Since my last entry, a lot has happened.
I've moved away from Brestla; no longer will crazy trade taxes curse my attempts at growth in my fleet. I decided the move was best, for several reasons, including but certainly not limited to the prices on their shipyard. I mean, Jesus Christ!
I also wanted to try to get ahold of a couple engineers and see what they could do for the Keelback miner I was working on. In order to house everything comfortably, I need a far more powerful generator to take on the amount of juice the hardpoints require. In order to even start with the engineer, I needed to hear about her from a demolition expert, not that that makes any sense whatsoever.
This demo's expert is Liz Ryder, holed up in the Eurybia system, which is ruled over by an anarchist mafia. Hooraay!
I managed to contact the mafia and offer my services. Once I dropped into Eurybia proper, I made my way to Awyra Flirble and transferred my fleet in. I chatted with my contact for a bit while waiting, and discussed the terms of an introduction. As the Cobra finally rolled in, he slid a dossier across the table to me. The gardens were a more than discreet area for this conversation, being behind the office, and closed off to the rest of the station, so this move seemed a little off. Opening the cover revealed his reasoning:
My target was a well-known commander in the area, and a good friend of the Federation presence in Eurybia. His name was Jonathon Halls.
My run-in with the bugs two months ago had all but left my mind as I looked over a familiar, friendly face. When I asked to be certain of the target, my contact nodded and mentioned a handful of transgressions that made even his greasy hair seem to curl. I told him to hold onto the papers, and I would make some calls.
I jumped across a few stars to Sol, a familiar home in an unforgiving galaxy. I made my way to Li Qing Zao, to my ties and CO in the Feds.
Docking didn't phase me any, and my mind drifted constantly to the crimes I'd heard about that never seemed to stick to one suspect. The ones my mafia contact mentioned in our meeting. Some of them were proud strikes against corrupt heads of state, and all of us saw the federal callsign left behind with them as a badge of honor in our own way. Others, utter stains against all things human and dark marks in the name of greed, left nameless with only a laserburn scorched into the emblem of the station. I'd known Halls to favor a pair of Pulse behind his MCs, but I, too, ran lasers, as did a vast majority of the police force, and a fair portion of known pirates.
I marched up to my CO's office and confronted him with the allegations I'd heard, being extremely careful not to mention where or from who I'd heard them. His amiable aged face turned down as I mentioned Halls by name. He sat silent for several moments, fixed in a mournful but pensive look. He turned his chair around and stared out towards the sun for a few seconds after. He measured his words, as always, and softly spoke,
"For a man so familiar to the retribution of the Federation, it saddens me to see him die at the hands of my number one ace."
He'd verbally signed Halls' death warrant and placed it firmly in my hands.
As I climbed back into the Cobra, my comms were immediately dialed into to reach my contact. I watched my departure queue as the connection was made. I informed him I would take the job and would happily take on another contract for another three of the pirates under the flag Halls flew. As the job was signed off, I had made my way out of the airlock. The Last Known Location had been sent by the time I was out of the EZ. I had my pirate fleet name by the time my FSD punched out.
Scylla is a miserable system to have to work in. The first star sits easily a few hundred Ls away from anything.
As I dropped in, I set my navigation on the Nav Beacon. I heard my comms line chirp with an incoming message. Halls' voice crackled with interference from the nearby star, but his tone was unmistakable. He'd heard of my contract and aimed to strike me down before I could find him myself.
The problem with his plan must not have occurred to him. Although I am well-trained in bounty hunting and have had my fair share of successful Most-Wanted takedowns, my best work was usually done as a bigger ship attempted to take on my far faster, much more maneuverable Cobra. I played the rabbit, and nobody seemed to believe that the rabbit could defeat the snake.
I waited for the snap and jeering pull of an interdiction. We all know it's coming, and we all know that gut-wrenching yank. The moment I saw blue around me, I killed the throttle and reset my distributor for wep-sys.
Once we had dropped into impulse, I immediately mashed my boost trigger and pulled the stick as hard as I could, the other hand hitting the targeting computer. My Cobra wasn't quite fully about when my hardpoints were drawn and I'd select a sub-target. I was going to cripple his FSD. The moment the gimballs stabilized, my lasers were opened wide on his shields. He'd finally I had him when my chaff had been fired, throwing off his lasers' targeting entirely and leaving my mostly unscathed. Once his shields were gone, I switched to my seeker racks and launched one from each. They must have damaged his comms panel as his voice crackled and cut silent. I couldn't hear him over the blood rushing around my ears. Another pair of missiles crushed his thrusters. He was stuck, spinning endlessly in a crippled husk of the ship he'd brought in. I fired one more salvo of missiles, turned the ship around, and flew out as the flash of the explosion washed over the Cobra.
Next time I see that slime, I'm going to strangle him. My three contracted kills were spread across all of Scylla. First one was just on the other side Boe Dock, a measly 300k Ls from drop-in. After that, I had to fly 1.395M Ls to the second, and then across the other side of the system another 1.15M Ls, and I just got the Cobra detailed.