Well, the messages got sent. One for another kind of hunt, but the other… more of a statement. I think some of these factionalists have forgotten what it’s like to have a fluxhunter squad around. Whatever the reason for the negative responses, the majority have been positive. Look, we aren’t at Hyperial because someone paid us. If you don’t believe me, look at my credits. We aren’t there because we’re working for Hyperial, either. It was my idea, not theirs. From the speed of their response, I’d say they’re relieved to have someone flying overwatch, but they hardly love us – or really want us, I think. Doesn’t mean they’ll refuse an open hand, however. Even zealots aren’t completely unreasonable, after all.
What we’re mostly there for is an example, and a message to all of our disparate peoples that whatever times of darkness we face, it’s also a time of light. That’s why I made a point of seeking out and destroying the swarm in Quantar space as the first thing I did after leaving Hyperial. A symbolic gesture, if you will. I then destroyed one in Solrain space. This is what it’s about, and what it’s always been about. All of this chest thumping and “my faction is better than your faction” fighting – the sheer waste of it all – has always been breathtaking, in the face of a major alien invasion, where our enemies can appear anywhere, anytime, and in any strength.
They appear in the skies above your planets, people! Does this not make you nervous, despite the fact that they haven’t yet figured out that it’s really you they should attack? Planets don’t come equipped with escape pods. That’s why we’re protecting Hyperial. Not only that, however – Hyperial is the only source of the Insight, and as much as it pains me to say it, the Burglar – which I’m obligated to protect, because Amananth didn’t see fit to replace the Biomass CP in The Dark. So, the only way to ensure that we have nuclear weapons to destroy infestations is to ensure that filthy pirates also have access to the instrument they use for their thievery. The moment we have a Biomass CP back, I’ll personally lead a strike force to destroy that facility, after issuing plenty of warning for any employees, of course – you have no idea how I hate the very sight of that building. That aside, it remains the only way to obtain biomass for nukes.
So, we have to protect Hyperial. I’ve tried to take steps to reawaken Amananth from whatever is wrong with it. It’s monosyllabic, curt, and not itself at all. When it bothers to answer me, that is. Which brings me to another point.
I’m here, now, because of Amananth – in multiple ways. Amananth repaired the damage that was never really fully addressed by Aelagi’s hasty battlefield actions, as necessary as they were. What could be repaired, is now repaired – without any of the… interesting… side effects of the original prosthetic and cybernetic replacements – but that’s another story, and not mine to tell. There has been nothing in the news about Amananth since 117.3.11. The station began to revive me almost 6 months later, to the day, and I was transferred to Octavius Core, in suspended animation. When I was revived by the capsule’s automated systems, on a time delay, I found myself 13 years older, with no memory of much of my latter days with ION, of leaving New Dawn, and, of course, nothing of the intervening time. I had no need for a second GenMod treatment, of course, so I reported in, had my identity verified by Octavian authorities, and was informed, regretfully, like I’m sure all of you were, that I would have to begin all over again.
With some of my most recent (hah!) memories revolving around TRI black ops skulduggery, a Hyperial agent, as well as a fake Hyperial agent, and being pieced together again – I wasn’t… how can I put this… quite sane. Some time later, I began receiving packages from a friend. Packages containing information that could only be obtained from one place. The security subroutine at Amananth, incidentally, is much more “normal” – despite it being similarly close-mouthed. In that information, I learned the truth about a great many things I’d forgotten, or misremembered. My own accounts of those days, my abnormal behavior, my joining a factionalist squad, toward the end! I love ION – and to join them was once a dream of mine as a younger man – but those sorts of dreams turned to ashes when my father died, and my mother was murdered in one of the initial Conflux attacks. That I was reviving them meant that my friends were right in what they did. I’m glad I gave the keys to Lupin when I left. He did a great job, from everything I’ve seen. I’m also glad that Havik, Z, and others entrusted me to Amananth.
There is no other entity in which I trusted enough to save me, in spite of myself. Here I sit, saved by Amananth – yet it doesn’t know me. It doesn’t remember that I pledged myself to it. It knew that I had access to certain areas, that we had an agreement that I was to hold those areas in trust for the War – and to hold another area in trust of another. All they need do is ask. When it’s time, you’ll know to ask me, I’ve been assured. New Dawn expanded and excelled my prototypes – but those prototypes remained – sealed away, until I unlocked them again. Only two people had my codes. One was locked away with me, while I was slowly reconstructed. The other was Lupin, who quietly locked that door, and kept it locked – for which I’m grateful.
Why Hyperial? Who else, since Amananth can’t remember being the partner it once was? Hyperial won’t be either, but if the flux want her – they can’t have her. Amananth has taken care of itself without me for this long. It can continue doing so until it calls for me again. I owe a debt – one I’ve perhaps paid down on for my prior actions, but a debt nonetheless. The least I can do is offer our protection to someone that needs it – and whom we need, no matter what Quantar thinks. Hyperial’s not getting the Command Center, though. That will stay right where it is. While I appreciate their welcome, their further comments demonstrate that they haven’t learned anything while I’ve been gone. Quantar hasn’t either, as far as I can tell. None of us have, I fear.
The solution, ladies and gentlemen, in this new era where our numbers are few, and our resources are more and more limited by those numbers, is to do anything – and I do mean anything – but fight each other. Our economy based on interfactional war and consumption of warfighting materiel is at an end. There’s not enough to sustain it, and there needs to be a different foundation laid for the health of our various economies. Further, we – all of us – need a solid reason to be doing what we do. I have my war – and that’s enough for us as a purpose. Anyone who wishes is welcome to join us, of course – but right now, we’re the only “pure” fluxhunter squad active right now. This isn’t to denigrate those other squads, but to explain something I’ve come to realize. Right now, we’re in something of a catch-22. As long as the economy remains consumption/combat based, our haulers and miners will have little of consequence to contribute to the furtherance of our economy, without constant warfare to ensure that more equipment is consumed, which requires more to be produced, which requires more commodities to be manufactured or mined.
We operate on a wartime scale, which assumes hundreds of pilots losing ships, equipment, and the like. As important as I think our war is, we’re too good at it, all of us. We need to think smaller, more efficiently. We need to think about how many of items like Burns, Pushers, and such that we really need to have – break the rest down to their constituent elements – and cap them at a smaller level. We need to emphasize trade goods more, and ship loadouts less. We need more interfactional licensing, of both upper tier commodities, as well as equipment items. Lastly, we need to get our pricing (and taxation) under control again.
If we limit the equipment and commodity caps, we encourage manufacture of only the items we need. If we emphasize (and streamline) our trade goods market, we’ll have steady income for haulers, and a better standard of living planetside, as well as on our stations. If we encourage licensing deals, we can each obtain more of what we need, closer to home. If we improve our pricing and taxation schema, we can ensure that our trade goods offer a decent profit for haulers, while providing better and more goods and services for our factional populations.
Why Hyp? It sits on the trade lane between Solrain and Quantar, provides many essential items both for the Conflux War, and for our factional fleets. It’s also the epicenter of a renewed offensive by the Conflux. I don’t care about Hyperial and Quantar’s eternal feud. I never have, and never will – unless it interferes with the war against the Conflux. We’re basing in Hyp because, unlike Amananth, it occupies a strategic position for trade – (and also unlike Amananth currently) the threat posed to it, with no fleet, no defenses. and as manufacturer of Rushes, Dreams, Deepols, Insights, and Burglars (and others), it is a vulnerable strategic asset that can’t be allowed to fall. I’m uncovering Amananth to cover Hyperial – because Amananth is uncovered already, by virtue of being compromised by whatever occurred when it was attacked a year ago, its inability (or unwillingness) to communicate since then, and its inability (or unwillingness) to cooperate with its own defense. Yes, it’s a gateway to flux space – but if it won’t tell us how to help, or what even happened that day, what can we do, but help where we can do some immediate good?
I can cover patrols of the new threat areas from Hyperial. I cannot from Amananth. I can escort ships in and out – and between Sol and Quantar – from Hyperial. I cannot from Amananth. TRI Corp calls this threat escalation nothing to worry about, and says it doesn’t see a pattern – is that the same sort of threat escalation it didn’t see when a rogue Enforcer was sighted attacking convoys heading to Amananth, as well as by several other pilots?
Speaking of which – just in case you are listening, Amananth – you know I have no love for TRI – if you know of a connection between the two, or suspect one – let my new squad and I help you. Or heck, a connection with anyone else, anything. I haven’t gone far. I’m just… waiting. We seem to do a lot of that around here these days. I’m not good at waiting. When I see problems, I do something. In this case, I’m doing something about the problem I know about. It’s the ones we don’t know about that turn around and bite us.