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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.


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.

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

New pirate threat rocks Corward Arm.

Several large pirate ships have been spotted in outer rings of Corward systems. Reports forwarded to us at the SSS allow us to exclusively tell readers that traders should keep their wits about them when moving through these areas.

No existing pirate menace has yet claimed ownership.

In a possibly unrelated event one of the FET cartel members claimed nothing was happening in the outer ring of Coptov shortly afterwards. But it could be that they are still trying to catch Empire backed pirates and have nothing to do with the new sightings.
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

DEN continue to shoot innocents

The Dewiek have made themselves busy shooting at the peaceful and innocent traders of the SSL. Leader of Solar Spices and Liquors Mr TOAD has been vocal pointing out that the Beast-DEN are being totally unfair. News of a go-fund-me appeal are yet to surface though.

This office is sure that it must have provided the DEN light relief after picking on the equally defenceless Felini. Word is that the DEN faced such an uphill struggle in these recent actions they had to take up Felini inter-breeding to provide some entertainment as the battle reports were rather boring.
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the LiQuans

A close associate of the Baron LiQuan has been haunting the Corewards periphery and like the old Baron it is said he has a meklan connection. It's unclear whether he obtained his meklan nanites via the CIA but there are rumours that the DEN may be helping the Liquan relative in a bid to sow discontent in the Stellar Empire. Exactly why they would start in Corewards is unclear although with DEN allies, the DOM, having strong positions both in the Sol system and the old Harcorp systems of Harlong and Coptuv they may be the linking factor.

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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Meklan Unleashed on Mobile Bay

Mad Dewiek scientist Dr Kala released a number of Meklan on the busy world of Mobile Bay in the Yank system. Thousands of civilians have been killed in what is treated by DEN warlords as an amusing practical joke. Rather than take any responsibility for their affiliation’s reckless behaviour, a DEN lord rumoured to be half-meklan himself quipped he would nuke the planet whilst another merely saw it as an opportunity to test some of his greener troops in combat. Surprisingly, the KAS planetary defence force was up to the job of repelling the insidious incursion. Questions remain whether further meklan are stored elsewhere on the planet and whether anybody will challenge the Dewiek’s lack of care for the lives of innocents. Probably not, given how even the mighty IMP are now cowering from a fight with the DEN (see inside this edition).

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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Who is behind the AFA?

Following the large scale holiday attack by the AFA against the FET the question of who is behind the attacks has been raised once again. What is clear is that the AFA is using ships that were transferred from the GTT to the IMP. The organisation and expertise of the operation also reduces the pool of potential candidates. Few can go from commanding a handful of broadswords to half a thousand warships and significant army logistics without a long stint in one of the more combative affiliations. With the DEN’s allies the HEX in close relations with the FET and no recent history of animosity between the aliens and FET, at least since the departure of former one-eye big-bun Norozov, it would be a bizarre turn of events if they were behind these attacks. Frankly, there’s no point dancing around it. The IMP are clearly behind the AFA. The question is what can anybody do about this move of significant Imperial resources to a black-flag agency?

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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Fox Effects Fantastic Turnaround

With his feet barely under the table, Xavier Fox has managed to dramatically turn things around at the GTT. With year-on-year sales figures up by 23%, manufacturing up 42% and ship production increased by 36%, the megacorporation is running at full steam with noticeable impact on local economies across the Stellar Empire. Political analysts also note that after a period of retrenchment following the disastrous leadership of Ike Krieger, investment in defence is at a five-year high. After such bullish growth, the trick will be for Mr. Fox to recruit C-level executives fast enough to match his ambitions. It is notable in temperament, the current crop of GTT politicals do not exhibit the monomaniacal xenophobia of their predecessors and have resisted repeated provocations by the DEN to enter a pointless spar before they have re-established superiority against the foolhardy aliens.

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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Felini flounder in Winter against superior Dewiek forces

The FEL have managed to get their asses kicked by the DEN yet again after provoking the definitely “not cute or cuddly” Dewiek in the Crossley system. The furry punching bags had bought a civilian flagged outpost in the system, without permission or under certain conditions depending on who you ask, and then had the gall to reinforce this error by positioning warships in orbit. The famously patient warlord Halvor did not buy the story these heavy hull armed ships were merely transports and sent a pack to clear the orbit. The mouthy yet green Felini fleet commander Pr'prz fancied his chances against what looked like a light complement of DEN warships and ordered his own warships to engage in the neighbouring Winter system. The result was predictably a wipe out of the FEL forces consisting of forty-seven capital warships at no loss to the DEN. Once again, a series of calamitous decision making resulted in Felini lives being wasted by a leadership barely fit to clean a litter tray. The otherwise untested Halvor can now claim some victory ale although with his penchant for picking on creatures as weak as Gracians, it’s not exactly clear how much glory this new breed of Dewiek warrior can claim against the legends of old.

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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Dastardly Dewiek Disregard Yank Neutrality

The governor of a MRC outpost in the Yank system reports that a 400-hull DEN warship called Grey Hunter Axiom entered orbit of Spritzer and opened fire with weapons of mass destruction (WoMD) against a platform, outpost, ground party and ship. Reports indicate significant casualties to Kastorian personnel both in space and on the ground. The KAS Junta is gruffly warning, with a slightly indifferent air, that everybody better stay out of the sector of the outpost for their own health. It is unclear what measures the KAS have or will take against the DEN on this matter. Such a breach of Yank neutrality has in the past caused the Dewiek to froth at the bit against the Empire for their disregard of ‘civilised’ norms. Their current silence on this matter speaks volumes.

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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Yenni-bodies Pirates?

A PIR outpost was miraculously discovered by an IMP freighter, of all things, in the Yanni system with several Javelin class warships in orbit. After noticing the IMP freighter and seeing the public post by Jack Jones on subspace, the PIR decided to flee and leave a combined force of IMP and FET forces to capture the outpost. A brain damaged three-year old commentator who still believed in the goodness of people and Santa Claus was quick to commend the IMP on their good work, dismissing those who thought it no more than a convenient clearing up operation signifying* completion of operations in the nearby FET claimed systems of Graydown, Canth and Onissian by IMP puppet Edward Lowe. Meanwhile, the Wolf Lord Lyceum summed up the view of many when he screamed, “What is this amateur b*llshit?” into an uncaring universe.


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).