The Flight of the Bettie

I took the Bettie out this weekend. Just a quick boost out towards the Reaches. Not all the way, just far enough out system to stretch her legs. A few in and outs from warp. You know, just to power slide. No big deal.

Two jumps out, I yanked her down and found a rock field you wouldn’t believe. Big nickel chunks and iron-bergs. Blew a mess of them to crap and gone with the rail gun. Gotta remember to have the calibration looked at, I think there’s a crack in the side blow. But it’s a honkin’ Garabaldi, so you know what that means. Pah! Run kinetics for the rest of my life and you couldn’t tell. Maybe I’ll call a guy I know. The civ targeting is OK, but you can’t pop on the fly with it. Not that I’d do that of course, but it’s just the idea. (Is it worth it to go to MilSpec nanoseconds? Have to check a few leads…)

I was booming a gas giant. I won’t say which one, don’t want the Barneys looking too close, but I’m sure a few of you have been there. Blue swirl should ring a bell. Wouldn’t you know it? Kepler Green Box and the stupid internals are grubby. Not wanting to graduate to chunky salsa I had to can the 'slides. I was up to three minutes. Damn.

Needless to say, the get-goes were not on the menu anymore. Some old Sam in a converted Patrol boat burned me on the way out too. Pulled out at a light and a half and I had to eat it. No way could I double jump him. Well, I could, but that would mean finessing the externals to overlap. What a bitch just to win a pissing contest. So I let him have it. The bastard blew me grief over three bands too. I hated that.

Old habits came back to haunt me. In the good way this time. There’s a first for everything. Never ever leave your 'well with less than a two week ration. Beef and kleef. Learned this the hard way on that long-ago ride after college. Eating your own newts is not the way to go. I don’t care how fast they restock, it just throws the whole air plant wonky. Better to stash kibble, even if it is surplus. With the Kepler iffy, the inbound took longer than projected. I didn’t have to touch the kibble this time, but it was close.

I’m thinking of LaForging up the inducers. This should boost my efficiency to 85%. 87 on a good day. If I can get the mags to align. Maybe I’ll farm out the work. Not that I mind a few days in bay, but still, sometimes you have to let the professionals take over. If you’ve ever pulled a whole core, you know what I’m saying here. If not, then count your self lucky and learn from some other fool.

On a brighter note, the 8 meg’ co-axes are a sweet rig. You can cut back the deflection to almost nothing. You save power that way with no safety issues. Unless you hit grit. Damned micro-gravel. (lno, you’re right. Leaving the gain up two clicks was the way to go. Thanks. Owe you one.)

So I got out and spun it around a bit, shook some chaff loose, and got home in one piece. It was a good trip. Bettie says “Hi”.

So, what did you bring me?

Sure, he’s got time for the jump to hyperspace, twice, but can he come to Chicago for the weekend?

[sub]And for the record, at least one person asked why you didn’t come up… and there is a Stuckey’s between Cincinnati and Chicago… and I hope you looked at the photos from ChiDope closely enough to see that I took a picture of Snicker’s Deli…[/sub]

This language you are speaking, I do not understand it yet I cannot help but be seduced by its beauty. I sense travel was involved.

Duckie, I brought you something I picked up in the rock field. It was all green and sparkley, probably would have made a nice necklace, but it turned to jelly and sloughed off the hull when I went through decon before I put Bettie back in her bay. Sorry.

Shibb, I was trying to get there. Really. It was supposed to be a quick jaunt and then I was going to put down by the Lake. Only the whole Kepler fiasco blew up in my face and it knocked my whole agenda out and gone. (And I got halfway through your pix. Then I got all misty and couldn’t go on. I need to DopeFest again. Have your people call my people and set something up, huh?)

Duck (with a Why) you are such a Sam.

Rue, you should flit on out to HNeb. We’ve got a big ol’ NI stuffed with snowballs, and as soon as we get her up to spin, we’re gonna flash 'er and grow a Buckey.

You still use spin? What? You don’t like the new Webley Grav plates? Slick as can be and they don’t need the plasma curtain containment anymore. Not at the scale of a basic habitable.

Unless you’ve maxed out your grid with the Buckey dodge. (How many times have I heard “Oh yeah, we’re going for Buckeys!” and when I get there it’s all pizza and kleef? I seem to remember about half the time, your name pops up Bumb. But that way all your kleef comes out of grant money. Beats working.)

Can we get back to the OP, please?

Geez, Rue, I’m impressed that you got that auction job you bought running, but Dear Lord do you still have problems.

First of all, don’t try to pull the core on that thing yourself. IIRC, you bought a surplus scout boat that had already been heavily modified. If the Kepler is full of gunk, you have problems.

Flush the derned thing before you have the LaForgeing job done. It’ll make calibration easier afterwards, and your 'mag alignments should roll down easily. But, by the Spirit of the Stars, please have a Certified Tech do the work. If you degauss the laterals on the primary induction leads, you’re in a world of hurt. Trust me, I’ve been there.

And a rail gun? As primary armament? Buddy, those things are for point defense only, believe me. Get yourself a low-dispersal plasma discharger, or at least a couple of limited-telemetry missles with a fire director. Those pirates out on the fringes can be nasty.

Naw Exgineer, Bettie’s a champ. She’s a lightly modified Courier class. Her A/M core is Jake and all the dinking around is in the periphery. (Although her air plant is non-standard. But it’s tried and sound, a Higgley-Bospor scrubber-cracker with back-up tanks. She is just little after all.)

I ran diagnostics on the Kepler when I got back in. It’s just a cooked chip. “Fully shielded” my shiney metal ass. So I don’t have to sweat that. The interface is still good, I just have to crack her open and swap out the part. Strictly off the shelf stuff.

I forgot about degausing. Sheesh, you reinitialize once and it’s enough to last you a lifetime. And I’ve already done it once. Nuff said.

A rail gun as primary armament? What do you take me for? No, the rail is just for what I told you. Potting low-V rocks for fun. The 8 meg’ co-axes (not my first or second choice, but still sevicable) with the full envelope deflection is (obviously) for the nasties you don’t want banging off your hull. Or through it.

I’m not saying anything, but I definitely did not cut out the welds on two of the torp tubes. And I would never think of talking to this guy who knows a guy who can get his hands on 70% torps. Nope. That did not happen. I definitely do not have six of the bad boys nested in the belly. So don’t ask.

I think I can handle any of the pirates I might run across. I used to be one. Sorta. Briefly. Right after I was a Barney out Sally’s Harbor way. But that, my friend, is a story for another time.

Look, far be it for a Virter to complain about Rel tactics, but I still gotta wonder: is it still worth it to haul like that? I mean, ya gotta flag the autodok, prang the closers, timespan the beefkleefanair, watch the wells, and screen the rox–and spanging a black is right out. I mean, Rel.phys… there’s just so much of it!!!

It’s so much easier just to crypt, beam and preen, and hang a self-condenser if ya really need Rel-space access midhop. With the new phase velocities you can slip right by any well, and as for blacks–they’re roads, not walls! Buckys, nanos, gassies, ether-lattices… they’re all home to a Virt.

it’s the 'Next phase!


(And besides, DopeFests were made for virting. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: )

Exgineer, you can’t be serious. Limited-telemetry missiles? You’ll have to point your nose at the baddies until those babies impact - sucks to be you if they decoy. Fire-and-forget active lidar homing is much more reliable, and much less likely to get you sent home in lots of little boxes. Besides, there’s no need to modify the current kit, as long as you have a decent fire-control AI.

And, really, a low-dispersal plasma discharger? Talk about short range rock poppers - Rue’s better off with the railgun. If you don’t polish the leads every couple of days, it’ll wind up frying your whole grid with the back-flash, anyway. Why do you think the Marines dumped them so quickly? They’re great when they work, but…I dunno about reliability. If you’re using one, you might want to check your secondaries just in case.

I’d upgrade to a Garibaldi MKII, they have predictive targeting and less delicate side blows - the new ones have laminated flex-weave over a hardened ceramic under the plating instead of the plain ceramic on the old ones. It makes a real difference.

Hey Rue - you talking about the gas giant I think you are? Watch the eddies on the Southern hemisphere, they’ll get ya! I hit one of those while going terminal once, and the damn thing sent me into a tumble that was almost all she wrote. Blew out a damper and cracked my starboard vane getting out of it - man, that cost a bundle to replace. Sounds like you had more fun on your hop.

All right, Rue. I should have known you knew what you were doing when you mentioned booming the not-to-be-named-blue-swirl-gas-giant on a shakedown run.

And of course I don’t believe you broke any tube welds on your “de-milled” Courier. I’m also sure you didn’t install a tracking array and cover it with an RF-transparent D-26(b) lifeboat nose shell so it just looked like and observation blister. Because you’re a law-abiding citizen and all.

BTW, you ripped out those neural-induction control interfaces, didn’t you? I saw a guy on Vega Station who actually tried to use them to pilot and old MkIV Scout/Courier. These days, he mostly sits around and drools.

A word to the wise.

Serves him right - trying neural-induction on a MkIV? Sounds like he was doing a good bit of drooling to begin with - you can’t use neural-induction on anything less than Third Generation.

Aw, c’mon Kilt-wearin’ man, the guy’s got a Courier fer cryin’ out loud. Low emmissions and a first-class Grade II stealth suite. High delta-v limited-telemetry missles give him the chance to get in and pot the Barn… er, slag those pirates before they can get a hard targeting lock. Besides, he’s got capacity for two telemetry communicators and at least three remotes. We’re talking limited telemetry, remember?

I’m going with the plasma discharger because it’s got a high cyclic rate of fire (with no danger of stoppages), and ammo bunkerage requirements are a lot lower than for the big Garibaldis.

Besides, if he mounted a GarMkII, he’d have to watch for frame cracks behind the hull flare after only 10,000 rounds or so.

Speed is armor.

Oh, Rue, I’m disappointed. I thought you were going old-school with the Bettie, and renovating one of the old Betties from one of those pissant wars from the Late Primitive. I’d been kicking around the idea of proofing one, leaving the propellors on for retro appeal, and seeing if anyone would recognize it.

Of course, after all this time, I’d never be able to find an original, and I’d have to competly rebuild the structure … but it might be a good side project.

I hear you, Exgineer, but I still don’t wanna have my dome hanging out in a fight if I can lock, shoot and duck instead. You never know when the blips might have friends you haven’t spotted yet - speed is armor, but maneuverablility is life.

As for the bad rep on the MkII’s, you only get those cracks if you don’t reinforce the turret mounts - and I’m talking a class A molecular fusing, not just a heat weld. Too many people neglect to do it, and it gives the Garibaldi’s a bad rep. Remember, MkII’s are heavy-duty, so you’ve gotta give them a good anchor. I will give you the ammo storage point - slugs take up a lot more room than plasma generators. I think the superior range and predictive targeting make up for it, though, and I’d rather risk a stress crack than an ionized main grid and a green-shooter that just sits there as dead mass.:smiley:

Gah! Sun shows up and spouts like a Chiphead, (it would really creep me out, being a lowly Meathead myself if he was all “chikka, chikka, chikka” of a Wet’) and then Ex and Kilt go at it like two old school jumpjocks. Sheesh.

Bettie was completely stripped when I got her. Torp tubes welded, the grav lance was pulled (of course, but like I said, who wants the maintenence on one of those?), forward- aft- and bellyguns were gone, not to mention the belly cradle was scooped and re-fitted as an observation port. Come on boys! Bettie is a civ jumper now. Just my little toy to keep my feet in the Deeps.

She has a tight shell (Mk III, yeah baby! Out of Marianis Yards no less!), the whole Kepler unit, Bospor air plant, and the A/M core were good to go. All for auction prices. The envelope deflectors only needed a quick charge-up, and the co-axes and (used) Garabaldi dropped right in the old gun slots. Gotta love the interchangable hook ups.

I think I spent more on the paint job than I did on any other (single) upgrade. (That I admit to.)

And, yeah Kilt, the southern hemisphere is a bite if you get in close.

“Eating your own newts is not the way to go.”

This was the only part I understood.

Listen, Rue, I’ve thought about your offer and while I’d be crazy to pass up an opportunity to crew for you, I’m still not sure about the uniform. Thigh-high boots? And that Princess-Leia-esque bikini? And epaulets? What kind of radiation protection will that afford? Plus some of those pervs you pick up from time to time - I’d spend too much time fighting them off.

So, if you’re willing to renegotiate the outfit, I might still consider coming with you…

Snickers, didn’t you see the cool knife that goes in your boot? Or the spindley little girly blaster you get? And that uniform is just when company comes over. The rest of the time you can cruise around in an old bathrobe and bunny slippers if you want. (In lowered gravity too. Think about it.)

But, if you don’t want to lounge in the sonic tub, cold drink in hand, gazing out the main viewer at the pastel swirling dust of the Megelanic Cloud, I guess I’ll just have to find someone who does… sigh