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    Thread: Making a Living, an XTC story

    1. #1
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      Cool Making a Living, an XTC story

      Making a Living..an XTC Story


      Chapter 1: Good Friends


      Sam Harris drifted to a stop in the dock at the trading center. His ship was well into it's second lifetime, as he liked to call it, after having been salvaged from space and rebuilt slowly into a working fighter again. He had begged, borrowed and stole parts to get it up and running, but after the shot up Elite he tried pushing around the sector, this was a miracle right when it was needed.

      He had been on a mission to escort a convoy from Sirius 2 to Sirius 3 when the pirates attacked and he got three ships before they nearly finished him off. But the sector security men were right there and finished the job for him and miracle of miracles, left him a nice gift, a shot up Deathclaw. With two guns still working but only a 30 mps speed before repairs.

      It looked really good sitting there though, since his Elite would never be worth flying again, and even after moving across in his suit, it looked great when he got inside and added his codes. The interior was luxurious compared to what he was used to, and he got to work fixing a few things before even taking it to the nearest station. He sent his Elite ahead, after taking everything off it he could use and he started back towards the trading station and his paycheck for getting the ships in in one piece. They called as he approached and thanked him for his work and he was paid the 100k they offered him and one man said it looked like he made out pretty well, he even got a new ship, but Sam was quick to tell him it was far from ready to fly, but he still smiled as he docked and got out and looked back at it sitting there.

      That was 6 months ago, and now Sam was well known in his new ship and he did several missions where he was certain his old Elite couldn’t have gotten him through. Convoy protection missions, patrols of sectors and even bounty hunter missions, all managed to get him closer and closer to his dream, owning a corvette and doing those really, really big paying jobs. Just a few of those and he could retire, as if he'd really do it, at 23 he wasn't even thinking that way, and he smiled as he went into the restaurant he usually ate at and got a good meal.

      He had barely started eating when some friends walked in, John Burk and Phil Harris, Sam's brother, each coming in from some mission or other and they saw him sitting there all alone and helped themselves to a seat.

      “Hey, Sam still alive I see.” He heard as they sat down.

      “Look who's talking,you still doing those bounty missions for the Boron? I swear, they'll get you killed yet.” Sam said as they all laughed. It was a good thing having friends and relatives in the business, they could sit and just talk about work and still get a good laugh out of it. They understood that life can be short sometimes, and you need to make due with whatever you can get and enjoy it to the max.

      “Up to 150k today, that's not chicken feed.” Phil said as Sam nodded, and went on eating.

      “So, the pirates haven't come and repossessed your ride yet huh?” Sam heard as he started to laugh, if they were coming, they'd have been here by now, so he felt pretty safe.

      “Not yet, and I'm not giving it up without a fight. Besides if they wanted it, they'd have been here months ago. Nope, I don't think it's worth their time to track down one old Deathclaw, out of all those they lose in a week.” Sam said as they all laughed and the waitress walked over smiling too.

      “Hello, boys, what will it be?” she asked and they both ordered a good meal and she walked away.

      “I thought you were going to ask her out sometime?” Phil asked as his friend shook his head ,no.

      “Tried that, got shot down worse than a Disco against a frigate, one shot, one kill.” he said as they all smiled... at least he tried, but Sam was getting picked on a lot for not even trying.

      “That's how you learn, from experience,” Phil said as they all nodded and he looked at Sam and nodded his way.”not like some people.” And the two of them started laughing again.

      “I have all the time in the world, and women are too dang expensive to keep around for too long.” Sam said as he looked up to see the lady dropping off their food giving him the evil eye. “No offense intended.” he added quickly as she gave him a quick but very fake grin and walked away looking upset.

      “Be careful or you'll get us thrown out of here like that.” Phil mentioned as they smiled and Sam gave them a hard look.

      “Who started it?” he asked as he looked around quickly and hurried to finish his meal before something else happened.

      “You're just too easy,” John said as Phil nodded agreement and they started to eat as well.

      “I wouldn't tell you if I had someone, animals like you.” Sam said as they stopped eating to look up and he gave them a wide grin and walked away.

      “Is he straight?” John asked after he was gone and Phil nearly choked on his food.

      “Yes, he's straight... just dang picky, too picky if you ask me, no one can live up to his standards.” he admitted as John nodded he understood, he was one of THOSE guys and he thought for sure Sam would live a long, and lonely life out here on the frontier.

      So many ships, so little time

    2. #2
      High Tension Thinker AKA Genius at work krm398's Avatar
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      Chapter 2: Family

      Sam's whole family moved out here when the new gate was opened and they did OK, if not for that, he'd have been dead long ago. Once, he got shot up and had to limp back in his Elite with a gut wound and was off for a month, but when he came out to see his ship, it had been repaired while he was laid up, and Phil just said that he had to work, because no one was going to support him and he laughed and shook his hand in thanks.

      The next time, it was John who was hurt and his Buster was totaled, but Sam and Phil did a job each in his name and he managed to get another Buster when he got better and it held together until he got the Skate he had now. They were best friends, family and business associates all in one,and together they had been a lot of places and seen more than anyone in their family before them. The new frontier was a blessing, with more work than a thousand pilots could do in a lifetime, and they knew with a little luck they'd retire rich men out here, and Phil had a spot all picked out for his first station, and someone to live there with him.

      “Your a lucky man,” Sam told him the day he was introduced to Phil's new lady and Phil nodded he agreed. She was young and pretty and a hard worker, working for her uncle at a parts supply store... she saw them all from time to time, since they did all their own repairs and they managed to get a discount for being such good customers.

      “Someday, I'll take you out of here, and we'll own our own station and run our own business, you'll see.” Phil told her and she smiled wide and said she'd wait for him... but they dated pretty seriously and there was once or twice when they weren't sure they'd be waiting much longer but it blew over and they went on, but it became clear she was watching for her chance and Phil nodded when the guys mentioned it. The lady was in love and at just the right age to have children and even he saw it coming from a mile away. If he could just get those few more missions, and he'd make it, but his idea of a station was a good one, and he needed a few million and never quite made it there, at least not yet.

      Sam was in the equipment dock in Sirius Prime when he heard his radio crackling loudly while he was outside, loading some dragonfly missiles he had bought. He finished the job, and paid for them and stepped inside and heard a voice screaming for him and he dropped into his seat and answered it. John and Phil had taken a mission in Miners Aspiration to patrol the sector, not a bad thing... it was way out there and not too many people were usually in it. But something was happening and they were getting stomped badly and he dropped away from the station and said he was on the way. The local military captain heard it too, and called that they'd be there... just hold them off, and Sam thanked him and jumped in.

      What he saw made him sick, the pirates took this very minute to jump in and try and take the sector, there were ships of nearly every size and shape and Sam swore as he jumped on a few medium fighters that ran his way. He saw Phil off the side, dealing with some fighters there, and John was way over next to the other gate, shooting up a pair of bombers and dodging a couple heavy missiles.

      “Well, look who's here, hey bro, thanks for the help.” Phil called as Sam looked angry on the coms link.

      “Did you know this was on the way?” he demanded as Phil looked hurt while ducking and weaving between ships and firing as fast as his power would allow him.

      “Are you NUTS!?” This was supposed to be a 75k patrol mission, but this is just crazy, when is the cavalry going to get here anyways?” he asked as Sam laughed for a second and dodged a missile that went running by.

      “They're coming, but we got to hold out until then.” he said as Phil nodded and the link went closed.

      Sam got hit hard for a second and he turned to see an Eclipse running up from behind and he made a quick dive and avoided most of it. They danced back and forth for a while each using every trick they knew to get a better shot, but Sam was winning and after the armor started flying off the big fighter, a coms message came on and Sam smiled wide as a big Split that gave him the evil eye and said he wouldn’t forget this, and he jumped out leaving the ship drifting to a stop a few kilometers away. Sam didn’t have time to worry about it though and after killing a few more smaller ships, the Navy jumped in with a corvette patrol and a frigate and the guys cheered as the pirates jumped away and everyone took a deep breath for the first time in a while.

      “Alright you eight balls, get to looting those cargoes, since you aren't getting the big bucks for the mission lets see if we can make it up.” Sam said as they cheered and Sam went looking for his ship and found it back next to the east gate where it had drifted after the battle. He moved across and made it his and then ordered it to follow him back and he started going towards Sirius Prime again and scanned the big ship to see what else he got for free.

      It had a full set of shields and Sam was amazed that the pilot had surrendered so quickly. It had two HEPT's in the turrets and a jump-drive unit installed and Sam decided he would remember that Split too, and hope he was flying something this nice the next time they met. If he had picked a ship better than the Deathclaw to get, this was it, and after some serious deliberations, he sold his old ship and put all it's weapons and software onto this new one and it truly was a bigger ship, and he took a little time to practice flying it before going to eat. He had made a lot of money considering what he gained but he spent a lot too, repairs for this hull were not cheap, so he did everything he possibly could himself and kept the price down a little and his old ship covered it with a little to spare.

      So many ships, so little time

    3. #3
      High Tension Thinker AKA Genius at work krm398's Avatar
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      Chapter 3: Making it Up


      While Sam was getting lucky on his side of the sector, Phil and John were running from cargo container to cargo container looking for something worth salvaging.

      “Ha,ha, a set of PAC's,” John called as Phil laughed at him from a few kilometers away. “that nearly doubles my pay.”

      “Got you there, one cargo, one PBE, now that's making some cash.” Phil said as John yelled at him for taking all the good stuff.

      “A case of dragonfly missiles, 4,” John called a minute later as Phil said he was doing good but he stopped for a minute and John wondered what made him so quiet all of a sudden and he saw Phil running as quickly as possible towards the other gate and John called to him and asked what he was doing and what was wrong.

      “I thought so,” Phil said as John waited,” medium cargoes,full cases of heavy missiles, looks like your bomber dropped some after the battle,” he said as John yelled he had sneaked in on him before he could get there.

      “How many, 5 or 10 maybe?” he asked as Phil sat back all grins and John knew he had missed something big.

      “52,” Phil said slowly as John ran towards him and he sat there, where two more cargoes still floated nearby. One with 12 in it and another with 23, and they looked shocked beyond belief.

      “It's millions in missiles,” John said as Phil nodded and told him he could have the rest and he thanked him and started gathering as Phil started back towards the core sectors.

      “I have something important to do,” Phil said as John smiled. He had worked hard and been just a little short for his station for months now,but today made it up and he knew exactly where he was going and then who he was going to get.

      “Now that's a good day,” John said after a few minutes as he looked at all the loot he had picked up, and he pulled up the map and saw a few more scattered around the sector, but a few mosquito missiles and wasps just weren't worth running around for after getting more than 700k in loot on board and he just smiled and started back letting the locals gather what was left. He could afford to be generous today and he turned on his music and sat back humming to himself as he flew back home a happy man.

      Sam finally stopped for the day and went to eat, and saw John sitting, laughing and talking to anyone who would listen about the day he had. The waitress even left it slide for a little while until Sam joined him and she made sure they knew that other customers weren't as lucky as they were and didn’t need to hear them all the way across the room.

      “So, Sam what did you get out of all this? I got 700k in missiles and guns from the salvage, and Phil did better than me. I think you have a sister in law by now the way he was running towards home.”John said as Sam smiled, he had accepted her as that a long time ago, but he was happy for Phil to finally have some good luck.

      “An Eclipse,” Sam said as John's voice drifted slowly to a stop and seemed to lose his will to brag for a minute there.

      “You damn Harris's, I swear, you can fall in it and come out with gold in your teeth.” He said finally as Sam just laughed. It was the second time in just over a year that he got a bigger and better ship, and John was never going to let him live it down.

      “A guy has to make a living,” was all Sam said as John finally just smiled and nodded he agreed. 700k wasn't a new ship but it made their original mission look pale by comparison, and he decided that alone was worth bragging about.

      “Considering you weren't even in on the mission to start, I'd say you did pretty well,” John said as Sam toasted to his luck with his coffee cup and they both laughed until the waitress offered to show them the door,and they quieted down and ate their meals.

      After they finished eating they went back and Sam showed John his new ship and he was impressed and finally Sam asked something he had been wondering about for a while.

      “Phil always wanted a big fancy station for him and Alice, and I always wanted a corvette to do bigger missions with, what is it your working towards, can I ask?” he asked as John stopped bragging and looked serious for a minute.

      “A TM class transport ship,” he said as Sam looked surprised, he had seen them around now and again but they were nothing more than big freighters made for hauling fighters around.

      “A transporter? The ship you have now is worth more than that, you could have one tomorrow.” Sam said as John just smiled.

      “But, here's the tricky part,” John said looking around to see if anyone was listening,” I'll get myself a couple engineers and mechanics and then all the best repair beams I can get, and make sure it's shields are maxed out, and speed and navigation, and when guys like you disable good solid ships in battles, I'll run around the edges and claim them, making millions in fighter ships from salvage.” he said as Sam had to admit, if he had waited just a little longer someone might have grabbed up his new ship before he got back, and once it was disabled it would have been totally legal to do it, 'first come first served' was the rule and he saw John was thinking ahead.

      “Not bad, not bad at all,” Sam said finally as John nodded all smiles, it was true he was nearly ready and today made it just that much closer.

      So many ships, so little time

    4. #4
      TXU Sr. Member Admiral Scoobing's Avatar
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      Im likeing this storey so far whens the next installment ?

      Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life

      Between two evils, I always pick the one I haven't tried before.

    5. #5
      High Tension Thinker AKA Genius at work krm398's Avatar
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      WOW, Scooby sad something about a story for a change, havent seen you around fro a while, hope things are going well for you..the story is being dropped a chapter at a time every two days, its not real long, at least not so far, and It's hard havening me try to write for XTC, its a bit more dark and sad then some of the stuff I've done, but I'm giving it a shot.

      So many ships, so little time

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      Well keep it up.. Im liking this one.

      I play XTC myself so having a story based in my world adds some extra enjoyment :-)

      Keep up the great work.

      A middle aged X Universe Junkie

    7. #7
      TXU Sr. Member Admiral Scoobing's Avatar
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      well yea ive not been about for a while i did my back in and couldn't sit at a desk to log on my Pc so i was "on holiday" for a couple of months but im back now

      Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life

      Between two evils, I always pick the one I haven't tried before.

    8. #8
      High Tension Thinker AKA Genius at work krm398's Avatar
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      at your age you should know you cant do all those weird positions you did as a kid...lol ok, heres todays post.


      Chapter 4: Growing Up


      Sam shook John's hand and wished him luck, and then backed away from the station and into space. He had a good meal in him and hours to go before he felt like sleeping, so he went looking for trouble, and with the money he spent on the repairs, he needed some credits badly.

      Everyone was doing good, and he saw someday having that ship he wanted, but truth be told, this Eclipse was the closest thing to a corvette he thought he could get. Only bigger shields made the difference since it had more turrets than average and good power for weapons. It had very nearly the firepower of a corvette, and he wasn't going to miss one for a while yet.

      John and Phil were nearly at their final goals but Sam knew he was a long ways off. He told everyone his goal was a corvette, but that was only the first part, and like Phil he had bigger dreams. His ship had mineral scanners on board and he made a few extra credits scanning and making maps of asteroid fields and selling them to miners. It wasn't something he told everyone but it paid the bills once or twice, and having a second income never hurts especially when you might be laid up for weeks on end. He also wanted a nice place and a good secure future, but his was different, he wanted to start a mining corporation, not just a mine, but a series of them that could serve the frontier for decades to come, and his mapping covered him for picking out the very best asteroids that he could find anywhere, and they were never included on any maps he sold.

      Sam pulled up his private mining map and looked, he had three asteroids he saved for himself so far,two silicon with at least 50% on each and one ore, with 62% on it. These would last a long time and he had almost started one a week or two ago when all this talk came up, but he knew the second he did the Traders Guild and every Union in space would be after him to join and he just wasn't ready for that yet, so he waited and now all that extra cash went into fixing up the Eclipse, and he needed to rebuild his accounts before he could even consider it.

      He was flying along when he heard a call and looked down to see a friend on the coms link.

      “Sam is that you? Where did you get that?” he asked as Sam laughed. He had a freight company and did freight runs from sector to sector and Sam had escorted him many times, and been well paid for it.

      “Left overs from a pirate attack in Miners Aspiration,” Sam said as the man smiled and nodded.

      “I heard about that, dang pirates are getting more violent every day. It's so a man can't make an honest living anymore.” He said sadly as Sam agreed.”So, are you busy right now? I have 4 ships going to Sirius 3, and could use an escort.”

      They talked money for a minute and Sam agreed and pulled in next to the lead freighter.

      “Your not hauling anything that'll get me killed are you?” Sam, asked as the man laughed out loud.

      “The way things are today that could be anything, depends on where those buggers feel like jumping in next.” he said as Sam agreed and they flew along for a little while until they got to the gate.

      “I'll pop through, wait here I'll call if it's clear,” Sam said as the man agreed and his convoy stopped by the gate and Sam ran through. He looked around and saw nothing bad so he sent them a signal and in a minute they jumped in and they all started towards the station.

      “Looks like easy money today,” Frank said as Sam nearly slapped him across the coms link and Frank looked shocked he had said that. It was an old superstition that you never brag until the missions over and he had stepped in it a little too early for Sam's taste and he got really quiet until they were ready to dock and the first ship dropped down to the station.

      “Looks like we made it, Sam your moneys been transferred.” he said as Sam thanked him and turned to go, but in an instant a wave of red showed up on the scanners and Frank yelled for everyone to get docked.

      “Those aren't pirates, their Khaak!” Sam called as Frank swallowed hard and dove for the base. Unless they were loaded with some experimental weapons or something this was nothing more than a coincidence, and Sam knew it, they had no reason to attack freighters now, they weren't at war just small skirmishes, and he happened to fall into one.

      “Two docked two to go,” he heard as they screamed towards him and he attacked the first wave of light fighters and they disappeared in an instant. The second wave were a little bigger and he killed several before they got one past him and he put a missile on it and went on. “we're all in you can go Sam” he heard but it wasn’t that simple because without any other ships, he was now the target, and he went on, killing anything near him until only two ships remained and they seemed much slower than the rest and he pulled back to get his shields back up.

      Sam scanned the two ships and waited for his shields, the one was a standard heavy but the other was something new he had never seen and the scans showed it looked like two heavies connected together, and he saw this as them testing new weapons and ships and he took a deep breath and dove back in. The heavy went up first and Sam was still doing OK, but the last ship had turrets and Sam took some hits, it seemed slower than him and that helped and he made a few passes and finally it exploded just as his turrets hit it from the rear. He got a good scan of it and called and left Frank know it was all clear, and then jumped back to Sirius Prime to call the Navy and ask if they had seen anything like this before.

      So many ships, so little time

    9. #9
      High Tension Thinker AKA Genius at work krm398's Avatar
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      Darker, more violent, people using and abusing each other to make a buck, or for their own reasons,ah,yes...XTC, a game for the ages..lol.

      So many ships, so little time

    10. #10
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      very cool keep it up

      Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life

      Between two evils, I always pick the one I haven't tried before.

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