The system cluster that surrounds Lave has become a hub for player activity. This may well be because of its historical significance, Lave was an original starting point for most of the previous games. It may also be because many of these systems offer good trade, including an uncommonly large selection of rare goods within short ranges, something that is always in short supply throughout the galaxy.
Whatever the reason though, player activity always brings with it an unavoidable danger, piracy.
After returning to the civilised systems from an exploration jaunt, I’d swapped my long-range Adder for a Cobra, taking the distant trip to Lave with the hope of trading rare goods. Other people had millions, yet comparatively I was some kind of intergalactic peasant. I knew Lave and its surrounding systems could be dangerous and so outfitted my ship with some appropriate protection; a half decent shield generator, though like a knock-off Durex bought from a pub toilet it would probably do me more harm than good. I have combat experience, (if you can call experience taking out ships half my size, piloted by AI that would make a Speak and Spell look positively sentient) but never against real players, so I knew to be cautious. My first couple of stops were uneventful and I managed to pick up a decent amount of rare goods.
I set a course for my next pick-up of rare goods, Diso, and jumped in. The station is a short distance from the star so it should be relatively safe, of course… But 0.3 light seconds from the station and I get interdicted. I start to try and control the interdiction but it’s tricky. I realise within a few seconds - to my horror - that this could be something a lot more dangerous than I thought. Whoever this is, they’re pulling me out of light speed so ferociously that it can’t be an AI opponent, it has to be a player commander. I pull back on the stick, willing the ship to keep aligned with the escape vector but it fails.
We both tumble out of light speed and I catch the first sight of him on my radar, a hollow marker, he is a real player. I waste no time putting all power to the engines and boosting away from whoever this is. I didn’t travel 200 light years across the galaxy to pick up some rare goods only to have some pirate scum take them away from me. My comms window flashes with a message:
“Please throttle down for a harmless cargo scan, and a warm greeting from the CODE”
Harmless cargo scan? Warm greeting? You pulled me out of light speed and - given that I have no bounty on my head - you’re clearly a pirate. And who the fuck are the CODE? I didn’t have time to reply to any of this as I desperately needed to concentrate on getting as far away from this guy as I could. I was panicking slightly, but knew I had to keep my nerve if I was to get out of this alive. His blasé attitude to such an aggressive action actually kind of pissed me off too; to have the nerve to treat what he did with such indifference as if this was the status quo. That I should bow down to him with open hands and a smile on my face, was both smug and arrogant. What I felt like saying was “How about you go fuck yourself?” I didn’t have time to do that though. Neither did I even target him or check out what he was flying, but I simply presumed that he was in a ship bigger than mine, which generally means that he was going to plaster me all over the nearest rock. I almost toyed with the idea of turning and fighting, but thankfully thought better of it.
My Cobra had a good range and so I targeted the furthest star - in the hope that he wouldn’t be able to follow me to it easily - and powered up the frame shift drive, all while constantly boosting away as fast as I could.
But it wasn’t charging…
I’d forgotten that when you fail an interdiction escape, the drive takes a lot longer to cool down than normal and I’d have to wait for it to reset…
My palms were sweating now, my breathing heavy, this could all go very wrong. I pointed my ship towards the star, preparing for the jump. In doing so though I closed some of the distance between myself and him. Great. Lesson learnt though, and I was thankful that the star wasn’t positioned behind me. Next time, target a star that’s in front of your ship… By now this pirate, who had given up on silver-tongued chit chat, had decided to use my ship as target practice. Laser beams danced past me as they missed my ship, although most seemed to be connecting… I put the ship in to a pathetic spin to try and evade his wrath. I realised later that simply spinning the ship didn’t make me much of a harder target… At one point I thought that I should divert power back to shields from my engines as they were going down fast. This may have been wise in a larger, slower ship like a freighter, where boosting away would be nigh-on impossible. But in my Cobra I knew that the best policy was to get away as far and as fast as possible.
The frame shift drive finally cooled down, thank god. I immediately punched it and it began charging, at what seemed like the speed of tectonic plates. Before it charged though, my shields collapsed and this pirate started doing some serious damage to my ship. Down to 90% hull, down to 86%... “Come on!!” I shouted uselessly at the growing orange bar. It was like watching your old Pentium 4 download the entire internet, on dial-up.
With (more than likely) seconds to spare, the drive finally charged and I was out of there. My craft blinked out of the pirate’s existence, like a symbolic middle finger pointing right back at him. I caught my breath, I was almost shaking, and I wasn’t going back to that star system in a hurry.
After a little bit of investigation, it turns out that the CODE are a well organised pirate group that operate in the areas of Diso and the like. They freely admit that they’re pirates, which is not hard to guess given the skull and crossbones logo on their website (http://thecodeelitedangerous.enjin.com/ ), yet they state to be protectors of the people. Their actions, however noble they may like them to sound, are simply the hallmarks of organised crime. They’re space gangsters essentially, asking for tribute from passing traders, telling them they’ll leave them alone and that their ‘donations’ are for their protection. It’s easy to see the parallels between them and the likes of Al Capone, or even the fictional Don Corleone. Personally I feel rather defiant after this encounter. I’m nowhere near as prepared as I want to be to get my own back, but remember the old adage; revenge is a dish best served cold…