Rudy's Star Citizen Journal # 3
CW: Violences, Self-harm ideation I wake up in my apartment a planet away with no memory of how I got there. I realize my inventory is missing as are my clothes. Clones wake up in hospital gowns. I-I made it home... In a flash, I remember all that happened on Lyria and what's waiting for me on its small outpost, SAL-2. I streak through the corridors of my home, Area 18, occasionally getting glances and comments from passing citizens. Rushing into the first clothing store I see, I buy the cheapest space suit and helmet available. Ten minutes later I'm spinning up my quantum drive and traveling to SAL-2.
My ship echoes a small calming hum as I fling at lightspeed toward the small moon, Lyria. I pass the time checking available delivery jobs and planning my routes carefully. The last thing I want is a repeat of the last failed run. A contract for three short, simple, deliveries across the Lyria and the nearby moon of Wala appeared for a modest pay of 8,000 credits. It won't put me in the black, but it's a sta-"What the hell?!", I shout as my ship violently rumbles to a halt.
I close my contract menu and find myself greeted by a half dozen warnings, not the least of which is a radar contact approaching my 5 o'clock. My cockpit UI scream's the text, "quantum intervention" in large bold text as a target lock sound pings from my ship's speakers. Shit. I release my speed limiter and punch the throttle. The first missile warning appears. Over the open comms channel, I hear a marauder shout something incoherent. I pop a decoy and cut the primary engines as I see the hostile charging straight at me on the radar. The missile strikes and splashes the decoy providing a cloud of cover to do the stupidest tactic in space, a cobra maneuver.
Out of the smoke, my ship emerges with full power being thrown into the VTOL engines. The hostile zooms passed, making sure to take out half my shields with a volley of their laser cannons. I line up directly on their six and slam my ship's nose down. I unleash nearly all my primary gun rounds on the bastard accompanied by an additional unrelenting volley from the self-recharging energy cannons I mounted on each wing. "Target Destroyed.", states my onboard combat AI assistant. Before I can take a breath two more unknown bogies enter radar contact. Neither lock but I spin up my quantum drive once again and jump out before I can find out more.
The SAL-2 outpost is empty, save for the one employee working its delivery pick-ups and departures. I check my private storage and stock up on all I left behind, making sure to leave the space suit and helmet I purchased, because you never know. I exchange a few words with the gentleman manning the counter, pick up one of the designated packages for my contract, and head back to my ship.
After a half dozen hops across the two moons and two successful deliveries, I realize my navigation once again loses the direction of the derelict outpost where I'd be tasked to pick up a package with force in order to complete the contract. I load up an old map of Lyria from the web and start scouring the area where I assume the outpost is. Of course, it's next to impossible to find. I give up after a half hour, crushed at my seemingly constant failure in this world.
Despite all my effort, I once again found myself unable to complete even a simple delivery mission. Hopelessness quickly turns to despair as I take inventory of my debt-riddled excuse of life among the stars. I came here on a whim, deciding to spend long overdue time with my brother. Staring into the void, I realize now how nothing could ever make up for all that lost time between us. The distance between our lives, let alone the lives of others I care for, simply acts as a reminder. I grew up alone. I live alone. I will die alone.
As I consider killing the ship's power and allowing the forces of nature to do what they will, I receive a strange transmission. The embedded message relays a distress call for help from a nearby yacht. Apparently, there are hostiles in the middle of boarding the ship. They offer an award of 45,000 credits for eliminating the threat. I swore I’d never take merc work, but at this point, death-by-bullet doesn't seem much worse than slamming into the face of a celestial body. I relay my intent to aid and make my way to the yacht.
A few thousand meters out from the yacht, I’m informed there are already 20 hostiles on board that I need to remove expeditiously. I also recognize the familiar ping of enemy radar lock as three vessels appear on my radar. I activate the four missiles I have available, targeting the nearest ship. “Fox-2”, I whisper under my breath as the first missile soars to its target. They manage to dodge with the help of a decoy. I send another three missiles, this time with a bit of luck and desperation. “Target Destroyed”, echoes around the cabin as I line up my guns on the second ship. We exchange a mix of ballistics and laser fire as I, my target, and the third hostile waltz among the boarded yacht.
Dry on both missiles and ballistics, I allow my energy cannons time to recharge while preparing for the eventuality that my shields would fail before they were ready. The shields did indeed buckle as more bullets and lasers shoved passed them and into the outer hull of my ship. This inevitable end quickly approaching didn’t bring peace but a sense of bitter acceptance. Perhaps the clone that would wake up in my stead at Area18 would find better footing in this world. Hell, they may even find this ever-running happiness I assumed lay in the journey of a simple life as an independent courier.
The sounds of countless warnings wash away as the ping of additional radar contact rings out. I can see the white dot rushing through space to intercept me just as the two hostile vessels broke off their assault on me. Great. It seems the final blow would come from this unknown interloper wanting to cut into our dance. It seems romance would be accompanying me to hell. I suppose it’s fitting as the ship enters weapons range.
Strangely enough, I see weapons fire over my canopy as the bogey soars just meters overhead. My combat-assist AI states once more, “Target Destroyed.” My cockpit UI scans the ship and reads the name “Alice Murphy” on the vessel’s registry. Without a word exchanged, I break out of my slow turn and line up at Alice’s 3 o’clock. With my laser cannons recharged we both shoot at the third hostile until our cannon batteries run dry. Over open comms, I hear a soft voice whisper, “Fox-3.” Within seconds, the third hostile is nothing but a fireball. Alice and I both reduce our velocity as we take long glances at each other. Without another word, her ship engages its quantum drive and departs, leaving me once again alone in a graveyard.
I recall the twenty hostiles still onboard the yacht and line up my ship near one of its entry ports while reassessing my own state. Why am I alive? I wonder. Considering the circumstances and everything I’ve known up to now I should’ve been dead as my predecessors. However, this Alice Murphey saw a value in me that I couldn’t recognize in myself, that those I cared for also surely recognize. That itch to taste lead flees further from my mind as I slowly recognize what Alice and the others see. My skills and accomplishments matter little in a world bound to end and reset time and time again. What matters is the effort in simply caring and connecting, the willingness to accomplish something for the sake of others, to do what’s right and good, and to be a decent person that can claim they really are a true star citizen in-community with those that feel the same. I check my gear one last time as I walk down my ship’s rear ramp. “Be of service.”, I think to myself as I step off the loading ramp and into the eternal void.
The Yacht’s entry point still requires a bit of tricky navigation for my suit’s small space traversal system. With a few fine motor skills and prayer, I step into the unlocked airlock. As the room pressurizes, I check my weapons and ammunition. I’ve got a suppressed rifle with just over a hundred rounds spread across several magazines on my person and in my backpack. At my hip rests a backup suppressed pistol with optics and about three magazines of ammunition. Tucked on my belt.
I crouch into the first hallway expecting to find a well-trained team of hostiles hunkered to repel the attackers that killed their friends outside. I’m instead met with an empty corridor and mindless chatter around the corner. As I creep closer, I notice blood stains across the walls with a trail leading around the corner to the chatter. A moment later I peek with my rifle drawn at what appear to be two hostiles looting a corpse. I line up their helmets with the dot of my optic and release a short controlled burst of retribution, one after the other. Both drop immediately. The counter in my head drops to eighteen. I’m on the right path.
The first eight die unaware of my presence, but as I make my way into a large foyer space. I can hear the rest being stirred by my imposing threat. A man overhead on the second floor wearing an animal skull over his helmet seems to be coordinating his men and pointing down at my vicinity. I scan for any and all doorways and paths to my positioning then adjust to target the most likely candidates.
Three rush down the two staircases towards me at the mouth of the foyer. I begin firing the moment I see feet. Two are brought down by the bullets as the third trips over their comrade. I wait to see if any more follow, then empty out my magazine into the slowly rising marauders. I hear a sliding door activate behind me as I switch to my pistol and point at whoever emerges. It’s another hostile unprepared to be staring down a barrel so soon. His helmet holds up to the first three rounds as the force of them mildly stagger him. The next four are enough to blend his innards.
I reload my rifle and push into the foyer with weapon raised should they feel bold enough to stand up above the bulletproof glass panels that make up much of the luxury yacht’s railings. The skull-masked raider and I stare at one another as I slowly make my way up the stairs. The moment line of sight between us obscure toward the top I lower down and peek around the corner. Rounds rattle in my direction as I peel back into cover.
Things become quiet for a while as we wait to listen for any faint sound of movement. I pull an empty sports bottle out of my backpack and toss it down the short distance between the staircase and the hostiles. I hear more bullet rattles followed by two distinct clicking sounds. I waste no time rushing toward these threats and sending them to their maker in the midst of their reloads. With his friend dead, The man with the skull mask takes the remainder of my magazine drilled into his chest cavity. He tries to sling curses at me through the blood-gurgling noises emanating from his helmet speaker. I give him the courtesy of passing on before slipping his helmet into my pack as a memento.
I take a moment to recuperate and check my ammunition reserves before continuing further into the bowels of the ship. My HUD states five hostiles remain. I cautiously enter each room passing the remains of the yacht's former denizens. There's a sense of guilt I struggle to stifle away as I recognize the loss of life caused by my own inner turmoil and delay. I apologize to the remains, expressing my sincerest condolences. The least I could do was prevent this from happening again.
I eventually make my way to a hanger bay where the remaining hostiles are busy loading cargo into a small ship. I silently approach, rotating around the space until I have a clear line of sight from a covered position. The three hostiles holding weapons are the first to go, followed shortly by the two with lugging boxes. One by one, the remaining threats on board turn to zero and I immediately receive notification of a successful contract closed.
I take the opportunity to scour the remains for ammunition and weapons then stumble on the corpse of a security officer. He’s wearing an all-white armored suit and carries with him a standard pistol alongside another pistol tucked in his armor’s storage, though this one was bright green and orange. Its description in my HUD identifies this weapon as, “a toy foam gun designed for fun.” Confused by its existence and on the body of a dead security officer gunned down mid-firefight, I place it in my pack for closer inspection later.
The return flight home is thankfully uneventful. Unfortunately, an issue with Area18 docking control prevents me from access to a docking bay so I travel to nearby Banji Station in orbit overhead to rest a spell and soak in all I experienced. Before heading to bed, however, I make a quick stop at the station’s galleria and blow most of the contract on a new ship gun and nice casual threads. With my local inventory stocked with today’s spoils and my credit account back to where I started the day. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the foolishness of it all. I think I’ve found my path to that ever-elusive happiness after all.