“Just sign here”. That’s what she said. Now I’m not telling you that I’m one of those sad-sacks that can’t say no to a pretty girl. Maybe the uniform helped. What I am telling you is that, next thing I knew some ape in an altogether more business-like sorta uniform was frog-marching me down this corridor. I mean come on! Surely I got some time to wind up my affairs? Or something?
Nope. The Navy doesn’t mess about. AND I never got the girls name….
Okay, so the Navy life. Glamourous, sure to help with the ol’ chat-up lines in those out-system bars hey?
No to that also. Six weeks of ‘basic’, and now I get to fly sidewinders on ‘courier-missions’. Glorified mail-man more like except without the glory. Six months ago I’m my own boss, got a nice little asp, do a little this, a little that – you know the drill. And now?
No more girls in uniform is all I’m saying.
Anyway, this buddy of mine is all over the Navy’s supply requisition system and happened to mention that for the right price he could hook me up with some sweet gear for my own ship. Turns out the ‘right price’ was a mission of his own devising. Now I’m not telling you that I’m any kind of ace combat jock, far from it, but anyhow, a little RnR was due me (read, twenty-four hour pass, the Navy doesn’t like to let you out of its sight for too long), and so I took my chance, took his ‘mission’, and next thing I know I’m up against the mother of all pirate wings: two Imp. clippers and an anaconda! In an asp! And I pulled it off, oh yes. Trouble with those pirate-types is they’re too arrogant for their own good. I rammed the annie’s shields off. I rammed it down to 1% hull! And then I blew it outta the sky. Hah!
And the rest of the wing? Busy shouting at me, but for some reason unable to decide whether they should attack, run, call the cops or just have a hissy-fit.
So I went through the same routine with, let’s call him ‘clipper one’. Boom! Of course by this time the mud-brains at the helm of clipper two have finally realized that ‘something is up’, so the long and short of it is that I got away with no shields, a malfunctioning FSD, powerboard, lifesupport, thrusters – and a whole 2% hull. Oh, and no canopy.
You ever try making a planetary without your HUD? Three. Yep. Tee, Aitch, Are, Ee, Ee. THREE attempts and I’m thirty klicks out from the base with about three mins of O2 remaining and I can’t figure which pad is mine without swinging the ship around like a kite in a storm. With crummy thrusters. Talk about skin of your teeth. Seventeen seconds O2 and I’m screaming at the port authority to please stop dithering around and get me into a hangar. Three seconds man. THREE! All that stood between little old me and oblivion.
And the payoff? You’ll never believe it. I don’t believe it. For the pleasure of almost having immolated myself in the gosh-darndest fireball this side of creation, for the excitement of having gotten to a safe haven with a pure three seconds to go?
My ‘buddy’ wangles me a two-week pass. Except he then tells me he owes some people in a God-forsaken hole called Varati (I mean really? Is that even a word?), and that they are having, to use his words ‘a bit of trouble with pirates’, and that he’d ‘make it worth my while’ if I got him covered by loping over there and dropping some bounties at this dive called Thompson dock. Dock. Hah! I’ve seen better facilities in a mud hut. Anyways, a deal’s a deal (what am I saying?) and so I’ve been, I’ve killed, and now for my trouble guess what? Turns out the ‘two-week pass’ was actually for twelve days and seeing as the last time I looked a two week pass has more days in it, it now seems the good ol’ Navy has gotten around to noticing that I am two days absent over leave. Fabulous. Great.
And I hate cleaning latrines. That buddy of mine ain’t no buddy. I’ll kill him.
Anyways I hope those folks over in Varati are happy. Two hundred piratey types I dispatched. Me If I was living in Varati I’d think less about dealing with pirates and more about moving someplace less piratey. Or getting more cops. Don’t get me wrong, fifteen mill in bounties is a nice piece of change (if the Navy lets me keep it), but surely it’d be cheaper to just pay more cops?
AND I hate sidewinders. The Navy had just better let me hang on to all this moolah, that’s all. I mean I EARNED it didn’t I?