In which Commander Bulk Paint: Hired Gun is still confused by mission terminology and woefully unprepared for his chosen line of work.
Get the troublesome* play with Willow stuff out of the way so I can have a good crack at this space thing. Taking stock – I'm in an Outpost in my starting system. LHS 3447 or something. I wonder where Lave is? Open the galaxy map and search. Found it! And Diso, Leesti and Reidquat. These names mean nothing to you? You're dead to me. Sadly, they are all very far away.
Some folks in this outpost want me to off some other folks in a neighbouring system. Something about a Warzone. Sounds kinda fun. Accept the mission. In fact, accept two missions, both wanting the same thing – go to Kini and destroy n ships in a Warzone. Two birds and all that.
Jump to Kini and start looking for this zone thing. There's a lot of looking. Kini doesn't appear to have that much in it – binary star (which is cool), single planet and an orbital Outpost. No Warzones. Keep my eyes peeled for Signal Sources whilst mooching back and forth between the stars.
Dinner arrives just as I find one. Perhaps I should dock and eat. The Outpost is nearby so I lock it in and approach. Stupid thing is very full and it won't let me land. Dinner is getting cold.
Finally land and wolf dinner like I have some pressing business to attend to or something. Notice that the station has a big, floating pirate symbol hovering over it. Does this mean it's got a Black Market? Man, if only I hadn't dumped all that Biowaste...
Head back out in search of Signal Sources. Feels a little like I'm back playing EQ and camping spawns. Find one and drop in.
There's a Hauler and he messages me. Same thing as the other mission guy – he knows who I'm working for and has a better offer. Wants me to go kill other people instead. Mission brief updated accordingly with both parameters. I decide that, as I've already accepted the job, I shall see it through to the original specification. Feel like that's the honourable thing to do.
Deploy hardpoints. Let's do this!
|Yeah, you'd better run!|
Remember to divert power to weapons and unleash burst after burst. Finally drop his shields. He throws it into another evasive manoeuvre and drops out of view. I spin to re-locate him and find him just as he's lining up an attack run. Decide that head-to-head is probably not the best plan when your ship appears to be made of paper maché and execute a nose-down boost to give me a bit of a traverse thing going. Some of his shots find their mark and my shields get worryingly low, worryingly fast. But I survive it and even manage to get back on his tail. Drop his shields again and start chipping away at his hull.
There are several things at play here that are making it very tricky to do any sort of prolonged damage to him. Firstly**, my tools. I don't think the gamepad has the fidelity I need. Although that might also be down to the aforementioned yaw thing. Secondly, it's been an awful long time since I've played anything like this. Certainly something that didn't have some kind of auto-aim component.
Eventually, I wear the slippery bastard down and his ship begins to explode. Boom! Suddenly I have a 6000 credit bounty on my head for murder. Oops.
I check the mission brief to see if anything's updated. Nope. Still asking for the same number of people to be killed. Clearly I'm not doing this right? Maybe this first guy is merely the other side of the coin and the Warzone is one of those pick-a-side-when-you-get-there deals, with me failing to get there just yet.
Undeterred, I press on, painfully aware that I now have a big bullseye on my back.
Another signal source finds the guy for the second mission. Probably worth a different approach. I listen to his offer then respectfully jump away. Still no signs of a Warzone but come across a Strong Signal Source instead. Perhaps this is it?
Drop in and a wing of pirates can't believe their luck. It's an ambush! I light the 'burners and start throwing all kinds of shapes whilst cycling through the hostiles on my targeting computer. Really not sure that they're anything other than random pirates and nothing to do with the mission at hand.
Of course, it's all moo anyway as they shred both my shields and hull in short order. There goes another Freagle.
Square Minus One
Back at the station, I check out the invoice from the insurance company. They've replaced my Freagle and outfitted it with the basic stuff that I had equipped for just a couple of grand. That's not a problem. The problem is that they appear to have paid off my fines which amounted to 9600 credits! Money which I did not have.
So it would seem that they've saddled me with a loan. From now until the loan is paid off, 10% of anything I earn will service the debt. Son of a …
I decide that the life of a hired gun is not for me. Not yet. I need a bigger ship, better guns and a proper joystick. For now I think I'll bin off the Eagle and use the money to pay off the loan and kit out my Sidewinder a bit. First, I have to get to my Sidewinder.
It turns out that it's back where the Eagle started, which sadly is Dalton Gateway - a station about a 15 minute flight from the system's star...
The Sidewinder's kit is all loaned stuff. It's rubbish. When I was toying with the upgrade screen on the Eagle, I noticed that the main thing seems to be power draw so I elect to make an updated power plant my first order of business. I then get a bit sidetracked by looking at liveries. I was considering dropping a couple of quid on a Blue Sonoran or Orange Mojave skin but it turns out I have the Mercenary one for pre-ordering the game. It's no Chris Foss, but it takes the edge off the sheer noobness of the ship.
With that in situ, I start looking at guns.
With that in situ, I start looking at guns.
Yeah, I know – the hired gun thing – but I'm still going to need to be able to defend myself. This station doesn't have any affordable Lasers but it does do a line in Multicannons. To top it off, they're gimballed*** which could help solve the yaw problem. I spooge the rest of my money on a pair of those bad boys.
Well, not all of it – some money is kept aside for valuable cargo. My plan is to get shot of this system due to the travel time between jumping in and reaching this station. I browse the commodities, looking for affordable things that will maximise my paltry cargo hold of 4 units and take me away from this godforsaken backwater.
I load up with textiles. Textiles. Be still my beating heart. But it's honest work I guess. The commodities screen tells me where these things get exported too – a handful of systems. I pick Eravate and off we go.
Perhaps it's time for Commander Bulk Paint: Entrepreneur to take centre stage?
* Not actually troublesome. You should see her when she has a bath. It's lots of fun. Also, she will give you a kiss if you ask her. It's adorable.
** Most significantly, obviously.
*** Kinda like a halfway house between fixed and turreted. Or, in Kerbal Space Program terms, bolted on or taped to.