They were nice enough at Tilman, the war had everyone on edge, and a punch-up by the cartography kiosk was nasty enough for me to take a detour via the shipyard.
Maybe having 100Mil plus change in my pocket affected my judgment, maybe it was supposed to be, but not many shipyard around my patch even had Pythons, especially such a tidy example, despite it's age. Before I even checked myself I was picking my way past the Sidewinders and Type7s to have a better look. I'd been tyre-kicking before, but this time I could afford to do more than just gawk. It looked like it had lived a fairly easy life, despite their tough rep, there's a few tell-tales on Pythons that can let you know how hard they've been flogged. This one was pretty neat, despite being older than dirt, most of the plating was original (apart from those panels at the front, but they're practically a consumable on anything that doesn't have a glass nose). Even the paint was good, I reckon it had been doing passenger runs or something recently, the life support systems was pretty shot, but the standard issue pulse lasers look like they'd never been deployed, yet alone fired.
The shipyard at Tilman did a good job of tarting the old bucket up, even now I can still smell that cleaner stuff they always seem to hose the hard surfaces on the command deck with, this one was lemon flavour, nice.
The climb out of the well of A 2 B was painful, even empty its got a good 100T on the Wig, which is my biggest raft by far. But it felt good to be in, with those puny E rated thrusters grinding away it felt an age before I'd reached Ve but finally I was out of the well and jumping back to Diaguandri. Despite the lack of Pythons Ray had a good collection of kit, that would be the place to give the Ancient Mariner a loadout worthy of it's namesake.
Naming the lastest addition was a no brainer. I'd had the Python on a pedestal, maybe due to a negative past combat experience, maybe just because I've never met a pilot who didn't rate them, who knows. Anyway that day had an emotional significance beyond mere credits and aquisitions, so it seemed fitting to name this vessel in honour of someone who'd had such an impact on my life, and who wouldn't be around to share any further adventures. On that maiden flight I only carried over a small trunk of personals, but in it was a bottle of single malt I'd been holding for a special occasion. This seemed it. Out in the black I toasted my departed Dad, and got strapped in for the first jump of hopefully many.
As luck would have it, Diaguandri was fairly busy that evening. Supercruising into Ray I see two other Commanders of the Pilots Federation, as well as probably half a dozen unregistered ships, nothing untoward, nobody's wanted. Not that I was in any condition to pick a fight with a poverty spec Python. I settle into the short cruise, just getting familiar with the location of some of the secondary controls when all of a sudden I'm being interdicted. What the...?
A quick look on the targetting computer tells me it's one of those PF Commanders. A clipper. Dangerous. Not good. I submit.
"Drop 10T of cargo"
Friendly. At least I'm getting an option. There's a few psycho's out there who just like blowing stuff up.
He's going to be sore, I'm running with empty racks. In my enthusiasm to get the Mariner up into the black I didn't even bother to see if there's was anything I could haul back to Ray to make a few bob.
I tell him as much, but he still felt the need to stuff a hatch-breaker up my arse. Amateur. if he was doing his job properly he'd have a manifest scanner and would know everything down to my last meal before I'd even stopped tumbling.
Oh well, he's just cost himself a limpet as well as his clean status now. If a spaceship could shrug, I would right now, instead I retort:
"Shut the hatch on your way out."
He boosts off, his children will go hungry tonight. Not my problem.
The rest of the trip to Ray was pretty dull, but I did console myself with some retail therapy when I got there. The Mariner has teeth now, and an Iron hide. we'll see how the next interdiction goes.