Privateer Emotion

Chaos! Lovely, destructive chaos. I have little idea who’s here, and the three or four dogfights going on all round me are impossible to track, but I can guess. Cops shooting pirates, pirates shooting traders, gangsters shooting each other, and somewhere at the bottom of it is me, waiting like a vulture for the explosions to start.

I’ll be honest; the next few minutes are a bit of a blur. The competition was right there with me, but all the animosity above us meant that the world was raining scrap and discarded goodies down on us all. I was like a drunkard in a brewery, snatching jealously at everything in sight and constantly checking through every target on radar, looking up at their frantically firing vessels with naked avarice. There may have been some drooling.

Once people started to go down, I lost count of how much metal I picked up, however when I was first to pounce on a cargo of 5 tonnes (or whatever) of food, I knew I had to get out of there. Quit while you’re ahead, right?

The nearby Shears Yard were happy to pay me about 500 apiece for the food, presumably to feed their workforce. They don’t want the scrap though, so I head off back to Downtown Recycling and sell off the metal that I’d managed to nab before my rivals, taking me up to a pleasant 3882 ducats.

Not a bad result really, considering how many other people were competing for that haul. I probably came off better than anyone – even the victorious fighters were badly shot up, and the other bottom feeders were far too slow to grab much. I swing by the scene once everything’s sold, but everyone’s dispersed.

Later in the day, a cop shoots down a pirate who was sharing a lightwell with me, allowing me to scoop up his wreck and a large pile of sheet metal he left behind. Sheet metal is one of the things the recycling centres and such make with the scrap I provide, so my selling it off at Central Industrial could be the second time I’ve sold it at no cost to myself. How poetic. Maybe we should work a scam together: I bring scrap, they process it and sell the result, and I quietly shoot down their customer and sell it back to them again. Repeat to fade. Or possibly police sirens.

Come day seven, a message from Junkyard allows me to locate their building with my new fancy software. They want junk and I want cash. If only there were something we could do!

I go to visit them in Riverside crater – as you might expect, this has a river running through it. It’s also home to a lot of bars and suspicious derelict warehouses. Rumour has it that there are drug dens all over the place here. I wouldn’t know of course, being usually far too drunk to care.

The junkyard is the tallest building around – my engine even threatens to stall as I approached their airlock. After my delivery, I have twelve grand in the bank. Time to make some investments!

I drop in on a nearby weapon shops owned by Klamp-G, the second major company/faction in town. Selection’s poor, but I sign for some flares, which the salesman assures me won’t clash with my platforms. I suspect he may have been patronising me.

Next up is software. I install Navigation, and upgrade my radar and shield to maximum. Radar will improve my range, and shield will absorb more and recharge faster. Even a weak moth like mine can take a fair few shots before giving up, but it’s best not to reach that point in the first place – repairs cost money, and you can be structurally intact but still be seriously combat- and flight-impaired. Some weapons specifically damage your moth’s CPU, which can wipe out your software entirely, so good shielding pays for itself in no time.

An extended fight between two neo tigers – a pirate and a Klamp patrol – results in a boring stalemate. On my travels I buy some chaff from another weapon shop.

More fruitless scuffles happen throughout the afternoon. Slow day. It’s not until the next morning that I chance upon a cop laying mercilessly into a pirate, Ciaran Mafiablade, as he tries to recharge.

I decide to weigh in. I’d call it my first fight, but it was nothing so dignified. It was, in fact, a naked kill steal, as the guy was almost dead before I opened fire. My laser is very rapid-firing, so I get the kill shot, and shortly thereafter a message from the cops offering me a £2,000 reward for doing 3% of the work, while the guy doing the rest gets nothing. A career in management beckons. Thanks for the help, Constable Sucker! Good luck with that promotion, yeah?

I’m such a dick.

For the rest of the day, pretty much nothing happens, so I focus on shopping. Prices are high for better weapons. Even lasers are now selling for twice what mine cost. Should look into getting into their supply chain when I have the money. I happen to be docked at ‘techparts’ in Downtown the next day, thinking they might sell equipment, when a message comes from Downtown Munitions. They want computer components, and guess what Techparts sell?

I’m not a trader, but opportunities to make easy money are not to be sniffed at on Titan. Though it’s risky, the worst that can happen is I get attacked on the way over and have to sacrifice the cargo to escape. That’ll cost me most of my cash, but hey, it’s not like I worked very hard for it. Buy! Buy! Sell! Soy!

I buy four Arbitraries of computer components at about £1,600 each, and use my new nav gear to target the munitions plant. It’s about halfway across the crater. As long as no pirates come my way, it’ll be a quick and simple flight.

Naturally, a pirate comes my way almost immediately.

Dean Wildbane is his name, and my computer helpfully warns me that he’s targeted me, giving me a few seconds to hit full throttle and dive for cover. Dive! Bogeys at 6 o’clock! Er… vaguely homo-erotic banter! Gratuitous volleyball scene (I haven’t seen Top Gun)!

His opening volley comes from off screen – in my silly panic I forgot to check my radar, but he’s at full shields, so there’s little I can do anyway. Lasers, like mine, are close to useless against shields, and at night the combination of taking damage and firing a lot will drain my cheapo battery in no time. I could hit him with a missile, but I’m already committed to fleeing.

My shields don’t hold out for long. After several seconds of fire, it’s clear I’m onto a loser here. Times to cut my losses, and dump my precious cargo. Bastard.

I lower myself to the ground, trying to get into a position to try a sucker drop. This is what it sounds like – you drop the cargo so they’ll stop shooting, then you immediately pick up the cargo again and leg it, hoping it’ll buy you a few seconds.

Annoyingly, in this case, I don’t have the speed or manoeuverability for it. Gah, it’s incredibly frustrating, just sitting here watching this git scoop up my resources lik… hang on.

He’s picked up the scrap. And he’s leaving. He… he took the cheapest item in the game, and left behind £7,000 worth of computer parts.

Dumbass.

Minutes later, I’ve flogged them to net several hundred quid – the gross being about 35 times as much as what the pirate will have made by stealing my metal. Several hours later still, I’m busy cruising round Downtown, counting my money when … oho, what’s this?

Why, hello there Mr. Wildbane. It looks like you’ve been shot to buggery since you robbed me. And now your shields are down, you’re stuck in a lightwell, and I’m approaching from behind with a fully-charged laser that’s best used on unshielded opponents.

Oh dear. Whatever will I do?

DIE DIE THIEVING BASTARD PIRATE DIE

Okay. Okay. We got him. Think I should take a little time off now. I’m not a killer, I’m a sc-

Oooh! Shiny blood money!

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2 Comments

Filed under Hardwar, It's a Hardlife

2 responses to “Privateer Emotion

  1. Jammy D

    Excellent fish-in-a-barrell shooting skills, good sir!

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