Continued from

I popped back to Malcy’s maintenance after breakfast to get an idea on how long the repairs to Humourist would take. Old man Malcy said “7 days… 5 at a pinch. It depends on some parts I need for your frame-shift drive. I’ve ordered them in from HR 394 – they should be here tomorrow.” “Ok” I said, feeling a bit depressed, “No rush.” He grinned – “I know you’d rather be out there but I’ll do you a proper job! Safety first…Yes?” “Yes” I agreed. “Your AFMU needs work too. We can’t do that here so you’ll have to go to HR 394 yourself for that.” – He added.

I mooched around Pacheco Outpost – there was nothing to do. The big Orbis and Ocellus star ports had shopping malls and entertainment for the partners of naval personnel, diplomats and just about anyone else. There was nothing here at Pacheco except the fly-blown canteen, a small general store and a bar. I popped into the Pilots Briefing Room only to find it empty – the miners already knew everything about their system and any explorers would be going into the unknown anyway! I pulled off the latest space weather sheet just to show good form along with the details of HR 394.

Over the next couple of days I got into chats with some of the miners in the cafeteria. Miners are a suspicious bunch – newcomers are not welcome – more miners means less profit to go around. Eventually I convinced them that I was exploring and had no intention of mining… “Cobra’s no good for mining anyhow.” I said. That drew some sage nodding of heads. Then one of the younger miners offered me a run out to the resource site on the belt around the gas giant. It was good to get away from the confines of the station into the open space outside. He was flying an Asp named ‘Cheese Grater’ – his Father’s old ship– and he handled it well. As we moved in close to the rock field surrounding the planet I caught a glimpse of a slim dark ship sitting tight to some rocks in the planet’s shadow. “There’s someone over there!” – I pointed in the general direction. “That’s a bounty hunter doing protection for us.” “We all pay a percentage of our profits to hire them – the law can’t keep the pirates away so we have to look out for ourselves!” He got on with mining the ore and I stared at the rocks drifting past a lot closer than I usually like to see them.

I thought I should check the pirate situation before setting out again when Humourist was fit, so next day I decided to pay a visit to the Security Office. I found it on another dull corridor close to the maintenance office. “Come ahead!” was the response when I knocked on the door. I was greeted by reflective shades peering at me from behind a pair of well-appointed boots resting on the desk. The boots told me this was an Elite pilot – they were synonymous. “You here to claim a bounty or pay a fine?” “Neither, I’m passing through and wanted some security info regards pirates.” He eased his shades up over his eyes – “What sort of work are you doing?” He asked. “I’m exploring – just passed through dropping off data and going out again when the ship’s been cleaned up.” “I heard there were pirates here and, as I have to pop over to HR 394, I thought I’d better check.”

“We do get pirates here”, he said, “but not so you’d notice. They’re all third rate. You want pirates… Go over to Ilmeno – they’ll shred you!” “What about HR 394?” I asked… “Some over there but no real bad boys.”, He replied. “The local miners here think they’re not getting protection.” I said, “I see they’ve employed a bounty hunter. Is that something I should worry about?” He burst out laughing and then composed himself to look serious… “You know what I’ve got to protect these people? Two young kids who scraped Mostly Harmless on the last Pilots Federation test. They’ve got Vipers and they’ve got enthusiasm. But that’s about it. I told ‘em – stick together and be prepared to run away – they’re no good to me dead. When it gets bad, I go out there myself and sort it! Hell! I bet you’re ranked at least Competent and probably higher – I’d sign you up tomorrow but I don’t think that’s your thing!”

“You’re right”, I said – “Not my thing… at least not yet. Maybe in the future?” I glanced up at the wall and the piece of fuselage hanging there – nose art of a horned pig firing a very large weapon. “Yours?” I asked. He nodded slowly – “A long time ago – a piece of the past – now I keep the law.” We parted company and I went to seek solace in the bar.

Continued here

I was kicking my heels at Ackerman Market in the Eravate system waiting for a good mission to appear on the bulletin board when I had one of those vulture moments – you know, the “Patience my arse, I’m gonna kill something!” one. Killing is an illegal activity in most systems of the galaxy (unless in self defence) so I wasn’t going to carry that out literally. I decided however to try and “make a killing” on the commodities market.

Ackerman Market serves the sole Agricultural planet in the Eravate system and it supplies foodstuffs at competitive rates. Not too far away is the Yakabugai system where the main station is Serebrov which serves an industrial / refining community. Clearly a good place to take foodstuffs with the chance of making a profit. I purchased a mixed cargo of 2 units of Fish and 2 units of Fruit & Veg and set Yakabugai as my destination in the hope that I’d be able to make enough to cover the cost of my fuel. The flight on this occasion was uneventful, doing the double jump through Alrai Sector KH-V B2-1 before supercruising up to Serebrov Station where I docked with little difficulty.

Serebrov Station, Yakabugai SystemMy first task was to sell my cargo which realised a healthy 400Cr profit – 372Cr after I’d refuelled. Ok, but not stunning. It was time to check out the Bulletin Board to see if there were any special missions suitable for my craft. Initially there were three unobtainable missions displayed – either calling for more units of cargo than my ship can carry or missions of a secretive nature which required a higher level of trust from the customer than I have currently built up.

I went back to the galaxy map to think about more trade options and spent a few minutes there. The galaxy map is an amazing tool where you can view the surrounding systems a few light years away or scroll out to view our whole Galaxy! It also allows you to view the trade routes between different systems and see which commodities move between them. I was looking at machinery and that looked to be a good option for a return journey to Ackerman Market.

Back to the Bulletin Board and there are 3 missions now that I can do – One to collect 2 slaves from somewhere and deliver them to freedom in the Federation space. Sounds very laudable but many systems will treat you as a criminal for having them on board however good your intentions! So I discounted that one. Another just wasn’t paying enough to make it worthwhile and the third needed 4 jumps to get to the required destination. I had just closed that one when in pops a 4th and I quickly opened it.

I couldn’t believe my eyes… I was being asked to deliver 4 units of Tea to Serebrov Station. Their regular supplier was fighting a hostile takeover and the workers had gone on strike in protest. Serebrov’s owners were issuing this urgent appeal because if their tea supply ran out there would be riots! This desperate situation demanded prompt resolution and they were prepared to pay 15484Cr for those 4 units of tea! That’s a pretty big payment for a simple cargo run – I grabbed it before anyone else could 🙂 I can get tea from Ackerman Market at around 1500Cr per unit (It’s a luxury apparently!) so I can anticipate around 9000Cr profit from the deal.

For the trip back to Eravate I loaded 2 units of Crop Harvesters – I could have carried 4 but at over 2000Cr each I didn’t want to risk loosing such a substantial sum to pirates. In the end the trip was uneventful until I got to Ackerman Market. I was surprised to see laser fire coming out of the airlock as I approached for docking. In the end I heard an explosion from within the station and the firing ceased. I can only assume that some misguided, or possibly suicidal, pilot had fired their weapons inside the docking area – that is punishable by immediate destruction of their ship by the station’s defences! It’s amazing what playing on the commodities market can do for your state of mind 😉 The Harvesters brought a healthy profit of over 1000Cr and I stocked up with 4 units of Tea for the trip back to Yakabugai.

In supercruise towards Serebrov Station I was interdicted just like yesterday. This time I realised what was happening and closed the throttle sharply causing my speed to fall rapidly and my ship to exit from supercruise without incurring any damage. I immediately prepared for the expected attack but it never came – I guess my assailant must have overshot where I dropped out because of my sudden decrease in speed after closing the throttle 🙂 I reengaged the Frame Drive and safely completed the return journey to Serebrov where I delivered the tea to a grateful station. Overall, for the three trips I had made close on 12000Cr – not bad for around 45mins of (legal) work!

I sat down with a freshly made cup of tea and, having read the leaves in the bottom of the cup, I can confidently predict that there will be a large English enclave at Serebrov Station in the 34th century. After all, who else would riot because the tea ran out! 😉

In my previous post I told you about Elite in its original form and the new multiplayer version that was released back in December. I said that I’d “decided that I would wait out the initial launch period and allow time for the glut of ‘I have a space ship with guns’ syndrome to quieten down.” I also, referring to the computer animated and the human driven ships out there, suggested that “each will have their own agenda that may involve attacking you!”

I picked up a cargo from Kudyenko Station in the Kini system with 2,200 credits to be made at the destination of Potriti – that delivery went well. No issues and money made. Checking the bulletin board after arrival I found a job for Universal Cartographers to fly some mapping documents from the Potriti system to the Eravate system just a few light years distant. Looks a simple, if not very well paid, job. I took it.

Hyperspace to the Eravate system was quick and untroubled. I turned away from the star and punched in the destination for the station in the system I was due to deliver the documents to and activated the Supercruise. Halfway there I was Interdicted… Didn’t really have time to realise what was happening before I was out of cruise and some one was pinging laser strikes off my shields. That got my attention!!!

In the new Elite you can choose where to apply your power resources – I initially chose engines and sought to round on my assailant quickly closing into a turning battle. Having found him (I know it was a him by the name of the commander) I was able to chase him effectively. Even so, he broke through my initial attempts to gain an advantage by taking down my shields but by matching his speed and turn I was able to buy time for my shields to regenerate. He was flying a Core Dynamics Eagle – a proven fighter; My ship is a Faulcon DeLacy Sidewinder – not quite as manoeuverable but perhaps a bit more robust.

I placed more of my power reserves to my shields – accepting a reduction in engine power. He could now choose to run away and I’d struggle to catch him in the configuration I’d selected. He would have been worth catching if he’d run – a wanted man with a bounty against his name – though I’d probably have happily forgotten the attack and gone back to delivering my cargo. I guess he’s been attacking other innocent traders as he enjoys having a spaceship with guns. The only thing is… Not everyone who is ‘Harmless’ in Elite is actually Harmless – they may be very competent but trying to have a nice peaceful life. A lesson that my attacker learned in the few minutes that we circled around each other seeking an advantage. I manouvered my craft well to keep him in the front, took his shields down twice during the 5 min’s or so of the battle and finally destroyed his ship.

How do I feel about that? Well, I wasn’t looking for a fight and finding that the pilot was a wanted man made me a bit happier. What I have an issue with is the reason why he chose to attack. If I’d been carrying narcotics, gold, or other high value items I could perhaps expect some piracy. All I had on board was some mapping documents – where’s the profit in downing a ship with those? The only possible gain for my assailant was a few points towards the next pilot status level 😦

In the aftermath I landed at my destination, gave in the documents for 728 credits and then handed in my bounty credit slip – 4,695 credits are mine for downing a wanted man who perhaps should have spent his money on a cargo scanner! But I also had a few repairs to make with my hull down to 78% integrity – those early strikes did quite a bit of damage as did the sudden deceleration from supercruise 😦 But the overall was a big profit – Pleased with that 🙂