Part 45: Rebellion - Part 01 - June 23rd, 1177 NC: A New HopeI have returned and am no longer on satellite internet with 0.1 Kb/s upload! Have an update:
June 23rd, 1177 NC: A New Hope
Porkins just has one goal, to be the number one zero-g space dog in the galaxy. It's pretty hard in a tiny shuttle. We take some Cunjo Charengo hunting for quick cash and to keep up on our Intergalactic Blaster Shooting Competition quals. A few high-speed low drag courier operations later and we've got a decent stash of credits.
With its twin moons of Beacon and Keystone, Moonview is touted as a honeymoon destination for the discerning Federation citizen. Skycars and glass cities dot this sparsely populated world, which is rich in plant life. The oceans of Moonview move in strange synchronization with Keystone and Beacon, causing some very strange tides indeed. This is also one of the few places you can get two blue moons in the same month, and when it occurs there is general feasting and carousing.
Moonview's Bar posted:
This well-appointed bar has an enormous set of windows that show off the evening sky and the two rising moons to perfection. Looking around you see that a number of young men have taken advantage of the romantic setting to push their luck with their lady friends. Quite a number seem to be doing fairly well.
Enough cash to buy a Pirate Viper, it turns out. I outfit it with some tactical chainguns. They outrange normal light blasters, giving Porkins a decisive edge in dogfights.
It turns out to have been a prescient choice. We quickly make, if not a name, then at least a record.
It gets us some attention. We become a U.N. Shipping Courier. This does not place us above combat, however.
Even more attention. We start working for Sigma Shipyards and soon have access to their ships and upgrades. We're still hurting for money due to a focus on combat instead of making money.
But even this pays dividends. A Pirate Carrier raids the Altair system, launching all its fighters at us. A few quick dogfights later, the local Fed garrison has managed to disable the carrier before becoming disabled themselves from an EMP, leaving us with a comatose carrier and destroyer at our mercy.
We have a Bothan's chance in intel to capture the ship for ourselves, but the 800,000 credit haul is no problem. Who said that crime doesn't pay? The Destroyer gets a faceful of lead instead, to boost our kills. The stranded freighter crew we've picked up gets to witness the killing blow, to ensure our reputation spreads when we let them go.
Flush with cash, we buy a Pirate Viking and outfit it with a lot of guns. Now we're in business!
The larger ship gets us more work with Sigma Shipyards, sending us to Kont to run a blockade. It's in the Houseless wastes that we truly cement our reputation. The Valkyrie performs well - it's certainly a good enough ship to complete storylines with.
We deliver Sigma Shipyard's Palladium, and get paid for our efforts. It's not much longer for our combat skill to catch more appreciating eyes. We're sitting in a bar in Viking...
As you sit enjoying a well-earned drink, an athletic looking, lean faced man walks out of the crowd and sits down at your table.
"You are Captain Porkins?" he asks politely.
You cautiously nod in agreement.
"I'm Jack Folstam, Captain of the 'Hunter' and member of the Guild of Bounty Hunters," he continues quietly. "You have quite a reputation for combat, and I've been called in to see if you would like to make a little extra cash?"
This is the only reliable way into the Rebel storyline, oddly enough. The fight is nice and easy, a pleasant introduction into the life of a bounty hunter. We start wearing leather, grow our hair long, and adopt really dumb life philosophies.
"Okay, here's the deal," Folstam continues. "The Guild is prepared to offer you membership, and a share of the reward if you can destroy an Auroran ship named the Warrior's Path that has been nosing around this system and its surrounds. The military is not prepared to spend the enormous resources required to locate this single ship so they have posted a bounty and that's where we come in. We're a little thin on the ground right now so we're offering the job to you. Simply put, if you want to get your share of the bounty and become a member of the Bounty Hunters Guild, you have to go out, find the Warrior's Path and destroy it. Then to collect your payment find the Guild offices on the Kane Band.
"The actual bounty from the Federation government is 20000 credits, but the Guild will take fifty percent in a one-off membership fee. If you succeed they will give you clearance to access all the bounties through the Mission BBS' every time you land."
After going through your post-flight routine you head off to find the offices for the Guild of Bounty Hunters. After a bewildering half-hour you eventually find it in one of the many promenades that dot the Kane Band. The officious receptionist greets you, and after seeing your external camera shots of the action, pays you 10000 credits.
She explains to you that this is the only place where you can collect your bounties. She adds that you will only receive bounties if you have a clean record with the Federation. She goes on to explain that there are two Guild rules that must be obeyed. Firstly, the Guild takes ten percent of all bounties received and secondly, never attack another bounty hunter on pain of Guild retaliation.
A few more bounties pay for some really classy hotels.
Not every bounty is easy though, at one point we have to take down a damned Auroran Carrier! No pictures since I just circle-strafed it to death. Such is the life of a tactical operator.
Moving on up!
You are about to take a swig from your first drink when you recognize the easy grace and long stride of Jack Folstam weaving through the crowd. Without thinking you wave to the alk-obot for a second drink and nod a greeting to him.
"Well, Captain Porkins, you are a hard act to follow," he grins, "I have been trying to get in touch with you for some time now.
"As you know, the Guild only works in Federation space," Folstam continues, after a long pull on his drink "but the Guildmaster and his Day- and Night-masters want to open negotiations with the Aurorans to open another Chapter House. So the Guild would like you to take a little side trip for them down to the Auroran capital.
It would seem so, since a small fleet is trying to kill us.
"All you have to do is pick up the negotiators on Tidal in the Kon system, travel to Aurora, drop them off, wait around for them to finish and then bring them back to Earth," Folstam raises his eyebrows. "Sounds fairly straight forward, but I can tell you that it won't be that easy.
"You can expect the Aurorans to test you all the way and probably all the way back," he warns seriously. "You see, they have a warrior culture, and they will judge us by our ability to fight and survive as much as they will on our actual proposals. From their point of view, if you can't survive, then what hope have you of working in their space?"
Folstam shifts in his chair, leaning a little closer, "A word about the negotiators," he grins wryly. "Treat them with respect, but be aware that they are desk-jockeys. They will not know the first thing about space-flight, and you had better watch that they don't panic and get in your way when the fighting starts.
"Good luck Porkins, you have your work cut out for you."
We luck out and the Vell-os vapourize them for us, saving a difficult fight. After that, they become more of a friendly observer.
By this point we are refusing story hooks from literally every other storyline. Look how sad we made Uncle Olaf!
"You disappoint me young'un," Olaf's voice is naught but a whisper. "I thought there was more to the cut o' yer jib than that."
You have just a moment to see a tear form before the big man turns and stalks away from you.
It's not much longer to Tidal.
They stole Earth's moon!
Water is a precious commodity in the galaxy at large. Carbon-based life cannot survive without it, and liquid water is in short supply. Tidal exports water to many planets in the Federation and beyond, and even has a contract to supply the planet Dani within the Auroran Empire. The only residents of this world are either in the water trade, or run aquaculture farms. Tidal also has a small tourist industry visiting the many reefs and other underwater features. As Tidal has many rich citizens, commentary about the Federation and debates about its future tend to range a bit more freely here than elsewhere in the Federation.
Tidal's Bar posted:
This bar is filled with armchair intellectuals debating Federation policy and the alleged actions of the so-called Rebellion. You listen with a little interest, but you soon realize that very few of the patrons have any real understanding of the Federation outside their own system.
We pick up a U.N. Shipping negotiator to transport to Aurora as well. It's a long trip.
As you do a little maintenance on your ship, you notice three nervous looking men walk up to your ship.
"Um.. ah, excuse me?" one of them asks anxiously. "Is this the V-Wing, and are you Captain Porkins?"
You look skyward for a moment and then ask if they are the Guild negotiators.
"Ah, yes," replies their spokesperson, looking a little uncomfortable. "Um.. Captain, if it's all right, could you show us where to put our gear and give us an idea of what to expect? You see, ah... none of us have actually been into space and we really have no idea about, ah... what we should be doing."
You look skyward a second time before closing the access panel you were working on and giving them a quick tour of the ship followed by a rundown of the procedures you want them to follow in any emergency. Never before in your experience has it taken so long for a group of people to learn that when things start going wrong they should strap themselves in and shut up.
We just casually killed a man and everyone just laughed it off. I'm not sure who's worse here.
Upon landing you are more than happy to open the hatch so that your passengers can get to work. One glance outside and they turn back to you, terrified. You lean over to see ten savagely tattooed men holding various bladed weapons waiting not ten feet away. You realize that the Aurorans aren't finished testing you yet, so you step out drawing your blaster. One of them charges and you calmly step sideways, your arm in motion . You slam your forearm down onto the warriors neck. He collapses to the ground, poleaxed. The rest grin and another steps forward, lowering his weapons.
"I am Gurackh Dechtakar," he says simply. "Know that we have accepted your proposal and we have recognized your skill in travelling here. So we will destroy your criminal records so that you can operate here safely," he concludes respectfully. "Meet us in the bar and we shall talk more."
You stand, momentarily surprised, before nodding and turning back to your ship.
"Well, that was easy," comments one of your passengers.
You give him a long quiet look before shaking your head and heading off to have a few drinks.
You make your way to the bar where you are greeted by the sights and sounds of over one hundred revelling warriors.
Upon seeing you a there is a sudden hush, and you get a warning itch on the back of your neck. The silence drags on until one of the brutally tattooed warriors steps forward.
"I am Achmar," he intones proudly, "warrior of the Heraan House, currently serving my time in the armies of the Empire, and I am the brother of Druckmar who died proving your strength today. Druckmar was a brave man, and you must be skilled to be able to best him. He was my battle brother, but I bear you no ill will. He has simply gone to meet his death proudly"
He holds out his hand, and you shake it. You are amazed at the strength of his grip. The remaining warriors return to their drinks and as the mayhem resumes Achmar asks you.
"Tomorrow you will begin the long flight home and passing on the good news to the masters of your Guild, yes?"
We give the U.N. Shipping negotiator a ride back to Sol as well.
"Druckmar was not only my Battle brother, but my kinsman as well. You fought with great skill, and I know that I can nominate you to become a warrior." Achmar continues. "You look puzzled. It is an old tradition, but it is still legal. Druckmar knew the dangers of a warrior's life, and I know he was prepared, as we all are."
You carouse long into the night, sharing stories and drinks, and Achmar bestows an honor upon you that somehow remained clear in your mind.
"If you ever return, come to Heraan, and," he slurred magnanimously, "I will make sure that you are offered the test to become a warrior. If you survive, I will gladly call you my brother."
In the morning you wake up to see your three passengers hovering over you.
"We must get back to Earth," they start excitedly. "We must pass on the news so that the Guild can start on its new Chapter House!"
You wince, wondering why you had to have such irritating travelling companions, but you get up and begin readying your ship.
The high-pay bounties are more difficult, but at least you get special text:
With a sigh you finally land in one of the Kane Band's countless docking bays, and you immediately begin your post-flight routine. When everything is finished you lead your passengers to the Guild offices to pass on the news.
As soon as you walk in your three passengers start telling stories about the voyage. You have to look skyward when you hear them say that it was their idea to get you to deal with the Auroran warriors. Noting your reaction, the receptionist comes over and takes you aside.
"Ignore them," she intones quietly, "they have no real standing in the Guild. I will make sure that the Day-Master is aware of your work and I am sure she will be pleased."
She continues in a louder voice, "Now, in payment for your efforts in this mission the Guild has decided to give you a bonus of 50000 credits ," she grins, "and the Guild will now make available some of the higher-paying and more difficult bounties. To collect, bring them here and ask for Corrin, and I can assure you I won't be far away."
In the last few months the lone pirate vessel, known as the Proudfoot, has managed to avoid all attempts at capture by all local authorities and the Federation Navy. It has been continually harassing ships in this and the surrounding systems. Find it, disable it, capture its Captain and crew and bring them to Earth to be placed on trial for their crimes. While there you can collect your bounty (less the usual Guild fee) from the Guild offices on Earth.
The Auroran bounties resist harder, but we have Protagonist Plot-Powers and none can stand before us. It's not long before Jack calls upon us once more.
After setting explosives on the hull of the disabled ship and watching the resulting explosion you dash in and take control of the flight deck of the ship amidst the smoke and flames.
Neither the Captain or the crew is in any condition to resist as they all look as if they have spent the last few minutes being pummelled by a polar bear. You stow them in your cargo hold under lock and key for the trip back to Sol.
You nearly choke on your drink when a hand claps you on the shoulder as you take a sip.
"There you are," smiles Jack Folstam, "I've been following you for ages trying to catch you."
He sits down opposite you and waves for a drink before continuing.
"The Day-Master wants you to go down to catch the first bounty that the Aurorans are offering to us," He grins. "It's obviously something of a test seeing as they have several outstanding matters that we know of that they could refer to us, but they are only offering us this one."
Your mind wanders as he pauses momentarily. You are beginning to be a little suspicious about the identity of this 'Day-Master'. You quickly shake off your reverie when you notice that he is eyeing you curiously.
"Are you interested?"
Looks like the future is turning up Auroran. We quickly complete the Sigma Shipyards missions to get Hypergate access - this will become very useful very quickly.
"I never doubted you," he chuckles. "I don't actually know that much about the mission. Apparently the Aurorans have a small pirate problem with a particular sector of their space. It seems that two of the major Auroran Families are saying that it is the others job to deal with these outlaws."
Jack shrugs his shoulders.
"Apparently that is where you come in," he continues. "They want you to do something about it, exactly what, I'm not so sure.
"That's it, I'm afraid. To get any more information, you are going to have to get it from the new Chapter House on Aurora.
"And while you're at it you have to go and pick up Bindi," Folstam smiles. "She is going to be the new receptionist for the Auroran Chapter House and she needs a lift. Seeing that you have to go that way, the Day-Master would appreciate you giving her a ride. You can pick her up on Honor in the Bloodstone system."
Jack stands up and sticks out his hand.
Next time: Futzing around with the Empire!