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Betrayal is a Double-Edged Sword - TC 3.2 DiD
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Song Of Obsidian



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PostPosted: Wed, 19. Jun 13, 23:22    Post subject: Betrayal is a Double-Edged Sword - TC 3.2 DiD Reply with quote Print

Going to blame Kirlack for this one. Partially for his own DiDs, and partially for mentioning the Unholy Traitor start at the end of the highly entertaining Way of the Gun. Hope you don't mind the plug.

Managed to escape in one piece on the third start, so here we go.

---------------------------------------

Game Start: Unholy Traitor (TC 3.2 with Bonus Pack, plain Vanilla game)

Starting Assets:

Medusa Prototype
(1) 5 MJ Shield
(6) Pulsed Beam Emitter
(2) Particle Accelerator Cannon
Boost Extension
Duplex Scanner
Singularity Time Accelerator Engine
Video Enhancement Goggles

Credits: 18,266

Rules:
1. Dead is Dead.
2. No repair laser on hulls damaged below 90%. (Can take care of superficial damage, but lacks sufficient knowledge for much more than that.)
3. No plots, other than a highly unlikely hub plot.
4. May never trade at any Split or Paranid stations. I intend to keep them hostile anyway, but, may as well state it.
5. May not buy ships except from the Yaki.
6. May sell captured ships, but only at shipyards belonging to the Yaki or the previous owner's racial enemy(Paranid => Argon, Split => Boron).
7. May not take combat missions of any kind, except those from Duke's Buccaneers.
8. May only perform boardings from player-controlled ships(he has trust issues right now).
9. No abandoned ships. Targets so inviting can only be a trap...right?
10. Story will be retired if I can acquire 6 of every ship type, including variants, belonging to the Paranid and Split(One for each of the major Split families that I'm aware of). These ships are to be trophies, fully equipped but stashed and not used. Excludes ships not readily available(like the Medusa Prototype...).



Last edited by Song Of Obsidian on Wed, 19. Jun 13, 23:26; edited 1 time in total
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Song Of Obsidian



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PostPosted: Wed, 19. Jun 13, 23:25    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Chapter 1 - Rude Awakening


A sharp vibration against my chest shocked me awake. My eyes opened to near-darkness, but I remained almost perfectly still. My hand had already closed around the hilt of a slender knife under the pillow. I could throw it reasonably well, though hitting anything point-first was always a bit more luck than skill. It was sturdy enough to use up close too, if the situation called for it.

It didn't. "Wakess up!" came a rushed sibilant whisper after the magnetic door closed again. The command was unnecessary since my alarm on the door had already woken me, but I knew that voice, and the urgency in it was warning enough that something was very wrong.

I sat up without a word. The female Teladi bustled about the room despite the lack of light while I stifled a yawn. A wad of fabric hit me in the chest and fell to my lap. "Dressss. You mussst be gone within ten mizurass." I didn't have any inkling as to what the danger might be, but I had been trained for this contingency. I stood and dressed by feel alone, already planning my escape route without any thought given to the reasons why I might need to escape. Action had to come before justification. I trusted Laludinas that much.

"You'll need to fly without a space ssuit," she whispered, and I felt a tightness in my chest. Not only would that be extremely hazardous, but it would raise questions wherever I arrived. "Too much susspicion would it raise in the hangar." Something heavy was pressed against my stomach, and I reached for it blindly with both hands. "Carry it on your shoulder. You'll need anonymmmity to esscape."

It was a bag of some sort. I hefted it up onto one shoulder and wrapped my arm around it to hold it securely. There was a light shove to my shoulderblade and I took it as a cue that there was no other advice or preparation to offer. The door opened before me and I stepped out into the hall, turning left even before my eyes had grown used to the light and without looking back at the small room that had been my home for nearly two years. I heard footsteps retreating back the other way. She would not be coming with me.

I walked as unhurriedly as I could, though natural instinct complemented by surges of adrenaline would have me running if it wouldn't attract attention. I avoided eye contact with everyone I passed. Despite this being a Split base, the regular population in my particular section of the base included a significant number of Paranid. If I was in danger, they were most likely to be the threat.

I approached the security checkpoint. Two guards stood on either side of the gateway, one Split and one Paranid, both watching me, both identically armed with disintegrator rifles and two sidearms. Beside the Split guard was mounted a scanner for identification cards. I felt a momentary surge of panic and looked down as I reached for my pants pockets...then let out my breath quietly. There was a card in the chest pocket of my shirt. It might have my face on it, but it was unlikely to have my name or code. Laludinas planned for everything.

I plucked the card out and smoothed the pocket, using those precious seconds to compose myself before looking up. This was the one moment everything could go wrong. At least in the hangar I could still escape. If the computer flagged my ID, I had no chance here. I glanced at each of the guards and nodded a greeting, then swiped my card without looking at it. The scanner flashed green, then purple, then orange, and the gate opened. The card went back in my pocket and I went through the open portal.

I still had time, but confidence was a luxury I did not possess. I didn't know who my enemies were, so I had only two friends: Laludinas and paranoia. Laludinas had done her part, so that left me with paranoia. And paranoia is a very unreliable friend, especially when you are trying to pretend you're not paranoid.

So I walked at a steady pace with a little jaunt in my step, because a jaunt allowed me to expend a little extra energy to keep from getting jumpy.

The hangar was a worrisome place though. I had to get in some sort of ship, preferably something with a jump drive and some shields, and I had to secure it completely and get away from the base and its orbital platforms within three mizuras, if Laludinas had any sort of accurate sense of when the alarm would be raised and if I had kept time well enough. The limited timeframe meant I needed something small.

I switched the bag to my other shoulder so I could see into the berths and walked down the flight line. The first held a Demeter. No good. The second was my own ship, a Scorpion Vanguard I had named Spider's Kiss. I never liked the name Scorpion, but she was fun to fly. Being my ship, though, she was too easy to trace and her shielding was much too weak if I had to fight my way out. I could tear a ship apart decently, but repairing a ship once its shields had been vaped was another matter.

Third was a Caiman, fourth a Boa which probably had marines onboard, and fifth another Caiman. I was starting to sweat. There were two more hangars, but I hoped to find a suitable ship in this first group of eight.

The sixth was a Jaguar, and I hesitated a moment. Speed has a survivability factor of its own, though I had no way of knowing how fast this one in particular could go. Might not have any modifications to its engines at all, and that uncertainty was what kept me from stopping.

The seventh was a Medusa. I knew it to be a powerful fighter, and I could see the clusters of weapons on either side. It was fully armed. And if my own government wasn't my enemy, I wouldn't be stealing from them. I glanced at the next berth, but my mind was already made up. This was the one.

Not knowing if the bag was just for show or if I was supposed to keep it, I stowed it before climbing in and sealing the cockpit. I had to work fast now. If anyone noticed some fool without a space suit behind the controls of a fighter, I'd be done for.

It had shields installed. Not much in the way of software, but all I needed to do was escape. What came after that was anyone's guess. The scanners could be stronger, but it had video enhancement which would do just as well for my purposes. Hull integrity at maximum. Was I missing anything? Probably, but there was no time left. I had to get out of range of those orbitals still.

The fighter rose smoothly at my command. Acceleration was slow but I was hardly paying attention to it, because a burst of light flashed across the cockpit. Someone was firing at me already.

I had a bad feeling about this.

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Poseidon



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PostPosted: Thu, 20. Jun 13, 00:01    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Excellent narration! Keep writing! Smile

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Song Of Obsidian



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PostPosted: Thu, 20. Jun 13, 17:56    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Oh I intend to, but thanks for the positive feedback. Much appreciated.



Chapter 2 - A Feather(or three) and a Hard Place


I glanced to the left; there was a lone Paranid running in from the hangar's entrance and firing at me with a rifle. The weapon was no danger to a shielded fighter, but the game was up anyway. I kicked the fighter up to maximum velocity and surged out into open space.

Maximum proved to be rather disappointing, as the Medusa peaked at just 92 m/s. Nor did it have a jumpdrive as I'd hoped. One of the base's two orbital platforms loomed over me just to the right. Not an encouraging situation.

I only had a moment to take stock of my situation. I was in the sector of Contorted Dominion, with Split sectors to the west and south and a Boron defense sector to the east. Even if my government was still friendly, the next sector to the west was Paranid space and no way was I getting closer to them. South was a dead end, and a corporate sector at that. They would sell me to the Paranid without a second thought. I would just have to trust in the Boron for the moment.

I decided to take a risk and dive, try to get below the line of traffic and out of scanner range. I could pop back up near the gate if all went well. There was usually a Tiger lurking about, and regular scouting missions by both us and the Par-

'Missile launch detected.'

I bit off a curse. So much for sneaking out. I pulled up and pointed the nose right at the gate, then looked around for the missile.

'Missile launch detected.'

Urgh. That would be the orbital, launching banshees at regular intervals. The missiles might be slow, but I was slower. I didn't want to have to turn around to shoot at them, so I checked my weapons. Luck was with me; the rear turret had a PAC in it. I pulled up the list of turret commands, but all it listed was 'Attack My Target'. Had to do it the hard way.

I checked my scanners to see if the Tiger was close enough to give me problems. It wasn't, but something else was. There was a hostile fighter between me and the gate. An M5, not much to worry about, but it could cause trouble if more joined it or I got busy with the missiles. Best to vape it while I had clear space behind me.

My weapons in the main array were Pulsed Beam Emitters. Six of them. Strong, but very low range. My scanner told me this fighter was a Pegasus, which could only use Impulse Ray Emitters. Given time it might be able to scratch a Medusa, but I didn't intend to give it time.

Lines of red streaked toward me, but they were fizzling out before reaching me. He fired too soon. I strafed at random, though with a weapon with such fast projectiles it wouldn't help much. I took some hits, but once he was within a kilometer it was over. A single burst from my guns was all it took to turn the ugly fighter into a pretty cloud.

I set course for the gate again and took control of the rear turret. The warbling of the missile warning was getting more insistent, but I still had to wait. The nearest one was still 3 km out and gaining slowly. Seconds ticked by, but once the missile as in range it had a very anticlimactic end at a safe distance from me.

The next one was still over 4 km away, so I checked out the surrounds. 12 km to the gate, a Split freighter that I had to assume wouldn't be friendly if our orbitals were shooting at me, and two more hostile fighters between me and the gate. Wait. What?

Sure enough, there was another pair of Paranid M5s heading for me. They couldn't mount jumpdrives, so what in the world were they doing coming at me from Boron space?

There was no answering the question, but it made me wonder if I would be getting a frosty reception on the other side. Forward was the only option now though.

One of the fighters was significantly faster than the other, and this suited me fine. I locked him up without trouble, but the second one was right behind him and lighting into me. He didn't survive the pass either.

I started to switch back to the turret, but something red and blinking drew my attention first. It was the shield indicator, reading 12%. How...Oh. Only 5 MJ of shields?

Should have taken that Jaguar.

Too late now. I switched to manual turret control, but before the next missile came into range it ran out of fuel and exploded. That suited me fine. There were no other ships near me, my shields were recharging quickly - not much comfort with only 5 MJ - and the gate almost filled my forward vision. I felt almost free...until two more fighters emerged from that opaque field of blue-green right in front of me.

No way was I stopping to dogfight. I squeezed off a burst and nailed one, then swung to the left and tried for the other. The tiny ship shook with the force of all that compressed energy striking it, but it flew by relatively intact. Even substantially damaged but it was still faster than me. It would have to catch up on the other side though, where I wouldn't have to worry about that Tiger showing up.

That familiar swirling tunnel formed in front of me, then sucked me in.

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Sabrina Bergin





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PostPosted: Thu, 20. Jun 13, 20:00    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Excellent start I like your style of writing .


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Song Of Obsidian



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PostPosted: Fri, 21. Jun 13, 20:11    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Thanks...though this slow pace won't keep for long. Hope it'll stay interesting anyway, but I want to play the game, dangit! And preferably without having to take too many notes just to remember everything I've done. Everything I've described so far took more time to write than it did to play.


Chapter 3 - Caught Daydreaming


I felt, during that brief transition through the jumpgate, a small measure of peace. I should have been analyzing, calculating, planning contingencies, but it was the only time in the whole affair I knew with absolute certainty that I was safe. I savored it. And then it ended.

Faded Dreams looked like it was supposed to: planet to the right, cloudy red-black space everywhere else, a single station and the memories of a few others, and the ships that attacked and defended them. Oh, dreams, how they do fade.

There was no convenient debris near the gate to hide behind, and hiding might not work anyway. Thankfully there were no more Paranid ahead of me either. In sight, anyway. I faced a dilemma had had scant moments to consider it: I needed to be able to survive, and my available resources to ensure my survival were few. I had a slow M3 fighter with almost no equipment, no money, and no safety net. The ID card I had used would be compromised, my government had either betrayed me or abandoned and then betrayed me, and the only person I trusted was back on the station I had fled from.

Laludinas would have hit me upside the head for putting a melancholy twist on the situation. And her claws would have hurt more than her palm. A lot more.

I smiled faintly, but thinking of her reminded me that she had given me that bag. I turned around to get it from behind the seat, but there just wasn't enough room. So I left it there and unzipped it to peek in. Ahhhh. If she wasn't Teladi I might have fallen in love with her.

There was a data recorder, which was probably the most valuable part of the package, but it was nestled in amongst a nice pillow of money. Cold, hard credits. I couldn't count them, but there was enough there to forget my worries about food and give me a few upgrades on the Medusa.

I turned around long enough to swing the ship toward the Military Base. They might not sell it to me, but I wanted to at least try to get a triplex scanner. The extra warning about incoming hostiles would be invaluable. Plus once I docked I could at least count up the credits so I knew what I had to work with. Then once I was in open space again I could play through her recording.

It was about then that I learned the danger of distractions.

The ship started to shake. I made a desperate grab for the controls and sent the ship spiraling off to the left, completely unintentionally. A glance at my indicators showed the shields already gone, and my hull at 97%. I was starting to get just a little annoyed with the Paranid.

I leveled out and set course for the base again, then switched to the rear turret. The Pegasus was out of range though; it had taken a wide loop away and was turning toward me again, but his speed was only 103 m/s. Mine was 92. Distance to the base, 7 kilometers. I decided to keep running rather than turning to fight with my shields in the red. I wasn't giving him the chance to make a lucky shot.

The automated system granted me docking clearance, but the docking bay was on the opposite side of the structure. Intelligent, putting it on the side opposite the gate so an attacking foe couldn't see what force might be marshaled to fend them off, but a little inconvenient for me just now. I needed to get inside quickly, which meant no autopilot.

Tension mounted with every passing meter, and I spent as much time watching the distance indicators as I did making sure I wasn't going to plow into the superstructure. I wondered if the pilot chasing me regretted that loop, but no way was I going to pity him.

My tension and worry both eased tremendously when I finished the circle around the base and saw the hangar opening. I could dramatize the landing, but why bother? I made it in safely, and tried not to think about the fact that he would still be there when I took off again.

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Poseidon



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PostPosted: Fri, 21. Jun 13, 21:58    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Heh. Nice dramatization. Smile Getting out of that sector in one piece is an accomplishment.

Write at your own pace. It's no good if the writing makes you want to stop playing. :-p

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Song Of Obsidian



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PostPosted: Fri, 21. Jun 13, 23:11    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

I'm getting there, I'm getting there. Setting up a story without making it cheesy always takes so much work. And I probably made it cheesy anyway Razz

Besides, I started this particular game for the sole purpose of writing it. I have other ways to keep entertained on the downtime. Wink But after this post I'll get into actual action. Looking forward.

As for getting out of Contorted Dominion, I actually did it twice. Just so happened that the first time I plowed into a Hydra on the other side of the gate. Was pretty maddening. Then I started in Family Pride with a Raptor 2.5 km away. This start is a frustrating one.

Anyway. Fed the cat, fed myself, made sure I still have enough time for sleep before work...more story!


Chapter 4 - The Course is Set


There was no reason to stay and every reason to beat a hasty retreat once my shields had recharged. Turned out the Boron didn't like me enough to sell me that Triplex scanner, but I had incidentally picked up some energy cells somewhere along the way and sold them for a pittance before bidding farewell to the understandably wary Boron.

My shadow was still out there, but he was over 4.5 km away on the far side of the station when I snuck out. His reaction was slow, too, so I had a substantial head start on the race to the only sensible destination: Queen's Harbour. Would my pursuer chase me into a Boron core sector? Unlikely. I just had to get there.

There was nothing to do, though. I could sit and worry myself to death, or I could do something useful. I opted for useful and retrieved the data recorder. The recording was simple and short, a series of letters and numbers in a stoic synthesized voice. I should have expected a code; if I had been caught with it, an actual message would be damning. Instead she gave me a method for retrieving her message from an outside source. Or, more specifically, for listening to a coded message on broadcast. The code also provided me with the intervals of the broadcast, since a continual message would be found pretty easily. A burst transmission would be harder to track, especially if the source was moving.

I had to wait a couple minutes for the next transmission, but it came through clearly in two segments.

"Shallow Belief," the unfamiliar voice began, referencing my birthplace in The Shallows followed by the location of one of my previous successes, Spring of Belief. There were many ways such a name could be interpreted, especially by the ultra-religious Paranid. Assuming they intercepted this message, of course. The rest of the message continued in that vein, mired in layers of codes and metaphors, but I got the basics. The first segment was an official correspondence, informing me that my mission to undermine the efforts of joint research with the Paranid was compromised, but that they were only pretending to cooperate with the Paranid in the hunt for me. They still didn't trust the Paranid and wanted to shift the focus to more overt forms of sabotage, using me as an outsider. A nice tidy arrangement...for them.

The second message wasn't filtered by official jargon, and it was transmitted in a different code, one that Laludinas and I had painstakingly fleshed out when we first took on this assignment almost two years earlier. It wasn't personal, per se, but Laludinas did pass on a key piece of information that put her life in danger. I wondered why she was broadcasting it at all, but that one message set my agenda for the months to come.

"Condor broke left wing. Nest turn yellow, monkey twist branch. Monkey wait, see if nest fall or egg hatch."

Confused? Wish I was. It meant that my government was playing me and the Paranid against each other. If I was caught, they would use my capture for some purpose...maybe to earn more trust for a more spectacular betrayal. If not, I'd hurt the Paranid they had so come to fear and they had perfect deniability. Bottom line?

I was expendable.

We go through the training learning that, that we are invaluable yet at the same time only a tool. Eventually it is accepted. We know what happens when an operation goes wrong. We have to do what is best for all the families, no matter the sacrifice. And we made those sacrifices without question...and sometimes without our knowledge.

Being confronted with that knowledge first-hand put a fire in my belly.

I didn't know yet how I'd go about it, but I wanted revenge. Revenge on the Paranid for shooting at me; revenge on the Split for betraying me...and then shooting at me. But I wasn't a pilot, primarily. I was an insurgent. My revenge would take a while to formulate and put into action...assuming I survived long enough to do so.

That put me back in mind of my current situation. I checked on my wayward shadow; he was still over 3 km behind me. The gate to Queen's Harbour was a little farther away, but I was closing on it faster than he was closing on me.

There was no peace in my heart during that eternal but short-lived trip past uncounted volumes of space. Only cold and very calculated fury.



Last edited by Song Of Obsidian on Sat, 22. Jun 13, 03:08; edited 1 time in total
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Poseidon



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PostPosted: Sat, 22. Jun 13, 01:11    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

No, no... I was trying to indicate LESS pressure, not more. :-p I enjoy writing, but sometimes I just want to play the damn game. I was afraid you were at that point. Sounds like you've got it covered.

I've never tried this start; it sounds pretty intimidating.

Thanks for the chapter! Enjoy your nap.

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Song Of Obsidian



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PostPosted: Sat, 22. Jun 13, 07:29    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

That's why the game has 10 save slots Razz

I really expected the Prototype to be stronger, but the biggest difference, really, is that it can use a couple missiles that fighters shouldn't be able to. Starting in it is pretty interesting...but the starting locations tend to suck, especially with the slow speed and the constant streams of bounty hunters when you're not in Core sectors. Oh, and the 5 MJ shield when all those bounty hunters have IREs. I saw Kirlack say once that it took him 20-ish tries to survive the beginning, and I believe it.


Chapter 5 - Minor Annoyances


I had a goal, but no plan. The absence of a plan can make for some very foolish decisions, especially when one is angry.

Such was the case when I emerged into Queen's Harbour. Less than a kilometer away sat a freighter, a Caiman model, that my scanner told me was a Split Energy Transporter. The only thing the pilot was guilty of was being Split, and considering the fact that I, too, am Split, there is a certain irony underlying my actions.

He had very little shielding; my PBE's chewed through them so fast that the hull crumpled before I could let off the trigger. I stared at the freighter, a little shocked by the ease of the attack, and watched with an odd disconnected feeling as the pilot ejected and left me with a new ship. And then I almost killed myself.

How? By coming within a hair's breadth of ejecting to claim my new ship without a space suit on.

I took a few breaths to steady myself after nearly commiting involuntary suicide, then pulled away and left the freighter where it was for the moment. Or for however long it took to find a space suit. It might not actually be important, but I would feel a lot more secure if I wore one. That incident shook me up.

So I set to looking over the nearest stations for a likely place to find a suit. Buying one seemed improbable given my finances. I didn't like the idea of stealing from the Boron, considering the fact that this little cluster of sectors would likely be my home for at least the next couple days. The last thing I needed was police attention.

I did discover something interesting, though. There was a drone factory near the middle of the system with something of an anomaly: one of the products listed that they purchased regularly was massom powder. The thought of stealing a space suit from a Split station went a long way toward calming my frantic heart, which was still louder than my raspy breathing. To my own ears, anyway.

I did wonder if they might have been alerted about the proximity of a Split fugitive in a Paranid heavy fighter. It was a risk, but as I already mentioned, anger does things to one's decision-making processes. So I docked, without issue, and was given a warm greeting by a computerized voice that seemed somehow...insincere.

I was already starting to feel like an idiot when I started to climb out of the ship. I felt even more like an idiot when I was shoved back down and an angry Split face peered down at me.

"Why you come here?"

Ah. They knew. And were either toying with me or still pretending to be the best of reluctant friends. "I came for a space suit," I replied in what I imagined to be a calm and collected tone. My imagination might have been playing with me though.

The face scowled then disappeared. I waited, but not for long. A suit was dropped in my lap...though how I was going to get into it in this cockpit was beyond me. Everyone loves a challenge, right?

"You go now," Mister Congeniality said. "And no more shooting Split ships!"

I smiled up at him. Word travels fast, apparently. "Just helping your cover story." Your lie. That earned me a glare before he departed. Score one for my team...of one.

I hadn't wanted to see the inside of that station anyway.

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PostPosted: Sat, 22. Jun 13, 17:52    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Chapter 6 - Twice the Fool


My new ship was a Caiman Super Freighter XL, and it was empty. No passengers, no cargo, no equipment. A little disappointing, but it was mine and it had a purpose to serve. Or it would, once I had some idea what I could do with it.

I set it to follow me and headed for the north gate to Queen's Retribution. Of all possible goals, there were two I considered most urgent: finding more shields and increasing my speed from a snail's pace. Some software might do me good too, if I could afford any. I knew there was a shipyard and equipment dock in Queen's Retribution, so I headed there with all haste. All haste being...not very much.

One of your ships is under attack - Queen's Harbour.

Who...oh. I swung around and sighed. My shadow had decided to follow me after all, and was bored enough to send a constant stream of IRE fire at my new freighter as he passed. I didn't take kindly to that, so I proved how much more effective my weapons were compared to his.

Missile launch detected. Who now?

Who was important, but so was the missile that now had my name on it: a hammerhead. I didn't know much about missile stats but I knew what sorts of things the hammerhead was good for. If it came anywhere near me I was done for.

I calmly sent an insincere apology to the Atreus Shark that had launched it, and thankfully he or she believed me. Can never tell genders with the squids. Then I put some distance between me and my freighter and took control of the rear turret. Chance of survival? Maybe 50/50. 60/40? 40/60? Probably worse. Limiting my revenge to a single freighter would be such a waste.

The wait wasn't long enough for anxiety to build, and i started firing just before it came into range. The explosion was very impressive, and I was grateful that it wasn't any closer. Note to self: the Boron don't hate the Paranid as much as they do the Split. I guess I would have to restrain my violence to the Split only in Boron sectors.

I headed for the north again. The freighter was moving at less than half my speed, so I'd get to look around a little. I considered selling it.

On the other side of the gate I found another Split freighter and decided to take a shot at it. Imagine my dismay when a cloud of drones exploded out from it. I kept up the PBE fire as I turned around in a panic to flee back through the gate, cursing myself for twice the fool, and surprisingly was rewarded just before Queen's Retribution disappeared with a radio call from the pilot that he was leaving the ship.

I'd taken some hits but my shields were still up. Barely. I moved to the side of the gate and stopped, waiting to see if the drones would follow. I didn't know if they even could, but I wasn't about to get surprised again.

Nothing came through though, so after a few tense minutes I retreated a short distance and hopped out to do a little welding. I didn't know much about ship maintenance, but with the hull still at 97% I figured I could handle superficial repairs.

Once that was done I waited a little while longer to let the drones run out of energy, and spent the time worrying productively. No matter what happened, I would always have a smaller force than my enemies. That meant I needed to avoid being found, so I had to limit my interactions with others, particularly in cases where identity would need to be established. Such as ship sales. I could maybe get away with selling Split ships in Boron space, given the relationship between the two races. The Argon had a loose alliance of some kind with the Split, that I was aware of, and the Teladi would sell me out in a heartbeat. My enemies had a lot more to offer them than I did. Actually purchasing ships would be out of the question; not only would the transactions lead back to me, but if I did buy ships my enemies could guess at my intentions too easily. Predictability was an enemy too.

The lifetime of a fighter drone is short. Once I was sure they were spent I went back through and found my newest acquisition: another Caiman, this one a Super Freighter. As I drew near to it I compared its stats with the XL. Both were faster than most other freighters of similar size. Good shielding. The XL had almost 4000 more cargo capacity though, and that's what sold me. I'd pawn off the regular SF and keep the XL for later use.

The new ship also yielded an unexpected bounty. I installed the transporter device in the Medusa, then commanded both freighters to head for the shipyard while I docked at the equipment dock. Attacking Split ships had improved my relations with the Boron, so I had a few options. Options, but not much money yet. So spent most of my money on engine tunings, bringing my speed to its maximum of 149. I also bought Fight Command Software MK1 so I wouldn't have to take manual control of my turrets every time.

All the tension and shocks of the day finally hit home, there in a foreign space station. I'd been betrayed, and was returning it in kind. My only friend had to disappear, leaving me alone. And I was now a wanted man. A very fatigued wanted man. My eyes wouldn't stay open for very long. The freighters would take a while to get to the shipyard anyway. I spent a few credits for a bed. A nap would do me some good...


Assets:

Medusa Prototype
(1) 5 MJ Shield
(6) Pulsed Beam Emitter
(2) Particle Accelerator Cannon

Caiman Super Freighter
Caiman Super Freighter XL

Credits: 4,685

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Song Of Obsidian



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Joined: 19 Jun 2013
Posts: 293 on topic

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PostPosted: Sat, 22. Jun 13, 22:39    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Chapter 7 - Going Places


Awareness returned slowly, as if dreams fought to keep hold of my mind. Until I saw the time. Confusion set in for a moment, and then I understood it with a clarity so sharp it felt surreal. I'd slept for fourteen hours. Sluggishness fell away and urgency took its place. There could be a mess of an ambush waiting for me, with over half a day to prepare it. I needed to get off this station. Some nap.

I expected to die within minutes of takeoff, but nothing happened. None of the ships I saw paid any attention to me. No Split around either, though there were some Paranid freighters. I wouldn't attack them in Boron space again though, not after the captain of the Shark decided I was worth a hammerhead.

I went to the shipyard first. I was nervous about it, but I sold the Super Freighter without any trouble. It gave me about 260,000 credits to work with. I didn't expect them to last long.

I had yet to see a station selling shields of any kind, so I headed east into the border sector of Hollow Infinity to see what goods it had available. Thrice the fool, me; I was only two kilometers from the gate when two Paranid bounty hunters jumped in. One of them was in a Pegasus Sentinel, significantly slower than the other. I killed the other and left the Sentinel with heavy damage, just to see what actions he would take. Then I left the sector and headed for the Harbour again.

To solve some of my mobility problems, I bought a Jumpdrive at Atreus Headquarters. This took around half my funds. I bought a docking computer as well, then started looking around for ways I could earn money. I wasn't about to try another freighter, not with the potential for a drone assault. If I had been further from the gate the last time, it would have been the last time.

There were a few people looking to hire out. The better-paying jobs were mostly passenger transport requests. I didn't have the equipment for that, but I knew where to get it. So I flew to Veil of Delusion, south of Faded Dreams, to visit the pirate base. In addition to the Cargo Life Support System I went for, I also picked up an invaluable Freight Scanner. Then it was off to work.

I passed the Pegasus on my way back to Boron core sectors; it was only able to go 40 m/s, but it was heading to Veil and ignoring me. He never detoured, which begged the question: How were they tracking me? It certainly wasn't by sight. Nor would it be by any tracker on my ship. He wouldn't have passed me if that was so. Perhaps they had some sort of tracking system on the gates themselves. It would be ambitious, but not impossible. Something to think about.

I wanted to test the theory and send him chasing everywhere, so I jumped to the north gate of Queen's Retribution and passed into Teladi space. At one of the solar plants there were thirteen employees needing transport, so I took them on. I also noticed a ship for sale near the gate. A Toucan. Tempting, but a bit out of my price range. Still, I wondered if it might be a trap for me. They could have a significant number of marines aboard. Something else to be wary of.

The transport mission went off without a hitch. The station I delivered them to needed 199 energy cells, so I decided to help them again. As I was waiting for the jumpdrive, though, I saw the Pegasus again, heading north toward Sanctity of Corruption, the sector I had just departed. Hm.

I was near the south gate of Ret when a Split freighter came through. I was near enough to the gate for an easy escape, so I took the risk and attacked. Almost immediately he dumped cargo, 689 massom powders. The haul was decent enough that I let him go, then ordered my freighter over, switched to the freighter myself, and salvaged the goods. I knew a certain station that always seemed to have a low supply, so I hopped back into the Medusa and sent the freighter to the not-so-friendly drone facility in Harbour.

The Pegasus was coming back by then, so I headed north. I docked at the equipment dock and bought a few more upgrades, including the triplex scanner and a mineral scanner, then sailed up into Teladi space again. This time, however, I kept going.

Attacking ships in Teladi space would generally be a bad idea. I didn't get any interesting job offers in Sanctity or Company Strength, but in Bright Profit I saw a Paranid High Tech Transporter that I couldn't resist. The freight scanner told me he had no rear turret guns, and he was flying an M3+ Kea. He bailed with the hull at 74%, and I continued north with the Kea following...slowly.


Assets:

Medusa Prototype
(1) 5 MJ Shield
(6) Pulsed Beam Emitter
(2) Particle Accelerator Cannon

Kea
Caiman Super Freighter XL

Credits: 218,315

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Kirlack



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Joined: 25 Jun 2004
Posts: 1905 on topic
Location: Archemedes Trading Corp. HQ, Spires of Elusion
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PostPosted: Sat, 22. Jun 13, 22:43    Post subject: Re: Betrayal is a Double-Edged Sword - TC 3.2 DiD Reply with quote Print

Song Of Obsidian wrote:
Going to blame Kirlack for this one. Partially for his own DiDs, and partially for mentioning the Unholy Traitor start at the end of the highly entertaining Way of the Gun. Hope you don't mind the plug.


Whadda ya mean you're going to 'blame me'? Razz And no, don't mind the plug at all! Very Happy

Congrats on the start! Really liking the narrative, keep it up mate Thumb up


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Triaxx2





Joined: 29 Dec 2009
Posts: 7043 on topic

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PostPosted: Sat, 22. Jun 13, 22:56    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Gotta blame someone for the large chunks of life sure to be eaten by such epic endeavours.

Added to the DiD list.


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Song Of Obsidian



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Joined: 19 Jun 2013
Posts: 293 on topic

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PostPosted: Sun, 23. Jun 13, 00:50    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

What Triaxx said. Though epic might be a bit much...

Chapter 8 - The Long Haul


I stopped looking for work in Teladi space. I didn't want to linger in a place where profit ruled and honor meant nothing. I would probably want to improve relations with them at some point, but this was not that time.

Getting through those few sectors took a considerable amount of time, and I started feeling restless. Grand exchange is a very large sector, and a daunting one. Where one might expect patience, I felt an ever-present tension that might be influenced by the Xenon sector to the north. Just maybe.

I made it through though with only my sanity damaged and emerged into Belt of Aguilar, an Argon sector with the Jonferco Headquarters sitting in the middle of it. Here I was able to vent my frustrations from Teladi space on a couple hapless Paranid fighters playing at being freighters, but I gained nothing else from it.

The hunt for shields remained a fruitless one through the Belt and Midnight Star. In Wastelands I was given a choice and a fright. The choice was between continuing west or turning south. The fright sent me to the south, because I wasn't up to dealing with the Paranid task force led by a Heavy Nemesis that was lurking at the west gate. Interworlds, here I come.

Interworlds proved little better. Right outside the gate I ran into a Boa belonging to the very militaristic Strong Arms corporation. It had a pair of Scorpions and another pair of Jaguars riding cover for it. Did I get a friendly greeting from my racial brothers? Depends on your own personal definition of the word 'friendly'. The Boa started shooting at me with twin PACs on a turret. My shields melted away and I dove back through the gate in a cold sweat.

I really didn't want to head back the way I'd come. I considered landing at a station, but I didn't know if the Paranid fleet was aware of me specifically. As it turned out, it didn't matter. They were heading toward the south gate, where I was coasting, from the northwest. And from the northeast, one of the Perseus fighters I'd taken a potshot at and let go had his nose pointed right at me. The Perseus was three kilometers away, and the Nemesis and company were six kilometers out.

I gave the jumpdrive a command to send me back to Midnight Star, but then the Boa with came through the gate beside me. It had collected its four fighters, and now they launched from the military transport's bays. One of the Scorpions flew right by the Medusa's nose and started to loop around for a shot at me. No way would the jumpdrive finish before they tore me apart.

I yanked on the controls, which sent the Medusa spinning to the right, away from the Boa, and strafed right as well. I'd never gone into a gate sideways before and wondered if doing so would break the universe. At least then I'd take them all down with me. That was the best case scenario. Worst was that I'd crash into someone on the other side.

A day for cheerful thoughts, I guess.

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