God, showers are good.  After spending the last three weeks in a Federal Assault Ship deep in Hudson space I really needed one too.  I may have to replace my flight suit too, it stinks.  This is one of the reasons I hate the Federal Military ships.  A few little luxuries in the back wouldn’t hurt them.

I should start from the beginning – a lot has happened.

It started when Sou introduced me to Arissa Lavigny-Duval and a PMC called IPEC.  I’ve never identified as an Imperial like Sou but if it’s them or the Feds I know what side my bread is buttered.  Plus, if they’re going to start sending Sou into heavy conflict zones I’d like to know he has someone on his side who at least understands relative position in space.

However, after a few days hunting Hudson supporters in LHS 142 Sou had had enough and sent a decidedly pissed message to command.  They recalled us.  But while Sou got a chance to go off to the Pleiades  on holiday I got assigned something much more interesting.

I got a call from Viceroy Lucas Andinos.  Imperials always seem to have needlessly long and pompous names.  I call him Andi.  He does not like this.

“There’s a high ranking federal general, working for Hudson, making the rounds of the Federal Border worlds,” Andi tells me.  “He’s a nasty piece of work and rarely ventures out of their central worlds. We need you to remove him from the equation.”

“You mean you want me to murder him, Andi” I corrected, watching him wince as I said the M word.

“Yes”, he said, grudgingly, “We want him dead.”

“And what do I get for this act of ‘valour’?” I asked. “I’m gonna have the feds on me for weeks after I catch up with him.”

“Well,” he says, with an air of someone making a great concession, “in addition to the usual fee we’d be prepared to offer you an honorary Baronetcy, to help ease your passage through all imperial systems.”

“Done,” I said, perhaps a bit too quickly.  Sou’s always been the negotiator, not me, and I was too enamoured with the idea of getting access to the Guatamaya Shipyards.

“One more thing,” Andi told me “we need it to look like an inside job. We’ll be providing you with a Federal Assault Ship, registered in Felicia Winters’ name.”

“Fine, whatever,” was my reply.  I’d be a Baron.  I could get a Clipper.  Pretty ship, and fast.

That Fed made me work for it though. 28 systems I followed him through before eventually cornering him and disabling his FSD so he couldn’t jump.  Then he was just a Fed Gunship that can’t run.

EliteDangerous64 2016-01-18 23-46-48

That was when things got really hairy.  A Viper jumped into the area, Fed internal security.  Shit.  But there was only one of them, I figured I’d gank him fast enough then finish off his boss.  Besides, this plan wouldn’t work if I left witnesses.  I turn to face the viper and have just opened up when there’s another four booms very close together and I start getting hammered from all directions.  I check me HUD, and… 

“Oh, fuck.”

That Viper’s in a wing of 5.

I go evasive, hard, but those Vipers are swift and there are so many of them I’m getting swamped.  It’s going to be death by 1000 cuts.  I’m just about to turn tail and run, leaving my quarry behind, when there’s another boom.

“Vex, ol’ buddy ol’ pal, it’s good to see you’re still making friends the hard way,” chirps the voice comms.

I can’t help it – I smile.  I’d know that voice anywhere. Old buddy of mine who goes by the name Ronnie Kane.  Ex White Navy, went freelance a few months ago when his service was up and has since made a truly impressive amount of credits killing for cash.  I know him from his service days,  we got used to seeing each other in conflict zones and the like, and then meeting up for a drink after.  Nice guy, and I don’t say that about many people.

Also the best combat pilot I know.

“Ronnie, good to see you. How’s things?”  I reply, pulling an immelman and heading towards him.  “Any chance of a hand here?”

“I dunno”, he shoots back. “What will you pay?” Personal rule of his, never kill for free.  His price is, however, flexible.

“Well…”  I say, pretending to give it some real consideration. “Given your inexperience… And the fact that I don’t really need your help… What do you say to one credit and a drink of your choice when we get back to civilised space?”

Ronnie laughs. “Deal. Bring that wing over here, we’ll split them and take half each.  If I take my half first you double my pay.”

“No deal, that’s what a bookie calls a ‘dead cert’,”  is all I can say, then I’m shooting over the top of his Fer-De-Lance.

Ronnie kills the lead pursuer before I’ve even had a chance to register that he’s deployed hardpoints.  I toggle the flight assist off and swing round to bring the guns to bear on the next Viper.  Speed is important – at this point they will have requested back up and more will be coming in.  Even with Ronnie on my side things will get out of hand fast.  I take the damage from his guns, now it’s one on one he can’t really do enough damage to worry me and within seconds he’s dead too.

EliteDangerous64 2016-01-18 23-38-35

Ronnie’s taken another in this time so I leave him with the last 2 vipers and go to finish the job.  The gunship is limping away, trying to repair the damage I did to it earlier, but it’s too little too late.  With a “whump” the power plant blows, tearing the ship apart.

Just in time: 3 more booms herald a Fed Annaconda and 2 Pythons jumping in.  Too late to help their buddies but things are about to get out of hand fast.

Ronnie clearly has the same thought. The radio clicks. “Darling, get your coat. We’re leaving!”

I can’t help but laugh as I retract the hardpoints, slave my drive to Ronnie’s and follow him into witch space.

Back to Candecama, and civilisation.

And showers.



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