Moon Unit Flapper

Having taken my first risk, suffered my first loss, and then enacted my first swift and fiery retribution all in the space of a few hours, I’m feeling pretty good. My bank balance is just shy of five figures and my moth is well equipped for my role. I decide to wander further afield in search of opportunities – I need to decide whether to spruce up my Silver-Y with better guns and components, or to save up and just trade it in for a better model altogether. Maybe I should head to the mines to see about getting a foothold on the economy.

While doing so, I come across an abandoned shipment of ore almost immediately, and liberate it for the cause.

I sell the ore at Alpha and return to my wanderings. Come day 10, I’ve received a message from the cops, sent to all fighters, to come and check their wanted list. Looks like word of my shameless ambushing of the wounded and plain old kill stealing has spread. A fearsome warrior, Cass is more than a match for any pilot, as long as they’re completely helpless and very nearly dead. And possibly crippled. Could we get “crippled” added to that? No? Well, alright.

To celebrate, I find another cop shooting at a suspect, and unceremoniously steal his kill. I’m starting to feel genuinely bad about doing this as it’s kiiind of an exploit, however in this instance I have a good excuse – the suspect is carrying four salvage drones (you can carry moth equipment as cargo rather than fit it), which will sell for four thousand rubles each. The cops won’t care about cargo, so it’s mine, all mine.

Carrying this kind of gear is a beacon to pirates and even some hard-up traders, so I dock at the nearest trading post and sell immediately, taking my bottom line up to over 34,000. That should be enough to buy a new ship. I think it’s time I went shopping.

There’s nothing good on sale Downtown, so I fly via the Reservoir to Highrise, which is as the name suggests full of tall, narrow buildings, including many residential areas but a surprising number of shops. Including a moth shop.

Inside are a Neo Tiger, a Hawk, and a Moon Moth. All of these are better than what I have. All are within my budget.

The Neo Tiger is fast, but handles poorly. The Hawk is of average speed and handles quite well. Both can fit basically any upgrade and more weapons. The Moon Moth is the cheapest, and a bit slower than the others (though still faster than what I have), and can’t install the best engine.

However, it handles very well, and is significantly cheaper than the others. I’ll need cash left over to upgrade it (the model for sale doesn’t even have a cargo pod), so… what the hell. Now where’d I put my wallet..?

Look at that! Pretty sexy, no? A little on the lurid side, but I don’t have the patience to go into the game’s files and fix the paint job. Besides, I like primaries. I trade in my old Silver-Y, and am left with about 18,000 koruna. However, without a cargo pod and drone I will be the world’s crappest scavenger, able to salvage only what I can nudge along the ground and scrape up the wall of a shop into its airlock, a bit like that scene with the penny in Ghost.

So, it’s off to the nearby Trading Post, where I pick up a small cargo pod, then look up the cheapest drone for sale in town. This is listed as available in the Mines crater. Erk. There are two available, but I’ll need to be quick as they’re about a thousand cheaper than anywhere else. And away we go!

Here be tunnels! I should add that I’ve replaced the default tunnel and hangar textures, and though I actually kind of prefer the originals, I really can’t be bothered to reinstall everything. In any case, they look pretty much the same either way. The bar running parallel to the tunnel is a monorail, incidentally. The monorails flit about through all the craters, taking traders to and from their hangars to conduct business, as well as ferrying some generic passengers about. They can be targeted and shot down, and even ridden around in if you wait at a station for a while. I might do that one day; take a few days off, like.

You may have also noticed that the Moon Moth is a two-seater. It can be used as a taxi, though only in multiplayer, unfortunately, as AI pilots are too intelligent to risk getting in when I’m driving.

I get there just in time, I think, as one of the drones has gone and on the way out, another pilot is lining up to enter. Too slow, son. But I’ll let you have a go on my drone if you buy me a drink. No? Fine, have it your way.

Next up, I should get a price check on some better hardware. I have a laser installed already, but having a better ship and not upgrading the engine is just daft. After checking in at the local repair joint, though, I plump for a better power cell instead – this moth seems pretty power hungry, as I burned through two thirds of my reserves just getting here.

The Alternative Cell is the only one they have, and is a bit pricey at $4,428. It actually has a lower capacity than my current one, however it also recharges much faster, which will mean less time spent strumming my fingers in lightwells. Could be particularly handy if I draw too much attention and need to charge and bail.

As I’ve not been here before, I have a quick tour of the Mines area. Seems sparsely populated, and what’s this?

“Prison oubliette”?

What’s an oubliette? I must investigate!

O…kay. Docking here triggers a video delivered in the classic (read: dreadful) late 90s hammy sci-fi FMV acting style. Apparently pilots aren’t very welcome here. So um… why let me in, you dolt?

Nothing to do here, and though prison mine beneath offers lots of material for sale, it’s not at a price that will bring a profit. Moving on, I fly past a separate Lazarus mining area, and then a Klamp-G one. They really do have their fingers in every pie here. Seems like the smart thing to do would be to team up and super-oppress the underclass, like Oceania and Eurasia, or Cameron and Clegg.

I also find a hideout for… well, look:

Sith manor. Well that’s not ominous or anything. Think I might be giving Zak Airbrain a wide berth if I see him. I like the clever ploy of basically naming yourself “harmless fool”, though. Might have to borrow that one next time I’m hatching a sinister plot to eat all the ewoks, or whatever it is Sith do.

The mines, it seems, has nothing much in it but mines. Bit of a coincidence. Boring, though. The bottom of the supply web is here, or at least a major part of it – ore and gems go into pretty much everything on Titan – but I’m not kitted out for trade, nor do I know the routes. Besides, it looks like prices are poor right now. No, I need to be getting back to where there are crowds and crimms. Plus I could do with better software. Back to Downtown!

Like a good citizen, I stand by and do nothing while a heroic cop tries to stop a pirate and bites off more than he can chew. I will definitely watch Crimewatch next week – I could maybe apply to be in the reconstruction. Just picture the appeal for witnesses, with me in the background snorting into my tea. Brilliant.

But yeah anyway, the cop bites it pretty hard. I swoop in and tidy up. No cargo, as police usually only carry doughnuts and a picture of a black guy with a bullseye on. The next day, as there’ve been no kills in the area, I stop in at a Software Shack and upgrade everything (though I can’t afford night vision or autopilot), pretty much empyting my account. If I were a trader this would be game over, but as long as I have my drone and a working engine, all is well for the life of salvage.

On leaving the hangar, my new power software reveals that my new cell was an even better deal than I’d thought. Its recharge rate is so great that in daytime, I can cruise about at 2/3 thrust and still charge my cell just from the ambient sunlight. I won’t ever need to visit a lightwell unless I get into a fight or fly flat out for long periods. Efficiency, thy name is Cass.

Later still, I come across a long and drawn out, but clearly one-sided fight. Two pirates are laying into someone with a bunch of chemicals and enough defensive gear to … well, to cause a long and drawn out fight. He’s here letting off several flares to see off an incoming missile, but is either a terrible pilot or has no decent weapons, as he barely touches his attacker. He even has a hologram system installed, and makes liberal use of it to throw off his attackers. However, he fails the second part of the standard hologram procedure, as he neglects to escape or counter-attack afterwards. What a timewaster.

You can just about see his hologram there. The idea is that it flies off and your attacker is confused and goes after it while you skedaddle and/or wheel around and shove a pulse laser up his nostril. This guy failed to do either, so the pirates eventually finish him off.

I can only assume the trader must have sunk all his money into that cargo, or the poor dope would have cut his losses. Oh well. They’re my gains now! Hey pirate dudes! What’s red and yellow and is closer to the booty than you?

Yoink!

I’m away man. I’m in. I’m bad. I’m real. I’m… I’m under attack. Crap.

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