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

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

Post by Scion Drakhar » Wed, 28. Mar 12, 00:50

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A Rogue's Tale - Book II

By Scion Drakhar (aka Daniel Heim) and friends

DiD / Cooperative Fiction

Spoilers Guaranteed

(You have been warned)

Welcome to Book II of A Rogue's Tale. If you haven't read From Nothing I highly recommend that you do before continuing or you will be lost.

1. The Death of a Dream

They had to cut the hatch off the escape pod. Lu beamed me into the thing and fired it out into space just moments before the Credo et Amo went nuclear. I want to believe he made it off too ... but I just don't know. As I was tumblin' through the goop in the Maelstrom my pod hit something. At the time the only thing that mattered was that I didn't have a leak. But, apparently, that bang damaged the hatch. Hence the cuttin'.

I'd been in the thing for nearly eight days when they found me. You wouldn't believe the smell. When the hatch finally opened the guys that cut through it actually gagged. It was like old socks and moldy shoes mixed with the stench of a backed up toilet. I don't think I'd have believed you a week ago if you told me that I could create that kind of stench all by myself. I shouldn't complain. I'm alive and a lot of other people aren't.

When I climbed out of that pod the first thing I saw was Z'ppt standin' in front of me with four of his crew. The next thing I noticed was that the six of us were the only ones in the hangar bay. There were maybe a dozen planes in various states of repair. But there were no people. And, considerin' what we'd just been through, and the state of the planes I was lookin' at, the place should have been alive with shoutin' knuckle-draggers, and sparks flyin' away from grinders and we should have had to shout over the sounds of impact hammers and rivet guns and the roar of planes takin' off in the tubes. But there was nothin'. Five guys stood in front of me and it was so quiet I could hear the ember sizzle at the end of this one guy's cigarette.

"Drake," Z'ppt said. Not 'Admiral' but 'Drake.' As I looked at him with the questions in my eyes he stepped forward to clasp my hand and help me down from the pod.

"Z'ppt," I said. "What's goin' on?" I looked around. "Where's your flight crew?"

"Huh," the guy with the cigarette laughed. "They're gone, sir. Long gone."

I glanced at the smoker and back to Z'ppt. "It has been an eventful wozura, Drake. Much has happened."

I stared at him for a moment and then looked back to the smoker. I hadn't had a cigarette in days and the smell was impossible to ignore. "You got another one of those?" I asked him. He grinned at me then pulled a pack out of his breast pocket and shook one out for me. "Thanks." I said and lit it.

After a good long drag Z'ppt put a hand on my shoulder. "Come," he said. "Walk with me."

I knew I was in trouble. I could feel it. I'm pretty sure I'd been feelin' it for the better part of the past week. I nodded and took a drag of my cigarette. It was a lousy smoke but after the past week it tasted like the best tobacco in the universe. I fell in beside Z'ppt as we walked and for a time neither or us said anythin'. I smoked my cigarette. I listened to our footsteps echo in the empty ship. Then I noticed the lights flicker.

I looked around and back to Z'ppt. He nodded. "She's been hurt, Drake. She's been hurt badly. They nuked us and we had fuel line ruptures all along our starboard flank." He sighed and looked at me. "We lost nearly a hundred men in those fires. Before we jumped away we lost half our shielding and tons of other equipment. Then ..." He sighed and looked at me again.

I could only stare at him. I was numb. I'd been numb since the Credo et Amo exploded behind me. I'd been numb since the first wave of torpedoes we shot at the pirates were shot down. I don't know how they managed it but somehow the pirates ... or I guess I should say the Terrans ... had come up with some kind of new missile screen and it was incredibly effective. We emptied the Sword of Aggrievance of ordinance and out of two Galleons, a Brigantine, and four Carracks we only managed to take out two of the Carracks. I don't know how they did it. I remember hearin' one of the Typhaon fighter pilots say somethin' about drones. But no matter what it was, however they were doin' it, my torpedoes, my primary weapon against enemy capitals, had suddenly become impotent. For all the good my nukes were doin' I might as well have been usin' a straw and spit balls. If that wasn't bad enough an ATF fleet jumped into the sector behind us. They stayed out of sensor range, and the pirates had destroyed my satellites days ago. So the first warning we got that we were in real trouble had been the missile alert. Apparently the Terrans thought I needed a dose of my own medicine. By the time we knew what was happenin' the Credo et Amo was already dyin'. I'd ordered the other ships out of sector but the last thing I saw from the bridge of Lu's Boreas was those nukes breakin' the Typhaon's back. After that I spent eight mostly uneventful days in an escape pod expecting to suffocate to death in the stench of my own filth. So at that moment I honestly didn't think I could feel anythin'. I was wrong.

Z'ppt stopped walkin' and squared off with me. "The money's gone Drake."

"Say again?"

"The money. It is gone. We have no money. Your accounts ... it is like they never existed. All of the money that should have been there to pay the crew and the pilots. To pay our wages, to pay for repairs to the Tiamat. It is gone as if it never was."

I blinked and rocked back on my heels. I don't think he could have hit me any harder if he'd punched me. I took another drag from my cigarette. "That's really bad," I said as I exhaled.

"A few days ago, when it became known that there was no money coming to them, the crew began leaving. I only have a skeleton crew, Drake. Only those loyal to me or with nowhere else to go have stayed. The rest left the ship in Grand Exchange or fled shortly thereafter in the holds of stolen fighters."

I nodded.

"And that is only the beginning."

I just looked at him. Z'ppt was staring at me, waitin' for me to tell him I was ready. I wasn't but it didn't matter anymore. "Well," I said. "Go ahead."

He nodded. You know I knew what he was going to say before he said it? "The terrans have destroyed both complexes." It didn't surprise me at all. It still hit like a sledgehammer to the gut but it didn't surprise me. "Apparently they hit both sectors at the same time ..."

"Apparently?" I met his eye.

"The only ships I can reach are the Osan'Gar and the Endless, which found us. All the rest are ..." He shook his head. "... silent."

"The Endless is safe?" I asked.

"Yes, and your mother with it."

"How do you know that?"

"She has been calling." Z'ppt met my eye. "She is a very ... interesting ... woman."

"Yeah," I said. "That's one word for her." I was relieved though. I am relieved. No matter how much she irritates me Hayla's the only family I've got.

"I know of the events in Avarice from Legion and the Events at DEMC beta and the House of Dreams from snippets we have caught on the net. Bits and pieces of overheard broadcasts in Teladi sectors. The satellite network is gone. Our encryption frequencies have been breached and shut down. The last time I attempted to reach the Destiny or the Sirrush, or any of the others, a Terran recon drone jumped in on top of us. We destroyed it and jumped away but I dare not try again in case next time it is something we cannot destroy."

I nodded. "Where are we now?"

"The Maelstom," he said. "Still searching for survivors."

I snorted. The scene of the crime, I thought.

"We have been conducting search and rescue missions for the last two days."

It occurred to me then that once again I owed him my life. He could have done anything. He could have taken the ship and what remained of his crew and just run. Many would have. If he'd done that I'd probably be dead. "Thank you," I said, and meant it.

He showed me an uncommonly gentle smile for a Split. Then he shrugged. "I need people," he said. "This ship is empty."

I chuckled, even though I still felt hollow. "So you were just looking for a crew?" I jested.

He showed me some teeth and nodded. "Yes." Then he looked me up and down. "We have had problems with the toilets," he told me sadly. "I need someone to swab the heads. Would you like a mop?" I laughed and he clapped me on the shoulder. "Come. I know someone who will be very glad to see you."

As we walked I finished my smoke and mulled over what he'd told me. "So we don't know who is alive and who isn't?"

Z'ppt shook his head. "The Credo et Amo and the Typhaon are destroyed. The pirates spent the better part of a day searching for escape pods and destroying them." He turned and looked at me. "You are very lucky to be standing here, Drake."

I nodded. "I saw some of that. When I realized what they were doing I killed the power in the pod and waited until I couldn't stand the cold before startin' it up again. A few hours later I saw them come back and did it all over again. It went on like that for the better part of eight stazura. It was touch and go for a while."

Z'ppt nodded. "Some others did as you did, but not many. Thousands of our dead have been lost in this nebula. Ea't only has the Osan'Gar and one Dragon now and both are damaged. All of his heavy corvettes were destroyed. Although he has not had the same problems with his crews that I have with mine. As far as I know not one of his crew has fled his ship although I think he may have killed several." Z'ppt chuckled. "I should adopt his methods. Terror seems to work well for him."

I nodded, not really connectin'. "What of the others?"

He took a breath and sighed, all mirth gone. "The Ragnarök, the Guardian and the Raptor you had guarding the House of Dreams have all been destroyed, along with the Hammer and the Kudos." I winced with every ship he named. "The terrans were proud of their victory and showed footage of their deaths."

I dropped my cigarette and stepped on it. I was angry ... but I also felt crushed. I felt like I'd risen above my station, like I'd challenged the gods ... and been struck down for my temerity. "What of the Magus? Or Destiny? The Flamingo or Sirrush or Wildcat or ... ?"

He was shaking his head. "The Magus was destroyed but we managed to rescue some of her crew. Of the others ... I do not know, Drake," he said. "We have not been able to reach anyone but Legion and Ea't s'Quid."

"Some of her crew?"

Z'ppt smiled at me. "Gin Ookami is alive, Drake."

I exhaled a breath I didn't know I was holdin'.

"There is more that you should know."

"I don't know if I can handle any more, Z'ppt," I said but steeled myself anyway.

"I think you will like to hear this." I looked up at him. "The Earth's Torus Aeternal has been destroyed."

I blinked at him. "Say what?"

"The big ring around Terra's central planet?"

I nodded. "I know what it is. How? When?"

"The day after we were defeated," he said. "It was sabotage. Terra claims it was a commonwealth agent that was responsible. Tensions have been escalating and it looks like Terra intends to move against the Argon sectors around Omicron Lyrae."

I was starin' at him. I couldn't quite wrap my head around what he was tellin' me. It was too big. "If they do that ..." I whispered.

"It will be war," Z'ppt finished for me. "If the Terrans do attack I believe the entire community of planets will have to respond. Terra is too dangerous. If she is allowed to divide us none of the five races can stand against her on their own. It could very well be the first thing all five races agree to since we adopted the 'credit.'" He was smilin' when he said it. But the smile faded quickly as he watched me. After a moment he nodded to himself. "Come," he said. "I'm sure you wish to bathe and eat and rest in the company of your si'vetni."

"My what?"

He smiled. "Beloved?"

"Oh," I nodded. "Yes," I said. "Yes, very much."

After that we walked along in silence. I didn't think. I barely noticed where I was. I felt hollow and vast and everything Z'ppt had told me seemed to be echoin' in the empty spaces inside me. A few moments later we stepped off a lift into an empty corridor. Halfway down the hall the lights were out and a wall panel was sprayin' sparks across the corridor. Z'ppt paused for a moment to redirect power around it and then fell back into step beside me. He led me to a compartment that turned out to be the galley. On the other side of the room a tall, lean woman with dark, shoulder length hair was sittin' alone in front of the view screens. She was lookin' out at the Osan'Gar which was a few kilometers away and barely visible through the Maelstrom's fog. The woman turned as the hatch opened and looked at us. At me. Eyes the color of clear desert skies looked right through me. I felt my breath leave me and a moment later she was on her feet and crossin' the room faster than you'd believe possible.

"Drake!" she said, and threw her arms around me.

"Gin," I whispered and hugged her back.

An instant later she stepped back and pushed me away as she covered her nose. "Oh! Drake you reek!"

I nodded. "Yeah," I laughed. "I think the air scrubbers in the pod were damaged." I smiled. "Stars! It is good to see you."

She smiled at me. "And you," she said, then added apologetically, "but you need a bath." There was this look in her eyes that held me. It told me clearly that she'd been wonderin' if she would ever see me again. I smiled back at her and for a moment no one said anything. Then Z'ppt clapped me on the shoulder again.

"I should be getting back to work," he said. "There is much to do." He looked at Gin. "Can I leave him with you?" She nodded and he looked back to me. "We will talk again in a Stazura or so."

I nodded. "Thanks," I said. He smiled at me and nodded.

"Bathe," he said. "Eat. Rest. We will talk after."

I exhaled a little shakily and he walked away.

"Come on," Gin said. "Let's get you clean."

"Aye," I said. "That would be good."

We didn't talk for a while. The first thing was, indeed, to wash the stench off me and get some clean clothes. So she took me to an empty head and stuffed me in a shower. The water was only lukewarm and the pressure was inconsistent. The soap was clean, though, and after a week in the same clothes it felt really good to get clean. While I was bathing Gin fetched me some clean clothes. After I dressed we returned to the galley and scrounged up a meal, which consisted primarily of military rations and weak coffee. It wasn't very appetizing but it was food and after days of nothing but protein paste even a flash frozen meatsteak and some liquefied vegetable matter was a feast. After I finally dropped my spork onto the tray and leaned back I found myself wondering how she came to be on the Tiamat. She saw me watchin' her and squinted, I think knowin' what would come next.

"How many survived?" I asked.

She knew what I meant. "Kyle Sillarn, Met Selek, Kao t'Kt, Toki Fisty, Pico Rider, and Jo Pareii were with me in one Tenjin. The rest of the crew was in the other but ..." she shook her head sadly. "... it was shot down. They hunted us, and Drake they were both ruthless and relentless. I watched as they destroyed escape pods and other fighters even as the pilots surrendered. We would find no mercy. So we ran. Once several ATF interceptors pursued us. It was very difficult being in the back seat for all of that. Kyle was good ..."

"But you're better."

"He managed to destroy both of the Mjölnir but we took some damage and lost our sensors. After that I told him to fly us a few hundred klicks straight out into space. Then we waited and watched. After about forty mizura all of our satellite feeds, all of our communications ... they all went down at the same time. The whole universe went dark." She looked at me. "I hadn't realized how much I'd grown used to your network until it was gone."

I nodded. "Yeah, it's scary bein' in the dark." She reached out and took my hand. I gave her hand a squeeze. Then asked, "so how'd you hook up with the Tiamat?"

"We had one camera drone aboard the Tenjin. With no food, or water, or bathroom facilities that Tenjin started to feel like a tin coffin. So after about three stazura we fired that camera drone back at the sector and let it take a look around. It was a gamble. Even the short range communication can be tracked and if they knew we were out there ..."

I nodded. "Those ATF interceptors are a lot faster than a Tenjin."

"Yes. But instead of terrans we found the Tiamat. So Kyle dropped us off but ..." She looked at me . "Do you know that you have no money?"

I grit my teeth then and nodded. "Yeah," I said. "Z'ppt informed me."

"Well when it became apparent that they weren't going to get paid everyone but Kao and I left with Kyle."

"Kao's here?"

She nodded. "He's sleeping. We've both been helping out where we can. There are many repairs to be made and much work to be done and not enough people to do it. But it's been days and even I get tired."

"You two are very effective together," I said.

She shrugged. "We understand each other."

I nodded.

"So what happens now?" She asked me.

"I don't know," I said. "Right now it's just a jumble in my head. Everything's just tumblin' over everything else. Right now I just ..." I shook my head. "I really just want a drink and a long nap."

She nodded and stood up, pullin' me out of my seat to follow her. "Come on." She took me back to the quarters Z'ppt had given her. With there being so few people on the ship she had the room to herself. So we locked the door behind us and made love like we were the last two people in all of creation, holdin' onto each other like we were drownin' and all that kept us afloat was each other. And afterward I rested, and held her with my face buried in her hair ... but I didn't sleep. Or if I did it was only the shallow, dream filled hash of a mind in shock. And a few hours later I was up and starin' through a porthole at the Endless.

I heard Gin moving behind me, and a moment later she wrapped her arms around my chest. "You okay?" she murmured into my back.

I covered one of her hands with one of my own. "As long as you're with me I am."

She squeezed me, pressing herself into my back. "You're my home," she said and I could hear the emotion in her voice.

"And you mine," I breathed and for a moment we just stood there and I felt the thoughts tumblin' around in my head, tryin' to sort themselves out. At some point I started noddin'. "I need to find out what happened to that money," I said.

"If the Wakiya are meant to destabilize the Commonwealth," she said, "then economic warfare would be within their purview."

"Yeah but nobody throws away half a billion credits," I said. "No, it went somewhere ... and I'm gonna find it. And I'm gonna find whoever took it. And I'm gonna make 'em regret it."

Oddly enough I think I felt her smile against my back. "Then I'm coming with you."

"Good," I said. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

A little while later Gin and I met Z'ppt in engineerin', where he was helpin' with some repairs to one of the ships generators. As we walked up he nodded to us, but had his hands full hodlin' a waist thick bundle of conduit cables up and out of the way so Kao t'Kt and one the Tiamat's knuckle draggers could work underneath it. It was obviously heavy so Gin and I stepped forward to give him a hand.

"Drake," Z'ppt greeted me.

"Z'ppt," I said.

"I am glad to see you live, Admiral," Kao t'Kt greeted me from inside the three meter square junction box.

"It's good to see you too, Gunny."

"You know," the knuckle dragger began, "you both realize that you're now an 'Admiral' without a fleet and a Gunnery Sergeant without any troops to command, right?" It was the guy that had given me the smoke on the hangar deck. "There's nothing left of ... Uh! ... us anymore." He met my eye through the mass of cables. "We're it." Then he turned and nodded to Kao t'Kt. "That should do it. Thanks for the help big guy."

"Of course, Jaren Riggs," Kao answered him. "It is my honor."

"Uh ... yeah. Sure. Whatever you say, big guy." They were both wriggling out from inside the junction box and I couldn't help but chuckle at Riggs' irreverence. A moment later they were clear and we eased the bundle of cables into their restin' position and stepped back. Z'ppt stood up straight and put both fists into his lower back and stretched. I don't know how long he'd been holdin' those cables by himself but either way I once again found myself impressed with how strong the Split are. Riggs stood up and brushed himself off as Kao t'Kt and I exchanged the ser'kavi. Then he tapped a cigarette out and noticed me glance at the pack. He shook another one out and offered it to me.

"Thanks," I said.

"Eh. Whatever."

I chuckled to myself again and lit the smoke. It tasted like crap but at least it was tobacco. After it was lit I glanced at Z'ppt again.

"I see the mettle of a decision in your eye, Drake," Z'ppt stated.

"Aye," I nodded. Then I glanced at Gin and she nodded. Briefly I looked at Riggs and then Kao t'Kt before meetin' Z'ppt's eyes again. "I'm givin' you the Tiamat," I said. "You can sell her or keep her. It's up to you. Either way she's yours."

He frowned and then looked at his feet before looking back at me.

"I'm just gonna ask for one of those planes in the hangar bay. Hopefully one of them still flies?"

He nodded absently, but he was still frowning. "So this is it, then?" he asked me.

I looked around but kept my mouth shut for a moment. Then I nodded and met his gaze again. "Yeah," I said. "Yeah it is. At least for now. I'm goin' after the money. Without it I can't ..." I shook my head. "I can't even support the ships I have left. I'll be giving Ea't the ships under his command and I'll take the Endless. With Legion in control she doesn't need the same kind of crew that other ships do. There are a lot of people on that ship. Women and children, families of many of the folks we lost, and they've got nowhere else to go. I'll take care of 'em if they want to stick with me. I'll let 'em go if they don't." I met his eye again. He looked like he'd just bit into a lemon. "You alright?"

He nodded. "I just want a drink," he said.

I nodded and looked at my feet. "You and me both, brother. You and me both."

"Drakhar," Kao t'Kt said. I think it was the first time he ever called me by name. "I will accompany you if you will have me.

"I'd be glad to have you," I said. "I can't pay you ..."

"For now," he said. "Yet I think your destiny is far from written, and I would see the pages unfold."

I grinned. "Welcome aboard then."

A little while later I sat down at the wireless to tell Ea't the same thing I'd just told Z'ppt. Gin and Gunny t'Kt were lookin' through the available birds for one worth takin'. If we could get it over to the Endless I had plenty of weapons and shields for it. It was the software and high tech equipment that were in short supply all of a sudden. Funny how fast things can change. A month and a half ago I had nothin'. I used to joke about how I couldn't even take a shower, but at the time it was true and it was no joke. A week and a half ago I had everything. I was a billionaire and could afford just about anything I wanted. Now, in the blink of an eye, I was back to bein' broke again. The difference was this time I knew what it was like to have somethin' worth losin'.

The screen flickered to life as Ea't accepted my call. "Lord Drake!" he said.

I shook my head. "Not anymore, Ea't. Not right now, anyway. Maybe never again."

Ea't scowled at me. "What mean?"

"The complexes are gone. The fleet's been destroyed and somebody stole my money. I can't pay you so the only way I've got to say thank you for not leavin' me to die out here in this puke is to give you the ships you already command and hopefully we'll meet again someday."

Ea't continued to scowl at me. "What you do?"

"Me? I'm goin' after the money."

Ea't nodded.

"What are you gonna do?"

"I look H'nt. Him likely dead. But I look anyway. Maybe Z'ppt come along. Easier with Panther. Avarice big place."

I nodded. "Be careful. The terrans are probably still crawling all over it."

"You too, Drake." He nodded to himself then he met my eye. "Been fun, yes?"

"Yeah," I grinned. "It has. Goodbye Ea't."

"Fare thee well, Drake." I blinked and Ea't grinned at me. Then he cut comms and I was starin' at snow. I turned the monitor off and went to help Gunny and Gin. They'd chosen a Tenjin and were in the process of equippin' it with the computer and equipment packages that Z'ppt could spare. It didn't amount to much. A cargo life support system, a mark I combat computer, a boost extension and some vid gogs. We didn't even have a decent sensor array for the thing. Even so gettin' it ready with just the three of us took the better part of two stazura. I kept tellin' myself that at the very least we'd be well armed.

Yeah. Not so much.

Normally when I sent a Mistral up to OTAS to sell our surplus I kept a reserve of all the weapons and shields I'd need to equip my fighters. That usually meant at least fifty high energy plasma throwers, another fifty phased repeater guns, fifty pulsed beam emitters, twenty particle accelerator cannons, thirty 25 megajoule shields, a thousand mosquitoes, and another thousand wasps. It wasn't until I actually got to the Endless and asked one of the deckhands for an inventory list that I remembered tellin' 'em to "sell all of it." With Cala Ma screamin' in my ear and the attack on the pirates loomin' in front of me I'd been short on both time and cash. That was right before we set out for the Maelstrom.


There was nothin' on the Endless. The holds were empty. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't have frakked myself over any more thoroughly had I set out to do it on purpose. That was when I noticed Legion's beat up old Mamba Sentinel half way down the hangar deck. Ok, I didn't notice it. Gin did. I saw her walkin' towards it and the light went on. It took the better part of the next three stazura but eventually we got the weapons and solitary 25mj shield from Legion's Mamba Sentinel transferred to the Tenjin.

As we were workin' Ea't and Z'ppt both jumped away. I don't know if they left together or went their separate ways. I don't know if I'm ever gonna see either one of 'em again. But here I am. I've got a hospital ship carrying over twenty five hundred people that're countin' on me not to get 'em killed like I did their husbands and wives and sons and daughters. I've got two fighters with minimal equipment. And I've got no money whatsoever.

I guess we're on to the next adventure.


For this story I will be using:

X3 AP 2.0 with bonus pack

***Modified*** Bankrupt Assassin Start

Lucike Script Collection
Factory Complex Constructor
Improved Boarding
NPC Bailing Addon set for as few bails as possible
Salvage Command Software
NPC Salvagers (as competition)
Marine Training Manager

(So far)
1. Dead is Dead

2. The Endless may not enter combat. There are over twenty five hundred people aboard that need to be protected and the Captain is a pacifist. It may defend itself if attacked but I can't use it as a warship to defend a position or give it an order to attack.

3. Neither the passengers nor the medical equipment aboard the Endless can be removed. That cargo space is simply unavailable.

4. In order for a capital ship to use it's weapons a full crew (Scientist, Technicians, Gunners) must be aboard.

5. I can make repairs to my personal ship but only for fighter classes and only to ninety percent of maximum hull (ish - M5's repair really fast.) All else must be paid for.

6. Before trading with the Split again I must redeem myself in their eyes by achieving a race rank of 11 - Honored Strong Arm of Rhonkar.

6. The Terrans are my enemy. I can never trade with them or take missions from them.


This is the supposedly current and supposedly complete list of the installed mods in this play through:

Community Plugin Manager :: Cycrow :: 1.51
X3 Unleashed :: Jaga Telesin :: RC2
MARS :: Gazz :: 5.26
Align ship with eliptic :: Gazz ::
X-Tra Ship/Station Pack for Albion Prelude :: Cadius :: 2.01
CODEA, MEFOS, Military Transport, Jump Beacon and Basic Salary from the Lucike Script Collection
Pirate Guild :: Serial Kicked ::
Yaki Armada :: Serial Kicked ::
Anarkis Defense System :: Serial Kicked :: with modified setup.xml from Bullwinkle to allow marine training on all full sized capital ships (M1,M2 &TL)
NPC Bailing Addon :: ThisIsHarsh :: 1.7.8 set for minimum NPC bailing and only for small ships, ie, no floating capital ships for me to claim.
Jump to Me :: Graxster :: 1.0
Salvage Command Suite :: TECSG :: 3.38
Salvage Commands and NPCs :: ThisIsHarsh :: 1.5 For Competition.
Improved Boarding (Bullwinkle's Hacked Version) :: Cycrow w/ hacks by Bullwinkle ::
MarCon Clone Station :: mark_a_condren :: Necessary to allow capital ship docking at Cadius' Teladi shipyards and equipment docks.
Mission Briefing Fix :: kurush
500km comm range Cos not being able to talk at distances >25km is just... nevermind. I'll be nice.
Safe undocking_jumping
Docking lockup fix
Equipment Research and Development :: Cycrow ::
Cartel Shield Hacker :: Bullwinkle ::
Organic Boron Hulls :: Bullwinkle :: Cos. Just cos.
Teleporter :: Bullwinkle ::
Super Script Killer :: Bullwinkle ::
Factory Complex Constructor :: Dusty :: Awesome mod. Can't play without it.
Mobile Mining Mk2 :: Bullwinkle ::
Extended Numeric ranks :: Commander SAMU :: Pirates and Yaki only
Passenger to Marine :: Bullwinkle ::
MkIII Improvement Reloaded Makes UT's smarter.
Prospector by Lucike. Lets me specify things like nividium and ice as target resources. Also allows miners to use mobile drilling stations to break up smaller rocks into collectible pieces. Very handy.
Last edited by Scion Drakhar on Fri, 16. Jul 21, 14:49, edited 11 times in total.
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Post by Kirlack » Wed, 28. Mar 12, 02:20

Oi! :D I can't wait! Good luck! :D :D :D

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Post by Triaxx2 » Wed, 28. Mar 12, 02:34

Captain's Log, Ea't s'Quid:

It has been just over one galactic standard week since the failed attack on the pirates in Maelstrom. Leviathan, and the other Heavy Dragon were destroyed. Morgan jumped out with the Hussar, and I was able to keep the Deceptor safe long enough to get it out of the sector.

Osan'Gar now has new battle scars, but she survived. Amongst my crew, I discovered several Traitors. They were punished. And then executed. The remaining crew are all loyal. Of this I am sure.

Ch't F'rst, my brother in arms, is currently aboard the Deceptor. He is now hunting down mercenaries. While they will not be as well trained as Drake's Forces, I am certain that Ch't will have them in combat shape before long. I intend to ensure that when Lord Drake calls upon me once more, that I arrive at the head of the mightiest fleet I can manage to put together.

Yes, it is true that Lord Drake has denied his title. But by Ancient Split custom, older than those ties which make us family, once a title has been given, only the giver may revoke it. I am Ea't s'Quid, and by my House and honor, I REFUSE to revoke his title.

Let any who stand as his enemies, stand as mine.

It is time for my house to rise again.


Captain's Log, Supplemental, Morgan Utley in command.

I don't know what's happened to me. I am here aboard Hussar, but I don't know where I am. Okay, that's wrong. I do know. I'm in Maelstrom, where I had jumped to escape the Pirate Fleet, and flank them. But the pirates here aren't red, they aren't aggressive, and they are certainly nowhere near as numerous as they were just minutes ago. I'm not sure where I...

Hang on. I'm receiving a signal. I know that transponder number. The Ryu recorded arriving through the jump gate at the House of Dreams. It's time to find out what's going on here. Jumpdrive engaged...

End Log.

Captain's Log, Ch't F'rst:

From tiny acorns rise mighty oaks. It is an old Earth saying. Split have one similar, which does not translate well.

This... ship, I have been given is a somewhat mighty one, though I suspect that it has seen better days, and perhaps can be out run by a space suit rowing a bathtub.

But it's shields are mighty, and I will make it a strong ship. For the glory of Goto, and for the glory of Lord Drake, I will raise a fleet.

Ea't is my adopted brother, and none would I have before him. I swear I shall up hold his wish.

End Log.

Personal Log, H'nt c'Pu:

Hmm... the Kestrel is a surprisingly quick little bird. I'm not really a scout pilot, but I don't think that really matters. My ship is gone. I don't know what's happened to C'lt.

I'm going to see my sister, and have her give Ea't a message. Then I'm going hunting... I will find my answers. And kill those responsible. Fal'chk.

End Log.
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Post by Nathancros » Wed, 28. Mar 12, 10:25

heeey scion! :D PM me if u want to talk bout lucifer coming back/ not coming back/ being replaced. etc etc! :D

also very good first chap, cant wait to see how AP goes for you,

oh btw, Avarice in AP is a teladi sector now i thinks XD

wonder if they came for the GIANT wreckage?
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Post by Scion Drakhar » Wed, 28. Mar 12, 18:07

Previous Chapter

Triaxx that gave me chills. That was awesome.

Okay, so here we begin in earnest. I hope you all enjoy:

2. Life Goes On

Right. So I've been up for I don't know how long. I never really slept in that pod. I mean I dozed but I didn't sleep. Not really. Not the deep, restful sleep you need to recover strength and sanity. The nap I took with Gin was much the same. I think I dozed a little but I didn't rest. I didn't recover. Then, workin' on that damn Tenjin took over five stazura, or twenty two hours. When that was done Gunny, Gin and I made our way to the bridge to talk with Legion and get our bearings. Despite the ship being my property I never spent much time on it. We needed quarters. We needed to learn our way around. We needed to become familiar with our environment. But most of all we needed to get the hell out the Maelstrom. It wasn't safe, and with Ea't and Z'ppt and the warships now gone it was even less so. I also wanted to start workin' on a plan to find and recover my money and figured that if anyone could track it down Legion could.

Boy was I in for a surprise.

The first clue I had that somethin' was wrong was when we stepped off the lift onto the command level. I was used to Legion leavin' the lights off until someone arrived that needed them. But when we stepped off the lift all of the lights remained dark, and let me tell you, without lights a starship is a bloody dark place.

“Legion?” I called out to the ship. “Legion the lights are out. Legion?”

The three of us stood there in the light from the lift and exchanged worried looks. Gunny had a torch mounted underneath the barrel of his repeater and flipped it on as Gin lifted her wrist communicator and activated the screen. It came to life and cast a pale green glow out into the hallway. I imitated her and we fell in behind Gunny with enough light to at least guide our steps. Even with the light, though, the dark was oppressive. It teased at the imagination. After everything that had happened it was easy to believe that there were enemies in the dark with us. It was easy to start wonderin’ if the Terrans were aboard the ship and comin’ to get me.

The corridor from the lift to the bridge seemed longer than I remembered it. As we made our way to the bridge I found myself feelin’ uncomfortably aware of how vulnerable we were. For most of the past day the Osan'Gar, the Tiamat, and the Hussar had been close enough to offer their protection. But with them gone all we had was the Endless and a single, half-armed Tenjin in the hangar. And if there was somethin’ wrong with Legion, well, then all we had was the Tenjin while bein’ sat in a three kilometer long ship that might as well have had a bullseye painted on the hull.

When we finally reached the bridge the hatch opened and we stepped through to see Legion standin' in the middle of the command deck lookin' out the forward viewscreen. He had his back to us and didn’t react to us comin’ in.

“Legion?" I called to him, but he didn't respond. When I walked around to see his face in the shadow of that hood he wears I started gettin' scared. Legion ... or perhaps I should say Legion's 'wetware' was standin' there with an idiot expression on his face. His eyes were blank. His mouth was hangin' open. A thin line of drool hung from one corner of his mouth. And he was completely unresponsive.

"Oh shit," I cursed and Gin and Gunny stepped around me to look. I turned and looked at Gin. “What’s wrong with him?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know.” She leaned in and stared at Legion’s eyes. “Look. Look at his eyes.”

I did. At first they seemed to be vibratin’. But as I looked closer I saw that they were lookin’. I don’t know at what. But they would look from left to right and then left to right. As if there was a stream of ... something, whatever it was he was followin’ ... movin’ across his vision. It was subtle, and really fast, but it was there. His eyes were trackin’ whatever it was he was seein’.

“Bloody hell,” I cursed. I looked at Gin. “We need him.”

“Well right now we don’t have him,” she said.

“Do you have any idea what’s goin’ on with him ...?”

“No,” she said and met my eye. “And I have no idea how the code of his AI is structured. Even if I could get an output of the exact code goin’ on his head it would take ... hell I don’t even know how long it would take to decipher it. Weeks maybe. Months.”

“Frak,” I said.

So here I was on the bridge of a nice, juicy heavy transport in the middle of the pirate sector where the Terrans had just kicked the hell out of us. There was a single, under-armed and under-shielded fighter in the hangar bay. There was no crew to speak of, meanin' there was no one to man the guns or put out fires or react to any of the thousand and one possible emergencies that could arise if we ran into a hostile force. But there ARE twenty five hundred people on the ship all dependin' on ... hell, dependin' on ME! ... to make sure we don't all die horribly or get captured and sold into slavery.

“Okay,” I said. “First things first. We need to get the hell out of here.”

Gin nodded and took the pilot’s chair and began callin’ up information on the engines, shields and weapons systems. I sat down at navigation and called up the universe map to plot a jump to Argon Prime ... and then just stared at the screen, not understandin’ what my eyes were showin’ me. I don't know how long I sat there thinkin' that the machine was just havin' a slow day, waitin' for it to call up the data on all the various sectors throughout the universe. I don’t know. I think I just assumed the drives were warmin’ up or somethin’. After a moment Gin looked over at me and it sank in. All of our navigational data was just gone!

I looked up and met her eye. Gunny t’Kt, normally as still and quiet as a frakkin’ statue, actually shifted uncomfortably. “We’ve got no navigational data.”

She blinked at me and then her eyes grew wide.

I nodded at the controls in front of her. “Talk to me,” I said. “Can you plot a course to the north gate?”

She nodded. “Yes.” An instant later her hands were movin’ over the keys and I felt more than heard the engines wind up. A moment later we were movin’, headin’ for the north gate to Merchants Haven, a hundred and sixty kilometers away.

I leaned back in my chair and tried to think it through. After a few moments I made a decision. “I’m headin’ for the hangar deck,” I said. “We need a scout and if somethin’ shows up that Tenjin’s our only defense.”

“I’ll do it,” she said. “You stay here.”

“No,” I said. “I need you here.”

“Drake you can’t do much in the way of scouting without any sensors,” she said. “And I don’t mean to hurt your feelings but I’m a better pilot than you.”

“Even so,” I said, “I can fly a plane and we need one either in the air or ready to go at a moments notice. Especially when we get to that gate. The Tenjin’ll have to go through first and make sure it’s clear. Now both of you have way better technical skills than I do and right now we need those skills on this ship.”

She exhaled heavily, obviously not likin’ it. But she nodded.

“First thing,” I said and pointed at Legion. “Get a medical team up here to get him down to the hospital. Second, start recruitin’ from the civies and find us some folks with technical expertise. We need gunners and mechanics and technicians ...”

She was noddin’ and lookin’ at me with worry in her eyes.

“I’m sorry to drop all that on you but I wouldn’t even know the right questions to ask.”

“Just be accessible, Drake. These people are going to be looking to you for leadership.”

I nodded. “I’ll stay in comm range.” I said.

She waved me away. “Go.”

I looked at Gunny and he nodded at me, a single, slow dip of his forehead. I nodded back and then left the command deck. A few mizura later I climbed up into the Tenjin and closed the ramp-like hatch behind me. I found one of the flight suits that Gin had packed into the Tenjin before we left the Tiamat and put it on. When all the seals were secure, and my breath was loud and close inside my helmet, I climbed up into the cockpit. I settled into the pilot seat and closed the hatch to the cargo bay. Then I spun up the engines and ran through my pre-flight checklist.

I couldn’t help but shake my head at the state of the thing. I only had a third of the shieldin’ that I’d have sent my pilots out with. I only had two plasma throwers and nothin’ in the turrets. I had no missiles. And only a ten kilometer scan radius to warn me if anythin’ was out in the dark wantin’ to eat me. Well, it wasn’t gonna get any better by mopin’ over it.

“...ssst! ...” The comm channel crackled to life in my ear. “Drake?!”


“I hope you’re good to go because we have company.”

I flipped the switch and activated the gravidar. “I see him.”

“He’s coming fast.”

“Okay, Endless. Warlock requestin’ permission to launch.”

I exhaled heavily as the catapult engaged and the G-force pressed the breath out of my lungs. I grit my teeth and felt my lips curl back from my teeth. It only lasted a moment before the inertial dampeners kicked in but it was a rush. A moment later I was free. I was out in the void with nothin’ but the fighter wrapped around me and that same old joy washed over me. Then I whipped the nose of the Tenjin around toward the back of the ship and looked for our unwelcome guest. The computer bracketed him and I punched the throttle.

It was a brief exchange. There were no threats made. No mercy asked for or given. We simply played chicken with guns blazin’ at over three hundred and sixty meters a second. An instant later it was over ... but somethin’ was wrong. Somehow that harrier had completely knocked out my shield. It was minimal damage but I couldn’t believe it had happened. Even with just twenty five megajoules of shieldin’ I should have been able to shrug off a single burst of PAC fire from a harrier. And I wasn’t the only one that noticed.


“Yeah,” I said.

“What happened? Are you hurt?” Again she was thinkin’ that she should be the one in the cockpit. I could hear it in her voice.

“I’m all right.” I said. I just don’t know how that happened and after the terrans shot down all of my torpedoes it’s kinda scarin’ the shit out of me. I didn’t say it out loud, but later, when she looked at me, I got the impression she’d heard it anyway. “Target destroyed. Warlock requestin’ permission to land.”

“Permission granted, Warlock.”

And that’s just how it went for a while. We steamed along toward the north gate watchin’ the sector map like mice watchin’ the skies. A little while later another pirate in a discoverer made a run on us and again I launched in the Tenjin to intercept. We played high speed chicken again, this time hurtlin’ toward each other at a relative speed of close to five hundred meters a second. That disco was pretty quick. This time, though, he was only armed with impulse ray emitters and I made extensive use of the maneuverin’ thrusters to make myself hard to hit. As a result I only had some static in the shields as I flew through the wreckage of his ship. Even so I found myself wishin’ I had a couple more shields and some more guns to bolt onto that fighter. Some phased repeater guns for the fast movers and a couple more high energy plasma throwers for some punch to deal with the heavies. A couple IRE’s in the turrets for missile defense, backed up with some mossies, maybe some wasps and hurricanes and a tempest or two ...


... yeah.

Anyway. After that disco we were unmolested and reached the gate to merchants haven in good time. When we were about twenty clicks out I launched again to scout through the gate before we tried bringin’ the Endless through. It was all clear until we exited into Merchants Haven when we were challenged again. I don’t know where he came from but it was another pirate in a disco. Maybe he exited after the Endless. Either way I hit the booster and made for him. When I realized he wasn’t makin’ a run on the TL, though I held my fire. He didn’t. I managed to roll out of the way just as he sent a few lances of IRE fire my way. After that I promptly destroyed his ship. I don’t know why I hesitated in the first place. I guess I just didn’t want to kill him if I didn’t have to.

Anyway, I was just about to head back to the Endless again when I took another look around and saw the Merchant’s Haven Military Base. Now as far as I know I’ve still got a pretty decent rep with the Teladi and that base is defended by a heavy duty shield and a pair of orbital weapons platforms. In other words it looked like a really good place to park the ship, get some rest and maybe get our bearin’s. So I brought the Tenjin around and soon I was dockin’ at the Endless. After I was secure in the trap and the dock lift was raisin’ the Tenjin up into the hangar bay I commed Gin and told her what I wanted to do. Considerin’ that she’s not exactly the type to wear her heart on her sleeve I found the audible relief in her voice very tellin’. At that moment it had been nearly thirty hours since our ‘nap.’

If I thought I was about to get some rest, though, I was sorely mistaken.


If I left any typos or spelling mistakes please feel free to let me know.

Thanks so much.
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Post by Triaxx2 » Wed, 28. Mar 12, 19:15


I figure Drake will need all the help he can get, and I haven't given Morgan the chance to really shine. And well, you know Ea't. If he's not fighting someone, he's really, really cranky. And if he is, he's even crankier. :)

Gotta remember your fighting skills again eh? Happens to me too. I can tell you the difference between fighting in a Shrike and fighting in a Kestrel is extremely vast.
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Post by Tohron » Wed, 28. Mar 12, 20:11

Mercenary work with the Argon seems like a sensible mid-term possibility - the encyclopedia talks about how they hired the Yaki (because they had Marteen Winters) to build the Terraformer fleets that were then dispatched to the outer Solar System, so they've already set a precedent for working with dangerous pirates to fight the Terrans.

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Post by Scion Drakhar » Sun, 1. Apr 12, 04:48

Previous Chapter / Next Chapter
Triaxx, Yes they are. I'm also not sure if AP is designed to be more challenging or not but I have to say my combat skills are being tested. This may not be a lengthy DiD.

Tohron, That's good to know, especially for what I have in mind. I didn't see that in the Encyclopedia, though. If it's not too much trouble would you give me a page number?

3. Rough Start

As I killed the fighter's engines the only thing I could think about was sleep. I was so tired I thought I could sleep for a jazura or more. I unfastened the safety harness and pulled my helmet off as I stood up. I changed out of the flight suit and put it away in a small cubby beside ramp that descended from the bottom of the plane to the hangar deck. Just as I fastened my wrist comm back around my wrist it chirped at me.

"Drakhar," I answered.

"Drake we have a problem."

"Frak," I said, "I just changed out of my flight suit ..."

"Not that kind of problem."

I looked at her through the viewscreen on the back of my wrist and raised an eyebrow. "What then?"

"There are several thousand people on this ship and a great many of them want to know what's happening."

"Oh, brother," I groaned. "Tell 'em ..."

"Oh no," she said, shaking her head. "No that's your job."

I groaned again, but I nodded as well. "Alright," I said. "Shit I don't even know where to go to make that kind of announcement." I looked at her. "Hey." I got her attention. She looked at me. "How's Legion?"

"The same," she told me, "and before you ask, the doctors don't have a clue. They say that physically he's fine, which means it's Legion and not his ... " her face darkened slightly. "... vehicle."

"Yeah," I said. "I think I knew that already. I figure if it was just his body he'd still be able to run the ship and communicate with us."

"If I had to guess I'd wager that the USC used some kind of viral programming against the ships in Avarice and somehow it's affecting Legion."

"But we don't know," I said and she nodded. "Which means that for the time being we don't know how to help him."

She nodded again. "Right." She held my eye for a moment and I smiled at her. She smiled back. It was a wan smile and tired, but it was real. "Drake these people just want to know that they're safe."

I smirked. "Me too."


Hayla watched the military base grow larger through the three story high view-screens that acted as windows for the park. She sat at a table near the food court, where just a nine days ago people were laughing and eating with friends, playing games and wagering on the outcomes as children squealed and ran on the wide lawn or swam in the fountain. There were no games being played now and nobody seemed to have an appetite for eating in public. Children, where they could be found, were kept close to their parents and since the attack if they were heard at all more often than not they were crying, and it wasn't just the children.

It was a sad time. Everyone she met, everyone she talked to, had lost someone. Husbands, wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, friends ... so many were dead or missing. Not an hour went by when someone wasn't sniffling and wiping their eyes, or covering their face and shaking with sobs they couldn't suppress.

She took Odin's hand and squeezed. She didn't know what she would have done these past nine days without him. Whenever Drake took his ships and went off to play warlord she worried. She always worried. Whenever one of those big warships would vanish in a flash of light she knew there was a chance she'd never see him again. But this last time was different. He'd taken so many ships with him, and not just the frigates but the really big ones. Usually it was just those two Split made frigates and his personal corvette. This time it was an entire armada. That huge lumbering battleship that was sometimes in the sector, one of the carriers, three frigates and half a dozen corvettes. It was an attack force that confirmed the rumors of his intention to clear out a number of pirate sectors. Watching those ships all jump out of the sector one after the other had terrified her. She was sure she'd never see him again.

Two hours later the Terrans had showed up. She'd been right were she was now, sitting under the windows, waiting for Odin and watching some boys kick a ball around on the grass. Then something caught her eye and she'd glanced up and out the window and there she'd seen a column of blue fire streaking toward the east gate. It was so big that it seemed to be moving in slow motion. It took her a moment to follow it and actually understand what she was looking at. It came from one of the two frigates Drake had parked over the center of the sector, the frigates that never moved, the frigates that did nothing but point nuclear warheads at one gate or the other. The sight of that column scared her so bad that she'd literally stopped breathing. When it finally reached the east gate she watched as dozens and dozens of flashes rippled out into the night. It was the sight of nuclear tipped torpedoes making contact with something that was too far away to see. In an odd way those explosions reminded her of raindrops on the surface of a puddle. It was the way the pattern they made, seeming to bubble and spread and then wink out. At the same time they reminded her of camera flashes, bright and flickering and silent. She thought about that moment a lot over the past week. About how she'd just sat there, frozen and staring, until another huge explosion lit up the whole sector like a brief new sun.

That had been the beginning of the end. That column of fire continued to pour out from Drakes frigates like water from a garden hose. Those rain-drop explosions continued constantly near both gates. Hayla had seen them through the various windows and viewscreens as she'd been running through the ship, trying to find Odin, trying to find someone who could tell her what was going on. There had been more of those huge explosions, too. The massive, spreading bursts of light and fire that marked the deaths of the largest of ships, too bright to look at ... but silent. That silence was eerie.

They'd jumped away while it was still going on. It wasn't until a day later, after the Endless had found the Tiamat and the Osan'Gar, that the news started filtering through the fleet. Drake's fleet had been destroyed. Avarice had been destroyed. Even the second complex that most people thought was just rumor had been destroyed. It was all gone and tens of thousands of people were dead.

"At least they found Drake," Odin said.

"Who hasn't so much as given me a call or sent me a message or even remembered that I'm alive! For eight days, eight days, I sit here thinkin' he's dead and that I'm never gonna see him again, and now that he's found and alive he can't even be bothered to give me so much as a call on the wireless!?" Her voice broke twice as she said it and she sniffed and had to wipe her eyes afterward. Odin just smiled and squeezed her hand again. She glanced at him. "He's just ... he's all I ..." she shook her head.

"I know," he said and cupped her cheek. "I know."

A few minutes later, after the Endless finished docking at the Military Base, the PA crackled to life. Conversations, quiet as they were, all stopped around her and people looked up to listen. "This is Drakhar," the voice over the PA didn't sound like her Drake. It was thick and heavy and filled with the gravel and exhaustion of a man many decades older. Yet she knew him instantly. For a few moments there was nothing more. The line was open. They could all hear the soft white noise of an open mike. But for a time he didn't say anything. It was almost too much to stand. In that silence she could almost see the doubt and confusion on his face as he searched inside himself for what to say. Odin squeezed her hand again, but she barely felt it.

"I know you're afraid," Drake said finally, and for an instant it was like he was talking directly to her. "There's a lot to be afraid of. We're alone. We're unprotected. We have many enemies and no one is coming to help us. We've lost loved ones. We've lost friends and family and with many don't know if they're alive or dead and it's too easy to believe the worst because the worst is probably true." He took a breath and let it out long and slow before going on. "Now, nothin' I say will take away the pain your feelin'. Nothin' I say is gonna take away your grief, and I'm not gonna lie to you by sayin' there's nothin' more to fear.

"Now," he took another of those slow breaths and she wished he were in front of her so she could throw her arms around him, "right now, we're docked at the Teladi Military Outpost in Merchant's Haven. We're gonna be here for the next twelve hours or so. After that we'll be makin' our way to Grand Exchange and then, eventually, to Argon Prime. Our navigational computers were damaged durin' the attack so we're gonna have to do it the slow way. It's gonna be a long and dangerous trip. I've been informed that the Terrans have attacked the commonwealth ..." there was an uproar all around her at that, and it was hard to hear what he said after. "... around Omicron Lyrae ... attack." One fellow was shouting at the others to be quiet, and slowly they were. "If you want to leave the ship now and make your way from here, no one will stop you. We'll probably be stopping again in Black Hole Sun. So if you'd like to stay now and get off the ship later ... well, no one will stop you. I also know that some of you have no where else to go. So if you choose to stay and make a home on this ship, well, no one will stop you." There were constant murmurs around her. "We'll be here until zero seven hundred tomorrow mornin," he said. "If you intend to leave the ship you should be off by then. If you intend to leave with us, well, I don't recommend bein' late." He took another deep breath and let it out slow. Then he finished simply with, "Drakhar out."

After a moment she whispered to herself. "He hasn't been sleeping."

There was a commotion from a nearby table and she glanced at it. A pair of men were shouting at each other. She was still so shook up by the exhaustion in her boy's voice that it took a few moments for her to realize what she was listening to. One man was shouting that Drake had gotten everyone in Avarice and everyone in the fleet killed. Another was shouting back, just as loudly, that Drake hadn't killed anyone. That it was the terrans who were responsible.

"Yeah but why the hell did they come after us in the first place?!" The first one shouted back. "Did you ever think about that?!"

"Yeah!" The other guy shouted back. "We were providing weapons and missiles to the Argons while the Terrans were planning a war!"

"So we were what? Just a military target?!" The first guy scoffed. "And you don't think our seasoned and experienced leader provoked them like he did the Split? You know if it wasn't the terrans it would have been the Split!! Tens of THOUSANDS of our people died because some kid with just fourteen jazura behind him ..."

"Will you shut the hell up!" A woman shouted at him. "If you want to leave, leave! No one's stopping you?!"

"That's not what this is about!"

"No! It's about you wanting to cause trouble!"

"It's about the people! It's about my friends! It's about my brother! My BROTHER!" The man's voice broke. "It's about kids growing up without a father ... !"

Hayla stood up. "I need to get out of here."

Odin stood up with her and once again she was glad of his company. After listening to the one man shout, though, it had nothing to do with his smile or the way he could make her laugh. Instead it was the breadth of his shoulders and the way he could make other men shrink away while still wearing a smile on his face that made her grateful he was with her. There were a lot of angry people around, and many of them knew who she was.


So last night Gin and I took the captain's quarters and I gave the XO's cabin to Gunny t'Kt. I can't believe how tired I was. I saw that bed and sat down. Then, while Gin was in the head settin' up a shower I must have laid down cos the next thing I knew it was nine hours later. My boots had come off somehow but otherwise I was still fully dressed. I don't think I've ever slept so hard before.

I returned to the bridge and found both Gin and Gunny there already. Gin handed me a thermos and I was very pleased to discover that she'd found some coffee somewhere. After that I started lookin' over the ship to get an idea of exactly what was available to us. Lookin' at it from the perspective of a guy that's just lost billions of credits in assets and it was very disappointin'. We've got almost no food. I'm not sure how but apparently during the mass exodus after the attack the food stores were cleaned out. So rations are very low right now. We have some jump beacons, but no navigators to make use of them. We have over sixteen hundred energy cells, but no jump coordinates ... unless I want to go back to the Maelstrom. The only weapons on board are the ones bolted to the ship and we've only got a gig of shieldin' on a ship nearly two kilometers long.

But then I started lookin' at it from the perspective of a kid that just a couple of months ago had nothin' and all of a sudden I was seein' my situation very differently. I mean I've got a TL class heavy transport complete with shields, weapons, scanners, and a fairly complete suite of software. At the very least I've got heat, hot water, and a warm bed. Not to mention someone to share it with. I've got doctors and complete hospital aboard so I shouldn't have any health concerns. I mean don't get me wrong, I'd like to have a dozen fighters or so in the hangar bay, but then I'd like a lot of things. Startin' with havin' all my friends alive and well and close enough to have dinner with. But all in all it's not a bad setup. Startin' over is rough, but at least I have somethin' to start over with. Right? Yeah, well, I'm gonna keep tellin' it to myself anyway. Maybe I'll even start to believe it after a while. In the meantime I'm completely broke.

So with that in mind I decided to see if there were any opportunities for a little trade in the Military Outpost. As it turns out there was one. Well, shit, I thought. I can spare a hundred and fifty four. Let's see what she's offerin'.

Done ... well, sort of. I had to contact the Teladi bankers on the trading station and establish a new account. An hour later, though, and I was over twenty seven hundred credits richer and, at the very least, not completely broke anymore.

At zero eight thirty I made my way down to the hangar deck again and had Gin pilot us away from the outpost. Almost immediately we were engaged by pirates, and I have to tell you I was nervous. It was a Barracuda Raider (M3), a Buster (M4), a Harrier and a disco (M5's.) They sprang outta the north gate and immediately banked right for us. Almost as if they knew we were unarmed.

Frakkin' Teladi.

Now the Endless has some pretty good shields, at least when compared with a fighter, but with Legion out of commission and no gunners to speak of we're completely toothless. Those fighters could beat on the Endless continuously and unless somebody took out the Tenjin they wouldn't have a thing to worry about. Now four on one is never good odds but when you're sat in a ship light on both weapons and shielding they start lookin' really long. I decided to wait until they started shootin' at the Endless before launchin'. The hope was that they'd be distracted by the big ship and not notice me until I was shootin' 'em. Worse case scenario I'd be able to use the Endless for cover. One Gig of shieldin' is a lot more than twenty five megs after all. Either way I'm pretty sure my sphincter was airtight when I finally launched.

I'd like to say my plan worked perfectly and went off without a hitch but that would be a lie. They were indeed distracted and spread out by the Endless and I think that's the only reason I survived. When I first launched that Harrier must have been on a strafin' run headin' right for me. Either way he'd seen me and that sunnuva bitch knew what he was about. Worse still he was wieldin' PACs and his first pass brought him in from behind and above me. It was a perfect killin' position and if it hadn't been for the fact that he was goin' several hundred meters a second faster than me I think that might have been it for me. But I was able to tumble around to face him and hit the thrusters in time to get him to hurtle by me. On his second pass I was facin' him, though, and usin' my maneuverin' thrusters I was able to stay out of at least some of his fire while sendin' back some a my own. Thankfully Harriers don't have a lot of shieldin' and high energy plasma throwers hit really hard. That was the end of the Harrier but I was hurtin'. Not only that I'd attracted the attention of both the buster and the Barracuda. Worst of all, though, I only had twenty percent of my shields.

Not likin' my chances of survivin' both the Barracuda and the Boxer at the same time with only a fifth of what started out as a third of the Tenjin's max shieldin' I turned and ran. I ducked under the Endless just behind the docking bay. Then I lifted the nose as soon as I was past the ship and slipped behind the Endless' bulk. Then I took cover above one of the finned wings above and just forward of the hangar bay. The hope was that my signal would merge with that of the Endless and they'd lose me, at least for long enough for my shield to recharge.

It worked better than I was expectin'. It took a little while for the Buster to get around the Endless and find me. By that point my shield was over sixty percent. One of the Tenjin's strongest sellin' points for me has always been its suped up shield generator and right then I was feelin' really grateful for it. So just as the Buster started a strafin' run on me I hit the booster and came around to give that sunnuva bitch a taste a what I'd already fed his friend. The Buster and I tumbled over each other a couple of times before I managed to spray him with a brief stream of plasma. I was just comin' around to make another pass when I realized that the motherfrakker had bailed. I couldn't find the Barracuda Raider then so I went after the disco, which was still makin' runs on the Endless. Although armed with nothin' but IRE's he probably could have done that all day without accomplishin' anything. Either way I managed to intercept him and cut his last run short with the plasma throwers.

That was it, too. I checked the grav, and then opened the sector map and couldn't find the Barracuda. Well, I couldn't find it as a hostile contact anyway. I'm guessin' it hit the Endless cos when I came around to see if that Buster was worth salvaging I discovered what had happened to that Barracuda. I actually had to do a double take. Both ships had come to rest within a two hundred meters of each other. They were sittin' there side by side just as pretty as you please.

So I've got two more ships. The Barracuda is in rough shape with only twelve percent hull remainin' and the Buster is worse with only ten but I claimed 'em and managed to get 'em aboard. The hope is that maybe I'll be able to get some mechanics and some raw materials and repair the things. It kind of amazes me that I've been reduced to salvaging refuse but I'm not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth, either.

Hoo, what a way to start the mornin'.
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Post by Triaxx2 » Sun, 1. Apr 12, 11:40

That was awesome. I like the trick of hiding in the wings. I'll be that would work a Raptor as well.

I suspect a better bail rate in AP because of the hulls. More hull means they'll get destroyed less often.

Awesome chapter.
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Post by Kirlack » Sun, 1. Apr 12, 12:56

Using the bartering system a bit there I see? ;) Get some Teladianium if you can, the lizards love it! You'll be able to make a mint with a few units. Great chapter too, lovin' it! :D

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Post by Scion Drakhar » Sun, 1. Apr 12, 17:35

Thanks fellas.

Triaxx I never considered that. Yeah, the hulls in AP are much stronger and that would give a pilot more time to get out when he knows he's going down. Now if only I had enough money to pay for some mechanics and some ore and some microchips ... aah, well. Maybe I'll just drop 'em off at a shipyard for some early on credits.

Kirlack, yessir! And yes I was thinking of you when I did it. :D
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Post by Triaxx2 » Sun, 1. Apr 12, 19:57

Yeah, probably for the best. I love the Buster myself, but you'd be flying unarmed and unshielded, having no guns or shields that fit.

Probably would net you enough credits to get some lighter guns and more shields for the Tenjin.

I presume you're flying back to get more sectors on the map, and not because you just can't afford enough energy to bounce back in one jump eh?
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Post by Scion Drakhar » Sun, 1. Apr 12, 20:34

Triaxx2 wrote:I presume you're flying back to get more sectors on the map, and not because you just can't afford enough energy to bounce back in one jump eh?
My thinking is that I've started with a lot and have been trying to limit myself as much as I can so it's not too easy. With most start scenarios you have very little equipment and almost no information on the universe map. So I set up the game with the Cycrow's cheat package, gave myself what seemed appropriate, unrevealed all sectors to go blind and then disabled the cheat pack. So I've got what I've got and that includes no sector info. As far as my universe map is concerned Argon Prime doesn't exist.

Also, I found a way to take your suggestion. Even though I've got weapons on the Elephant for the time being the Endless' guns are off. If I can hire a military crew via Lucike's military transport I'll turn them on, but that means a scientist, four technicians and eight gunners (to meet MEFOS guidelines.) In order to do that I need to reach a certain fight rank status and Argon rank status before I can even begin trading with the Military Transporters. I've also got 18000 units of the TL's 34000 unit cargo hold taken up with passengers and medical equipment, making that space unusable.

In addition most of the races are hostile. Some of them are sending bounty hunters after me and the Pirates HATE me. I set them up with the max negative rep. Also, those that are friendly don't respect me anywhere near as much since I've lost all my assets. My max rank right now is with the Teladi and that's only +3 where it used to be +11. So even though I've started with a pretty substantial amount of equipment I still only have the one Tenjin for aggressive negotiations and a lot of people want to kill me.

Er ... TMI?
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Post by Triaxx2 » Sun, 1. Apr 12, 21:39

Actually no. It's useful to know all that stuff. I just updated my Plugin manager and now it doesn't want to work so I've got to figure out how to fix it.

Anyway, it's interesting to know. I only asked because you mentioned your map having AP on it earlier. Poetic License I guess. Good thought in having some room on the Endless though. It means you can do some build missions when you have the capital and rep.

Don't forget that you can retrain marines into the various specialties. Use the Personnel Transporter to do it. Unless you think it's cheating.
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Post by Scion Drakhar » Sun, 1. Apr 12, 23:11

In the first chapter a lot of things were part of the story. The actual gameplay hadn't started yet ... that didn't happen until Drake got aboard the Endless in the Maelstrom and the Osan'Gar and Tiamat jumped away. Now Drake has obviously been all over. In the last game I had most of the connected sectors explored and in many cases even monitored with advsats. So he knows those sectors are out there. Knowing they're there and being able to plot a jump to them are two very different matters, though.

Argon Prime is the destination. Drake is going home. Now for plot reasons that's happening so he can find out who stole his money and do mean things to them. For game reasons I wanted a short term objective, which is to fly from one side of the universe to the other in a mostly defenseless TL with just the Tenjin for cover. That will mean getting past hostile and in some cases war torn sectors without getting killed. There's a LOT in between Merchant's Haven and Argon Prime and for Drake much of that doesn't like him ... breathing anyway.

Marines. I'll definitely keep that in mind. I currently don't have any marines (other than the now fictitious Gunny t'Kt) but that would be a way to circumvent the rank restrictions for the military transports wouldn't it? idk. We'll see.

P.S. Good luck with the plugin manager. Did you update the required libraries as well? I remember doing that once and I got a readtext message instead of a heading until I updated whichever library it was.
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Post by Tohron » Mon, 2. Apr 12, 00:52

Scion Drakhar wrote: Tohron, That's good to know, especially for what I have in mind. I didn't see that in the Encyclopedia, though. If it's not too much trouble would you give me a page number?
The relevant info is on pages 64-65, in the Terraformer section.

Regarding the story - two bails is certainly a stroke of luck. If I'd been doing that fight, I'd probably have made heavy use of a docking computer, which I put on all my ships pretty much whenever I can. Don't think I could have managed that fight straight-up with an underequipped M3, though I could have won it with a Kestrel.

Speaking of Kestrels, the Grand Exchange shipyard sells them (selling an ISR should net enough money to buy one), and it seems like scouting ahead for jumpgates in one is less risky than flying a TL through dangerous sectors.

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Post by Falkirion » Mon, 2. Apr 12, 03:22

Oh man that's a long trip through some very rough space you've got ahead of you. Hope Drake and the crew make it there. The Rebirth Flame is hiding out in a Goner sector for now so Henry, Lyra and Fred are available to return at a later date. I'm trying to think up some shennanigans for them to have before that though.

We do have a stash of credits handy, but I figure a good ol pay dispute is in order so the crew might get spaced if one of the twins feels so inclined.

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Post by Triaxx2 » Mon, 2. Apr 12, 05:33

Fixed it. Had to uninstall the new version, then the old version, then install the new version. Lot of work to make sure I have the Marauder Shipyard installed eh?

That's a very good story reason. Seems to me the optimal route is to get to Haktikvah's and then up through Thuruk's into Ceo's Sprite. Then it's only three Boron sectors to Argon Space again. Less dangerous if you scout ahead in the Tenjin and jump the Endless to you, but I suspect you intend to fly it there manually. I doubt it's as much fun as towing the Condor though.
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Post by stads » Tue, 3. Apr 12, 00:04

love the story just finished reading part one hope this one go's on aslong if not longer and a folow up in rebirth :D

so make sure ya dont kill of drake :evil:

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Post by Scion Drakhar » Tue, 3. Apr 12, 00:52

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Thanks Tohron. I'll make sure to read up.

Triaxx I'm assuming you mean Ceo's Buckzoid? And that's a really good idea. Keeps me in relatively safe sectors at least. I also may be able to repair my rep with the Boron enough to fly the Endless through. Hmmm. Something to consider, anyway.

stads, thanks! Glad to hear you've enjoyed it. I'll do my best. I've grown rather fond of these characters too. Although I think in Rebirth everybody plays one character, like in earlier episodes. I'm also pretty certain we get stuck in one ship for the duration.

4. Go West Young Man

Two more Harriers entered the sector through the north gate as I was on my way back to dock at the Endless. Then, while I was still workin' on gettin' those two out of our hair, another two scouts jumped through the gate in front of us. Gin was tryin’ to get the Endless to the gate but it was slow goin', and for me, well, even against nothin' but scouts I was really missin' the other two shields the Tenjin can carry. Harriers use particle accelerator cannons. A few bursts from those do a number on just twenty five megs of shieldin'. When I returned to the hangar deck Gunny t'Kt had a surprise for me for me, though. Apparently that Buster we recovered still had a functioning five megajoule shield and a single particle accelerator cannon, both of which we could bolt onto the Tenjin.

Somethin' is better'n nothin, right?

Yeah. So we installed the shield and mounted that PAC in the right turret. At least I'll have some cover. While we were at it, though, another pair of pirates in a Buster and a Harrier came through the gate right in front of us and by the time we had that cannon connected to the Tenjin's power supply those frakkers were takin' hot runs on the Endless. Apparently my decision to clean ‘em out of the Maelstrom - Gaian Star pipeline upset ’em some and now that I’d failed they were feelin’ bold. So I launched and went after ‘em, silently prayin’ it wouldn’t be this hot all the way back to Argon Prime.

That does beg the question, though, as to HOW I’m gettin’ back to Argon Prime. If I head due west through Argon space over to Scale Plate Green and Teladi Space I’ll eventually end up tryin’ to make my way through Split controlled sectors ... followed by the pirate alley between Thuruk’s Beard and Elena’s Fortune. Now the pirate sectors are bad enough but crossin’ Split space would just be suicidal seein’ as the Split have lots of really big guns and fast ships and after all the time I spent liberatin’ ’em of those fast ships and big guns, well, they currently think I’d make great target practice. Now I could try makin’ my way south from Scale Plate Green through X347 and into Teladi space. Then west through Avarice into Montalaar but to do that I still have to cross X347 to get there and then the pirate alley from Hatikvah’s Faith over to Elena’s Fortune to get out. It would also mean crossin’ Avarice ... which could be tryin’ in other, less obvious, ways. I could also head south from the Wastelands into Sacred Relic and by that end up in Paranid controlled space. But the Paranid don’t like me much more’n the Split do. After that I’d end up in either Boron or pirate sectors. So no matter how I go, in order to get back to Argon Prime I have to cross lots of unfriendly space with lots of folks doin’ their absolute best to kill me. It’s a conundrum to say the least.

So not havin’ a clue about what I’m gonna do about it I just put it all out of my mind and concentrated on gettin’ out of Merchant’s Haven in one piece. A little while later we’d reached the approach run on the north gate and I took the Tenjin to scout ahead and confirm that there wasn’t a Destroyer on the other side of the gate about to plow through the ship. It was clear enough and several moments later Gin brought the Endless through.

After I docked again we launched a camera drone to scout the sector while the Endless made her way toward the center of the sector. I was considerin’ pullin’ up alongside the shipyard to offload the Barracuda and the Buster and maybe take a mission or two in the sector to add some digits to my rather pathetic bank account ... when I noticed somethin’ ahead of us that I didn’t like. Namely a Xenon L. Now my first thought was that I didn’t want to try takin’ on an L in that under-shielded Tenjin in the hangar bay. The next thought I had, though, while lookin’ a little ways off to the left, was: what’s that? Which in turn was followed promptly by, ‘oh shit.’

So in that moment I decided that we really didn’t have any business in Grand Exchange that couldn’t better be conducted elsewhere and immediately orderd Gin to make for the west gate with all haste. Let the Grand Exchange deal with the frakkin’ Xenon. Shit, I don’t know why they didn’t just blow the north gate decades ago, or tow it a few hundred thousand kilometers out into space, or at the very least surround it with enough lasertowers and squash mines to feed a K its teeth. But noooo. These idiots leave the door unlocked and a Q and its mates show up every few days to pound the hell out of the sector. Well let ‘em have it, I say. I’m sure not stickin’ around to be part of that Q’s next meal.

Runnin’ for your life in TL, however, does seem a little bit like a contradiction in terms. Fortunately those overgrown calculators were busy beatin’ the snot out of the local stock exchange. Now there’s a really good joke in there. I can feel it teasin’ around the outskirts of my brain but it just refuses to catch. Either way I had enough time to check the Shipyard for anything new and interesting. All I found out is that the Teladi don’t think nearly as high of me as they used to. About the only thing they were willing to sell me was a Harrier or a Toucan. Not that it matters with my bank account in the state it’s in but I did find it tellin’ that without the billions I had in assets they’re ready to seat me in front of the kitchen again. I guess maybe they remembered all those Casinos I stole from ’em not too long ago.

Shit, I wonder how Slots is doin’? It’s easy to picture that wiley lil' lizard up in Ceo’s Buckzoid or Teladi Gain fleecin’ all the Boron traffic. I’d hate to think that he’s dead. But then if I had to I’d bet that anybody capable of jumpin’ into a vat of spacefuel for an extended bath is capable of doin’ what he had to to get his investment out of harms way before the Terran military blew it to hell. I hope so. I kinda liked that lizard. Still, the Flamingo?

Anyway, a little while later we passed through the west gate into the Belt of Aguilar where we launched another of the Endless’ camera drones. Now I never did much business with Jonferco and as a result I never had much reason to visit the Belt of Aguilar but even so I don’t remember there bein’ a north gate. Navigational info says it goes to a place called ... Albion? Huh.

I’m tempted to go exploring. I’ve never heard of Albion before. If it wasn’t for the twenty five hundred hungry people aboard the Endless I would but right now I need money and I need food for them. The only opportunity for any kind of employment was a Split wanting somebody to follow an associate that he suspected of selling trade secrets. I wasn’t sure if he knew me at first but as we were talkin’ a light seemed to go on behind his eyes. After that he seemed to be repressin’ that leer the Split get whenever they’re feelin’ particularly vicious. I cut comms without givin’ him an answer. Why take the risk, right?

So I decided to move on to Midnight Star. Without the pirates or the Xenon comin’ out of the woodwork it was actually pretty smooth sailin’. I still led the way through the gate in the Tenjin but other than some traders lookin’ at me cross-eyed nobody bothered us. There was a Paranid weapons dealer in a Helios that got my attention when he launched his fighters but they just flew escort as we passed each other. So we launched another drone to scout while the Endless made it’s way across the sector.

I found both work and food in Midnight Star. The job was perfect. There was a pirate in a harrier strafin’ a Drone Plant. The manager of the Drone Plant answered my call herself. She was an irritated lookin’ Argon woman who offered me a couple thousand credits to get rid of the pirate shootin' her station and any of his friends that showed up. It was easy work, even in an under-equipped fighter. I just got to the plant and waited for the Harrier to start a strafin’ run. Then I put plasma in his path. A friend of his did show up out of the west gate but before I was even able to bracket him the Argon military turned him into ash and space debris.

After that I was on my way back to the Endless when I saw the cahoona bakery and decided to take care of the food problem. There’s nothin’ like a few metric tons of processed beef and spices to quiet the masses. After that, though, there didn’t seem to be anything goin’ on in the sector. So after the beef was unloaded I once again left in the Tenjin to lead the way through the next gate, this time into the Wastelands where I am confronted with the need to make a decision.

I can head south into Paranid space from here. I can head south to Sacred Relic and then across to Clarity’s End before headin’ up into Hatikvah’s Faith. If I don’t I have to choose between the Xenon in X347 or seven sectors of the Split in between Two Grand and either Company Pride or Hatikvah’s Faith. The problem with goin’ south, though, is that the Paranid despise me and I suspect a few of their captains would be willin’ to pay to be rid of me if the cost was just a few Hornet missiles. Now if it was just me and Gin and Gunny I might be willin’ to risk it, but it’s not. There are twenty five hundred people, includin’ doctors, nurses, school teachers, librarians, priests and priestesses, men, women and children who are all dependin’ on me to keep them alive and safe. I could try and make the trip in the Tenjin but honestly that’s a long way with a high likelihood of attractin’ the wrong kind of attention in a ship that isn’t all that fast.

Which leads me to the next subject of my rather slow and falterin’ thinkin’. At some point I’m gonna have to cross enemy space. Unless I can somehow make nice with everybody the Terrans, the Split, the Paranid, just about every pirate around and even the Boron want me dead and the Xenon want everybody dead. There is no route that does not cross enemy space. Now with my only defense bein’ that Tenjin fightin’ with anythin’ larger than a fighter or two is a losin’ situation. That means runnin’ ... and as good a ship as it may be the Tenjin is not very fast. So I’m thinkin’ that I may be forced to acquire a good scout ship somehow. Somethin’ fast enough sprint across enemy sectors and blaze the trail. Once in a safe sector with coordinates for the jumpgates the Endless will then be able to follow usin’ her FTL. So I guess I’m aimin’ to get a good fast scout. Best one I know of offhand is the Kestrel, and I’m pretty sure they sell those in the shipyard over in PTNI HQ. So for now I think that’s the plan, earnin’ money as I go.

* Note, camera drones are a function of the Salvage Command Suite by TECSG. Normally they are visible in the inventory. Unfortunately the jump beacons from Lucike’s Script Package use the same ware slot. As a result, in my game, the one item has two functions. It’s not my preference but I thought you should know.
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