Lost in Confusion

Continued From

An ISS Captain peered round the corner of the door, laser pistol in hand. He acknowledged Border and holstered his weapon before pulling out a scanner. Two junior officers appeared behind him in the doorway. As he viewed the screen of his device it spoke – “Border, Jaxon, recognised; bounty hunter co-opted to assist ISS in this sector.” “Clone, 22nd in series, Anson, non-resident; possible suspect in crime.” It stopped speaking. The Captain waved it over Jenckque’s body in an irritated fashion – “Damned thing – must be on the blink!” then, pointing to one of his subordinates – “You read the victim!”

The young officer took on a bemused look as his scanner also registered nothing. “Captain Hoathe” Border interjected – “Perhaps the two bodies down the corridor?” Hoathe nodded and turning to leave prompted his team “Don’t let the Clone leave – probably our man!” I didn’t protest – this was Border’s show and I felt I could trust him to see me right. Border turned to me – “You’re sure that’s your friend Jenckque? No mistake?” “He’s changed a lot but I guess I’m sure that’s him… I recognised his voice.” Border frowned – “He’s not appearing on the Citraxx system – I’m not reading him either – even dead he should be there!”

A new face appeared at the door – glasses held in place by an extended forefinger… “Hi Jaxon… Chief finished in here yet?” Border shook his head – “He’s having scanner problems and he’s checking the two down the corridor.” “Damn – clear weapons fire Terminates… should be straight forward.” Said the doctor – “those two down there yours?” Border nodded – “they were shooting when I arrived – I didn’t have much choice!” – He said, grimacing, and the doctor looked back down the corridor as the Captain started making his way back.

“This is damned stupid – those two don’t exist either…!” He waved his tablet around for all to see – “What the hell’s going on Border?” “John, I think someone has erased these from the Citraxx system.” Captain Hoathe stared at Border – “You’re givin’ me crap…” He said. “Do you have another explanation?” asked Border. “Have you scanned these bodies Border?” “No, but I did tag the two down the corridor a day or so back – got their info on my tablet. I’ll pass it to you – just watch out for overwrites. Those guys existed yesterday!” After a minute or so Hoathe looked at the files – “That’s amazin’ – These guys aren’t real… they’re angels and they’re shooting?” “Where do you fit in and who’s this?” he said, finally involving me in the investigation!

“I was waiting here for my friend…” I said, pointing to Jenckque’s body. Border caught my eye with a quick shake of the head – (don’t tell too much). “Just came down to my quarters and these guys started shooting at us!” Hoathe looked at me carefully – “I guess that’s the truth then – or you’ve spent too much time with Border!” He broke into a smile… “Don’t leave the station until I give the ok. I probably want the full story from the pair of you tomorrow after the autopsies have been done. Doc, All yours!”
“C’mon,” said Border “You need a beer and somewhere else to sleep.” We wandered off to Dayzee’s.

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Time To Take Out The Trash!

I’ve been practising my Arnie accent but I still can’t get that line quite right 😉 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 🙂

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 😦 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 😉 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 🙂

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 😦 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 😉 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 🙂