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X3TC » Way of the Gun Chapter 5

Chapter 4

Chapter 5: Back in the saddle

    Aww, mate! I swear, if I ever give up my life o' crime I'm movin' up here with these boys. They sure can party! I even got the pleasure of some post alchohol fun! Man, I love my job.

    So, I started the day by kicking lover boy outta bed, grabbin' a shower and eatin' breakfast with my mercs. Daye Bro, the cocky frakker I was thinkin' about shootin' a couple nights back, is one of the ten still on the Metatron, and I've banned 'em all from carryin' weapons in the common cabin in case their poker games turn ugly again. I might have to sit in myself one night and see how much cred I can take offa them. Heh.

    Once I was all set I climbed back into Tendencies cockpit and made the jump down to Acquisition. I'm hopin' I can find a hacker or two down here that'll get me some access at the Loomanck's stations. After a bit o' searchin' I do find one at the 1Mj shield fab who's willin' to net me dockin' rights at the Rehabilitation Facility fer a hundred grand or so, so I wire him his money and jump down there. There's a certain Mamba I wanna try to collect.

    I'm figurin' my Skate can take a knock from a SQUASH mine or 2, but I still creep over to the ship at a measly 46m/s. It seems that my caution is unjustified though as there's not a single boom or bang on the way in, and I finally pull up just over 100 metres from the M3. A quick scan reveals the bare minimum of gear aboard, but there's a prize amongst it. Two PBEs. Nice! I might have to take Creed out fer another run later on and give 'em a whirl.

    So I claim the ship and beam across my jumpdrive ready to bounce her back to homebase, only there's a problem. It seems that in my haste to get down here and bag this here Mamba I've neglected to bring enough energy for either of us to get out safely.

    Bollocks. Note to self, plan ahead, or at the very least make better plans. Frak's sake.

    So I give the 5 cells in my hold to the Mamba and leave it there fer now. I'm gonna have to pick a safe route back to the south gate and then bounce the ship in for an injection of cells from Tools. I thought I was picking the exact same line I'd followed to collect the Mamba, but I must have drifted somewhat cos I managed to set off a mine. Only the one though, but the explosion was big enough to singe me and the Mamba! If I'd tried this in Small Fry yesterday I don't think I'd be here to tell ya about it.

    With the ship secured and jumped to the gate I call Tools in to top it up with cells and send them both back to Aladna Hill. Since I'm now without a jumpdrive I'm gonna make my way up to Legend's Home the old fashioned way to pick up another one. So I start creepin' north, pickin' fights with the occasional passin' weapons dealer, includin' a Paranid flyin' a Medusa, but none o' them bail. Shame really, especially the Medusa. That woulda been a nice addition to my li'l fleet.

    I slip through the gate into Ceo's Doubt 'n' keep headin' north into New Income. The first thing I notice when I hit the sector is a load of nav beacons leadin' off to the north west. Curious as to what they're fer I bank to port and start followin' 'em. A few moments later and I've noticed what looks like a pirate base way off to the south west. Keen to see if they've got any work I head on over, and find a Teladi pirate with a job offer.

    Great Trench eh? Hopin' that my mark's will be Boron I set off the way I've just come, back though Ceo's Doubt and then west into Boron turf. The first thing I notice when I drop through the gate is the Military Outpost all but directly ahead of me. That's just bound to mean trouble. Then I spy my four marks. My four Teladi marks. Frakkin' hell. That's gonna put a dent in my rep with the lizards.

    Meh. So be it. So I start creeping across the sector towards 'em, tryin' to fight the feelin' that somethin' ain't right. My flight path is set to take me right over the military base, and as I'm gettin' close to it the reasons fer me feelin' somethin' weren't right became painfully apparent.

    They're not payin' me any attention at the moment though, so I carry on quietly up to my marks and start layin' into 'em. A few moments later and I get a mission complete message, and one of my targets has bailed! Given how close I am to that Ray and it's escorts though I think I'll leave that Vulture Hauler here, and make my way back towards New Income with my 770k cred.

    Now, I knew this job was gonna cost me some standin' with the Teladi, but I wasn't expectin' to lose core sector access into the deal. Bugger. Luckily for me the folks in Ceo's need somebody to patrol the system lookin' fer Xenon. I'd rather fight livin' targets, but I need to get the locals back on an even keel, and...well, money's money so I take the contract. There's a single P backed up by a small wing o' Ns. Stickin' with my usual practice I close on the P first, launching a disruptor and a hurricane missile at two of the Ns as they pass me.

    Ps are insanely agile fer an M6 and this one's no exception, but it's only got the one turret, so I slip in under it's belly and flay off the 400 Mj o' shieldin' with PRG fire, then switch to EBCs to quickly finish it off. By the time I caught up with the last 2 Ns they were busy nippin' at energy freighters down by the SPPs, and a quick burst o' PRG rounds reduce 'em both to atoms. With the job done I get paid and the lizards now consider me once again a 'Company Helper'.

    That seems to get me back in everyone's good graces, as moments later I'm offered over 400k to defend one o' the local flower farms from a bunch o' pirates. Really? Couldn't they have sent Yaki or a band o' rampagin' Boron or somethin? I've just gotten reasonably square with the clans. Frak it, they're here now and I'm wantin' to get paid fer killin' 'em, so I slide in under the Osprey, lock 'n' shred.

    Ya know it's funny. A few days ago all I could lock 'n' shred was a couple o' M5s. Now it's gettin' to be a regular thing with M6. So by the time I catch up with Ferret I should be well practiced.

    With the Osprey down I banjo the Nova and then watch as the Harrier impacts the station at full throttle. That completes the mission, I get paid again and take a huge boost to my Teladi rep. I think that'll do me nicely fer now, so I head back into New Income to finish following those nav beacons. Ah! Another gate eh? The last unknown sector I looked at had some interestin' occupants, so let's see what this'n has in store.

    Nothin'. Frak all. Just a bunch o' asteroids in the southern half o' the system. And a gate to Montalaar...hang on. This must be the unkown sector that connects to the Montalaar east gate! It's prob'ly a good job I didn't duck in here when I first found that gate, cos I reckon the bounty hunters woulda been on me in no time, and there's not much cover in here.

    So. I make my way up through Montalaar and Light o' Heart and finally dock at the tradin' station in Aladna Hill. Whilst I've been killin' and robbin' folks Small Fry's been plottin' a route back down here from Two Grand that doesn't take it across hostile Xenon sectors, and my Discoverer has been followin' behind it at a safe distance. I even managed to bag a few Mass Drivers from the military outpost in Rhonkar's Fire, meanin' Creed will be a force to be reckoned with when I get back out into the trade lanes. Before I can get back into the Mamba's cockpit though I need to strip all the gear currently aboard Tendencies and put it back into storage. That's the one major issue in splittin' my flight time between a Boron fighter and a Split one. There's just too many good weapons for both that aren't compatible with the other.

    In the end I settle on the 2 PBEs, a pair of HEPTs, 2 Mass Drivers and 2 EBCs. That ought to give me plenty o' options fer some general piratin', and a few choice missiles to lob at anythin' nasty should keep anyone lookin' to hurt me at length. With Creed all set up I undock and head out into Hatikvah's to find some marks.

    My first target's a Paranid weapon dealer carryin' a bunch o' MD ammo, which'll come in handy. So we negotiate until he's dropped the lot, and I call in Tools to collect. Then I spot an under armed and under shielded Falcon with a Boron pilot and take a pop at him. Awww yeah. As that makes it's way back to Aladna Hill I beat on another Paranid weapons dealer in a bid to claim the mobile drillin' lasers he's got in his hold. He takes a bit o' convincin', but thanks to my PBE diplomacy he soon coughs up. Whilst Tools is gettin' busy pickin' that lot up I spot a Boron with not only another load of Mass Driver ammo, but also a bunch o' PRGs!

    Suffice to say that a li'l more PBE diplomacy was enough to get me the goods.

    After that it's lookin' like the sector's dryin' up, so I push on into Nopileos', where it soon becomes apparent that today's the day I stock up on MD ammo. Seems like everyone 'n' their dog are carryin' the stuff! One Paranid was carryin' over 5 and a half thousand energy cells 'n' all, so Tools was busy jumpin' back 'n' forth collectin' all o' my swag. I even managed to force a Barracuda pilot to bail. Ya know, I like Nopileos', it's always so good to me.

    I finally slip across the gate into Danna's Chance, where I get an offer from a hacker to net me dockin' rights at the Brennan's pirate base. Sweet! Eager to see whether the rumours I've heard are true and the mercs there are generally awesome, I commit five more of my boys to some trainin' and bounce The Metatron down to meet me. Only I've forgotten somethin'. Somethin' kinda important. Bet you already spotted it, aye?

    Lasertowers. 5 o' them, all clustered around the base. That's gonna make dockin' kind o' difficult now ain't it? Not bein' one to shy away from a challenge though, I give it a shot. Pilotin' Metatron between two 'roids to give me some cover keeps a lot o' beams from hittin' me, but I've still had my shields knocked down to just 10% by the time I was close enough to make use o' the dockin' computer. That was too frakkin' close. Hopefully gettin' out o' here will be a mite easier'n gettin' in. Still, I do manage to bag myself 5 more mercs to add to my roster. With a full band o' 20 now at my disposal I'm in dire need o' a second TP.

    I give my shields a bit o' time to recharge and then undock, instantly preppin' the jumpdrive fer a bounce to the the west gate, but oddly enough none o' the lasertowers fire on me whilst I'm idlin' next to the base, and then the drive kicked in and I was 20 klicks away. I quickly call Creed in and swap back to it, sendin' Metatron back to Acquisition so that my next cash injection can get some more o' my boys in trainin'.

    In the meantime I go back to piratin', keepin' to the trade lane between the south 'n' west gates so as to give yon lasertowers no reason to be shootin' at me. It's not long before I've bagged a Demeter from a passin' Paranid, but after that the sector's kind o' quiet so I push on into Split Fire. As I'm checkin' out the sector map lookin' fer targets I spot a weapon dealer comin' up outta the south gate, and make a bee-line fer him to peek in his hold. Nice, a brace o' CIGs and a smatterin' o' HEPTs! Once again PBE diplomacy proves too much for the pilot to argue with, and he coughs up the lot. Whilst Tools faffs around trying to pick some o' that up I spot this feller and we negotiate fer ownership o' those 1Mj shields. I pick 'em up myself though, and send Tools back to base. Why?

    Cos this lot showed up.

    Yeah. That'd be two seperate Thresher battlegroups. I'm guessin' they either got business with Family Rhy, or they've taken a sudden and intense dislike to the Paranid. I'm just about to start piratin' again as the second moves down to the south gate, when a third battlegroup drops through the northern. Right. That's me done fer the day. When your primary targets start lobbing trios o' M7s in your direction, and you're runnin' on 50 Mj o' shieldin', it's time to pack up and grab a beer.

    I make my way back towards Aladna Hill, managin' to bag another Ion disruptor from a passin' Boron, and another Demeter in Danna's Chance. I forsee a weldin' session in my near future. I think tomorrow I'm gonna make a solid effort to make Yohandris his moolah, and bag another TP. For today though...well, I'm pretty much skint.

    Assets:

    'Assassin's Creed' – Mamba
    Fully Tuned
    2x 25 Mj Shield
    2x PBE
    2x HEPT
    2x MD
    2x EBC

    'Violent Tendencies' – Skate
    'Tools o' the Trade' – Caiman
    'Small Fry' - Octopus
    'The Metatron' – Hermes
    Mamba
Discoverer    

    Falcon
    Barracuda

    Demeter x2

    Demeter Super Freighter – Storage
    Demeter Super Freighter XL – Storage

    195, 766 Credits

Posted by Kirlack on Tuesday 23rd April, 2013   ·   Comment 1 comments   ·  

X3TC » Way of the Gun Chapter 4

Interlude

Chapter 4: Gone Fishin'

    Decided to take the day off from my regular 'kill 'n' steal' methods and do some scoutin' today. Before I called it a night yesterday I sent 'Small Fry', my little Octopus, off to Company Pride for some shields and software, and got it tuned all the way to max. Whilst she was busy getting fitted out I fixed up the Caiman as well and sent Creed off to OTAS for a couple more shields to get her ship-shape. I had an interestin' run in with one o' my mercs last night as well. Cocky frakker was a hair's breadth from gettin' shot. That said, if Yohandris hadn't been on my case askin' fer the money I owe him whilst I was outside patchin' Tools' hull I'd likely have been in a better mood...

    Anyway. I got Small Fry all kitted out fer scoutin' duties and whilst she was on her way back I spent a bit o' time on the public net, lookin' at ancient Earth history of all things. I'd been thinkin' about a name fer the Hermes, and when I was searchin' it came up that an ancient culture referred to Hermes as the' messenger of the gods'. Further searchin' turned up 'the voice of God' which in turn led me to 'The Metatron'. Soon as I read that I knew I'd found a name fer my TP. Considerin' what I've got planned fer it I think the name's rather fittin'.

    So, once my little scout had gotten back I called it a night, didn't even have a drink. I gotta tell ya, it was nice to wake up this mornin' without a hangover. I skipped breakfast and took a quick shower while my five mercs were eatin' theirs, then headed up to the fighter bay to sort out what I can take with me aboard the Octopus. She's speedy at 427m/s, but the cargo bay's a poxy 15 units, and nothin' bigger'n S class cargo. With her maximum shields, a whoppin' 2Mj, plus 4 IREs fer, ya know, 'emergencies', and there was only 9 units left. So I decided to top her up with mosquitoes to be on the safe side, which sadly means I've had to leave my gun behind. I'm not happy about it, but needs must.

    Out into the trade lanes I head west into Hatikvah's Faith and then south into Clarity's End. It's Paranid turf so I'm gonna need to be on my toes, but it's only a border sector, so secdef should be light, and since I'm only passin' through hopefully not quick enough to catch me. Along the way I send all my captured fighters from yesterday, the 2 Makos, the Scorpion and the Pegasus, down to the Light o' Heart shipyard...


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...fer sale It's not a lot, but it puts me one step closer to the money I need to pay off Yohandris, assumin' I don't spend it all. I've still got four days to get him his money, so I'm none too worried if I finish the day with less'n I started.

    Once I'm through Clarity's into Third Redemption I swing north and slip through the gate into Gunne's Crusade. A lone pirate sector between Boron and Paranid turf it'll be a sweet hunting ground, and there's plenty o' asteroids fer me to hide in. I don't have the tools to even try right now though, so I map the system and slide back through the south gate, then across Redemption and into Perdition's End. It's all quiet until I'm reachin' the south gate, then a pirate


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...Carrack and his escorts turn up. They're not hostile to me though, so thinkin' I've successfully squared my rep with the clans I blaze into Desecrated Skies.


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Oh. Maybe not quite squared yet then? Bollocks.

    I cut 'em all a wide berth and scout the south and east gates while they're busy takin' on the trade lanes and finally slip through the gate into Moo-Kye's Revenge. Halfway to the north gate I spot a Paranid


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Deimos and his escorts and cut them a wide berth 'n' all. How come all the heavy hardware comes out while I'm in a frakkin' scout eh? Not that I'd pick a fight with a Deimos in Tendencies o' course.

    Eventually they move far enough south that I can head on into Mi Ton's Refuge where I find a pirate Rehabilitation Facility. It's flaggin' hostile, but at least I know there's one here. I also know that beyond the north gate lies Loomanckstrat's Legacy...and a fierce clan of psychos. Why psychos?

    One word. Minefield. The Loomanck's clan are well known fer leavin' a whole bunch o' SQUASH mines throughout the sector. Considerin' my shieldin' on Small Fry I have to admit I'm kinda nervous about crossin' the event horizon, but I'm gonna have to risk it.

    As soon as I'm into the system I pick up an abandoned Mamba


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on my scanner. It's a ways off amongst the 'roids, but there's no way in hell I'm gonna try fer it in the Octopus. Cos, ya know...minefield. Yeah. So, instead I make a note of it's position and move north to pick up the gate, then back down to the south gate and across the sector lookin' fer the east gate, which leads me through to Spaceweed Grove.

    Grove shows up a few interestin' stations between the west 'n' north gates, then I'm on into Acquisition Repository, where I spot a Paranid tech trader who's en route to the pirate base in the sector. I don't know where the base is, so I follow behind him, all the way up past the north gate and


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way off to the east.

    Sweet! I think that's far enough off the beaten path fer me to start training my mercs. As I'm on the approach I notice there's a hacker offerin'


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his services so I make use o' him and get access to one of the nearby Rehab bases. I'm hopin' it's the one in Mi Ton's that he's hacked, so checkin' back through sector maps I'm pleased to find I got the right one!


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That'll be handy in the future. Fer now though I dock at the base and call in The Metatron. I wasn't gonna hire any more mercs just yet, but there were a few decent ones available, so I made some dodgy deals, under the table like.

    No, not that kind o' deal. What kinda girl d'you take me for! Cheeky frakker.

    So, now up to ten mercs


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I decide to leave my TP here fer a bit whilst I push north, through the Teladi sectors around Ianamus Zura, up into Eighteen Billion. The west gate here leads into a Xenon sector, and I'm not sure about Small Fry's ability to survive a hostile encounter with the machines. That doesn't stop me from tryin' though.


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    There's 3 Qs loiterin' between the gates, and they got plenty o' other traffic to worry about, so I dip below the ecliptic and cut 'em all a wide berth. A few hair raisin' minutes later and I'm through the gate into Scale Plate Green. A quick scout of the system and then I head north,scout PTNI and make fer the east gate and the unknown sector beyond it. When I cross the event horizon I notice a few stations off in the distance, and am pleased to discover another pirate base


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amongst them. They've got some decent mercs fer hire 'n' all, so I commit five of my guys to some training courses at the Acquisition base and bounce Metatron up here to pick up some more crew. I can't afford to put any more in training just yet though, and I'm already gonna need a second TP. I wonder if the Duke would mind me takin' a pop at some o' his?

    I decide to grab a quick drink at the bar on the pirate base and bump into a Boron who desperately wants someone to


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kill the pirate that killed his partner. The mark's up in Patriarch's Keep, meanin' I'll have to jump gate to gate to reach him in time, but fer almost 2 million cred I wasn't about to say no. As I undock Small Fry from the station I order Tendencies to jump up here and meet me. Whilst we're hurtling towards each other for me to change ship I jump Tools up here as well, to bring me some spare energy.

    Once I'm comfortably back in the Skate's cockpit I jump to the PTNI west gate, spin 180 degrees and slide through to Profit Centre Alpha. Repeatin' the exercise gets me swiftly into Two Grand, then as I'm travelling down the jump tunnel ready to hit Patriarch's Keep I get a message tellin' me my mark's gotten himself killed by somebody else.


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    Grrr. Sons o' frakkin' bitches....

    Right then. Another quick 180 and I'm back into Two Grand, where the local heavy weapons fab is


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under duress and wantin' somebody such as myself to cover their collective asses. I'm gonna need a reasonable rep with the Teladi somewhere down the line anyway, and I need the money, so I accept the job. At first it looks like there's just a pirate Osprey for me to contend with, but then


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his mates show up.

    Bollocks. That ain't gonna do my rep with the clans any good.

    I let the M5s shoot past on their way to the station whilst I close on the Osprey, and take out the Buster on the approach with a silkworm missile. Seconds later and I started strafin' and rollin' to avoid the HEPT and CIG fire the M6 was spittin' in my direction, and opened up on her belly with my PRGs. We traded blows fer a fair while but I was landin' a helluva lot more shots'n she was, and as her shields dropped I switch to my EBCs and started puttin' rounds through her hull. I took a few more hits tryin to stay on top o' her, and if I'd been flyin' Creed that prob'ly woulda been all she wrote, but I won the day with 27% of Tendencies shields intact. Aar!

    Sluggin' it out with the Osprey has given some o' the M5s a chance to burn 'emselves up in the station shields, or get lost in the super structure, so there's only three left as I head in. I loose a disruptor missile at one and take him out, burn the second with my PRGs and hit the third so hard


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he bails! Now that's got some potential. Small Fry has been pretty good fer gettin' me this far, but I hate travellin' so light I can't even carry a pistol. The Discoverer's a lot slower, but it can carry M class cargo, which includes passengers, triplex scanner and a jumpdrive!

    So she gets patched up and sent off to dock at the local trading station while I make the jump back to the pirate base off PTNI. It's been


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a long day runnin' around and I fancy a drink. I've got most o' what I need docked at the base anyway, so I think I'm gonna spend the night here and tomorrow I'll see about retrievin' that Mamba down in Loomanckstrat's Legacy.

    Assets:

    'Violent Tendencies' – Skate
    Fully tuned
    3x 25 Mj Shield
    4x PRG
    4x EBC
    2x PAC

    'Assassin's Creed' – Mamba
    'Tools o' the Trade' – Caiman
    'Small Fry' - Octopus
    'The Metatron' – Hermes
    Discoverer    

    Demeter Super Freighter – Storage
    Demeter Super Freighter XL – Storage
    
    1,095,992 Credits

Chapter 5

Posted by Kirlack on Monday 15th April, 2013   ·   Comment 1 comments   ·  

X3TC » Way of the Gun - An Interlude

Chapter 3

Interlude

Argon News Network bulletin: Aladna Hill

Local police and federal authorities are still looking for leads in a recent triple murder case. The victims, two Paranid and a Boron, were slaughtered in their hotel room on the trading station in Aladna Hill just three days ago. They have now been named by their respective governments. Tuli Sa, professor of micro-biology and former head of genetics research at the Royal research facility in Great Trench was shot twice and is believed to have been the first victim. The two Paranid have been named as Taimancketlat, reknowned astrophysicist and one of the few members of the Empire willing to deal openly with Argon corporations, and Krakonmosslat, a known pirate. It is unknown why the three were together and raises significant questions for both the Kingdom of Boron and the Paranid Empire. We'll bring you more on the story as soon as we get it.

***

Yohandris Ugralias Rotussiss the sixth eased his tired body into the comfortable, expensive and ancient wooden chair he had procured years before from an auction on Argon Prime. Despite having been built for a human occupant it was barely big enough to contain the fat lizard's bulk. As he sat he glanced around his office, taking in the oppulence and splendour that only a lifetime of trading, cheating and swindling could provide. Rare works of art lined many of his shelves, alongside books and scrolls, many of which were in languages or dialects so old he'd spent almost each items value in credits to have them translated into his native Teladi tongue.

Then his eyes happened upon the large, red leather bound tome on his desk. He'd bought it for a song some months before, but given how old it was his contacts had valued the translation at some 10 million credits, more than he'd ever paid for a single piece. Being a lover of anything older than his own hundred years the Teladi yearned to devour it's secrets, but he needed more money. It was high time he called in a debt. He reached for his computer console and began to type.

***

The assassin paused in her ministration to the battered freighter's hull and shut off her repair laser. Her space suit was indicating an inbound message. Knowing full well who it would be from she swore, then opened the comm.

From: Y66@Profitsss.net:
To: Lost_Soul@UnderworldGuns.org

Wren

It's been 5 days, You know I normally wouldn't push, but I need that money. Get it to me by the end of the week or I'm closing your account.

Yohandris.


Wren thumped her suited fist against the side of the freighter.

"Bollocks."

***

Daye Bro glanced at the two cards in his hand. The Ten and the Jack of Blades. He would have sighed at the sight of them, but that would have only alerted his companions to his poor hand, and he wanted to win back some chips. The Teladi, Trantaeos, had over half of his stack on his side of the table.

"Raise to two twenty." He grunted, tossing a handful of chips into the middle.

To his left there was a flicker of motion as Tata Ga, the female Boron, called. For about the fiftieth time that night Daye wondered if the encounter suit she was wearing to survive outside of her natural environment was the cause of the watery, high pitch voice, or if all Boron sounded like that anyway. The Teladi called, flashing Daye a sly grin as his chips landed in the pot. 'Smarmy bastard.' Daye thought silently.

To Trantaeos' left, the small blind, Etmanckosset the huge Paranid, folded. Daye smiled to himself. Of his four companions Etmanck was the only one he'd known before they were thrown together by the assassin, and he knew from playing poker on the Hatikvah's pirate base that the burly three eyed warrior would only flat call the blind if he had a shoddy hand.

To Daye's right, the big blind, sat the Split. Kao t'Snt grunted and shoved all his chips into he middle. "Split say: All in!" he cried. Daye smiled as he called, knowing that Kao had even less chips than he did, and that he'd be safe...unless the Teladi shoved even harder. Tata reached out a tentacle loaded with chips and dropped them into the middle of the table, followed swiftly by Trantaeos' claw. The Teladi fixed Daye with another sly look and winked one of his slitted yellow eyes. "Deal." he hissed.

"Keep your scales on." Daye replied, burning the first three cards and laying out the flop. He winced as he saw the cards. The Queen of Scales, the Ace of Stars and the Queen of Cups. He needed a king for a straight and right now he had nothing. With Etmanck having folded and Kao all in he was first to act. He'd learned early in that checking to the Teladi was a bad move, so he decided to shove.

"All in."

Tata Ga groaned hesitantly. "We...fold." she concluded., setting her cards to the side and leaning back in her chair. "Good play." she said, bobbing her head to Daye.

"Ssssneaky, human." Trantaeos hissed, his eyes narrowed and fixed on his two remaining opponents. "Very well." he finally hissed "Let usss ssssee if your hand issss any good!"

Daye grimaced as he saw the hands. The lizard had pocket kings, meaning at best there were only two left in the deck. When he saw Kao's cards though he knew he was done. Queen and Ace of Blades.

"Split say: Full house! Split win!" Kao pronounced cheefully.

"Frak's sake!" Daye growled. For a moment he considered pulling his gun and shooting Kao, but as he glanced about his companions he took note of each of their weapons. Kao wore a Split ritual dagger at his belt and a rifle comfortably hung from his right shoulder. Etmanck carried dual pistols and had fists big enough to crush a man's head. The Teladi carried a single sidearm but had sharpened his claws to a fine point, and the Boron wore a brace of throwing knives on a sash around her torso and a pair of pistols at her back.

"Don't even think about it shit head." came a voice from the back of the Hermes' common cabin. Daye turned to see the assassin, leaning calmly against the bulkhead next to the airlock's inner door. He scowled.

"You some kinda frakkin' mind reader, 'boss'?" he replied.

"Better'n you know honey." she replied without missing a beat, and taking a long stride towards the poker table. "You keep your guns in check as long as I'm holdin' your contract, or I'll kill ya meself. Capisce?"

He thought about it for a moment. Then his hands slid away from his belt. He'd heard enough about O'ren Rock to know she wasn't someone to be frakked with. As she strolled past him towards her private cabin she winked. "Very professional. Good boy."

Chapter 4

Posted by Kirlack on Wednesday 20th March, 2013   ·   Comment 0 comments   ·  

X3TC » Way of the Gun Chapter 3

Chapter 2

Chapter 3: Zippidy Doo Da

(yawn)

Mornin'. Urk, my head feels like a dog shat in it. That's the last time I drink that much frakkin' whiskey. Had to try'n' blot out the image o' them Khaak though, ya know? After staggerin' out o' the bar at silly o'clock this mornin' I slept in the Hermes. Saves shellin' out fer a room. Made sure I'd proper booby trapped the airlock though. Cos a girl can never be too careful.

Actually, snaggin' the Hermes yesterday was a huge bonus, fer all kinds o' reasons. Firstly it gives me a bit o' storage space for any excess gear I might pick up, and that's somethin' I desperately needed. Secondly, bein' a personnel transport it can serve as a mobile home. There's quarters and facilities aboard which mean I can live outta the TP, which also means if my relationship with the Argon goes south I can just up sticks and move on. Finally, it'll be instrumental in gettin' me some trained psychopaths for boardin' operations. In fact, that should prob'ly be one o' my goals fer today.

So, once again nursin' cup after cup o' hot sweet coffee to beat off my ragin' hangover, I took a shower on the Hermes and even cooked myself some breakfast! Been a while since I've been able to do that. By the time I was done I felt a whole helluva lot better and started sortin' out some more pressin' business. I'm takin' Violent Tendencies out fer a test run today, and whilst I'm out 'n' about I've got plans for my other ships. Creed is gonna get fitted with some nav-sats so I can keep a remote eye on the stock levels at the local docks and military bases, while the Hermes is gonna pick me up a stock o' e-cells and mosquitos so I can top up as needed. That'll likely soak up the last o' my cred, so I'll be off lookin' fer work, or a few muppets I can tap up for their swag. I'm still gonna be needin' some proper storage, so TS class ships will be very much on the menu. I'm also gonna need to acquire myself a bioscanner if I'm gonna be hirin' mercs, and that means a trip right through pirate alley to the Terracorp HQ in Home o' Light. With this in mind I jet off into Hatikvah's.

I spend a good bit o' time bangin' on the hulls of' passin' Boron and Paranid freighters in a bid to force at least one o' 'em to bail, but no dice. They're all too happy to punt their fighter drones outta the airlock though, so it's a good thing I opted for PRGs. On the whole I'm rather impressed with Tendencies' capacity fer destruction. Despite bein' considerably slower'n Creed and havin' a fat ass to boot she's got meat where it counts and can clearly take a beatin' without fallin' apart. She can also lay out some savage punishment, and this honey's got some moves. Heh. I wonder if that's how my last lover woulda described me?

Eventually I get bored o' hittin' soft targets that ain't got nothin' worth stealin' and decide to play with some tech and weapons dealers. It's not long before I come across


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this lot and when I peak in his hold I find an Ion Disruptor and a smattering of PRGs. Expectin' at least some o' 'em to be equipped imagine my surprise when it turns out he's got a PAC and a pair o' IREs? So I lock up his escorts, rinse the lot and turn my guns on the Pleco while


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demandin' his cargo. Now that's a nice haul. There's not much point in me collectin' the Mass Driver ammo, seein' as how I ain't got the guns to use it, plus I'm workin' with limited storage space. So I grab the Ion 'n' the PRGs. I was about to swing north 'n' collect some o' them Banshees when I spot another Boron


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with more Ions. So I scoop them up, finally collect some o' the missiles and then spot an


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Octopus that bailed when I was shredding that Pleco's escort. As M5s go the Octopus is pretty damn quick, so I think I'll sell the Pegasus I picked up yesterday and use this'n fer my scout.

I go back to huntin' fer a bit which turns up exactly squat. I'm just thiknin' about movin' into Nopileos' when this guy shows up with a mother lode o'


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PACs in his hold. After a short convo which consisted of 'Oi mate! Yoink!' he coughed up


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every one o' 'em. By the time I'd scooped 'em all up Tendencies was almost stuffed to the gills with swag, but I was still huntin' fer a TS captain who was willin' to exchange the capacity to take another breath fer ownership o' his vessel. Since I'd had such luck in Nopileos' yesterday I made my way towards the west gate, when


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this lot show up down south o' the sector. I don't much fancy tanglin' with that many fighters, plus the bombers and the M6, so I slipped across the event horizon.

Quite comfortably cruisin' across NM 'n' takin' pot-shots at the odd freighter, I'm just hittin' the mid point of the sector when the Nemesis and his pals creep through the east gate. I'm none too concerned seein' as they're 20 klicks away, but then I spot a load o' red blips up


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in front o' me 'n' all.

Crap. Not wantin' to get caught between two hostile war bands I spin 90 degrees starboard and pitch the nose up to give yon battlegroups some clear space. The Nemesis group make their way outta the sector first, bein' a mite faster than the Heavy M6, but as the second group nears the east gate I start closin' the gap. I'm not plannin' to take 'em all on, but since they've forced me outta the trade lanes I'm gonna remind the Paranid why they don't like me. I let the M6 go first and it's swiftly followed by it's fighter wing. In typical Paranid military doctrine though, the M8s hover at the gate, preppin' for a jump to the next sector. Waste o' bloody energy cells if you ask me, but no one thought to. Odd.

I hit the first hard, hammerin' his shields down in a matter o' heartbeats with my quad PRGs. As rounds start bitin' into his hull I comm him 'n' demand he surrender, but the stubborn prick's havin' none o' that and I'm forced to gank him. The second jumps out before I can reach him, but he's clearly now holdin' up the gate queue as the last'n is still hoverin'. So I lay into him 'n' all and give him the same deal I've been offerin' to folk all mornin': Surrender or die. It's a pretty simple choice, but I'm guessin' the three eyes don't teach basic survival in their temples, and I'm forced to waste him too. At least I got


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a few nukes fer my effort.

So I get back to preyin' on all manner of weapons and tech traders fer a bit, and rackin' up some more loot in the sector. I'm all outta space now though, so I call in Creed to pick up a few choice missiles. While I've been shootin' up the sector she's laid out satellites at OTAS, the military outposts at Aladna and Ceo's and the EqDs in Light o' Heart, Thuruk's Beard and Company Pride. Now I can keep an eye on what's in stock and buy most o' the gear I might be needin'. While she's busy packin' up swag I make a play fer a


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Paranid energy freighter.

Score! Now that'll def'nitely sort out my storage problem. I know it's risky, but I send her off without patchin' her up. The hulls on TS are reasonably thick, and gettin' it fixed up would leave me out in the cold fer frakkin' ages. If she can make it back to Aladna Hill then I can start relaying some o' the swag I'm baggin' and even clear a bit o' room on the Hermes. And considerin' the loot


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cloggin' up the system I'm gonna need it!

Leavin' Creed to work I slip through the west gate and run into a Boron Angel and it's


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Hydra bodyguard. Wantin' to see how Tendencies compares to Creed after hittin' that one in Thuruk's Beard yesterday I shredded the Hyrda's two fighter mates first and pulled in under the M6 to riddle it with PRG fire. The shields are gone before my generator's even down to 30%, and then switchin' to the EBCs finished it in no time. Havin' a clear shot fer the Angel I blaze into it, but again, no luck. Frakkin' Boron. All I want is the ship, if they'd just gimme it I'd leave 'em alone!

......

That last part's prob'ly not true. Nevermind.

I catch up with a passing weapons trader and convince him to part with some very nice guns includin' a brace o' HEPTS and a load of FBLs that I can snag, and then get a call from the Rehab Facility fer


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a convoy hit. Cool man, I can use 400k right now. My four targets are makin' their way from Clarity's End to Thuruk's, so I figure I'll catch up to 'em either in Paranid turf of in Hatikvah's, so no worry about rep loss with the Split. Not that I'm really bothered, but they got some nice tech I can buy right now. Still, if I fall outta their good graces I can just stick 'em on the piratin' list and get my goods that way. All's fair in love 'n' piracy.

I take the slow flight down towards Clarity's which gives my freighter a chance to get to the trading dock with the Hermes, and Creed plenty o' time to hoover up all those yummies litterin' Danna's and Nopileos'. My targets turn out to be a


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group of Split. In some very slow ships. They were still idlin' in the middle of Clarity's when I arrived. When I spotted the Dolphin Hauler in the middle of the group it all made sense. Right, best way to handle this lot is a fat warhead. Luckily I have


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a hammerhead in my bay. It only killed three o' them freighters, I had to finish the last'n up close, but it had been proper singed by the explosion. Job done and I get a message and 400k to


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pad out my bankroll a bit.

As I'm cruisin' back towards Hatikvah's I switch some o' the collected gear around. All my excess energy cells, weapons and missiles have been shifted to the Demeter, while anythin' I'm not gonna use, firelance missiles, FBLs, cyclones, all get shifted into Creed's bay and sold at the military base, nettin' me a nice


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wedge o' cash. That'll go a long way to nettin' me some mercs. And I've already got a ship and the weapons for attemptin' ops...

Life is good. It's about to get better. I head back to Aladna to offload some o' the hardware I've looted, replenish my ammo supply and pick up a few more choice missiles. I've got 11 fighter drones now, so I'm gonna take 10 o' 'em along in case things get hairy. I got enough jump fuel to get 5 sectors away in a hurry and a few mossies to keep my ass clear o' enemy bombs. Now I've got the TS I need to get the rest o' the way to the Argon core worlds for some tech. A transporter device or two would make scavvin' a shitload easier than relay jumpin' Creed.

I jump as far as Danna's and run into a Boron with some very


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tasty lookin' missiles. So I give him a good tap on the shoulder and say 'Mate, gimme them bombs or I'll shred your little ship'.


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He happily complies and then I shred him anyway. Never leave an enemy at your back. I scoop up most o' the warheads and call Creed in fer the rest whilst I slip through the north gate into Brennan's Triumph, and almost right into that


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same Nemesis patrol I was evadin' in Nopileo's earlier. A quick boost away from them and I check to make sure they ain't of a mind to follw me, but the corvette's linin' up on the south gate, so I give 'em some room. The local pirate base is still standin' and it looks like they're offerin' work, so once this Paranid patrol frak off the way they came, I'll go and see what's what.

Or that was the plan anyway. What actually happened was more, 'ooh look, M8s hoverin' at the gate' and then a whole lot o' shootin'. Neither o' them bailed, and neither of 'em left me any missiles either, but in the process o' wastin' 'em I musta


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clipped the gate with a few rounds...

Bollocks.

Now I'm gonna have to try'n find a hacker, as that's one o' the local stations that had mercs fer hire, and by reputation there's usually a few decent guys available. It's not all bad news though. As I'm cutting across the sector and givin' both the base and it's angry lookin' laser towers a wide berth I spot a contract fer a hit on an escaped crim. The government agent offerin' it


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must be desperate though. Nearly 2 million for this guy's head?

You got yourself a contract sir.

The mark's up in Elena's Fortune 'n' flyin' a Hades. I don't have jump coordinates for Elena's yet, but I do fer Split Fire, so I jump to the north gate and spin right around. Elena's is an important sector for the Argon, and they got a lot o' hardware knockin' about the system, so I'm gonna need to nail this mark, and fast. Thankfully he's a little way outta the trade lanes and nobody but me is payin' him much attention. He's got some pals along too, a pair o' M3s. a couple Busters and a pair o' Harriers. I don't wanna have to tango with the lot at once, and I don't have to.

Busters don't have turrets, so I bracket one o' them little M4s and unleash a hammerhead. The whole wing's flyin' in a fairly tight 'X' formation, meanin' when the missile makes the target the whole wing should go up. I tracked in behind it at


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a safe distance and a


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few moments later...


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Alright! Now that's how a girl likes to do business. Hard 'n' fast.

With anonther successful kill chalked up I make my way across President's End and finally dock up at Terracorp, which lands me both a bioscanner and a transporter device. Decidin' I'll need at least one more TD I jumped Creed in from the far side o' pirate alley and fitted her up too. Now anytime either of us are busy scavvin' I could just jump my TS to a nearby gate and beam over the loot, keepin' plenty o' space free in our bays.

For now though I've got no more business in Argon turf, so I head back towards President's End, where I encounter a lone Hades who's apparently


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lost his battlegroup. Now there's an oppo'tunity. I make a run on him, but he refuses to jump ship, so I waste him. One o' these days though...

Whilst I've been busy jumpin' bombers I've sent the Hermes off to the Rehab Facility in Danna's to pick me up a few mercs. The selection was pitiful though, only two of the 17 were worth hirin' and even they weren't great. So I jump my TP down to Hatikvah's and pick up a few more from the pirate base. I would have gone to the Brenna's base after that, but there was a slight misunderstandin' earlier involvin' the gate ring, so for now the five I've got will


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have to do. Now I just need somewhere outta the way where I can train 'em up a bit and prep 'em for boardin' ops. I think a scoutin' mission is in order. I'll prob'ly do that some time tomorrow.

I skip across Elena's and head outta the sector via the north gate. A spot o' piracy in Farnham's through to Olmancketslat's Treaty should hopefully net me some more swag, and I need to scout out those sectors anyway. Almost immediately I


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force a Caiman pilot to bail, which gives me a TS with a fair bit o' speed. I might fix this up as my loot collector once I source a couple o' shields fer it. It's a long way from my base o' operations though, so I beam my jumpdrive across and give it orders to head for the Elena's military outpost. It can hang out there fer a while until I get Creed to jump over and bring some e-cells. After that though, no bugger's willin' to jump ship, although I do manage to bag some


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very nice swag. By the time I've near finished pickin' that lot up though, there's a large group o' red blips up by the north gate.


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Trouble? Yikes! Exit, stage right!

Bala Gi's Joy proves to be a bust as well, on account of the Boron Heavy Hydra and his fighter wing that are patrollin' the sector, so I cruise on into OT, which is quiet as ever. There's very rarely much traffic in the sector and today's no exception, so I slip through the south gate into Brennan's, give the stil angry lookin' laser towers a wide berth and wind up back in Danna's Chance. It's not long before a Boron weapons dealer in a TM drops through the north gate, and whilst I'm forced to shred him as he won't give up his goods, I did at least force one o' his


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Mako wingmen to bail. So I fix that up and send it on it's way to Aladna. It's not gonna be vital to my long term plans, so I don't bother to escort it and go back to piratin'. It's not long before I've bagged


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another freighter and then tango with a Paranid tech trader in


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a Scorpion. After that, the sector's quiet, so I decide to head back to Aladna and call it a day. As I was passin' through Hatikvah's though I ended up baggin' a second Mako and then noticed a Pegasus that'd bailed during my piratin' earlier and finally claimed it, so that got fixed up 'n' all and sent through the gate.

Once I'm back with my little fleet o' ships I start sorting through all my gear and stash the


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bulk o' it on the XL super freighter. That's a pretty impressive lookin' array o' guns 'n' missiles. Add that to my fat wallet, 5 mercs and little clutch o' ships...well.


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My oh my, it's been a wonderful day!

Assets:

'Violent Tendencies' – Skate
Fully tuned
3x 25 Mj Shield
4x PRG
4x EBC
2x PAC

'Assassin's Creed' – Mamba
'Tools o' the Trade' – Caiman
Octopus
Hermes
Demeter Super Freighter – Storage
Demeter Super Freighter XL – Storage
Pegasus
Scorpion
Mako x2

2,691,664 Credits

Interlude

Posted by Kirlack on Wednesday 13th March, 2013   ·   Comment 1 comments   ·  

X3TC » Way of the Gun Chapter 2

Chapter 1

Chapter 2: Violence is going to ensue

Room for the night? Check. Somethin' decent to drink? Yeah, alright I'll let 'em have that. Gettin' laid? No frakkin' chance. These OTAS boys can party, but they ain't got the stamina for any post liquor activities. Shame.

So, I started the day with a hot shower, a light breakfast and copious amounts o' coffee to nurse my hangover before gettin' back in the cockpit. My goals fer the day are makin' some more money, hopefully gettin' the pirates, or at least their bounty hunter dogs, off my back and a spot o' general piracy to net me some tools o' the trade.

I'm barely even out o' the dockin' clamps when I get a call from one o' the locals wantin' me to defend his crystal fab. Seems my reputation is spreadin'. Well, it's good for business, if not for my bangin' head. So I took the job and proceeded to wipe out the small crew o' pirates that came a callin'. The payout wasn't much, but it was only the first job o' the day, so I didn't mind. After I'd cleared the scene and picked up the couple missiles left behind I nosed around the sector fer a bit and


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picked up a hit from one o' the seeker missile fabs.

That's more like it! The mark's flyin' a Falcon Vanguard just next door in Akeela's Beacon, so I slip through the gate and pounce on her. By the time she's noticed me it's too late and her hull crumbles under PAC fire. I get a mission complete message, but I didn't have time to check it as I was takin' fire from her buddies by then. An awful lot o' fire. Thinkin' somethin' was up I


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checked the sector map.

Ah, not only have her buddies started shootin' at me, but my bounty hunter mates have shown up with a view to makin' me dead. Even with the Creed fully fitted I couldn't take them all from my current position, so needin' to break 'em up a bit I put my shiny new jumpdrive through it's paces and short jump to the west gate. Now they got near 100 klicks to cross before we tango again, and I'm expectin' the M5s will break away first at top speed, meanin' I can take 'em down without the heavies to back 'em up. Sure enough, as I'm makin' my way back towards the south gate the first o' the hunters shows up


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on my scanner. A quick lock and shred later and I'm onto the next, and we carry on like that until there's only the Nova left, and even he proves no problem on his own. With the sector quiet again I start hooverin' up some o' those handy missiles left in


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the wreckage.

I'm just about done with my foragin' when I notice a load of fresh red blips on the scanner.


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More trouble? Meh. More bloody bounty hunters. That's okay though, they're gonna be fairly spread out again and this wing seems a little lighter'n the last'n. So I lock and shred the M5s quick like, banjo the Buster 'n' then take out the Falcon. The other pirates in the sector were busy gettin' rinsed by the Centaur and there were even some goodies fer me to scoop up from all the fightin'.

With the sector seemin'ly clear o' trouble I swing back to the west gate and into Aladna Hill. My intention was to head out into Hatikvah's to see if any oppo'tunities present 'emselves, but as I was crossing Aladna I got a comm from the military outpost. Seems there's a pirate in a Viper down in Legend's Home that somebody wants killed, and they're payin' a pretty penny for the privilege. So I jumped back to Legend's and picked up


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my mark. He's not lookin' behind him as he creeps deeper into the sector though, so I snuck in on his six and


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wiped him out.

Heh. Like I said, a pretty penny. 1.3 million cred better off I slip back through the gate and head back towards Aladna and on into Hatikvah's. I don't think that last mark's pals even noticed me as not a one o' them made a move before I was gone.

As I drop outta the jumpgate into Hatikvah's Faith the first thing I notice is a wing o' hostile pirate fighters centred around a Brigantine. The destroyer at least has a better disposition towards me, but still I give 'em a wide berth as I mooch on across the system. Given how many hostile pirates I'm seein' though I don't know if I'll be workin' the sector over for marks just yet, so I decide to try my luck in


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Nopileos' Memorial.

Nah, still a lot o' angry pirates about. Well, I s'pose I have been killin' a fair few o' their mates in the last 24 hours or so. Mayhap I should go see if there's some work I can do fer 'em? So I wheel Creed about and slide back across the event horizon. Once I'm back in Faith I bank around the west gate and line up on the two stations way off in the distance. I'm fairly confident that the Anarchy Port will be friendly thanks to that helpful hacker I encountered yesterday, but I'm none too sure about the pirate base. My


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unease is unfounded though and I'm clear to land, and look for work, at both stations.

I comm the anarchy port on the approach and find


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another hacker who's willin' to get me dockin' access at the PBG Forge over in Danna's Chance. Bloody lucky really, cos the next guy I spoke to wanted a


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quick taxi over there. So I agree to the job, hopin' it'll at least get some o' the pirates off my tail, and make a quick pit stop at the base to pick up a lifesupport system for my cargo bay. Cos it'd be kinda hard to complete this mish without one, ya know?

I have to dodge a couple groups o' pirates on the way across NM, but they seem less inclined to pounce on me than they have been, and then I'm through the far gate and into Danna's. As I'm headed in to drop my fare at the forge I pick up a cartographer who's willin' to provide me


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jump coordinates for a few sectors I've not seen yet. A few moments later I'm docked at the forge, my fare pays his fee and I buy the one PBG in stock. It'll at least give me sommat I can use when I'm surrounded by fighter drones I s'pose.

I'm just about to leave and head back towards HF when I come across a Paranid pirate in the docking bay. He claims in his strange, guttural language, that the forge is his station and he needs someone to protect it from, (sigh), pirates. I'm a bit loathe to take the job seein' as I'm meant to be gettin' the clans back on side, but given that


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he's payin' I agree to help him out.

Funny thing is, it's not a bunch o' pirates that come a-knockin'. Maybe that three eyed pillock just didn't know the difference between 'Pirates' and 'Argon'. Whatever,


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they're here now and I got a job to do. I close on the Gladiator first, wantin' to make sure he can't launch a hail of nukes at the forge, and he goes down to PAC fire pretty quick like. By the time I'm done with him all but one of the M5s have flown into the super structure and blown 'emselves to smithereens, and I'm just left to mop up the stragglers. A few minutes later and I'm sailin' away and smilin' to myself at a job well done. Some of the hostile pirates that were tappin' up the trade lane have switched to friendly, so I'm thinkin' I'm on the right track here. Better'n that though, is what the poor traders have left


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in their wake.

Now, missiles, lasers and shields might be important on a ship, but I'll always feel naked without a weapon at my side, so first up I grab those low yield sidearms. What I don't need for myself I can sell off at the base in Hatikvah's, so I snag the lot and use the last of my energy cells jumping to the HF west gate. That Brig's still knockin' around the sector and enough o' his fighter wing are still hostile toward me that I wanna keep 'em at distance, so I shoot on over to the PB and sell off six of my pistols. I don't really need more'n one for myself, but I'll keep a backup, just in case. Don't hurt to be prepared.

With that done and hopefully a few more points in my favour with the clans I move off across the sector lookin' for likely marks. I'm just thinkin' about tappin' up a Paranid freight transporter in some kinda Perseus variant, when he decides to make a


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suicide run on yon Brigantine. Naturally the Brig slags him, but he does leave me a


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couple presents. Oooh. Hammerhead's are quite literally 'teh bomb' when it comes to mass removal of light targets, and can hurt something bigger quite significantly.

I carry on fer a while, knockin' on doors and demandin' tribute. I even manage to snag a second hammerhead whilst I'm at it. Then suddenly one of my monitors flares to life. See, you might remember I put a link to that angry Kraken up on one yesterday after he tried to flail the bejeezus outta me. Well,


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he's back. Crap.

Not wantin' to give him a second chance to batter me with missiles I cut him a wide berth'n'all and break towards the north gate, where I come across a Paranid weapons dealer with


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far more shields than he needs. Seein' no reason for him to keep all o' them when I could be usin' 'em I give him a tap and demand he cough up. He keeps tellin' me no, but I'm not takin' that fer an answer, and he finally


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changes his mind down by the west gate. I conclude our business by turnin' him to shrapnel and set about pickin' up all o' those shields. I'm just about done when the threat detectors kick off again and I look up to see


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this frakker barrellin' down on me outta the gate.

Shit! Run!

It looks like the Hydra bought a few buddies along fer the ride, and being as how I got about one quarter the firepower this Mamba's capable of I think it's a good idea if I give 'em some space, so I bank to port and make for the pirate base.

That M6 is more'n happy to just wander off away from me, so I cruise towards the PB where I pick up


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another hacker and get him to net me access to the rehab facility in Danna's. That's actually a massive bonus as it'll give me another cooperative sector where I can find work to help keepin' the clans happy. Speakin' o' which I ain't seen any bounty hunters fer a while, not since that wing attacked me down by the south gate o' Akeela's Beacon. I wonder if that was the last o' 'em?

Whilst I'm mullin' it over I grab a drink from one o' the bars on the base and take a look at the swag in my hold. Creed's very nearly full, especially with those extra shields aboard. I need some storage space and I need it sharpish. I also need some more firepower. The PACs have done a sterlin' job so far, but if another Hydra decides to drop in right on top o' me I'd like to at least have the option o' slaggin' it. Somehow I can't see me doin' that with just four PACs and a single PBG in my laser bank. Now, my preference would be to snag some EBCs offa the Teladi as my PACs burn through energy right quick like, but EBCs need ammo and I'm woefully short o' storage for it. I also wouldn't mind gettin' the Split on side so I can maybe snag a couple PBEs. With all this in mind I finish my drink and undock, headin' for Thuruk's Beard.

There's no work fer me in Split space, but I dock up at the local EqD and sell off some o' the more useless missiles in my hold, but even that doesn't make much room. The dock has four HEPTs in stock, but the Split don't trust me enough to sell 'em to me, so I'm gonna have to curry some favour with 'em. Fer now though, I make the trip through the west gate into Company Pride. The dock here has 2 EBCs fer sale, and since it's Teladi turf I ain't gotta worry about playin' nice to get 'em. So I part with my cred and undock, intent on headin' north into Ceo's Sprite. My buddy Yohandris works on the shipyard in the sector, but I'm kinda avoidin' him right now as I still owe him near 5 million cred and I ain't got it. Yet. I don't make it to the gate though, cos I notice a


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new combat mission just popped up.

Killin' pirates eh? Not good for my rep with the clans, but I do need the money, and I just spent 300k odd on my currently useless EBCs. Ah, to hell with it, I'm in. It's only a Gladiator and a Nova Raider, backed up by a bunch o' Harriers, who all choose to kamikaze the flower farm whilst I banjo the bomber out o' existence. On his own the Nova's got no hope, and once I'm settled on his six he goes up pretty quick. I get paid and finally slip across the event horizon into Ceo's.

I make a bee-line fer the military outpost hopin' to snag a couple more EBCs and maybe some ammo fer 'em. The outposts got the guns, but not the ammo, so I bought 'em anyway. 4 EBCs will be quite deadly when I find somethin' for 'em to actually fire. For now though, as I don't wanna attract attention and tip off Yohandris that I'm in his yard, I head back into Thuruk's, where I get offered a


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hit on a Split pirate. Sadly he's all the way up in Rhonkar's Fire, and I've got no jump fuel, no gate coordinates even if I had jump fuel and only 13 minutes to erase this frak. Highly doubtful that I'll make it I set off anyway. Gotta at least look like I tried ya know?

I'm about halfway across Family Rhonkar when I get the message that my mark


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got him self killed by somebody else. Bugger it. Somehow I don't think that's gonna net me a rep boost with the locals.

So I mooch about the sector fer a bit lookin' for more work. There's


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a patrol on offer, but it's all the way down to Clarity's End. Which is Paranid turf. Plus it'd mean patrolling through a pirate sector. Er...no. Ta.

After a while I spot a guy at one o' the mines who wants a convoy taken out before it can get to Company Pride. Bein' kinda desperate to get an in with the Split I take it and my contact tells me my two marks are right here in the sector! How cool is that eh? The first one I spot is a Paranid in a Vulture, but this gives me cause to pause for a mo'. Killin' three eyes in Split turf is gonna open up a can o' worms as the two usually get on alright. I wonder if this mish is gonna be more trouble'n it's worth? Still, I don't like to back out o' a deal, so I slag him. Then I spot the second and final mark.

Only this one's an Argon.

Huh? Never seen that before. Normally convoys are all made up of the same species, saves on the infightin'. Still, I'm gettin' paid to make sure they don't make it to their destination, so I slag him'n'all. Feelin' all pleased with myself for completing a mission for the Split, imagine my horror when I realise killin' those two frakkers has actually lowered my rep! Son's o' frakkin' bitches!

I'm not happy, and normally when I'm not happy I take my frustrations out on whichever poor berk's on my target list, or whatever happens to be in range. Right now there's nothin' about and my Split rep needs a kick in the backside. So I creep back over to that feller who was offerin' the patrol.

"You want Split?"

"Yeah. You still hirin' for that patrol mish?" I swear he smiled at me, evil like. I think he knew what was comin'.

"Sending data now. Do you wish to take this job?"

Yeah yeah, you know I do. Frakbag.


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Oh shit.

Remember how I ran away from that Hydra earlier? Hydra's carry maybe 600 Mj of shields, tops. That bug ugly frakkin' Khaak corvette out there carries 1 Gj, has turrets and fires Kyons that'll rip my shields to shreds in...ooh, half a second? I'm in trouble. The sensible thing to do when you're in that much trouble o' course, is run away. So I didn't do that. I tried to tango with yon corvette. Only fer about 20 seconds though, and then it became painfully apparent that in a race between our respective firepower'n'shieldin', he was gonna win.

Nuts.

So I backed off a ways and let my shields recharge a bit. This is gonna require some help. Once again though, luck is on my side, as guess who's


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just shown up to help me out? I reckon between us we can strip that bug right proper. Whilst the Dragon carries on the dance and keeps the Khaak busy I slip in and put my PACs to good use. Even with the Split helpin' me out it takes a little while, but eventually I score


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my first M6 kill, albeit with assistance.

Now that has the desired effect and suddenly


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I'm on the locals christmas card list. Mayhap it'll be worth me seein' this patrol to the end? For now though I get the all clear for the sector and am asked to head down to Thuruk's fer the next stage. Hopin' it'll be a mite quieter I slip through the gate.


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No such frakkin' luck. He's got company though, in the form of a small wing o' fighters and they've dropped his shields to a hair over 50%. Now, I've been itchin' to empty my hold some to make room for more swag and better weapons, so I cycle through some o' my bigger warheads. The 2 thunderbolts and 2 tempests are both takin' up a lot o' room in my bay, and they pack a significant punch, so I launch all o' them at yon Corvette, along with a remote guided warhead. As they're all closing to target I launch the 2 wasps in my bay to at least try to keep his turrets occupied. By the time my missiles are in range o' his guns though he's dealt with the fighter wing and promptly eats every last warhead I put in the air.

Nuts!

Okay, plan B. Strafin' 'n' rollin' to try and keep as much o' his fire offa me as possible, I start hittin' him with


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everything Creed's got, namely my 4 PACs and my single PBG. It's slow goin' and like his buddy up in FR I can't see me takin' him out all by my onesy. In fact by the time his shields are down to 40% mine are down to a shade over 10% and it's well past time I backed off fer a bit. I'm thinkin' I might be done fer here, but suddenly he's taking HEPT fire


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from behind.

It's a Teladi freight transporter, and between us we manage to beat the Corvette's shields right down and start anhialatin' his hull. Then the damned thing pulls the tightest turn possible, pins me out o' position and starts banjoin' my almost recharged shields. I'm firin' back through blasts of Kyon beams which are makin' it right hard to see, and he's right on top o' me...

BANG!


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...

Oof. Now, there's close and then there's frakkin' close, ya know? Funnily enough, I got credited with the kill. I think a repair session's in order. Only problem is,


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the Khaak ain't done yet. Crap. It's a good distance away though, so I risk hoppin' out to at least patch some of the worst banged up panels on my now far less'n shiny Mamba. By the time I felt that Interceptor was too close for comfort I'd gotten Creed's hull back to 44%. So I locked and shredded the M4 and was about to hop out again for another patch session, when I spot


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this frakker creepin' up on me.

Awwww, man!

Right. There's a wing o' Fighters knockin' about the sector as well, so I'm not gonna risk hangin' my ass out in a spacesuit any longer. Sadly, the Corvette's slightly faster'n me. Happily, takin' out that second M6 has netted me even more rep with the Split, enough to buy those 4 HEPTs they still got at the EqD. All I gotta do is get there...

Full throttle, engage strafe boosters and hope like hell I make it to the dock before yon Khaak make it to me!

It's tight, and had the dock been another 10 klicks or so away the Corvette woulda prob'ly caught me, but I made it. Safely docked I


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bought those four HEPTs, fitted 'em to my laser bank and got ready fer round 2. I even get time to add another 12% to Creed's hull integrity after I undock, but then the Khaak are cuttin' too close for comfort again and I'm off across the system. The locals seem to be on to my plight though, as they send in some


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reinforcements. Sadly this'n don't seem to be sportin' full shields as the Khaak rip it to pieces.

And once again, I'm runnin'. I'm faster'n the Corvette now though, so I'm none too concerned, especially when a


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Heavy Dragon drops through the north gate and starts movin' to intercept. He's a good dancer too, and before long that last Corvette is down, and the sector is clear, other than the debris. My contact for the patrol mish gives me the all clear and tells me to head down to Hatikvah's, but I'm done for this job. Frak fightin' any more Khaak today man. I got what I needed, namely a huge boost to my Split rep. So whilst my heart slows down to a more reasonable level, I do somethin' nice 'n' relaxin'. Yep, you got it, I put my weldin' laser to good use. Felt like a frakkin' age, but finally Creed was looking less like swiss cheese and a lot more like a ship.

Takin' a look at the sector map reveals a tidy amount of EBC ammo that I'm guessin' was aboard that Dragon that got perished, and bein' in dire need of it I cruise on over and pick up as much as I can cram in the bay. Almost eight and a half thousand rounds all in all. Now though, my original problem has reared it's ugly head again. I need storage space. Being as I'm now in Split turf and universally despised by the Boron, it's time to do some huntin'.

I spend a good long while flittin' between the gates and bustin' up any Boron ships I happen upon, including takin' out a Hydra and it's couple of fighter buddies so I can have a clear pop at the Angel it's escortin'. The Angel didn't bail, and nor did anythin' else, but havin' the now fully functional EBCs to partner up with my PACs has made me a whole helluva lot more dangerous. By the time I'm bored of shootin' squids and pissed off with their constant refusal to give up their ships I've accounted for so many that the Split have moved me up from 'Family Friend' to 'Distinguished Associate'. Heh. Wonder how long that'll last? They'd sell me PBEs now, but there's none at the dock, so I make for the gate to Hatikvah's for some more piracy.

Now, considerin' how long I was hittin' up Boron and not gettin' any bails, imagine my surprise when the first three eyed prick I went at jumped


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outta his ship! It's only a Pegasus, but it's my first bail o' the day, and that makes me happy. So I claim it and send it off to the Aladna Hill trading station. Other'n that though, HF yields up nothin', so I head into Nopileos'. After a few runs at passing freighters, none o' whom give me anythin' but grief on the comm, I spot a passin' TP with a Paranid at the wheel. So I


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make a play fer him.

Awww yeah! I've even got shields aboard for it! So I kick three o' them out, patch up the Hermes and send it off towards the east gate. Moments later though, a Boron weapons dealer in a Skate comes through and looks like he's headin' for my new TP. Not willin' to let that go now I've got it, I take


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a pop at him 'n' all.

Score! And I got enough shields for this'n too! Plus she came with a couple PRGs. So she gets patched up, shielded and told to make for Aladna, whilst the Hermes follows along behind her. All I gotta do now is shepherd my new ships to safety...

It's a long, slow flight, but eventually all my ships are docked and safe. I might make the switch to the Skate ya know? In fact, let's compare shall we?

The Skate is slower, but has an extra 50% o' shieldin', and thicker skin than Creed. It also has a bigger weapon generator, meanin' I can fire at target fer longer, plus the two turrets for additional anti missile duty. She's also got a more spacious cargo bay, although she's not rigged to take anythin' bigger'n M class cargo crates. Yeah, I think I'm sold. I switch over all the gear I'll need from Creed to the Skate, including every shred of software, and then send Creed down to OTAS for a new jumpdrive. Whilst I'm waitin' fer it to get back I mosey on over to the military outpost and pick up a couple more PRGs to round out my armament. Sweet, I think she'll do quite nicely.

I head back in to the trading station, buy a handful of fighter drones and check on Creed's progress. She's docked at OTAS, so I buy her a jumpdrive and a triplex and give her orders to head back.. In the meantime, it's been


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a long day, bein' as how I almost died 'n' all. Successful, but long. Time I got drunk I reckon.

Assets

'Violent Tendencies' – Skate
Fully tuned
3x 25 Mj shields
4xPRG
4x EBC
2x PAC

'Assassin's Creed' – Mamba
Hermes
Pegasus

114,152 Credits

Bad attitude, bubblegum and a sidearm Wink

Chapter 3

Posted by Kirlack on Saturday 2nd March, 2013   ·   Comment 3 comments   ·  


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