A/N: Sorry for the wait. This one is a pretty large, combat-focused update. The next one, on the other hand, will give us some breathing room, and all of your funny little questions will finally be answered. Stay tuned.
Clarent has acquired the following equipment:
Viking's Port Gunwale
(800kg, 1 medium hardpoint)
150MW Pulse Beamer
(150MW, 700kg, medium)
Total Thrust: 6,250kgf
Energy Usage: 450/900MW
Max Velocity: 118ms-1
Turning Speed: 0.35°s-1
TAPS Setting: 400m, Flanking
Additionally, Clarent has managed to recover some of the information that was in the main computer's buffer before the power surge destroyed it. She plays what remains of the captain's log for you. It's barely half an hour old.
"ASV Orpheus s̙ͮ͋ͧ̂ͨ͋͢ţ̻̹̩̩͍͙̆â͒͏͙̩͚̥̞͓r̻̘̩̬̆̽ͥ͐̽̽̽́d̹̯̠͉̪̦ͫ͋ͥ͟a̦͎̭̖͌ͯ͑̅͂t̖̭̫͈̤̞̮̓ͥ̀̎̓̚eͮ̈ͣ ͎̪͈̋ͪ͑̇̈ͤ̀1̋͡9͔̺̥̉̀̂ͣͧ̇̀͝2̩͈͙̞͔̯͕ͨͣͯͯ̂̽̏1̲̖̣̺̬ͪ̂̃̑͊̂̍"I don't get it"
We've been tailing thḛ̖̯̠̌͆̀̌̃i̲̳̰̰͚̻͒̀́l͇̗̭͔̣̟̔̒͐l̟͖͔̔ͭ͠ͅḛ̢̟̙̳̭̃͐ͅͅg͕̮̙̝̉̑́̍̔͆ͅá̝̞̖͔͇̯ͨl͎͕̫̜̉̏ͩ̏̐ ̵̦̼͇͚ͩ̇c̨̱͖̘͎̣̉ò̖͓̥̦̤ͩͫ̔̽ͬ̅͘n͖̠̫̳ͨt̶̽ͣ̈́͑r̗̹̭ȁ̪̙̤̬̜̻̮́̍̏ͧb̌̓ͧͥͤͫa͔̺͂ͩͩ̋̊n͇̙̓̓̆̔̓͠ͅd̮̖̩͖̞̓̾̊ͩ̈ ͖̱̝ș̨̦͗̒̊hͦ̓͌̅͐̔͏̝̥̩̪̣̙i͖̎͑̌̈́̂̒̊p̞̱͗͌͊̚p̟̖͓̠͉̙͛̍̀ͭ̚͡ͅě̅̓ͥ̔̌҉̙͇̲̠̞r̟͑͂ͩs̝̯͍͔͛́̂ ͧ̃҉̠̞̼̭̤̖͈since yesterday. E͉̼̳̬͙̟̍ͯ̈ͫ̀͗n̨̞̩̹͍̳̳̞͉̂ͧ̓̒̆ͯṭ̵̸̟̗̥̭̪͓̉ͮ͛ͨ̂ͬ̏͡ͅē̼̮̞̰̺̈́̚͠r̮̫͍̘̮͐̉ͤ̂͘ͅĩ͒̍̐̓͏̸̙͎̠̯͔̲n̵̆҉̬̱͚̠̝̀g̛̟̦̞̩̾̐͜ͅ ̨̺̹̓͝a̡͙̜̹̮̮͈̻̯͚ͨͥ̅͂͗̂͗̕͢n̦̖̪͔͙͎͓̋͊ ̻̼̤̱̼̳ͤ̓ͬ͗͡a̛͖̗̜̦̒̏ṡ̸̛͕̱͔̗̳͉̹̐͂ͨͪ̍̆ͦ̀t̷̻̰̱̰͛̈́̈́͌͠e̸͍̟̳͓̦̦͕̬ͫͪr̶̡͕̳̰͇̺̪͚ͫ̇͝o̊̀ͣ̌͋ͫ҉̫͚̻̮̻̩͙į̰̪͓ͬ͐ͯ͂d̸̲͖̬̪̫̒ͮ̾ͫ̍ͩ̔͘͞ ̝̦͍̯̳͖ͤͨͯ͝͝f̸̝̤͌̎̒̂́͐̾͋́i͍̤̩̥͚̱̻͖ͦ̒̊̎͆ͫ͜ê̷͔͓l̐̅̓̋́ͩ̌͛̌̕͏̫͙ͅd̶͔̟̔ͯ͠.̼̬̙͕̣̬͙̔ͪ̏̿ͫͧ͑ͅͅ ̷̪͙̫̞̺͓̺̹̑ͮẂ̭͙͇̟̭̌ͪͯ͝ͅe̸̮̖̊ͥ͝'̡̩̱̰̝̼͔̬̣͌͊͌͘͜rͯ͗̐͌̐ͪͭͯ̀҉̺̞̼͖̖̀ē̹̯̘͔͐̇͜ ͚͎͇̪̭͍̬̖ͤ͒̎b̲̩̦̪ͤ̃͌̀ͯͥ͘l͎̮̲̫̦͕̥ͤͬ͌͟͟͡i̳͍͎̣̫͕̽͑̈́ͦ͗ͦͣ͐͘͝nͯ͂̿͐̓̉̑͂҉͈̘̝͔̪ͅd̫͗́̀͝,͗̆ͮ̉ͣ͏̣̜͇̰͚̀͠ ͈͎̭̘̓ͤm̦̝̺͈͕̣̟̔ͧ̇̉̔ͬͫư̅̒̀͏̻͙̘̞̲t͂҉̟ę̛̣̣͎̳̾̿ ̶̷̡̯̪͓͉̯̱̭̊ͬ̊͆ͥḁ̸̛̠̗͎͈̫ͪ͐ͩ͆͗̅̈̚n̵̡͈͐͝ḑ̴̟̞̜͚̰̈́̐ͨ̄͗̉ͦ̚ͅ ̪̝͋̌̏͜d͙͖̄̄͒́͢ͅẽ̑̿ͤ҉̸̥̜̲̕ȁ̭͍̂͌̓̋̿͊ͫf̸̥̙̻̹̝͕̝̬ͫ̊̆ͦ̀ ̸̢̮̪̩͓̝̞̬̜̤͐͒̆ͨ̇̾̀̐i̽̐͑ͬͭͩ҉̛̪̞̬̯͓̲̜̗ṇ̨͈̞̯͎ͨ ͙̞̱̣̘̍͗̈́ḩ̘͖̊ͧͨ̽̀ë̛̼̝̘͈̹͈̰́ͧ͗̔́̇ͤŕ͉̝̟̠̹͓̇̒͐̇͘͢e̡͕̎͋ͮ͌͐ͩͅ.̺ͤ̃͟͝͠. Ī̩ͣt͔̩̋̚'͍̰͕͎̘̗͋ͨ̍̇ͯ̚s̬̼̭͒̿̆͒̄͗́ ̝̯̼̥̎̍́b͌ͨ̊ͥe̳̜ͮe̶͎ṋ̶̳ͮͯ ̳̳͓̭̝̖̗̊ͥ̊ͪ̈ͫͨa̞̙̰̫͍̐̒̆͊̑ ̡̬̜̲͍̯ͩ͗ͮͤ̀ͮ̉l̵̪̙͙̰̲̱ͬ̃́̑o̼̰̳̫ͥ͜n̩͕͗̎̇̾͊̀g҉ ̲̬̥̭̫͋̓rͥ̉̀͒̓ͮ̚o͖a͕͚ͨdͮ̃̂̈̾̒.̺̜͉̳͚͈̽͂̎"
"Captain, w̯̰̔̍̑́̚e̥̪̹̭̩͆ͦ͗̉̚͢'̧̻̈̏͌͆͒͛v̰̳ë͎̞̤̫̹͕͍́̌̂̌̿̅̾ ̫̦̙̳̮̬̅ͣ̀́m̷̼̳̼̫͐ͧa͔̝̜͇͈͆ṅ̷̫̻̝̲g̝̖̥̬̬͈̾e̲̘̗͖̜̪̎̓ͮ̂̊͂ͯd̐̉́ ̮͕͕̹̄͗̒́tͤͧͥ̃̍̅̚͏̯̦̖̩̬o͔͖͎͇̺̠͚͌͂ ̬̹͉̘̲͉̜̀̃̆̃g̪̦̱̀̓̂ͫ̇̚e̳͈̙͛̈́̏̈́̓t͇̖͇̝͎ͫ ̭͚̝̝̪͙̑́͒͋͐̓͜t̳͖͍̱̠̺͛̈́̿̿͋h͎̜̣̲ͪ̆͑͛͆ͩe̮͉̗̞͈̤̹ͪ͐̊͠m͛ ̢̣͙̀ť̹͚̩̥̝̱͙̈́o̾͊ ̫̬̖̘̫̳͕̐ͧ̕p͌͐̊ͧ͜u̳̹͍̎ͤͣͅl̺̮̳̩l̥̣͐ͭ̓ͮ ̬̝̘̺̱̓ͬ̇͋ͨ̀ͅò̻̤̹̗̖̗̳͒ͫ͢v̵̫̗͚̭̬͍ê̸̙͚̮ͨ͒̉͆̄r̺̖̖̍͌̽̈́͆̆ͯ͟."
"Bring us ̴̦͙̻̤̼̰ͬí͊҉̮̻͍͙̳͍n̤̬̮̳̫͋̌ͥͮͅͅ ̹̥̺̕closer."
"They're r͂̀͆҉e̜͚̠͆͑͠l͇̬̣̘̈́͊̊̾̇̈̂ḛ̹̖̘̄ͯ̃̓à̖̯̘̹̊̓ͬ̍s͓̽̒͆ͨ́i̝̐ͯ̔͐̅̔͆͞n̟̤̝̜g̲̮͓͔͍̝ͥ͋ͩ͊ one of the containers!"
"Shit! Bomblets! Take e̟ͫ̔͛̊͢v̥̗͍͈̠̰̾å̭̩̱͚̞̩̣̐̇ͨș̫͓͂̃i̷͉̫ͪ̔̊ͮ͆̇v̢̻̻ͧ̅ě̮̥̱ͬ̂̈ ̆ͫ̓ͦ̌̿a̩̗͔̐͂̈͛̚͜c̱̬͂ͮ̈ͩ́t̞̯̺͕͑ͣ́i̳̫̙̙͋͒̑̚ǒ̢͓̣̩̾͊ͣ̐n̟̙̻̼--"
, the AI says, tilting her head to the side. "It's pretty badly corrupted. Did you catch any of that?""It just means that we should be very, very careful around here"
, you reply in a slow, deliberate fashion. "Let's just hope we don't run into any of those illegal *tschhhhhhhhh* contraband shippers. Or any of that evasive action stuff, eugh."
As for the new equipment: Though you have sufficient armor and firepower for now, you've been weighed down somewhat by your phat lewt. It's probably still possible to engage the enemy without difficulty, but you don't want to take any chances."We can't risk being outflanked"
, you explain. "We should contact that hauler to the south for assistance.""It's worth a shot"
, Clarent replies. "Provided they don't take us for lunatics, of course. I'm setting an intercept course for the hauler. Open up another comm channel, would you kindly?"
As the engine starts up again, creaking under the extra load, you reach for the comm panel. Keying in the hauler's frequency, you speak into the mouthpiece once again. "Uh, this is the CMS Clarent. Unknown cargo vessel, please respond."
Blurting in reply is a heavily accented voice husky enough to pull a dog sled. "Ho ho ho. This here's the S/N Reh-nuh-gade. We ain't no xenos, lemme tells yah. We's all humans."
You assume he just called his ship the S/N... Renegade? Awful aggressive name for a freight hauler. But you can't complain if they've got a mind for combat.
You decide to get straight to the point. "There is a small contingent of pirate vessels tailing us from the north, Renegade. We'd appreciate it if you could offer up some assistance.""Ain't no pirate ships gon' touch y'all!"
, the Renegade replies rousingly. "Plasma Cannons armed! We're on the job!"
Clarent blinks as if in disbelief. "Well, that went better than expected."
Your ship follows the Renegade for about ten clicks. Both vessels stop and begin facing north somewhere near the edge of the asteroid belt."Here they come! We gon' tear 'em a new asshole, hyuk hyuk hyuk!"
You cringe upon hearing the Renegade captain's incredibly grating laugh."TAPS Maneuvering active. Pulse beamer's wave levels nominal. But something's wrong... one of the enemy reactor signatures is missing.""Yeeeeehaw!"
, the similarly distasteful junkers yell over the open channel. "Let's git some!"
Your ship exchanges shots with the junkers from a distance while the hauler simply charges into the fray, guns blazing hard. Their autocannon fire is fairly strong, but not enough to buckle your armor. A thunk
is heard every time one of their projectiles impacts the core.
After a few seconds of frantic combat, you wither down one of the junker ships and finish it off with a well-aimed shot from your pulse beamer. You shut your eyes as light fills the viewscreen."Score! Looks like its reactor went critical.""Hyuk hyuk hyuk! That there's some mighty fine shootin'."
The two remaining junkers attempt to slip past your firearc. You manage to keep your frontal armor focused on them, but the hauler is not so lucky."We is takin' a little bit of heat. Don't y'all worry, we'll be faaaaaaaahn."
Clarent shakes her head in a mixture of sympathy and disdain. "Scans indicate that their starboard flank has reached critically low integrity. It won't survive another hit."
You act quickly, disabling another one of the junkers and turning the remaining one into slag with the help of the hauler."And there goes the last one!"
, the Renegade says cordially. "Great shootin'!"
You simply nod, though you realize that the captain can't see you doing so. "We appreciate your help"
, Clarent says in your place."No problem, lil' lady. Anything else we can do for ya?"
You are very slightly creeped out by the fact that the hauler captain just called your pet tin can a quote, endquote, "lil' lady". But this is a time for tolerance, you say to yourself. It's no good to flip off the person who just saved your life."We're a bit... lost"
, you tell him reservedly. "Could you take us to the nearest port?""Suuuuuuuure. We'll take you to the Big Pig; biggest mining station in Daedalus. 'S'just east o' here-- h-hey, y'all wait a sec."
You can hear hushed chattering aboard the bridge of the Renegade. After a few seconds, they seem to reach a decision of some sort. "...but I'm 'fraid we're gonna have to make a quick detour through hell, son."
Clarent is startled at the hauler's sudden change of course. "I'm getting a radar spike from those plasma cannons. This isn't good."
Your disgust changes to fear, then to sadness, then to anger. You bash your dashboard in a maelstrom of rage. "You want a piece of me, neckbeard?! Do you?! Well, bring it on!""Y'all thought you was gonna turn us into the au-tho-ri-ties for a quick buck! Well hyuk hyuk hyuk hyuk, we ain't-a gonna let ya do it."
You slam the TAPS control panel. "Full speed ahead, Clarent! I am going to glass these pricks so incredibly hard!""Calm down. Let's aim for the port gunwale. That's where they're weakest--"
The last of the four junker ships detected appears at last. It opens a can of hurt
on the hauler's soft flank."Hee ho! Eat shit, you hatfuckers!""Oh lawd, git outta the way!"
A massive explosion sends shockwaves coursing through the asteroid field."Reactor meltdown confirmed. The Renegade is no more.""Hee ho! Now it's your turn to die!"
Inside the cockpit, red warning lights blink in a strobe-like fashion. A loud warning tone is also heard."Incoming missile! TAPS maneuvering activated!"
Clarent almost seemed to strain her voice, and it was no wonder: it was a pretty damned huge missile.
A massive explosion causes the cockpit to quake violently, and even the holopanels seemed to flicker on and off for a moment. You hang on for dear life while your ship battles on automatically."Bad news: The pulse beamer's not responding. I think we've lost it.""Fuck"
, you swear under your breath.
Shots are exchanged exchanged between your ship and the junker frigate. Missile after missile is fired at your vessel, and you manage to evade none of them
. You're simply not fast enough. Fortunately, your ablative armor absorbs a lot of the damage.
Eventually, you manage to whittle down the junker's strength with your plasma cannon. It attempts to flee, but you core its reactor before it manages to do an about face.
You breathe a long sigh of relief. It's been an extremely taxing day for you. And now you stand within what is basically a pool of scrapped ship parts."Oh boy"
, Clarent grins. "I am going to have such fun making heads or tails of this mess."
Junker Corvette A"Hey"
Choose one of the following:
"This is a small piece of misshapen ablative armor. Not sure if want."
"A high-caliber autocannon constructed from components from various manufacturers. It's a pretty dirty gun, but it deals a nasty sum of damage either way."
(80MW, 600kg, medium)
Junker Cutter B
Choose one of the following:
"A small piece of armor. It also comes with a medium hardpoint; a great bonus."
(450kg, 1 medium hardpoint)
"This is a shitty engine in terms of power, but its jury-rigged TVC allows us to turn much faster."
(90MW, 3,000kgf output)
Choose one of the following:
"Bolo" ASM Launcher
"Do I need to remind you how painful this thing was?" " 'Whoops, there goes your shiny new pulse beamer. Sorry broseph.' "
(120MW, 1,000kg, large)
Junker Engine Block
"The engine itself is unworkable, but the extra armor and the medium hardpoint should be okay."
(450kg, 1 medium hardpoint)
Baleen-class Hauler, S/N Renegade
Choose three of the following:
Medium Plasma Cannon
"Don't we already have one of these?" "It's served us well so far, and two guns are better than one."
Baleen's Frontal Armor
"A bigass piece of composite armor. Excellent heavy-duty protection against almost anything."
(1200kg, 1 medium hardpoint)
Large Mount Servo
"Nothing to see here except a specialized hardpoint for large weapons. It's best to stick it behind some armor if we pick it up."
(100kg, 1 large hardpoint)
Modular Freight Container
"An intact freight container full of controlled substances. This would explain why the hauler tried to rub us out; they were the illegal contraband shippers described in the Orpheus' logs. We could easily use this to store spoils if we jettison or sell the cargo."
Medium Engine II
"A mid-sized engine of a different make from our current one. It has produces more thrust for less energy. It's essential to pick this up if we want to have any hope of coming out of this alive."
(90MW, 7,250kgf output)
Standard Fold Drive
"Clarent, we need a fold drive. We have to get home." "We don't have jump codes for any of the nodes in this system, unfortunately. We don't even know where the nodes are."
, you pipe up. "Does the station the hauler was going to take us to actually exist?""Yes. Now that we're out of the asteroid field, my photometrics can confirm that there is in fact a very large mining station orbiting a gas giant somewhere nearby. There's also a much smaller station orbiting a small, rocky planet further away. Want me to plot a course?"
Well, /bsf/, it's time to sift through the shit again. That was pretty hectic, but rest assured, the first steps are the hardest. Pick your parts, then choose a destination. Hopefully it'll be smooth sailing for a short while.
EDIT: For perfect clarity, we have no
free hardpoints at this point in time. The point on the Viking's Gunwale was destroyed.