15 million credits and 15 minutes...
I was doing some transport runs last night. As I arrived at the docking station I came across this...
"Federal Flight Control, this is Lakon Michael Charlie Golf requesting landing access..."
"Lakon Michael Charlie Golf, Request for landing is denied at this time, over."
"Flight, what seems to be the problem, I'm carrying 54 tonnes of cargo and have customers waiting. How long do you estimate the delay?"
Just then, over the comm channel I hear, "Flight Control! I DEMAND that you get me unstuck and allow me to land...This Instant!"
Keying up the comm, "This is Lakon Michael Charlie Golf, Flight, who is this person? Any idea?"
"This is Administrator Allen R. Hoffstead, Assistant Administrator of this station! I demand you stay off the channel and allow me to speak with Flight Control to get my problem rectified. Do you understand me?"
As I approach Pad 03, I see a Krait Mk II wedged upside down, hanging off the edge of the platform. The thrusters are firing in fits and bursts, and it looks like the pilot tried to do a backflip off the launch pad and misjudged the distance.
"To the pilot of the Krait that had jammed up the pad, cut your thrusters, and you may be able to drift free enough to get away. From the looks of it, you are still thrusting into the sta-"
"I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING! SHUT UP, CLEAR THIS CHANNEL, AND ALLOW ME TO FLY MY SHIP!"
"Flight, why hasn't station defenses taken care of this problem? If it were me stuck there, I would have been 'cleared' from the pad by now. Any idea how much longer this is going to be? I have a dead line and this moron is cutting into my profits."
"FLIGHT! You HAVE shut off the station defense system haven't you? I am the Administrator! Obey my orders!"
"Administrator Hoffstead, this is Flight. Yes the defenses have been put in override until this is cleared up. But it is going to take at least an hour or more to get another ship here and then rig up a tow to get you off the platform."
"WHAT! AN HOUR? I REFUSE to wait that long! GET ME OFF OF HERE NOW!"
Looking at the problem, I can tell that a small, tactical push to the side of his ship will roll him enough to get him off the blast fins on which he has jammed his ship. Maneuvering around to the opposite side of the pad, I judge the distance and speed needed to try and pull this off.
"Flight, this is Lakon Michael Charlie Golf. I can nudge his ship slightly and I feel that it will move him enough to get loose. Do I have permissi-"
"YOU WILL DO NO SUCH THING! THIS ship cost me 2 MONTH'S PAY and I refuse to allow you to desecrate it with your Kellback! FLIGHT, TELL HIM TO MOVE OFF FROM THIS POSITION IMMEDIATELY AND GET SOMEONE OUT HERE TO TOW MY SHIP NOW!"
"Michael Charlie Golf, if you do approach the pad without authorization, the automatic systems will impose a fine after 10 seconds if you don't clear the area. Nothing we can do about that, sorry. Do you think you can get his ship dislodged enough to allow him to get free?
"Flight, what is the fine if I don't clear in time?"
"You will get the usual wave off, then the fine will be...400 credits. After that, if you don't clear, the consequences could be worse. Sorry"
"No problem Flight, I can deal with 400 credits...Okay, Administrator, here is what I am going to do. You can sit there and take it, you can scream your head off, you can go take a leap into a black hole, I don't really care. I am going to move up to a point about 100 meters from your ship. I am going to move forward and tap the high side of your ship...Don't worry, your shields are up, mine are up, so no damage will occur. When I tap you, you will need to try and maneuver away from the station. Do you read me?"
"I SWEAR TO THE GODS THAT I WILL PERSONALLY HAVE YOU SPACED IF YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT 'TAPPING' MY SHIP. I AM THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THI-"
"Flight, I am preparing to start my approach now. Stand by. Administrator, you better be ready for this...engaging thrusters."
Sliding the throttle forward slightly, I aim for the edge of the Krait that is farthest from the station. Reaching a speed of 35 meters per second, as make contact, but the shields hold nicely. The Krait moves slightly and as I look into the cockpit, I see a semi-bald middle aged gentleman wearing glasses shaking his fists at me and mouthing something at me that would make a grizzled Chief Petty Officer blush. I wave at the man, and back off...no fine announcement comes across, so I am good. Looking at the Krait, I can see that it has moved slightly, but not enough to get free.
"Administrator, if you wouldn't mind trying to fly your ship instead of waving your hands around and acting like an idiot, you could have probably been free by now. But as you were more interested in cursing me, you missed the opportunity. I will have to do it again. The shields on both ships held, so you are in no danger unless I hit you at cruising speed...Now be ready this time."
"IF there is so much and a single SCRATCH on my ship, YOU WILL BE SORRY!"
I can see that he has calmed down some from a minute ago...but to tell the truth, I was a bit worried the first time I got hit by another ship. I was in a combat situation and in the furball got thumped by a Sidey in the confusion. My shields held, so I knew that at the speed I was impacting his ship, there would be no issues.
"Flight I am going to attempt the same thing again. I will unfortunately have to approach from across the pad, so I probably won't clear in time to avoid the fine...Just try to keep the station from blowing me out of space if possible."
"Copy that, we can't promise anything, but we will do our best...good luck, Flight out."
"Okay Administrator, here goes nothing"
Maneuvering my Keelback around to the opposite side of the pad, I look across at the Krait. It is just barely hung up, but trying to shove it any other way would just cause it to get further jammed into the blast fins. Inching the throttle up and skimming across the pad, the two ships make contact. This time, the Administrator is trying to free his ship instead of just screaming. The Krait moves, but is still trapped. Backing off slightly and trying again, I just get his ship freed and hear, "Landing Pad Incursion, 400 Credit Fine, Station Services are restricted until fine is paid." Blasting the vertical thrusters to maximum, I boost off the pad area to 500 meters above the pad. Looking down at the pad, the Krait in the meantime has moved away from the station and I see its hardpoints extend as I hear Verity tell me the same thing.
"Administrator! This is Flight control, retract your hardpoints immediately. The station auto defenses have come on line and they WILL fire on you if you take hostile action. Administrator, do you copy, Over?"
After a few seconds the Krait's hardpoints retract, "Flight...this is Administrator Hoffstead, I am sorry for that. Hardpoints retracted. To the pilot who got me free......Thank you. I purchased this ship thinking that it would be no problem to fly. I see you guys doing it all the time and thought how hard can it be. Well, I have learned. I apologize for creating a problem on my station and for causing you to get a fine while trying to get me free. You didn't have to do it, but you did. You endangered yourself to free an overbearing, obnoxious, idiot who's ego got in the way of his better judgement. Flight, I will be paying the fine for this pilot, as well as his fuel costs and any repairs needed on his ship. I am going to fly around the station for a bit and get the feel for this ship. It is nothing at all like the simulators said it would be. DeLacy Hotel Oscar Foxtrot signing off."
I watch as the Krait moves off from the station and starts orbiting. Seeing that he appears to be doing okay, I contact Flight Control.
"Flight, permission to land please?"
"Lakon Michael Charlie Golf, welcome to the station Commander, you are cleared to land on Pad 03."
"Thank you Flight, Lakon Michael Charlie Golf, out."