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Story: Diary of a Privateer

Diary of a Privateer

I lean back on my stool hardly needing to fain drunkenness. I have lost count of how many little red drinks I've consumed while the crew enjoyed various recreational activities in the above rooms. The conversation I am eavesdropping on appears to be between a small group of civvies - you know, all suits and fake smiles while thinking of you as nothing more than space scum - and a ship's captain. The captain they are dealing with is green - both metaphorically and in this case literally. Still, they come to some sort of agreement as drinks are finally being lifted and personal communicators being used.


It was not difficult to follow greenie back to his ship - a typical Halo Tramp Hauler. You see them often enough. A detailed scan rarely reveals anything other than metals. Honestly, no self-respecting pirate would bother with them. By the time you have boarded it, patched it, re-registered it to prevent the local police, also know cheerfully known as the Halo Execution Fleet from vapourising it first time you casually try to do a bit of trading with it.


Knowing that all efficiently managed cargo runs grind to a halt the minute they involve civvies and now with the details of the Tramp, I have time to wimble back to the bar, down a few more of the little red drinks (wonder what they are made from) and wait for the crew to finish whatever or whoever they were doing. Just a quick drop by the local pharmaceutical out-door and back to the ship - Bernie's Harlot - Privateer. Yeah, I know, shit name but I won her in a bet and I'm certain it pisses the previous owner off no end.


A few hours later and the crew, some rubbing arms where they have taken shots and few rubbing other parts more surreptitiously, have taken their stations and are firing up the engines. This is only to be a short flight, just beyond orbit.


It's more than two days later and all this time we have been sitting here with our asses hanging out. If we are the salmon to the Tramp's fly, then there are quite a few sharks in the surrounding waters.


What makes it more dangerous is that we have not been idle while just beyond the orbit. First of all we have put a blockade on the world and listed the Tramp as an enemy. This gives us a much better chance of spotting it leaving orbit. Next is the ingenious bit - I ordered the uninstalling of virtually all the missile launchers. Crazy eh? Like I said about ass hanging out. You see anybody can blow up a crappy Tramp Hauler - but there's little profit in this and all my hard work discovering it will be for nothing. No, you see the real art in privateering is to take the sugar lump, not the hand that feeds.


So here we sit and wait - the crew getting more nervy and continually monitoring the scan logs just to see if anything has picked us up and is even now passing our details on to a shark.


Suddenly the sensors ping (OK, so something a bit more technical happens, but you get the idea) as the image of a Tramp Hauler leaving orbit quickly resolves. The crew fly into action, the Tramp is slow and we engage, quickly cutting down the intervening distance. The lone missile launcher is readied and silence fills the bridge.


The still fuzzy image of the Tramp appears to split into two... the larger one, moving directly away from us after altering course, the second, smaller object coming in roughly our direction. Beyond all odds, it looks like the Tramp has suddenly accelerated and is gaining distance on us - there is no way we are going to catch her. But then, as you have no doubt surmised, that was never my intent!


As any captain knows, by booting something out of the back of a ship really fast, you give yourself a boost forwards. It's a simple application of good ol' third law of motion or as it is known in the trade 'Dump cargo and flee'.


I give the orders to reinstall the launchers and start picking up all that beautiful cargo.
Here's the thing - by letting him get away and making sure that my nervous crew was in no position to launch a full broadside, I ensure three things - first, that we don't blow up the Tramp and all the cargo inside and second, that greenie can go about his affairs counting his blessings he is not sucking vacuum. No doubt, given time he will be picking up another cargo load and with any luck we will be there to relieve him of it. Finally, but most importantly, so some cargo got dumped - no need to send in the Execution Fleet to deal with a pirate menace. Everyone's a winner - well, I am anyway, and that's my business
.


Be seeing yah!



Key Features in the Story  [Recruit]

Flag of Convenience

In this story, the protagonist flies the Privateer flag of convenience. This allows him to attack anybody in Dark Space (in this story, the protagonist is a naval officer). This flag can even be used by Trainees. It is more than sufficient for Halo as all systems are classed as Dark Space. More details on Flags of Convenience can be found in the rules and in the next issue of Intergalactic News.


Boarding

If you can attack a position (have a naval officer and are not restricted by affiliation relations), you can also board it. Boarding is more convenient as it occurs during the order run. This means that you can move, attempt to board then move again. It is also a lot more dangerous when dealing with freighters as they may well have a reasonable complement of crew - all of whom will fire on your boarding party. In this story the protagonists decides against it.


Halo Tramp Haulers

These are None-Player-Characters (NPC's), i.e. run by the computer. They move between populated worlds selling their cargo and purchasing from the list of planetary sales. They will invariably 'drop cargo and flee' rather than stand and fight. As the ships are not particularly good, their value is in their cargo. The art is to get it while keeping the gravy train rolling. They are flagged as Freelancer (FRE). Be careful though as it is possible that FRE ships may possibly be owned by other players. They tend to spend long periods of time in orbit while their captains negotiate deals on the surface. The danger of attacking them while in orbit is that there could easily be other positions that will defend FRE.


Picking up Debris

Look at the battle report closely and if a position has 'dumped cargo and fled', there will be reference to the spawned debris field. This will contain whatever was chucked out of the back of the ship. Use the order 'pick up item type' 'any' with a large number before moving away. If you have a spare freighter nearby it might even be worth using this one instead, especially if it has more cargo space.


Local Trade Goods

Local trade goods, also known as uniques are an important part of trade in the game. Unlike ubiquitous trade goods such as food and luxuries, they have a point of origin. Their value is proportional to the distance from origin. This can be up to 16x their original value. A typical Tramp Freighter can hold around 1,500mu's of local luxuries and can therefore be worth more than twenty thousand stellars to the right buyer.


Obviously it is up to you whether you stockpile them somewhere (create a cargo dump in an out of the way location) or sell them on immediately.

 
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******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the new version of ESNN (formally CSNN), giving the news and views from the former CSNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

A Detinus expeditionary force is being assembled to liberate slaves in the Twilight Periphery. Stung by the wit of the Wimble Dinash, Admiral Bridge is leading a personal and sizeable force against the newly constituted Flagritz Republic.

The Wimble Bake Off has new competition with the Dominion instituting a Master Chef competition in the Orion Spur. This is all said to be a cover for further land grabs and in preparation for a move against the Hive and Dewiek, tipping the balance further in the Stellar Empire’s favour.

Meanwhile, the Wimbles struck off a number of hapless Wimbles under their new rules. To cement their plan to align themselves with the Stellar Empire, they have offered the services of their new masters to the Emperor.

Several hundred thousand slaves have been released by the Flagritz Republic but the terms of their manumission are unclear. Millions more await their emancipation. Many have refused to accept freedom without transit home, especially those brought in from outside peripheries. Many reportedly were captured by the Stellar Empire from the Detinus Republic and then sold on to the Flagritz.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

The ship PRV HarCop Omega has been reported both in Orion and Corewards. This was the flagship of the former League Chairman, sacked from the role when the League went into administration and quietly disappearing beyond the edge of known space. It is thought that his return may have been for a clandestine meeting with his former contacts in Harlong and Coptuv. If so then he clearly has an agenda.

Unconfirmed stories that the Pirate King of The Pirate Holes and Million Islands is near completing research on the various larger ships his pirates have successfully captured over the past few years (big thanks to all the affiliations that participated in 'donating' ships). If the rumours are true it is likely a new armada of pirate ships using more advanced technology will be found in Corewards in the near future.

An supernova has been detected originating from just beyond the Transpiral Periphery. The rare event has created ripples in the subspace of the nearby stars. Nobody has reported any tangible ramifications but this is the first supernova in the current age of the Peripheries so esoteric scientists are excited by the prospect of grants to study the relatively nearby phenomena.
 
***** 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

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
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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