So I told the docking master of Beedbeon Station (over a com-link, for reasons which will be clear shortly) "Look, it's a mistake anyone could have made. It happens sometimes, okay? It's not my fault the forward laser firing control is so close to the engine throttles by default on all GalCop ships, and you did only give me a two minute docking window. Can't you just fine me and get it over with?"
Unfortunately the Onatzalan frogoid on duty was not persuaded, pointing out that standard docking protocol required all weapons to be deactivated when in docking manoevers, and that GalCop regulations made no allowance for accidental weapon discharge. Especially when 3.2GJ of military laser punches a metre-wide hole through the station's outer docking door from an Anaconda-class transport less than 2 klicks out on final approach. In short, with that one blast I'd transformed from a reputable Clean commander to a Fugitive with a 79CR bounty on my head, and the docking master curtly informed me that my welcome was rapidly running out!
Not wanting to see Atomic Annie and myself impounded in this G2 Average Ag backwater, I immediately initiated emergency launch procedures - halting our planned cargo loading and skipping refuelling to clear our moorings and head for the station exit, hoping like hell that the normal aegis patrol was engaged elsewhere. But immediately after we cleared the docking bay the local rozzers were upon us, concentrated laser fire slamming into Annie's hull. We hit the injectors, rapidly pulling away from the station before engaging hyperdrive and hurling ourselves headlong into the refuge of witchspace. Fortunately our last jump from Eszara to Beedbeon was quite short, so we had the fuel to jump directly to Zavezaon.
But even though we'd escaped from Beedbeon with little damage other than to our nerves Atomic Annie was still a marked ship: the "Offender" tag on our IFF acting as a "Come shoot me!" sign for any young Jameson wanting to make a name for themselves by sweeping the space-lanes of miscreants. Only time and repeated jumps away from Beedbeon would clear our name, but with a still-large bounty on us we could ill-afford to risk the run into main stations, let alone test our luck on docking. So we set course for Zavezaon Stellar to top up Annie's tanks with free sun-juice - taking out an opportunistic pirate en route - and with the Anaconda's hull glowing re-hot from stellar radiation we jumped again.
And wouldn't you know it? Right when I've got a metaphorical bulls-eye painted on Annie's exterior from my GalCop bounty I wind up dropping into a cluster of offender vessels right at the Zalaqura witchpoint beacon. It's immediate battle stations and I start bringing the main laser to bear, taking out a couple of my antagonists – but all too quickly I'm surrounded and am taking heavy fire on all sides. With the Anaconda's energy banks and shields dropping rapidly it's time for desperate measures, so I armed and dropped the emergency Q-mine before hitting full injectors and running like hell with the all-too-familiar purple sphere rapidly forming up in my rear-view. My attackers immediately fled in the opposite direction, but unfortunately for them one succumbed to the cascade effect and added its own sphere of destruction...
Meanwhile, having escaped from having my own ship torn up from under me I set course for the nearest fuel-station, eventually docking and successfully taking on more Quirium for the next jump. Got jumped by another random attacker shortly after clearing the fuel-station docking cage, but was able to take him out with no more trouble before jumping to Ercetidi.
At Ercetidi the bounty on my head had dropped considerably, so even with the “Offender” tag hanging around my neck like a scarlet letter I decided to chance refuelling at the local station. Thankfully no more than a single Corsair decided I was worth the trouble of taking out – and the Corsair rapidly became the hunted instead of the hunter, exploding in a mass of fragments after taking the full brunt of Atomic Annie's military laser. Not wishing to take any more chances than I had to of attracting GalCop attention, I stayed at Ercetidi only long enough to refuel and re-launch, with hopefully only one final jump remaining to get back to “Clean” status.
Jumped into Errius – and immediately checked my status. What? “Offender, Bounty: 1CR”? Good grief, I hope there's no sad-sack Jaimeson that'll try and waste me for one lousy credit! Again Atomic Annie set course for the main station, hoping the trip in would be as uneventful as at Ercetidi. No such luck - before long I find that we've has strayed into a massive fire-fight on the main lanes in, so it's full-on action stations as Annie and a convoy of other vessels fight off a raiding party of Ionics Whitetails. After a long hard fight eventually the pirates are vanquished with four kills to Atomic Annie's credit, and we resume course to the station...
… then with only a few minutes to go to Errius station aegis the emergency comms channel lights up with a distress call from a lone ship at the extreme edge of scanner range. And it's a fellow 'Conda commander. He's fallen into a nest of raiders, he says, and he's pleading for help - but by now Annie's fuel tanks are practically dry and her missile tubes virtually empty, with only one standard non-hardened missile left. Even worse, I can only see the source of the distress call on my scanner, with no sign of his attackers. As much as every fibre in my being is telling me to immediately assist my fellow commander, I have to face the cold hard truth that engaging an unknown number of raiders when I have barely enough fuel for a fuel-injector-assisted emergency escape is bordering on a suicide mission. All I can do is relay his call to the local station and hope that a GalCop Viper squadron can get to him in time.
I finally arrive at Errius Station, and manage to dock on autopilot with no further trouble: apart from retaining a 1CR bounty on my head. If anyone from GalCop is reading this, I'll pay the prakkin' bounty myself if it'll get my record cleared...
Flying the Anaconda-class transport Atomic Annie
through Galaxy 2.
"Big ships take more booty on your interstellar flights..."