When their daughter disappears, two retired mercs head out on one last mission to find her.
Writer’s Note: Sid & Cyrus: Part One was published originally in Jump Point 5.5.
A high-pitched screech carried across the Falling Sky as the front door slid open. None of the regulars at this run-down watering hole noticed the noise or cared. Only Sidney looked up from her post behind the bar. Still as observant and energetic as most people half her age, Sid needed but a moment to scan the young man who entered before going back to work. She’d seen enough.
The kid sidled up to the bar and eyed Vinny, sitting a few stools down. Vinny took a deep drink and kept his eyes glued to the vidscreen. When the Crashers were playing, nothing was more important to him. Definitely not some nervous kid with a wild look in his eyes.
The kid leaned toward Sid, only to pause and glance Vinny’s way again. Once absolutely certain he wasn’t listening, he muttered, “Tomyris sent me.”
Tomyris was the leader of a burgeoning and ruthless outlaw pack calling themselves the Cadejo Crew. Sid knew Tomyris through reputation only, but if this kid thought otherwise, who was she to wreck his reality? So she smiled to put him at ease then replied, “How ’bout I buy you a drink?”
“Radegast, neat . . . wait, you got Ghosts?”
“Course.” Sid grabbed the bottle of Tevarin rye white whiskey and poured his drink. The kid took the moment to eye Vinny again. His nervousness was palpable.
“This is your first run, isn’t it?”
That returned the kid’s attention to her. She set the glass before him. “Don’t worry, you’re doing great.”
The kid gulped down the white whiskey and almost spit it back out as the burn hit his throat. To his credit, he managed to swallow.
“It’s just,” the kid said as he wiped his lips on the sleeve of his worn flight suit, “well, you know. It’s been a crazy day for me.”
Sid topped him off with a bottle of bootleg moonshine, certain after the initial burn he wouldn’t notice the difference.
“Tell me about it.”
“Well, it’s done.”
“You know,” the kid leaned in even farther and lowered his voice ’till she could barely hear what he said next, “the convoy to Behistun.”
Sid’s stomach sank. Immanuelle. All she could manage in response was, “You’re sure it’s . . .”
“Yeah . . . I was there.” The kid killed his drink and glanced to the sataball game. Sid refilled his glass and resisted the urge to smash him over the head with the bottle.
“So, we good? They said you’ll handle phase two, right?” The kid asked. Sid forced a smile and nodded. The kid threw back the last shot and set down the glass. “Never did catch your name.”
Sid mentally logged the name. Then said it aloud to imprint it in her mind one more time.
“You stay safe, Devin.”
The kid smiled and stumbled to the door, suddenly feeling the effect of the hooch. Sid disappeared into the office in the back of the bar. She found Talsa and said she was feeling sick. Talsa sighed sharply, then waved her off without further inquiry.
Seconds later, Sid slipped out the bar’s back door. She debated following Devin and learning what else he knew, but in the end decided against it. Right now she needed Cyrus. Quickening her pace, Sid headed home.
The constant hum of landing and launching ships filled the sky as Sid hurried through the streets of Reis. The city was abuzz with late afternoon activity, as residents rushed to complete errands before Nexus’ bluish-white sun sank over the city’s heavily fortified walls. Most avoided the streets after dark due to the surging crime rate, but Sid preferred it then. There were fewer people around to slow her down.
Sid rounded the corner occupied by Q&D Aeroservice, then merged with a scrum pushing their way through a particularly narrow part of the street. Causing the bottleneck were a cluster of shacks constructed from scrapped shipping containers. Inside lived refugees from outposts overrun by the Vucari. These survivors were the lucky ones.
The Vucari, one of Lago’s oldest outlaw packs, had grown back into power and prominence over the previous months. Led by the newly promoted Master Kraujas, they had become the biggest threat in the area once again, even overshadowing the recent nastiness that was the Cadejos. Methodically, the Vucari expanded their territory by overtaking civilian outposts. Anyone who resisted suffered from their cruelty. Anyone who relinquished all weapons and possessions was allowed to flee. Most ended up in Reis with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The crude shelters, like the ones Sid squeezed by now, were at least a step up from the broken pavement claimed by most poor souls who had to sleep on the streets.
She continued for a few blocks before ducking down an alley. The stench of Human waste slapped Sid in the face. The smell was new, a sign of worsening waste management within the city.
Sid held her breath, and carefully avoided the piles of trash and strange stains. An outbreak due to poor public sanitation was the last thing Lago needed. People were already on edge due to the housing shortage and shrinking food supplies. Sid knew that if Reis slipped any further, all civility would be shredded. She’d seen it before and she knew what would happen next.
The Vucari would take advantage of the discord and strike. Reclaiming Reis was the dream of every outlaw commander ever since the UEE forcibly reclaimed the planet in 2931. Master Kraujas knew such a conquest would establish his name in history. He also understood that civil instability was his greatest ally and that crumbling civility would only make taking the city easier.
Sid slowed at a tall fence made from corrugated metal, her eyes scanning to insure its integrity. She carefully followed the fence around the corner until it connected to the back of a two-story building. She proceeded to the front of the building and entered a rundown repair shop occupying the first floor.
A bell chimed as Sid opened the door. Behind the service counter, shelves of scrap collected dust. Sid ducked under the counter and crossed the threshold into the workroom of the shop.
Cyrus dozed in a battered chair behind a desk cluttered with mechanical parts and electronic components. Sid nudged her husband’s feet off the desk, startling him awake. A small drone fell from his lap to the floor.
Cyrus sat forward and took a second, his post-nap haze still not completely clear. Though Cyrus was still sharp and nimble, he was sometimes slow to action.
“What you doing back so early?” he asked while scooping up the dropped drone.
“What good is that bell if you don’t hear it?”
Cyrus waved off the reply as he scanned the drone for damage. He snagged a small screwdriver and made a few minor adjustments.
Sid took a deep breath, knowing this next moment might make everything she feared real. Cyrus sensed the pregnant pause and met her eyes.
“We need to check Immanuelle’s tracker.”
Cyrus took a moment to process the request before spinning in his chair and tossing the drone on his desk, all in one swift movement. He briskly typed at his terminal as spare parts rattled on his desk. He glanced up to see Sid pacing. Her shoulders hunched forward with anxiety, making her look every bit her age.
Seconds later, Cyrus began to launch a program he hadn’t opened in almost a year. It was a backdoor into the geolocation and biofeedback sensors in Immanuelle’s armor, a feature of which their daughter was not aware.
Cyrus added it after a Vucari raid had hit her convoy hauling food and first aid to settlements across Lago. She had spent a week in the hospital afterwards, one of the longest weeks of his life. Outlaws were growing more emboldened by the day, but Cyrus knew that wouldn’t stop Immanuelle. At her age, it wouldn’t have stopped him, either.
Conflicted over what he had done, Cyrus told Sid. In the ensuing argument, she both chastised and thanked him for doing it. The two agreed to access the armor’s information only if absolutely necessary. Immanuelle had been on numerous delivery runs on Lago’s contested planetside since, without incident. This was the first time they had felt compelled to check it.
Cyrus knew something was terribly wrong without even having to ask, but he couldn’t sit in silence not knowing for much longer. “What’d you hear at the bar?”
“Some kid came talking about an attack on a convoy to Behistun. He thought I was someone else, so I don’t know how much I can trust him . . .”
“. . . but . . .”
“He had that look in his eye.” She didn’t need to say more. Cyrus understood.
“Think it’s Vucari again?” he asked.
Cyrus visibly paled. The program finally initialized. He typed a few quick commands and waited. The terminal pinged and returned results.
“Well?” wondered Sid, unable to bring herself to face the screen. Following a few seconds of excruciating silence, she turned to find Cyrus scanning data. “Is she ok?”
“Uncertain,” he replied carefully.
“What does that mean? Is that thing even working?”
“It was. Until eight hours ago. There’s been nothing since. There’s a chance —”
“. . . what?”
Sid crossed to the terminal, “Where’d that last signal come from?”
“North, 34 degrees . . . 26 minutes —”
“Not the coordinates.” Sid leaned across the desk and expanded the map’s visible range. The signal came from the middle of the Platean Plain, about half-way to Behistun.
“That’s Vucari territory, isn’t it? What are the Cadejo doing there?”
Sid gave it a passing thought; hitting a shipment in enemy territory violated the honor code many of these outlaw packs lived by. Then she grabbed her rifle and slammed a fresh battery in it. “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
Neither Sid nor Cyrus had the courage to vocalize their fear about what might have happened to their daughter. Instead, they simply agreed to find out for themselves.
The two spent the night gathering and prepping their old gear. They moved furniture and raised floor panels to access hidden weapon lockers built by Cyrus. The caches were strategically placed throughout their two-story building so weapons would never be too far away if outlaws or ghosts from their past arrived on their doorstep.
In their own words, Sid and Cyrus ran a small security firm before moving to Reis. The reality was that they were in-demand mercs with an impressive portfolio of missions and a notable number of enemies. It was the life they wanted until the unexpected occurred.
Immanuelle had never been part of their plan. Sid was as shocked as Cyrus to discover she was pregnant. The news floored the couple and forced them to reassess their life. To both their surprise, they realized that they liked the idea of expanding their family. Problem was, they had dodged death far too often and knew it was only a matter of time before it caught up with them. Immanuelle’s arrival was a chance to reset and escape the dangers that had become part of their everyday existence.
When Immanuelle was five they bought this modest two-story building on Reis. The previous year, the UEE had wrestled control of Nexus away from outlaw pacts that had dominated the system for centuries, so the government offered sweetheart land deals to entice new residents. Since Sid and Cyrus had never worked within the system, they figured it was an ideal place to start fresh with a minimal chance of encountering their past.
Cyrus converted the building’s ground floor into a repair shop. His knack for fixing things proved invaluable, as outlaw attacks on supply shipments were common. Sid helped run the repair shop and raise Immanuelle, but felt restless until she wandered into the Falling Sky bar. There, a bit of the buzz came back. She found a piece of her old life among the mercs who frequented it. So, she taught herself to make a killer Terra Tornado, convinced Talsa to hire her, and lived vicariously through the regulars’ stories of Lago’s untamed planetside.
All the while, Immanuelle remained none the wiser to her parent’s previous life. It’s not that Sid and Cyrus hid their past from her. They merely were selective with what they said, both hoping that the gene of self-endangerment had skipped a generation.
Still, it didn’t take long for their daughter’s sense of adventure to surface. Before turning ten, Immanuelle had explored every last nook, cranny and alley in their neighborhood. As a teenager, she often got in trouble for sneaking into the Falling Sky when Sid was off duty to hear the outrageous and often grisly tales its patrons told. It was obvious to Sid and Cyrus that their daughter was cut from the same cloth as her parents.
Cyrus checked ammo clips one by one before sliding them into his pack, in an effort to get his emotions in check and focus on the job at hand. In recent months, he had only heard passing mentions of Tomyris and the Cadejo Crew, but each one had sent a shiver down his spine. Unlike the Vucari, no one attacked by the Cadejo made it back to Reis. Rumors swirled that the Cadejos preferred to take people alive for use in some sinister ritual. Cyrus didn’t quite believe the tales, but had seen enough strange stuff in his day to not completely discount them. At least if true, he reasoned with himself, Immanuelle might have a better chance of still being alive now.
Cyrus slung a duffel bag filled with gear and guns over his shoulder and carefully carried it downstairs. He dropped the bag behind the counter with a thud. He drew a deep breath, surprised by how winded he was, then stepped into the repair shop.
“First light in forty-five,” he called to Sid. “I’ll bring the buggy ’round back.”
“I’ll come help in a few.”
Sid stood at a workbench making adjustments to her energy rifle while wearing heavy armor sans helmet, her lucky bandanna holding back her hair. The sight gave Cyrus pause. She’d always worn light armor in their merc days, preferring to be fleet of foot over aggressively armored.
A few years ago, she returned from a shift at the Falling Sky wearing the heavy armor. She scared Immanuelle half to death by confidently striding behind the repair shop counter before identifying herself. Sid claimed someone gave her a good deal on it, and asked Cyrus to work his magic. She said it might come in handy some day. He never expected this to be it.
“Going with the heavy, huh? You have a chance to field test it?”
“Seems as good a time as any,” she replied.
“The effect on your speed and stamina might surp—”
“Hey . . . I thought you were going to get the quad.”
Sid took her eyes off her gun to shoot Cyrus a look. Her face almost appeared to float amidst the massive armor around her.
“Fine, but I need to tell you two quick things. One, and I’m just being honest here, you look a little ridiculous,” he said as he headed towards the garage. Sid’s eyes flared with intensity. “And two, when you put on your helmet, apply the setting labeled with your name. I’ve already programmed in your preferences.”
A small smile crept across Sid’s face, the first one Cyrus had seen since she arrived home. Before she could respond, Cyrus was out the door. The smile was all the reassurance he needed to know his world wouldn’t completely crumble if this mission ended in the way neither of them dared say.
Reis sat on Sid & Cyrus’ six half an hour later. The two shared a look exiting the city’s eastern security checkpoint. This was the first time the two had been out on an assignment since Immanuelle was born.
As they crossed the Mycale Valley, towering gray mountains loomed on the horizon. Being backlit by the slowly rising sun only made them more ominous and imposing. As Sid drove, Cyrus calculated several potential routes to their daughter’s last known location. Transposing it to the map, he saw that to reach the Platean Plain they would have to navigate one of the many passes that cut through the Harran Mountains. He scanned the list, unsure which one would be the safest.
“The most direct route is through the Datis Pass,” he noted.
“Feels like someone at the bar is always talking about how that pass is infested with outlaws. Any other options?”
Immanuel had once admitted that crossing this range was often the most harrowing part of her journey.
“How about the Sargon Pass? That an option? Vinny swears it’s the safest one heading east.”
“You trust the guy who also swears that asteroid in Nemo actually looks like a space whale?”
“He can’t be wrong all the time. Just check, ok?”
Cyrus smiled. The lightness of their exchange evaporated as the intention of their mission again came front and center. He scanned the list of potential routes until finding one through the Sargon Pass.
“It’ll add at least an hour to the trip.” He selected the route to examine it in detail. “Wait . . . Remember that trip Immanuelle and I took together say about five, six years ago?”
“You two still laugh about it,” Sid sighed softly.
“Really wish you hadn’t gotten sick the night before we left.”
Silence sat between them.
“Anyways, I just realized we took the Sargon Pass on that trip.”
“So at least one of us is familiar with it.”
Cyrus nodded. Sid stepped on the accelerator and steered the quad more southward towards the pass. The buggy’s suspension bucked under the rough terrain.
Ahead the sun’s rays licked the mountain peaks, finally providing the range some depth and definition. Cyrus took a second to admire the view, then returned to worrying about getting through the pass safely.
“Why’d you volunteer us for this shite gig again?” Dmitri drew his thin coat closer to insulate against the cold seeping from the rocks that composed his sniper perch.
“Stay off comms,” Charlie barked back.
A chilly wind whistled through the Sargon Pass. A shiver worked its way down Dmitri’s spine. When it finally fled, he looked through his sniper rifle scope and scanned the mouth of the pass, which was still shrouded in dark, early morning shadows.
He defiantly spoke into his comm again, “This pass is too narrow for any big fish to take. You’re not gonna impress your new friends by catching any of the minnows that come through here.”
“The hell I just say?”
For an outlaw, Charlie certainly was a stickler for the rules, a trait that had only intensified after the two decided to crew with the Vucari. Dmitri figured it’d be fun to run with the pack that had come to dominate so much territory. Meanwhile, Charlie quickly became enamored with the Vucari’s master plan to wrest control of Reis away from the UEE. Dmitri merely looked forward to the looting.
Despite their motivational differences, Dmitri and Charlie were now hunkered down on opposite sides of the Sargon Pass, hoping to ambush anyone coming from Reis. Dmitri checked the time, and wondered how much longer it would take the sun to illuminate the mouth of the pass and more importantly, provide him a bit of warmth.
Eventually, the sweet lure of a stim felt like his only salvation. Dmitri left the sniper rifle in position and slid down from his perch so Charlie wouldn’t see the vapor. He removed his helmet and plucked a pack of Kings out of his pocket. He savored the flavor as the first pull rushed to his head. It almost made everything all right.
Suddenly, a faint hum filled the air. The sound was subtle but growing closer. Dmitri scanned the sky to discover a small drone hovering no more than ten meters away. Some bugger was spying on him.
Dmitri drew his pistol. His free hand frantically felt for his helmet but couldn’t find it. He turned to look for it, then everything suddenly went black.
Distracted by the drone, he never saw Sid slip in close. She lowered her rifle then hit a few buttons on her mobi. The drone zipped to her location and landed safely. After Sid checked the kid’s pulse, she bound his hands and then searched him out of habit, finding only a half pack of Kings. He wore a patchwork of clothes and cheap armor plastered with the Vucari insignia.
Climbing up, Sid snagged the sniper rifle from its perch and hunkered behind a rock formation while inspecting it. The serial number had been filed off and the Vucari emblem crudely etched into its stock. So, the Vucari distributed meager armor but decent weapons. She made a mental note.
Confident the Vucari hadn’t assigned a single guy to guard the pass, Sid quickly scanned the other side through the sniper rifle scope. If anyone else was around, she couldn’t see them. There had to be at least one, maybe two associates staked out elsewhere. Until cleared, driving any closer could be dangerous.
“We’ve got company. Subdued one of them. Going to flush out anyone left with the drone.”
“I’ll come help.”
“Hold position. Don’t know what we’re up against yet.”
Sid launched the drone to survey the pass from above. It looked clear at first glance. Then she spotted a strange shape between two big boulders. She slowly lowered the drone over the location and saw a parked Dragonfly. That thing only seated two, so that must mean there was one outlaw left.
Suddenly, the drone’s video feed died. A gunshot echoed through the pass as the drone fell from the sky. Sid scrambled to spot the shot’s origin but it was too late. Impressive — the shooter needed only a single round to hit it.
A strange crackling sound startled Sid. She spun, weapon raised, to find no one there. She exhaled, relieved, then tracked the sound to the outlaw’s helmet lying on the ground below. It wouldn’t be long before his compatriot realized this position has been compromised. She had to move soon.
Sid slowly lifted her head with the sniper rifle at the ready. Gunfire erupted, spraying bullets all around her. She quickly ducked back to cover, but at least had a bead on the assailant’s location.
“That you firing?” Cyrus’ voice crackled in Sid’s ear.
“It will be . . . in a few seconds,” she responded while adjusting her spot behind the rock.
“I’m on my way.”
“I can handle it.” Sid raised up with the sniper rifle trained on the spot where she had seen the muzzle flash. No one was there. More gunshots peppered her location from a slightly different angle. She hit the deck before gauging exactly where they came from.
“You get him?”
“Still wasn’t me.”
“I just need—”
“Something to draw that fire elsewhere.”
Cyrus was right. Plus, it had only been small arms fire. That wouldn’t do too much damage to their ride.
“Fine. Show yourself but don’t venture too far up. For all we know, the entrance could be lined with explosives.”
Hidden not far from the pass, Cyrus stepped on the accelerator. The buggy lurched forward. It felt a bit jumpy to him, and he made a mental note to look at it once home.
Meanwhile, Sid circled to a new firing position further up, hoping her new vantage point combined with Cyrus’ arrival would end this encounter.
“Just cresting the pass,” Cyrus announced.
Sid readied her weapon and peered over a rocky embankment toward the other side, waiting for this slippery bastard to show himself again. The vehicle’s rumble echoed through the canyon, announcing its arrival. Sid kept scanning with her finger on the trigger.
A sudden movement drew her attention. She focused on the location then paused. Something didn’t look quite right. It took her a moment to realize what she was seeing. The outlaw had a massive weapon hoisted on his shoulder and aimed at the buggy.
“Rocket launcher!” Sid cried over comms.
She squeezed off a series of shots at the outlaw and saw him stagger. His movement was exaggerated by the massive weapon somehow still on his shoulder. She drew a deep breath and fired off more shots while exhaling. The outlaw finally dropped out of sight.
A moment later, an explosion erupted from the place he had fallen. Sid felt the mountainside shake and heard the distinct rumble of rocks and boulders rolling downhill. The rock formation facing where he had fallen was blasted to bits.
Moments earlier, when Cyrus heard Sid’s warning, he instinctively slammed on the accelerator, concerned that the rocket launcher might be pointed in her direction. The next thing he knew, a boom echoed through the canyon. By the time he realized what was happening, it was unavoidable.
Cyrus saw what looked like a tidal wave of rubble roaring toward him. He yanked the steering wheel hard left and the vehicle spun about ninety degrees, exposing the passenger’s side, just as an avalanche slammed into it. The impact knocked the vehicle’s wheels off the ground and blew it downhill. Once at the bottom of the pass, it continued rolling until it lost all momentum.
Sid heard the impact and repeated crunch of rock on metal. When the sound mercifully came to a stop, she trained the sniper rifle on the dissipating dust cloud at the bottom of the pass. The vehicle had ended up on its roof, battered and bruised but in one piece. From this angle, though, she couldn’t see inside the cab.
“Cyrus! Can you hear me?” she cried over comms.
Before receiving an answer, she began to run downhill. Sid felt like life was moving in slow motion. Soon she struggled for breath, the heavy armor and heart-stopping anxiety hitting her hard. She stopped to gather herself, then glanced up and across the pass. She sighed with relief at the sight of the Dragonfly still safely tucked between two boulders, its position just above the blast.
Sid commandeered the Dragonfly and sped to the crash site. Cyrus was motionless inside the upside-down vehicle. Still secured to the seat by the safety restraints, his arms limply dangled past his head. Sid grabbed his closest arm, pulled out a MedPen, and stabbed it where his undersuit was exposed.
Cyrus came back from the brink. His body filled with adrenaline and confusion as to why everything was inverted. He turned to see Sid. Slowly, the preceding series of events came back.
“You get him?”
Sid nodded her head. “You ready?”
He nodded in return. She carefully cut away the safety restraints and helped him out of the cab. Finally freed, Cyrus slowly sat up, mind and body still not in sync. Sid felt bad for thinking it, but he looked just like he did when she caught him napping in the shop.
“Hey . . . I’m gonna see if I can find where the med kit wound up.”
Cyrus sat forward and stood up. “Rally back here in five?”
She gave him a thumbs up. Cyrus wanted to smile but wasn’t sure if he could. He still felt like not all his wires were connected.
Sid climbed on the Dragonfly and carefully followed the trail of destruction, searching for anything worth keeping. Cyrus slowly circled the buggy but found nothing. It at least afforded him the chance to get his legs under him. Sid returned faster than expected.
“No luck. You probably flung it halfway home.” Sid scanned the horizon. “If we want to expand the search radius, let’s do it fast. No guarantee the previous owner of this bike didn’t inform the entire Vucari clan that we’re trying to get through that pass.”
“I’m fine. Let’s go.”
Sid eyed him, uncertain.
“The most important thing is to clear the pass before reinforcements arrive.” Cyrus pulled his custom sniper rifle from its attachment point. His heart dropped. The barrel was battered and slightly bent.
“Here . . .”
Cyrus looked up as Sid tossed him the Vucari sniper rifle. He gave it a once over. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t his.
He jumped on the Dragonfly. Cyrus’ back came to rest against Sid’s. He exhaled, laid the sniper rifle across his lap and then strapped in. Sure he was safely aboard, Sid opened up the throttles to max and concentrated on putting distance between themselves and the ambush site.
Sid and Cyrus faced no more resistance leaving the Sargon Pass. They raced onto the Platean Plain and were blinded by the morning sun. At various points across the horizon, the land just vanished. These gaps indicated geographical scars that were once strip mines, but were now more and more often hiding outlaw encampments. Sid made sure to give the gaps a wide berth.
“Anyone following us?”
“Not that I can see.” Cyrus scanned for dust clouds or other obvious signs.
“Good. We’re almost there.”
An unnatural jumble of shapes was silhouetted against the horizon. That must be it. Sid quickly glanced around. She could see for kilometers in all directions. Interesting spot to ambush a convoy.
Sid stopped at some distance from the wreckage. Cyrus eyed it with the sniper rifle and saw no one. The scanner on the Dragonfly said the same.
They approached, then circled the ambush site. Several trucks sat in various states of ruin. One was burnt to a crisp, barely more than a frame. Others were thoroughly riddled with bullet holes and laser blasts. One lay on its side.
Sid stopped the Dragonfly at the center of the convoy’s line. The two dismounted and glanced in each direction. Not a single body was anywhere to be seen.
“Left or right?”
“I’ll take left,” replied Cyrus. He headed off in his assigned direction. The closest vehicle had been incinerated by something. There was little left besides its frame and ash. Cyrus still gave it a good once over.
The utter destruction had to be the work of the Cadejo Crew. The Vucari would’ve been more careful so they could use this equipment for their own purposes. The Cadejo were clearly challenging Vucari for control of the area. Such a gang war would only further destabilize this region and make getting supplies to Behistun that much more dangerous.
Cyrus was halfway to the next vehicle when Sid commed him.
“Cyrus, on me.”
He turned and hurried in her direction. Sid stood at the back of a mostly intact truck, its rear doors open wide. Where supplies had once been stored now sat a pile of battered armor. In the middle was the chest piece from Immanuelle’s armor. With the number of times he had repaired it over the years, Cyrus would recognize it anywhere.
After scanning for explosives, they pulled Immanuelle’s armor out of the pile and inspected it. He asked, “You believe the rumors about the Cadejos taking people alive?”
Sid slowly walked away from the vehicle, suddenly drawn elsewhere.
“I don’t believe most of what I hear, but I’m not going to let that stop me.”
Cyrus looked up to see Sid staring off into the distance. He joined her and then saw it. Tire tracks leading north.
Sid and Cyrus locked eyes. Nothing else needed to be said besides, “I’ll go get the bike.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Happy Monday, everyone!
With most of Cloud Imperium back in the office this week, we’re picking up momentum for what promises to be a busy and incredible 2021.
Everyone here is looking forward to the filthiest race in the ‘verse, The Daymar Rally 2951, that will take place next Saturday on January 16! Talking about filth, we had a dirty bug that was threatening the rally, but are happy to report that the fix has been tested on the PTU and should find its way onto the live servers soon!
Last week, we distributed the ‘Buy Back Token’ for the first quarter of the year. You can check out the announcement to know when the next token will drop, and read our FAQ for more information on how the system works.
Now, let’s see what’s going on this week:
On Tuesday, the Narrative Team will treat us to Sid & Cyrus (Part 1). When their daughter disappears, two retired mercs head out on one last mission to find out what happened to her.
This Thursday, we announce the winners of the Design a Luminalia Sweater Contest that ended last weekend. Our shows Inside Star Citizen and Star Citizen Live are still on hiatus but will return on January 21 and 22 respectively.
Last but not least, this Friday you can look forward to our weekly update to the Subscriber Vault and the RSI Newsletter delivered right to your inbox.
Have a great week!
Lead Community Manager
Screenshot by Horistas_MacBlackThe Weekly Community Content Schedule
MONDAY, JANUARY 11, 2021
This Week in Star Citizen
TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2021
Lore Post – Serialized Fiction: Sid & Cyrus (Part 1)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021
Design A Luminalia Sweater Contest Winners Announcement
FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2021
Subscriber Vault Update
Community MVP: January 11, 2021
We're constantly amazed at the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it's fan art, a cinematic, YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Every week, we select one piece of content submitted to the Community Hub and highlight it here. The highlighted content creator will be awarded an MVP badge on Spectrum and be immortalized in our MVP section of the Hub.
Don't forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for the chance to see it here!
Discover how Magnus Tobin hacking educational software helped turn microTech into the tech giant now known across the UEE.
This portfolio originally appeared in Jump Point 7.11.
Inspirational. Visionary. Ruthless. Much has been said and written about microTech founder Magnus Tobin, who was the driving force behind the empire’s most essential piece of wearable tech, mobiGlas. Broadly perceived as a reclusive tech genius, Magnus’ fascinating life deﬁes such easy categorization.
Magnus Tobin was born on Earth in 2756. His parents devoted their time to running a prosperous textile manufacturing business and left the rearing of their three sons (Fikri, Magnus, and Camryn) to au pairs. Magnus’ eldest brother, Fikri, was a formative inﬂuence who taught him how to hack high-end electronics. Magnus’ technological obsession led to his elite private high school expelling him for poor grades and attendance. Instead of enrolling in a new school, Magnus convinced his parents to let him work full time for the family business while studying for the Equivalency.
Free from school, Magnus passed his Equivalency at an extraordinary pace after bypassing the daily lesson limits and creating his own algorithm to analyze trends in past exams. Meanwhile, Magnus spent his days working in the information technology department of his family’s company. He learned all he could about its operation before presenting his parents with a comprehensive plan to overhaul and update its technical infrastructure. Impressed with his vision, his parents signed off on the plan and assigned Aleena Tressler, a trusted senior advisor, to officially oversee it. The project improved efficiency and generated massive proﬁts for the company.
MAKING MICRO MACRO
Magnus became the heir apparent to the family business but shocked his parents by rejecting the role. Instead, he convinced them to fund a small technology start-up that sold a modiﬁed version of his business software. microTech officially incorporated in 2782 but struggled to turn a proﬁt. Eventually, he asked former mentor Aleena Tressler to join the company and offered her a percentage of the proﬁts. Her extensive list of contacts and cutthroat business acumen brought the growing microTech more orders for custom software than they could handle – an enviable position to be in as the overthrow of the Messer regime in 2792 sent shockwaves through the empire’s economy.
Magnus felt fortunate that microTech survived the economic upheaval, but Aleena argued that the company could only succeed long term if it diversiﬁed. Magnus went on a hiring spree, courting numerous notable engineers and developers by guaranteeing them autonomy over their projects. He also believed that the next great idea could come from anyone within the company. He organized hack-a-thons to identify new talent and kept one week clear in his schedule every quarter so anyone in the company could pitch him their idea. Even today, microTech remains renowned for nurturing and developing good ideas from any of its employees.
Meanwhile, Aleena led an initiative to buy struggling businesses with intriguing intellectual property. Industry observers deemed their combined spending as ‘reckless’, but the talent and technology microTech acquired eventually led to many of their signature products. The only company Magnus insisted on purchasing was Empiric Education. An intense bidding war soured Aleena on the company, but it became their most important purchase. microTech now owned a major producer of education software, and Magnus had big plans for it.
After the purchase of Empiric Education, Magnus revealed an upgrade that signiﬁcantly streamlined the code and enhanced its security. He had been developing it since hacking his own Equivalency prep in his youth, but knew he needed to own the underlying code to monetize it. Beyond the surface-level improvements, he had also included additional background software meant to securely manage every detail of a student’s life to increase their productivity. Aleena noticed that early adopters used these software features well beyond studying and saw the promise in it. She encouraged Magnus to develop it as standalone software.
The initial Glas software was a hit and quickly became one of the top productivity software on the market. However, to fully and comfortably utilize all the features, users needed to bounce between their datapads and wearable comps, often necessitating carrying both with them. Year after year Magnus and his team tried to improve the existing available interface, but the most popular devices of the time were limited by their screen size, and anything larger might as well have been a datapad. The breakthrough came when Magnus climbed into a simpod only for it to malfunction and project a small screen in front of his face. Now he knew what he had to do – call his siblings.
SAFE AND SECURE
Magnus contacted Camryn, his younger brother and current CEO of the family business, and worked with him on designing and sourcing the right materials for a wrist-wearable device. If Glas was really going to succeed, Magnus knew that microTech was going to have to begin building their own hardware with Glas transitioning into a full-blown operating system. Meanwhile, he hired his older brother, Fikri, to try and hack his software, trusting no one but him to test its security. Aleena believed it to be out of family loyalty, but later claimed that Magnus conﬁded in her Fikri’s extensive credentials, including playing an instrumental role in the hack that broadcast shocking images of the Massacre of Garron to their system and helped topple the Messers.
Simply, Magnus understood the importance of security on a device meant to manage someone’s entire life. The wearables market was saturated with products plagued by security concerns. Following the fall of the Messers, it was revealed that wearable manufacturers were forced to build a backdoor into their devices so the government could access their network. Even years later, this drove some consumers to not use wearables due to ethical concerns, while others questioned whether these backdoors were ever closed. Magnus hammered home this point in the mobiGlas’ ﬁrst ad campaign, which featured a pixelated ﬁgure hacking every wearable on the market only to be stiﬂed by the mobiGlas. The effective ad combined with the device’s intuitive interface and competitive price point made the mobiGlas an instant success upon release in 2818. Its popularity only increased over the years until it became the ubiquitous wearable worn across the empire today.
Aleena retired after the successful mobiGlas release, but Magnus continued to employ her aggressive business strategy, sometimes in ways that observers deemed dangerous or unethical. He poured proﬁts into developing a wide range of new devices, including a revolutionary new simpod design and a line of ship computers. He even bought massive swaths of cheap real estate in extremely cold biomes across the empire to park the ever-growing army of microTech servers. When microTech quietly began selling this land, industry observers believed it signaled a corporate shift away from server management. Instead, Magnus used the capital for his biggest and boldest deal to date, the purchase of Stanton IV.
Magnus officially retired following microTech’s purchase of Stanton IV, but to the dismay of some, remained deeply involved in the company’s operations. He oversaw the design and construction of New Babbage, microTech’s primary landing zone, and was even given veto power over any new device or corporate initiative that he believed didn’t align with the company’s core values. After decades of being hailed as visionary, his increased stranglehold on the company was beginning to tarnish his image. A series of high-level leaks revealed just how unhappy employees were with his continued involvement and that several key decisions he had recently made had cost the company millions. In response, Magnus went on a media blitz to whitewash his image, even hiring a ghostwriter to pen a fawning autobiography. The campaign painted Magnus as a tech-focused force within the company that existed above the questionable business practices. This led to the sterile image of him as a reclusive tech genius that persists to this day.
When Magnus Tobin died in 2912 people hailed him as one of the most important ﬁgures of the 29th century. Despite his undeniable inﬂuence on technology, his greatest achievement may be creating a company that has thrived without him. microTech’s ownership of a planet, ever-expanding product line, and constant quality of life updates to the mobiGlas has the company well-positioned to be just as inﬂuential in the next century as it was in the last.
We’re starting 2951 off with a bang – this month’s Flair takes a fierce Behring design and gives it a lethal new look, although your enemies may be too preoccupied with the grenades to notice. Whether you’re looking for something subtle, or something that really catches the eye, you’ll be glad to have the GP-33 MOD at your side.
Because good things come in threes, we decided to bring you three Ships of the Month in January. Ring in the new year in style in the Origin 100 Series! The 100i, 125a, and 135c are three stunning ships built for three different types of pilots, but no matter what you tend to do in the ‘verse, you’ll love each one.
Don’t forget – last month’s mighty miner, the ROC, is available to pledge for all month long, so you’re mining operation doesn’t have to say goodbye quite yet if you want to keep things rolling.
Keep reading to get all of the January details!
IN-GAME REWARDS (FLAIR)
Enemies will either scatter or splatter when you turn the GP-33 MOD in their direction. This military-grade launcher fires 40mm grenades to clear rooms and flush out enemies behind cover. Those that don’t immediately flee will feel the pain, as Behring’s precision design also includes a feature that primes each grenade to explode on impact.
[Blockierte Grafik: https://robertsspaceindustries.comhttps//robertsspaceindustries.com/media/vubq0nmh41qclr/vault_thumb/Gp_33_Cen.jpg]
GP-33 MOD “Ashfall” Grenade Launcher – The Ashfall edition mixes dark blue, grey, and black for a subtle yet stylish look.
Current Centurion-level Subscribers get the GP-33 MOD “Ashfall” Grenade Launcher above as part of their subscription.
[Blockierte Grafik: https://robertsspaceindustries.comhttps//robertsspaceindustries.com/media/qbj29ppr2cul3r/vault_thumb/Gp_33_imp.jpg]
GP-33 MOD “Copperhead” Grenade Launcher – A light, metallic finish applied to the barrel and stock catches the eye and makes the Copperhead edition stand out from other versions.
Current Imperator-level Subscribers get the GP-33 MOD “Copperhead” Grenade Launcher and the GP-33 MOD “Ashfall” Grenade Launcher above as part of their subscription.
[Blockierte Grafik: https://robertsspaceindustries.comhttps//robertsspaceindustries.com/media/0qwvgiwuvcr6mr/vault_thumb/Gp_33_Black.jpg]
GP-33 MOD “Thunderclap” Grenade Launcher – A black and grey color combination gives the Thunderclap edition a subtle look suitable for any security professional.
The GP-33 MOD “Thunderclap” Grenade Launcher is available to all Subscribers for purchase from the Subscriber-exclusive store.
If you aren’t a Subscriber and would like to receive the GP-33 MOD “Ashfall” Grenade Launcher or the GP-33 MOD “Copperhead” Grenade Launcher as part of a subscription, you can SUBSCRIBE by January 12th.
Additionally, if you subscribe after January 12th, you can pick up these and previous month’s flair (going back to 2014) by checking out the Subscriber-exclusive store. You can fill in any gaps in your collection and pick up extras to gift to non-Subscribers.
SHIP OF THE MONTH
With all the sophistication and ultra-high performance you associate with Origin, elegantly presented in a compact frame, the 100 Series has been designed specifically for solo pilots looking to turn heads without sacrificing functionality. Innovative in-house engineering makes the 100 Series ships among the most fuel-efficient in their class, and with contemporary onboard living accommodations, they offer more range and versatility than many comparable craft. Whether you’re looking for the ultimate personal touring vessel, a short-range delivery solution, or an elegant peacemaker, there’s a 100 Series ship to suit your personal adventure.
All Subscribers can fly the Origin 100 Series for free until February 2, 2021.
SUBSCRIBER-EXCLUSIVE PLEDGE PROMOTION
If you loved your time with December’s Ship of the Month, the Greycat ROC, good news! It's now available to pledge for with enhanced insurance and several Flair items included at no additional cost until the end of the month.
Visit the Pledge Store and click on "Ship Upgrades" to add the ROC to your fleet today.
SUBSCRIBER MERCHANDISE DISCOUNT
Two continuous discount levels are available to all Subscribers on most physical merchandise items. New items are 10% off and existing items are 15% off, including jackets, hoodies, shirts, mugs, hats, beanies, mousepads, posters, stickers, and more. Check out the Merchandise Store now!
[Blockierte Grafik: https://robertsspaceindustries.comhttps//robertsspaceindustries.com/media/mgq39dz7djtwar/vault_thumb/Stinger_Armor.jpg]
Remember, all previous Flair items (going back to 2014) are available for purchase in our Subscriber-Exclusive store. You can fill in any gaps, pick up the store-only items, or even grab extras to gift to non-Subscribers from the My Hangar section of your profile here on the website.
Happy 2951, everyone!
We hope you had a great start to the new year and are now relaxed and ready for the first This Week in Star Citizen of 2951.
For those of you looking to explore the path ahead for Star Citizen’s development, we highly recommend checking out our recently release updated Public Roadmap. The overhauled Roadmap not only contains a wealth of new information, but also features the first version of the Progress Tracker, a tool designed to show you what our teams around the globe are working on. To take full advantage of this exciting tool, make sure to read the Roadmap Roundup from December 23, 2020. As mentioned there, we’ve got a number of improvements coming to you soon!
And for a comprehensive look back at last year, take a look at the Letter from the Chairman from Chris Roberts himself.
Last and most certainly not least, I want to highlight the filthiest (and my favorite) race in the ‘verse, The Daymar Rally 2951. Buckle up, the first vehicles cross the starting line in just two weeks on Saturday, January 16, 2021!
Now, finally, let’s see what’s going on this week:
On Tuesday, the Narrative Team shares the origin story of technology giant microTech in the first Portfolio of the year.
Last but not least, this Friday you’ll catch our weekly update to the Subscriber Vault and the weekly RSI Newsletter delivered to your inbox.
In the background, we’re also hammering away at updates for the Public Roadmap, including the addition of the Core Tech Group (9 teams). So, while you won’t see a Roadmap update this week, we’re currently planning for our first Roadmap update to be later this month, with updates happening every two weeks after. Stay tuned for more info.
Until next week, I’ll see you in the ‘verse!
Christian Schmitt aka Wayne-CIG
Associate Community Manager
Screenshot by Slingshot-CalThe Weekly Community Content Schedule
MONDAY, JANUARY 4, 2021
This Week in Star Citizen
TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2021
Lore Post – Portfolio: microTech
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2021
Esperia Talon Screenshot Contest Winners Announcement
Cozy Glow Contest Winners Announcement
FRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 2021
Subscriber Vault Update
Community MVP: January 4, 2021
We're constantly amazed at the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it's fan art, a cinematic, YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Every week, we select one piece of content submitted to the Community Hub and highlight it here. The highlighted content creator will be awarded an MVP badge on Spectrum and be immortalized in our MVP section of the Hub.
Don't forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for the chance to see it here!
Today marks the release of the all-new Roadmap, designed to give you more insight and visibility into the development of Star Citizen and Squadron 42 than ever before.
Therefore, instead of discussing the latest changes, we want to use this Roadmap Roundup to explain how the new Roadmap works and what you can expect going forward.
You’ll notice that the new Roadmap has two views: the Progress Tracker View and the Release View. Let’s break it down.
Progress Tracker View
The cornerstone of this new Roadmap is our new Progress Tracker view. With the Progress Tracker, we set out to accomplish two goals: 1) pull back the curtains for all teams, and 2) show you what each team (including each Squadron 42 team) is working on for this quarter and what their priorities are after completing the immediate deliverable at hand. This view is solely meant to share what the teams are working on at any given time, and it should not be used to determine when a deliverable will hit the live servers. [Blockierte Grafik: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/media/uzcx4jzjjaj3zr/post/Tracker-Final.jpg]
For the Progress Tracker view, we’ve committed upfront to giving you four quarters of visibility into each team’s development. The further out you project, the more fluid (subject to change) the work is and the less hardened the schedules. That’s why we don’t think it is useful to go beyond that four quarters threshold. Even at three to four quarters out, you should know that deliverables will be subject to movement, sometimes moving out a quarter or more. That’s because priorities can change, unknowns may surface that block development, or downstream dependencies may get delayed that force us to pause work or revisit our estimates. But it’s important to note that the new Progress Tracker will show you our best estimates of our teams’ deliverables and the duration of their sprints for four quarters out.
The updated Roadmap is much more sophisticated than the last, so let’s break it down. What you’ll find is that the Roadmap is now organized by teams in alphabetical order. When you click to expand a team, you’ll find a list of their deliverables. Each deliverable will indicate both its name, games it applies to (Star Citizen or Squadron 42, or both), as well as the disciplines working on that deliverable (e.g. Design, Engineering, Art, Tech Content). You will also find a description that sheds some additional light on what each deliverable is about, alongside an estimated duration.
Our First Update
With the introduction of the Progress Tracker, we will roll out the demonstrated teams in stages. As we’ve mentioned before, we have over 50 development teams at Cloud Imperium, ranging in size from 4 to 20 team members. For this first launch of our new Roadmap, we are showing 20 teams. These are all core feature and content teams that are upstream in development, meaning they set the major tentpole development deliverables for the rest of Star Citizen and Squadron 42. These include the Actor Feature Team, Live Mission Content Team, Landing Zone Content Team, US Persistent Universe Feature Team, Planet Content Team, Vehicle Content Team, Vehicle Feature Team, Weapon Feature Team, and more, as well as several dedicated Squadron 42 teams like Squadron 42 Art, Squadron 42 FPS Design, Squadron 42 Flight Design, and Squadron 42 Social Design. And with four quarters of work, we are showing you over 200 deliverables from these 20 teams. To put that into perspective, in our 3.12 Release Card in our previous Roadmap, we showed 26 deliverables. So with just 40% of our teams, we are already showing you more than 8 times what we used to show in a single release card.
What is still missing is our Core Tech Group, which is comprised of 9 teams working on iCache and Server Meshing, as well as AI, Network, Graphics, and Engine. We know many of you are eagerly awaiting the roadmap for these teams, and we plan to show those in January, when we will also update the Progress Tracker with more teams. As we mentioned in a previous update, our initial publish will exclude our downstream teams, such as VFX, Audio, UI, and others. These teams support the upstream teams, and therefore need to first see the schedules set by the core feature and content teams before they can determine their own work and priorities. Because of that, we opted to hold these teams back from the debut of our Progress Tracker, so they could continue work to solidify their schedules, with the intent of adding them to the Progress Tracker in Q1.
Update Schedule and More Features
With our new Roadmap, we plan to continue to provide updates on a regular basis. The old Roadmap was updated every week, and while we will visit our new Roadmap weekly, we’ll aim to update bi-weekly. However, that doesn’t mean that we will have many updates to provide at such a frequent cadence.
In the short term, we plan to add our Core Tech Group to the Progress Tracker in January, and the downstream teams shortly after that. After that’s done, we will continue to update the new Roadmap as work completes, new projects come online, and any changes occur to progress and priorities.
You’ll note that the first delivery of the Progress Tracker is actually v0.5. We still have many features & improvements in store for the Progress Tracker before we would call it complete. For instance, we plan to add the ability to search and favorite teams and deliverables, as well as link deliverables in the Progress Tracker to their estimated delivery in the revamped Release View. Not only will we continue to add new features, but we’ll also of course continue to optimize the user experience with improvements to the overall usability.
Similar to the previous Roadmap, the Release View is meant to give you an idea of when we expect to release those deliverables in the mid-term.
Our desire is to show you four quarters of releases, but one critical takeaway is that only the immediate quarter in front of us has a chance to have a release view that will be hardened, as the deliverables that appear on the card for the quarter in front of us will have passed Go/No Go gates or be close enough to completion that we can predict their delivery with a high degree of confidence. You could say at that point that we have a ~90% degree of confidence that this deliverable will make its indicated release quarter. Once you go past the quarter in front of us though, that predictability and confidence for delivery will begin to degrade.
[Blockierte Grafik: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/media/nf3mvfkclcplir/post/Release_view_1.jpg] In cases where we have yet to start on a project, it is especially difficult to predict delivery with a high degree of confidence, particularly for projects that have more unknowns. In those instances where we just don’t know yet, we won’t even place that deliverable onto a release card two to four quarters out, even though you will see it scheduled out in the Progress Tracker for work. But for some deliverables that we’ve gotten into a rhythm delivering, such as vehicles and landing zones, we will be better equipped to estimate timelines. These could appear in a release card even a few quarters out. For any of these deliverables further down the line, even then we will only place them onto a release card if we have at least a good level of confidence – around a ~70% confidence level – that we could make that window. If we can’t even clear this hurdle of confidence internally, then we won’t put it on a release card.
As of this first publish, we are showing you a Release View with just one release column, which is Q1 2021, or Alpha 3.13. But when we return in January, we plan on adding Q2, Q3 and Q4, all alongside debuting a new roadmap feature to further share which deliverables we hope to release in the year to come. In order to capture the fluidity of deliverables that are further in the future, we will be adopting a color coding system that indicates that the further out we get from the first quarter, the fuzzier the release card and the more the deliverables in there are subject to change. The quarter in front of us may be a solid color (although in this case, 3.13 would be grey until we’re closer to GO/No-Go), denoting that we’re in the midst of working on our deliverables and understand velocity enough to determine a very reliable delivery estimate. For the next 3 quarters after that, the release cards will be in light grey, to denote that these estimated delivery times are still fluid and could move around. At the highest level, you’ll know that if you are viewing a release card that is grey, it will be fluid. That’s because even if we have ~70% confidence it will make it, there’s a good ~30% chance it could move. If the release card is solid colored, it will be hardened, with just a ~10% chance or less of moving. Put another way, if it’s grey, don’t be surprised if it moves/changes. If it’s solid, expect it to stay put (with very rare exception).
We know that the new Roadmap and Progress Tracker, as well as our desire for you to shift your mindset in how you view our progress, will take some getting used to. But we feel that this new view will finally give all of our community the most transparent peek inside our development they’ve ever had, and we have plans to continue to build on this roadmap to make it more informative and instructive for all watchers.
Ol’ Jegger lights the Luminalia lamp and ruminates on his love for the holiday.
[Blockierte Grafik: https://robertsspaceindustries…header/FarFromHomeFI4.jpg]
Happy Luminalia one and all.
Welcome to a festive Far From Home. Ol’ Jegger here and hopefully coming in loud and clear. Let’s get things started by lighting the Luminalia lamp. And… there we go. Luminalia is officially underway, which means I will not stop this transmission until this lamp consumes all its oil. If you’re wondering how long will that be? Damned if I know. Your guess is as good as mine.
Got this thing ages ago from a shop parked up to the Yulin Flotilla. Glad I went in ‘cause I never saw that ship there again, and I used to do my fair share of runs to the Flotilla. Course the merchant didn’t know much about the lamp except that it doesn’t work with the newfangled oil pods measured out to exactly two days or, what is it again, 34,000 beats I think. Well, this lamp’s older, maybe even machined by hand. I can’t really tell and no Banu I ask seems to know. Anyways, I gotta fill this thing with actual oil, so the timing isn’t as predictable. The burner is sized to hold enough fuel for two days, but oil quality is also a factor. Trust me, I’ve bought some bum stuff that’s barely burned a day. Wasn’t even enough left over for a refill and let me tell you, the atmo scrubbers were none too happy about the smoke that stuff dumped out. That’s why I only ever buy the stuff in Banu space where there’s entire soulis dedicated to making it right. Over the years, I’ve actually grown to prefer not knowing exactly how long this thing will stay lit. There’s something nice about not having a set schedule and letting things happen at their own pace. Found that to be true for Luminalia and life.
Happy to have you joining me for the festivities, though no promises that I’ll be awake or sober for the entire thing. Speaking of… this year’s holiday cheer will be courtesy of Soles. Grabbed a bottle of their premium mezcal on a recent run to Cassel. Never had it before but a lotta you recommended it. Figured something with more bite would be better after last year’s debacle with that bottle of Atlas Nouveau. Hoping to pace myself a bit better this time around. Even sliced up a few fresh oza to suck on in between sips.
On that note, let me crack this Soles and raise a glass. Here’s to everyone out there spending this holiday like me… alone in the drift. And always remember, we are one souli. Cheers!
Oohhh, I like this. Nice kick, clean finish. And there’s that warmth rushing from my head to my toes. Hold on, gimme a second, I’m gonna place this bottle a little further away. Don’t want to make topping off my glass too easy. That’s what got me in trouble last year and inspired me to break out the guitar. Again, apologies to anyone who sat through that improvisational jam session. Wasn’t my finest hour, but hell, who’s ever had one of those after polishing off a bottle of vodka by themselves.
Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. Got a whole bunch of ‘em here that I’ll work through while we celebrate. Let’s start with one from Mara, who asks “how can you love Luminalia so much when you’re clearly a solitary creature?”
Paradox here is crystal clear, isn’t it? If y’all know anything about me, it’s that my favorite activity is drifting through the black alone aboard Shana. Not that I don’t like other folks. Guess I don’t mind being by my lonesome as much as others. Can’t explain why, I’m just made that way. Yet, I still want to, actually, need to connect with folks. Whether in person during a drop or with y’all by doing this here show. As much as I love my solitude, you can’t drift alone your entire life. Luminalia reminds me of that every year.
Back when folks just called me Jegger, I loved Luminalia for different reasons. I was running Eimi at the time, a beat-up old Aurora CL I put too much time and too many credits into. But, she was mine, so I made her faster and quieter than folks expected. And she got me outta trouble, well, most of the time.
When I had Eimi, I wasn’t good about researching routes or reading recent crime reports for whatever system I was heading through. Was particularly bad about it during Luminalia. Because, instead of celebrating, I’d pop a pep pack and see how many high-priced rush deliveries I could knock out before the ’verse returned to normal.
During one of these ‘holiday dashes’ as I used to call ‘em, I discovered I wasn’t the only one taking advantage of all the extra deliveries. Got ripped outta QT en route to some space station in Magnus. Knew right away I was in real trouble. Eimi’s radar was flooded with ships burning in our direction. She could run, and she could hide, but she couldn’t take on a fleet of folks with bad intentions all by her lonesome.
I immediately spooled the QD, but one of ‘em got close enough to dampen the signal. I should’ve called for help right then and there, or tried to negotiate handing off the cargo. But instead I panicked and asked Eimi to outrun ‘em. Not sure why I thought that was the right choice at the time, but that’s what I did. For every attack I slipped, another found its mark. Wasn’t long before Eimi’s shields were almost completely shredded. Knew I wouldn’t last much longer so I got desperate and did the dumbest thing possible: I spun Eimi around and went on the attack.
Figured I didn’t have to fight ‘em all. Just the bastard with the quantum dampener. I’d noticed one ship never pushed me but flew like crazy to stay close. Guessed it had to be the one keeping my QD on lockdown, so I targeted it and unleashed everything I had. Remember seeing its shield spark and flare, but have no idea what state I left it in. I just dove Eimi away and pushed as much power as possible to her engines.
Gave Eimi a beat to get some distance then brought up the QD. Was never more relieved to hear it spool. I locked on to the closest destination and hoped it could calibrate before being blown to bits. Honestly don’t know how Eimi made it but we exited QT with about every warning sensor possible screaming at me. Eimi limped to the landing pad of a nearby space station and groaned something fierce when I set her down. Even though it wasn’t where I needed to make my drop, neither of us were in a state to continue. So I climbed outta Eimi, went inside, and found the first bar.
Only when I walked in the door did I remember it was still Luminalia. Place was packed with drunk folks stumbling over themselves to welcome me personally and shove drinks in my hand. Almost turned around and walked right back out. Big groups really aren’t my thing and being stuck with one until the holiday ended wasn’t what I had in mind. But neither was climbing back into Eimi and facing whatever else might be lying in wait for me out there. Against every bone in my body, I stayed. Wasn’t long before I was righteously ripped and regaling all about how I ended up there. That’s when the owner of the place started a collection to pay for Eimi’s repairs. Told ‘em I was mighty thankful but couldn’t accept such an extravagant gift. I was the one who’d gotten myself into trouble and I’d be the one to get myself out. Never forgot the host’s response, “Not today. Today we’re all one souli and we look out for each other.” Guess to answer your question, Mara, I love Luminalia because it brings out the best in people and reminds us all that we’re connected. Something you should never forget, especially when you travel alone.
Oh, if anyone’s wondering, as my gift to the group for joining, I had to tell ‘em a joke. Damn, what was it again? Used to remember it. Maybe a bit more of this mezcal will shake it loose. But what I’ll never forget from that day was really learning that we are all one souli. Connected in ways we’ll never understand. Always affecting the world around us and anyone caught in our wake.
Look at me. Spinning some long, rambling tale and waxing poetic, and I’ve barely touched my drink so far. Let me just… huh. This bottle leaking or something?
Anyways, how ‘bout a little surprise? As your host, I’ve already gifted you a slightly embarrassing story. Now how about a song? Swear I’ve been practicing. Even taught myself a few Luminalia carols.
Let me just snag my guitar.
[ dissonant chord ]
Probably shoulda tuned it first…
[ guitar going further out of tune ]
Just give me a moment he—
Happy Monday, everyone!
Alpha 3.12 – Assault on Stanton went live last week, bringing the first iteration of gas cloud tech, the all-new refinery decks, Esperia’s Talon and Shrike light fighters, Multi-Tool tractor beams, and more! You can get all of the details on the newest patch here, and we are looking forward to seeing you check out everything new in the ‘verse over the holidays.
Speaking of the holidays, we also officially kicked off our Luminalia celebration, which means you’ve got some extra presents coming your way. Luminalia is an annual holiday celebrated by both the Banu and Humanity on December 22, and we’re celebrating with gifts in the ‘verse and several cozy contests that offer ships, Tobii Eye Trackers, and custom Talon ASTRO Gaming A40 headsets! Get the rundown on our Luminalia page.
And because celebrations are always better with a co-pilot by your side, we’ve started our most fabulous referral bonus to date, giving new and veteran players a chance to hover away on a Drake Dragonfly Black. Find out more here and enjoy a Dragonfly Free Fly for all backers until January 11!
Now, let’s see what’s going on this week:
On Tuesday, everyone’s favorite solitary shipmate, Ol’ Jegger, sinks a few and shares his thoughts on Luminalia in a festive Far From Home. For all details on Luminalia’s origins and traditions, check out the Galactapedia entry.
All of our other shows and regular publications, like Star Citizen Live and Inside Star Citizen, have already begun their holiday break and will be back in 2021.
Outside of the schedule outlined below, we are also working towards the release of our new Roadmap. We’re currently on track for a publish later this week. More info soon!
This being the last TWISC of 2020, we want to thank you for your inspiring passion and support over the year. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and we’re looking forward to what the new year brings!
Have a wonderful holiday season! Until next year, we’ll see you in the ‘verse!
Lead Community Manager
Screenshot by I_Mandalorian_IThe Weekly Community Content Schedule
MONDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2020
This Week in Star Citizen
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2020
Lore Post – Luminalia
Weekly Wisdom: Hello, how can we help?
Whether you need help setting up your Tobii Eye Tracker or you just want to look up the latest keybinding additions, our Knowledge Base always has the right info for you and is updated with new articles regularly! Use the search bar on top to look for help or explore one of the categories. Veterans and new players in need of help should bookmark this page.
Attention development subscribers: the December 2020 issue of Jump Point is now available in your subscription area.
Jump Point Now Available!
Attention development subscribers: the December issue of Jump Point is now available in your subscription area. This month features an interview with the team responsible for Star Citizen’s new gas clouds and a look at the development of the RSI Perseus gunboat. Plus a Whitley’s Guide covering the Esperia Talon and an all-new portfolio with a new story from the depths of the UEE’s history.
Interested in becoming a development subscriber? You can learn more here.