Tragedy struck today when I received the news that the Remander, my Python-class mining ship was destroyed. The crew had been deep core mining out in the Gliese 9407 system when a trio of raiders struck. Instead of acquiescing to their demands, the crew tried to make a run for it. The ship was destroyed and what remained of the cargo stolen.
Fortunately, the crew managed to make it to the escape pod. Although the raiders left them spinning in the asteroid field, they didn't bother to destroy the life pod. The emergency transponder eventually caught the attention of other nearby ships and the crew was rescued safely. I'm insured of course, but the deductibles will still cost me over four million credits. I'm glad no one lost their life from this and I realize I should simply be grateful, but I'm not. What I am is really pissed off!
People trying to make an honest living constantly are falling prey to these lowlifes. It's easy for them to drift around the asteroids and wait for a mining ship to come along. Unarmed, or at best very lightly armed since the mining tools take up a lot of space, they're easy targets. Instead of doing any real work, they'd rather steal from someone who's willing to put in the effort.
The authorities aren't doing much about it, either. Trying to dedicate a ship for guard duty costs as much as these bandits take, so that's not a sustainable choice, either. The only real play I have is to make a ship too hard a target for these criminals to rob. That means some serious firepower, which takes away from the ability to mine efficiently.
I added some heavy beam lasers to the Remander, but this obviously isn't enough, and no plan I've come up with seems capable of improving on it. Which is why I called upon one of my contacts with Faulcon deLacy to help me out.
I explained the situation to him and he was happy to send an engineer out to work on the problem with me. We eventually came up with a solution, but it has a pretty big price tag attached to it. He started with a Krait Mk II hull, which is actually a little smaller than a Python. I was skeptical until I saw where he was going with it.
It's almost identical to the Python, with three notable exceptions. First, it replaces one of the beam lasers with a rotary multi cannon. Second, the overall design of each ship means the Krait is a bit more agile than the Python. This is a boon for mining as well. Finally, and most importantly, the design of the hull for the Krait's frame allows it to carry something unavailable to a Python frame. The Krait is equipped with a single fighter bay.
I have to admit it, that's one hell of a selling point. I've seen what a fighter can do for an Anaconda, it could certainly do the same or better for a dedicated mining vessel. There'd be some loss of cargo capacity compared to the Python, but being able to defend yourself against an attack seems to be more than a fair trade.
I'm still on the fence about it. A new Krait, properly outfitted for mining, will set me back over one hundred million credits! That's slightly more than our entire operating budget for the next fiscal year. It's more than the cost of the Beluga Liner I keep trying to find a way to afford. All this for a ship that might, MIGHT be able to defend itself for a mining venture that has yet to show more than a minor success rate. It feels like I'm throwing good credits after bad.
If ElderRook LLC wasn't a privately owned company and had to answer to a board of directors, I know what they'd do. They'd shut the operation down in a heartbeat. I really hate throwing in the towel like that if I can find a way to avoid it. It comes down to what I'm willing to spend.
I realize I'm all over the place with this decision. What I really could use right now is a good distraction. That gives me an idea...
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-An excerpt from the personal log of Stacey Collins
I hadn't expected to see quite as much action as we did today. I'm certainly not complaining. It was actually a rush. I just didn't expect it when I signed up to work with a businessman. I guess it's true what they say; you can't judge a datapad by its cover.
We came into Gliese 9407 running hot. I knew he was expecting trouble and it didn't take long to find it. The usual galactic scum that like to hang around system entry points looking for easy targets. We got scanned right away, and Cmdr Elders had picked up some cheap cargo to draw them in. Honey for the flies.
Anyway, this guy was piloting a Viper, and hit us with an interdiction pretty fast.The Commander submitted and I had the fighter flying almost before we stopped. I tied the guy up while the Commander brought the Anaconda's guns to bear. Just like that, one less raider. Wash, rinse, repeat. It wasn't long before we had ten kills between us, and three of them were mine. It never hurts to impress the boss.
We headed for the ring around one of the gas giants then. I'm sure we made a few miners piss themselves, but we weren't there for them. Finally, a mayday comes through. A mining ship was under attack and we were close enough to help. There were three of them going after some lady in an Asp rigged for mining. They were a strange group, themselves. An Adder, a Cobra, and a Vulture.
I went after the Viper and had no problems taking him out. The Vulture took out the fighter while the Commander dealt with the Cobra. After that the Vulture wisely turned and ran. I was totally surprised when the Commander scanned his high wake and went after him.
By the time we caught up to him in Emblandjin, the fighter bay had printed a new fighter and we tag-teamed the Vulture. He tried to run again but we managed to disable his FSD before he could escape. After that, it wasn't hard to finish him. We ended up with twelve prisoners to turn in for live bounties. It was a nice bonus for the paycheck.
The best part of it all? It was all official. The Commander called in the piracy to the Federation. As a member of the Naval Reserve, we acted in an official capacity and eradicated an enemy of the Federation. That means he'll probably get an accommodation for protecting his own business interests. Commander Elders is a clever guy. I'll have to remember that.