I diverted from tour out near the Stellar Unknown Expedition recently. Commander The Pave Hawker reportedly found an interesting system with a station called Hell Port that has only two factions based out of it. The kicker? It's the farthest system AWAY from the core of the galaxy that has a human station and one of the factions, the less influential one, is known to be the special ops wing of Children of Raxxla. They didn't offer us any missions, but we did get a little nudge and a note from one of the Black Rock Military, the special ops group, representatives. She told us that if we were able to destroy enough of the other factions’ ships, we could reduce their influence on the system. So Pave and I set out to do just that. At first, he tried all sorts of tactics to get bounties and other ideas to help increase the power of the Black Rock Military, but nothing was working. Then he noticed something. There were convoys of the Black Rock Gang, the other faction, patrolling as system security vessels! We started to work on taking those ships down. We noticed a slight dip in reputation with that faction as a result, but we haven't seen a change in the influence yet. Hopefully with time we will. I have sent over a few modules and ordered in one of my combat ships just in case this tactic turns out to be viable. Hopefully we'll see that this is a way to flip the power of the station into civil war and then support the Black Rock Military.
Pave isn't sure what will happen once that does come about, but it is something worth looking into for now. It's not like there is anything else going on in the galaxy and the Pilots Federation isn't supporting any major community goals. We haven't even seen Thargoids attacking in over a month now. Perhaps now is the time to turn our attention back to Raxxla. We heard that the Pilots Federation was working towards a major recruitment effort for new commanders to join the flight academy anyway, so we probably won't see anything for us veteran pilots for a while. Maybe this pans out to be something. Maybe it doesn't. Either way it is worth a look and I'll get to fly with a legendary commander while we figure out what is going on out here at this extremely remote outpost floating in an asteroid around the only planet in this multi-star system.
Still no word on who exactly this faction is as there are only two reported supporters, one of them being Pave himself, and there are no known commanders who fly in the squadron associated with the faction. One thing to note though is that during our experimentation Pave did find a relic related specifically to the Dark Wheel among the wreckage of a ship. The Trinkets of Hidden Fortune are extremely rare and the only known valuable use for them is to give them to The Dark Wheel. What is something so rare and so directly related to yet another Raxxla based faction doing way out here in this system? More on this as it evolves hopefully, but for now it is all guesswork on behalf of the community and those pilots who come to help.
If you do wish to help, try to flip the Raxxla related Black Rock Military into power come out and visit Seagull Sector DL-Y D3 and fight against the convoys of Black Rock Gang ships. Currently we are only seeing reports of 9 total commanders who have been out this way to visit so perhaps with more bodies taking on the Black Rock Gang we can see a bigger change and a faster push into a security lock down or civil war state.
I got bored the other day after cashing in yet another load of Painite bringing my balance over four billion in liquid assets. I have no idea what I'm even going to do with that cash flow since I already own all the largest ships in the galaxy! So sitting at the bar talking with another commander about our journeys the conversation turned to INRA and the Thargoids. Obviously with the new variant we saw pop up around Palin's old base the topic of Thargoids comes up a lot in the bars these days.
This got me thinking though, those guys down at Cannon Research have a database of all the known INRA bases that were abandoned after the first war with them right? So I finished my drinks and said my goodbyes before heading over to see one of their folks. The Cannon Research reception lady was super helpful and gave me a list of all the planets in the galaxy that they knew of for these bases so I plotted my course and visited them all.
I was able to recover some audio logs from each of the sites, as well as some materials that were left behind when they abandoned the sites, and the story is amazing. It really puts it into perspective from both the researchers and the military side of the house what INRA was really up to. Sure you always hear the stories, but to visit the sites yourself and actually hear the voices of the people who were there brings it to life. Definitely a journey I recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about the lore of the Thargoid War. If we don't learn our history we may well soon be repeating ourselves. It is possible INRA never died out and that thing we saw over at Palin's Research Laboratory was the result of their work as well. The future may hold some interesting stories that people like me may one day track down in an audio log. I just hope I don't get caught up like Jameson did and wind up crashed on a desolate planet for my part in anything.
So there I was, doing my thing mining away trying to get another half billion in Painite in my ship when I get an alert on comms. The Anti-Xeno Initiative which I had joined recently was announcing a Condition Red! As the news was coming in it sounds like those scouts that were attacking Palin's base a few weeks ago may have been up to something! There is a new Thargoid Interceptor now found flying around the base!
I dropped off my painite and grabbed a ride in the Anaconda out to my base at Artemis Lodge to grab the Chieftain. I met up with Commander Phill P who was interested in doing some research on these new vessels and as he was collecting information and observing I was flying around taking down the scouts and trying to get a Xeno Scan or anything at all off of this new variant. I was unable to ever manage to get a hold of it before it bugged off, but some commanders report that if you wait long enough and it thinks the coast is clear it comes back and they were able to pounce on it and hold it down with the mass of their ships and get the tissue samples and Xeno-Scans we needed for research. Seems a bit cruel to be honest, and they even managed to pop one if it's hearts off, but that is what we have to do to keep ourselves safe from the Thargoid threat I suppose.
Another interesting note is that sometimes Thargoid Scouts show up as well but they don't seem to always be aggressive like they normally are. They seem to often go after the Thargoid Interceptor and wake out after it which is a bit odd really. Sometimes the scouts are by themselves and they are just attacking the base again and then sometimes that larger vessel seems to show up almost as if it is LEAVING the base, not that it is there to attack, but as if it was there and trying to escape.
Some theories have been flying as to why this special new Thargoid is at Palin's base and also why he was the first ground base to ever be attacked. I have some of my own theories as well which I'll record here for posterity:
I say that not only do I think this new Thargoid was made by Palin with all those sensor fragments we've been bringing him, but also that when he brought it online and it connected to the Hive Mind of the Thargoids that is what made the scouts show up and start attacking his ground base and WHY he had to leave and why the interceptors were chasing his mega ship because of what he had done. The reason the scouts seem to be chasing it is because they are wanting to know what the actual fuck this thing is that is attached to their network, but Palin was making it so he could try to understand and communicate with the Thargoids. That is why he wanted all the sensor fragments so he could try to find a way to talk to the Thargoids and figure out what their whole deal was. :tinfoil: What if this ship is something that Palin wanted to fly in an attempt to figure out how their hyperspace technology works? What if it is being piloted by a human and that is why it won't shoot at us and is running from the scouts. What if that NO on the scan is Palins way of showing to humans with Xeno Scanners that it isn't a Thargoid? Or that it is Not Organic?
Well with the recent announcement that several ship manufacturers are thinking of making mega ships called "Fleet Carriers" available to independent pilots a lot of us have been out trying to make money for their eventual launch. No one is quite sure yet what they will cost when they do launch, but to plan for the inevitable arm and a leg they will be charging several of us have turned our ships into mining rigs again! We've been out in wings of 2-4 mining in the Painite fields. Still not really sure what the engineers back at the stations are really wanting all this stuff for, perhaps it's key in building the super structure of the new ships or the new stations being created all over the galaxy lately. It's been a relatively exciting time to be a pilot to be honest.
We've seemingly driven the Thargoid threat out of human inhabit space for now which is nice as Operation Ida was needing the reprieve to get some of the stations back online. I flew missions with the Post Disaster Evacuation Service to restore some stations out in the Witch Head Sector for a while to allow IDA time to work out in the "Bubble". Since they haven't had any stations in need of our daring antics to rescue we turned our ships into cargo haulers and have been restoring the stations. Engineering reports out of Hanna Enterprise, the last station to come back online, say that we should be ready to be fully operational by around 3305-08-29! Fairly exciting news since we had to run out and fight off the Thargoids the instant we deployed those stations and we've been on the back foot ever since. It feels nice to be ahead of the game or at least on equal footing for now. It does leave the question though as to what the Thargoids are up to right now. They've been unusually quiet lately.
Several new expeditions are setting out into the black as well. Stellar Unknown is launching later today and plans to head out towards the Core again but along a different route than is usually traveled. I believe the Pegasus Run is coming up as well which will ambitiously plan to map the outer edges of the galaxy! That's going to take a REALLY long time to get done! I'm signed up personally for an event in early 3306 headed out to look at systems found in early astronomy by our forefathers back on Earth. Should be good. My brother Payperheirplain, silly name really, is out to be a dare devil in a "Small Size Ships Only" expedition all the way out to Semotus Beacon! The absolute Mad Lads they are taking on that journey for so long in such small ships. I don't know if I could handle being in a cramped space like that for so long. A ship the size of the flight deck of my Cutter or Anaconda? No thank you! I need room to stretch these ol' space legs!
Heard about Palin evacuating his base so myself and a few friends flew our way out there in combat ships to see what could be done. Professor Palin had taken off with his whole crew aboard his megaship. We had independent pilots still trapped in the station that Palin had abandoned and there were scouts pounding the landing pads and hangars. We flew a few combat sorties over the facility to help them escape and then took the fight to the Thargoids around the system. Didn't help that the local factions were also at war. We had to intercede in a few of their skirmishes as well. Took to popping off their drives and leaving the commanders on the float with hope for rescue. All in all an interesting day in Maia. Only time can tell what will happen from here, but hopefully the scouts get shot down enough that the Thargoids leave the system.
Finally broke down and bought the Anaconda. Had to pick a toy hauler for the Apollo 11 mission we'll be supporting as Hull Seals. Figured since we aren't going very far in the grand scheme of things that I may as well enjoy it. I wanted to bring a Cutter, but with the same toy load out I would have a much lower range. This way I am able to slap in nearly every type of friendly limpet controller and a research controller for any oddities we find out that way. Got a chaff launcher and heat sink to play with any alien life we find. Maybe discover something new about them. Running a lot of shields and hull strength as well. Still got some work to do engineering the ol' girl up, but she should do really well on the mission. Offensively and defensively we are pretty well set. I have been training my new crew member in combat and he has come along nicely. He's only one combat rank below me now and he is doing quite well on his own. Real shame we can't bring along a second crew member. It's nice having one onboard though so we don't get lonely and space mad. It's nice having someone to share a meal with and chat while we are taking breaks instead of just waiting on the light delay to send transmissions to other commanders in the black. I think we will get along quite well together. Will be amazing when we both come back as Elite rated combat pilots one day. Perhaps we will even come back from Apollo 11 with the last bit of data to get Cartographics to say we are Elite with them as well. It was nice of the trade federation to recognize my achievement when I made my first billion credits, so I'm sure the Cartographics folks will be just as pleasant when I bring in more data for them. Only about 66 million more credits worth to get. Shouldn't be long at all!