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214
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Story - Diary of a Pirate Hunter

Diary of a Pirate Hunter
The captain was a miserable bastard. When he came on deck, generally holding a zero-g sip-flask there was a palpable drop in temperature and silence would reign, with interruptions met with a scowl. Rumour had it that he was once quite high in the Ranks back in the days of the Rebellion though it was not clear whether this was the Republic or Confederate or even which side he was on. Either way that was half a century ago and nobody was brave enough to ask. Few ever entered his quarters and then they could only say than it was gloomy, like the old man himself.

How he ever ended up out here as a privateer was a subject of common discussion in the galley though the topic was always in the dark shift and then with occasional sidelong glances to the hatch. The topic was worth a week of extra shifts or if a few were caught mid-gossip, a full shift of battle readiness.

So, here we were on the edges of Brittanicus, having just maintained again at Westfall by Farmwhich a place of scum, deserters and betrayers, though with the cheapest maintenance facilities in Halo. We had taken on three more crew, marines though quite what species they were, none of the existing crew were sure. The first few days of sanitation duty were horrendous while the toilets were refitted to accommodate the largest. Getting two/reg-spec tubing more than two days out from the nearest civilisation with a captain that won't turn around for anything less than having half the ship destroyed is no easy matter. Let's just leave it at popping anti-rad pills and being as quick as possible is a sensible precaution and also don't use the back-up jump drive at the same time as flushing...


Clearly the new recruits were getting fed-up. Maybe Reynolds the name of the old bastard, had promised them action, maybe even spoils but all we had done was move through the orbits of three asteroids at various quads. The action had become routine, identify the next asteroid, plot course, enter orbit and scan location. Does it need to be added that this was followed by find nothing and repeat ad nauseum.

We had just finished scanning our third asteroid this week. The captain was in a particularly foul mood and all the flavoured organic binding agent ('Alalus's finest processed eggs' if the label was anything like accurate) had been stolen. While nobody has been charged, a definitely sulphurous smell followed one of the new recruits no good ever comes out of hiring people from Westall. Anyway, we left orbit and made the ISR micro-jump out across the quad a few light minutes was all and straight into a pirate. Its designation was Angel's Weep, Light Cruiser. Why it was stationed there, who knows, maybe a calculation error on the navigator's behalf or possibly it was itself the hunter either way, it was alert and even as the crew scrambled to battle stations the first targeting systems were locked.

Had we been a simple freighter we would now be triggering explosive bolts and winging the cargo out to boost our escape, but not us. We may look like a crappy scout, but somehow the captain had managed to wrangle some armour upgrades and our weapons kit was pretty good. You could imagine the surprise on the faces of the pirates as the ship, almost half their size turned to face them and actually closed the gap.

Our ship was armed with launchers and kinetics they don't give as big a flash for your stellar as standard missiles but they can punch a hole in the sort of armour affordable by your typical pirate. They fired three standard missiles all being countered within a few kilometres of the ship. Shame really, not because they actually did any damage, but the flash meant that we didn't see our forty hammer home not that there would have been much to see at that distance. Still, the sensors got the feedback only a few had been taken down by point defence.

The second wave from them consisted of a single missile seems our salvo gave them a bit of a kicking. Ours was still the full broadside the captain always insists that we have sufficient for three days worth of combat.

Not even the flash could hide the sudden bright blossoming in the dark. Against the vastness of space it still looked a touch pathetic lasting a few seconds though considerably brighter than the background stars. This did little more than elicit a grunt of satisfaction from the captain before he ordered a full scan and left the bridge.

We scoured the region for a few more hours following the battle such as it was before moving in. There wasn't that much left which seemed to piss the captain off. Not sure what he was expecting they didn't seem particularly competent pirates.


It was as we were pulling the debris on board, a sheet of armour, few engines, that we were caught with out pants down. No less than three ships and these were definitely not configured for scaring traders out of their cargo.
It's the first time I have seen the old bastard smile in the three years I have served. He muttered something like 'Fuck you ..', though I could not quite hear the last word - probably a person or maybe a ship, I have no idea. We took a hammering. They hit us with nothing less than photon cannons and a spread of missiles, including a few kinetics. Reports came flooding in from different sections we had lost launchers, some gatling lasers and a few crew. Armour was down but the brunt had penetrated and absorbed by the hulls.


In return we concentrated out fire on one ship the one with the weakest armour. The captain once said during a rare lecture on tactics that it does not follow that the hardest hitter is also the toughest and vice versa. Taking out a weakly armoured enemy can quickly whittle down the number of targets attacking you and the damage you are incurring.
Seems there was something to his logic as we were re-targeting by our third salvo to one of the heavier designs though we were far from in the clear. I had already turned off the screen with the spiraling damage report.


We were finished, I was certain of it but then the battle had gone on for some time we had let rip with four salvoes though the last one was down by a third of the original number of launchers. Hull strength was below half and two of the pirates were still firing but then a miracle happened the cavalry arrived. No less then four ships, all privateers like us. They quickly formed a screen between us and the pirates soaking missiles and beamers that would have ended us.
The rest of the battle was short work for our saviours though as the adrenalin leaked out of our bodies, people lay slumped in their harnesses, occasionally smiling but looking utterly spent. Only the captain seemed unaffected by the events, standing rigidly in front of the main viewer and talking quietly into the communicator. Whatever he was discussing with the captains of the other ships we were not invited. The conversation was terminated with 'Damn them, I was assured they were here.' Then to us, 'Form a salvage squad in the cargo bay, include the new crew members.' Something was definitely up.


The grim face of the captain, still on the bridge could be seen in the viewer, watching our preparations. We had suited up and were at the rotating airlock. We only open the full bays when docked. To prevent risk of decompression in space, we use what is essentially a revolving door. A chamber has only one door you walk in, the chamber revolves and the door now faces space. It was cramped, so the first three out were the new guys (though you can never tell, they could have been females, or something else). No sooner had they exited when we felt a shudder through the ship it was moving on thrust and not very smoothly thanks to the battle damage.

We dashed to the external viewer and looked across the widening gulf between the ship and the three space walkers. I'm certainly no xenologist but I swear despite their alien appearance and being stuffed into space suits they look surprised. One even reached for a magnetically attached side arm. I ducked aside of the viewer the redundancy of the act only registering afterwards. Even from my place of safety I saw the flash of light and even a slight thumping sound as the hull was pebble-dashed. This was no side arm hitting us but missile fragments - missiles launched from us!

Two weeks later and we are undergoing repairs. The crew are angry at the captain's silence on the events. Why shoot up the debris (which happened to include three of our crew)? Who were the other ships? Was we bait for something else? Some are talking about quitting though for the moment I will stay on. He may be a bastard, but this bastard has guardian angels and besides, I am curious who is Reynolds?

Key Features of the Story  [Recruit]

Pirate Habits
In Halo, pirates can be found in the outer orbitals and sometimes in the orbits of asteroids. They may be moving between them. Moving through the orbits and scanning location is a reasonable way of looking for them. Occasionally they enter other orbits, looking for trade ships moving between the civilised worlds and outposts.

Pirate Ships
Generally speaking pirate ships are designed to scare traders into dropping their cargo and fleeing. As such they rarely have a large amount of weaponry just enough to deal with freighters. This said, some may be a little tougher as they prey on the bigger and better defended positions.

Debris
A ship may be destroyed by two methods during combat. It can be blown up which occurs when its hulls absorb too much damage. The other type is an integrity breakdown which can occur when integrity is less than 80% and the ship is sustaining damage.
Blowing up rarely leaves much in the way of hulls to salvage, though both types of destruction can leave behind some things worth carting off, including prisoners.

Battle Length
A day's worth of battle equates to four salvoes from a weapon, or rounds of fire. Battles are run after all other standard orders are processed. This allows tactics that can span days. In the above story the battle lasted three days. The ship left orbit and ran into the pirate in the first day destroying it. On the second day it salvaged the debris field (not having sufficient TU's to complete that and move away). The three pirates also arrived on the second day and the ship suffered most of its damage though crippled one of the pirates.
The four privateers arrived on day three and finished off the pirates.

Tactics
There are combat options that allow the pre-determination of targets. In the above story, the primary target was weak armour while retarget if not firing allowed the ship to move onto another target when it has dealt with the primary target. It also targeted weapons slightly less accurate though very useful if accuracy is high enough.
The cavalry also employed screen ship this allows the ship to intercept damage aimed at a specific ship. It is a good way for escorts to protect freighters and command ships.

Weapon Systems
Some weapons have high damage values but low penetration. Penetration is the ability to get through armour and shielding in order to deliver the damage. A high damage but low penetration weapon is effective where there is little armour and shielding while a weapon with low damage but high penetration will be more effective at punching home through heavier armour.

 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Wimbles Crisis Solved ***

The Wimble Crisis of 217 has come to an end with the human Baron making way to the wimble Grandfather Paden Mastaak. Celebrations were held in Wimbledon upon the news with crack teams of Wimble security staff guarding all the pies.

It’s unclear how long the Wimbles will enjoy this new era of peace and self-determination.

Vocal Wimble Dinasha, one of Paden’s early backers, has chosen this precarious moment to bait Dewiek, Flagritz and humans who were initially disposed to be friendly to the new administration. Whilst the Wimbles' history with the former-slave-loving Flagritz could be understood, their animosity towards the Dewiek and humans was more mysterious. One insider alluded to a rise in the number of cases of foot-and-mouth across the herd as being a likely cause.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Storm in a Teacup *** Yahn Bares All * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door ***

The stargates are closed! Reports from multiple sources indicate at least three of the stargates, all within Dewiek controlled systems, have been closed.

Two different sources have indicated that the TCA have been spotted recently in a number of systems and may be behind this turn of events. A scan sent to the SSS indicated eight TCA ships were recently spotted first in the Faery system and later near the Kasmer stargate.

Another source, suspiciously put the blame on the ARC, suggesting the ARC and DEN were working together because they “need to trap [the TCA] and try and finish them off after the DEN bodged their operation to protect the ARC while they incinerated the MEK homeworld, which ended up with several ARC ships being destroyed and the job only being half done."

However, with no public statement from the Dewiek themselves, its hard to know whether these rumours are reliable.

Lord Igor of the Dominion and Erasmus Andersen of the Garcia Family both offered public apologies at the delay in meeting their trade commitments because of the recent closures. The not-so-subtle subtext being that someone will pay with blood for this interference in their business. Or at least with a stealthy price rise.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Wimble Civil Strife * Who Sniffs the Sniffers? * Largin’ It * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Videtis quantum scelus contra rem publicam vobis nuntiatum sit? ***

The Flagritz Empire is no more! The Flagritz Republic is reborn! Quick on the heel of the collapse of the Empire, the Fessin caste declared a new era of foreign and economic policy with a rapid withdrawal behind the Black Gate.

The new ecologically-friendly Prime Minister Kayxaer, asked for patience as “economic” reforms were undertaken. It remains to be seen whether there will be any price to pay for the dramatic changes being made by the reclusive Flagritzi or whether it will all be sunshine and rainbows going forward.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Large at Large * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Bravo for Freedom ***

Naplian Forces have attacked three human pirate outposts in the Morroglyph system. A spokesperson for Naplia HQ told the press that the plucky duct-tape loving free people would continue their war against slavers and pirates in their home periphery.

One salty Naplian libertarian told the SSS, “The people of the Naplian Home Periphery are sick and tired of human criminals coming here just because their homeworld is an overcrowded hell. It’s time for them to go back home.”

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Igor of Fang and Horns * Admiral Loves Dick Turpin * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

.What is It?
..a wOrmhOle?.
…No.. worse..
….the KANG singularity!…
…..It pulls us IN…..
……lOOks sO familiar……
…….yet so strange…….
……..what is……..
………that?……..

*** Flagritz Liberalise Economy ***

In good news for all the galaxy the Flagritzi have vowed to liberate all slaves across their Empire. Furthermore, the hectapods have given up eating other sentient species; taking up a strict diet of veganism and soy chai lattes. Sales of turtle neck sweaters and Forbidden Fruit laptops have skyrocketed.

The news was cautiously welcomed by the benevolent Felini Tyranny who looked forward to reducing the War phase of their daily Nap-Lick-Nap-War-Nap-Eat-Sleep cycle to a perfunctory forty winks.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Baron Womble * A Short History of the DPP * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Empire Strikes: Solo ***

A massive fleet of some 1600 warships, including large numbers of super-heavy capital 300 and 400 hullers, attacked the DEN in the Solo system, catching them with their metaphorical pants down. The DEN gate platform and some two hundred DEN freighters were subject to antimatter missiles amongst other high tech ordinance.

Jack the lad, Viceroy of the Empire, claimed a victory for freedom and the Imperial (right of) way leaving the sullen Dewiek unusually unresponsive.

With DOM platforms firing on CIA ships, will the IMP now demand the DOM add them to the Do Not Fire lists as well? And what exactly is the nature of the DOM and DEN alliance in light of the sustained attack from the Empire? And will the DEN’s alien friends stand idly by as the Empire fleet camps in the vital gate system of Solo? How will the DEN retaliate for this action or are they ready to roll over and have their bellies rubbed?

All this remains unknown. All that is certain is the “feel good” factor across the DTR has increased, with citizens reassured that for some time yet, they may continue in their slumber with the easy assurance that their number is not coming up anytime soon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * New BHD Guy * DOM Statement * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** To Ur Is Dewiek ***

Dewiek forces had a hefty smackdown against the mysterious living ships known as the T’Cath (TCA). Seven adult TCA 400 hull capital ships, each firing eight of their notorious plasma cannons, were killed by a DEN and DOM fleet of some 700 ships.

Of the minimal losses suffered by the DEN / DOM, one-eyed Magnus and Nevets Motnhap of the FEL were amongst the dead.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Caribbean Congo Continues * Ur Witness Report * * Hive Briefing * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** The Long Quiet Season ***

Listen…
There’s no sound of anger or of annoyance,
There’re neither cruisers racing on the jump lanes
Nor there jump lanes for them to race on,
There’re neither monks chanting on the battlegrounds
Nor bells calling us to the True One.
There’s neither the lightning cracking of the sky
Nor the persistent Naplians pattering on my roof.
There’s no Dewiek arm in arm to admire the magnificent view
There’re no war drums to feed Human ears
Nor Hive sirens to steal the boredom away
There’s no unfamiliar wing creeping underneath the Falconian sun
Nor floods to enshroud the Aquaphid grounds
The land lies lonely out here
On this lazy summer’s day
There’s no pollution to poison the airs of Inversion
Nor forests to give them life
All I hear is the hushing sound of the wind
Assisting the sand to fall into beautiful undulations.

Whilst we’ve been away: * Operation Giantslayer * Naplian Liberation * Back in the DTTR * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Falconians Saved ***

The Imperials have cunningly saved the Falconian Republic from being consumed by the Dewiek Elder Nation and at no small cost to the DEN either. Whilst the new pro tem Consul crowed about the “victory”, all former FCN systems besides Acropolis have been taken over by the two warring Empires - Human and Flagritz.

Was it all worth it? For the IMP / GTT it clearly was, for the movement of a few hundred thousand troops is surely nothing to the cost they endured trying to and failing to knock the DEN out of Solo after the fact. The FCN now plucked off most of their navy and wider assets are a tiny nothing of their former self. The DEN may have resorted to some dirty namecalling but can the costs endured to save an enfeebled FCN have really been worth it? Time will tell.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * INDignation * FELicitous Caribbean * Nah Plan for Naplia * Mercs Trouble DEN * &etc

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
Dedicated human moderators
Player and Moderator driven plotlines
Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
Persistent Browser-Based Game (PBBG)

I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic