Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Thumper09, Jan 3, 2013.
Interesting meeting with the pirates. He is quite busy
Woo! That was indeed an action packed part of the delivery run. Wedge is definitely good at fixing up/repairs.
Earlybird: Yeah, he's got a lot on his plate trying to get things working smoothly. Thanks for reading!
Jade_eyes: I suspect Wedge wouldn't mind having a boring delivery run right about now. Thanks for reading!
Okay, what the hell was that all about?!
When I finally got to Lyton Prime yesterday, I went straight to the Imperial outpost and reported the pirate attack. The Imperial at the desk didn’t seem too concerned about the Bulk Cruiser and just logged in the information. The only time he sounded interested was when I told him I’d destroyed the pirates’ Guardian cruiser while I was trying to escape. He asked me tons of questions about that. I answered them all, but I was confused why he wasn’t more interested in the ship that was still a threat. So I asked if he needed any more information to help the ships that would be going out and dealing with the Bulk Cruiser. And get this– he said no, they were too busy to send a ship out. When I asked about the other civilian traffic coming in that might not be armed and would have to get past the pirates, he said that’s what the travel advisories are for, that everyone coming in this way knows and accepts the risk.
I was livid. I guess the Imperial thought I was getting a little too aggressive in my arguing because he commed Security and told them to "hurry up". It sounded like they were already on their way. They walked in a second later, and that’s when the Imperial said I’d be held there until they determined if I was telling the truth about it being self-defense when I destroyed the other ship. They were going to pull all the data from Solstice’s flight computer, comm log and sensor records.
Seriously?! Is this why they’re too busy to send out anyone to protect us mere civilians from a known danger? There would be a lot less instances of self-defense out there if the Imperials did their job in the first place! Maybe if the Imperials were more active in responding to these threats, there wouldn’t be so many pirates flying around unimpeded to ambush ships or blow up refueling depots!
I ramped back up to livid again pretty quickly. And that was the beginning of my lovely night in the Imperial holding cell. Thankfully they cleared me and let me out today. They said they still don’t have the manpower to send any ships in to deal with the Bulk Cruiser, though, and they escorted me out before I could argue any more.
Needless to say, the Imperials are definitely not interested in helping me out with my critical repairs, since I’d "accepted the risk of entering the system via that route in spite of the warnings."
That means Solstice is currently at a mechanic’s shop. The hyperdrive is too complex for me to fix that damage on my own. They’re also going to optimize the shields a bit better– I have to go through that same warning area on my way out of the system and I want to have the best chance possible of making it out, especially if the Bulk Cruiser is still there and brought friends. I’m stuck here for a week while she gets fixed, and I have to pay for lodging this time too. I’ll be spending most of that time trying to find new clients. I wanted to comm Booster and see if he could come help with the repairs, but I didn’t. I need to deal with this on my own. And even though I know he could have handled it, I would have felt bad to knowingly bring him in past that cruiser.
I finished the delivery, though. The recipient was really happy and grateful to get his cargo. I guess that’s something.
Wow! Guess the Imps aren't on Wedge's buddy list anymore Glad he completed the delivery to the client's satisfaction.
Wedge is making 'friends' He will be a rebel soon and good that be didn't bring Booster
Jade_eyes: Yeah, the Imps went down a few notches in Wedge's view. Thanks for reading!
Earlybird: This is definitely a large step that direction, even if Wedge doesn't know it yet. Thank you for reading!
Maybe that good old-fashioned Corellian stubbornness has its advantages.
Not only was the delivery recipient on Lyton Prime happy to find someone willing to bring his cargo in, but apparently he was pretty impressed that I refused to hand it over to the pirates when they threatened to attack. He said he loses lots of cargo that way, and even though the shippers reimburse him for the loss, then it’s up to him to go buy the cargo again and try to get it shipped to the planet again. Lots of time and effort wasted.
He was impressed enough that he hired me to haul some cargo off-planet for him, and his recommendation led to two of his associates in other systems also hiring me for hauling jobs immediately after. A third was interested, but Solstice wasn’t big enough for what he needed to have hauled. I put him in touch with Booster instead.
The mechanics on Lyton Prime fixed up Solstice really well– apparently they get a lot of practice repairing ships there– and I headed out with my new load of cargo. I already had Solstice’s weapon powered up when I reached the hyperspace transition point where the pirates had been, but I didn’t see them anywhere. Not even the Bulk Cruiser. I didn’t stick around to look for them.
It’s nice to have things going smoothly for a change.
Love to see things going nice.
At least the person he delivered to was grateful to get the cargo and gave him some good recommendations. The Imperials were worse than useless... not only never around when you need one, they don't want to even hear it! Nice. Can see where he's starting to learn such a profound respect for them. That will come back to bite them and their superweapons someday.
Good! One satisfied customer always leads to more. Smooth, uneventful cargo runs -- nice relief.
Earlybird: Yup! Thanks for reading!
Kahara: Wedge wasn't very impressed by them, to put it mildly. That's good for the future Rebels, though, like you said. Thank you for reading!
Jade_eyes: Yeah, some good cargo runs took the pressure off for a bit. I hope he enjoyed it while it lasted, LOL. Thanks for reading!
Those last three jobs got me back to barely even after all that mess on Lyton Prime and the repairs. They’re also the last paying jobs I’ve been able to get, so here I go again, tapping into my decreasing savings to get by each day and scrambling around trying to find another cargo hauling job. It’s amazing how quickly momentum can die in this business. Maybe I got a little complacent about things and took it for granted that I’d finally be getting some steadier work. I won’t be making that mistake again. Now I know I’ve always got to be actively marketing my business and not expecting things to fall into my lap. A streak of good fortune won’t always continue.
But that streak of good fortune happened once, and that means I can make it happen again. I just have to work at it a bit harder.
Booster, Myra, and Polipe resupplied at Gus Treta today, so I got to see them for a while. Booster thanked me for the referral and asked how I was doing. I told him I was doing fine– I need to try to fix this dry spell on my own first before running to Booster with every problem I have. I also got the chance to tell them more of the details about everything that happened at Lyton Prime. Myra and Polipe seemed pretty concerned, but Booster just kind of grinned when I told them how I fought my way out of the initial pirate attack. He didn't seem surprised at all about the Imperials' reactions though. He let me vent about it.
When I was done, Booster told me a few amusing stories about his latest cargo runs. It was fun just relaxing and chatting with them, especially Myra. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed them lately. It does get kind of lonely on Solstice.
They headed out again a little while ago. Now I’m going to wrap this up and get some sleep. I’ve got another big day of marketing and job hunting tomorrow.
Wedge will get new jobs (he became an excellent leader)
Nice to see him with his friends
Wedge is learning some great lessons but he's thinking too: It's hard to market proactively while you're literally on the go. Momentum and standing out above the rest is what has to happen as things go along.
I really fell behind on this. But I'm caught up now and very glad I did. Well done!
It's going to be hard work to keep up for a while. Good thing he's aware of that.
Yeah, I bet. Good old Booster.
I'm loving the inside look into Wedge's smuggler start up! It's not about how qualified you are it's about who you know. I've got the feeling he's going to be ok - but it's fun to see him struggle, make poor business decisions, get underpaid and power through.
I've been catching up on Booster Terrik - he's pretty much a b.a. over here huh? Looking forward to seeing more from him!
Very good - Make sure to keep me in the loop on any new posts!
Earlybird: Yup, there are some jobs out there for him-- we'll see one in this update. Thanks!
Jade_eyes: He's got a few kinks to work out with the marketing and advertising, especially with being on the go so much like you said. Thank you!
Hazel: Thanks, and thanks for catching up!
Kahara: Wedge has his work cut out for him keeping up during this rough stretch. Thank you!
@Rau_Fang : It's certainly a struggle for Wedge to figure all this out on the fly, but he's always struck me as the kind of person who isn't afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Booster (especially pre-Kessel Booster) is a challenge for me but a fun character overall, and yeah, he'll be showing up again. IMHO he's the sort that you want to have on your side and definitely don't want as an enemy. I'll try out the tagging alert thingy and hope my computer cooperates with the coding. Thanks for reading!
This update is a bit longer than the others have been.
My first mistake was to lower my prices below my operating costs. At first it didn’t seem like a mistake, since the intention was to entice new customers and establish my business enough that it could survive a small price increase later to meet or exceed costs. Yes, I was getting a little desperate. But it seemed to be working when I got a message from a new customer within hours of advertising my lower prices.
The message was text-based, but from the wording, Ms. Chorkan sounded so relieved to find someone she could "finally afford" to haul something for her. Could I come to Corellia right away to pick it up and deliver it to Loronar? You bet I could. It was kind of far, being over in the Colonies Region, but it was work and it would also give me the chance to see their shipyards like I’ve always wanted. Something about the aesthetics and the structures of shipyards and how they’re designed appeals to both the pilot and the architect in me. (And nothing against the Loronar Corporation, you have nice ships and I realize you’re our distant cousins and all, but give me a CEC ship any day.)
So I accepted the job. That was my second mistake.
When I reached the pickup site on Corellia, Ms. Chorkan was there waiting for me. There were only four small crates, and I could see why it wouldn’t have been very cost-effective for her to send those with a larger hauler. She said she was very grateful she found me and asked a few questions about my business since she’d never heard of me– how big was the operation, how many employees (ha! I still haven’t gotten that droid yet!), that sort of thing. She’d even filled out a lot of the paperwork already. I was quite happy. Ms. Chorkan paid half up-front, and we worked out the details for payment of the second half on delivery, including a bonus for gentle handling of the fragile, valuable items. She stressed that point quite a bit. I loaded the crates onboard carefully, and as soon as I double-checked the paperwork and filled out the remaining forms, I was off. It was straightforward but pricey cargo: eight Corellian flame miniatures, two per crate, packaged very, very well.
The flight to Loronar was kind of long, but Solstice and I got there fine. I paid the import/customs fees for Loronar myself to be reimbursed by the recipient upon delivery. Standard stuff. I got to see the shipyards too, and they were really impressive. A lot of the system traffic was comprised of Loronar-built ships, but I didn’t feel too out of place in Solstice since a sizable minority were Corellian ships. Nice to see our old colony hasn’t forgotten its roots.
I had coordinates for a small spaceport on the surface where I was to deliver the crates, so I commed the recipient and headed there. After that long flight I was happy to land.
I was directed to a small hangar on the outer edge of the spaceport. It was a top-entry hangar so the roof retracted to let me land. I have to admit I didn’t like it when the roof re-closed over me as soon as I was on the ground; it seemed odd given the expected transitory nature of cargo haulers, but I wrote it off as an automated system. There was lots of random equipment scattered throughout the hangar, though I found a fairly clear area that was big enough to set Solstice down in.
A well-dressed Gran and three humans-- two men and one woman-- were waiting for me when I lowered the cargo ramp. The humans were armed, and the way they moved around him made me think they might be the Gran’s bodyguards, though why they were guarding him from me was anyone’s guess. He was kind of brusque, especially for a Gran, and didn’t seem interested in my customer-friendly small talk. He just wanted the crates unloaded, so after I confirmed he was the correct recipient, that’s what I did.
When I finished I tried to talk to him about the customs fees he owed me and the signature I needed from him confirming delivery of the cargo, but he ignored me and told one of the men to open the crates. I (politely but insistently) tried to tell him not to, that I was still responsible for that cargo until he signed for receipt of it, but the other man and the woman actually physically blocked my way and told me to just hold on, be patient, I’d get my signatures in a second.
They weren’t overly aggressive about it, but something still inexplicably made me anxious. Maybe it was the trapped feeling from the closed roof, I don’t know. It’s weird that the first thing I thought of when they stepped in front of me was that they were cutting me off from my most direct path back to Solstice.
Despite my protests, the other guy opened a crate and dug one of the flame miniatures out from all of its packing material. He brought it over to the Gran, who took it and studied it hard for a couple minutes with all three of his eyes. Then the Gran did something that looked like a snarl and barked at the guy to open another crate. The scene repeated again, and after studying the second flame miniature the Gran whirled on me, said they were fakes, and demanded the real ones now. He was furious.
First I thought that the Gran thought I stole them and swapped them with these so-called fakes. When I insisted that everything in those crates was what I got from Ms. Chorkan, the Gran demanded to know what she had done with the real ones or if it had been her plan all along to trick him and steal his money. Like I was supposed to know? He kept shouting about the huge debt she owed him and how this had been her last chance to pay him back by sending these expensive flame miniatures, and how these fakes were worthless and she still owed him a huge amount of credits. Despite being only the messenger, I was apparently the only physical link they had to Ms. Chorkan and whatever treachery they believed she had inflicted on them, and they weren’t going to let me go until they were satisfied.
When I still insisted I had nothing to do with what Ms. Chorkan did or did not put in the crates, the Gran actually had the gall to say that he could get some of his money by selling my ship. I admit I may have used some language I shouldn’t have said to a customer.
And that’s when the man and woman blocking my path each grabbed one of my arms. I tried to pull away but they wouldn’t let go. To make things even better, the man by the crates pulled his blaster but kept it lowered.
New Rule #1: Buy a blaster.
I’d considered doing that after the pirate mess at Lyton Prime but I’d felt fine with only having Solstice’s weapon. Now I had nothing.
Luckily after spending all that time growing up riding thaks and herding naugas and nerfs, I don’t get intimidated when animals twice my size or larger try to shove me around. And when you get right down to it, there’s not much difference between a stubborn nerf and an adult human.
The man next to me had grabbed my right arm to keep me put. I jabbed my knee into the back of his knee. When that sent him (and me) down, I used that momentum and the woman’s own grip to pull the woman forward off her feet. I tried to twist around to dislodge her hold.
I’m not quite sure what all happened, but when I tumbled out of the pile onto the floor, I was free. I scrambled to my feet and ducked behind the closest piece of cover I could see, a couple of greasy old mobile servicing carts.
The man by the crates fired at me and hit the first cart. I unlocked the wheels on it and shoved it as hard as I could toward him. I knew the big lumbering thing wouldn’t come close to hitting him– all it had to do was make him sidestep away from Solstice so I had a clear path to her.
He did move away. By then I had ducked behind the second cart, unlocked its wheels and was pushing it along with me, using it as a shield.
The man and woman behind me were getting to their feet and would have a clean angle on me the second they did, plus the other guy was shooting again. Not good. I saw my cart had a pressurized tank of breathing air on it and a long hose attached to it for dispensing it. I grabbed the coiled hose, threw the free end out straight on the floor on the other side of the cart, and cranked the dial to send full pressure through it. Then I immediately shoved the cart away from me, toward the others.
Looking back, all of that should have been mistake number three. It was a pretty stupid thing to do. The hose came to life just like I’d hoped and started whipping around, making the others have to jump out of the way, but in my initial desperation I hadn’t anticipated just how violently that hose was going to be randomly whipping back and forth under such a high pressure. It almost caught me several times in the few seconds it took me to sprint to Solstice, and it would have done some damage if it had connected with me.
But it was a sufficient distraction. I jumped into Solstice and powered her full up from standby in record time. Got her off the ground seconds after that. I was about to comm the Gran and threaten to blast a hole in the roof with Solstice’s laser cannon if they didn’t open it up, but I didn’t have to; it started opening almost immediately. Guess it was an automated system after all.
I peeled out of there. As soon as I caught my breath I went to the Loronar authorities. They were receptive, took my statement, and promised to investigate, but they couldn’t give me back the crazy amount of customs fees I’d lost bringing in something that was declared as being incredibly valuable.
After I refueled, I went into a parking orbit above Loronar and tried to comm Ms. Chorkan, but there was no reply on the frequency. After an hour I gave up, sent her a text-based message that there was a problem and to comm me, and started back to Corellia.
By the time I got back to Corellia I’d heard nothing from her, and her frequency wasn’t even valid anymore. My text-based messages were getting rejected as undeliverable. All the means I had to contact her were no longer working. And to top it all off, when I checked my business’s financial account I saw that she had put a stop payment on the first half of her payment to me. There’s nothing my bank can do to get those credits back. So I lost the shipment’s down payment, the customs fees, the cargo, and I’m sure there’s no way in hell I’ll ever see the second half of the payment owed after delivery.
I am not happy.
I did a little digging and found some public records from CorSec saying that Ms. Chorkan has had financial problems for years and some associated arrests. That information would have been easy enough to find if I’d just bothered to look for it, and it would have saved me a lot of trouble and credits.
New Rule #2: Check references on every potential customer.
I liked this detail on Wedge's ship brand preferences. Seems like something that a pilot in the SW galaxy would have, just like how people in real life have their favorite cars and so on.
Wedge is picking up some street smarts here. It's good that he learns fast, since he keeps running into these problems.
Wow, he really got ripped off there. That's something he won't forget for a long time.
Wedge is learning. But WOW after a lot of trouble in a very exciting update
Playa got played. Great post full of action/adventure! I just wanted echo
@Kahara - there is a hard-working blue-collar everyman streak in Wedge, having a ship brand preference.
Don't worry- I get email updates on this thread if the tagging thing doesn't work!
sent from phone
Definitely packed with action More lessons learned. Wedge is a guy who is above-board, so it wouldn't occur to him to check references of a potential client, especially if he's in a tight for cash. Yup, definitely will carry a side-arm from now on, too
I really like this. Wedge is learning some valuable lessons. I can't wait to see how he progresses to a rebel.
Wow. Love this look into young freighter captain Wedge. Steep learning curve, but we know how smart our boy is. His list of 'New Rules' makes me chuckle. Keep it up!
Everyone, thank you for reading!
Kahara: Thanks, the Corellian ship preference seemed like a natural choice for Wedge. And yeah, that little fiasco and getting ripped off like that will stick with him for quite a while.
Earlybird: Being in trouble is always good for teaching characters new things, LOL.
@Rau_Fang: That everyman streak in Wedge is one of the things I love most about the character. I'm glad the ship preference helped bring that out.
Nyota's Heart / Jade_eyes: The client references vs. need for money is going to throw another wrinkle in things for him that he'll have to sort out. And yeah, getting the side-arm became a priority.
Wraiths_Ghost: Cool username! We've got a little ways to go before he joins the Rebellion, but I hope the progression will go all right. He'll be learning more in the meantime.
Katana_Sundancer: Thanks! (I adore that Trevas pic of Wedge and Iella, BTW.) I wish there was more profic done with Wedge in this time period. He does have a steep learning curve, but thankfully he's got his head on straight and can handle those.
Things still aren’t going as well as I’d like. I put my prices back up to the point where I only break even on operating costs so I’m not such a tempting target for less scrupulous people, but that means I’m only barely staying afloat. Advertising and marketing is costing me credits as well without a whole lot to show for it.
I’ve gotten a couple small jobs here and there, but like I said, just staying afloat. It’s been even harder since I started checking customer references on any potentially expensive hauling jobs. If I have another run like the Loronar one where I lose that much money, I think I’d go out of business. I have to be careful. I want to make this work. So I’ve been screening any runs that could be a high risk to me and I’ve even declined a few, though at the same time I feel like beggars can’t be choosers. One job I declined was from someone (name was Heff Bekke, I think) whose comm contact info I couldn’t confirm in public records and seemed fake or temporary. Another was from a Hutt called Druja which looked like bad news all around, especially after I did some checking into him/her/it. The third was a man named Talon Karrde, and he actually talked to me in person about hauling cargo. But when I checked into him I couldn’t even find anything bad. That should have been good for me, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it meant no one knew anything about him. I didn’t trust the situation and declined that job too. It killed me to lose the potential credits on those jobs, but I also think I dodged some pretty damaging blaster bolts by saying no.
Speaking of blasters, I now have a blaster pistol. A nice little Merr-Sonn DD6. It’s used but solid and reliable, and it shoots well. I practiced with it at the range in Coronet City where I bought it. I hope I never have to use it, but I feel better knowing it’s there.
Since I’m getting a bit desperate for work, I sent Booster a message asking for any more tips or ideas on what to do. He suggested I look into markets that might not fit the usual cargo transport profile of "crate and ship". Maybe I’ll find a niche or some work with them if I can adjust and cater to their more unique needs that a larger, standard transport company might not be able to accommodate. To that end I'm researching livestock transport. I think I could handle that well with my farm experience, though I’m cringing at the thought of what having livestock aboard for long periods would do to Solstice’s environmental systems, especially the air filters, water management, and waste disposal. I might need some substantial modifications done if it gets to that point. I’m also looking into offering courier services. Booster stressed the fact that I have to be flexible to get work, so I’ll be flexible.
At the end of Booster’s reply, he told me to trust myself, that I’d learned a lot from my parents about running a business and managing things and knew more than I probably realized. It was a nice sentiment, I suppose, but I don’t think Booster quite thought it through before he sent it. The way they ran their business ended up literally killing them. After all this time I still can’t wrap my mind around why in the galaxy they sacrificed themselves for strangers and left me on my own.
It was a hard reminder just then. When I’ve got work and I’m on a run, I love it. Unless I’m getting shot at, of course, but most of the time that’s not the case. I love flying, and I love doing this. But the low points like now when things are getting really hard and causing doubts are when I start missing my parents all over again, and I wish I was still with them instead of worrying about having my livelihood and business go under when I’m barely an adult. Then I start wondering where Syal is and how she’s doing on her own, and how I wish we could be on our own together.
...Solstice needs some preventative maintenance done. I’d better get to it.
Wedge has a lot of worries to take care of lately. His struggles to stay afloat seem very realistic. The galaxy isn't an easy place to make a living, and the time period during the Empire is probably one of the more difficult ones. But he is slowly learning to avoid the more obvious traps (I thought it was funny that he rejected Karrde as a dodgy client.) And then he's still trying to cope with his recent losses too.
Lot of worries. Low prices and a ship needing maintenance. He is describing it good.