We made it! A little over two weeks ago I set out from Mammon on a lark to cross an item off of my bucket list: visiting Colonia, humanity's greatest outpost outside of the Bubble. After crossing some 20,000 light years, the Colonia Nebula finally appeared in my viewscreen and began to draw closer. After 767 jumps, I saw the thing I'd come all that long way to see:
I did a quick system scan and then locked on to Jaques Station and burned out 1,000 ls or so on an automated run, using the idle time to do some last minute checks on scanners for potential hostiles; it would have been a damned shame to get all the way to Colonia just to be atomized by some ganker looking to get their jollies. Thankfully there were no such villains about and I came to Jaques with no problems, happily docking and disembarking to explore my new environs:
This place got here in ONE JUMP!!!
I'd had enough planet-scanning to last me quite some time, so after turning in another 8 million creds in exploration data I accepted a contract on the life of an Elite pirate lord known as Jackster. This guy was really bad news, involved in slaving, drug-running, and any other misdeed that you could possibly imagine. The bounty on his head was a cool 2.5 million, and given his fierce reputation I figured I'd want a little backup, so I headed to the Crew Lounge on Jacques intent on hiring a cheap pilot, figuring to train them on the job as I've done with others in the past. Picked up a fellow named Joaquin Allen, a former rich man now trying his hand as a greenhorn space-jockey. He came cheap, and if he survives and improves I'll have a quality crewman at a discount:
This guy has no idea...
After a repair and resupply, we launched and plotted a course for Ratraii, where the pirate lord was to be found. After a lot of scanning and chasing, I finally caught the bastard in his Fer-de-Lance, the Carnifex
, not far from the second planet and carried out a successful interdiction. Jackster and I launched our fighters almost simultaneously, and it turned out that his pilot was far more skilled than my own, but you get what you pay for. In a battle of attrition, the pirate and I wore down one another's shields until at last I heard my Covas, Celeste, say the magic words:
"Enemy shields depleted."
I poured on fire from the huge beam laser and the multicannons and unleashed a volley of seeker missiles as Jackster turned and attempted to frame-shift out, his hull boiling away as corrosive shells flayed off his armor in melting gobbets. He was about 2km in front of me when I saw the bloom of the Carnifex
exploding and watched my HUD light up with a 250k credit bounty tag even as Joaquin blasted the enemy fighter into glowing fragments with a whooping yell.
"You earned your pay today, rookie," I said over the comm band as I sent the recall order to Joaquin's fighter. "Return to mothership."
"Aye aye, Commander," he replied exuberantly.
I don't think he realized how close we came. When it was all said and done, our shields were down to 5% and the hull was at 76%. If the fight had gone on too much longer, we
might have ended up as so many molecules on the solar wind instead of Jackster. I shuddered a bit thinking about it as we re-entered supercruise and then jumped to Colonia, but by the time we limped back into Jaques Station Joaquin had taken my mind off of my troubles with his infectious good cheer, and so I forgot about it for the time being, resolving to be a bit more astute in the future when choosing my contracts; Jackster may have been a bit above my pay grade.
Nonetheless, I cashed in almost 3 million for the pirate lord's head. Joaquin, now some 60k richer himself, headed off into the station to find some trouble. I told him to have fun, but to keep his comm band open in case we needed to make a quick departure. He flipped a salute and then disappeared into the crowded port. I chuckled, thinking he might actually make a decent pilot someday.
I'm going to spend at least the next week flying around and seeing some of the sights of the nebula, and then get started doing some more work in the region as well. After that, I believe the plan will be to hit Sag A* and then swing back to the Bubble to do some work for my new squadron. I'll start by turning in a whole bunch of exploration data, and then head out to fight in the wars and do TFAS proud. A new series of entries will follow as my adventures in Colonia continue.
Until then, fly safe, Commanders!