderm', captain?" Jako's face looked like he was trying to decide whether to frown or grin, but was unable to make up his mind.
"I know. We can arrange a naming contest or something once we moved to the new place. Durandal out." I cut the link and hit the jump drive, and a few minutes later I had docked with the Sanguis Angelus. Kyra was waiting in the hangar ready to hook up the Durandal's navcom to the mainframe, and after a few more minutes we were ready to jump.

"Alright, Kali," I said as I typed in the last commands and sent Pachyderm ahead. "Take us to our new temporary home. Coordinates are one-eight-one-six-one-triple-O."
"One-eight-one-six-one-zero-zero-zero, aye. Gate locked in, jumping in ten, nine, eight, seven, six …" I looked outside and took a deep breath. The light of a thousand suns filled the bridge for a moment before the view ports automatically darkened to protect us, then the swirling pattern of the wormhole appeared in front of us. I had made jumps like these more times than I cared to count, but this time it felt … different. Like something was … I don't know … waiting, in lack of a better word.

A few seconds later we came through the gate at the other end, and I took us up above the ecliptic. Fifty kilometers up we would be safe from anyone who strayed into the sector, and I gave Jin permission to shoot anyone that strayed close enough to discover us. He looked like he enjoyed the thought of that. Me, I headed back to the Durandal and prepared to go check out what the fuss in Omicron Lyrae was all about. Jako didn't like it one bit and wanted me to take the Sanguis Angelus just to be safe, but showing up in a fully armed frigate might look a liiittle conspicuous. So I told him to order Pachyderm to get some jump fuel and a spare navcom, and track the Durandal in case something bad happened.

Okey, Terrans. Let's see what you have in store for me.


Asset list

M7 Wolf - Sanguis Angelus
M3 Chimera - Durandal
M3 Chimera - Gram

TS Dolphin - Pachyderm

235 603 credits

Posted: Mon, 10. Sep 12, 21:45
by Triaxx2
You got killed by a P? In a Chimera? Pardon me. *door slam* *racous laughter*

Okay, I'm better now. Sorry to hear that. Perhaps you'll provide us a summary of what was SUPPOSED to have happened. Maybe so you can make it a slightly longer 'story' instead of a DiD.

Posted: Mon, 10. Sep 12, 23:36
by Zaitsev
*slaps Triaxx with a wet napkin*

Yeah, I managed to get "P-ed" (that just sounds wrong, doesn't it). I suspect that one of my mods borked up though, cause it had an insane turning rate. Like 20 rpm or something.

When it comes to writing a summary of sorts I might do it, but I kind of feel that I should take the hint and just leave it be, at least for now. Besides, I'm terrible at writing pure fiction so I just don't think it would be any good.

In addition to that I'm already working on a new story, but we'll have to wait and see how that turn out. I will revisit this in some way, shape or form at a later time, but if I try one more time right now I think I'm prone to cheat in a Skirnir and an AtmoLifter loaded with Shadows and level the entire universe :p Could be fun to watch, but that's something my next character would be more likely to do :fg:

Posted: Tue, 11. Sep 12, 00:27
by Triaxx2
Hmm... no that sounds like the P. It's insanely agile for a corvette, and it uses every bit of it. The only way to attack it is from above or below.

Well, in that case, get on this new story. You're too good a writer to stagnate.