keskiviikko 29. tammikuuta 2014

I got mail?

So I got a couple of emails about my last post, which is great because I didn't know anyone actually cared about my little blog enough to bother writing me. So thanks for that.

Anyway. I decided to comment a bit why I left few loved franchises out of the post yesterday. I did answer you guys personally, so check your inboxes. I just figured out I could save some time if someone new wanders in later.

Almost every mail was about why I mentioned Call of Duty and skipped Battlefield. Well Battlefield didn't really do anything new on the console front. It mostly just took notes from CoD playbook and tuned up the same game I have been playing on PC for long before Xbox 360 or PS3 came along. Even the stuff I have read about BF4 on the new gen consoles don't really have anything I haven't seen already on PC. 64 players? Well it's nice for consoles, but earlier Battlefields allow 128 on PC. A single player campaign? Call of Duty did it better, and I don't really think Battlefield needs one. Call of Duty made console FPS games smooth and fun to play with a pad. If you compare console CoD and the PC version they really don't feel that much different, which is something I never thought I would say because I really suck with a pad on most FPS games. You could argue that Halo did it first, but still CoD honed it to perfection and after that everyone has copied from it. I still don't like the game in general but I have to give it the great controls and addictive multiplayer (if you like that kind of fast paced action).

Next there was Diablo 3. I gotta say I really forgot about that one. It was kinda big deal for consoles as there wasn't any Diablo clones or anything that would really work with a pad as good as with a mouse, so consoles basicly picked up a new genre just like that. I probably forgot to mention it because I didn't really like Diablo 3 that much. Torchlight 2 did it better and actually worked from the start. Console version of D3 fixed most of the annoyances I had with the game, but still I didn't really care about it. Also I don't own a console, so I haven't played the console version much.

The rest were easier to explain. Almost everything else I left out was because they didn't do anything actually new. I don't care how great graphics someone got out of that crappy hardware because I already saw better graphics on PC and I didn't care then. While Telltale made adventure games cool again on the consoles, there has been a lot of adventure games before those. It's just that no one cared. Also you should know by now that I love them and I don't like to repeat it over and over again. Lets see what else there was... Puzzle games pretty much started with consoles so, no matter how good, it's done already. Wii was skipped because Wii U isn't really new gen, but updated version of Wii. Portables were skipped because they aren't changing generations.

There's one thing I really missed as a whole. I forgot that while original Xbox already had a lot of network multiplayer games, it was this generation that really made it work. It might be because I'm just so used to being able to easily play over the net on PC that I didn't think about how big leap it was for console games.

I think I went through everything, but if you like to point out some game that really changed the console gaming just let me know. I know I'm not an expert on this area and I might have missed something important.

For the new readers (is there any?) that haven't seen the old blog: You can contact me at if you have something to say, but don't want to put it in comments.

tiistai 28. tammikuuta 2014

New generation consoles! Yay?

So the new consoles have arrived... well not here, but whatever. I don't really care about consoles as I mostly play on my PC, but there is one thing I love about the new gen: They are more or less just PC:s with unified parts, and finally they start to catch up with the power.

So why is that good for a PC gamer? The guys that make the games don't need to mess with the code too much to make the PC version. We probably won't see GTA IV style fuckups because even some outsourced studio can optimize the code to work with a different kind of PC. Also we don't need to get stuck with some Xbox grade craphics with the goddamn gaming rig thanks to consoles being the primary platform.

No matter how much I hated the old consoles keeping back my games technologywise, I would still like to honor some of the most awesome games of the last generation consoles. This is of course my own opinion and most of these I have only played on PC.

Let the list begin!

Dragon age: Origins - They fucked up the second one, but the original was a great game. In the time of too easy to fail buttonsmashers this one got us back to the roots of action RPG's. Back to the gates of Baldur. While the action was great and didn't pander to the "this is too hard!" -crew, the story was still what took the spotlight. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the next one being more like Origins. I could whine about the console version being easier and whatnot, but I haven't played it much. The thing is that no one would have made that kind of big budget game just for PC at that point.

Mass Effect - Another BioWare game? Oh well. Mass Effect was a great trilogy. Even the ending was ok NO NO HEAR ME OUT! Yes BioWare promised those choices would be with you to the end. Yes those three choices were a friggin' letdown. Yes even the "fixed" ending is nothing we were promised. Still untill that ending it was the best epic sci-fi game I had seen in a long time. I can't thrash the whole story because the last ten minutes weren't what we were promised.

Guitar Hero/Rock band - I know! No one cares about those anymore, but for some time those were just SO much fun. They also showed that unique controllers are not always a bad thing. Maybe someone else makes something even better after the music games did so good.

Call of motherfucking duty: Modern fucking warfare - As much as I hate this game I can't deny it's merits. It showed us that gamepad CAN be used for first person shooters. It took Halo and made it look like Hollywood blockbuster. Thanks to that we will never run out of shooters as long as humanity as a whole doesn't stop loving to shoot things.

Elder scrolls V: Skyrim - Even these machines with low memory and pretty outdated processors could run a huge dynamic world. While I think it would have been even better if it was made only for PC, I can't help but wonder how great job those guys did with those limitations. The game has next to zero loading screens and the world really is dynamic and huge. Still with all the technical problems they didn't forget a great story. I'll skip Fallout: New Vegas because it would be pretty much the same entry.

A couple of good games I loved, but don't know what to write about - GTA V is just obvious, as it's the most grossing entertainment title of all time. Halo started on previous generation and didn't really stay in the game. The Last of Us was great, but at that point there were better games (mechanically) and Telltale had upped the ante on scriptwriting. Mirror's edge was awesome, but it was short and EA decided to can any sequels after their short stint on actually trying to make something new. And while I loved Deus Ex: Human Revolution, because I am biased towards cyberpunk, the boss fights kinda ruined it. Oh and then there's the second franchise from when EA tried not to be moneygrubbing assholes.... Yes Mass Effect and Assassins Creed are both EA games. While I like Assassins Creed I hate what they did with the DLC. Day one is just fucked up.

Anyway. I don't really care about the new gen consoles, but as long as the old ones outnumber the new ones we both (PC and console players) are going to get downgraded games, because they have to work on the old consoles too without too much extra work.

P.s. I might be shipped abroad again. If so I can't update for a while. You will probably be ruined without my regular update schedule...

perjantai 3. tammikuuta 2014

Shut up and take my money!

So I'm sober enough to write again.

If you haven't noticed all the money going away from your account, you might not yet know that Steam holiday sale was going on for the last days of 2013. This year that sale really did a number on my wallet, thanks to all the Greenlight and Early Access games. I think I have about 30+ new games and I only paid about three full price games worth for them, so while I paid quite a lot I got a shitload in return. I haven't yet played even half of those games, but lets see if those I have played were worth those peanuts.


Just one? I only bought one oldschool game for christmas? Oh well I didn't drop by at Good Old Games, so that might explain it. Anyway I picked up Baldur's Gate: Enhanced edition.

Let's start with the good things. The game is the best version you can get "out of the box" thanks to updated graphics and the fact it works on current computers without tweaking. If you have never played Baldur's Gate then you should go and buy this and the second one or I won't be your friend. All the good stuff from BG2 were implemented in this one, so it's way better than the original in more ways than just graphics update.

The problem I have is that I have already seen the mods on the originals. Tutu and Trilogy add way more stuff in these games. They need a bit of tinkering to get working (especially on Vista), but graphics aside they are both better than the enhanced editions. If you are not that computer savvy then these are the best versions of the games, but if you bother to play around with the mods then you should go with the GoG versions and dump Tutu or Trilogy mod on them.

Stuff I already knew was good

Let's make this fast. Theses are the games I had already played and just picked up because they were cheap.

Arma 2 - Operation Arrowhead: Just picked up for DayZ mod

Borderlands 2: Not sure if I wan't to actually play it as last time I was on Pandora I got hooked on all that lewt.

Counter Strike complete collection? Why? I already had 1.6 and Source. I must'v been drunk that night and it was probably really cheap.

Dark Souls - Prepare to die edition: It's just good. Don't whine about the difficulty. It really feels good when you actually survive for once.

Deus Ex - Human revolution: I'm a sucker for cyberpunk, so this was a no-brainer.

Gunpoint: Fun little indie title that gives you a choice of puzzles, but sometimes you can just bash heads and shoot you'r way through if you want. I was on the beta so this wasn't a surprise to me, but I can't say anything bad about the game so go check it out.

Just Cause 2: The new multiplayer mod is more or less working and fun as hell.

Trine 2: Well I have already played this through with a friend, but it was dirt cheap so I picked it up.

Walking Dead season 2: I might have mentioned that I love Telltale games and this is not a disappointment. Just first episode in and I can't wait for the rest.

The surprises

This will take some time as I picked up quite a lot of games just because they were just one or two euros (1€ is roughly 1,2$ nowdays if you prefer dollars.

Don't Starve: There's something in this game that makes me drop back over and over again, even when I get pretty bored of it in a hour or two. It's pretty simple point and click survival game and the fighting/hunting is pure hell. Maybe it's the nice hand drawn graphics and the overall mood of the game, but in any case I can't just stop coming back to it. My current character has been alive for whopping 9 days and that's about as far as I have gotten.

Eldricht: I'm not sure if I should add this in here or not. I didn't really expect anything and I got just a bit more. It's kinda Minecraft without the building and with an actual story/adventure. I wouldn't have paid the normal price for this, but in the end it was better than I thought from the synopsis.

FEZ: Well I finally decided to pick it up. This should have probably gone to the last section because I have heard so much about it that it really couldn't be bad after all that praise. Still I never got the basic consept and why that would be so fun, so it was a surprisingly good game for me. That was kinda same deal as Doctor Who. I had heard a lot of good about it, but I never really wanted to check it out. When I finally did it was great.

Long Live the Queen: This was the ultimate surprise. I picked it up because a friend told me it was a nice little "text adventure roguelike" and didn't cost a shit. It's pretty much multiple choice adventure with RPG elements. You are a princess who is going to be the next queen and your mother has died. Now you need to get ready for your coronation by learning all the stuff you need to rule a country and surviving the Game of Thrones type court plots. Also you are going to die. A lot. Before anyone scratches this off as a girlie game I must point out that the GUY who told me to pick this up is playing it way more than I do. Oh and there's magic, but I usually die pretty soon after I unlock it. If you have played Kudos and liked it this is something like that but way better.

The Stanley Parable: A) I haven't really played this too much yet (about 30-40min). B) I don't usually like artsy/experimental games. Still I have to say it has been great this far. I can't really explain the game's idea because it's something really different, but check the link and by all means buy it. If not for the experimental nature of the game then at least to support that voice actor. You know who I'm talking about if you buy the game.


Those were not nearly all the (probably) good games I picked up but I haven't had time to actually play most of them, so I'll tell about the rest later when I get to it. Also links are to Steam site because this was about Steam sales. I probably should'v linked to the actual sites, but you can google them if you want to know more. I'm lazy.

tiistai 29. lokakuuta 2013

Pen and Paper

Today I will take a bit of a sidestep from my normal computer game rants. A friend of mine dropped some of her stuff at my place for safekeeping, while she lives with her parents untill her apartment goes through some mold repairs. Along that stuff was her old Shadowrun books, so we decided to play again after all this time.

Damn that was fun!

If you don't know what pen and paper RPG's are you have missed a lot. The idea is that the game books give you a new world and gaming rules, and rest is up to the players and the gamemaster. First you make a character. In this case you could pick pretty much any of the basic fantasy races, but the world is set to a cyberpunk future (go watch Blade Runner, Johnny Mnemonic or even Robocop if you don't know what cyberpunk is). After that it's pretty much same as any computer RPG, but there are no limits to what you can try to do and you throw dice when you try to do something. Compared to computer games it requires you to memorize at least some rules and know some basic math, but usually the gamemaster handles most of the heavy lifting. There are no nice graphics. You'r character is just a piece of paper with stats on it (and picture if you can draw). So why is this better than computer RPG's? Imagination! Stories! Freedom!

So what we needed for our little gaming gettogether?

First was tons of dices. Shadowrun uses a metric shit ton of regular six sided dice. After ransacking all my boardgames I decided to actually go and buy some, because same size and weight dice just feel better than random wood and plastic assortment.

Next thing is some players. These games could, in theory, be played with just two people (heck some games have a single player tutorial campaign), but if you really want a good game you need a gamemaster and 3-4 players minium. I know a guy who has been running a lot of p&p games, including Shadowrun, so I called him. He was happy to join us as gamemaster even though I warned him that few players might be newbies. Hell I think he prefered the newbies as they don't know how to abuse the rules. Rest of the players were bit of a problem. Pop culture has painted Dungeons and Dragons players (along with pen 'n paper players in general) as lonely, pathetic nerds. This fact hit me hard when I tried to convince few of my friends to try it out. After a ton of calls and IM's we now have a gamemaster and five players (some of which are a bit reluctant).

For a third part of this checklist we needed some snacks and drinks. This is a crucial part! You don't want to wait for people to go pick up some food while you are trying to play. Usually alcohol isn't too good idea in a game where you need to keep track of you'r stats and tons of dice rolls, but as I knew some of the players were a bit shy/introvert we decided that some beers and wine might be ok to help them relax and keep the ol' imagination running. This whole snacks thing was a bit new to me as our old group was used to twice a month gaming sessions, and brought their own snacks.

Now we are all here, and ready to play. Next step is making the characters. Remember that this is not a computer game with limited choices in character creation. You could just as well be a troll magic user or elf with dexterity of an infant. This will take time. Luckily our gamemaster had this nifty program that made the character creation a bit easier (NSRCG). While we are figuring out the classes and stats, everyone needs to make up a personality and backround to their characters. No amnesia shortcuts here. You need to figure out who you'r character really is. We ended up with one magic user who specialized in healing and one decker (Read: futuristic hacker. That was me by the way). Rest of the group were more conventional street samurai (fighters) and one rigger, which means he can use bots and such as his minions.

Fourth step is the actual game. Let's just say that we took an allnighter and scheduled a time for the next session, including the newbies. I took some notes during the game, so I might post a transcript of the game sometime, but I won't promise anything.

You'r imagination beats any graphics card or physics engine.

P.s. You need the books and at least a gamemaster who has actually read them. The games can easily turn into a still if you need to flip through the books at every action.

P.p.s. If you want to see what Shadowrun is like, but didn't get interested in the p&p you should pick up this nifty little game called Shadowrun Returns. I mentioned it in earlier post, so go check that out if you want more info.

maanantai 28. lokakuuta 2013

Adventures of spaceship Nyema. Fourth entry.

 I got the next part to the story of spaceship Nyema!


This is captain Lagardi of Federal Spaceship Benevolence. We are looking for a scout ship named Nyema, the ship which was supposed to steal and deliver military intel from the rebels. It was already four days late of the planned arrival and we had not heard a word of them. General Markand decided that we should do a rescue operation. Some of the rebel fleet's vanguard ships have already reached the base of operations and there are definitely more coming. If we had received that intel in time we could have prepared better, but since the attack started this has been a losing battle. I think it's useless to even look for Nyema anymore.


They may have tried to use the safer route through the engi sector nearby.


We found a ship with federal markings on it. This far from the base of operations it can be no other than Nyema. I send Corporal Baars to investigate.

There are five dead people on the ship, Captain Aiden, Borman and an unidentified engi male. Body of Howard was not found. There are also two bodies with rebel uniforms. Telemetry indicates heavy ion damage prior to boarding.


I think it's better not to return to the base. We must find a safer place elsewhere to take shelter from the war.

I leave my log, along with captain Aiden's log we found hidden on Nyema, in this preservation capsule. Whoever finds it, consider it as part of history of the greatest war humankind has ever seen. I do this to silently respect the memory of the very brave people who met their untimely demise while serving the federation. May their souls rest in peace.

This will be my last entry.

Captain Lagardi, Spaceship Benevolence, United Space Federation.

May gods be with you all.



It seems like captain Aiden didn't make it. Rest in peace heroes. You did all you could.

That's it for the FTL story, so next update (whenever it will be) is going to be about me, myself and my games. Once again thanks to our anonymous contributor. See you all next time.

perjantai 25. lokakuuta 2013

Adventures of spaceship Nyema. Third entry.

The story of captain Aiden continues. Again thanks to the unknown writer, jada jada and so on. You know the deal.

DAY THREE of the return trip

This is captain Aiden of Federal Starship Nyema. Our operation is going well. Our ship's firepower and shields have been upgraded since we started, by an engi named Markus we saved earlier. Weapons specialist Borman has been doing great job taking down the enemies, who have caused only little harm to us so far. Unfortunately we lost our original shield operator Howard in a little accident when he went to investigate an abandoned space station. May he rest in peace.
Our crew is getting tired of the battle, as we have had two very action packed days across three galaxies and it has taken its toll. I hope the two others are ok. Borman has been acting really stressed and Markus sometimes looks a bit distracted in situations where focus is needed. He has to do two men's work but he's very experienced in what he's doing.

Our missile and fuel supplies are pretty low, but I think we can manage. The ship is in nice condition with just couple of scratches. We just arrived in a rebel controlled sector to avoid another nebula, and the intergalactic map says we could finally reach a non-hostile region from here. We still need to proceed carefully to avoid conflict.

I summon a morning briefing. Exit point is six jumps away if we don't need to stop at traders. For now, I am again heading towards the exit because next sector should be easier to explore than this. Markus looks like he has been working all the time while others slept. Borman is slightly calmer than before. I am ready. "Man your stations."


First jump is interrupted by another automated sentry with level three shields. I hope we don't run out of missiles.

Fire in the medical bay. Markus suggest over the radio that we upgrade the doors to prevent fire from spreading because with only three of us, we don't have time to take care of them. Borman concentrates on taking down the enemy shield system with missiles because lasers don't do much against the ship that still has two blocks of shield. He misses two times in a row and has to use the slowly charging ion cannon to finish the job, there is no more ammunition for the Artemis.

Ion cannon takes the enemy shields down so that our burst laser can destroy their weapons. Borman still keeps missing most of the shots but without resistance it is only a matter of time before we destroy the enemy. Another victory. The ship dropped 30 units worth of scraps, which should be enough to upgrade the reactor to keep almost all of our systems running at the same time.

I call Borman for a meeting asking why he was performing so poorly. He explained that the enemy autopilot was programmed too well for evading but I think it's because he can't concentrate enough and there's something he needs to get off his chest. He shrugs it off and returns to his position. Maybe we need a longer talk when we reach the friendly sector.


I received a distress call that's off our course but couldn't risk running out of fuel, so we continued forwards. On the way there was a shipwreck orbiting a gas giant and surprisingly no one had raided it yet. It must have been destroyed just a while ago. We got more fuel and lots of scrap from it.


A rebel scout ambushed us and tries to escape to inform the pursuing fleet of our position. We must quickly try to stop it. I was so nervous and concentrating on dodging the ship that I couldn't get into a good firing position, We couldn't hit almost a single shot on the enemy ship. Destroying their cockpit and maybe killing the pilot would have delayed them a little but they got away. Now we have to hurry to the exit as fast as we can.


Our ship also took massive damage in this desperate combat, but we definitely don't have enough time to search for repair stations. If we come across one on our way we might just barely get our ship repaired and reach the exit before we are caught.


At the next jump point an automated scout was waiting for us. If it too gets away the rebels would know which way we are heading in addition to earlier discovering our position.

I can't dodge all of the enemy lasers. It keeps our shields down with its ion cannon. Markus rushes to the engine room to overload our hyperdrive charger. The shields are practically useless right now anyway. This is a fight we may not win, so we need to get going right away. I hope the scout doesn't come after us. I think there is a hull breach somewhere on this ship, I see the internal air pressure dropping. Sensors are down so I can't be sure.

Now the scout starts ioning our weapons too. We have no way to prevent it from getting away. It speeds up a little and almost instantly disappears into distance. We are fucked.


A trader hails us. He sees we have taken a bad beating and offers us repair service, for a price of course. Now I feel like being in the same situation as the rockmen we gave fuel to earlier. It's not gonna be cheap for us.

Yep. They took ALL of our scrap in exchange to repair some of our ship's damage. I had no choice but to pay. As we leave after being practically robbed clean they even tell us to come back later for shopping. I hope I never have to see them again. I don't even want to know what Borman thinks about them.

I step into the cockpit, sit down and check everything is ok. One dial indicates that we have fuel for two jumps. HOW COULD I FORGET!?


There's no one at the exit beacon. Just vast, empty, silent, dark space. We are about to get stuck in that space. Intergalactic jump would consume our last fuel, and we don't know where it would take us. I don't know how we ever manage to survive. We are still too far away to radio the base of operations. I call the crew for an emergency meeting.

We have no other chance than to take this leap of faith. The rebels are right on our heels, but the jump might lose them for a while. I try my best to give faith to Markus and Borman, but it's useless. I can't even lie that we still have hope. We go to the cockpit together, I light up the engines and look out of the window in silence. May the stars guide us.


We arrived in engi space. I pray for someone to find us and give us some fuel. I turn on the distress beacon. It's like a bait for the rebels and bandits but it's the only way out of this.


Oh crap! Seems like they are screwed for good. Godspeed Nyema. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you guys.

tiistai 22. lokakuuta 2013

Adventures of spaceship Nyema. Second entry.

Two updates in one day? Are you sick or something?

Don't worry. I'm as lazy as I always was, but I got a bit more news from the spaceship Nyema. Editing is fast enough, so I might just as well edit and post it right away. Again the story is all thanks to our anonymous benefactor, and I only edited it to fit the Blogspot format and fixed some (very few) grammar/spelling errors.

P.s. Some of you (Read: One of the approximately three people who still reads this. Hi mom!) have asked why I changed back to this old blogspot account. My old blog got hacked and I really didn't have anything backed up, so rather than setting the preferences up again I chose to just post a link pointing here. I didn't really like the updated system on the old site anyway, so it wasn't too big of a deal (not counting the loss of old posts).

Ok enough about me. What happened to captain Aiden and the crew of Nyema?

DAY TWO of the return trip, part I

Intergalactic travel gave us some time to rest. After just a few hours of sleep we arrived in a rebel controlled sector. I didn't have much choice when taking this dangerous route, as the other one would have been through an uncharted nebula, which I am still a little afraid of. Just a little.

Rebel sectors, obviously, are not much less dangerous, though. The jump points are scarce and we should proceed forward as fast as we can. There is already a whole fleet of rebels chasing us and ones in this galaxy are probably doing all they can to stop us.

We gather for morning tea, or whatever time of day it is. We look at the map together and plan which is the shortest way to the exit beacon. We could reach it with as few as four jumps, but if there are any stores I might head towards them for upgrades. Our ship is still in pretty much factory condition and I have a feeling it might not be enough. Who knows what threat we face when we get closer to the Federation base. There's a war going on after all.

I program the navcom directly towards the exit beacon hoping we can salvage something on the way.


We did find a small trader ship, but they are in trouble and ask us for assistance. When I ask what's the matter they tell me their courier has disappeared, probably died. They don't have anything to sell us, but they ask us to take a drone parts delivery to a larger trading post for a "generous reward," and give us a map marker where it is located. I am not sure if we should venture anywhere outside our planned route. I tell them we will deliver the package IF it doesn't divert us from our plan too much.

Our quest would require just two extra jumps, and we still have plenty of fuel so that won't be a problem. Maybe we could even get more from where we are going. Borman says in his own grudging way that we should not be helping every single stranger in trouble we meet. Markus is still more civil and says I did the right choice.


Jump takes us near a random small station with rebel markings. No surprise. I try to sneak past it but without an engine operator it's difficult to stay stealthy and we are spotted. A lightly armed ship, with trademark orange and turquoise paintwork launches from the station directly towards us. Thankfully it does not LOOK like a big threat.

They lauch something at us. It's not a bomb or a missile but I can't really tell what it is until it gets too close. It's an attack drone which starts beating our shields with a small laser, depleting them so their main weaponry can hit our hull with ease. Borman fires a missile at the drone control station of the enemy ship first, and aiming lasers at the weapons main as usual.
The drone hits harder than expected. I have never encountered them in combat before and I greatly underestimated it. It grinds through our shields right away and begins battering our engines, which makes it impossible to dodge anything. Markus could repair it quickly but he's very busy at the shields. I still command him to the repairwork because dodging always beats soaking damage.

Markus rushes through the corridors of our ship and starts furiously whacking the control panel with a wrench. It doesn't look much like repairing, rather the opposite, but I'm certain he knows what he's doing.

BULLSEYE! Borman manages to hit the critical systems of the enemy and both their weapons and drones are disabled and their hull seems to be leaking like a shark-bitten rubber boat. From then on it was the usual "shoot at them until they die." From the remains we salvage a pretty good amount of scrap metal, some of which goes to repairing the little damage we received from couple of laser hits. Nothing serious.

Markus injured his shoulder when repairing the engine. Don't ask me how it happened. He returns to the shield control room muttering that he is doing ALL the work now that Howard's gone. I console him saying that it's not easy for any of us, as Howard was one of my best friends after all. Silence followed, so I think it marks the end of discussion and time for the next jump.


One jump between our little quest's end and it was just empty space. Our radio picks up some chatter from very long distance and when decrypted it's just some rebel trucker communications bitching about their wives and such.


We arrived at the trading station and instead of being happy, they say we are too late and there's not even need for what we delivered to them anymore. What ungrateful bastards. I demand our reward anyway, but they pay only half of the supposed amount and tell us to leave. THEIR courier was already late and we just tried to help, so it's not our fault.

Borman rushes into the comms room and is yelling at the asshole traders to shove the drone parts into all of whatever body cavities they have. Sometimes I just want to hit Borman in the face but his temper is sometimes actually pretty amusing and strangely cute. I tap him on the shoulder and tell him that we don't need to care about these poor people, as they will be trampled over by the rebel fleet soon anyway.


A distress signal in a system next to the exit beacon. We still have plenty of time before the fleet reaches us, so we investigate.

A rockman ship is floating in space with no fuel,. They ask us for some extra so they could get to a trading station. Our detour took some excess amount of it already, but I'm relieved that it was not an ambush so I give them three units and we are left with five.

They gave us 30 scrap in exchange. That's like 10 units worth, but what would have they done if we didn't help them. They are in debt of their lives but I don't want to demand any more and jump to the intergalactic travel beacon right next to us.

We could finally afford some upgrades from a store, but Markus could also tinker something useful out of the metal.


Engi researchers were heading same way as us and the mantis were trying to take down the defenseless ship but as soon as they noticed we were closing in they zoomed away. Damn pirates, trying to be the tough guys and bully everyone but cowards in the end. The engi give us some drone schematics which we have not yet any use for unless we get a control system installed. Could be worth thirty-forty scrap at a market.

Intergalactic map shows only two beacons again. One is told to be controlled by pirates, and the other by rebels. Pirates, as said, should be no problem to handle and they sometimes drop exceptionally good loot.

We got through this sector so fast that we could reach the end of the next one too today if we are lucky.

DAY TWO of the return trip, part II

(Yes you got two posts for the price of one. Get over it.)

Tea time in the intergalactic travel idle time.

We discuss our plans. Markus tells me he has dealt with a lot of pirates before in his combat ship engineering career, and has special contempt against them because they took him captive in one unfortunate battle. He warns me about anarch regions and that the pirate ships' looks can be deceiving. Borman assures us there will be no trouble as long as he gets to do the shooting. Markus is a little less sure about that and suggests we hire more crew. He says he could try to boost the shield power now that we have few hours to spare, just for survival.


Shit, I remembered our fuel is low after we played good samaritans and getting some more is a real concern. Markus' tech work took almost all of our scrap and we can buy only few units of fuel to carry us further. There are no trading posts marked on the map and we should really try to find one by exploring. I try to navigate the ship so that we pass near as many star systems as possible. Nearby comes a distress signal but right now we can't risk it.


Once again due to calculations mistake we almost run into a star. There are rockman pirate opportunists there, damn bastards being immune to fire and all. Engines don't charge very fast without an operator and this is not a place we want to be in, so we have to fight. Borman, do your best.

Crippling hit to our engines. Now it's sure we won't get out right away. Solar flares set our portside airlock on fire again. I have to inform the Kestrel manufacturers about this weakness. Opening the airlock will help again and we can concentrate on the combat.

Rockmen realize they are losing and offer us heaps of resources but no fuel. We can't accept that as a bail because fuel is what we desperately need. Solar flare damages our shield system and we have no hands available. Let's hope we endure.

Once the rockmen's ship is destroyed I quickly scoop up all the remains before it gets burnt. A little scrap and one unit of fuel. Not a treasure but will get us one jump further which may be critical. We have to leave the proximity of the star right away. Shield control room was drained of oxygen but we can't wait for it to refill, and definitely not to repair the system. I hope you have big lungs, Markus, and that we don't encounter anything worse than these little bitches we just obliterated.


Paranoid engi tells us to keep our "shady business" to ourselves. I tell them we are no pirates, but they have a hard time believing and accuse us of stealing a Federation ship and threaten to report us and whatever consequences that might have. Finally I can convince them to keep their damn mouths shut. I thought engi were friendly but they just keep on yapping. We can't leave yet, however. Markus has to repair the shields and we have to wait until the oxygen levels restore to healthy levels.

Two units of fuel left. I am getting worried. I light up a cigarette. I quit smoking four months ago but have been keeping a pack in the dashboard locker just in case. Now it was really needed. It tastes like shit, but it helps me keep my nerve. I feel the nicotine and whatever they put in them these days rushing into my head. I feel a little dizzy and have to wait a few minutes before I can program the navcom again. There's no stores in sight. We don't even have enough fuel to reach the exit.


Unexpectedly a hostile automated sentry ship opens fire at us. Unlike most of them, this one has shields. I know that if we disable its weapons it can do nothing against us because there's no one to repair it. Our Artemis missiles can penetrate shields with ease but before we can even hit the drone it destroys our ship's internal sensors. I no more have any idea if the ship's on fire or whatever.

The sentry was easily taken care of, and dropped some FUEL! We might be saved after all. Markus repairs the sensors and I sigh in relief now that I can confirm that the hull is not breached.


On the last jump before exit we run into pirates. I intimidate them that they won't get us and that we don't even have anything to loot, so their time would be wasted but they won't respond at all. They open fire.

Borman disables their oxygen supply with an accurate shot to keep them busy but our sensors are down again by the return fire. We also took some massive hull damage and the pirates, after thinking they gave us a teaching, start to speed away. Despite of our efforts to chase them as fast as we could, they got away and we didn't manage to benefit from this battle at all. The ship now needs repairs badly.


With our next to last fuel unit I jump to a store next to the exit beacon. It was like some gods were watching us struggle and decided to pity us. First I order the mechanics at the trading post to repair our ship, then I buy all of their fuel, hefty three units of it. I sell the drone schematics we obtained earlier from the friendly engi, and the trader offers 30 scrap for it. They also pack some weapons. I'm considering buying a heavy ion cannon but our ship's weak power supply is not yet enough to use it. If I sell the Artemis launcher we can get the scrap needed to upgrade our reactor. Is it a good trade?

I buy the ion cannon just in case, keeping the missile launcher, even though it is utterly useless weight load for now.


At the intergalactic travel beacon I see a civilian ship chased by pirates. They can't seem to get away and I decide to help them in hopes of a reward. By the way, Markus forgot to repair the sensors because he had a couple of drinks at the traders bar. I need to tell him to focus on the mission after we're in the clear. The fight was trivial. Pirates are just cocky sissies who bark but don't bite.

"MARKUS! GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER MAN! Go repair the systems right away. We can't continue if our ship isn't in condition." The civilian ship gives us huge load of scrap for our trouble and fire their hyperdrive before I can even tell them goodbye. Sensors back online, and no noticeable damage. There's another store nearby where we could get fuel from but Borman commands Markus to upgrade the weapon power supply with the scrap instead. I lecture Borman that I am the one who gives orders here.

I am noticing some dispute in my crew and ask everyone to sit for a cup of tea to get things straight. We can't start fighting now. We have still not even reached halfway of our destination yet and if we don't keep together it won't end well.

Maybe a little rest would do everyone good. We have a few hours to sleep while travelling between galaxies. It has been a long day. Markus stays up a little later doing his mechanics work, which he seems to love. I hope he doesn't exhaust himself completely, as he never seems to sleep. Maybe these half-mechanical men don't even need to rest. He tells me that by the time we arrive our ship would finally have more firepower. Sounds good. I head to the sleeping pods and close my eyes. Visions of space sheep prancing on the moon of Gaigymeda under the double sunset of red and blue slowly lull me into sle...