Davies Station, Epsilon Eridanii
You can see the light of Sol from the station’s observation decks, but that doesn’t mean much of anything to the Navicomp. The route to Sol is long and convoluted, and has to pass through either Barnard’s Star or Alpha Centauri, or maybe either or both, it’s hard to tell from here.
Even after a couple of days, Davies still didn’t have any missions I was comfortable with, so I dead-headed in the direction of Lacaille 9352. When I got there, I was surprised to hear that I had been fined by the station authorities. It took a few minutes to realize that I had never dropped off the rebel transmissions in my hull, so they understandably concluded I had turned. Not only didn’t I get my 5K reward, but I got fined 3K!
I still had a few cans I had picked up at various points in the past few days, but since they were salvage, I needed a black market to dump them on, and black markets were drying up, the closer I got to Sol. But at least they had a few decent missions. Ironically, another one to go grab some more rebel cans, and lucky me, right there in 9352. I went, I found, I gathered, and I returned.
The bad thing about the larger stations is that the rozzers are likely to scan your cargo; it’s a crap shoot that I usually come out on the plus side of, but this time, I gambled and lost. I got a 3K fine, but on the bright side I got 11K for dropping off the cans. In the old days, the rozzers would have opened fire for such a minor infraction. My gratitude to the soft liberals of the 24th Century for a kinder, gentler dark meat-hook future they’ve delivered us to.
I took a courier mission for 2 tons of Silver to Il Aquarii, gritting my teeth the whole time. Another 11K, and no one shot at me. I call that a win. From there it was more dead heading, and I ended up in a familiar place.
In my profession (Aimless vagabond, apparently), you know you’ve docked a few times too many when you know where all the landing pads are. Such is the case with Action Station, which has little action, you may recall. Action is a rarity – six landing pads, rather than the 2 or 3 you see at most small platforms, and it has a couple that’ll accommodate the Big Boys. Still, no action, no black market, and no jobs. Deadheading out to EZ Aquarii and Mangus Station to see if I can pay my way to the next star or not.
At Mangus, I got erroneously called out for “trespassing”, no doubt due to an error made by some bored traffic controller. The rozzers got a bit tense before I was able to talk them out of getting too trigger-happy. Well, honestly, I offered to buy a round at the local joint, and that lubricated the wheels of justice post haste.
While Mangus had no black market, it DID have something I have rarely seen – Shield boosters! While I could have gotten the best in the shop, it would have left me strapped, so I lowered my requirements by one notch. Hey, mediocre shield boosters beat no shield boosters in any system.
STILL no good missions, so even poorer than usual, I dead headed Sol-ward once again and found a little place orbiting an asteroid around Lacaille 9352 that actually had a black market. By now I had a hold full of illicit salvage, so this was a real breath of fresh air. After selling off 8K worth of salvage, I decided to take some down time and plan the next leg of my journey.