It certainly took longer than I expected to ready two ships for use in Colonia, but the deed is done. I set off last night in my Krait Phantom, the "INV Colonial One
", currently engineered to achieve a 50 light year jump range, and with 'A' rated modules fitted throughout, except for its distributor.
On arriving in Colonial space, it won't cost me that much to transfer over a couple of powerful modules for the Krait along with my newly acquired Diamonback, the "Duke of Cambridge
", for my speedy return leg to the bubble, averaging this time about 70 light years per jump. I will leave the Phantom in Colonia for later use, upon return from an expedition to Beagle Point. In addition, I put my old and original mothballed Sidewinder, the "Scipio
", through an extensive refit and facelift. Despite this, it still serves no purpose in the bubble, so it has also been prepped for shipping to Colonia at minimal cost. I can already think of a few high risk operations it will come in handy for...
Right before leaving, I also finally went ahead with defecting from President Hudson to the Emperor, on the advice of 'the Admiral', Commander Jake "Jkurittu
" Sauvignon, to whose pledge I have aligned. Over time, I had been increasingly frustrated at the Federation's never ending gradual loss of influence, and their evident inability to project a sense of unity in the face of the growing Thargoid threat. In the end, I suppose my distant royal heritage finally got the better of me. When federal command eventually takes note, some old friends from the academy will probably think it odd that I've gone down this path, especially since I had ranked up all the way to full Admiral in the Federal Navy. They'll probably only then realise that I had kept my options open all along, in particular by ranking up to kingly status for the Empire on the quiet at the same time. So far, I have deliberately shied away from the politics of power play, so I think my disappearance will probably go largely unnoticed, at least for the time being, especially since I have not been on active duty for a while.
Right before heading out to Colonia, I received the standardised automatic dispatch to the effect that I was allegedly
'hunted' down for my treachery... for one day: that really failed to impress. I've done far worse things against the Federation, usually unintentionally, but for this, I was interdicted only once! Naturally, I submitted to the interdiction. He turned out to be a young petty officer. When he saw my ship all hard points deployed and, I suppose, my fetching smile over the comms-link, he seemed surprised and somewhat embarrassed. At least he recognised me, I suspect, and in any case was very quick to settle for the promise of my recognition in the future. We'll see about that if we ever cross that bridge, I was thinking. He surely realised that he didn't have much of a choice anyway: had he tried it on, he would have certainly wound up as stardust in a matter of seconds. The encounter left me thinking that if sending out only one rookie to hunt me down is all I was worth to the Federation, it's definitely for the best that I defected.
So here I am, after 92 Jumps, stopping over at Amundsen Terminal for some quick repairs. To be absolutely safe, I decided to head out from Jameson entirely unannounced, and late at night for most people on the Orbital, pounding away at the FSD, too fast to follow for any curious eyes. But somewhere around my 70th Jump, in the early hours, I was a little too flirtatious scooping a massive 'O' class star, charred a section of the undercarriage and then busted a heat sink launcher on breaking free from it's magnetic field.
Upon landing at what looked like dawn at the deserted outpost, I plotted the rest of my course before getting some rack time: 357 jumps to go. Lets see how far I get this evening, possibly half of the remaining distance. I'm not planning on taking any more detours via any of the other outposts along the way. I don't really want to see anyone, and certainly not any of the repairmen in these dives unless I absolutely have to. I'd rather just find an unexplored planet to camp out on for the night and stock up on some rare raw materials before continuing my run to Colonia the following day.