Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Mr. Freeport and the Morgor patrol

[My last game session just felt too much grindy and meta-gameish for me to really enjoy it. Inspired by the story mood of this video, I realized that all this powergaming makes you quickly forget the purpose of the game: To live a spaceship pilot´s adventures in the galaxy. So screw this weapon testing thing and get back into the mood!]


So.... yep, I am on Morgor patrol. Far out. And I owe Mr. Freeport (THE Mr. Freeport, as in "Freeport Station"!) a big favour, which I try to pay off out here. How come? Well, let me tell ya...

As I launch my nightly diddle-do runs once more from Freeport, there are several hollow blips on my radar. Hrm, well, perhaps I should go out and secure the close perimeter? I am sure Freeport traffic control or even Mr. Freeport himself would be happy to be relieved from those hot-shots-Viper-pilots-rabble lungering in front of his doors!  Mr. Freeport is said to be a tolerant man, but also a man of tough business, the occasion could make myself good in his books here...

CMDR Wonne is on target, another CMDR Backer# zips around. The latter turns out to be no headache, as this particular hot shot tries a very fancy docking entrance maneuver and manages to misestimate and enters the multiverse after ping-ponging in the docking corridor. ... What? Noo, it is VERY improbable, it has really nothing to do with the toothy grin of my Anaconda, pushing her snout through the corridor right that same moment!

In my haste to get clear I steer too low and get myself stuck in the docking entrance; but I am lucky and CMDR Wonne seems unsuspecting and keeps his static postion; good... I open fire. Amazing how fast pilots can react when you pad them unsuspecting on the back... this Viper turns and boosts behind the station, its shields are almost down. We play a bit hide and seek with the station in between us, then CMDR Wonne decides to go for it. He comes in very flat around the stations´s dice, but I was awaiting him. A brief exchange of laser fire with tungsten rounds and he has passed. Both him and me touch the station in our frantic maneuvering and I get stuck again on some antenna. Ouch, receive 100% piercing damage; my shields are now down, too, the CMDR ist at 87% hull.

Once I manage to unstick my clumsy ship the situation becomes even hotter for my ship, and in consequence, for me. A second CMDR´s Viper decided to join the party and both Vipers open up on me with multicannon-fire. My ship is already weakened, so I decide to play it save and to go immediately back into docking. Sorry for the slight damage, Mr. Freeport, I pay for the rep!

I am a bit frantic and manage to screw the comm panel for some seconds, while the Vipers´ fire goes on relentlessly. I am again thankful for my correct bet that most PvP-oriented players would go for multicannons and thus I installed reactive armor on my ship. As I am finally save inside, my ship is down to 61% hull. I wouldn´t have survived an extended combat out there. Here is the vid report for the turns so far.

After necessary reperatures and a "sorry" to Freeport traffic control for the hassle, I launch again. There is still one red blip out there, and since it is not CMDR Wonne, this must be the his partner-of-the moment, which I can now identify as CMDR Schlack. Target locked. Caution is required again, because there is also a CMRD Frigus in a Cobra outside.

My exit is again too hasty and like a true noob I manage to get myself again tangled with the station, this time with the exit frame´s protruding antennae. But I am also full of adrenaline and CMDR Schlack is in firing position, so, FIRE! Strange, his shields are already down and it could not have been my puny first salvo, of which only half actually hits. As the Viper quickly turns around to boost out of my weapon´s firing range, his hull dissolves further. Very quickly. Then I can clearly see the station guns firing on him. The commander boosts away and enters hyperspace at 77% hull. I guess he opened fire on me a little bit too early, while I was still exiting, and hit the station instead. Should I count this a win for me? If not by mesmerizing skill, then by tactics; station hugging is indeed a standard part of my repertoire and I was fully counting on moments when my hot-shot opponents would actually hit the station walls behind me instead. Bingo!?... Naww, who am I fooling, here? I was just lucky, once again.

 - always pay the station gunners a drink before leaving

CMRD Frigus in a Cobra has decided to preemtively disengage and enter hyperspace. To conclude my check of the close perimeter, I stay around a bit. Behold, after some minutes, CMDR Distance lauches from Freeport in his Viper. My ship is in a perfect position to open fire. Weapon capacitors are only half emptied when his shields are down and hull at 91% when he boosts past. The fight is already over. Once more, Mr. Freeport suddenly decides to intervene and his station´s mighty guns make short work of the poor commander. I wonder if it is a bug or if indeed other players might be as adrenaline-pumped as me and do some stupid mistakes now and then, like, shooting blindly and hitting the station wall instead of the opponent...

My close perimeter patrol is almost at an end. Some more minutes around, I spot CMDR Distance again in a new best-second-hand Viper as he launches from Freeport. He has become very cautious now and sticks inside. A long time, and I wonder already if he gave the guys over at station control a little tip. Actually, I wonder if he is somehow already out and behind the station? Right as my Anaconda turns a bit too far from the entrance, he decides to go for it and boosts right out of the docking corridor. I have no chance to swing back around in time, and once I did, he is already 2km+ away and has toggled stealth, which means my gimbal lasers cannot target him anymore. He jumps out shortly after. Well played, CMDR Distance! You had decided for your tactic and executed it sucessfully. This is what a good battle is about.

There is one last CMDR Izor, but he is too far away and too wary of, and too fast for, me to catch. With all rabble cleared around the station, it is time to dock one last time and not forget to honour my commitment to Mr. Freeport. A favour for a favour.

Turns out, Mr. Freeport-thank-you-very-much gives a damn about me efforts. Actually, I am told by a somewhat heavily armed representative, Mr. Freeport looks very unhappy at the moment, because of several new dents and kinks in his property and I ought to have to do something about it as a compensatory means?

I hastily open up the mission bulletin and offer to accept any mission in Mr. Freeport´s name. This way, Mr. Freeport gets himself a high-end battlecruiser for very cheap to do a deep space patrol along Morgor, LFT 992 and h Draconis; to cash in 1500 Credits after 5 very specific pirates have been successfully eliminated. Hey, this kind of cash does not even cover one single missile I should use!?! - Mr. Freeport`s representative then reminds me, waving politely with some heavy metal in his hand, again of some particular dents and the corresponding compensatory requirements...

So, here I am now and spend the rest of the evening in deep space, which the practical German-bred spacer would call JWD ("jans weit draussen" - very much far out there). Out in Morgor, I head for Morgor 2, which is far off the normal traffic routes, and hope to intercept suspicious unidentified signals. The patrol then takes me to LFT 992, where I check Szulkin Mines, a far away outpost at the outer fringe of the known beta cluster. And I can tell you, you cannot go more backwater than this! A last step should then have been h Draconis. On top, the mission bulleting conveniently forgot to tell me, who exactly those 5 very specific pirates are supposed to be!?

The next few hours are probably best summarized by the commander´s log, spelled out in matter-of-fact prosa of straight military patrols.

- outer space patrol near Morgor 2

[timestamp] +++ Morgor +++
[timestamp] US, Cobra flees.
[timestamp] US, Bauxite, not taken aboard because of mission timer priority.
[timestamp] ID, Anaconda attacks, flees after heavy damage, 2/3 of missiles exhausted, damage report 81% hull.
[timestamp] US, Viper attacks and destroyed.
[timestamp] US, Cobra attacked and destroyed, unfortunately a civilist victim of a tragic misunderstanding. Ooops.
[timestamp] US, Anaconda, attacks and destroyed, damage report 66% hull.
[timestamp] ID, Sidewinder attacks and destroyed.
[timestamp] US, 8 units of gold, scoop interrupted as 2 Cobra 1 Sidewinder intercept, Cobras destroyed, Sidewinder flees; scoop again abandoned by arrival of two system security vessels, 2 units aboard, entered SC quickly, without incident.
[timestamp] US, Sidewinder flees.
[timestamp] US, Cobra attacks and destroyed.
[timestamp] US, Eagle flees.
[timestamp] ID, Sidewinder attacks and destroyed.
[timestamp] patrol perimeter Morgor secured, jump to LFT 992

 - farther out than in LFT 992 is not possible; yet...

[timestamp] +++ LFT 992 +++
[timestamp] US, Viper engaged and flees.
[timestamp] US, several civilists mistake us for pirates and turn hostile, but disengage and flee without incident; no idea how come...
[timestamp] US, 15 units of gold, scooped sucessfully without interruption.
[timestamp] ID, 3 Eagles flee.
[timestamp] ID, Eagle flees.
[timestamp] ID, 3 Eagles flee, probably the same gang as before?
[timestamp] ID, 3 Cobras attack, 2 destroyed, 1 flees.
[timestamp] US, Cobra, civilist, no incident.
[timestamp] ID, Cobra, civilist, no incident.
[timestamp] ID, Cobra, civilist, no incident (if the next one, I swear...).
[timestamp] ID, Viper attacks and flees, last missiles sent to intercept but jumps away shortly before impact, lucky bastard.
[timestamp] US, Sidewinder flees. Sigh.

After an almost eternal night out there, my ship finally reaches the far out shores of the Szulkin Mines. Mission time is up, where are the 5 pirate kills in my log? Despite numerous encounters and also some victories, my mission log does only accredit for one pirate kill. Mr. Freeport will not be happy, not at all...

On top of my problems, I account for a high maintenance requirement now, and they don´t take credit cards out here. Since I had nothing else to deliver for the poor lonely folds out here in nothingness, I leave them with my latest upload of porn selection. Oh, and of course, some particular traders were also happy to accept 17 units of gold, which enabled folks to do the required maintenance on my ship and, as a bonus for the porn, wipe clean my "wanted" status.

On my trip back into civilized space again, I make a good deal of 118k Cr at Dahan for some back-of-the-water Bertrantite, and bring a similar good deal of Tantalum to I Bootis for 106k Cr. At I Bootis, I also get finally rid of that big useless thing on my Anaconda´s belly, the plasma launcher, and replace it and the C6 beam laser with C4 pulse turrets. (This is roughly Version B of the layout from my last blog entry, except for that I do not want to let go of my possibly ship saving C2 missiles.)

 - back in civilised space

Fish on I Bootis is in low supply and prices have risen. I empty their last supply stash and make a profit of 30k Cr. still at LP 98-132, Freeport. Home sweet home. I take a little detour to the asteroid belt and engage the shifty folks there. It is Anaconda mayhem, and I totally like how my belly turrets complement the punishment my upper deck armaments is able to deal out.

On my last approach to Freeport I play a bit around with stealth. Well, why, it is for testing purpose only, of course! Not that Mr. Freeport would not be pleased to see me after I worked a long hard partrol for him, no? And even for free, as the terms do not really require him to pay any bonus, right?

My Anaconda falls out of hyperspace, as most of the time, at about 20km from the other side of the docking entrance. Great. So I am not gonna pull off *that* stunt. Naww, I could, sure! But not from out here, right? Right? ... Screw ya!

I boost in a close-by trajectory and switch off shields and engines and to go into and maintain stealth. I scrape by close to a certain antenna which I happen to know intimately and which I am happy to see from close-up has been repaired already. Once on the right side, the one with the docking entrance, I switch the systems back on, request docking on urgend notice and enter in a tight curved, station-hugging course of final approach.

Before landing, I manage to scrape the docking corridor´s walls and learn of the value of having shields active. Since I do not, this little scraping brings me down to 81% hull, thank you very much, CMDR Noobish! Yes, this is my name! Falkenherz? Never heard of this guy.. aaah, he probably sold me this ship, along with a load of excellent delicassy fish from Chango, for you, and *just* for you at discount price if you please.... Why, yes, we can do a kind of compensatory deal here...

It is now late, as usual, and I log off for the weekend and let my CMDR seal the deal for himself until I am back.

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