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80 - Seizing The Future, Leaving A Past Unreclaimed

With the contest behind us, I find myself increasingly disturbed at my lack of success in any and all attempts at this process they call reclamation. I have found nothing about myself anywhere. I have no past. There were no old colleagues, no prior records of employment, lodging or travel, no market transactions, nothing. It all begins the day I remember emerging from the vat, but I didn't come out with an empty palette, so to speak.
I believe I must resign myself to the notion that I will never know who was the me that I came from, what he really did, what rank, prestige, position or occupation he really held, . . . why he commissioned a clone . . . anything about him at all. With that, Reclamation Day is a sad event for me.
I must stop trying to look back and simply focus on the future, as that is the only direction I appear able to travel through time.
Since that time, I have ventured into the Sirius system, despite the fact that it is strictly Freebooter (and Freebooters generally don't seem to like me at all). I went in support of a Syndicate contract there, a campaign like any we have had before, testing new equipment, new communications and, for me, the whole concept of traveling strictly by bond-funded transport.
First, in the lounge, I had the usual pleasure of the lame "Collie" jokes which abound elsewhere throughout the galaxy (Why should it be any different there?), but then I found something else I had been seeking . . .
That new ship, the Mantis.
I thought it was just a silly pirate myth until I saw one with my own eyes, registered to a member of [TAU], no less. I let my excitement get the best of me. Not only had I come unprepared, but I continued unrestrained. This was certainly not my shining moment, and I fear it did nothing to improve my standing with the Freebooters.
I have to call this a comedy of errors. I discovered that the simple label SJG was no longer adequate for Sol JumpGate, and I had to rethink my standards of abbreviation for the NAV system, but that was only the beginning. I rushed out there in my Porsche, fuel-guzzler that it is, nearly got myself killed in an absurdly-outclassed attempt at combatting the terrorists on the House of Congo station, and stumbled across a new class of ship in the port there, only to find that every other member of the Syndicate had already been briefed on it and this Mantis was registered to one of them.
"You snooze, you lose." That was the response I got.
Not to be outdone (silly me), I looked up my financial status, scurried off to the bank, drew out the entire sum at the hand of a suspiciously jovial teller (Freebooters DON'T like me), asked no questions about the fees, bought the ship outright and even paid to have them install a cargo hold. I never asked their price. No wonder they were so happy.
Never trust pirates.
Never!
I didn't even realize right away what I had done. I zipped off in the Porsche to follow the Syndicate on another campaign at Heinlein Stronghold, where I found a small band of thugs infesting the sewers and brought them to justice as well. A few days' sojourn within the Sirius system, and I remembered that even though I had found new courses (in pirate space? really?) and was the excessively-proud owner of a new ship, I could have planned ahead just a little and not come out so far behind.
With two ships in the system and no desire to shuttle back and forth whenever I wanted to switch between them, I had a new dilemma. This was compounded by my own choice to have a costly and time-consuming modification installed on my brand new ship at the most expensive shipyard in the whole galaxy. Ah, but I still had my beloved Porsche to get me around...
I could have come out there almost as quickly as my horrendously-inefficient razorback by taking an express shuttle for a few bonds. Now, to return and bring the other ship home (the fourth in my fleet), I would have to wait a while for that option as I had spent 100 bonds accelerating my Agile Combat course.
I flew back to Sol JumpGate and found some of my friends sitting in the lounge, congratulating each other over their new ships. One asked where mine was, as he'd seen me at the registry desk. Another was quite pleased to have gotten such a good deal outfitting his with a cargo hold at Kobnhavn, my favorite shipyard, where he'd found the best price for the job . . .
I wasn't done with my comedy of errors yet.
I arrived just in time to wait five days, stranded among pirates who hate me, spend my credits on a hotel room and be charged exorbitant prices for the rations I can get free anywhere else.
Finally, as I was getting ready to leave, someone asked me why I named my ship for a mythical sword in a stone. I lied to him. Why not? I was just returning the favor.
"I suppose that makes me the king, right?" I suggested. A different story to hide the truth... That one came from an old legend I found in a book from the ruins, and clearly it was a familiar tale there, where myth is truth and everyone's a liar.
The whole lounge erupted in laughter, and they had a round of drinks . . . on me . . . I thought I even heard a comment or three about a royal pain. I stayed for a while to enjoy what I knew was a shallow and opportunistic festivity, but I don't often get a send-off party.
No, in truth, I suppose I am still looking back instead of forward. My dreams, his dreams really, place me at the helm of a cruiser named Excalibur, and since this ship is classed as a private cruiser, I thought perhaps it may serve as a connection. Again, silly me.
My five days among the pirates had kept me away from several of [TAU]'s campaigns at stations from one end of the galaxy to the other, but now I had my ship, and I could resume my journey. On my return to Sol, I was beginning to behave wisely and asked around for the best fuel prices. I refueled at Kobnhavn, had Johan's crew at the shipyard give it a good look over and headed off to Taungoo to share my latest news at Seishu.
As my friend and I sat together after a tough shift, I told him all that had happened. Originally I had planned to hold some things back, but he mentioned my attempts to set up advance notice on newly-discovered wrecks here and there. I was surprised that he had heard about it, but then I remembered that my efforts had failed because of pressure from my rivals.
In pirate space, I had presumed that the saying, "Dead men tell no tales," would be the prevailing wisdom. Actually its truth and corollary were my folly. We live in an age when almost nobody really understands what death is, and even if you manage to catch a tale-bearer, he only has to escape for long enough to jump on the mesh and send a message.
Anima's cloning enterprise has brought people the absurd delusion of immortality. The specter of sudden demise bears little value as a deterrent.
Later, as I sipped coffee at Cafe Nouveau and joined my team-mates on [TAU]'s Syndicate channel, I was discussing how inconvenient it was to fly back and forth between Sol and Alpha Centauri to carry on with our business, and I was reminded that ANY one can start a Syndicate . . . even a defective clone.
It seems so much more convenient to open up business in Sol, where the local JumpGate is the center of navigation for the entire galaxy. All travelers come through there. Every trip across the galaxy includes it as a destination. A syndicate making its home there would probably have an advantage over others.
At present, I have resolved to confer with the leaders of [TAU] and prepare to build a new band of travelers, but not just travelers.
I want to gather enterpreneurs, buyers, sellers, gatherers, those who long, as I do, to wrest from this harsh, stingy galaxy the bounty of goods that are truly available and to bring those goods to sale where people from all walks of life can reasonably buy and enjoy them. I'm not talking about a vendor booth at some hidden market in some backwater station in a far corner of space (which has no corners and allows none to be cut). I mean private transfer away from the "private" markets, free enterprise, that forgotten and supreme economic principle known as capitalism.
You want something, I have it or get it, I sell it to you at a price we can negotiate. No more of the tyranny we all suffer from the vendors licensed to sell their overpriced wares in the "private" markets. They buy so cheaply and sell so dear that the common citizen always suffers financial harm, even with the special discounts that come with better standing, learning and reputation.
My mentors at [TAU] and role models in other Syndicates have already begun this standard of trade, shunning even the "public" market except for the transfer of credits, delivering their wares to the customer rather than requiring an interstellar journey to lay hands upon the latest rifle or sword, IF it's still there when you arrive...
My final consideration was what to name this new group. After some discussion, and borrowing on the ideas of good friends, I propose to call it Tauverse Resale and Underwriting [TRU].
Between now and the time I open up the new Syndicate, I will be looking in my private mail and even here on my blog for replies from those who are interested in joining and/or helping out.
I know I can lean on the knowledge of my mentors in [TAU] and [TTU], and I am sure of support as we grow.