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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.

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

Crowe Coups Self

The IMP Viceroy Tiberius Crowe has finally achieved something in his unremarkable tenure by relinquishing even the semblance of wearing big boy pants and instead, appointed Jack Jones as Patrol Commissioner, salty spokesperson and policy maker for the Empire. Crowe will now join CIA Director Laton in riding the special bus to work where the two of them will enjoy long pleasant afternoons sipping cups of tea. Actually, just tepid fruit-scented water as neither of them can be fully trusted with a hot kettle. Occasionally, they might be visited by equally dynamic war “veteran” Admiral Bridge to enjoy mimes presenting the latest comics from the Howl. Meanwhile, Jones is putting pressure on the FET and will soon no doubt find a pretext to deploy his vast mercenary forces against anyone else who is seen working too closely with his most hated of enemies, the HEX.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Highlord Aadolf Loses Control As Dewiek Break Peace Treaty

Around one hundred DEN warships have launched an attack on a small GTT destroyer squadron of forty ships in the Daggern system. Two GTT ships were destroyed and another fifteen suffered noticeable damage. CEO Xavier Fox issued a restrained but angry statement demanding the DEN explain themselves. Highlord Aadolf’s buffoon-like response amounted to “Dewiek be Dewiek, let’s drink and forget about it.” Cold comfort for the dead crew onboard the GTT ships and their families. Especially, as seems likely at this time, the Empire will settle for some bloody money instead of retribution.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

The Worm Turns

The FET have reduced relations with the IMP to neutral. Sneezy boss Cu Chulainn took the bold step of putting 1 and 1 together by linking recent mercenary attacks in their systems with the IMP scouts seen loitering for some time and refusing to move. Even bolder, hints that they believe “a certain Imperial citizen” is responsible for Edward Lowe’s entire underhand operation were voiced loudly enough that the handsome but hard of hearing Tiberius Crowe had to take note. He was seen grappling in trademark fashion with his skin tight jacket, pulling it down over his partially concealed middle-aged girth, as he sat to issue a terse public statement. Exactly who this citizen may be was left unnamed and no news channel subject to Imperial laws would dare unmask the villain. Luckily dear readers, we are not subject to phony Imperial laws. It’s Jack Jones everybody. Jack Jones, butcher of Naplians and fancier of silver long johns.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

”Necessity hath no law”

Lord Cromwell of the DOM slapped a fleet of privateers, on charges of "knavery", "bad manners" and "poor sportsmanship." Such offences carry the death sentence in the Dominion, a nebulous territory neither part of the Empire nor apart from it. At least thirteen Armadillo class ships, typically sold by the DOM, were destroyed at a location Cromwell was unwilling to disclose publicly. Bloodthirsty Dewiek as well as "prince of peace" Yahn Wodenzoon were quick to congratulate the DOM for their merciless carnage. It seems the consensus in the galaxy’s ruling class is that not presenting valid identification is a crime worthy of the murder of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of unfortunate crewmen. This is all just another indicator that the political elite are far removed from the lives of ordinary people who are seen as little more than meat inventory. It is telling so-called “man of the people and the downtrodden” Wodenzoon so readily aligns himself with this grisly concord. Meanwhile, the archaic elocutionist Cromwell further establishes the recent trend of mild exertions of power by the cold-blooded DOM.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the Fox

The galaxy is still digesting news of the return of Xavier Fox to the boardroom of the GTT. The ailing corporation's share price began a sharp rally after a six month downward spiral under Ike Krieger, credited with being the worst CEO in the megacorporation's history. The only surviving board member from Fox's initial tenure as CEO, and perhaps across the entire GTT board, is Antt Tilton the Research Director. The reclusive Tilton is the brains behind the ascension of GTT technology, particularly in the field of antimatter weapons and super-heavy dreadnought size ships, Tilton offers a small measure of continuity during this tumultuous time. Mr. Fox has therefore resorted to a broad appeal for new blood to join the ailing firm. So far, the result has been a number of two-dimensional "Yes" persons being promoted to the C-suite. Still, key stakeholders were upbeat with one commenting, "Fox is the man to turn this bloody disaster around. He knows how to put a great team together and where to bury the bodies of the non-performers."


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

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

And so with the news,
 
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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,
 

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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