ANSWERING THE CALL. JOINING THE ALLIANCE ELITE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
11 DEC 3304 Hamilton Gateway (Wolf 406)
I finally made it back to Alioth. My first long distance expedition has been a success. A 16.000 light years round trip in a Dolphin with a jump range of just 20 light years. Not bad for my first incursion in deep space. I also visited a black hole, surfed a neutron star and discovered my first ammonia planet, a water world and an Earth like planet. An unforgettable experience. I dream with exploring the galaxy someday, but I have more important matters now, so I shake hands with my passenger, the explorer Peter Mays, and say goodbye.
My first stop is the passenger lounge, where I collect from the Alioth Independent Constitution Party my meagre payment, just 8 million credits for such a trip. But then I visit the Universal Cartographics office in Donaldson and I get paid more than 25 million credits for my exploration data, plus a straight promotion to Ranger of the Pilots Federation. It seems that I have discovered many systems too. Who would think that exploration could be so profitable? Now with my mission accomplished, I can focus my attention in the mysterious message I received from Commander DNA-Decay.
The Ariadne back in Donaldson in Alioth
I log into the Galnet an open the message. Commander DNA-Decay introduces himself as a veteran of the Alliance Elite Diplomatic Corps or AEDC, an organization of independent pilots that supports the Alliance with every available method. When I check on them I find that they have been operating for several years, most of their activities are secret, but it is well known their involvement in some major military operations like the liberation of Leesti. They also have the support of many influential organisations and individuals, like the notorious business magnate Victoria Wolf and Commodore Helena Stone of the Alliance Navy. Commander DNA-Decay says that he has checked my background and thinks that, with some mentoring, I could join the AEDC.
I do not know how I came under the radar of this group, but it is the opportunity I was looking for. I came to Alioth looking for clues about the disappearance of my father four years ago in Merope. My plan was to get some reputation with the local factions in hope of getting an audition with the Council of Admirals. Alliance security is to tight nowadays due to the terrorist attacks of the League of Reparation, and soon I realized that they will never receive me, but maybe if I ally myself with a group connected with notorious Alliance individuals, my chances of getting to the Council of Admirals may increase. Well, my father was an explorer of the Alliance Defence Force, I was born in Dublin Citadel and I do not like the Empire or the Federation interfering in the Alliance systems. I think it is time to answer the call of the AEDC.
Commander DNA-Decay has suggested that I should go to Hamilton Gateway in Wolf 406. He also notices me that Diamondback Explorers and Asp Explorers are at a discount there. Maybe he is implying that my Dolphin, the Ariadne, is not a suitable ship for the task ahead. So I fly to Seddon Gateway in 78 Ursae Majoris and recover my MkIII Cobra, the Electra. How much I have missed this ship! It is time to arrive to Wolf 406 in some style.
The Electra in Seddon Gateway in 78 Ursae Majoris
The moment I arrive on Hamilton Gateway I am contacted again by Commander DNA-Decay. I guess they know everything that happens in their headquarters. He is not nearby, but he introduces me through the commlink to other veteran members of the AEDC. He suggests that I make myself comfortable and pick some jobs in the system while waiting for an operation in which to participate. I think it will be a good idea to build a reputation with the main faction of the system, so I pay a visit to the mission panel and decide to take a job for the Wolf 406 Transport & Co. The task is to deliver some weapons to Russell Gateway in Cupinook. The mission agent warns me: they could send hostiles against me.
I load the weapons in the Electra and prepare to depart. Cupinook is just at one jump distance. I do not want to screw up things in my first mission for the Wolf 406 Transport & Co, but I am not worried because I know my ship is fast and can scape form most situations. I arrive to Cupinook without incidents and head for Russell Gateway, my destination. Seconds later I receive a message informing me that I have a ship in pursue and almost at the same moment I am interdicted. Damn it! They must have been waiting me in the main star, and now I have them behind. I fight frantically with the controls to avoid being expelled into normal space when I realized that I have been intercepted by a Cobra MKIV and that there is supplement in my pay if I destroy it. Well, I have a Cobra too and know how to make it dance. I cut off impulse power and surrender to the interdiction.
I am expelled back to normal space with a violent spin and, as soon as I recover, I lock in my HUD my opponent ship. It is registered to someone called Stubbs, mostly aimless. I guess he is just a petty pirate who got the notice that there was a shipment of weapons and thought that these could be an easy prey. I am sure that he was not expecting another Cobra, and less a heavily armed Cobra. I have killed pirates by the hundreds in my Viper when I was in the Pleiades, so I ignore Stubbs’s orders of surrendering my cargo and hope he is not stupid enough to attack me. He is. He opens fire and we engage on a dogfight over planet Cupinook 6.
The Electra dogfighting over Cupinook 6 in Cupinook
I vaporize easily the MKIV Cobra with my pulse lasers and some missiles. Poor bastard! I can see that, before exploding, the Cobra has dropped two canisters of liquors out of the cargo bay. That confirms my theory of the pirate. It is stolen property, but I take the canisters hoping to able to sell them later in the black market. Better than let them to waste.
I enter back in supercruise and aim again for Russell Gateway to finish my mission. I am about to arrive when I see an unidentified signal source in the HUD. I am on schedule, so I decide to take a look. The scanners say that it is a deteriorate transmission that poses no threat. I jump out of supercruise and find myself flying in the middle of a debris field. Much of the derelict metal pieces flying around are bigger than the Electra. Whatever ship was this wreck, it was huge. There is a sill functioning communications buoy in the middle of the debris and I am able to download some data. I hope it seeds some light on what happened here. Suddenly, behind one huge metal plate, I see what looks like an intact Diamondback Scout. I maneuver the Electra using the thrusters and approach the ship looking for survivors. The ship looks intact, but the canopy is destroyed. No signs of the pilot. – What happened to you? Are you still alive? Were you able to evacuate before the demise of your ship? – I knew I was in danger when I went to the Pleiades in an unprepared ship and faced the Thargoids. But the Bubble is not safe neither. This is a cutthroat galaxy. And I should make myself ready for the worst in the times to come if I do not want to end like the owner of the ship in front of me.
Jav Marlo signing out.
The Electra exploring a deteriorate transmission signal in Cupinook