Right. That was more like it – 150,000 credits in the bank and “Mostly Aimless” on the board. The nearest systems had plenty of unexplored locations and whilst the 500ls limit on the basic scanner wasn’t great, the odd extra few thousand every time he jumped was well worth it.
Missions paid out very little at the moment – probably due to his poor ranking…. Only a few thousand once again here or there. The temptation was there to stay in the area, zipping between Drew Colony and the other nearby stations and build a local reputation. He’d met a few seedy types in the bars of the unsanctioned outposts but without the Lady being tooled up, discretion was the better part of valour and he had stuck to the duly sanctioned authorities.
The local station had a few simple upgrades – essential for the “beginner”. Chaff to drop gimbal fire away from him if he was interdicted, a simple fuel scoop to keep a lid on the travel bills. A K scanner to boost the income from any combat.
Vin had evaded the first few interdictions but with a little tougher setup, he felt comfortable submitting to the next few. A couple of wanted sidewinders and a token eagle for another 10k in the bank. One had even been wanted in Imperial space – heaven knows where that was from where he was at the moment, so it sat in his “transactions” log, tempting him away from the local systems.
The ship hummed though supercruise on the latest run, a pile of computer components on board. Probably no great shakes on the income front but it would have to do.
Dropping in to the next USS, space came alive with cannisters – all labelled “secret plans”. Damnit – a full cargo hold and there was plenty out there to scoop. Pity he hadn’t paid enough attention to where the nearest black market was. Vin reassured himself that it was probably a trap – after all, who in their right mind would label their cannisters “Secret Plans” and not ” Jettinsoned Droids” or “toxic waste”????
The next USS caught him by surprise. A giant Lakon 9 nearly ripped the top off the canopy as he dropped into normal flight. Next thing, they’d taken delivery of all of his cannisters – without his permission, he noticed, and his bank balance suddenly looked a whole lot healthier.
This was more like it – a bit of colour to the encounters.
Then…. his next mistake. A nav beacon close to the star. A Fed dropship.
Yet again, the itchy trigger finger took over and his brain forgot all caution. The screen lit up with laser fire as the turrets mounted on the dropship opened up on him. He pounded away at it with the pulse lasers until it turned to face him and he dropped a quick pile of chaff to throw off the shots in the face to face battle. Boosting past the dropship, he kicked the flight assist off, yanked the throttle back into the blue and spun around to get behind it.
The damned thing was faster than he expected, but underside facing him, he managed to drop its shields before it opened up on him again. Lateral thrusters and a little yaw, another chaff dump.
He was at 60, it was at 80. This wasn’t going well. Rinse and repeat. Ping shots at it, dump chaff, boost, turn, fire again. Its hull dropped a single digit at a time. He was down to 40, it was at 25 when the scanner came alive with ships – the police had arrived and were trying to steal his bounty.
All he had to do was keep a bead on it and ping away in the hopes that the last shot was his. 7%.
A police Eagle passed in front of his cockpit and survival instinct kicked in – his finger lifted off the trigger to avoid a fiery police death. As the Eagle passed – he lost sight of the dropship. It was dropping Cobalt all over the place now – this was far more like it – plenty to scoop once the police left.
2%. Final pass. Next thing he knew, a railgun shot blasted lines across his vision and left him momentarily blinded. The dropship detonated and Vin swore as he realised he didn’t have a bounty awarded. Illegitimate sons of a female dog. Stealing his kill. With the damage to the hull, the reload fees for the chaff and his battered pride needing a beer, he was going to be way down on this encounter.
The worst part was, during the encounter, a stray shot must have hit the police. He had less than 40% hull left. A bounty on his head and he was surrounded by police. Not a hope of scooping those cans.
Vin “Sir Robined” out of there in a hurry and headed back to the station to lick his wounds…… The authorities had a lot to answer for.