Saturday, July 21, 3303

A Speedy Delivery

There was another unique ship on offer back at the scientific base; a Rapid Housing design that increased engine performance by another 100 units. I had seen a variant of this before, but with a meagre 218 tonne hull it was virtually a toy. With a 258 tonne hull this one was more functional and could easily fit all of my current equipment on board and have a comfortable 30 tonne spare in the hold. It would be perfect to negotiate a faster delivery schedule for more pay and prestige.

First up was a delivery of VR games to Venus, a fad that's catching on through the Humans. From there it was another quick run taking an unknown substance to Deneb. On the way I dropped off a probe at an unexplored planet in Altair, but picked up more than I bargained for with a Mysterious case of Luatanza spreading over me.

Although not lethal, it pacifies the brain making combat an abhorrent thought. On the flip side, it somehow enhances trustworthiness in the eyes of an employer making it much more likely to negotiate a great deal for completing tasks. Must be less risky giving precious cargo to someone you know won't take it for a ride into battle.

Luatanza only strengthened my resolve to press hard on the delivery schedule, and turned over another desirable run into new territory; Shedire. I had recently bought some additional starmaps to extend the boundaries of where I could travel as I may as well see the galaxy if I'm not fighting. This system had a Maloq planets, which certainly was an eye opener. They didn't trust me at first, but money greases anyones attitude.

The delivery to Shedire was a toothbrush that the Human ambassador had "left behind". Sometimes it's best not to get into the politics and just do what is asked of you. Poor naiive Faeyans.

Saturday, March 17, 3303

Hometown Upgrade

One good thing was that the helmets were destined for Eyron. I would be able to check out the new scientific base that I forked out for. Hopefully they feel gracious enough to upgrade my ship a level or two.

Unfortunately it was me that upgraded THEIR ship .. err, base. One of the reasons to put a new base in this sector is to prevent Dominator attacks as well as having a close point to drop off both Dominator equipment (to the science centre) and nodes (to the ranger base). They didn't seem to have any weapons to defend themselves, so since I still had money to burn I helped upgrade their defenses with a couple of Lezkas from the trade quarter. Why didn't they just commandeer them? *shrug*

Word reached us that an attack was planned on the Mencar system, leaving in 30 days from here at Eyron. Too short a time to make a trade jump, so I tooled around hunting asteroids for pleasure.

We jumped as one to the occupied Mencar system. 10 ships in all with me as the only Ranger. We managed to down a couple with my personal tally increasing by 2, but as the urguats game way to capital ships the table had turned. I managed to down another tiny one, but the static on the airwaves indicated I was the last man standing. I made it to the waypoint for a hasty exit leaving a trail of angry hornets buzzing in displeasure at our "poking the nest".

I'd picked up about 50 nodes, but no alien equipment to proffer to the Science Centre. We lacked firepower and may have blown our aggressive stance for the time being, so I looked once again to delivery quests to advance my budget and experience.

Monday, November 20, 3302

All cashed up

Passing through Minnaver to collect my other paycheck from Murratz, I stopped in at the Business Centre to see if they could offer some financial advise to my current oversupply of money. They had investment opportunities with a 3% return per annum, but that seemed wasteful when we were in a war. Another option was to invest in spcase stations, and seeing Eyron already had a ranger station that I would dearly like to use more often (due to its close proximity to the Dominator battle front), adding a science station to that solar system would be very handy.

A pirate base would also improve the defenses of the sector, but might also make it undesirable to return to bleeding from battle.

I picked up my hypnotist removal reward and bounced around some trades in the sector before landing my next gig, a trek back to Eyron to deliver helmets for ... whatever. Does it matter? Just give me the cargo and I'll get it there. And have the money ready, I don't want to wait around. And make sure you let Ranger HQ know how good I've been, they are getting on my case about "Not contributing enough to the war effort". Maybe I'll buy a military base next time, huh ??!

Tuesday, July 11, 3302

Runaway Hypnotist

Flushed with adulation, I partied on for a couple of days on the planet surface before looking to move on. Since I had to get my money back at Hese, anoth request heading that way would be nice. The commisioner dug through his options and gave another oddball task: A Gaalian hypnotist had tricked the Pelengs into forking over a wadful of money, so, in typical Peleng style they want him eliminated ship and all. It sounded more like a way to piss off the Gaalians, but with the mark currently cruising Regulus it was the right direction. Over 10k for success too, that clinched the deal.

After 2 jumps back to Regulus I managed to spot him off scanner heading to a jump point. I floored it and caught up to him 1/2 way to start doing rethone business, but he managed to jump with 1/4 hull remaining. I matched the jump to Eyron (gotta love the Black Goo for refuelling on the fly) and completed the contract before he made it to the safety of a planetary dock.

As the Ranger Base was only a few days away, I popped over to check if there were any new developments. They had another set of micromodules on offer and the cheaper 3rd tier one looking interesting. Better hull rigidity and deflection for only 60 nodes. That put my credit back to the starting 200, but it should make my ship tougher still to drop in combat.

in another life I would have tried my hand at Antares or another Dominator controlled system, but without support I doubt I'll be effective so I returned to Hese for a heroes welcome and a 9k windfall. With a bankroll over 43,000cr and another 10k back at Murratz, it's time to keep an eye out for a new ship.

Saturday, March 25, 3302

Pizza Baron

After hunting down a pollutant, the next obscure task the Gaalians had lined up for me was representing their planet in a pizza competition. I'd downed my fair share of pizzas growing up on my own, so I thought it would be worth a shot.

2 jumps later and I arrived just in time for the competitions to start. I fronted up to the sign in booth, but before I could complete the registration I was whisked away for an interview. The audience started to get behind me hearing I was representing a planet so far away, but the next question floored me. "Have you been in a pizza maying competition before?". MAKING ??!? Well, uhh, no. Honestly I've never made a pizza before. The crowd went wild. I found out later on that they love an underdog, and anyone entering the galaxy cook-off without being able to cook had them in fits of laughter.

The Gaalians wouldn't be happy if I rejected the competition outright, so I thought I may as well stick around and have a go. The first couple of rounds before mine were eye opening. Each group had a different set of judges to cook for, and the tastes varied wildly between meat-eating Maloqs, vegetarian Faeyans, seafood loving Pelengs, exotic Gaalians, and well-balanced Humans. Contestants tried to balance their effort to appease as many judges as possible, but some combinations were almost impossible. What do you do when you have both a Maloq and a Faeyan on your judging panel?

When they announce my division's judges, I blessed the stars. 1 human and 4 Faeyans! My luck was sweetened when a shadowy Peleng offered bribes for perfect scores from one of the judges. With the human out of the way, all I had to do was concentrate on cooking up vegetarian for the Faeyans!

With a vast array of toppings available in kitchen stadium, our group set off with a frenzy to build a masterpiece. I headed to the fruit stall first and grabbed a little bit of everything. Starting with what looked the most exotic, I layered on the toppings in a brownian motion. The crowd were really behind me, so I kept adding more veggies, some for shape, some for colour, some because it was there.

Eventually all pizzas were baked and ready. The tasting began and silently the judges marked their scores while the crowd were chanting out their predictions with fanatical support. Such a dichotomy of worlds. My pizza was up next and a fanbase I never knew chanted my name. The stadium was surreal. Is this actually happening? The first Faeyan judge happily rose a 10 from his deck of cards and the crowd erupted. Another 10 delivered silently kept the crown on their feet. Amazing! Is this for real? The third Faeyan pondered, and then, too, rose a 10. Perfect score so far! The human was next, and had been in a grumpy mood all night with his scores following his downward attitude. I guess you can't blame him having to put up with vegetarian pizza
time after time as the contestants played to the strengths of the panel. He looked nervous, but produced another 10 that lifted the roof! Four 10's, one more judge "Could this be a perfect score? Has that ever happened before? Who is this guy? Did he say he's never made a pizza? Surely we've been suckered in?" The last judge rose from his seat, attempting to calm the crowd. He intimated to speak, but the crowd noticed the card held absently in his hand. Another 10 was on it's way and the news drowned out the judges remarks. The roar was deafening!

Friday, February 3, 3302

Clean Up the Galaxy

The chancellors of Planet Rahalito had a different request than norrmal. A pirate ship has been terrorizing the Sol System, but it's not the piratic activity that has caused them grief, but that the ship is using old Chinese technology that is leaving a toxic chemical trail wherever he goes. They want him taken out to stop the pollution. I just need the money and a Ranger Centre to cash in my collected nodes, of which Oldy will do nicely.

The trip out through Minnaver to the Sun was relatively uneventful with the usual opportunist mining and trading. I dropped off the spoils at Oldy as well as locking in the nodes. The pirate was easy to find. Follow the smoking trail. Why a pirate would use a leaking ship is beyond me, but I didn't feel the need to ask him, just relied on laser talk.

With the kill confirmed, I hunted around for another task to take me back in the direction of Hese to collect my fee. Some rare artifacts to Regulus fit the bill, but I didn't press the negotiations on price as I wanted to check out how the scientific probes had gone.

Previously I had dropped off probes in Betelgeize and Tallot systems, so I plotted an arcing course through those systems to check on their progress. Both had just turned up some minor goods, but nothing of real value. One of the probes had finished so I packed it up for a fix and relocation to somewhere in Hese. The other still needed to cover some mountainous terrain, so it may as well stay to complete the survey.

The Regulus run garnered more reputation and an injection of capital, but nothing like the reward on offer back at Hese for the removal of the toxic ship. Once that circuit had been completed I was back to a free state with no obligations.

Wednesday, August 24, 3301

Battle for Hese

Klaxxons rang as the warning spread through Ranger Station Agate, "Dominators invading Hese!". With the new engine upgrade, Hese was within a single jump, so I responded to the call to assemble for the defense.

A scan of the battlefield on exit into the Hese system revealed we may have the upper hand. 13 system defense battleships still remained, with 5 other rangers rushing in to help against a meagre 2 urguants and a smattering of smaller ships. The battle was over before I got there, and the remnants of alien technology were being scooped up by an increasing number of rangers. I managed to claim 38 tonne of nodes and 2 intact devices as the flotilla of scavangers, now numbering over 10, headed back to the scientific base for compensation.