Beyond Beagle and back with a Quad-Elite
Cmdr JOKERGOD2000 interviewed by Cmdr Bluecrash
65,590 isn't a large number if it's the top score of Earth's old coin-op PAC-Man. If the number is in light years, and it's the distance you have traveled from your family and home, the number is monstrous, cloaked in a void.
<JOKERGOD2000>65,590ly from my birth system near SOL, I traveled past Beagle Point in a ship, many called, JumpAconda. A lot of voyagers, with the itch to see the stars, engineered ships to take them further and quicker. I'm not going lie, and tell you it was easy. Getting the credits together for the parts came from blood money. And getting the attention of the engineers I needed cost me something I'll never be able to replace. Stop recording. I can't talk about here...
Out of all the ships in my dock, this JumpAconda explorer took the most engineering. A lot of science for power management is required to fly it with it's three-hundred twenty-seven-point seven (327.7) boosted range, Hera Tani and Professor Palin argued over whose engineering was more relevant. I travel ten thousand light years per hour using neutron star boosts for my FSD drive. She's a good girl, doesn't complain, things stay real quiet out here between planets and Witch Space.
I finally made it. Traveled to the edge of the Milky Way.
How do you feel, being as far away from your problems as possible?
<JOKERGOD2000>Joker, chuckles, “It would feel good, but I wasn't running from any problems. I carry top ranks in the Empire and Federation. As a King and Admiral the president talks directly too me. I miss Jasmina Halsey. President Hudson hasn't gained a lot of our confidence, his policy reducing taxes may of helped him gain support in the election- but his “freedom at any cost” is too Machiavellian for this vet.”
Sorry. I get sidetracked. Not used to having company onboard. I cut the Holo-Me out of this ship myself to save weight for the voyage. For this interview you are a disembodied voice. I've chalked a smiley face around the microphone for a visual aid. I remember being so happy with my first Holo-Me SLF pilot. The real pilot smelled of rotten-eggs and latex. Holograms are a blessing aboard airtight cabins.
Did I mention amassing over a hundred billion credits? With my rank and bank balance, I don't have any problems. Whoever said you couldn't buy happiness, didn't know where to shop. My wife fancies french toast soaked in the rare yolk of Aepyornis Eggs. You would think the yolk would be bigger, inside a three meter egg – but it's what she fancies with her Ethgreze Tea. Our whole house is stocked with rare trade goods. Not to hard to come by when you buy them, by the ton, for Christmas gifts to friends.
Pilots Federation has ranked you Elite in Trade, Exploration and Combat. Is it true that you have credits invested in their lucrative data network Galnet?
<JOKERGOD2000>I am not at liberty to talk about that.
Is the Circle of Independent Elite Pilots (CIEP), in contact with you now that you are Elite? Can you talk about their existence?
<JOKERGOD2000>I'll tell you, I invested credits in a lot of Soontill relics, later discovering most to be fake. When the guy I bought them from started talked about knowing Rafe Zetter, I knew something was rotten in Denmark. Stop the recorder and I'll tell you what happened next.
An hour later.
<JOKERGOD2000>So yes. I reached the number one spot for INARA galaxy rankings. I'm not proud of the insider trading, or the killing I did to get my increase my net worth. I am proud of holding the number one spot. In the Arena,where I am known for flying the IMP (Imperial Fighter), gaining the Elite title from the Pilots Federation was just another notch at the time. When I am not melting the hulls off of other Commanders in the CQC arena I am in my lovable Anaconda. She's the one I call Rainmaker.
The Rainmaker is different than your JumpAconda? Trying to keep all your ships straight for my notes.
<JOKERGOD2000>Yes. My initial plan was waiting for the Guardian FSD-booster blueprints before heading out. My Technology Broker told me they have had the plans for a year, but someone higher up was restricting what they could release. Finding the materials wasn't too hard. My wife complained about missing me after the first two months of searching. She told me I was grinding away our marriage. And you want to know what saved my relationship?
I really just wanted to talk about your adventures exploring the galaxy. I don't get to leave my desk much here at SAGi. And I suspect the other workers here are planning to Airlock me if I mess this up. Kids don't appreciate retired vets.
<JOKERGOD2000>Well this might help you. Mortrona Experience Jelly. I picked some up before the PowerPlay struggle changed the Government in De Motrona, making it illegal. I'll help overthrow the controlling faction to get more this year. You can pre-program the Jelly giving the any experience you want. My wife thinks I'm home every weekend. Slip it in the water cooler at work. Don't do it too much or the Feds will label you as another Colonel Kurtz, and seen a Sheen after you. I'm an classic movie buff, so you probably don't know what that last part meant. I'll send you a package next month.
It will be our secret. The main editor quit after suffering some kind of hallucination about the magazine being held hostage by a single commander. I'm not sure we currently have enough staff to properly proof things here at SAGi. Losing that magazine member was a great loss. AEGIS might never find a cure for him.
<JOKERGOD2000>You all have a good monopoly, I know all about that. Anyway, I put my JumpAconda in storage until I could properly fit her with the Guardian FSD tech. Loaded up repair limpets, SRV, ammo and fuel. I logged into a special-access- program called Neutron Router to assist in my plotting out of Sol. I started in Sol for some nostalgic reasons. I have a lot of love for the music and movies out of that system- more earth culture than Mars. I felt the Mars stuff had too many political u ndertones. Wish I could of lived in the pre mars era. There really was an innocence that we don't have today. Imagine, if your only real worry was Global Warming! I can't help but grin whenever thinking about it.
I needed to do one flight test before my voyage out. Landing on Mercury to test, what I like to call “lowish-gravity landing” because my stripped-down 5D-Thrusters and 1D- Distributer could make landing tricky without the ability to boost out of flight error. You know the joke, “If at first you don't succeed. Don't skydive.” Landing without boosters is like that. Everyone says Escape Pods can be trusted. But, there are not many commanders coming out of planet impacted escape pods with out some type of head injury. You can damage your whole body, but a hard bump to the head changes a man forever.
After my planet landing test went well, I left the bubble. I made it as far as Jackson’s lighthouse. Only two jumps and warning lights were going off. These old refurbished Anacondas are workhorses- that need a lot of care.
For some reason my plots were not plotting using the added ten light year Guardian Booster range. I messaged the Technology Broker only to find additional fuel was not being taken into account, meaning the booster was still bugged.
I headed back to Shinrarta Dezhra, the only system controlled by the Pilots Federation, and waited for the correct software upgrade. The Technology Broker said they had this technology for a year of testing before the release. If he wanted more money for the install – he could of told me. The greatest commodity in my life is time not credits. Can't wait to get away from all civilization. People talk about the bravery of the crew in the Generation ships. I think what the Generation ship crew was apathy not bravery. It's easy to confuse the two. They wanted to get away people and society so bad they were willing to die for it. Lot of people come to the conclusion that they will never escape their planet alive – and that thought haunts them.
After the software patch I went back to Sol and started over again. The Guardian Tech had a few bugs on the way out but started working smoothly after the first six hundred light years. This was my first time doing multiple neutron jumps, it took a bit of time to get into the rhythm of flying parallel into the stars tail. My navigation computer was the only issue, switching back to jump points, issues with my X52 buttons wanting to double-tap- Not something you want to do when locked into scooping the tail of a neutron! I should of spent the extra money on a better flight stick for this heap.
Warning lights went off forcing me into and emergency stop. I started by quickly shutting off non-essential loads to get enough power to turn on an AFM and set it to work repairing my canopy to extend my time while I fought to find the exit point. I made it out with only about 20% Hull damage. My power plant took a beating. In the back of my head I heard the fictional Montgomery “Scotty” Scott shouting, “I'm giving her all she's got captain!” He was a “dour Scot” who could handle anything.
Swinging by Jacques Station for repairs, I fixed my ship, taking mental notes on mistakes not to make twice. Like my early days as a commander. I was part of a group called The White Templars They were the first group I joined. I never officially "quit" and still have a few friends there but I joined Ghost Legion back in 3301. Ghost Legion is a secret group that I can get you an interview with if you want to know their history?
<JOKERGOD2000>So you know Commanders Veyder and Tuzo?
I can only admit to knowing some of the same pubs. An interview with Commander Tuzo is in progress as well.
<JOKERGOD2000>You're very lucky
We make our own luck.
<JOKERGOD2000>We all have to with the current events. Gnosis, the Canonn Megaship was interdicted last week. I was waiting for the “rescue order” from the Federation and Empire. But the powers-at-be had other plans for their Combat Capital Ships- and it wasn't protecting our allies at Cannon. If you can't trust your friends... who can you trust? It's likely a corporate move – If the Gnosis disappears, Cannon would be forced into investing in the new Fleet Carrier business like everyone else for 3305. I've inquired about who is getting the contract for those Dredger type ships. I asked contacts at Sirius Corporation if they had any large orders of military-grade-fuel from their Alpha Canis Majois (Lucifer) base. They never answered. I need to go check out the FSD anomaly in Sirius a little closer. I think some mystery still lies in that system.
Stay on target.
<JOKERGOD2000>Yes. Ghost Legion – I joined their ranks because, despite being a secret group with a lot of my own moral beliefs, they had the highest number on their rosters. I guess someone wasn't doing their job keeping secrets.
So you repaired your ship on Jacques?
<JOKERGOD2000>Back on Jacques Station before the maiden voyage, I sold off all of my cargo racks because Auto Field-Maitenance Units ( AFM) are a better thing to fill my hull with. This was my first mistake on this journey. This module swap almost cost me my ship, and my life.
<JOKERGOD2000>Since I was a kid, looking up at the stars, I wanted to go to Beagle point. I had reached Colonia in my JumpAconda, and Beagle point was only a few jumps away from the OEVASY SG-Y D0 system.
It was a hell of a slog, with only my ships Earth movies to keep me company. I was suffering the beginnings of "Space Madness" without major incidents to distract my mind from the “honk-and-scan” repetition that comes with distance exploration over deep exploration. Other than a few 90+% FSD malfunctions, causing a bit of premature power plant wear, nothing else needed attention. I found an unexpected tourist beacon "Memorial to Zy, Zylo, Zylophone. I traveled all this way, might as well see what its about.
Is this the burial ground Commanders can request spots for their departed Co-Pawlets?
<JOKERGOD2000>Turns out it is, I read your magazines article about these animals a couple issues back. I wonder if I will get a place among the stars. I'm getting pretty old.
You're not old. Humans just don't live long enough.
<JOKERGOD2000>Well, the beacon was a surprise, and I guess these commanders found a permanent resting place for their fallen. I noticed a lot of empty burial plots between Voorheez Crack and Jak's Jump. Getting a name there is kinda like being bitten by a vampire. Whoevers Co-pawlet makes the journey there there will live forever.
<JOKERGOD2000>Our name is all some of us have. Anyway, I low waked into the beacon and proceeded to scan at what I assume was 70% throttle, totally forgetting to throttle back when I dropped out.
Maybe it was full Space Madness setting in?
<JOKERGOD2000>In any case my 518T Anaconda was no match for the mighty tourist beacon; it was like the titanic dragging across an iceberg. I hit the All Stop button, and surveyed 50% loss of hull the beacon had ripped from my ship.
King of the World!
<JOKERGOD2000> What? No. And zero naked women on board, asking me paint them like one of my French Girls. And this collision dragged me back into the world, in a very sobering way, I immediately started to mitigate the damage.
Fortunately, I had a plan for all possible eventualities. And this plan involved synthesizing hull repair limpets. Sliding over to the right panel, selecting hull-repair- limpets, and clicking its analogue button, I realized the error I had made.
AFM for Cargo swap?
<JOKERGOD2000>While it's true AFM units with zero weight can be activated as needed- seeming more useful than empty cargo racks; however, one cargo rack is required to hold the limpets you synthesize.
Ahh... So the AFM was useless for synthesizing limpets.
There was not station anywhere near. I was on my own with half an Anaconda left to get me home. I imagined my hull leaking blood the color of the HR 7221 Wheat. The sound of my ship breaking apart, across the beacon, is a tinny death wail few live to tell about. So I did what any other commander would do, landed on the closest low G body I could find and took a photo. I'd like to think it was better than the typical “Asp in front of something” we are forced to look at in all those explorer journals. But, everyone thinks their ship is unique and different because it is theirs. (*placeholder for picture, note at end of article as per request of the style sheet.
I squeezed the trigger on my camera, keeping the sparks from my damaged ship out of the frame, hiding the shame and folly of the beacon impact. My next ship hull will be made out of the beacons metal. It is a mystery how they withstand the damage.
My sides hurt from laughing. I need to find my Hutton Mug.
<JOKERGOD2000>Hutton Mug? I like the idea of owning one, not sure about the ton of packaging wasted wrapping them for transport.
Jettisoning all that packaging is probably causing some environmental issues in their station.
<JOKERGOD2000>That's something that Meta-Alloys won't fix! Anyway, OEVASY SG-Y D0 was only a handful of jumps from Beagle, and after the long haul from Sol, it was the quickest part of the journey. With more than a 78ly effective jump range I had to synthesize and FSD Boost to make the jump. Arriving at the furthest point from Sol, I did the same routine as earlier, landing on a a low G planet, and then taking a photo.
Considering the short distance to Beagle traveled, I was amazed how dim the Milky Way had become. I knew light traveled slow and I was effectively looking into the past. My trip home will put me back in time, before the light I was viewing from the stars today. My wife told me not to think too hard on the science part. She said her dad told her, “there are entire mental institutions filled with people who think too much.”
And with that, I thought, huh, I guess I go back now? I will camp on this planet for a night before I set off, back to Sol. And I will be stopping by Sag A on the way home- but, other than that it will be all business.
So, what was the reason of this great voyage?
<JOKERGOD2000>Believe it or not 90% of the reason for the trip was to get the 65,590ly from my starting system on my ship's-log. It's another achievement above Quad-Elite, Admiral, King, full permit collection, engineers to grade-five unlocked, all human&guardian tech, 100B cash, ranking number one in Inara's Galaxy rankings for commanders.
You have had an amazing career. I look forward to what you do next.
<JOKERGOD2000>I like to be the best in everything I do.
Outside the CQC arena have you tried PVP inside the our inhabited bubble?
<JOKERGOD2000>I haven't resorted to PVP... yet.
“Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is “ - PEGGY LEE