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Fleg's Foray into Freelancer Fiction

Fleg's Foray into Freelancer Fiction (1st draft)

>The Matik Family

Date:December 805AS
System: Hokkaido 

Two Dromedary Freighters loaded with Luxury Goods are in Formation, heading 'North West' along a Trade Lane toward their journey's last waypoint and destination, Ainu Station. The trade 'mission' is a regular journey, so the two pilots often 
rotate the chore of managing both vessel's entry into the tradelanes,jumpgates and navigation in space. The Hokkaido System is particularly difficult to navigate using familiar astral bodies or marker bouys and there are only 3 man made objects that can be regarded as 'dockable'. 

The pilots who navigate regularly through this swamp in space use 'dead reckoning' to plot their course to the outpost of Anu 
station. The ship's nav maps provide few clues to the noob who ventures up here without an escort to guide him. The few 
flight paths in space that are recorded are only estimates of the position of Anu and the jumphole nearby. Experienced traders rarely saw a noob in this area but occasionally had often been required to answer the call of an astrographically 
embarrased pilot lost and running out of air and common sense. 

The Freelancer who would normally be in Control Of Both Droms, 'Otto' is idly scanning the screens in front of him out of 
habit, watching for a possible assault or piracy from a Hostile clan. In this mauve void of space only short range detection of other ships is possible using the onboard sensors. It is not 
unusual for a pilot to make a visual contact well before the scanners detect a ship or any artificial object in the pinkish 
fog around them. The lack of ship data and information returned from a visual contact only made a pilot more jittery if he was carrying contraband. In Hokkaido, on the return trip to the NewTokyo Jump Gate tension was always higher than normal, but the police clans in this system were few and scattered but Piracy was always on the agenda for the Cardamine that was usually ferried back from Anu.

Out of habit, Otto does his visual check of the space around both vessels, using his ship's rear looking and external panning cameras. Satisfied that no vessel is approaching their 'Six', he looks up for a moment, out his flight deck's viewport panes toward the other Drom cruising along, 400 Metres away. Above and behind its pointed bow, the vague form of its Pilot managing the course of both vessels can be seen concentrating on his job.

The other Pilot also pans his head around, doing a visual check out of habit despite his role as navigator for both ships. He checks the blind spot that his ship's sillohette provides to Otto and looks across the empty space back to Otto. A quick 
thumbs up from the Pilot reassures him that neither ship is in danger and a shrug of the pilot's shoulders indicates he had 
no sensory contact either.

The Ship to Ship chat channel pops up on the HUD on Ottos Flight Helmet....

Prag_Matik: "Same old thing boss, I'm so used to this mission even the return trip to New Tokyo doesn't excite me anymore"

Otto transmits back a response: "I know son, but we have an obligation to our regular customers and we have never failed to deliver, thats the Matik family motto"

Prag_Matik:"Yeah, I know Boss, but I'm itching to go elsewhere, trade in something more desirable, test myself in an unknown system"

Otto replied: "Son, Sirius has plenty to offer to any trader who is willing to risk all. But you know why you and your brothers do this run so often and that is to pay your way. All freelancers have an obligation to survive by themselves. When 
you can demonstrate that you have the patience and talent to do this without my assistance, and you can repay the sponsorship funding back to the family, you will be free of this bondage."

Prag_Matik: "I know, I know. Uncle Homm is a good example of how not to do it. I have a Holograph of him back when he was a Starflier Pilot stuck to the console in front of me to remind me. I often wonder where he is and how he is getting on in Sirius. When did he last make contact dad?"

Otto's Rad damaged eyes glazed over for a moment before he replied breifly, >"too long ago lad, too long ago....."

The chat ended there, their ships continued the familiar journey toward Ainu on cruise engines, both Otto and Prag ruminating 
on what had become of old 'Uncle' Homm.

Otto rubbed his weary eyes and returned to watching the screens in front of him. He punched up the Register of Pilots that were flying in Sirius at the moment. He scanned through the many familar names and noticed the new entries, taking a mental note of their ranking and having a silent chuckle at some of their pseudo names and clan affiliations.

Otto assumed Prag was probably doing the same, making contact with the many freinds and aqaintances Prag had made in his short career in Sirius.

Otto was experienced enough by now to know who to avoid by the way each pilot conducted himself over the chat channels and the damage reports that often flashed up in Red indicating a Pilots demise in Combat and the stats on who had forced them to eject. The grouping of Pilots also gave a clue to who was assisting who in what system and their entry, exits and rentry into space often gave hints about their alternate identities. It was not unlawful to fly under a psuedoname and many Freelance Pilots had a swag of names to enter into their flight plan before launching into space. Otto was proud of the Matik name and so were his sons. As far as Otto knew, none of his sons had alternate identities, but it was possible that one or two occasionally adopted a different name to their own when required to observe other pilots discretely or to map a system 
without interference. 

Many pilots were well known throughout Sirius by their feats and duels reported across the News relays and gossiped about in the many private clan forums and the public Forum they all shared. Archvile, Plume, Cuchulain, Epyon, Slayer, Oddball, Hans Solo, their names were legendary across Sirius but not always for their skill in duelling or navigation but also because they were men that had earnt the respect Otto had for them, by being freindly and supportive when Otto was a noob Freelancer. 

Cuchulain in particular was responsible for setting up Otto in his first Dromedary Freighter and had provided escort and 
assistance when Otto needed to bribe the factions required to get a Neutral reputation. Otto and Cuchulain seldom had the 
need nowadays to converse once Otto was established in Sirius as a Free Trader. Otto had almost given up on trying to 
initiate chat with Cuch when the two were in space as Cuch was usually in the Omicron systems obsessed with battling the bounty hunters and 'BoDs' at the Freeport Base in Theta or missioning in the Lower Unknown, harvesting weapons from wrecks around the jumphole or liberating weapons from the many Nomad vessels that haunted the area. 

Cuchulain's interest in Otto's career extended back many years when both pilots were young and novice Wingmen on the TCS - 
Tiger's Claw, on maneuvers in the long forgotten Goddard System fighting the Kilrathi Menace. The two young Pilots also 
shared a breif alliance, fighting for a rebel cause against the Empire of The Federation in another pocket of space before 
the two found their way back to the Sirius System. 

Cuchulain was always looking for a fight and he once was eager for Otto to be recruited into the Outlaws Clan, but Otto 
wasn't as adept at duelling as he had hoped and was now content to remain at the helm of a Drom at the opposite end of the Sirius universe, earning a huge profit on the same trade route that the Outlaws had originally shared with him back when he was being sponsored. 

The run of Luxury Goods from Roppongii Station in New Tokyo to the Outpost Station of Ainu in Hokkaido System was a good 
earner and the trip back down through one jump gate and three tradelanes made an easy living for the Matik family. 

The Matiks weren't too fond of the return leg of "The Outlaw's Run" as they had to ship Cardamine, the drug that many spacers and planetary bound "landlubbers" preferred and were addicted to. The Cardamine also had another aspect to it that Otto and his Sons preferred not to think about, Uncle Homm was a Cardamine addict, and it was his dependence to the drug that had led him away from a normal life and was probably the reason that he was seldom seen in space.

Homm was not a problem for Otto, as Otto had never met the man, but Homms exploits in the Outer Systems and sorry tale were well known in the Matik family. Ottos wife of many years, Sue, never spoke of him or left the room when his name came up in conversation. 

The risk to Ottos 'clean' reputation was always a concern, but in all the years of "trafficking" the drug, he'd managed to avoid interception by the NPC 'coppers' who hung around the JumpGates and Tradelane exits scanning the many ships that passed by and his reputation remained more or less Neutral to almost all but the Xenos. Otto had perfected the techniques required to escape from an inquisitive Police vessel who occasionally scanned him, and the Police were often too lazy to follow him down a tradelane, preferring to wait for him on the return journey instead. Otto never fired a shot in response and as a result the Police regarded him as a minor nuisance. Otto often wondered why the Police were disinclined to chase him and had smugly convinced himself long ago that his speed docking into a Tradelane was what gave him his edge. Otto was also somewhat naive and in some respects lacked the cynicism that many freelancers had aquired, as Cardamine was also known to be found in the ship's lockers of Police Pilots from time to time. The drug crossed all social boundaries and all who had tried the drug were invariably hooked in a very short time. The high demand and value placed on the substance meant that members of the law 
enforcment community were led down the path of corruption by accepting bribes or were blackmailed by the suppliers, addicts 
and traffickers they sought. 

Bad News travelled fast in Sirius space and it travelled far and wide. Otto knew who to avoid and what systems were likely to 
be perilous and used the forums to gather information on where to find good trade routes and to improve his general knowledge of Sirius. Otto was disinclined to post his view of the events he read about of into a public forum thread, so his presence in Sirius was almost unknown. 

The Pilots register was relatively large on this day and it took some time for Otto to work his way down the list. The 'usual suspects' were where Otto expected them to be. Police were doing there thing patrolling the Inner Systems of Liberty Space and the Criminal factions were doing their thing in the border worlds and beyond.

Otto muttered to himself "I have to find a way to automate this process"

Otto's interest in the information he watched streaming across his screens had less to do with than looking for Homm's 
activity in space. He also had another purpose that was somewhat more important. The Matik family were Traders, they traded anything that paid well and were prepared to travel anywhere in Sirius so long as there was a profit to be made. Information was what all who flew in the Sirius world thirsted for, and for those who were members of a Clan, which invariably had a few secrets to protect or discover, intelligence gathering by any means was important if one was to survive in space. Otto preferred to pass the INTEL on in exchange for other INTEL rather than sell it for whatever price could be negotiated. Almost all of the aquired INTEL was shared amongst the Matik family, but for one member collecting and analysing INTEL was almost an obsession. 

Otto had many sons but one in particular reminded of himself when he was younger and also shared a similar talent and 
preoccupation for gathering pilot data. 'Fleg' was the first son that he and Sue had reared and he was the only sibling that 
had been recruited into a clan.

Fleg Matik was a good trader but he knew that there was more to be leaned if he was to be the freelancer he imagined himself to be.

<more to come soon>

Fleggy 8-)

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Last Updated (Thursday, 29 July 2010 17:50)

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