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Commander’s Log [Cmdr William Gearwright] : [ISDV Vestigial Echo : [Dulos/Dulos 6/Wilson Ring] : [3301/04/15]

[Report Summary] Currently docked in Wilson Ring around Dulos 6, Dulos

[Manifest] Empty.

[Incidents] Nothing to report.

[Signed] Cmdr William Gearwright of the ISDV Canonical Whimsy (Core Dynamics Eagle Mk2), Antfarm Consolidated of Dulos.


[Private Entry/Decrypted/Relp4432-RACK990] [embeds enabled] When I was a kid, a teenager I mean, back on Six I was always the one who could sense danger on a night out. A group of us would walk into a bar and I’d feel a ‘tingle’, a ripple of wrongness moving through me, and I grab the arm of the one nearest to me and start ushering people out. Something in the bar ‘smelt’ wrong, ‘felt’ wrong and I knew I had to get away. More than once this weird sense saved us all from a nasty fight and I used to thank my lucky stars that I was sensible enough to listen to this over-active nerve ending. But then, over the years, I seemed to have stopped listening. Maybe life became too routine or too busy or I got too damn old but I gradually forgot how to listen to the warnings. Well I’m listening now.

A few days ago I took a contract from the Old Man to recover lost MilTech, Nothing new there as I’d spent the best part of the previous week collecting lost data, artwork, and cargo for a variety of customers – some of them were even the legit owners of the cans I was running down, so I don’t think anything was different about the request to locate and retrieve 1t of lost can 1 system over. Hell, I didn’t even pause when I saw just how much the Oluf Worker’s Party were willing to pay for this can and, looking back, that should have been my first clue something was off kilter with the job.

LTT9494 is an hole filled by nothing but a star and it certainly seemed empty when I dropped in to search for the can sig. It took me a while but I found it, pinging weakly in the black, but when I dropped out it became clear immediately it was a sting. There was an Adder waiting for me, weapons stowed and broadcasting “Don’t shoot!” messages the second I folded out of SC. I didn’t wait. I didn’t reply. I just ran and didn’t look back. Still, the bastard hacked my comms and dropped a message on me claiming he was from the DDP back in Dulos and knew I was searching for the military tech for the OWP – he then offered to pay more, a lot more, if I handed it to them instead and all I had to do was agree to accept a change of contract. By the time I’d hit SC and the Whimsy screaming away from the Adder, I had already picked up a plethora of new signals, some small which could have been the can, other huge which the Whimsy calculated where deep system sweeps. I was being hunted.

All this time I’d been in touch with an old friend from Lugh over secure comms. I just know him as Charybdis and having seen him in combat I could see why; I was there naively defending the democratic ideal and I did that right up to the point Halsey murdered 9,000 innocent people, but Charybdis, well he’s different, he’s an interesting chap with complex motivations and I’m glad he was on the same side as me. We were talking when the deal started to go bad and I don’t mind admitting that I found myself wishing he was a lot closer than 150lys away when it did. He asked if I’d thought about jumping out and I’d by lying if I said that right at that point I was contemplating just that but with my thumb hovering over the FSD button, the Whimsy pipped up to notify me she had analysed the small & weak signals and identified one with a 97.64% probability of being the can I was out there for so I took the chance and went for it.

Let me tell you, she may be a new bird but the Whimsy didn’t let me down, I found the can (along with some others pinging away as ProtoTech), scooped and started the countdown to Dulos in less than a minute. When the Old Man said ‘fast’ I took him at his word.

I was 10k from Wilson when I began a manual system shut down ready for a silent dock and I’m glad I did. Maybe I haven’t stopped listening to that nerve after all, or maybe something about being double-crossed and hunted sharpens one’s focus, because just as I went black a wing of DDP long range fighters dropped out and began to fan out along clear search vectors all around the station approach. I was off sensors but I still had to contact the station which can be risky but I had one last thing in my favour – the Old Man had the berth pre-arranged and so I hit boost once and sailed past the DDP ships and patrolling SysSec like a whisper straight through the toast rack and to my pad. At times like that I like to imagine the faces of the ATC guys in the con tower, poor bastards.

I’m docked now, the cans long gone, removed from my hold and whisked away by a waiting ghost ground crew. No interactions between us took place with all authentications occurring over secure data comms leaving no records behind so that to all intents and purposes nothing happened and the records exist to can prove just that. In the meantime I’ve started the Whimsy on a self-diagnosis protocol just in case the Adder has transmitted any surprises and made myself a cup of tea while I wait, wait and think. Who the hell set me up and why? The OWP? The DDP? The like the DDP for it over the OWP but I can’t say I trust either of them. It’s starting to look like Dulos isn’t as ready for my return as I thought.

I think I need to talk to an old friend over a very, very secure comm channel. Maybe he can make some sense of this mess and then, after I’ve had some sleep, I’ll pick up these waiting messages from Paws, the explorer I met months ago as he headed out into deep space. I wonder what he wants?

 
 

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Commander’s Log [Cmdr William Gearwright] : [ISDV Canonical Whimsy] : [Dulos/Dulos 6/Wilson Ring] : [3301/04/12]

[Report Summary] Back in Dulos under an Antfarm Consolidated light haulage and inter-system recovery contract.

[Manifest] Mostly running small cargo loads around the Dulos 30ly volume.

[Incidents] Nothing to report in Dulos

[Signed] Cmdr William Gearwright of the ISDV Canonical Whimsy (Core Dynamics Eagle Mk2), Antfarm Consolidated of Dulos.


[Private Entry/Decrypted/DDr67yty-RltY3649] [embeds enabled] I dreamt of Lugh again last night. The cockpit was full of molten plastic and rolling fire and the Echo was tumbling wildly, crashing through a field of frozen people spilling out of an exploding transport. I don’t think I need a frelling shrink to tell me the hidden meaning there. Frelling Feds. I ploughed their blood money into an Asp I christened the Pharos Brightly and left the Echo mothballed in Jameson Memorial to tak the Phaors out into the black. She is beautiful, beautiful and fierce but stained so I spent a month running humanitarian aid until I hooked up with a group of traders and helped them run supplies to a series of remote colonies. Eventually our joint routes took me back within kissing range to the edge of the Dulos volume so I left the group and headed back home.

By the time I saw the sunrise over Six I figured I’d been away from my home for months and a lot has changed. The Defence Party are still in charge and running their newly independent system with an an iron fist but the old Green Party are making a small comeback. Most surprising is that the Oluf Worker’s Party has now become the third power in the system and they hold one of the renamed stations, “Saunder’s City”. Actually, the Oluf Reds aren’t the most surprising thing, that honour is taken by the he fact every frakking station has been renamed! Brunton Gateway is now Wilson Ring, named after the DDP leader, Jing Wilson. Richard Brunton was the first frelling human to ever walk on the surface of Six and the DDP just wipe his name off the map for a cheap piece of self-aggrandising political theatre. Frak me!

Still, at least I’m no longer likely to be rounded up by the DDP police and accidentally fall out of an airlock. The Old Man was glad to see me and has been in touch with my family out of system to arrange their passage home, In the meantime he’s put me on some deep system salvage jobs but the fact he’s asked me to spec up “something fast as frak that can go black in an instant” makes me think the “salvage” will be white hot. I don’t mind though, the Old Man doesn’t deal in slaves and as long as I don’t have to kill anyone I’m happy to be sneaking things under the radar for a while.

Right now I need some sleep. I’ve popped the meds so at least if I do dream tonight I’ll not remember them and then tomorrow I can concentrate on my manifest. To be honest, it’s going to be nice to be a can jockey again.

[Upgrades] The Echo I left in Jameson, she’ll be safe there and at some point I’ll hitch a ride out and bring her home. The last thing I did was strip out all the crap I’d put in there for war and she’s a trading vessel once more. I considered ditching her weapons but given I wasn’t that far away from Lave, Leesti, and the Code I decided against it. The Pharos is in Wilson Ring, ready for the Old Man to put me back on large jobs. The Grass was gone, lost in the chaos of the fall of the Greens so I had to start again with the Whimsy but I didn’t mind as it gave me a chance to build an Eagle for something other than killing. I visited the Turir shipyards and spent the last of the Federation combat bonds on upgrading her engines and plant. I reduced the shielding and instead added a cell bank, the idea is that I’ll not be staying around for a fight, I just need to be fast enough, and my shields alive long enough, for me to get the hell out. She has 8 tons of cargo space so I can pick up enough of whatever I am asked to and a 4t fuel tank so I can shift it across a decent volume. I decided against a scoop as there are enough outposts I can refuel at but I did add a heat sink for when I have to hide. If I can’t hide and I have to run then I’ve also fitted a mine layer to seriously frak up anyone on my tail. Again, I’m not looking to kill but I need to get in and out damn fast and after Lugh and,well, that suits me just fine.

 
 

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The Beep Beep Boop post editing system seems a bit… shit, if I’m honest.

I didn’t mind when WordPress added in the Beep Beep Boop alternate post editing page because there was a link that said “Click me if you want to use the old editing page” and when I clicked it the Beep Beep Boop page went the fuck away like a bad smell being sucked out of a car window.

But now that link is no more! WordPress, annoyed with their users failure to love the ginger step child they have created after one too many expensive hipster coffee jams, have decided we must all be forced to use the Beep Beep Boop Bollocks because we are too fucking stupid and ungrateful to know what is best for us.

Sigh. Look, I love you WordPress. I even loved you enough to move my blog from Google and I bloody love Google! But blocking me from using a perfectly good dashboard in favour of the bag of poo that Beep Beep Boop seems to be related to is not my idea of repaying my slavering, blind love. No, making me use Beep Beep Boop means that I can no longer get a simple wp.me link (something that took 2 seconds and now takes a lot longer and involves sharing to a tweet and then C&Ping the wp.me link out of that tweet so I can post it somewhere useful) and I can no longer copy a post (something I had come to rely on hugely as it saved me much time and help ensure I didn’t miss tabs and categories).

It turns out I can get back to the old dashboard and posting format by using the following link (https://headburroantfarm.wordpress.com/wp-admin/) but really that is a faff and WordPress is becoming very faffy these days.

As much as it pains me to say it, it may well be time to quit WordPress once and for all and head over to Blogger again. It’s been a good 10 years WP, but frankly my time is limited and my patience wears thinner with age. I’m going to have a peek over the hill and see if the grass is any greener (and if Google have stopped Blogger being a fugly sack of kak). I might stay, I might not. Loyalty isn’t what it once was, but that runs both ways I think you’ll find.

 
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Posted by on 12 April, 2015 in Blog Stuff, Other Blogs, WordPress

 

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Elite Dangerous: A Burro muses on employment in 3300 (aka “Will Merc For Food!”)

Elite Dangerous: A Burro muses on employment in 3300 (aka “Will Merc For Food!”)

It struck me today that most employment opportunities in Elite Dangerous currently boil down to being a mercenary and this, to me at least, is a shame because it of limits the potential of the ‘open’ part of the open world of ED.

Now by mercenary I don’t just mean a hired gun, although if you look at almost any bulletin boards you’ll find no end of kill missions ranging from the more-or-less morally agreeable “Kill pirate scum to increase system security & prosperity” type all the way to the border-line-psycho “kill civilian ships to see the system descend into civil war” type. No, what I also mean is that unless you are the type of Cmdr who is happy to lock their beliefs to one system faction and work to benefit them at the expense of their rivals then you will no doubt find yourself whoring yourself out to multiple factions of opposing views and stances. In effect, whether you are fighting, trading, exploring or even mining, unless you are bound to one faction you are a merc pure and simple and that seems like a shame to me because binding to one faction limits just what you can currently do in the game and the effect that work can have on the universe.

Now maybe the upcoming “Power Play” update will fix these issues but as FD aren’t giving anything away about it no one knows, but what I’d like to see added at some point are the following:

  • A deeper way of working with and for a faction and for that work to actually have an impact in the system and therefore the universe. At the moment I don’t get a feel that what I’m doing is having any benefit at all and so is there any need to concern myself with doing it at all?
  • Companies and Corporations players can set up and bring other players into work with and for – I have my own RP version in Antfarm Consolidated but it’s just more RP vapour right now. Still, I would love it to be actually in the game and working to influence factions in a system (or systems!).
  • Navy jobs to be more than just merc jobs – the navy would want to recruit the best of the best and not have these chosen few working for the enemy as we all can do now with little to no upset. To be honest I couldn’t care less about a military career in the game but damn the RP that would come from those that do would be amazing!
  • Missions to be more… more… well, just more of everything really. Currently they are dull, repetitive, dead-end grinding and I want them to be interesting, expansive and dynamically altering to actually make them seem like they are branching and evolving. I don’t think words can express how much I hate the current missions structures in ED but some of those words would be swear words that rhymed with duck.
  • Wars to be more war-like with actual changes to a system rather than just a few scattered combat zones and check points because right now a system in conflict is system with a split personality disorder.
  • Expansion to be dynamic and… expansive. I want to move with companies and factions as they expand rather than just be stuck in my chosen system supporting my chosen faction by means of taking their dull as ditch water missions forever.

Most of all, and what underpins these rough, quick ideas, is that I don’t want to be a mercenary. I don’t want to spend the rest of my time in ED just selling my cargo hold or my guns to whoever can pay the most. No, I want my participation to be driven by more than money in my account – I want it to be driven by me and my choices. I want Power Play to give me the opportunity to shape the universe instead of the universe just shaping me.

UPDATE (09/04/15): Not long after I posted this the FD main Dev posted this about missions in the Power Play update: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=135952

 
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Posted by on 9 April, 2015 in Elite Dangerous, Games

 

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Elite Dangerous: A Burro muses on spaceships and the hiring thereof…

Elite Dangerous: A Burro muses on spaceships and the hiring thereof…

I’m not a rich man and can only afford a wee run-around type of car but I love it all the same. It gets me to and from work, it takes me and the kids to parties and swimming lessons, and, as long as the destination is within the UK, it transports all of us to a much needed holiday cottage for a week or two of relaxation. But it is not perfect. When I need to move furniture or take loads of rubbish to the tip I am scuppered because the wee run-around just isn’t up to the job and at these times I do the only thing that is available to me – I borrow my dad’s Volvo estate! Wait. Hold on, that wasn’t my point. Let me try that again. *ahem* And at these times I do the only thing that is available to me – I hire a van from a car hire place!

So picture me sat at the flight controls of my beloved Cobra, the Vestigial Echo, in Abe Dock about to join a trade wing. Everybody is bringing their Type 7s and 9s with hundreds of tons of cargo space and I have a measly 32 tons to offer. What I need is a trading ship to switch to but woe is me, I don’t have the credits to buy and outfit one (and even if I did, that would mean 15-45 minutes out of the game sorting it all out) and that means I’m relegated to flying support instead of trading up with the big boys. What can I do?

Now picture me scrolling through the bulletin board in a rusty old sidewinder after one too many docking accidents. Imagine I’m a skilled combat pilot down on his luck and looking to get hold of some cash quickly when I see a mission to take out Ca’pn Blue Nose, the vilest pirate lord in all the sector and there is a huge C150k bounty on offer. Alas! I’m in a bloody sidewinder and can’t afford a new ship! Am I doomed to grind up through the ranks again? The horror!

What about being stuck out on the edge of human space and I need to get back to Sol in  a hurry but all I have is my short-range combat Viper because I’m on patrol duties for the Navy? DAMN IT!

And what if I need to explore a small but distant volume of space but don’t want to hack’n’slash my trading Asp to turn it into an exploration craft? NOOOOOOOOO!

Well, my solution to this would be to hire a ship. Stations should have the facility for Cmdrs to rent a ship kitted out to their specifications for a certain period of time. The hire would cost money and there would be an insurance bond that would be returnable if the craft is undamaged post-use, as would any fines for late return and accident prone, careless or unlucky Cmdrs would have higher hire & insurance costs. This way all Cmdrs would have a greater flexibility of mission participation and we would all get the opportunity to fly the ships we will mostly likely never have enough money to buy, own & run.

Personally I can’t see a downside to this idea – can you? Let me know below :)

 
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Posted by on 8 April, 2015 in Elite Dangerous, Games

 

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At last! A (good/accurate) trailer for Elite: Dangerous

It’s taken a while but Frontier Developments have finally put out a trailer that is both exciting *and* true to actual gameplay. Well done FD :D

Elite: Dangerous Wings Trailer: https://youtu.be/23GEX4pYL9w

 
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Posted by on 14 March, 2015 in Elite Dangerous, YouTube

 

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Meanwhile, in Minecraft… Watch that last step…

So I fell off a cliff and plunged to my death and that was dumb. But to have this fella waiting at the bottom to dance on my blocky corpse was just mean!

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Posted by on 12 March, 2015 in MCPE, Minecraft

 

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