Ford Dock, NLT 19808
Over at the bar Pigs Before Swine, we’ve all been rooting for CMDR Ol and his friends as they fly over 25,000 LY out of civilized sectors of the galaxy. It’s not like Ollie’s competing for some prize at this point – it’s been done before – but more that we’re all in the corner of someone daring to leave it all out there in The Black. It’s like watching that daredevil fly a space scooter through the loop of a Stellar Prominence; you wouldn’t know him if he ran you over on the street, but we all appreciate the chutzpah of the act itself, and are happy to see the triumphant procession afterward.
Either that, or we all secretly want to see it crash. Centuries after chariot races went out of style, we’re still all secretly rooting for the horses.
At any rate, it was about time to pay up my bar tab and head on to Aegaeon, which was all of four jumps away at this point. I had some work to do, too, as the locals had hired me to go after pirates in a neighboring system.
Boy, those were some angry pirates.
Rarely have I encountered a group if pirates that would gang up on you outside of a military conflict zone. Generally, they either hunker down and hope you won’t notice them, or skip out at the first sign of trouble.
Not so these guys.
Time after time, I would engage what appeared to be a valid target, only to get pounced by one, two, or even three others that for whatever reason decided that solidarity among pirates was a new and exciting trend. And this wasn’t just one spot. This kept happing again and again. Hell, when I decided to stop by a local station to get repairs (34%, yoiks!), I got Interdicted not once, but TWICE. This system wasn’t a hive of scum and villainy. This system was the friggin’ motherlode! I need to mark it on the map, HERE THERE BE PIRATES, in case I ever need to shoot more indiscriminately.
One of these fine purveyors of hot death dropped a load of gold. At first, I was suspicious. Usually, when I see cans of gold floating around, there’s either an ambush or the rozzers lurking about. Not so much this time. But grabbing several cans of duty-free gold does come with its challenges, not the least is voiding any Official entanglements. At the next station, I flew in as fast as I could, shwooshed the mail slot, and ended up not having a black market to sell to. I spent the next three stops sweating the inevitable cargo scan before I finally found a pirate outpost that took that gold off my hands, no questions asked.
Finally, after several false starts and much strife and hard learned lessons, I’ve completed this leg of the journey. Schweikart Station hoves into view, and, even though I don’t have my original cargo of Aepyornis Eggs, I did manage to hang on to all my nav data. After loading up on Chateau De Aegaeon, I’m ready to embark on the next leg to Aerial.