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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...
 
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*** Inter Galactic News ***
  • DEN assault FEL base and get wiped out
  • CIA Trade fleet caught and destroyed by the DEN
  • Krell denounce worship of the True One

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

    Huge fleet skirmish at the London/Crossley wormhole

    A large fleet of over 700 DEN warships responded to the EMP action in Crossley, where a 4000 hull DEN platform was destroyed. Reports show the DEN ships caught a group of CIA ships napping and inflicted significant losses on the humans. IMP and GTT fleets moved to assist the CIA, matching DEN fleet numbers, but the arrival of over 1200 Hexamon ships seems to have tipped the battle in favour of the DEN-HEX alliance.

    The combined DEN-HEX force pushed through the wormhole into the Heartland area of human space and retaliated, attacking several CIA platforms in response. The outnumbered Empire fleets abandoned the area and fled, they are currently waiting for the larger alien force to make their next move from their hiding places.
     
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Admiral Lord Simms killed after a long and distinguished service to the Empire.

    The Imperial Services have intercepted and serious damaged several DEN ships on the way to the Empire’s home systems. Unfortunately during the action Admiral Lord Simms was injured and reports from the Viceroy indicate he has passed away, fighting the enemies of the Empire like any true Imperial Officer.

    The Viceroy has stated that the officers and crew of the DEN ships have been captured and are now awaiting trial at a secret IMP base.

    DEN continue to strike at the Empire

    Reports are coming in of multiple engagements between the Empire and the Dewiek Elder Nation over the last week. With several battles taking out Empire ships in the Heartland of the CIA.

    AFT turn to piracy

    The Association of Free Traders have, after a long history of neutrality, turned to piracy this week. AFT Drake boarded an IND ship in the Halo periphery, killing several of the crew in the process.
    Independent trader Jarlebanke Langhofdi immediately took to the public communication channel demanding an answer to why supposedly peaceful traders had killed his crew and taken his ship.

    The AFT remain silent over the attack.
     
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Combat Special Edition

    Since the DEN started shooting at those lovable FEL fluffballs things have certainly been heating up. So we through it would be prudent to bring you, gentle beings of the peripheries, a special edition in order to keep you updated with all the latest action in regards to who the DEN are shooting and who is shooting them.

    Felini strike back at Dewiek

    Reports have come in of the FEL striking back at the DEN in the Kallisan system. A huge FEL force supported by the IMP and CIA assaulted DEN positions taking both the platform and base called Lucien. There was much rejoicing in the FEL camp as the Felini proved they were not such lovable fluffballs after all!

    GTT get sucked into the war

    A passing fleet of GTT warships got caught in the fighting and this saw the GTT enter the war. When asked about this CEO Fox pointed out they are not warships at all, they are trade defence ships. So how they came to be in the DEN system of Kallisan is a mystery to us. But the GTT CEO was clear that they only engaged using support and defend orders to protect allies. Needless to say, the CEO commented “We found ourselves on the Dewiek Nation’s enemy lists pretty soon after.”

    Dewiek Nation attacks GTT positions in Orion Spur, breaking DOM system rules

    A fleet of DEN warships has engaged and destroyed a significant number of GTT cargo ships and escorts in the DOM system Monument. The GTT immediately took to the public channels to ask why the DOM were not doing something. In reply the DOM issued a statement to stop, which the DEN ignored.

    The DEN newssheet "The HOWL" published a completely unbiased review of the attack shortly after.

    DOM make a choice

    After the above incident and then further raiding by the DEN, taking out a few GTT cargo ships in the DOM system of Coptuv, the DOM seemed to have been faced with a choice of stopping drinking their tea and doing something or just hoping it would go away. Instead they seem to have decided to abandon the whole idea of being an active affiliation and we have since folded. The lengths some people will go to not to have their elevenses disturbed is truly staggering. We asked the DOM for a statement on their new system rules to share with our readers but have received no replies.

    DOM positions share out

    Just as we were going to press news has come in of various DOM assets being given to other affiliations or sold. Hopefully we will have more on this story in the next issue of your favorite factual newsheet. Yes, that's us at the SSS.

    *** Affiliations ***


    AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
    CIA Combined Intelligence Agency (64) - Laton CIA
    DNA Displaced Natives Asylum (66) - DNA people
    DTR Detinus Republic (58) - Morley Decker
    DEN Dewiek Elder Nation (67) - Urd
    DOM Dominion (57) – we believe the DOM are now inactive
    FCN Falconian Republic (70) - Bacran
    FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Juris
    FLZ Flagritz Republic (47) - Kayxaer
    FET Frontier Exploration & Trade (56) - Cu Chulainn
    GRC Gracians (13) - HG1
    GTT Galactic Trade & Transport (52) - Xavier Fox
    GCE Garcia Enterprises (4) - Neil
    HEX Hexamon (23) - Ando
    IMP Imperial Services (51) - Jack Jones
    KRL Krell (30) - Namica
    KRT Krell of the Reverence Temple (37) - Kal Torak
    KST Kastor Kastorians (12) - Kastor
    MZC Mizuchi Combine (86) - Mizuchi
    MOH Mohache (73) - Listens
    MIC Mohache Independent Commune (76) - Sleeps with Dragons
    NLF Naplian Liberation Front (38) - NLFHQ
    RIP Regularly Involved in Piracy - Githyanki
    RRH Roy Robert Holdings (39) - Roy Roberts
    SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
    USN Ulian Stellar Nation (34) - Oeipus Prime
    WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz

    * Leader MAY be inactive, affiliation may be active
    ** Affiliation has no leader but this is the only known contact

    NPC / FoC: ARC, CIV, CGT, FRE, HBO, HEF, IND, ISP, JCN, MEK, MRC, PIR, PRV, TCA, TRN, KAS

    Inactive: ANT, BHD, COD, HVE, IDC, RIP, RCF, SKW, TAG

    Deceased: CAL

    *** Submission ***

    By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.
     
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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?


     

    Free Ship when you sign-up
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    Over 20 years of content development
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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