I’ve been practising my Arnie accent but I still can’t get that line quite right šŸ˜‰ But – that’s what you buy a Vulture for isn’t it – burnin’ Vermin? This evening I’d intended to shrug off Redgauntlet and head off to some nearby systems in Humourist to, for want of better words, catalogue planets and stars that remain unexplored. But a quick check on the bulletin board at Roth Hub revealed a mercenary mission in the adjacent Medzoijin system to eridicate 20 pirates with a cash reward of close on Cr503000. I did mention in my previous Elite post that the HR 783 system was surrounded by a high degree of lawlessness, but even so I wasn’t expecting anything quite so potentially profitable as this! Kill 20 Pirates… Just what the Vulture is designed for – mapping gaseous anomalies in the Cobra – shelved šŸ™‚

It took around an hour to fulfill this mission’s requirements – every Unidentified Signal Source turned up at least one Pirate. I did find that I had competition on several occasions – the local law enforcement were doing their best to reduce pirate activity too (which is their job – I should add) and there were times when I had to hold fire as the plod cut across my field of fire. Hitting ISS or Fed ships at a minimum gets you a warning – hit them with the sort of lasers I’m carrying in Redgauntlet will get an immediate bounty on your head and you’ll find yourself instantly under attack šŸ˜¦ So holding fire is a good skill to learn! It’s amazing how many times you find someone complaining about the police targetting them after they accidentally hit a Fed Viper – A little restraint goes a long way to a happy Pew-Pew session and, if you’re using cannons or other kinetic weapons, the plod are saving you money by assisting taking the bad guys down with you šŸ˜‰ There is another good reason to target with care and fire with restraint – big lasers use a lot of power and get hot quickly. So waste-not, want-not – stray bursts cost you power and do no damage… It’s worth remembering.

Not every Unidentified Signal Source… I’ve hesitated to use the USS abreviation on the basis that some readers may immediately think Enterprise and Star Trek but having clarified…! Not every USS is a Pirate. Favourites among the non-pirates are Ariel, Tech Aquisitions and The Mineral Magpie – these are the sharp dealing ‘Trotter’s Trading’ Del Boy’s of the galaxy – though I’ve yet to see them running around in Batman and Robin costumes! They are 100% harmless and should be treated as friendly contacts. Then you find convoys of traders in large cargo vessels with the occasional escort – safety in numbers šŸ™‚

I did have a very unusual experience a couple days back that bears relating in case any of you out there are thinking that the Vulture is so invincible that you can fly without fear. Investigating another USS in the HR 783 system, I found an Imperial Clipper. The target scanner showed the vessel as Expert and Clean – just another local pilot going about their legal business I thought. I sheathed the lasers and prepared to move off in search of criminals. Blow me if he didn’t turn towards me and open fire!!! I was totally caught on the hop šŸ˜¦ There are ships you don’t want to tangle with and a well-armed and well-flown clipper is one of them! In the time it took me to react he’d taken half the shields down. The AI pilot proceeded to demonstrate the excellent manoeuverability of the Clipper and I was really struggling as he completed taking the Vulture’s shields down. Then I got in close and got his shields down too – but he was still winning the war of attrition. I tried the Cobra tactic of boost and run as we passed each other but he turned well and was on my tail. The Vulture cannot out run a Clipper – he was hitting me hard and I couldn’t fire back! So it was time to turn back into the fight and get as close in as I could. I got him down to around 5% hull strength when he took out my canopy which meant 5 mins oxygen left. The Adrenalin really kicked in then – I was damned if I was going to lose my new ship! I took him out with multiple hits in a head-on attack and then set course for the nearest starport – Rich Orbital – with around 4 and a half minutes of oxygen. I got to the station’s no-fire zone with 2:15 remaining and ignoring the speed limits got myself inside the station and into an oxygen atmosphere with 1:30 remaining. That definitely got the pulse rate going!!! Note to self – upgrade the Life Support module šŸ˜‰ That was a fight that could easily have gone the other way.

Anyway – back to the mercenary mision – I completed successfully without incurring any damage and netted nearly Cr317000 in bounties which, with the reward for the mission means that I earned close on Cr820000 in less than an hour of fun flying! Below are a couple screenshots of victims and one of a grateful trader whose attackers I had the pleasure of iradicating šŸ™‚