Kirtley Platform, Lacaille 9352
The route between Lacaille 9352 and Sol is shaped like a big hook, a big hook that requires gas money, so I haunted the Board for something promising. A basic Rebel can retrieval looked promising, so I took it. I found the cans, but I noticed a little indicator on the Navcomp panel indicating that I was a wanted man. How the hell did that happen? Sifting the log, it looked like a misplaced chaff pod irritated the rozzers, landing me a nice 700Cr fine for Public Annoyance or something.
While I was puzzling over this, a few mercs jumped in and laid claim to the cans, which didn’t go over well with Starship Me. Fighting off the interlopers netted me 6K, but a stray shot at a ship that had NOT engaged landed me a 200Cr fine. Great. Now there’s 200Cr on my head, and the rogues got into that, right up to the point that I started popping hulls. Then they sleazed out with the jump drives, leaving me and my spoils. And my Rebel drop boxes.
Visited the Rozzers at Kirtley and paid off my own bounty, then visited the Board.
Got a Black Boxer, which allowed me to scavenge some salvage while I was out there. While I was hunting the black box, I encountered a fellow that made an offer tha intrigued me: bring the Box to Ross 154, and they’d pay me way more than the 13K I was originally offered. I consulted my map, found that Ross 134 was two jumps away from Sol, and jumped at the chance. When I found the Black Box, I stashed it away and made for the Big Black.
Four jumps later, a pirate popped me out of Supercruise and shot me the hell up – there were at least four of them, and they were all mean and well armed. Fighting for my life, I managed to finally jump out of there, but not before they beat my hull down to 11%. Watching the cracks in my cockpit grow by the hour, I sweated my way to Bruce Prospect orbiting around Avik. These were tenacious bastards, and they interdicted my jump drive twice on my way to a hospitable station.
Unfortunately, they were unable to repair my ship; I was able to refuel, and they upgraded my shield to a Class B, but that was the best I could do. I jumped again, gritting my teeth at every little noise, twitch, or creak (real or imagined).
Why do they put the nav beacon around a barren star in a binary system? Especially when all of the planets and stations to be had in that system are orbiting its far companion star? It was one of the longest supercruise experiences of my life, both subjectively and objectively, and I sweated every inch of the way. Mere seconds before dropping out of supercruise, I got jumped, and my attempts at avoiding the interdiction were so violent, my thrusters failed!
Quick thinking and applied cowardice got me to the station, however, where repairs were had and I picked up a courier mission to Ross 154, stacking with my Black Box delivery nicely. Refreshed, repaired, and rejuvenated, I took off on the final two jumps to Ross 154.
On arrival, the Rozzers were in force at the landing pad, and I feared that that minor courier mission had landed me in trouble. Unfortunately, it was far worse. The Interested Parties that were Interested in my black box had been arrested by the feds and carted off to some rehab facility on Proxima Centauri, and they were intensely interested to find out if I was the person or persons that the Interested Parties were Interested in purchasing stolen Black Boxes from. I steadfastly swore, avowed, and averred that there were no black boxes on my ship other than the one wired into the command console and the Navcomp. Unconvinced, but unable to do anything about it, they let me go on my merry, which I did as casually as is historically possible in this sort of situation.
A few hours later, the remnants of the black box were working their way through the recycling facilities of Birkeland City while I slammed down what was possibly the largest Mai Tai this side of Sol and told Space Stories to a gathering of tourists passing through from Barnard’s Star.
I was two jumps from Sol, three if I had to go through Alpha Centauri again. This trip was a total bust, financially, but I was within a few jumps of the top item in my lifetime bucket list. A little rec, a little rest, and I’d be there.
Me. At Sol. If my old man could see me now.