Mike sat with the local “Scotty” and sipped a coffee as a group of groundlings, heavily armed, trooped by. “I brought them in from a convoy that was being hit.” He said to his companion.
“Saw the after action report. Glad to see that you finally figured out what the differences in ammo were. If you’d gone in with your usual antimatter the action wouloda been done before you got in range.”
Mike snorted. “Ya ya, the Snark now can hit at whatever range I need. And I do so love being able to let the folks know I am coming with a long distance tap on the shoulder.” He watched the group move off, heavy weapons group bringing up the rear. “Gods, never get me down there in the Dust. Poor saps got no shields, no armor, just standing out there waitin to be shot.”
“This from a guy who takes missions against groups of enemies thrice his mass loadout on a regular basis?”
“Yeah, well,” Mike reached back and scratched around one of the plugs on his skull. “I got the advantage of training and a good ship under me. I’ve looted mining turrets off of some active pirate ships. Who in Hels name mounts mining equipment going into battle?”
Scotty looked up in the air and whistled.
Mike grinned. “That was a special case . . . and I found some nice stuff out there in the wormhole. Place was lousy with rare roids.” He nodded back to the groundlings. “Ya know they all carry shovels? Maybe they are hoping to hit it rich on some dusty planet somewhere . . . ”
“Or it is to bury their friends.”
Mike sighed and whispered, more to himself than to the ‘Scotty’ “Better them than me.”
The Lt was outa earshot so Chucky spoke loud enough for the others around to hear him. “Theres that poddy who got us out.” One finger flickered in scout sign identifying Mike on the side, sipping his coffee. “Freak.”
“Freak?” Wilkinson was the new guy, Everybody called him the ‘talkie toaster’.
“Depends on his hunk a metal to keep him alive, goes out where a single mistake means ‘pop’. Prolly doesn’t even know how ta shoot a pistol. Sits in ‘is little pod an pushes buttons. No real control o’ situations. Ya hear wha the Lt said? Guy came in solo to hit those pirates. He don’t travel wif no backup, don’t have nobody ta watch his back. Freak, pure an simple.”
“Not all poddies are freaks, some do help the war effort, don’t they Chucky? Don’t they?”
“For a while, but bein all out dere in space all alone do things ta their brains. Sooner or later they all snap. Read the interspace news. Top Minnie guy in their military . . . even got man-dolls made that look like him. ‘E just plead guilty ta dealin in slaves.”
“A Minnie slave dealer? Noooo.”
“Like I said, its bein out there that does stuff ta their brains. This poddy ‘ere. Ya he saved our bacon this time. But don’t color me surprised if he is the one hittin our transport 6 months from now.”
Wilkinson looked back at the man scratching some implant plug on the side of his head and shuddered. “Better him than me.”
Make a small note for yourself as to the different hitting ranges of your ammo and carry an assortment. This is even more important when you are the slower ship and the other guys are dictating the range. Let them dictate, just be sure you can still hit them wherever they are.
I think that Dust 514 will be an interesting experiment, but the differences in platform, game style, and customer base is going to, for the most part, make us into two different entities tied together only in name. Far too hard to see any actual effects from one changing the other. Just imagine a group trying to take a system logging on to the Dust and playing for the wrong side . . .badly.