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There are currently 56 users playing Freelancer on 37 servers.
May. 7, 2021

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A Brew So Sweet
From the Phoenix mod story archives

Phoenix mod - Bananaworld Server -

A Brew So Sweet

Chapter 1 - Freeport 9

It had been a long day. I'd just arrived at Freeport 9 in Omicron Theta thinking i could make some easy money, but the luxury food i brought down here in my Dromedary cargo ship had barely paid my docking fees. Feeling annoyed at the lack of credits lining my pockets, i headed for the bar.

"So what will it be there friend?" cried the jovial bartender as he idly polished some glasses. I looked at him with an icy stare, "Anything but Liberty Ale" and sat down in the nearest seat. He brought me a Sidewinder Fang and i smiled. Just what the doctor ordered i thought.

After a short pause to see that i was settled with my drink, he looked at me and asked innocently, "Have you tried our new Banana Beer that we just got in?". I choked and nearly sprayed my drink all over the floor. "Your what?" i asked increduously. "Banana Beer, from Planet Primus out in the Unknown system somewhere, it's a potent little number brewed by the Simians that live there" he replied calmly. I glared at him and tried to work out if he was having a joke at my expense to brighten up his dull existence or was just simply clinically insane.

"You are joking?" i asked mockingly, ", i'm serious" he said, still keeping his expression as innocent as possible. A glint in his eye told me that he found my reaction highly amusing so i was forced to pressure him for more information on the subject.

It turns out the monkeys living there had discovered spaceflight some time ago and had finally decided to venture out into the universe to see what was going on. A stray Zoner ship had come across a small Simian convoy under attack from some Nomads still left after the war, and after valiantly aiding the Simian vessels in dispatchng their common enemy, in gratitude for helping them out, the Simians had given the helpful Zoner pilot a few cases of banana beer as a way of saying thanks.

The Zoner pilot returned to Freeport 9 with his surprise cargo and proceeded to tell anyone who would listen his tale. It goes without saying nobody believed a word he was saying, and he was nearly thrown through the nearest convenient airlock for being totally annoying until he brought forth a few bottles of the aforementioned simian brew. A deadly hush came over the people gathered round him. The pilot cracked open a few bottles and passed them round. After some undue hesitancy from the assembled throng, cautious sips were taken from the dark brown bottles containing the thick, yellow, frothy substance.

"Oh yes, damn that's good", one person cried. "Can you get any more?". There was a mad scramble to buy the remaining bottles from the Zoner pilot and the rest shall we say is history. The pilot wouldn't divulge his source, but the Zoners were never one to miss a trading opportunity like this. The Zoner Council of Ten decided something must be done and dispatched a ship to see if trading could become possible between the two factions. Laden with wares, they cautiously approached Primus where they were welcomed as saviours and a hastily drawn up trade agreement was signed between the two parties.

The Simians as it turned out were a shy and cautious race not overly keen on contact with outsiders. They had not ventured far from their home world and were under regular attacks from the Nomads and simply assumed the rest of the galaxy was similarly afflicted. Soon after their meeting with the heroic Zoner pilot and rescue of their stricken bretheren, they had formed a trading guild called 'The Simian Trade Federation' and decided to do business only with the Zoners. A regular trade route between the two factions sprang up with the Simians delivering banana beer in one direction and numerous human made goods heading the other.

Keeping something like this secret in this part of space is difficult at best and while this suited the Zoners just fine, wind of this deal had reached the ears of the deadly Corsair pirates. Never ones to pass up getting anything for free, the Corsairs started attacking the Simian convoys carrying the delectable brew and the situation now is that it has become very difficult to come by.

"So you see", said the bartender fixing me with his laser like gaze, "I could do with some more, and seeing as you could do with the credits, do you fancy getting hold of some for me?". Well he was right, i could do with the credits, although i felt like slapping him for reminding me. The lure of this deal was proving almost irresistable so i fixed him with my hardened trader stare, or a decent facsimile thereof, and after agreeing an excellent price for the simian wares, i decided it was time to find out how to get hold of this elusive brew.

Chapter 2 - The Friendly Pirate

"You might want to try that fellow over there", my new trading partner suggested. I looked towards the person the bartender was pointing his rather shaky finger at and recoiled at the site of a fiercesome Corsiar pirate calmly picking his nose seated near the window, his MkII laser blaster, leisurely parked topside of the table in front of him. "Are you nuts?", i hissed quietly, gazing at the bartender in utter disbelief. "You go and ask him, screw that, i'm not getting myself killed for saying a casual hello". I shuddered at the prospect of dealing with a Corsair. They had flaky tempers at the best of times, and this one looked flakier than most.

"He's ok, really, he comes in here about once a month, stocking up on supplies. I've dealt with him loads of times, you'll be fine". He gave me an encouraging pat on the back and gently steered me in the direction of this rather imposing individual. I tried to muster some self control, i was going to need it. My encounters with Corsairs in the past had been short and sweet. They normally consisted of me being chased and then escaping by the skin of my teeth, due to some fancy flying and a good dose of luck.

"Tobin, my friend, good to see you here again, how are things?", cried the bartender in his most grovelling tone. Not waiting for an answer he quickly continued, "I have someone i'd like to introduce you to" he said, before beating a hasty retreat and leaving me stranded, standing in front of this imposing pirate. I felt like a newly qualified pilot that's just crashed into his ship during a docking maneuver.

Fortunately for me, Tobin was feeling more sociable and after looking me up and down he continued mining operations up his left nostril. He opened proceedings with a casual, "And you are?" as only a good pirate can. Being conscious of the blaster lying on the table, I thought diplomacy would be the right course of action in dealing with this pesky pirate. Feeling brave, i stammered, "My name's Gibbon, i'm a trader". He looked at me again and then to my surprise his body started shaking and he burst out laughing. "Are you now?" he replied in between a major helpless laughing fit. He clearly had me at a disadvantage now, but it was a case of go with the flow, so i smiled genially back at him and followed up my opening salvo with a more resolute, "I'm after some information".

He stopped laughing immediately. "Sit your arse down". All jovialty had vanished from his face, replaced by an icy stare that could have frozen a supernova. His hand gently caressed the blaster in front of him, almost lovingly. I'd have to play my cards carefully or i wouldn't make it out of this alive. "So you're after some information are you" he casually said, his fingers still stroking his well used weapon. "What exactly you after then?" he asked with a more accusing tone.

Well here it was, one of those pivotal moments you reach in life where if you say or do the wrong thing, you're toast. Crossing my fingers and toes, i asked with as much steel in my voice as i could muster, "I'm after the location of Planet Primus". Silence. He looked at me and then gracefully gazed out the window at some distant object before turning back to face me. "It will cost you" he said bluntly. "I take it you need the location of the Unknown jumphole in Omicron Gamma" he enquired. Trying to look as if i asked Corsairs directions all the time, i simply nodded my head, in an attempt to look hard.

"50,000 for that information, trader Gibbon", he said sarcastically and held me with his icy gaze. Holy crap i thought, that was steep, very steep. There was no way out of this. "Is that negotiable?" i enquired feebly. "No it bloody isn't and if you mess me around any more, i'm gonna stick this blaster where the sun don't shine", he replied with a new level of venom in his voice and a now noticable twitch in his trigger finger. A thousand curses, i'd had no choice really from the moment i'd sat down, so accept his offer i did. Tobin extracted an ancient PDA for me to enter in the details of the funds transfer. Once completed he scribbled down some coordinates on a napkin and handed them to me. "There you go, that will get you to the unknown system and Primus" he said gruffly. "Now piss off". I got up quickly and retreated to a safe distance.

Chapter 3 - Outward bound

I headed back to the relative safety of the bartender and decided on one for the road, to steady my trembling nerves. "It's on the house" said the bartender, attentive as ever to my nervous disposition. I thanked him and proceeded to go over current events. I'd gotten off lightly, no doubt about that. I'd heard of other traders trying their luck at getting information out of a Corsair, only to end up dead on a stinking bar floor courtesy of some well aimed blaster shots, or sucking space in a remote part of the universe somewhere. Yes, i'd most definately gotten off lightly.

With the new information i'd gleaned from my socially inadequate pirate, assuming it was accurate of course, the possibilty of making some decent cash for a change warmed my slowly calming innards. I'd need to get my ship ready for the journey. She was an old freighter i'd puchased at Ships 'R' Us up in Sigma 19. The old girl had clearly seen better days, of that there was no doubt.

I still remember the day i bought her, "Top ship that is, you won't have any problems with that" said the shifty looking ship dealer called Dirk Van Hessian. That was true for about five hours until the first of two injector coils blew, minutes apart. Let's not even mention the flux capacitor deciding to meet its maker. I must go and see him after this run and have a little word.

At the equipment dealer i decided to stock up on nanobots and shield batteries and a little voice in the back of my mind screaming at me to take some countermeasures this time. They had a nice new advanced countermeasure dropper here which i was thinking of installing anyway, so i decided to upgrade my old one and the price was almost reasonable. The Zoner engineers promised to install it in under an hour so while they got on with that little task, i headed for the ship's bridge to input these new coordinates into the navigation computer.

True to their word, the Zoners actually managed to finish ahead of schedule, much to my annoyance as i wasn't ready and now had nobody to moan at. One of the engineers stuck his head through the main hatch to tell me they were done, i just threw the nearest object i had at him and cursed. He laughed and walked off back into the interior of Freeport 9, a string of expletives following him into the distance. With the navigation coordinates entered, i sealed the doors and fired up the engines of the "Skipping Stone".

The ship started to shake a lot, more so than normal and i was starting to wonder if the engines were going on a seperate journey to mine when i felt the inertial dampeners kick in and everything smoothed itself out. A quick call to traffic control to confirm my departure and all of a sudden i was exiting berth two and was now floating in space, drifting idly in no particular direction. It seemed to be quite busy in the general vicinity of the Freeport. Numerous Zoner trading ships and their escorts were requesting to dock while a number of bounty hunter ships were also returning from their designated patrols.

Omicron Theta had a single yellow sun that shone brightly in the centre of the system, its soft yellow light bouncing off the nearby ships. Freeport 9 itself was bathed in its soft light, odd reflections being cast off the biodomes that supplied the stations basic needs. There were three main nebulas nearby, the Orinoco, Amarus and Napo, the latter being my destination. They cast their green gaseous exteriors at me, daring me to enter and brave soul that i was, that's exactly what i was going to do. The Napo cloud had the dubious distinction of being the entry point to Omicron Gamma, the Corsair home system. Most traders avoided it like the plague as the Corsairs normally plundered any trade ships foolhardy enough to go there, but i figured seeing as i was running empty for a change, they'd ignore me. Or so i hoped.

I fired up the autopilot and turned the nose of my ship towards Omicron Gamma.

Posted on: 2009/2/4 20:26