Anyway, so after finishing my last multi-contract run down to the south-east sector of Galaxy 2 I pick up an assortment of contracts that will send me and Atomic Annie up to the north-east sector to Ersoonve with 234TC of food, nearly a ton of platinum at Esrilees, and a passenger by the name of Lethmas Ar to Rasbiarce. I unload my platinum at Esrilees for an eye-watering 298K payoff, but due to it being off the direct route to Ersoonve it's starting to look a little tight for Atomic Annie to fulfil the last two contracts in time – as we all know, Anacondas are pretty much at the other end of the speed scale to Cobbies and Ferdies. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and (famous last words) I have a plan!
I depart Esrilees and jump to Tigebere (Corporate TL8) – and promptly head for the nearest fuel station, gently nosing Annie's massive bulk into the docking cage and waiting for the reassuring clunk of the refuelling hoses connecting to the Anaconda's fuel ports. Refuelling commences, and a few minutes later with fuelling complete the hoses disengage and I manoever out out on docking thrusters with full tanks of Quirium. Then it's full burn on impulse drive for a minute or two to clear the fuel station, noting that I've got six days and eighteen hours to get to Rasbiarce and seven days seventeen hours to Ersoonve.
Witchspace jump is initiated, and I arrive at Ceerdiza (Democracy TL9). Again I head for the fuel station instead of planetside, topping off Annie's tanks for a second time. I set course for Atius and initiate jump, but almost immediately I got the infamous warning that I was too close to some other body for the witchspace wormhole to be generated. Turns out it's the Ceerdizan ConStore... but just when I was resigned to slugging it out in normal space to get clear I notice a flight of ships departing the ConStore and heading away from the beacon. On a hunch I follow them, and to my delight they opened up a wormhole to... Atius! Immediately I navigate Atomic Annie into the wormhole after the convoy, arrive at Atius without incident or a single drop of fuel burned, and immediately witch out to Veenar (Confederacy TL9).
“Pirate activity reported in system” is the warning message from the Veenar beacon. I've got time remaining to Rasbiarce of three days eighteen hours, Ersoonve four days sixteen hours... “no pressure”, eh? Search for the fuel station and engage main drive – damn near colliding with the Your-Ad-Here Beacon in the process – and shortly Atomic Annie is again satisfying her thirst with several tons of Quirium. All during the refuelling my eyes never leave the scanner as I pray to Giles that we're not jumped by raiders while trapped in the fuel station's docking cage... but my luck holds as the refuelling lines retract and we smoothly depart for clear space.
So far, my strategy of system-skipping with in-flight refuelling seems to be working. But there's a problem ahead. The next jump is to Cemabe – which is a Feudal system, TL4. Which undoubtedly means that there's no friendly fuel station waiting off the beacon. I'll either have to sun-skim or run the gauntlet to the main station aegis. Damn.
After another routine witchspace jump I duly arrive at Cemabe, and no only is the lack of an in-flight refuelling confirmed, there's also another “Pirate activity reported in system” warning from the beacon. By now Atomic Annie has done five jumps in succession and her witchspace engines are starting to show the strain, but a Feudal system is no place to hang about for long in an unescorted Anaconda so I want to get out fast. I angle off the main lanes and set course for the local star, engaging the torus drive for the first time in quite a number of days... only to find that getting to that free sun-juice is going to eat up more time than simply refuelling at the main station. Oh well. At least by now I'm off the main lanes. Course set for the station, and torus drive engaged.
I'm almost within spitting distance of Cemabe aegis when suddenly the torus drive cuts out and I'm mass-locked. A single ship shows up on the scanner – could this be a friendly? No such luck. The yellow lollipop on the scanner immediately swings around onto an intercept course, and shortly the yellow blip turns to red as the bastard – a Dart – opens fire at long range.
Well, two can play at that game! I immediately cut impulse speed to minimum, lock on, arm a hardhead as backup, and immediately open fire with my forward military laser. A few seconds later I'm rewarded with a satisfying explosion in the distance, and 28CR added to the ship's coffers as a bounty. Nice one! Torus drive is re-engaged, and I arrive at Cemabe with no further incident, bringing Atomic Annie into her berth on autopilot and immediately arranging for refuelling.
While my crew (and my passenger Lethmas Ar) hit the local facilities for R&R, and some interim trading is carried out with other miscellaneous cargo items in Annie's enormous belly, I plan for the next jump over a tankard of Reidquat Ale. Computer says shortest route is via Anenat (Feudal TL5), but I decide instead to reroute via Verave (Confederacy TL11), hoping pirates from neighbouring Ladibe (Anarchy TL2) don't pop over for a visit en route. But the clock on my contracts keeps ticking - time remaining to Rasbiarce of two days twenty-two hours, Ersoonve three days twenty hours.
No time for dawdling if I want to keep my reputation. I recall the crew, clear departure formalities, and we launch once again into the big black, performing the usual pitch-up and full thrust manoeuvring to clear the launch corridor and head to the departure area for the jump.
We witch out of Cemabe, and arrive at Verave. Damn near hit the beacon again en route to the nearest fuel station. Once again we manoever into position, line up at the entrance, ease Atomic Annie's massive hull into the confines of the docking cage and watch the fuel hoses successfully link to our couplings. Annie gorges herself full on Quirium, slaking her tremendous thirst for the moment at least, then with the Veraveian station's cash register (metaphorically) ringing in our ears we drive out of the fuel station and jump again.
Now it's Soreisbe (Corporate TL9) and another fuel station. Manoever, line up, thread the needle into the docking cage, try to ignore the “Alien vessel reported in system” warning from the beacon transponder. Watch Annie's fuel gauge and effective range steadily rise as she slurps down yet more refined sun-juice, the Anaconda guzzling the stuff like a drunken Celibar Poet on shore leave. With tanks full, Rasbiarce and Ersoonve are directly in range – but despite Ersoonve being closer I plot a course for Rasbiarce as I'm down to one day and six hours remaining for safely delivering Lethmas Ar. Only one problem: I belatedly realise Rasbiarce is a Feudal TL10 system, and I do not want to potentially go into battle with a ship that hasn't had at least a quick fitness check-out previously. So it's off to the local station. But at least I got cheap fuel, as refuelling at main stations seems to be a more expensive exercise since Directive 177 came out...
One quick battle-readiness checkout at Soreisbe Main later, and we launch. Initiate jump - and immediately after exiting the wormhole at Rasbiarce I'm mass-locked by a (friendly) Cobra Mk III. I angle off the main lanes again and hit the torus drive as soon as I can, watching the scanner and visual scopes as we head towards the planet, making sure to steer away from those tell-tale laser flashes of distant battles. Surprisingly, it's not long before we reach station aegis at Rasbiarce and Atomic Annie docks with no incident, Lethmas Ar bidding us a fond farewell and thanks for a safe journey completed.
With one more jump to reach Ersoonve, I start to relax... when suddenly the Rasbiarce battle alarm sounds. We hear mayday calls from an Orbital Shuttle coming over the P.A, so we execute an immediate launch to render assistance . Yeah, Annie may “just” be an Anaconda, but she still packs a punch!
The Orbital Shuttle is soon located, as well as her antagonists: a couple of Ionics Whitetails. I hate Whitetails. Immediately I lock onto the first of the prakkin' 'stards with my forward laser, spacing him in short order before turning my weapons onto his friend. And making him one with the universe as well. With combat concluded, I immediately set course to Ersoonve (Confederacy TL15) and jumped.
We arrived at Ersoonve with no incident (despite another “significant pirate activity reported” warning from the beacon) – only to find that my contract for 234TC of food had expired and as a result my contract rating had dropped. Damn! I was able to sell some of it off, as well as some booze, furs, textiles and minerals, and I also managed to pick up a good lot of computers, machinery and luxuries so it wasn't entirely wasted. I also picked up a contract for 300kg Gold to Isonza – a one-jump job – as well as a passenger contract taking In Er (Human Colonial) to Ramaza.
I just hope the Ramazans have forgotten my blowing the witchspace beacon with a Q-bomb on my last visit...
Edit: It's the Galaxy 2 north-east sector! East!
Flying the Anaconda-class transport Atomic Annie
through Galaxy 2.
"Big ships take more booty on your interstellar flights..."
Last edited by Ranthe on Sun May 12, 2013 4:32 am, edited 1 time in total.