Thargoid attacks are something new, but nothing I trouble myself with. I don’t much think picking a fight with aliens is a great plan. But they’ve disrupted trade routes and supply chains. I pass through three systems on my way to Agrippa City that were suffering a shortage of medical supplies.
Hunting pirates preying on those medical transports was the order of the day.
GM Cephei. Why was I in GM Cephei?
I was being followed.
I had thought I was being paranoid. That the number of would-be pirates interdicting me was just unluckily high this week. But I indulged my paranoia once again.
Having your ship ID tags reset and your name obfuscated isn’t cheap. Several select bribes and a crate of Lavian Brandy later and once again I was merely some pilot in some ship plying the space lanes trying to make an easy credit. Using a series of independent and previously unknown brokers I selected a trade route moving easily obtainable goods. Nothing rare or noteworthy. Some medicine going one way, bismuth going another..
I had thought this was going well when the computer starts blaring alarms and the helm pulls like an angry bull. Interdiction. As is customary I throttle down and spare my FTL the stress of trying to evade. I figure, if it’s system security, a quick scan and I’ll be on my way. Unfortunately this wasn’t system security, unless someone in procurement decided that the time-honored Viper wasn’t meeting expectations. A lone Diamondback Scout greeted me with scans and conventional threats. Not a long-range combat vessel, certainly no match for my ship and my skills as a pilot. We danced among the stars for several minutes, his agility was outpacing mine and I was only able to land a sparing few shots but my beams cut deep. Not two minutes later his ship exploded.
The whole time they didn’t shoot back, just what I assumed was the jockeying for position before a well place railgun or plasma cannon shot. My suspicion was validated not ten minutes later when another would-be pirate, this time in something more dangerous, found me. Fortunately I found him on sensors first and made a short jump out-system.
The question became “Who had I pissed off?”
It took me a few days to get out to GM Cephei. A contact I’d made back near Ao Qin was promoted to foreman for a low-key mining opportunity out there. He claimed to have some information. The kind of information you don’t just broadcast over normal channels. He was vague but certainly emphatic that this information would answer a few questions regarding my current plight. In GM Cephei.
Of course I get there and he’s nowhere to be found. Nobody under his name on comm channels. Nobody who had even heard of him. Weird. Suspicious. I didn’t even leave my ship, this was too strange and I’m not inclined to wait for trouble to find me. several thousand light-year from home, I turned around and left about as quickly as I had arrived.