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Aragon Speed
11-03-2007, 11:01 AM
Ok, I thought I would jump on the creative bandwagon and get involved. :D

This story was inspired by the Traders tales series over on the ES forums, and by ezra-r.

This is a rough first draft that once I have finished the full story will be polished and combined into a full .pdf e-book.






Chapter 1: The Discovery


Tarron sat still in his old beaten up buster and stared out of the cockpit window at the jumpgate in front of him. It led to an unknown sector, one that had yet to be explored. No Argon had as yet entered this sector. The only reason anyone knew of its existence was because an automated long-range scout probe had briefly gone through the gate and then immediately returned. The scout’s scanners had picked up some asteroids on the other side of the gate, but that was on gravidar, there were no pictures to tell anybody what the sector looked like.

It was these asteroids that had brought Tarron out this far. The sector he was in now was called Yurikazi, which was full of asteroids, but his father also wanted a scan of the asteroids in the next sector. Yurikazi was on the very outskirts of known space connected buy the jumpgate system, and was two jumps away from Taiho, the last sector along this branch of the gate system which had any population at all, and that was only five stations worth. There was a solar power plant, two silicone mines, a crystal fab, and his fathers’ single ore mine. The sector was so far out that it didn’t even qualify for it’s own trading station, and finding a mammoth pilot that was willing to go through the Yaki sectors between Taiho and more populated sectors was a task in its self.

Tarron roused himself from his musings and looked at the gate again. Being this far out made him nervous. The buster might have been old and beaten up looking, but the systems were all working at maximum efficiency. This was mainly down to Tarron’s skills as an engineer. Unlike his father, he wasn’t much of a miner, but with an innate understanding of how mechanical objects worked he could dismantle, fix, and rebuild any machinery known to man. A useful skill when you lived this from the nearest shipyard.

The weapons on the buster were almost at the maximum it could hold. He had four beta particle accelerator cannons, and two alpha PAC’s at his command. His father had wanted all six weapons to be beta PAC’s, but Tarron had refused. He felt that the extra firepower the two extra betas would have given him was far outweighed by the extra energy drain they caused over the alphas. It makes no difference how powerful your weapons are if you don’t have enough juice to fire them. If the worst came to the worst, he could always shut the betas down and use the alphas and strafe engines to keep an opponent busy enough for his energy reserves to recover.

All this didn’t make Tarron any more confident about going into the next sector. This would take him another jump away from anyone that might be able to help if he got into trouble. That meant trouble of any kind; this far out a system breakdown would be just as disastrous as being attacked by another ship. In fact probably more so, if he was attacked he could at least fight back, but if his engine broke down he would be stuck out here floating about aimlessly, not a situation that promotes long life when there are asteroids about.

Tarron mentally shook himself, and pointing the nose of the buster at the very centre of the jumpgate he opened the throttle slightly - before he scared himself into not going. He would never live that one down back aboard station. He wouldn’t get told off, oh no, a telling off would be quite nice, all over and done with quickly. No, his father would quite understanding.

What he would not be able to face were the jokes and sardonic comments he would get for the following three months.

The nose of the buster touched the activation plane. A quick flash and he was in the next sector. Before he had even looked out of the cockpit window, Tarron had turned the buster around ready to make a hasty exit if the need should arise. He glanced at the gravidar and relaxed a little as it was showing nothing but asteroids right to the edge of his triplex scanner range. Turning around in his seat, he also made a visual check that there was nothing creeping up behind him. Once satisfied that he was alone, he turned the buster to face into the sector once more, and had a more general look at what faced him.

The sector had an odd look to it. It was not like any other sector he had encountered before. The sector was dark and gloomy, although there was sunlight it was very weak; the sun was probably a long way off. It also seemed to look hazy, as if it was slightly misty in the way that wooded areas are early in the morning on some planets. The haze also seemed to be hiding the stars as none where in view. In contradiction of this though, he could see asteroids in the distance quite clearly. The conflicting bits of information that his eyes were sending to his brain made him feel extremely uncomfortable, as if he wasn’t nervous enough already.

“Right, I’d better get on with this if I want to get back home some time this mazura.” Tarron muttered to himself reproachfully. Then out louder he said “Computer, lock onto the nearest asteroid and scan for mineral density.”

“Nearest asteroid targeted. Mineral scan cannot be initiated. Target out of range.” Replied the dispassionate AI voice of the onboard computer.

Glancing at his HUD Tarron could see that he was 20.6km from the targeted asteroid. Mentally cursing the designers of the mineral scanner and the AI, he nudged the buster towards the asteroid to bring it within the 20km range limit of the mineral scanner.

“0.6 of a kilometre, you would think that the damn scanner would be able to tell you what mineral was in that bloody great lump of rock, even if it could not give you a density reading. Oh no, 20k and that’s your lot mate.” Tarron complained under his breath.

“Ore. 42%” Chimed the computer as the buster came within range.

Tarron glanced at the reading. “Hmm, not bad for the first one, certainly worth sticking another mine on. Assuming we can get someone to bring one out this far that is. I hope the rest are as promising, it might make the trip worthwhile.”

Tarron slowly worked his way around the sector taking readings from the other asteroids. It took a long time without activating his SETA (which he was not about to do in the middle of a bunch of asteroids), between the time taken, and the fact that it was just plain boring work, he slowly got weary. When he had scanned the second to last asteroid, he found that it was the only other one that was worth taking a note of so far.

“Silicone asteroid at 44% density.” Tarron noted out loud. “Right, time for the last one, and then I can go home and sleep for a week.”

Lazily looping the buster around the silicone asteroid, Tarron lined up with the last asteroid and pushed the throttle to maximum. After about 7 mizura he came within range of the final asteroid and ordered the computer to scan it.

“Mineral scan complete. Unknown mineral 4%.” The computer reported.

“What do you mean ‘unknown mineral’?”

“Scan indicates a mineral that is not contained within this ships onboard database. Therefore it is classified as unknown.”

“If it’s unknown, how do you know it is a mineral?”

“Atomic composition indicates a mineral. It is not contained within this ships onboard database. Therefore it is classified as unknown.”

“Yes, OK. I can see that this conversation is going to go in circles and get boring really quickly.” Tarron sighed.

Looking at the gravidar Tarron could see that there was a slight echo signal from the opposite side of the asteroid.

“It’s probably caused by this ‘unknown mineral’.”

Sitting back and rubbing his temples with his fingertips, Tarron considered what he should do next. He could just return home, after all he had scanned all of the asteroids like his father wanted. He had scans of this unknown mineral, his busters database had not been updated since it had been built, so it was entirely feasible that this mineral already had a classification, but it just wasn’t in his database. Should he take a chunk back with him just in case? No, he couldn’t even if he wanted too. He didn’t have anything onboard that he could use to break a piece of the asteroid off with. After all he wasn’t expecting that he might have to go prospecting.

With a heavy, tired sigh, Tarron turned his buster for home. He would connect with the core sectors database when he got back and find out what this mineral was.


Copyright Robin Porter 2007.

**EDIT** Adjust title & added Prefix: Story... Cheers, NC ;) **END EDIT**

Mokonzi
11-03-2007, 11:14 AM
Nice work AS! Very nice! Getting quite a bit of a fan ficiton community going here! :)

Boomshaka
11-03-2007, 11:20 AM
Oh yes, very good descriptive writing, and from the title I'm hoping this one is really going to get interesting... O0

ezra's post has inspired me as well, but it's taking some time.. :cry:

Mapper484
11-03-2007, 11:24 AM
OMG I want more of this! :D

I think its the best story at the moment here. O0

Eliah
11-03-2007, 11:26 AM
I do believe that the sectors and their layout is borrowed from XTM 0.7 universe, right?
Only Question is, is the "unknown mineral" bit also taken from XTM, or is that where the fantasy begins?

But the story is pretty good.

Aragon Speed
11-03-2007, 11:32 AM
I do believe that the sectors and their layout is borrowed from XTM 0.7 universe, right?

Yes, hence the spoiler warning. :wink:


Only Question is, is the "unknown mineral" bit also taken from XTM, or is that where the fantasy begins?

You will have to wait and find out. :evil:

darkwolf77
11-03-2007, 01:43 PM
Great story! Can't wait to read more.

JayKat
11-03-2007, 04:02 PM
Excellent AS. Hope this is going where I think it is :)

Have read Traders Tales, and they were very good. They did tend to drag on a bit in a few places, but were enjoyable nevertheless.

Cheers

Kat

Aragon Speed
12-03-2007, 01:31 AM
Thanks everyone. I'm working on chapter 2 now.

@Kat: I doubt it's going where you think, or maybe it is, but not the way you think. :wink:

Yes the TT do drag in places, but it's hard to keep that pace all the way through a story and get the more in depth parts included as well. :)

JayKat
12-03-2007, 01:41 AM
@Kat: I doubt it's going where you think, or maybe it is, but not the way you think.

What!! :?

Do you mean... the way I think or...the way I think :?: :think:

Kat :)

Edit: or the way I think even. Gawd!!! I'm losing it :paranoid:

Aragon Speed
12-03-2007, 02:02 AM
I ment the story may be going the way you might expect it to after all, but not taking the route you might expect to get there. 8) :wink:

JayKat
12-03-2007, 02:12 AM
Thanks for putting me out of my misery...I wasn't sure if you would understand what I meant. Not that sure I understood it myself :think:

Think it's time for bed :roll:

Kat :wave:

Aragon Speed
12-03-2007, 02:12 AM
Night, night. :wave: :angel:

JayKat
12-03-2007, 02:18 AM
Cheers

Kat :snooze:

Mapper484
12-03-2007, 06:03 PM
You will have to wait and find out.

That means...there is a mission in 0.7 like this story. :o :o

I hope 0.7 will be there on 31.3

Syklon
12-03-2007, 07:37 PM
If AS is talking about what I think he is, it might not be a mission per se, just a bit of a surprise. :evil:

ezra-r
26-03-2007, 06:38 PM
Well, finally I have had time and will to read and I liked this very much, wishing to move to the next chapter.

I was wishing the guy entered the New sector fast! :) Btw.. isnt the scan distance 10km and not 20km as you mention?

Good story, moving to the next!

Legartius
26-03-2007, 11:03 PM
:lol: Whatever happened to artistic license :P (Wasnt it 7? or is that only for comm?)

Aragon Speed
27-03-2007, 09:12 AM
Btw.. isnt the scan distance 10km and not 20km as you mention?

Could be, I thought it was 20, but I didn't bother to check so I could be wrong.

tpower1980
17-07-2008, 08:08 AM
nice start !!..but have some minor typo errors ;) ...moving on to chapter two now

thanks :)

Aragon Speed
17-07-2008, 08:43 AM
Thx M8. It's good to know that people are still finding this and reading it.

This is just a rough first draft. I'll get to those niggles when I come back to it. It's also too short, will probably combine chap 1 + 2 together in the final 'cut'. ;)