Personal Log: First engagement.
>>Comms Uplink Established...
//FNCS Athena, Docking Bay 04
//Ivins Vision, WW Piscis Austrini System
Well, it's been a day. Or two. I lost count. It is really hard to keep track of time when you're out in space for most of the day. Anyway, I found myself hopping out of my Sidewinder really quickly yesterday. Some junker in LHS 3666 was selling an old Federal Navy Eagle on the cheap, so I figured I'd pick it up as a fixer-upper. Came with a neat paint-job out of the box and some extra flaps and drag fins. Let me tell you, this ship is no fixer-upper. She's pretty sharp on the turns and kicks the sidewinder in the nuts for speed. The additional hardpoint doesn't hurt either. So the day started pretty nicely, stocked up on a haulage contract for some local relief workers mentioning something about a viral outbreak in the sector, so they wanted me to ferry medicines to Ivins Vision in WW Piscis Austrini. A short-haul run for 50,000 credits wasn't a bad deal. So out I head with a wave and the well wishes of some exhausted medics.
Arrive in Piscis Austrini, and I get a ping I had never heard before. Some gank-jockey in a Viper decides I'd make for a good quick payday. They never covered any of this in flight training. Anyway, I knew enough to submit, without any improvements to my ship and the cramped cluster of gravitational from nearby planets I wasn't likely to be getting away from this guy. This is it. Fight or flight. The jolt back to realspace was heavy, but I managed to flip the ship around to meet him and deploy hardpoints. I'd saved up enough to add a multi-cannon along with the stock pulse lasers. Hoped I wouldn't need them but it might be enough to scare off one or two showboaters.
No dice. Felt the force of an impact on my right deflector. I immediately hit boost to fly past him and he does likewise trying to counter. I pull back hard on the stick but his ship is nimble. I don't think I'll be able to get away from him in a straight run, but I'm sure as hell likely to out-turn him. Meanwhile, my computer is shouting at me that the temperature levels are rising, so I lay off the throttle and let my ship coast around hard and get a perfect line on his canopy. First time pulling the trigger against another human is pretty much not what you'd expect. You don't have time to think of the ramifications, all you know in that moment is that one of you is flying out of this situation alive. A quick salvo across his nose and I'm so close I can see the flecks of hull chipping away. One or two more rounds of this and he's done for. And sure enough. One or two more rounds and I see that bucket of bolts explode into a million pieces. I didn't want to hang around, so I made a bee-line for port.
It's much harder afterwards. Once I'd docked at Ivins Vision I immediately hit the washroom and vomited profusely. I have to admit, behind the canopy and controls it felt much more like my ship was doing the killing, but I decided to fight. After all, I couldn't have outrun him. Could, and did, out-manoeuvre him though. I could've tried to run but I wouldn't be here now. Just another body drifting in the black.
Thing is, that guy wasn't a pirate. He was a killer. Most pirates in a short-range craft like that don't have the guts to stick around in a long-term fight. Once you lay a few successful rounds on their hull and show them you're no easy pickings, they'll high-wake home and wait for an easier haul. But this guy wasn't like that, his ship was mediocre but he had something to prove. He had to win. Don't know why, frankly don't care. But if I hadn't taken him out, I wouldn't be alive. Maybe it's best to keep it simple. I'm sure it won't be the last.
Picked up a few contracts to supplement security forces in the nearby rings of a gas giant. The bounty from my previous encounter plus the completed contract let me upgrade some components on my ship. Figured I can keep this Eagle as a neat little precision attack ship. And I might as well get used to having to take lives, as well as save them, in the meantime. Once I've got the scrip and a bit more training with the local authorities, I'll pick up something more versatile and know better how to survive the next time someone decides to take a pot-shot at me.
Must remember to write home once I'm back. We're deploying any minute.
CMDR Alex Reyes.
>>End of Transmission.