Scavenger’s Rights

The pirates, though slow on the uptake, are a lot faster to act once they catch on. My moth is rather heroic in taking the barrage of bolts and missiles one of them sends my way, but I have no other countermeasures, and no hope of outgunning him. Once it’s clear I won’t get away without taking a beating, I drop the cargo, and watch helplessly as he picks it up, no doubt making an obscene gesture through his cockpit.

Rather coolly, he casually sits directly in front of a firing turret as he collects the cargo, calmly ignoring its fire. The turret, I might add, is attached to a police station.

I pay my taxe-ah… well. Actually, come to think of it, I guess I don’t pay my taxes. But I could! Damn cops. All too happy to sit around getting blown up when I bravely sit by and clean up the mess afterwards, but do they want to come and rescue me when I’m in danger? Nooo. They’re too bus… oh wait, here comes one now.

Yeah! Shoot him! Kick his ass!

The cop enters in a hail of plasma fire, rapidly stripping away the pirate’s shields. It’s about now that I notice that the pirate is flying a Death’s Head – a very combat-oriented moth, with the toughest hull and greatest weapon capacity possible. The cop is lucky he’s already used up his missiles, but still does a fine job of taking this guy down, while the other pirate in the white ship uses his superior speed to get the hell out of there. I pitch in, helping the cop take down the heavier ship.

In the process, some stray fire hits another cop who’s waiting in the lightwell, which rather annoyingly causes the police to register me as a criminal.

A few moments later, when I’ve finished off the pirate, they wipe my record by way of thanks. But there’ll be no reward for it. Gits. Still, I got the cargo of chemicals back. Rather than take any more chances, I head straight for the nearby Components factory to sell them, in the process doing an extremely rude blockout of another trader who was in the middle of docking. And then I cut in front of him so that I’ll get a better price for my goods.

Not a habit I want to get into, but my nerves were a little jangly after that last encounter, so I figured I’d make an exception. Plus I’m not sure, but the cop I shot might otherwise have come after me once he was done recharging.

That reminds me. New rule: Lightwells are safe zones. If I want to attack someone who’s in a lightwell, I have to wait until they leave. The exceptions are if they’re already on the ropes when I chase them there, and if it’s either that or I die.

Ah, here we go. This guy’s been hit by a groundbase missile (By far the most infuriating missile in the game to be hit by, these do some weird gravity magic when they hit, causing the victim to slam into the ground and usually bounce a couple of times. They can do tonnes of damage and render you immobile and helpless for several seconds, as well as dragging you away from any escape route for long enough that your attacker can just launch another one. I hate them), and not unwisely has decided to deploy his hologram – I think it’s the one on the left.

I hang around this fight, as my handy new target software is telling me that he has two valuable cargoes on board, so I’ve a good chance of making some money if he drops. He does so at the lightwell, so I snap up the 6 Machine parts he was ferrying and jet off to sell them at Shears Yard, taking me up to a cosy 9,398 francs.

Installing a laser now would set me back almost two and a half times what it did less than two weeks ago. Crikey. I can’t afford a better gun yet, but I install a set of flares and a pack of 10 Swarm missiles to ward off troublemakers. Swarm missiles are kind of self-explanatory; They’re a barrage of smaller heat seekers that are harder to evade, but do about as much damage.

I come to need them almost immediately. After another cheeky steal from under the nose of a victorious pirate, Elric Icechav, I fly off, before it occurs to me that the moth he’s in, a Neo Tiger, is considerably faster than my Moon Month. Ulp. It may be worth it though, as the cargo I have is a couple of Power Cells. I release a missile at him, though my timing is off and some of the swarm misses. He’s not impressed.

Before long I have to drop the cargo again. Damn it, I really need some better weapons if I’m going to keep trying this. Or maybe I should save up for an afterburner… hmm.

But hey, check this out: later that night, I run into him again, and he’s still carrying the same cargo. He’s too busy fending off another flyer to indulge me, but I pull off a quick game of chicken, diving just under him and spraying his undercarriage with a laser. The other party who was laying into him finished the job, but I’m able to scoop up the Cells again and this time, I manage to escape as the other locals fight amongst themselves.

Man, the luck’s really flowing my way so far. All these valuable cargoes just falling into my lap, everything I’ve jettisoned has come back to me again, and everyone who’s crossed me is dead. Not bad for a common skyena, huh?

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Filed under Hardwar, It's a Hardlife

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