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The more things change... or, Trapper Tim's first experience in AP
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Timsup2nothin





Joined: 22 Jan 2009



PostPosted: Fri, 29. Apr 16, 01:14    Post subject: The more things change... or, Trapper Tim's first experience in AP Reply with quote Print

Red Ellis stood in the center of the small room as his enviro suit expanded. No matter how rigid the material, the lowering external pressure was going to cause some expansion. Red's suit was, charitably speaking, obsolete. Less charitably, it was a cheaply made and barely adequate piece of junk when it was brand new, and brand new was far behind it. He felt like he was wearing a balloon. It would take the suit hours to contract back to normal.

Fortunately, it made the transition to high pressure much more quickly, or he'd never be able to return to the high pressure methane atmosphere that filled the majority of the trading station. He brought the control console on the left forearm of the suit up in front of his eyes. A quick sequence of commands initiated a rapid cycle of the helmet seals. Even though the suit sensors all agreed that the atmosphere was Argon normal, he preferred a quick whiff before unsealing his helmet. He hadn't fully trusted this suit when it was new, and he surely didn't trust it now.

The stench, while unpleasant, was recognizable as the best that could be expected, and he removed his helmet, then peeled out of the suit.

The vid screen chimed, and a synthesized voice said "Your call has connected."

"On Screen," he replied. He intentionally put as much venom into his tone as possible, knowing the vid unit AI wouldn't take offense. Best to vent out as much unpleasantness as possible. When the face of Tal Bannet had stabilized on the screen he smiled and put on as much good cheer as he could muster. "Tal! I have your ship!"

"Great. But you are supposed to be HERE with my ship. Not THERE."

"Well, yeah, I know. That's why I called. Repairs ran a little long. I can set the homing unit and send it right on home."

"Repairs ran long my ass." Tal Bannet's face on the screen was mottled with rage. "I stuck my neck out giving you this mission. Now you are playing for more time because you were off on some other job and never should have taken this mission in the first place."

Red kept his face as calm as possible. Tal was right, of course, but if he didn't confirm that maybe the situation could be salvaged.

"You haven't changed a bit, Red. Profit first, reliability second, if that!"

Maybe the situation couldn't be salvaged. "Look, Tal..."

"Red, I'm teaching myself a lesson here."

"Yourself?"

"Yes, myself. Never to trust an 'old friend' to be anything other than the pirate I remember him to be. Either get the ship back here on time or I'll report it as stolen." The vid screen went dark.

Red slumped into a chair. Typically, the chair didn't fit properly. They never did on a Boron station. Another thing that he had NOT been missing. Truth be told he hadn't really been missing much of anything about the spacefaring life.

He told himself that he was here out of some sense of nostalgia, but the truth was that he had squandered a fortune dirtside. Maybe more than one fortune. He had gotten rich in space, and now he was back in space with a ragged Buster Interceptor and an enviro suit of dubious vintage. He slumped further.

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

Red floated down the corridor, tapping handholds to steer away from the walls. He was even more irritable. There was a time that he would have glided the length of the passage with barely a motion, now he was caroming back and forth like a pinball. At least with the full pressure of the Boron atmosphere the suit fit better. He grabbed a handgrip next to a portal and tapped the access control panel. The portal irised open. He swung himself through.

"What can the Boron do for you?"

He sighed. The translation algorithms in his helmet got the message across, but he always hated the stilted order of the translation from Boron.

"Meso Su, I need some modifications done on a ship."

"You were a friend of Boron when this one was but a hatchling. The Boron will help you. There are mechanics that can do this work."

"A Split ship."

Tentacles swirled, showing the Boron's agitation. "This reduces the options."

"A Split ship that will be reported stolen to the Argon authorities very soon."

"The Boron cannot work for a pirate."

"I'm not a pirate. It's just a bit of a misunderstanding. I'll get it all sorted out, but I'll not be able to sort it out if some trigger happy Argon cop blows up the ship, now will I?"

"The friend leaves the Boron very few options. But it can be done.

Some haggling over costs followed, showing that Red's ability to rely on old contacts was limited to his current cash on hand. That was a tight limit indeed.

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

This adventure is my first experience with X3AP. Red Ellis is the "nostalgic Argon," and this will be his story. It seemed like a good way to start, since Red would have all the knowledge of a successful career in Terran Conflict. I'll try to tell a good story, and still supply the nuts and bolts so that how I play the game can be followed. If a beginner wants to use this as a guide, great, just keep in mind that you are following someone who is totally clueless about AP.

So here's those nuts and bolts.

I picked up a load of mosquito missiles from the IR fab and delivered them to the EqDock. Even without a trading system extension I could tell the missiles would be near minimum price.

My "load" was something like a half dozen missiles and made me a couple hundred credits. That's all my thousand credits could afford. I could repeat this for as long as it took for some weapons dealer to snarf up the missiles in bulk. A couple hundred credits per trip would be a pittance, but it would build me some Argon rep, and I sure didn't want to set off for anywhere far in the busted Buster.

However...

I did have two IREs. I sold them and had enough cash to fill the Buster with mosquitoes on the next trip, making a couple thousand credits. Buy as many missiles as I could hold, fly to the EqD, spend what I had left on engine tunings, then sell the missiles. Repeated trips, if I could make enough of them, would tune up the speed to the at least marginally tolerable maximum the Buster could manage.

Practice manually docking the ship, at least, and verification that some simple things haven't changed.

I was about three trips in when a flight of pirates bumbled into the sector. Being in an unarmed Buster I ignored them and made one more trip. But when I unloaded and headed off to the missile fab the pirates had, not surprisingly, been cooked by the local authorities. SALVAGE!!!

By the time I rounded up all the scrap missiles the anticipated weapons dealer had cleared out the mosquito fab, but I didn't care. Selling off the scrap gave me enough cash to get a full complement of IREs, tune engines and steering to max, fully expand the cargo bay, and set myself up with fight command, nav command, and a trading system extension.

All I needed to finish my first objective, Buster Upgrade, was some 5MJ shields and a triplex scanner, and I had about 60K credits left so maybe all I needed was a source...and enough rep to buy them. Without knowing for sure the fab would be there I set off for Elana's Fortune.

Looking to maybe pick up some rep on the way I started checking missions. First station in range in The Wall I get a return ship; a Disco in CBNW for 11K credits. As it turns out the time limit was less than a minute more than I needed to shlep the Buster over there and get the Disco repaired and returned. I knew it would be close.

Unfortunately, being greedy, I took another ship return as I passed through Argon Prime. So having taken that mission and promptly flown the wrong direction since I was still on my way to get the Disco I ran out of time. By the time I got back to Rolk's Fate, claimed the Jaguar Vanguard, and repaired it there was just enough time to get it and myself docked at the trading station.

And here we are.


_________________
Trapper Tim's Guide to CLS 2

On Her Majesty's Secret Service-Dead is Dead, and he is DEAD

Not a DiD, so I guess it's a DiDn't, the story of my first try at AP
Part One, in progress

HEY! AP!! That's new!!!
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Zaitsev





Joined: 02 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Fri, 29. Apr 16, 02:50    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Whee, another story from Tim! Very Happy

*dances on the table*


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Timsup2nothin





Joined: 22 Jan 2009



PostPosted: Fri, 29. Apr 16, 21:23    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Karl Braks pulled the lever and the docking hood began its ponderous swing down towards the ship. The tiny Split scout craft was dwarfed by the hood. It would not need to be extended. He locked the panel with his maintenance key and made his way to the access port.

Aboard the ship, Red Ellis ran the final shutdown sequence and unstrapped. The Jaguar offered very little in the way of comforts and he was stiff from the long flight. The manual docking, wrestling the outsized controls that were built for Split size and strength, had nearly run out the last his body had to give. Gratefully, he popped the cockpit hatch and floated out into the docking hood.

The port from docking hood 4-4 opened, and Karl smiled a welcome. "I assume you wanted to manually dock at a bay that was shutdown for maintenance just to prove you haven't gotten too old to wrestle a Split ship."

Red laughed as he settled to the floor of the pod in the light gravity field. "That's it. Just wanted to show an old friend I've still got the goods."

"Red, you are sweating like an Argnu heifer in the Priest Emperor's harem. We both know you didn't fight that ship in here just for the challenge. I'm complicit in sneaking you aboard the shipyard, in wartime no less. Let's cut the bull and you tell me what this is about before I have to shove you back in your ship and pretend I never knew you."

"Okay. I'm having some trouble with Tal Bannet..."

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

The office was a prize; view of the planet through the wide port, the smoothest artificial gravity to be found on the station, and a desk surfaced with genuine dirtside wood. Tal had done well for himself, and he didn't need some echo from his past to complicate things now. There was a chirp from the com unit and he set aside the contract he was reviewing. He pressed the acknowledgement stud on the com unit and a face, under a uniform cap, showed on the screen. "Yes?"

"Tal Bannet? Gol Patek, from the AP Sector Police. Do you have a minute? I have a few questions regarding the Split Jaguar Vanguard that you reported stolen."

"Sure." Tal stood as he pressed the door release, tugged at his cuffs, and strode to the access port as it irised open. When the uniformed man entered Tal noted that he was a captain, a higher rank than he would have expected for such a routine matter. "What can I do for you?" He did not move towards the cozy conference nook near the viewport or otherwise offer a seat.

"I'm just trying to clear up some things in this case that aren't quite fitting together."

Tal had negotiated enough contracts to recognize that he was being drawn towards something here. The cop was not just some flunky out to complete a report, and he had been thorough when he made the report anyway. The repetition of 'questions' and 'things to clear up' without actually asking anything were intended to just get him talking to see what he would reveal. He knew better than to do that, but he couldn't help but feel a touch of concern. "Okay," was all he offered in reply.

Patek looked at him with a bored expression. "How did the shipyard come to be in possession of the ship?"

That was all in the report. Tal knew it, and he knew the cop knew it. But protesting would be pointless. He was a busy man though, so another quick adjustment of his cuffs just to show some impatience was appropriate. "We hold a salvage contract for the ship, which was abandoned in a dispute in Boron space."

The cop plodded through the details of the salvage contract. Tal felt justified in showing his growing impatience as he answered the questions. He was sure that they both knew those details weren't in the report because they weren't relevant. He thought this cop might be testing him to see how much time he would waste before playing the "I'm a busy man and this will have to wait" card. He knew that would only lead to an appointment that he wouldn't be able to break. If this 'investigation' could be blown off that easily it wouldn't be a captain standing in his office.

"So you hired Red Ellis to retrieve the ship?" Patek finally got around to.

"That's correct."

The captain drew a scuffed portavid from the tub on his thigh and unrolled it. He tapped briefly and then turned it for Tal to see. "This is his contract?"

Tal gave it a cursory glance. "Yes. I provided the contract when I reported the theft of the ship. I don't..."

"So, you don't want to take a closer look to verify the detai..."

"No, I don't. I provided the contract to you. I don't see any reason you would have changed it, so I don't need to look at it that closely. It's a standard retrieval contract, and Red Ellis did not comply. He retrieved the ship, but did not return it."

Gol Patek gave him that same bored look. "Okay then." He rolled the portavid and slid it back into the pocket, but made no move to leave.

Tal knew that he shouldn't, but he asked anyway, "So, that's all you needed to know?"

"No. I'm still not sure of some things. Did you have any further contact with Red Ellis?"

"Yes. He called in shortly before his contract expired."

Patek once again retrieved his portavid. By the time he had it unrolled and turned so he could see it Tal wanted to scream at the man. "That would be this call here, yes?" Patek said, indicating a line of data.

Tal's eyes went slightly wide. He couldn't help it. The cop had accessed his vid records! Either he had a warrant, which meant he had a case, or he didn't have a warrant and didn't care if Tal knew that he wasn't going to be playing by the rules. Either way, the situation was slipping out of control. "Yes. That's the one. From Rolk's Fate, where the ship was retrieved." The question "What are you doing with my vid records?" was fighting to get past Tal's clenched teeth, but hung unspoken.

"That call came in before the delivery deadline?" Patek had the contract. He had the vid record. He already knew that the call had come in just before the deadline.

"Yes." Tal knew he should just answer the question asked, but he continued. "He wanted an extension."

"Extension? Is that unusual?"

"Very. The contract was clear. He agreed to it. We don't give extensions."

"Never?"

"Not that I've seen."

"And you've been here a long time."

"Yes."

"Long enough to have worked with Red Ellis before?"

"I knew him a long time ago. Before he went dirtside. He's a little down on his luck and I tried to throw him a bone."

"For old time's sake."

"Not exactly. He used to be reliable. He was a handy guy for jobs like this."

"So he would have known there wasn't likely to be any extension."

Tal cocked his head. A visual tell that he knew instantly the cop had picked up. There was a trap here, and he wished that he hadn't let the cop see him sense it. "He may have thought that times had changed..."; a lame response, and Tal knew it. His mind was racing. What was the cop after? He was feeling the subtle hand of the old Red Ellis, and he thought it might be closing on his throat.

"Do you know where the ship is now?"

The change of direction was meant to put him off guard. Tal got back on his game. "No." Just answer the question asked, no more, no less.

Again the portavid came out. This time it displayed an image of a ship; obviously a Jaguar. The side of the screen scrolled the identification from the transponder, apparently. "Is this it?"

Tal's mind was racing. The ship in the image was docked. The numbers on the docking hood were blurry. The background starfield contained a view of a distant station, partially blocked by the hull of the ship. He wanted to know where the image was shot, but knew that he couldn't ask. He read through the scrolling identification. "That is a Jaguar, and that is the proper identification."

Another long and pointless exchange followed. They both knew everything there was to know about standard ship transponders and identification codes, and they both knew that they knew. Through it all Patek held the portavid carelessly, as if forgotten, watching it draw Tal's eye again and again as he searched for clues as to where the ship was found. Finally, Tal had to ask, "So you found it."

"Oh, yes. We got a tip. It was right where we were told to look."

"Anonymous?"

Patek ignored the question by moving on. Almost, but not quite, casually enough to have not been intentionally ignoring it. "What would a ship like that be worth?"

"In good repair..."

"Yes. Say with some serious aftermarket work done on her engines."

"Jaguar Vanguard can be fast. Very fast..."

"Yeah. Say it was tuned for something over five hundred."

Tal's eyes widened again. Back in the day Red had contacts that could do that kind of work. Did he still? "That fast? It would be worth probably sixty thousand, no equipment."

"That's a lot."

"Well, not as ships go, but yeah."

"Nice chunk of change. I can see why someone would steal it. You think he found it that way? Maybe saw how fast she was and wanted to keep her?"

There was no way Red found an abandoned Jaguar with that kind of engine work intact. Again, Tal knew that the cop already knew that. He just stared.

"Hard to figure, otherwise," Patek eventually went on. "I mean, you said he was down on his luck. Why would he pay to have that kind of work done himself, on a stolen ship?"

Patek tapped on his portavid some more, and turned it. Official document, with the e-print of the shipyard. Docking pod records. "This pod shows bay four as down for maintenance. Do you have anything to do with maintenance schedules?"

"No."

"You can access them though?"

"Well, of course."

"I thought so. Not like a secret, right?"

"Right."

"Normally wouldn't have a ship docked when the bay is going to have maintenance?"

"Right. I guess... Actually, I don't know."

"It would depend on what was scheduled."

"Right."

Patek pointed at the data on the portavid. "Shows here down for computer analysis. That would be adjustments to the docking interlinks that bring in a ship. No harm having a ship already docked, right?"

"I suppose not. But the last entry in the record shows a departure."

"Might be a good place to park a ship, sort of out of the way."

Tal just stared. Patek rolled up the portavid. "What say we take a little tour of the shipyard, Mr Bannet?" Clearly, Tal was in no position to refuse. He wasn't sure why, but he was sure this was all leading up to an arrest, and it was probably his.

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

The trek through the corridors was made in silence. Captain Patek made a show of being interested in the sights. Tal Bannet plugged an expensive ocular vid into a pocket link and pretended he was working, trying to give the impression that he was too busy for this.

When they reached docking pod four the Jaguar was clearly visible through the viewports, docked at bay four. Two men and a woman, all in police uniforms, busied themselves at the computers.

"The log was tampered with," Patek said. "There was an arrival. It was deleted. The data is being reconstructed. Do you know when that ship arrived?"

"No! How would I know?"

"Red Ellis could have told you."

The trap. Tal blinked as all the pieces came together. "The record. The deleted record..."

"I said we are reconstructing the data, but we have enough already."

"Enough..."

"Enough to show that the ship arrived on time, according to the contract. Right before Red Ellis contacted you."

"He wanted more time..."

"He wasn't going to get more time. He wasn't asking for more time. He didn't need more time. What was that call really about?"

"He wanted more time!"

"That's not what he says."

Tal's eyes popped wide. "What he says?"

"We have him in custody. He turned himself in. Just arrived in sector, flew straight to the trading station, and turned himself in."

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

Red Ellis shook hands with the prosecution team. "Glad we could get this all sorted out." His testimony fit all the evidence. The prosecution had independently found all of that evidence, never knowing that each piece had been carefully constructed.

Records from the Boron trading station showed that the Jaguar had come and gone, exactly when Red said that it had. A Boron expert may have been able to determine that the times weren't accurate, but to the Argon they were solid enough, and backed by a deposition from a Boron who claimed to have done the work on the engines that allowed the ship to be delivered on time.

The docking record, when reconstructed, showed the Jaguar had docked on time, according to the retrieval contract. Tal Bannet could not establish his whereabouts at the time the record was deleted.

The Jaguar's flight recorder was sketchy, as could be expected from a salvaged ship. It did show well enough that Red's timeline of events was accurate. It docked. It pinged him.

Right before he called to report the ship had arrived. The call that Tal Bannet claimed was about something else entirely.

And Tal Bannet had refused to pay him. Erased the arrival record. Framed him so he could keep the ship for himself. A compelling narrative, surrounding an executive from the shipyard long suspected of having some skeletons deep in his closet somewhere.

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

Red slid into the cockpit of the Buster and checked his account. The shipyard had paid him the value of the Jaguar, including the cost of his repairs and upgrades. The least they could do, under the circumstances. He strapped in and pressed the icon, and the docking clamps retracted from his ship.

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

One of the great challenges of my life playing games is that I always find myself wondering; now how does that work?

The Jag was at the trading station, I maxed the engines, and I had less than a minute to return it to the shipyard. Clearly not happening.

Now, I wasn't sure that AP would have the same results as TC, but I was willing to take a chance. I wasn't going to make the shipyard before the mission failed, but I MIGHT make it before the cops spawned (turns out that I did). And as a just starting out player the cops, if they did spawn, were going to be one or maybe two discoverers that I could outrun.

In the mechanics of the game as long as I flew the ship myself so it wouldn't get hung up at a gate or something at just the wrong moment and get caught by the cops selling it at the shipyard seemed like a no brainer.

But, c'mon. How do you sell a ship at the shipyard when it has just been reported stolen? Especially when the ship was supposed to be delivered to that shipyard in the first place?

Hope you like my solution.


_________________
Trapper Tim's Guide to CLS 2

On Her Majesty's Secret Service-Dead is Dead, and he is DEAD

Not a DiD, so I guess it's a DiDn't, the story of my first try at AP
Part One, in progress

HEY! AP!! That's new!!!
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Triaxx2





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PostPosted: Sat, 30. Apr 16, 00:13    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

DiD you DiD, or DiD you DiDn't? (Again.)


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Timsup2nothin





Joined: 22 Jan 2009



PostPosted: Sat, 30. Apr 16, 00:46    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

It's a DiDn't. I'm possibly more a writer than a player, and I like to be able to say when the story ends. I also always feel like when I start thinking "DiD" I start playing too safe for the story to be really fun.

Though I have managed to not get killed so far...which when the next part posts will be hard to believe, perhaps. Astounding case of brain fade.


_________________
Trapper Tim's Guide to CLS 2

On Her Majesty's Secret Service-Dead is Dead, and he is DEAD

Not a DiD, so I guess it's a DiDn't, the story of my first try at AP
Part One, in progress

HEY! AP!! That's new!!!
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Timsup2nothin





Joined: 22 Jan 2009



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PostPosted: Sat, 30. Apr 16, 03:46    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

"My future grows dark as you enter," said the Priest-Duke to his old partner. "Not since we ran the Argon slave program together have I seen you so troubled."

Hulkantitot closed all three eyes and calmed himself. "My apologies for my disquiet, Priest-Duke."

"No apologies needed between us. You have received bad news. Tell me."

"A pilot. A trader in weapons. He brings news from the Argon sector. Elana's Fortune."

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

The report causing such distress for the high ranking Paranids came from a young pilot who would not have expected to get such attention were he not capable of vaguely sensing the future. His concern had mounted as he recorded his account of the events, but he thought it related to how his superiors would view his performance. The company had not been happy with the losses, but only when the report was handed up to the priests did the placid Paranids really start to panic.

Ombandusant captained a military transport. He had three pilots under his command, with two scout craft and an interceptor. As he crossed from the north gate to south in Elana's Fortune he was well aware of the swarms of Argon military craft. With their war with the Terrans the Argon military had displayed little interest in the Paranid, and he was not concerned, just aware.

The Argon military was just as surprised as he was when the shouting started, carried on the general ship's emergency frequency. "In come any Paranid fighter! Shields gone, almost!"

His pilots had raced for the flight deck. He felt shame that he had not ordered them to launch. The vessel in distress was a Demeter freighter well across the sector, and from what he could gather from the frantic pilot there would be nothing his pilots could do by the time they got there.

That excuse wasn't as comforting when another freighter pilot started shouting. Then a third. Ombandusand studied ship registry information and couldn't understand what was happening. Bio haulers, energy transports; low value cargo that no pirate would be interested in. It was like the Argon had suddenly turned the simmering "war" into a free for all against innocuous Paranid freighters. He pushed the throttles, looking to get clear of Argon space as quickly as possible.

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

In the office of the Priest Duke the two old companions listened to the recorded distress calls, and took note of the timestamps on the data. One ship. They plotted the locations of the attacks on a grid representation of Elana's Fortune and were convinced that it could have been just one ship. A ship that had assaulted one freighter after another. Racing from one to the next as if driven by blood lust more than the desire for profit.

A Pericles interceptor being used as a freight courier had been abandoned by her pilot, and there was a slight pause in the attacks. The same when a freighter pilot had chosen to bail out. When the Paranid pilots had shown more courage they listened to demands for surrender in a machine generated voice. They could be the same ship, or just ships running similar communication programs.

But they knew. The demand, when rebuffed, was followed almost immediately by the sound of destruction. Every time. The attacker was not demanding surrender until the ship was about to implode. Offering a last chance at life and showing no mercy when the chance was not taken. They had seen this before.

Ombandusant had been very close to the gate that had come to represent escape from the carnage when he encountered the killer. His report on the action left them both shaking their heads, just as Ombundusant had shaken his on the bridge of his ship.

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

The Buster had performed well. Red preferred more speed, and had taken more hits than he remembered from his younger days. He grimaced at the thought that perhaps it was he who had slowed rather than the ship. He shook that off. Clearly the Buster was no scout ship, and he would need to develop a different strategy. But for the current task things were working out.

The Buster could claw its way to a position in front of a freighter and slew to a stop well enough. He just always seemed to be much closer to the target than he remembered when he completed the maneuver. The heavier guns of the Buster made up for the relatively brief opportunity to fire them, but it was hard to spin and get away before the targets could bring their rear turret to bear.

It was also impossible to outrun fighting drones. A couple of the targets had dropped small groups and the shields had taken a pounding.

Everything was fine until he picked up the weapon's trader. He was right by the gate, and traffic was heavy. He had not yet purchased an upgraded scanner, and ships were close by the time he could identify them. Plenty of excuses.

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

"A lucky break here!" he thought. A weapon's trader might offer an expensive cargo; something he hadn't had from the cheap haulers he'd brought down. It was already in range and nose on. He dragged the throttles back and opened fire.

On the bridge of the transport Ombundusant was briefly stunned to inaction. Had the enemy pilot lost their mind? The forward turret opened up with both cannons, pounding the stationary craft.

Red slammed the throttles to the stops, cursing a blue streak. A Paranid freighter with a forward turret? He had clearly recognized the oncoming nose of a Demeter...a view he had seen hundreds, maybe thousands of times.

As the threat alarm started wailing and he saw the fighters on his screens it dawned on him. Pocket carrier, built on a Demeter frame. Nothing esoteric, and he had just snoozed right into it, presenting the Buster like a pinata.

Shields very low, twisting and rolling like a madman, Red slid the Buster along the side of the giant gate ring. The pursuit had to break off briefly, giving him a moment to collect his wits. Two scouts, very fast. A Pericles, not as fast. Not even as fast as his own ship. Manageable. His shields reached thirty percent power before the first Pegasus rounded the gate.

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

"Priest-Duke, the transport escaped through the gate. All three small craft were destroyed." The Paranids met each other's three eyed gaze. "You recognize the tactic, hanging stationary in front of a freighter?"

"Yes, of course. And the apparent blood lust. He wouldn't have been caught like that in front of a Helios though. A protege?"

"Or our old nemesis, grown madder with age."

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

Obviously, I managed to get the Buster geared up. Picked up the shields in Red Light, where I also took a station defense and capped a pirate version Harrier who punched out even though he still had his shield generator. I had 40K after buying the shields for the Buster and started thinking of ways to use the Harrier rather than sell it. Next thing I knew the Harrier had top speed and all the software for a CLS, and I had literally no money.

I headed for Elana's, needing a fortune of my own. I wasn't sure if the rep boosts for bashing Paranids had carried through into this war with the Terrans business, but a freighter in Home of Light gave me the chance to find out. He bailed and I sent him on towards the shipyard...slowly. The rep boost looked normal enough.

I smacked every Paranid I could find in Elena's, hoping to get some sort of cargo that I could sell for the cash to upgrade the scanner, and instead collecting a Pericles and another Demeter, this one with a load of e-cells.

I was looking at my e-cell load straggling towards a place to unload, my other freighter straggling across Argon Prime, and my Pericles closing in on the gate to Argon Prime...knowing that if any one of them would just GET THERE I could get my triplex and move on. And there was the weap trader.

What a nitwit.

But I survived.

Sold the first freighter and got the scanner and a couple PACs. Seems the Paranids had decided to stop using Elana's for the moment. Figured the timing would be about right, correctly, and pulled into TerraCorp shortly after selling the e-cells and the Pericles to pick up a jumpdrive and a transporter device.

Sooooooo.....

The Buster is geared up. I have a Harrier ready for a pilot, and a Demeter Suoerfreighter that's more ready for the scrapyard than anything else. Not a bad start.

And someone wants me, apparently. Task Force? Mil Sector?


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Trapper Tim's Guide to CLS 2

On Her Majesty's Secret Service-Dead is Dead, and he is DEAD

Not a DiD, so I guess it's a DiDn't, the story of my first try at AP
Part One, in progress

HEY! AP!! That's new!!!


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Zaitsev





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PostPosted: Sat, 30. Apr 16, 23:18    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

So far, very good. Looking forward to MOAR! Very Happy


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Triaxx2





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PostPosted: Sun, 1. May 16, 02:32    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

I actually tend to play DiD's less cautiously than regular games, in the hopes that my death's will at least be entertaining.

Z on the other hand likes to go hugging Xenon. Wink

Seems to be pretty good, but the writing style is confusing me somewhat. No worries though, I'll muddle through.


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Zaitsev





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PostPosted: Sun, 1. May 16, 03:01    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Triaxx2 wrote:
Z on the other hand likes to go hugging Xenon. Wink


And pirates. Don't forget the pirates. Now all I lack is death by autopillock, and getting rear ended by something with a whole lot more shielding than me when I exit a gate.


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Timsup2nothin





Joined: 22 Jan 2009



PostPosted: Sun, 1. May 16, 05:16    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

"You are no longer profitable!"

So ended a career with the Teladi Company, and perhaps a lifetime, mused Ugalirias Hurilis Lalundas IV. If she no longer had a place in the company plan, perhaps it was time to lay down the burden of life. But no. She could not accept being lain so low by a scheming Taladi! Her own offspring, no less!

She needed a plan.

And some capital.

And a ship.

A place to live.

Let's face it old girl, she thought with a sigh, you don't even have a real line on your next drop of nostrop. And she was back at maybe it was time to lay down her life.

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

She'd always had a good eye for thinskins. They didn't really all look alike, as most Teladi believed. But trying to identify one through the effects of the way that they aged was of course completely beyond her. She was as reliant on electronics as any other Teladi when it came to identifying an Argon she hadn't seen in years. Most of her kin scoffed that she maintained her contact base in permanent data, an overhead cost most would never cover. "For all you know if you haven't seen them in years they are likely dead. Where is the profit?" they would say.

But here, in the hour of her bitter defeat, her datapad chimed and informed her that an Argon of her acquaintance was docking aboard. She checked to see who out of habit, knowing that if it were anyone significant they would be swarmed by others of greater standing...of any standing.

Red Ellis! After all this time who would be expecting Red Ellis? No one. He would be approached like a newcomer, expected to be ripe for the plundering.

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

His firewall started sending alerts the moment he connected to the Teladi sector trading network. Teladi trying to breach his data; looking to determine whether he was worth trying to con. He was fairly confident his security would hold up. As an unknown profit opportunity he would still have to fend off any number of pitches, but they would be from novices, at least mostly.

He programmed a polite decline response and set it on automatic. It wasn't likely that he would be able to sway some up and comer from whatever their own scheme was into his own. He had a lot to offer, at least in his view of things, but he figured it would take a more seasoned trader to see it that way. Unfortunately he was old news, at best, and the seasoned traders would be unlikely to remember him.

The umbilical locked on outside the hatch and he keyed it open. He braced himself for the swarm, vowing to speak to no one until he had settled in a lounge area and been provided a drink. He entered the Teladi station quickly, making sure the hatch shut behind him without some reptilian schemer slipping aboard his docked ship.

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

"Red Ellisss," she hissed. "You will not remember me, perhapsss, but it is good to sssee you again."

He stopped. He hadn't expected this. He knew that none of these ageless reptiles would actually recognize him, and in the Teladi Company business plan his retirement might as well have been death; no more opportunity for profit, never to be thought of again. He looked down on the scaly face with literally not the first clue who this Teladi might be, but knew that she stood out in the crowd. "You know me?"

"Yesss. Of coursss." Her scaleplate flushed slightly with embarrassment. She expected him to be pleased at being recognized, but she should have known that he had enough experience with Teladi to know that wasn't normal. Now she had aroused his suspicions. She could slink away and try another approach. So many Teladi looked alike that he would never know.

"Wait!" he said, "Let's figure out where we know each other from. Surely it must have been profitable for you to have kept track of my name all this time." She paused at least briefly. "A dinner meeting, my expense," he continued, "as long as you can clear my path through these upstarts."

The little lizard rose further erect, and extended the ridge atop her head fully, bringing her full height somewhat above his waist. "Make way there!" she ordered, "We have a meeting. No profitsss for you with this one." She took a peremptory grip on his hip and steered him through the crowd.

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

They had no idea where their paths had crossed before. Red had done business with Teladi, of course, but from the standpoint of doing business with the company individual Teladi had seemed pretty much interchangeable. And of course no one who wasn't a Teladi would ever think of remembering one's name. Ugaliria Hurilis Lalundias IV had been a middle level functionary of the company for decades, and could have been involved in any one of hundreds of transactions with him.

She certainly wasn't one of the handful of Teladi mercenary pilots that he had contracted with. He had been naive to think that he would find one of them. In truth, he wasn't really sure he wanted to find one of them. Hiring a Teladi wasn't like hiring any other sort of pilot. To hire a Teladi one went through the company. It was like leasing an office space, or renting a piece of equipment. Except that the equipment always knew who really owned it; who's interests it was really trying to serve. If it weren't for the fact that only a Teladi could fit in the cockpit of the Harrier and he couldn't afford the modifications up front to change that he would just hire someone, something, else.

He is looking for a pilot, she thought. Now what? I can't just call up flight section and have one assigned. I'm not on the payroll. Flight section would send out a broker to make the deal and that would be that. "What are the specificationsss of the ship," she asked. If I have the entire deal laid out, and it is so profitable that the flight section broker could not possibly do better...no, that will never work...

Lost in her own thoughts, she missed his answer. He thought something was off, and threw out "Experience with station placement is a plus." If she was actually paying attention he could say that the Harrier might be used to scout construction sites. But she hadn't been paying attention, and proceeded as if he wanted a pilot for an Albatross. He stopped her. "Look, I've never met a distracted Teladi, but you don't seem to have your head in the game here. All I need is a pilot for a scout ship."

"I can't give you that." Everything drooped. Her ears, the crest on her head, her forelimbs all the way from her shoulders. "I don't have the authority."

Red tried to fit that into what he knew about the Teladi Company. "I'm the client. Your client. That's how the company works, right? You get your cut, some assigner of pilots gets her cut, the pilot gets their cut, Chairman Ceo gets her cut, on and on and on...and I have to pay for all of it. Right? I can't afford all that now, but this job will potentially be very profitable, eventually. We need to work through all that."

"That issss how the Teladi Company works. But I am no longer with the company."

Red noticed, eventually, that his mouth was open. He closed it. Not with the company? The Teladi were the company, or the company was the Teladi. How could this Teladi say that she wasn't with the company?

"I will get you someone from the company," she said. "I... it was unfair of me to accept dinner. I had no authority to meet with you. I... I have no way to pay..."

"Don't worry about it. But I don't understand. Even if you aren't with the company you were for a long time, right? You have to have made money..."

"I made great profits for the company," she said, indignant.

"But for yourself..."

"For myself?"

"You...you had to be paid, right?"

"Paid? For what? Why? I had my position."

"But if you aren't with the company, what are you supposed to do now?"

"Die, I suppose. I wassss just delaying."

Once again, Red noticed his mouth hanging open. He noticed there was a sort of popping sound when he closed it. He was trying to convince himself that he just didn't really understand the situation, and that it would seem really simple when it suddenly made sense. But it did make sense. For the first time, ever, he understood how the Teladi Company worked. How the monstrous, horrible, Teladi Company really worked. "Look," he said, "can you fly a ship?"

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

His plan for the Harrier was something he had intended to avoid, or at least he had been trying to believe he was avoiding it. He had told the pompous Boron, Meso Su, that he wasn't a pirate. He didn't intend to be a pirate. Smuggler was a step on a slippery slope that he had made before, and he didn't intend to slide down that slope again.

Yet, when he had forced the Paranid pilot to abandon his ship in Three Worlds and he needed a safe place to dock the damaged freighter, who did he call? Bruno "Pruno" Acks. Pruno was retired, but still lived on the station he had built and then run for his entire working life. He still had plenty of pull, since his son was now chairman and chief executive...of the Herron's Nebula Distilling Company. He made it clear to Pruno that he just needed a docking port, temporarily, until he could afford to get the ship repaired, or he decided to sell it.

Then, like a sign from some strange god, or fate, there he was. It had been a long flight. He was tired. His ship was on autopilot, already in the approach pattern at the Boron trading center in Rolk's Fate. The threat alarm pinged on an active missile, but it wasn't aimed at him. Pirates, being fired on by the Boron military. That wasn't going to end well. He considered canceling the docking to see if there was any salvage, but he was tired. The wreckage was still there the next day. Three containers of Argon Whiskey. Just floating there in space, illegal as all get out for him to pick up and cart away.

He still had friends at the trading station in Herron's. Friends who were more than happy to take the space fuel off his hands. And of course they asked for more. Reliable transport from the distilleries, even though they were right there, was always in short supply.
----------------------------------------------------------------


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

Nuts and bolts, and maybe I'm a nut.

I've always had this 'thing' about putting the right race of pilot in my ships when I CLS them. I even (mis)use CLS to get a pilot in ships I use for defense fleets and such, and they are race appropriate too. How does a hairless ape fit in a cockpit made for a tiny lizard? How does a three eyed cow operate a ship with controls made for numerous Boron tentacles? These are questions that plague me needlessly. Anyway...

I've mostly just flown around getting the local area mapped out and seeing how much or how little has changed (Wow, no ore in Ore Belt! There's a story there!). Of course collecting freighters for various future uses is part of that, courtesy of Paranids that just don't understand that no matter who else the Argon may be at war with, this little Argon is always at war with them.

The only immediately useful (for moving about) ship I capped so far is still the Harrier, so I'll be putting that to work shortly, now that I have a pilot.

I did run across a used Disco Raider and get that fixed up for my personal use. I've got the Buster powered up and ready to jump, so I'm using it for bashing freighters most of the time. I haven't looked at numbers, but it seems like freighter hulls take a lot more pounding than they used to, and as much as I enjoy fighting in the M5 it seems to be taking an annoying amount of recharge time.

So, hope you like the new character.


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Trapper Tim's Guide to CLS 2

On Her Majesty's Secret Service-Dead is Dead, and he is DEAD

Not a DiD, so I guess it's a DiDn't, the story of my first try at AP
Part One, in progress

HEY! AP!! That's new!!!
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Timsup2nothin





Joined: 22 Jan 2009



PostPosted: Sun, 1. May 16, 05:22    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Triaxx2 wrote:
I actually tend to play DiD's less cautiously than regular games, in the hopes that my death's will at least be entertaining.

Z on the other hand likes to go hugging Xenon. Wink

Seems to be pretty good, but the writing style is confusing me somewhat. No worries though, I'll muddle through.


I acknowledge that it is way different from the norm, but I hope it is worth sorting out. Consider that there is almost no "game" in what I write, usually. The game is the frame, but I always figure that if readers wanted the blow by blow of gameplay they could just play. I write about things that I imagine are going on in the stations, mostly.

The end of each post, below the double line, isn't part of the story, it's just there for players so they can get a sense of what is actually going on gamewise.


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Trapper Tim's Guide to CLS 2

On Her Majesty's Secret Service-Dead is Dead, and he is DEAD

Not a DiD, so I guess it's a DiDn't, the story of my first try at AP
Part One, in progress

HEY! AP!! That's new!!!
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Sabrina Bergin





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PostPosted: Sun, 1. May 16, 12:41    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Hi Tim,

I'm liking this, I don't think Red is being entirely honest as to his intentions though. He's framed a past associate, one I take it he had some history with, to ensure he couldn't interfere with what ever he's got planned. Then he involves himself in acts of smuggling and piracy. All right, he targeted the Paranid so I'm prepared to cut him a little slack there.

Now he's going to hire a Teladi who has admitted she has no allegiance to the all powerful company. That's like saying the Paranid consider the Argon to be equal to them.

I don't think he's quite the humble merchant you would have us believe.

Just saying.....

Anyway looking forward to seeing this develop.


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Timsup2nothin





Joined: 22 Jan 2009



PostPosted: Sun, 1. May 16, 15:24    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Hi.

Glad you like it!

Red may be trying to change his ways, but I think even he would know that humble is beyond him.

We'll see where the story leads...thanks for joining the ride.


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Trapper Tim's Guide to CLS 2

On Her Majesty's Secret Service-Dead is Dead, and he is DEAD

Not a DiD, so I guess it's a DiDn't, the story of my first try at AP
Part One, in progress

HEY! AP!! That's new!!!
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Sirrobert





Joined: 21 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Sun, 1. May 16, 22:00    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Timsup2nothin wrote:
I acknowledge that it is way different from the norm, but I hope it is worth sorting out. Consider that there is almost no "game" in what I write, usually. The game is the frame, but I always figure that if readers wanted the blow by blow of gameplay they could just play. I write about things that I imagine are going on in the stations, mostly.

The end of each post, below the double line, isn't part of the story, it's just there for players so they can get a sense of what is actually going on gamewise.


For what it's worth, I only read stories that focus on the things happening on the side (like you write it)


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Timsup2nothin





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PostPosted: Mon, 2. May 16, 01:35    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Sirrobert wrote:

For what it's worth, I only read stories that focus on the things happening on the side (like you write it)


Thanks. I appreciate the comment.


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Trapper Tim's Guide to CLS 2

On Her Majesty's Secret Service-Dead is Dead, and he is DEAD

Not a DiD, so I guess it's a DiDn't, the story of my first try at AP
Part One, in progress

HEY! AP!! That's new!!!
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