Portfolio: Koa e Ko’ia

This portfolio originally appeared in Jump Point 5.1.

Exhausted yet intensely focused pilots speed their ships towards a checkpoint. Once there, their flight logs receive the coordinates for the next destination. The pilots check their scans and pick a route before blasting off into the blackness of space. For the Xi’an pilots who step up to the challenge of the Koa e Ko’ia, this is their life for the next 200-250 hours.

The Koa e Ko’ia is an epic endurance race that’s wildly popular among the Xi’an. Although the race has been contested in various systems across the Xi’an Empire for centuries, it only recently came to Human attention when competitors appeared in the former Perry Line system of Hadur. One day, in 2881, previously open sectors of the system were suddenly off limits, and remained that way for the next week and a half (Standard Time). Famed Terra Gazette travel journalist Jan Sharrock happened to be in-system at that time. After being diverted off her intended course, she landed at a nearby space station to find groups of Xi’an gathered around wallscreens in rapt attention. She had to find out why.

Sharrock wrote, “I’d gone up to a shop owner to buy a Surluk, but he was more interested in the serene images of Xi’an pilots and their ships than serving me a drink. When I asked what he was watching, he mumbled a Xi’an word I was unfamiliar with, but which roughly translates to ‘holy, distance race’.”

Sharrock spent the following days on the space station. She learned everything she could about the Koa e Ko’ia, interviewed observers, and witnessed an incredible finish that had three racers speeding toward one last checkpoint as time expired. The subsequent articles produced from Sharrock’s writings generated great interest from xenophiles and ship enthusiasts who were intrigued by the extreme length of the race. Her travelogues lead to a sharp spike in Human visitors to the Hadur system, fueled by their interest in learning more about the Koa e Ko’ia.

Despite not hosting the sporting endurance event since 2881, Hadur is still seen by Humanity as the home of the race. Canny Xi’an vendors play into this perception by keeping their store shelves stocked with Koa e Ko’ia trinkets. MISC, who has a special lend-lease agreement with the Xi’an, has persistently advocated bringing the race back to Hadur to capitalize on Human interest. Following years of debate, the Xi’an government decided to return the race to Hadur in 2947 and even established a special division specifically for Humans to compete in.

The Spiritual Sport

The basics of the Koa e Ko’ia are easy to understand. Though lengthy, the race is contained to one system. A number of Xi’an-controlled systems are certified to host the race, but the only one Humanity has access to is Hadur.

Before each race, various checkpoints and destinations are chosen by a governing body within the Xi’an government. Participants do not know the specifics of the course until the race begins. Once under way, racers receive the coordinates of the first checkpoint. Only when that checkpoint is reached do they receive the coordinates for the next one, and so on. The racer who reaches the most checkpoints at the end of the set period, which can vary anywhere between 200-250 standard Earth hours, is named the winner. If two or more ships pass the same number of checkpoints, it triggers tie-breaker conditions too lengthy and detailed to succinctly describe here.

When racers receive the coordinates for the next checkpoint they are also provided with the location of waystations located between the two. Pilots must coordinate with their crews about when and where to meet to rest, repair, and refuel. This communication is key and more complicated than most expect, since teams must plan with enough flexibility to allow the crew time to reach the proper waystation and prepare for the racer’s landing. Unprepared pit crews have been the downfall of more than one racer over the race’s history.

At its heart, the Koa e Ko’ia is an endurance test for both a ship and its pilot. The race’s extraordinary length tests the concentration and fortitude of the pilots. As ectotherms, the Xi’an can lower their metabolism while inactive to reduce their need for sustenance. Yet, doing so while achieving rapid focus in high-stress situations requires intense training and carries a toll both mentally and physically. Xi’an racers train to overcome these roadblocks, and if done successfully, the lowered metabolism, combined with intense concentration, leads to a euphoric state that has been described as deeply spiritual. Winners of the Koa e Ko’ia are believed to have transcended into an advanced spiritual state to achieve their victory and are treated as cultural celebrities thereafter.

The race also tests the speed, agility, and reliability of the participating ships by incorporating unique features of each system in which it takes place. For Hadur, this included a number of checkpoints hidden within the system’s asteroid belt that require careful and precise navigation to reach, and one located on the sunward side of the tidally-locked Hadur I, testing the ship’s ability to handle extreme temperatures.

The race must also include both space and atmospheric flight. According to race experts, this is where Hadur’s 2947 Koa e Ko’ia course is unique. Its atmospheric flight occurs somewhere over Hadur II and Hadur III, which are both being terraformed. The uncertain atmospheric conditions make picking an entry point extremely important, as flying into a high-density pocket not only increases drag on the ship but could even damage it.

The Human Factor

Following decades of increased Human interest, the Xi’an decided to allow other species to participate in Hadur’s Koa e Ko’ia. The process to implement this change took even longer, as the race’s extensive rule book had to be modified to accommodate the many differences between species. According to Daniel Gordon, who hopes to qualify with his Mustang Beta, “the race’s real endurance test is getting through the rule book.”

Until race officials understand how the Human body reacts to the stresses of the race, independent medical examiners will be assigned to each Human team to track the pilot’s vital signs. If the medical examiners determine the pilot’s health or safety is in danger, they will have the authority to force them to stop at the nearest waystation for further evaluation and could even remove them from the race.

After years of advocating for the race’s return to Hadur, MISC will be one of the major sponsors of the system’s 2947 Koa e Ko’ia. MISC spokesperson Federica Zabel believes the race will be another step towards improved Human and Xi’an relations. “The Koa e Ko’ia represents the perfect opportunity to bring the Xi’an and UEE Empires closer together,” Zabel said at the press conference announcing the race. “We believe our shared love of pushing finely-crafted and tuned spaceships to the extreme can be a gateway for both species to better understand each other.”

It’s also bound to bring MISC a surge of publicity. According to reports, MISC has spent years training and funding teams exclusively for this race. One of those pilots, Brian Blitz, claims that certain aspects of the MISC Razor were even designed with the Koa e Ko’ia in mind. “The more I’ve trained for the race, the more a lot of these design choices just make sense. From the layout of the cockpit to the ease of being able to swap out components, I fully believe the design of this ship already gives me a leg up.”

MISC appears determined to ensure that a Razor places first in the Human division of Hadur’s Koa e Ko’ia. Whether or not MISC gets the outcome it wants, of course, is yet to be determined. Regardless of the winner, if the race proves to be a success, there are rumors the Xi’an would consider making Hadur’s Koa e Ko’ia a regular event. That outcome would be a victory for race fans across the galaxy.

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch/16968-Portfolio-Koa-E-Ko-ia

February 2949 Subscriber Flair

February 2949 Subscriber Flair


Centurions will receive the Rust Society Venture Helmet. The RSI’s Venture helmet is built from impact-resistant composites and designed to weather the harshest of environments. It also features an anti-scuff laminate face-plate that offers an unparalleled upward field of view, providing unobstructed sight lines to whatever wonders you discover. The Rust Society edition adds a red and tan color scheme so you look good while working hard.

Imperator Subscribers

Imperator-level subscribers get the RSI Beacon Helmet in addition to the Venture edition. RSI’s Horizon helmet is a durable and robust environmental enclosed work helmet. The single sheet laminate dome gives you an extremely wide field of view. A pair of side-mounted LED light modules provide additional illumination to make sure you can see what you’re doing. The Rust Society edition celebrates blue-collar workers with an exclusive red and tan coloration that hides dirt and wear and tear well.

If you’re an active subscriber, these items will be added to your account on February 18th.

If you aren’t a subscriber yet but want to don these helmets, make sure you subscribe no later than February 17th.

More information about subscriptions can be found here

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16970-February-2949-Subscriber-Flair

Star Citizen Monthly Report: January 2019

The first Persistent Universe monthly report of the year details all the work done by the Star Citizen team throughout December and January. While the devs and studio teams took a break for the holidays, the early winter months saw a ton of tasks completed, progress made, and new ideas seeded.

Star Citizen Monthly Report: December 2018 – January 2019


The AI Team put effort into stability and optimization for the recent alpha releases and patches.

AI gunships gained new tactical options, including the introduction of a new behavior that allows them to circle enemies and use their turrets to attack from a constant distance. Designers can easily modify this behavior to change things like the optimal attack range and when to disengage the target. The ‘fly-by’ and ‘breakaway’ tactics were also amended to make better use of the predicted hit position and allow ships to better evaluate the environment to determine the optimal direction for evasion.

An ongoing focus for the team is converting all new movement logics to utilize the new Intelligent Flight Control System in preparation for its upcoming release.

For human combat, the team worked to improve the behaviors released in Alpha 3.4, making sure basic structures were in place to enable AI to decide which cover location to use, when to shoot, and when to relocate. The cover selection has been expanded to order the query based on the amount of protection it gives when multiple targets are taken into account. They also implemented an improved way to debug behaviors and can now visualize the debug tree on multiple characters at the same time as well as use the Subsumption debug draw in a server/client environment.

Time was spent on the perception system, which was expanded to handle damage stimuli; AI characters now have proper awareness of damage, so they know the exact location of the source and will behave accordingly, tracking if a specific enemy they lost sight of is the source of damage and updating the knowledge they have about them.

Progress was made on the Usable Builder, which allows the team to easily visualize usables, edit their properties, and test the different use channels. For the mission system, they exposed several new functionalities to the designers, such as a variety of task nodes, new variable types, and new core functionalities. A ‘group’ variable was introduced that can automatically be filled up when spawning AI characters to let designers track the dynamic elements they’re interested in.

Currently, the AI Team is implementing global callbacks to help the designers track environmental events specific to the data they’re interested in without the need to explicitly create variables for each entity.


The PU Animation Team spent the pre-holiday period finalizing mission givers, including Constantine Hurston and Tecia Pacheco, and are currently working on ship dealers to give players a salesman-like experience when buying vehicles in-game. They’re also continuing to actualize the emotes shot at CitizenCon.


The team worked hard to improve the ship audio experience in-line with the new flight model, which included implementing improvements to thrusters, powerplants, and the overall sound mix. They’re also integrating greater levels of complexity via new components, including ship vibration and environmental feedback variants, that deliver greater feedback from turbulence, impact, and atmospheric flight.

Physicalized props and physical objects received audio support recently to ensure they have appropriate impact, role, slide, and topple sound effects. A recent addition to this is the team’s work on implied contents for carriable items, such as crates.

The Foley system is continually being iterated on, with the team improving the footstep and cloth systems in relation to various contexts, e.g. material/surface types and pressurized/unpressurized environments. The sounds will all vary for the upcoming female player character, too.

Working closely with the PU music composer, Pedro Camacho, the team has been laying the groundwork for various upcoming locations, including ArcCorp and Area 18. This includes creative conversations with the Narrative, Art, and the wider Audio Team to establish appropriate sound pallets, instrumentation, styles, and motifs.

The Audio Code Team drove significant progress on the new CIG Audio System, which will hugely improve the audio implementation pipelines and consolidate functionality into a single tool with much wider scope and flexibility.

In other news, the Audio Department is hiring! They are looking to fill two sound design and one dialog specialist positions. This is in line with the team’s planned expansion and all talented audio professionals are encouraged to apply.

Backend Services

Backend Services completed a large portion of the foundation work for the new diffusion backend architecture. This includes the continued break-up of the general instance manager into smaller scalable services. The dedicated game server needs to communicate properly with the new services, so hooks and proper calls have been set up between them.

Support was also given to the Alpha 3.4 release and subsequent smaller releases to ensure communication on the backend was as efficient as possible.

Plans were laid out in January for the new diffusion network and work was done to ensure the services scripting language continues to function efficiently. Finally for Backend Services, a handful of alterations were made to the various new services and existing databases for increased efficiency.

Character Art

Character Art brought the Shipjacker Armor to players along with the holiday-themed Shipjacker skull helmet. They also set out to unify all armors and undersuits for female playable characters and finalized the concept for mission-giver Tecia ‘Twitch’ Pacheco.

After a nice holiday break, the team started on tasks for the upcoming DNA feature. For this, the team needed to convert, mark-up, and unify all head assets to work with the male and female protos, including the unification of all Data Forge assets.

DNA is a major feature that affects the entire facial setup and pipeline for characters in Star Citizen. This significant feature touches a lot of teams, and through a lot of dedicated collaborative work, is progressing very well. The teams are currently updating mesh formats to support the data sets required, wrapping up and fixing any bugs relating to GPU skinning, and updating all the attachments in the game with the mark-up required for DNA compatibility. The system has begun to roll out in the PU on NPC characters and is already yielding performance wins. Lots of cooperation and iteration between all DNA teams has resulted in a fun and intuitive interface that allows the player to easily create their own face for their player character. The DNA feature is on track to meet its scheduled release.

Finally, The team is also concepting new mission givers and outfits to bring more life to the Persistent Universe.


The Community Team held two holiday-themed competitions: One invited Citizens to create greetings cards to express their love and gratitude and wish each other happy holidays. The other put the festive helmet and cargo to good use by asking everyone to show how they celebrate the holidays in the ‘verse.

The new Star Citizen Fankit was released that offers a wealth of free assets along with a style guide to help content creators use them at their best. Looking for wallpapers, manufacturer logos, music, and more? Download the kit and check out the FAQ answering all the questions about what a content creator can and can’t do with official Star Citizen assets.

In January, the team celebrated Australia Day with a screenshot contest that had everyone showing off their best flight formations in the Gladius Valiant (which was made available to all backers for the occasion). They also kicked off another contest highlighting Tumbril’s rough and rugged Cyclone series that challenged content creators to take their filmmaking skills off-road.

A few of the Community Team members spent a weekend exploring PAX South and attended the annual Bar Citizen event on the River Walk. Selfies were taken, stories shared, and friendships made.

Have you checked out your hangar lately? The ‘One Empire Anniversary Coin’ was distributed to all backers who pledged before to the $200 million milestone.

Lastly, the Daymar Rally took place on January 27th, with three different divisions (Rover, Buggy, and Bike) battling it out for glory and rewards. Everyone involved should feel very proud of themselves, as seeing the filthiest race in the ‘verse come together was an incredible experience for everyone. Well done!


The Economy Features Team focused on adding new weapons to the various shops around the ‘verse. Once complete, shop inventories were set up for all the new locations and various bugs were squashed. Tweaks to missions and the overall economy were also made to move the game closer to the end economic goals of the team.

In January, testing began on a new formula that dynamically alters certain commodity parameters within the wider economy. A new approach is also being taken towards vehicle components to help create interesting choices for players when in shops – even if they have enough money to buy anything they want.

Polish was added to various NPCs throughout the ‘verse, with the aim to make them as realistic and believable as possible.

The design was complete for a new nav marker ruleset that makes how and when players see destination markers more intuitive. Rulesets were also created to add functionality to the Quantum Travel and Service Beacon systems to give players more options when traveling in a party and choosing a location for service beacon transport respectively.


DevOps broke their previous record of the number of internal builds published to the PTU and live service.

“One of the most satisfying things for the team is seeing the results of our work. The Alpha 3.4 publish was one of those times we really felt proud.”

2018 was the first year that scaling automation was used on the live service, which allows the servers to keep up with demand when needed but cut back as necessary. The new system exceeded all expectations and led to one of the smoothest holiday seasons ever.

Build Operations was hard at work developing new systems to support a major pipeline upgrade to the overall game development process and continues to build new systems and improve on old ones.


The Engine Team supported the Alpha 3.4 release and subsequent patches with general assistance, profiling, optimization, and bug fixes. For compute skinning, they made tangent reconstruction optimizations for character faces, data optimizations and compression to lower bandwidth requirements, separated static and dynamic GPU data, and moved bone-remapping to the GPU (to save CPU memory and provide more flexibility).

Work began on HDR color grading and output on supported displays, while splat map support for planet terrain was added, as was an improved film grain with unified dithering. The development of planetary ground fog began along with significant improvements to temporal sample anti-aliasing (TSAA).

The physics engineers enabled joint limits on driven ragdolls and fixed instability caused by a threshold in the solver. They also made the first steps in exposing the spatial grid structure for walking and exploring and added physics support for planetary oceans.

Improvements were made to crash handling, including various thread-safety improvements to enable more robust handling of obscure crashes, and the addition of extra information into minidumps to allow for better debugging of fibres.

Environment Art

Winter saw work begin on the Environment Art Team’s next big target: microTech and its landing zone, New Babbage. In preparation, designs were trialled for the ‘Hi-Tech’ common elements, which include habs, garages, and hangars in an all-new architectural style. These new sets will help the team build New Babbage and ensure the visual style feels fresh and different.

Recent improvements to the organics shaders and pipeline will improve the look of geology and planets. This update has been a long time in the making and the team is looking forward to giving all planet assets a visual upgrade.

The team is currently moving from whitebox towards release for both the planet ArcCorp and its main landing zone, Area 18. Some necessary changes have been made to Area 18’s original layout, mainly for performance reasons but also to improve the general layout and city ‘feel’.

“The task of creating a planet-wide city that players can circumnavigate which also blends well into the major landing zone remains a constant challenge, but one that’s bearing impressive fruit. Progress has been good on improvements to the believability and read of ArcCorp as a city, with the space taking a huge visual step forward from when it was last seen.”

Gameplay Feature

Like many others, the Gameplay Feature Team put in a concentrated effort to fix as many bugs as possible for the Alpha 3.4 release. Specifically, they overcame issues with FoIP & VoIP, Comms, and the Group System. They also supported the US Vehicle Feature Team with their UI-needs for item sub-targeting and the ongoing turret improvements.

The team kicked off 2019 supporting patches for Alpha 3.4.0 before moving straight into feature work for 3.5, including the UI for DNA face customization, continued improvements to Comms video streaming, and a refactor of shop population.


The Graphics Team’s focus has been on performance and memory saving:

The performance gains mainly came from improvements to shadow culling and optimization to video comms, especially on lower-spec machines (though there are some quality issues still to address).

The largest memory saving came from fixing a particularly nasty bug in the mesh streaming code which could result in all levels-of-detail loading for a mesh rather than just the ones needed. Other savings came from increasing the sharing textures used by various effects and improvements to the logic in which textures should be streamed in (interestingly, the game can now run with as little as 400mb of textures!).

On top of this, the team resurrected the water volume tech and made it compatible with the zone system so it can be used on planets, space stations, and ships.

Level Design

Level Design finished the current iteration of Lorville’s Central Business District (CBD) and added it to the city. They are now looking into the trainlines that connect it to Teasa spaceport.

However, the majority of the team is currently focussing on ArcCorp and Area18, with the hangar, shop, vendor, spaceport, and overall layout now finalized. They also gave the planet and its moons a necessary design setup, began an investigation into quantum traveling AI, and introduced a variety of new narcotics during the prototyping of a new mission from ‘Twitch’ Pacheco.


The Lighting Team focused on finishing the CBD and supported the addition of mission-giver Klim to Levski for the Alpha 3.4.0 release. They also looked at the small and medium-sized common elements for the player hangars and created different lighting variations for the Rest Stop, Lorville, and upcoming Area 18 styles.

They’re currently fleshing out the development tools by creating an asset zoo for all current ‘utilitarian-style’ lighting fixtures in use throughout the PU to help them quickly and efficiently add lighting to new locations.


The Narrative Team returned from the holidays to tackle the Alpha 3.5 update, including developing ideas for the branding of street and food stalls in Area 18 and outlining the NPC archetypes needed to populate the city and mission content.

The team is also excited to welcome a new producer to the group; not only will he help keep the team organized, he’ll act as the point of contact for the other teams to make requests through.

Player Relations

Player Relations busily wrapped up the Alpha 3.4 publishes along with all of the work created over the holiday period. They teamed up with the Evocati for several builds to make sure everything was properly tested and completed several rounds of PTU publishing and testing. Progress was also made on an internal quality-of-life feedback report that comes straight from backers’ experiences.

“As always, we can’t thank our volunteers enough for the effort they put into helping us build this game (especially our wonderful Avocados!).”

Planning has already begun for the upcoming Alpha 3.5 release – particularly the testing of the new flight model.


From the small dressing items on Constantine’s desk to the giant Hurston statue, Props mainly spent December finishing up Lorville’s CBD. New mission props were created that focused on the illegal drug trade and surface relay kit. Finally, for December, ideas were floated for cockpit flair and work began on ship sub-items.

In January, some of the team moved onto looking at the ship items themselves, initially taking stock of where they’re up to and looking at how they can integrate sub-items into interiors. The majority of the team have now shifted onto the new Area 18 landing zone and are looking into white-boxing props and supplying basic block outs so other teams can start to build and dress the level.


QA tackled some of the more difficult-to-reproduce issues in the run-up to the Alpha 3.4 release. Dedicated feature testers for both AI and the Gameplay Feature Teams continued to test their respective areas (combat AI, ship AI, non-combat AI, and transit system) via sanity and smoke tests along with standard testing and regression.

QA now provide dedicated support to the Locations Team to ensure that current and new locations are set up and working as expected by Art and Design. A few notable requests involved testing fixes for server deadlock and various changes to the physics of jumping and going down stairs. Changes to the Entity IDs in Track View were tested in the editor to make sure they were seamless and bug-free. A new restricted area for ground vehicles was also added to Lorville, which was thoroughly tested by both the German and UK teams.

Further investigation was made into the issue of Ship AI idling during mercenary and Emergency Communication Network (ECN) missions to ascertain whether it was AI or network related. The team could only reproduce it during ship AI missions in the live environment and encountered something close to it during a 20-player playtest. The one consistent factor was that it only seemed to occur when performance took a dip. So, it was deemed not an AI issue and will be further investigated by the Network Team.

On the publishing side, QA tested the Alpha 3.4 builds before they reached the Evocati and Live service. In January, they worked through the 3.4.# fixes. Recently, attention turned to preparing for Alpha 3.5.

The holiday period saw four new testers join the extended QA family, too.


The UK Ship Team continued developments of the Origin 890 Jump, with further greybox work done on the atrium, master suite, guest suites, and engineering deck. They also refined the exterior hull styling to try and move a few areas closer to the original concept and make the overall ship less ‘cartoon-looking’.

Everyone’s favorite pathfinder, the Anvil Carrack, has progressed since it was last seen. It’s currently in greybox, with the team tackling the feedback generated from the discussions on RTV, particularly the controversial landing gear changes and bridge layout.

Finally, the team made steady progress with the updates to the Aegis Vanguard in preparation for the Harbinger and Sentinel, with focus primarily on interior adjustments along with some quality-of-life fixes for those aboard. Greybox is progressing nicely, so the team will be moving onto the exterior and tackling feedback points to ensure the base Warden model is properly prepared to accommodate the variants.

Ship Art

Ship Art is currently hard at work to bring the new 300i series to life. They’re in the process of getting the damage and customization pass complete, finishing up detail work on various parts, and finalizing the materials.

Alongside the 300i, they’re chugging away on the Defender; the first in-game asset from the mysterious Banu alien race. Extra care was taken to ensure the Defender represents the overall Banu design aesthetic and can be built on in the future. The exterior is currently going through the greybox modeling process and is nearly complete. Afterwards, it moves to interior greybox modeling.

System Design

The System Design Team investigated how to improve the FPS AI experience and social AI was introduced to the Lorville CBD. Gunships piloted by AI now circle their targets and orient themselves to maximize their firepower, while fighter AI was updated to take full advantage of the new flight model.

Tech Art

Tech Art made steps to finalize the implementation and pipeline of the new facial customization tech, which was previewed at CitizenCon 2018. They switched the system’s source data format from the CDF-based system (which was used during R&D) to the newer component-based loadout currently used throughout the game. This system allows players’ customized faces to be stored persistently in the database and the corresponding data packets to transfer efficiently over the network and be applied to the correct avatar at runtime. Likewise, it allows all key NPCs (every shopkeeper, security guard, civilian, and eventually mission giver) to have a unique face built internally by the designers. While R&D on the DNA system was done using male faces, the face pool for female characters is being populated and is planned to come online at the same time.

Tech Art also supported the Weapons Team with animation debugging, weapon rigging, in-engine setup, and debugging multiple render and resource compiler issues. They added a new system for weapons in Maya to allow animators to quickly attach different attachments, making it easier for them to author specific animations. They also updated the underlying metasystem in the weapon rigs to enable animators to export weapons without double transforms on the root or magazine controls.


Turbulent supported the release of the 2018 holiday promotion, featuring a new giftable pledge called ‘For Your Friends’. This new pledge allows a customizable message to be sent along with the gift, making it ideal for friends and family. The holiday promotion also featured screenshot and greeting card contests.

The team supported the availability of the Alpha 3.4 flyable ships on the website, including the Anvil Hawk, Origin 600i Touring, MISC Freelancer series, and the MISC Reliant Kore.

The Cloud Imperium Games corporate website was released in December. Its slick new look is a much better representation of the company’s values and mission and properly communicates the vision behind Star Citizen. The ‘Join Us’ section has details of each location and over 100 job postings across 9 different categories, so see if there’s something to suit you at your nearest studio! Updates are continually being made to the latest news and job postings sections.

Long overdue, the website navigation was improved with a new and improved platform bar and footer. Additional efforts went into creating the bar as a component to make future updates to the site easier. The Starmap is now accessible via the Apps menu to make it easier to find too!

There were major updates to the Squadron 42 Roadmap, which is now tied into the internal project management tool, Jira. A new chapter design was introduced, showing the development progress as phases and chapters, while descriptions for each expose the details of what it actually takes to build the game.

Turbulent supported the release of the Gladius Valiant Free-Fly promotion in celebration of Australia Day. A screenshot contest was available with prizes to be won.

A customizable preference feature was added to the Group, Lobby, and Voice services to allow custom properties to be set for each user with each respective entity. The Voice service can start a call within a channel, inviting all those allowed to join. The new mobiGlas service will allow single endpoints that will appropriately gather the information from the Group, Lobby, and Voice service with a single call. Options can be passed that will select the type of information returned.

The error catching software, Sentry, has also been added to each service to allow previously-uncaught errors to be tracked and reported to the appropriate Sentry project.


During December and January, UI supported the Environment Team with in-fiction advertisements and branding for ArcCorp. They implemented new features on the tech-side to enable the designers to create ‘user variables’, which are used internally but can still persist on the entity the UI is bound to. For example, a designer may want to capture game-data values and store them internally within the UI to gain reference to previous values when the data changes. This functionality fulfills certain presentational needs that contribute to improving the user-experience. Another interesting implication is that, because they are sent across the network, they open up the potential for players to see each other’s UI state (what app they’re currently on, which particular item in a list they’ve highlighted, etc.).

The team also implemented a new node allowing the ability to set up switch logic on a variable (as well as a widget) to dynamically load images on the fly. Together, these features enable the designers to build out a fully-functioning in-world weapon UI screen with an ammo counter, charge levels, and fire mode states.

Vehicle Features

To help ensure that Alpha 3.4 was released in December, the team spent a lot of time supporting the release (and subsequent patches) by fixing bugs, including turret, vehicle, and crash problems. The team also completed modifications to the vehicle targeting system so that external items, such as ship engines, can be specifically targeted.

Improvements to ship combat systems continued via automated gimbals, HUD changes to support Ping & Scanning, and the vehicle ‘XML to DataForge’ migration began. Wrapping up January, a vehicle gimbal aim-assist feature is on its way to completion.

Vehicle Content

The Vehicle Content Team’s 2018 wrapped up with the launch of the Anvil Hawk and improvements to the Reliant Kore, which entailed a rework of the cargo section, ramp, and landing gear. A number of vehicle bugs were also fixed for the 3.4 release. Additionally, the team worked on the three Reliant variants for Alpha 3.5, while the designers have been working with the ship artists in Austin on the Origin 300 series rework.


For much of December, the VFX Team focused heavily on polish and optimization for the Alpha 3.4 release. In particular, significant effort was put into making sure Hurston and Lorville’s environmental effects were optimized while remaining as high-quality as possible.

In early January, they re-evaluated their sprint planning practices and implemented some simple production-led changes to improve overall workflow. Following on from that, they began R&D work on the Tachyon cannon; a weapon type with faster-than-light projectiles.

They began implementing thruster damage effects in keeping with the new flight model planned for Alpha 3.5 and began R&D on how to use particle effects to help make Area 18’s volumetrics more visually interesting. They also worked on effects for the new Kahix rocket launcher – a handheld anti-vehicle rocket launcher with a unique tech style.

New tools were created within Houdini to help design various assets. This includes a new, more accurate way to generate signed distance fields (SDF) on the surface of the gas cloud. These SDFs are used as an arbitrary surface that enable the ability to spawn and manipulate effects with, such as lightning crawling along the surface.


The Weapon Art Team worked on the Multi-Tool rework, Kastak Arms Ravager-212, and the level two and three upgrades for the Hurston Dynamics Laser Repeaters. They also made minor adjustments to the iron sights on a handful of weapons to improve the sight picture and to make them more user-friendly when no optics are attached.



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   Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16963-Star-Citizen-Monthly-Report-January-2019

Portfolio: Esperia

This portfolio originally appeared in Jump Point 4.12.

There’s an old saying that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” That has never been more true than with Esperia. The company produces fully-functional recreations of both historic and alien ships, and most recently, historic alien ships. Esperia’s ability to seamlessly blend modern function and luxury with classic and long-lost ship designs makes it utterly unique in the aerospace marketplace.

Interestingly enough, Esperia’s founding in 2873 was about history, not commerce. The company only became a major player in the aerospace industry thanks to a bit of luck, a big controversy, and the tireless drive of its two founders: Jovi and Theo Ingstrom. The Esperia story is truly about these brothers who hated, loved, and pushed each other to do what no one else dared.

Sibling Rivalry

The Ingstrom brothers were born and raised in Quasi, Terra. Their parents owned and operated a vast luxury hotel that catered to the tourists that visited this picturesque, mountainside city. As a kid, older brother Jovi was fascinated by the strange alien ruins just outside Quasi and would spend hours exploring them. Meanwhile, Theo hung out in the hotel’s hangar. There, he ogled the rare and expensive ships that came and went with the guests.

According to hotel staff at the time, while Jovi and Theo were a pleasure to be around individually, they became a terror when together; the brothers constantly antagonizing or daring each other to do reckless things. Edwin Kelce, author of Resurrecting Icons (the definitive biography on the brothers), suggests that the most notable incident occurred when they were teenagers, in 2866. Jovi dared Theo to stand on the railing of one of the hotel’s third story observation decks. Once his brother finally was perched on top, Jovi bumped the railing. Somehow Theo survived the fall, suffering only a broken arm.

Despite this rambunctiousness, their father detected a strong entrepreneurial instinct in Jovi and wanted him to learn the family business. Jovi refused and instead attended the University of Jalan to study xenoarchaeology. The following year, Theo began attending the University of Rhetor to learn aerospace engineering. Theo proved to be a gifted and motivated student. Jovi was expelled his sophomore year.

Following his expulsion, Jovi worked at the family hotel for a few months. He quickly tired of his parents’ constant scrutiny and wanted to return to his studies. His parents agreed to financially support him under the condition that he attend the University of Rhetor with his brother. Reportedly, his parents, both alumni, played the legacy card and made a sizable donation to the institution to ensure his application would be accepted.

Jovi moved in with Theo the next semester. The arrangement annoyed both brothers. Theo felt that his parents had burdened him with the additional responsibility of keeping his brother in line, while Jovi resented his younger brother looking over his shoulder. Then, in 2872, the two took a trip to the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo (IAE) that would not only change their relationship, but also their futures.

Digital Archaeology

For years, Theo had been trying to get his hands on a Gailforce-model ship, known among engineering enthusiasts because it never made it to market after cost overruns drove its manufacturer out of business. While touring the show floor, Theo found a broken shell of a Gailforce for sale. Yet despite his efforts, he couldn’t talk down the private collector’s exorbitant purchase price. For the rest of the day, Theo rambled incessantly about the ship until Jovi decided to take matters into his own hands. Before anyone attributes Jovi’s actions as altruism, Resurrecting Icons claims that Jovi’s actual motivation was “to make Theo shut up.” He tracked down the collector that evening in the hotel bar and after a night of drinks, was able to talk down the price. Not only that, he managed to get a set of the ship’s original blueprints thrown in as well.

Theo used the blueprints to repair the ship, but ran into a snag when data corruption rendered a number of the pages unreadable. Jovi researched where they could obtain copies of the corrupted pages and was shocked to discover that blueprints were often harder to find than the ships themselves. The fact that the Gailforce’s blueprints had virtually vanished after only a few decades stunned Jovi.

After watching Theo repair and restore the Gailforce, he understood that ship blueprints were an essential part of aerospace history and was surprised that no one had thought to compile any kind of archive of these documents. Jovi saw an opportunity to combine his natural business acumen with his passion for history.

In 2873, Jovi dropped out of school, liquidated his trust fund, and started Esperia with the help of Theo. The company was named after a small-scale ship manufacturer, renowned in collector circles, that was tragically wiped out when the Orion System fell to the Vanduul. Esperia’s initial goal was to collect and preserve ship blueprints so more wouldn’t be lost to the sands of time.

Jovi and Theo began to buy as many ship blueprints as possible. Then they charged a recurring fee for access to these records, so collectors could restore their precious ships to the original specs. Jovi scoured the universe, paying good money for any blueprint he could find. It wasn’t long before Esperia had accumulated an impressive database, and had made a name for itself among collectors as a go-to source.

But the subscription model wasn’t lucrative and Esperia struggled to turn a profit. After Theo graduated from university, he began to buy and sell old ships he’d restored from Esperia blueprints. Jovi heavily advertised these restorations to show what was possible with their service. It wasn’t long before Theo’s reputation as a talented restorer drew more interest than the blueprints. One morning Victor Hurston was patiently waiting for them outside their small office in Kutaram, Terra. What he proposed would permanently alter the company’s course.

The Imitation Game

Victor Hurston was best known as a playboy with a penchant for exotic ships. Even so, what he proposed to the Ingstrom brothers was nothing short of shocking. Victor had come into possession of a Vanduul Glaive and asked if Esperia could get it up and running. Though they lacked blueprints and any knowledge of the Vanduul language, the Esperia team somehow got it working. A few months later, Victor Hurston unveiled the Glaive to a shocked audience at the 2877 IAE, the crowd reaching fever pitch when he climbed into the cockpit and took off. Afterwards, Victor personally thanked Esperia for their hard work on getting the ship flight ready.

Overnight, the name Esperia spread across the Empire. Many marveled at how this small restoration company had mastered Vanduul technology, while others cursed them for turning the enemy’s weapon of war into a rich kid’s toy. Theo recoiled from the controversy. Jovi embraced it, using it to advance their image and start building a brand.

Then the UEE Navy was at Esperia’s door. Government engineers had never quite figured out how to make captured Vanduul ships function properly, certainly not to the level that Victor Hurston had demonstrated, so they hired Esperia as consultants. After Theo and his team proved their worth, the government approached Esperia with an even more ambitious project — building replica Vanduul ships to be used in Navy training exercises. Esperia needed to quickly expand their operations to fulfill the government contract. Jovi worked tirelessly to make this happen and it paid off. Esperia has been on the Navy’s payroll ever since.

After expanding their operations to fulfill their government contract, Esperia finally had the facilities to produce quality replicas for the private sector too. Before long, several near-extinct spacecraft were to be found flying the Empire once again in the form of Esperia reproductions. Wealthy clients flocked for the chance to fly these limited-run collector ships.

Recently, Esperia’s special relationship with the UEE government allowed them access to the Kabal System to catalog and assess the ancient Tevarin ships found there. They have since brought to market the Prowler, the famed Tevarin boarding craft, which has been painstakingly constructed to recreate the spirit of the original ship while updating it with contemporary features and comforts. The Prowler joins replicas of the Vanduul Glaive and Blade that the company recently sold to the public under a new business plan pushed by current CEO Charlotte Hussion.

Esperia has come a long way since Jovi and Theo started it as an archive for vanishing ship blueprints. Still, the company’s dedication to preserving the past stays alive and well and continues to influence the future. Each year, eight students at the University of Rhetor receive the Ingstrom Fellowship for their work in the field of xenoarchaeology.

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Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch/16959-Portfolio-Esperia

Advocacy Archive: As Good As Dunn

As Good As Dunn


2948-12-14_19:07 SET

Sir –

Just wanted to give you an update. The op’s good to go. I’ll set up on an overlook above the Dunn Scrapyard and will watch it for a few hours before paying them a visit. I’ll use an Argo SRV to tow in a busted 325a. Both have clean regtags so there shouldn’t be any reason for them not to process it. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to verify my confidential informant’s claims about this place being a front for organized crime.

I’ll be on comms if you need me.

Julie Nadir
Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2948-12-15_06:22 SET

Keep me posted. We need a big win on this in order to maintain the investigation on Dunn. If the op doesn’t uncover anything, the Haubert case is heating up and might require your attention.

Lakoda Iwata
Supervisory Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2948-12-15_22:09 SET

Sir –

Today didn’t quite go as planned. I’m drafting the full incident report, but I still think there’s enough suspicious activity to warrant further investigation. You’ll have all the details in the report, but the big takeaways are below:

The scrapyard refused to take the 325a, claiming they didn’t have the capacity to process it. When I pointed out that there was space in the scrapyard, the story changed to the problem being a mechanical issue with their compactor. I sang them a sob story about needing creds fast, even offered to take just below market value for it. They still rejected my offer and did everything in their power to have me leave the premises as fast as possible.

Several other peculiarities presented themselves during the day, which add to the theory that the scrapyard is a front. While there I clocked 20 employees, most without safety gear. Some just sitting around looking bored. Others were involved in a rowdy Trigger game happening in one of the hangars. The shop definitely didn’t look or feel like the bustling business it is on paper, which was substantiated by my surveillance.

I logged all activity that occurred at the scrapyard today and it was significantly lower than expected. Exact numbers will be attached, along with a detailed explanation about why they’re red flags. I think we may be on to something big here.

I’ll be back in the office tomorrow. Let me know when you’re free.

Julie Nadir
Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2948-12-16_07:13 SET

Refusing to scrap a ship isn’t a crime. While the behavior you’ve outlined is indeed suspicious, there’s not enough evidence to back up your CI’s claims. With our current caseload, I cannot justify any additional hours being spent on this.

Come by tomorrow at 15:00 for a debrief. Before then, familiarize yourself with the attached Haubert case file.

Lakoda Iwata
Supervisory Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

Attachment: CaseFile_NH81315E.tbf

2948-12-16_08:40 SET

Understood. See you then.

Julie Nadir
Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2949-01-24_23:03 SET


Last month, although my attention was focused on the Haubert sting, something still wasn’t sitting right with the Dunn case. To be clear, I dedicated my work hours to resolving the Haubert investigation, but I kept an eye on the scrapyard off the clock, meticulously noting everyone coming and going. I poured over the scrapyard’s public records and tax filings three times.

Thankfully, I finally managed to make contact with local law enforcement. Turns out a former detective had opened a case on Dunn last year. They received a tip about potential contraband moving through the business, but once word of the investigation was made official, there was pressure from higher-up to shut it down. All files related to the case were transferred and vanished. The detective had backups of some of the case files before they got wiped and sent them along.

The files document Dunn using a long list of fake SRV regtags to inflate their profits. It’s proof they’re scrapping way more ships on paper than in reality to launder millions of creds. I got curious and ran a few of these fake SRV regtags through the system. Each of these fake ships “towed” wrecks to the same few scrapyards, which includes Dunn and even one on Castor. I compared the fiscal reports for each of these companies and found them be almost identical. It has to be a system-wide money laundering operation for one of Corel’s major players.

The report and all related documents will be ready for your review tomorrow morning.

Julie Nadir
Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2949-1-25_06:36 SET

Find me when you get in. I need you to debrief me on everything, including exactly how you obtained these files. The legitimacy of the entire case hinges on it.

Lakoda Iwata
Supervisory Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2949-1-26_13:22 SET

Nadir, where are you?

Lakoda Iwata
Supervisory Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2949-1-29_04:37 SET

SA Julie Nadir was found dead in her apartment last night of a single gunshot to the head. This was a professional execution.

To give you a clearer context, SA Nadir recently revealed to me that she caught a big break related to an old investigation of the Dunn scrapyard. As you’ll see in the attached comms, SA Nadir continued to pursue her investigation in an unofficial capacity, during off hours, and not under my direction. Upon hearing this, I arranged SA Nadir to debrief me immediately. After several days passed where she was unaccounted for, I paid a visit to her apartment. That’s when I discovered SA Nadir’s body.

Her home terminal was still on, with all her findings on the Dunn investigation sitting on screen. I’ve gone through the files, and Nadir’s ultimate conclusion was that the scrapyards tied to Dunn through fake SRV regtags are a front for the Benini clan. Taking down these shops would be a significant blow to their ops throughout the system. While this might explain why she was targeted, it doesn’t explain why the Benini clan would just leave her terminal and case work untouched.

Which got me thinking, who would serve SA Nadir this case on a platter?

It’s too clean. Too convenient. I can’t back this up yet, but in my opinion, I think a new syndicate might be making a move into the system. Getting rid of the Benini clan’s cash flow would be a huge win for the Advocacy, but would equally benefit a criminal rival looking to carve out space for themselves in the underworld.

I’ve attached the case file, which includes all comms between myself and SA Nadir related to the case. I’d recommend reading SA Nadir’s report first. The case is laid out beautifully. The Advocacy lost a good investigator today.

Lakoda Iwata
Supervisory Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

Attachment: CaseFile_WI57421S.tbf

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch/16955-Advocacy-Archive-As-Good-As-Dunn

Australia Day Gladius Free-Fly

Australia Day Gladius Free-Fly

Celebrate the founding of Australia (and domination of the Vanduul)

The Gladius Valiant was created by Aegis in conjunction with Electronic Access’ flight sim Arena Commander. As the premier example of the ‘Masters of Flight’ series, the Valiant’s custom green and gold livery stands as a fitting homage to the legacy of defense pilot Condi Hillard.

Everyone knows that Hillard was the first human pilot on record to defeat a Vanduul ship in combat. But did you know that her ship’s now-iconic paint job also shares colors with Earth island-nation Australia? It’s true!

So, let’s go way back and honor the landing of the First Fleet at Port Jackson while simultaneously celebrating Hillard’s inaugural Vanduul beat-down with the Aegis Gladius Valiant – available for all current backers to fly for free, all weekend long. Just log into your account and retrieve it from any ASOP terminal in the game.

Featured Ship

The Gladius Valiant

Created as part of the ‘Masters of Flight’ series in conjunction with the flight sim Arena Commander, the Valiant pays tribute to famed defense pilot Condi Hillard for being the first Human on record to defeat a Vanduul ship in combat. This Gladius comes equipped with a specialized dogfighting-focused loadout and special-edition livery honoring her iconic ship.

Now let’s get in Formation

Show us your most Valiant screenshots

Enter to win a Gladius Valiant for your fleet by submitting screenshots that show off your best flight formations using the ship.

Full contest rules and details can be found here.

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16946-Australia-Day-Gladius-Free-Fly

Brothers In Arms: Part One

Writer’s Note: Brothers In Arms: Part One was published originally in Jump Point 3.5.

The heads-up display on Gavin Rhedd’s Cutlass dimmed at the edges. Green triangles representing the members of his security team distorted to form horizontal spikes of flickering static. He smacked the side of his helmet. It was a practiced move, and one that had snapped the HUD back into focus in the past. This time, the display flickered, faded and then died.

A heavy breath sent a thin veil of vapor climbing the visor of his helmet. Condensation obscured the view of black, empty space ahead.

Empty like the dead heads-up display.

Empty just like it had been for weeks.

There were brigands and marauders plaguing every planet in the ’verse and he couldn’t find one damned gang. Nothing was working out like he’d planned.

On the navsat, the other three members of Rhedd Alert Security fanned out to either side. His brother Walt was locked into position directly to port. Jazza and Boomer were painfully out of position.


Everyone was getting bored and careless.

Boomer was the first to break radio silence this time.

“Hey, guys?”

“What’s up, Boomer?” Walt was the first to respond.

“I’m cold.”

Jazza didn’t follow orders better than any of the others, and her banter had the comfortable cadence of friendly rivalry. “Then put on a sweater.”

“Hey, Jazz?” Boomer fired back at her.


“Take your helmet off for a tick.”

“Why’s that, old man? You want a kiss?”

“Nope. I’m hoping you get sucked out and die when I shoot a hole through your cockpit.”

Gavin sighed into his helmet before triggering his mic. “Come on, gang. I want comms dark. The miners on Oberon hired us to take care of their pirate problem. And the three of you chattering on an open channel won’t help us find them any faster.”

“I’m starting to hate this system,” Walt muttered.

They were all tired and strung out from weeks of long hours and no action. But Walt was killing their morale by giving voice to that frustration. This whole thing — Rhedd Alert Security, abandoning smuggling to go clean, applying for Citizenship — was something they’d agreed to do together. Gavin and Walt. Brothers. Going legit and starting a business.

It seemed a good idea when they were dodging system alerts and dumping a fortune into forged tags. But some things don’t change, and Walt was the same old Walt — all talk and no follow through. It wouldn’t be long before he came up with some excuse to move on to clearer skies.

“What’s wrong, Boomer?”

“Cold, Gavin. Think the heat’s out.”

Wonderful. Something else to fix. Maybe Walt wouldn’t be the first to quit after all. Dell would leave if Gavin let her father freeze to death over this rock.

Jazza barked a laugh, “Yep. That sounds about right for this outfit.”

“Jazza, will you shut up already? Which part are you having trouble with? Comms or dark?”

“Yes sir, Big Boss Man.”

“Jesus. I got more respect from you guys when we were criminals. Boomer, by all the Banu gods, why didn’t you tell me you were having trouble before we left the hangar?”

“I, uh . . . I figured to keep quiet until after the mission. Until we got paid, you know?”

This should have been a quick in and out job. But after weeks of fruitless hunting, even if they eventually drove off the pirates, the job would be a net loss.

“Hey, guys?” Jazza was really starting to get on his nerves. He told her as much. “Shut your hole, Gavin. I just wanted to let you know I found something.”

Gavin quickly studied the navsat console. The area looked empty other than the four of them, so whatever she’d found wasn’t showing up on any of his feeds. He smacked his helmet again in mute hope that the HUD would spring back to life.

“It’s a hull,” Jazza said. “Big one. Looks like a stripped Idris. Looks dead.”

“I’m not seeing you on . . . crap,” Walt said. “There you are. How’d you get way the hell out there?”

“Easy, folks,” Gavin said. “Boomer? You head toward Jazza. Walt and I will hold position.”

“Copy that.”

An Idris represented a fair chunk of creds as salvage. Strange that no one had claimed it. They were in Oberon to chase off pirates, but a little scrap job on the side was a welcome bonus.

“Jazza,” Gavin said, “I’ve got nothing near you on sensors. You think it’s just some floating junk?”

“I think so,” she spoke slowly, uncertain. “I thought I saw a heat trace, but I’m not seeing it now. Going in for a closer — Jesus!”

“Jazz,” Boomer’s voice was flat. The old man was all business. “Break right, I’ll pull this one off you and lead them back to the boys.”

“Can’t shake him.”

The navsat showed three new ships. A 325a with scrambled tags closed in on Jazza. Walt streaked past, already accelerating toward the fray, and Gavin turned to follow.

“Pull up hard,” Boomer said. “Bring him back around — Damn it.”

“Talk to us, Boomer,” Walt said.

“Jazza took a big hit. These guys are each sporting a Tarantula — the big one.”

“Hold tight,” Gavin said. “We’re nearly there. Walt, my HUD’s out. I need visual to fight, can you engage?”

“On it.”

“Hold on, Boomer. We’re coming.”

Walt was an incandescent streak ahead of him. The nearby space seemed deceptively empty without the visualizations that his HUD instrumentation would normally project. Only Oberon IV, looming beneath them, gave him any sense of perspective.

Walt’s voice crackled into the oppressive silence. “Boomer. I’m coming in low at your three o’clock.”

“Copy that.”

“I’m going to strafe with the repeaters to get their attention. You give that 325 a broadside he can’t resist. I’ll shove a missile somewhere the sun don’t shine.”

“Hurry, Walt. I’m too old for a three-on-one.”

“On you in five. Four. Three. Break now!”

Up ahead, razor thin beams of red slashed across space. The lasers streaked straight and then abruptly fanned out as Walt yawed around a pirate ship.

“Boomer!” Walt’s words tumbled out in a rush. “I can’t take a missile shot with you between us.”

“Can’t shake him.”

“Well that Tarantula is going to shake you plenty if you don’t.”

A missile streaked toward one of the pirate ships. Gavin saw a stuttering series of small flashes inside the cockpit, then the 325a vented a blazing ball of burning oxygen and went dark.

Gavin dropped into the swirling tangle of ships and added his own laser fire to the melee. Rippling blossoms of dispersed energy glowed against a pirate’s shields.

“That’s done it,” Walt said, “they’re gonna run.”

He was right. Realizing they were outnumbered, the remaining pirates turned together and accelerated past Jazza’s drifting ship.

And with them would go any hope of a profitable job. “Pen them in and stitch them up, guys.”

“Screw that,” Walt pulled up, quickly falling behind. “Let them run. They won’t operate here once we steal their hideout. We win, Gav.”

“This job won’t even cover our fuel costs, Walt. We need those ships.”

“I got ’em.” Boomer yawed around to pin the fleeing ships between them.

“Boomer,” Walt cried, “don’t!”

The pirate pair turned nose to nose with Boomer. Their guns sparked twice, muzzles flashing, and Boomer’s Avenger bucked from the impact. Most of the starboard wing spun away in a blaze of erupting oxygen. The pirates flew straight through the floating wreckage and streaked away at full acceleration.

Gavin cursed and slowed. Without his HUD, the fleeing pirates quickly faded from view. “Boomer? Talk to me, buddy.”

Boomer’s Avenger drifted slowly away toward the black. Then it burped, venting air and Boomer’s survival suit out into open space.

A new, flashing red icon reflected up and off the canopy of Gavin’s cockpit. He didn’t have to check the console to know it was Boomer’s recovery beacon.

He let his hands fall away from the controls, closed his eyes and let his head slump backwards. His helmet struck the headrest with an audible clunk. Colored lights sprang up to swim in front of his closed eyes.

Resigned, he cracked one heavy lid to peek out at the intruding light source. His HUD had decided to grace him with a reappearance.

“What. The hell. Was that?” Walt pronounced his words biting precision.

“Tarantula GT-870 Mk3,” Gavin recited in detail.

“I know about the damn guns, Gavin. I mean sending Boomer after them. We won. We had them on the run.”

“These ships don’t repair themselves, Walt. Maybe you haven’t done the math, but we’re broke. We need the salvage.”

“Salvage is nice, but Dell is going to kill you if Boomer is hurt again.”

“I’ll deal with Dell.” Gavin rolled his shoulders and settled his hands back on the controls. “Put a call in to Oberon. Let them know we took care of their pest problem and that we’ll tow away the clever little base the pests were hiding in to block scans. Then get Jazza patched up. Assuming the pirate survived, the two of you can drop him off before towing the salvage home.”

“Got it,” Walt’s voice was caustic, “money first. Good job keeping our priorities straight”

“Damn it, Walt. Will you stow the lip for two minutes so we can pack up and get everyone home.”


“I’ll get Boomer. Can you please go see if you can get Jazza back up and running?”

“You’re the boss, little brother.”

Gavin pushed his family troubles to the back of his mind. Prioritize. First things first, take care of the crew. Get Boomer home. Repair the ships. Pay down some debt. He rattled off a painfully long list of critical next steps and one item kept rapidly, forcefully climbing its way to the top.

They really needed to get another job.

Walt beat the others back to the hangar. He matched rotation with Goss system’s Vista Landing and drifted along its length until he reached the Rhedd Alert hangar. He slowed and then stopped at three sets of wide double doors, each painted an alarming shade of red.

Hazard beacons floated in front of the first set of doors. Short bursts from tiny thrusters kept them in place a dozen meters out while a work crew applied high-pressure, ghost-grey paint over stencils of the Rhedd Alert logo.

Walt drew in a proud breath that pressed his chest against the confines of his flight suit. It looked cool having their name up in big letters on the side of the complex.

Then the moment soured.

The hangar and support staff were dead weight around their necks. The painting crew and logo were all part of the lease agreement with the station, but they served as a pointed reminder of the permanence of the commitment. Walt gnawed at his bottom lip, uncomfortable with the weight of the obligation.

He tried to put the sense of buyer’s remorse aside, but it sat heavy and rekindled his anger at Gavin. His brother wanted this company so much. Dell did, too.

Success — legit success — meant they could leave the old routines behind, forever. No more hiding. No more flipping tags every couple weeks to stay ahead of the Advocacy. Starting a company and working toward Citizenship was a big deal, but at what price?

Employing folks and applying for Citizenship was fine, but it started to lose luster in a hurry if success meant getting someone killed. Walt had to make sure Gavin saw that. They were all tired, but this was too important to wait.

“Knock knock, Dell,” Walt said. “Open up.”

D’lilah’s voice came over the comm immediately. She’d been waiting. “Bay 3, Walt. And mind the paint crew.”

“I see ’em. Glad to be home, Dell.”

Gavin touched down last, and Walt was waiting at the foot of the ladder when his brother slid down to the deck.

“Don’t start with me,” were the first words out of Gavin’s mouth.

“Listen,” Walt said, “Maybe I was out of line to second guess you during a fight, but we need to talk about what happened out there.”

“We won, okay? Right now I need to get Boomer to the med techs, and then contact Barry about another job.”

“Barry got us this job, Gav. I’m not sure if you noticed, but it really didn’t end so well.”

“We got sucker-punched by some thugs. That’s what happens when you get sloppy.”

He was talking about procedures and performance. Two of their ships got shot up, Boomer wounded and Gavin was grumbling about tight flight formations. Walt stretched his fingers, willing them not to form fists. His brother tucked his helmet under one arm and stepped to the side to move around him.

“Damn it, Gavin,” Walt grabbed the shorter man’s shoulder and pressed him back against the ladder. “Would you slow down for two seconds?”

He’d caught Gavin by surprise, but his younger brother was fast. Gavin slapped the hand from his shoulder, threw his helmet to the hangar deck and planted a two-handed shove of his own into Walt’s chest. “What’s your problem, Walt?”

The hangar grew quiet. A quick glance to either side showed the rest of the staff looking very hard for something productive to do, as far from the brothers as possible. Walt leaned in and hissed, “I’m trying to keep you from getting someone hurt. What’s the point of Rhedd Alert if we get everyone killed for one crappy job?”

“One crappy . . . ?” Gavin’s eyes were wide, showing white all around the edges. “You need to wake up, Walt. This was our only job. I got half the ships in the squad with parts falling off. I got Boomer freezing his junk off in nothing more than his flight suit. We can’t jump systems to hijack the next ship that comes along any more. This is what we signed up for, man.”

Walt was getting hot again. He knew he should walk away, but Gavin was still missing his point. “I know what I signed up for.” He knew that they had to make good on jobs, but why die trying just to pay the bill collectors? “And I remember why I signed up, too.”

Gavin stepped in again. Closer. “Oh yeah? And why’s that?”

“You, Gavin.”

“So everything’s my fault? Because I made you join up.”

“That’s not what I mean.”

“I know I screwed up the bid on this job. I should have priced it higher. But guess what? I didn’t. And this is all we had.”

Walt lowered his voice, getting right in Gavin’s face. “That’s not what I meant and you know it. I’m here because you want this.” He jabbed a stiff finger into Gavin’s chest. “You want it for Dell. Because you’re afraid she’ll leave if you can’t pull it off.”

And then Gavin was on him.

They went down hard and Walt’s head cracked against the deck when they landed. Gavin was compact and built like a Sataball defenseman, but Walt had length and leverage. It was a dichotomy they had put to the test a hundred times since they were boys, with nearly uniform results. But Gavin just didn’t know when to give up.

The tussle was short and ugly. In seconds, Walt had one forearm jammed into the back of his brother’s neck, with the other propping himself up off the deck. Gavin’s face was pressed into the cold steel of the hangar floor.

Then the scuffed toe of a black work boot crunched down painfully on Walt’s fingers. His stranglehold on Gavin relaxed, and the smaller man started to squirm free. That was, at least, until the socketed head of a heavy wrench dropped on Gavin’s shoulder, pushing him back down, face first and flat onto the deck.


“Now, now, boys,” Dell said. “What are the neighbors gonna think?”

Walt winced, gritting his teeth as she ground his fingers against the steel deck. He craned his neck around to look at her. D’lilah’s boots were cinched tight by pink laces with a white skull-and-crossbones pattern stitched into them. She wore worn, canvas coveralls that hugged strong legs, pockets bulging with tools and spare parts. Her dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail that hung over one shoulder, and she’d dyed the last couple inches a bright, electric blue. The color was new since they’d left for Oberon. It was a playful accent that wasn’t echoed in the angry blue of her eyes.

“Oh. Hey there, Dell.” Walt struggled to keep a pinched note of pain from his voice. “Hello to you, too.”

“Unless the next words out of your mouth tell me where my dad is, you’re going to be working your stick left-handed.”

Gavin answered her. “Ease up, Dell.”

“Who’s got him?”

“I do.” Gavin nodded back toward his ship.

“Well then.” She lifted her foot and Walt yanked his hand back to rub at aching knuckles. He glared at her, as sour a look as he could manage while kneeling on the deck. Her smile feigned a sweetness that did nothing to thaw the frozen fury in her eyes. “I’ll fetch the buggy. If you two are done snuggling, it sounds like my dad has a date with the techs in the med center.”

Dell swung the wrench up to rest over one shoulder, spun on the balls of her feet, and strode away.

Gavin rolled over onto his back with a groan. “That woman is going to kill us one of these days.”

“Think we could outrun her?”

“You, maybe. There’s not a dark enough hole in the ’verse for me to hide.”

“Yeah, well,” Walt pushed himself to his feet with a grunt, “that’s your own damn fault for marrying her.”

Several systems away, on a station much larger and better appointed than Vista Landing, Morgan Brock scowled at a set of numbers on her mobiGlas. She lifted her eyes, shifting her gaze over the top edge of the screen to stare at Riebeld. The salesman sprawled casually in what Brock knew to be an uncomfortable chair. She made sure that it was uncomfortable, so no one felt confident when sitting opposite her desk.

Riebeld somehow pulled it off, though. It was that braggadocio that made him such a good breadwinner for her company. Irritating, yes. But good for business.

She powered down the mobiGlas. “The net profits on this estimate are based off a twelve percent commission.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I think we both know that your negotiated commission is ten, Riebeld.”

“And I think we also both know that this job could double the size of the company within two years.” He sat forward then and leaned on her desk. “I want twelve if I bring it in.”

“And you think I’m going to just give it to you?”

“I know you will.”

It was her turn to lean forward. It put her too close to him, and he should have backed off. He didn’t. “And why,” she asked, “is that?”

“Because I know that you’re not going to let principle stand in the way of profit.” His toothy grin was bright enough to deflect lasers. She was used to predatory smiles from men, but with men like Riebeld, it only meant there was money on the line. His mobiGlas chirped beside them. Riebeld had an incoming call.

He ignored it.

She waited for the incoming alert to stop.

It did.

“You get twelve,” she said. “But anyone who helps bring it in gets paid out of your cut, not mine. And I want three options for one-year extensions. Not one. Bring it to me with three or I won’t sign it.”


“Fine. Now get out.”

He did and Brock leaned back in her chair. She was going to need more ships. Riebeld would get the extensions or he wouldn’t. They gave him something to work toward, and he’d get sloppy if he didn’t have a challenge.

Good sales guys were like racehorses, high maintenance and temperamental. Most days, they were nothing more than a pain in the ass. Come race day, though – you always wanted one in your stable.

There was a quick knock on her door. Riebeld didn’t wait for her to answer before he shoved his head in.

“I won’t budge on the options, Riebeld. I want three or no deal.”

“No,” he said. “It’s not that. Navy SysCom just put our Tyrol contract up for rebid.”


“Yeah. We’re allowed to rebid, but they’re putting it out for open competition.”

“Why the hell would they do that?” Escorting UEE scientists to the research facilities in Tyrol wasn’t their biggest job, but she’d put a lot of work into it. They’d spent years clearing the shipping lanes in the Charon system — lucrative years, admittedly — and now the missions were pure profit and promised future growth.

“I don’t have the full story yet, but apparently they are trying to push low-risk contract work out to local companies. Some brainiac in accounting identified the Tyrol run as a candidate and boom, Major Greely pulled the contract.”

“See what you can find out,” she said. “And get to work on the rebid.”

“Already got it covered.”

“And Riebeld?”


“Find me the name of that accountant.”

It was late when Gavin left the station. By way of apology, he invited Walt to join him on the short trip to Cassel to meet with Barry Lidst. Whether Walt came along as reconciliation or simply to avoid another run-in with Dell was unclear. Regardless, he didn’t seem inclined to talk about the argument as they flew, and Gavin saw no reason to bring it up.

Barry, a Navy SysCom accountant by trade and freelance rainmaker by inclination, had grown up with the brothers. He had left Goss to join the Navy while the Rhedd boys stayed to work the smuggling routes with Boomer and their father before he passed.

Officially, Barry was responsible for negotiating contracts between the UEE Navy and private vendors, but he also managed to broker a few off-the-record jobs on the side. He was, if anything, an opportunist, and Gavin trusted him about as much as he trusted any of the shady characters they’d worked with in the past. Which is to say, not at all.

The fact that Barry was involved with Dell before leaving to join the Navy didn’t factor into his opinion at all. Nope, not in the slightest. Still, Barry had come through with their first legitimate job. With luck, he’d have more.

Gavin swallowed hard, focusing on the fact that they needed work. Walt kept quiet. By the time Cassel swelled, massive, blue and inviting against the gold and turquoise bands of the Olympus Pool, Gavin could feel his brows drawing down into a scowl.

The brothers landed and made their way to a club that catered to the resort world’s local crowd. It was busy, of course, but Barry was waiting and had managed to find an open table.

“I was beginning to think you two bought it in Oberon.” Barry’s naval uniform was cut from some shiny material that was either freshly pressed or engineered to be wrinkle-free. It looked tragically uncomfortable, but did a reasonable job of hiding a rounded gut.

“Oberon took a bit longer than we thought,” Gavin forced a smile, “but we got them.”

“Everything go okay?”

“Absolutely.” He injected confidence into his words and hoped it sounded genuine. Walt looked at him sharply, but Gavin ignored him. They had to appear capable or better jobs were going to be in short supply. “Pirates are not a problem.”

Barry motioned them to sit and his voice took on a somber note. “Word is that Dell’s dad got busted up. He okay?”

“Jesus, Barry,” Walt said. “How’d you even hear about that?”

“I’m the government. We’ve got our eyes and ears everywhere.” Gavin stared at him and raised an eyebrow, waiting. “Yeah. Well,” Barry shrugged and took a sip of his drink, “those miners on Oberon might have mentioned something.”

“Boomer’s fine. Our ships took more of a beating than he did,” Gavin turned the subject away from his team getting shot up on the job. “I was surprised to hear you were in Goss system.”

“Mom retired here on Cassel,” Barry cast a sour glare around the room when he said it. “I’m just here visiting. Can’t stand it with all the tourist traffic, but she loves the shows and exhibits and stuff. Anyway, I’m glad you guys were able to help out in Oberon.”

“Happy to.”

“Stuff like this comes up from time to time,” Barry said. “It’s not like we don’t want to take care of it ourselves or anything. We do. But the Navy can’t send troops after every brigand and thug in the ’verse, you know? Particularly when they’re camped out in an unclaimed system. So, yeah. No one minds if we feed these jobs to indies like you guys.”

“Well,” Gavin said, “we’re light on work right now. Got anything for us?”

“I might have something — not UEE work, but still a decent job. And I know the client will be happy with your rates.”

Gavin’s heart sank a bit, but maybe they could increase their price without chasing Barry away. He encouraged the accountant to keep talking.

“The job is close, just a couple hops away. It’s hard work, but I can hook you up if you’re interested.”

“What’s the job?” Walt asked.

“You ever heard of molybdenum?” Gavin’s face must have looked as blank as Walt’s. “No? It’s a rare metal used in electronics and stuff. You find it near copper deposits. You know what? Doesn’t matter. A friend of mine knows a guy who just got his hands on the mining rights to a moon.”

“Mining,” Walt muttered. “Why is it always mining?”

“I guess the whole moon is riddled with tunnels and caverns. Apparently there used to be a bunch of copper there, but now all that stuff is gone. The only thing left is the molybdenum. This guy, he’s got three weeks to start producing or he loses his lease to the next prospector in line.”

“Barry,” Gavin said, “if you’re looking for a team to wear hardhats and swing pickaxes, you’ve got the wrong guys.”

“Naw, it’s nothing like that. They’re empty now, but someone set the caves up as a fortified base. Smugglers, probably. They put auto-targeting turrets in there. My guy told me they’re all over the place. Around every corner. Anyway, it’s all Banu tech. A group of them must have hopped over from Bacchus.”

“So what’s the job?”

“They need someone to comb through the whole thing and take out the turrets. They can’t send mining equipment and operators in there until it’s clear. Those guys don’t have shields.”

“That’s it?” Gavin asked.

“Yup. That’s it.”

Walt watched Barry across the table with a bemused tilt to one eyebrow. “That’s the most boring job I’ve ever heard of.”

“Hey,” Barry said, “if you want something with a little higher chance of combat, I’ve got a UEE escort contract up for bid. We were getting absolutely fleeced by the incumbent contractor. I finally convinced the major to rebid the job.”

Now that sounded exactly like the job Rhedd Alert needed.

“Tell me more about that,” Gavin said. “About the escort job, I mean.”

“I, uh listen,” Barry said. “I wasn’t really serious about that. No offense, but that is an armed escort through some pretty rough systems.”

This was it. The chance they needed. “Our guys can do it,” Gavin said.

“It’s a small job now, but it’s scheduled to mature into something big. I don’t even know if you have enough ships to meet the contract requirements.”

“Give us a shot. If we perform, I’ll find the extra ships and pilots.”

“The outfits that sign on for gigs like this are generally ex-military. Highly trained. Lots of contacts in Navy SysCom. Most of the contractors we use are actually based right next to the Navy in Kilian System. I was joking, guys. Forget I mentioned it.”

“No, we can do this. What’s the run? How many —”

“Gav,” Walt interrupted, “we’re talking naval flight formations and tactics. Superior weapons systems. Maybe we should get more info on the turret thing in the mulberry mine.”



“Come on, Walt. This sounds perfect for us. And I’d put you or Jazza up against an ex-Navy pilot in a heartbeat. Any system, any time.”

“Fellas . . . hey, listen,” Barry said. “The UEE is trying to push local work to local contractors. The big defense companies are fighting it. If you feel like sticking your hand in the middle of that fire, I’ll forward you the RFP. Good enough? In the meantime . . . about my buddy with the moon mine?”

Gavin half-heartedly followed along while Walt and Barry discussed the turret job, but in his mind they were already escorting UEE ships through hostile space. Walt startled him out of his reverie when he hushed a surprised Barry into silence.

“Wait,” Walt said, “back up a second. These Banu weapon systems. Did you say this stuff came out of Bacchus?”

“Probably. Why?”

“This moon . . . Barry, where is it?”

“Oberon VI, why?”

Gavin’s heart sank again. A glance at Walt did nothing to reassure him. His brother’s smile looked fantastically strained.

“Ah, come on,” Barry said. “You’ve already done good work for these guys.”

“They’ll kill us,” Walt said.

“Naw,” Barry waved at them dismissively, “They love Rhedd Alert.”

“No,” Walt said, “not the miners.”

“Who?” Barry looked concerned now. “Who’ll kill you?”

Gavin answered. “Our team is going to kill us if we drag them back to Oberon.”

“Hey,” Barry relaxed, “it’s a small ’verse. You’re going to end up passing through there sooner or later. Might as well get paid for it. Am I right?”

“Yeah,” Walt said, “but Oberon?”

“I did mention it pays, didn’t I?” Barry keyed something up on his mobiGlas. He turned it so they could read the projected display. At the bottom was a number. A not-insignificant number. Gavin stared at his hands as Walt absorbed the figures.

Walt’s head made an audible clunk when it struck the table. He groaned something muffled and to the effect of, “I can’t believe we’re going back to Oberon.”


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Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/serialized-fiction/16942-Brothers-In-Arms-Part-One

Spectrum Spectator: One Step Back

Daisy Wences: Welcome once again to your show of shows, Spectrum Spectator. Where we take everything broadcast during the past week and blend it into a concentrated, easy-to-digest paste. I’m your entertainment emissary, Daisy Wences, and with me as always is this other person.

Lars Gonall: Why do I feel like the job title ‘Paste Purveyor’ would go over better with my parents than ‘Spectrum Critic?’

Daisy Wences: Because even though you’re a grown adult, you still live your life seeking your parents’ approval?

Lars Gonall: Once again, thanks to Daisy, I’m going to have some deep thinking to do after this show.

Daisy Wences: That’s why we’re all here, right? Profound self-epiphanies.

Lars Gonall: Profound epiphanies through the prism of spectrum are the perfect medium for self-reflection.

Daisy Wences: Which reminds me, have you caught Far From Home yet?

Lars Gonall: I have…

Daisy Wences: Yes! How many episodes have you done? Ten? Twenty?

Lars Gonall: Daisy has been begging me to check it out since she discovered it last week and I gotta say… it’s not for me.

Daisy Wences: What?!

Lars Gonall: For those of you unfamiliar, Far From Home is this personal diary and advice show that a solo pilot puts out from his Freelancer. It’s basically like when you get seated next to your friend’s uncle at a dinner party and they just want to talk about how good ships used to be in the old days.

Daisy Wences: You did not just compare Old Jegger to someone’s random uncle.

Lars Gonall: Later, when you go back and check the recording, you will see that I, in fact, did exactly that.

Daisy Wences: Despite what Lars says, I still think that this is a show worth checking out. I heard about it on a DIY forum when I was trying to fix a glitchy heater in my hab. Of course, instead of actually fixing the stupid thing, I wound up spending the rest of the night consuming every Far From Home episode I could find. Maybe because part of me always wondered what it would be like on the drift. Hearing him talk, you start to understand the difference between a solitary life and a lonely one.

Lars Gonall: I will say that I appreciated how he seemed very much about everyone finding their own best way to live. It wasn’t just him preaching about how we should all be space hermits. And I’ll also give it a few more points now that there’s that rumor circulating that he’s dead.

Daisy Wences: Wait? What?

Lars Gonall: You didn’t see this? It was on the Galactapedia page. Turns out he hasn’t put out an episode since the last one he did from Charon. People are speculating that something might have happened to him. A bunch of fans have started trying to organize a search for him.

Daisy Wences: He is a hermit, right? I bet he’s simply staying off the grid for a bit. I’m sure this is just one of those dumb spectrum rumors and he’ll show up in a week or two with a great story to tell. At least, I really hope that’s what’ll happen.

Lars Gonall: Yeah. You’re probably right. Just promise me that you’re not gonna run away to join the search.

Daisy Wences: Don’t worry, Lars. I’m not leaving the show… yet.

Lars Gonall: Since we got to talk about one of your new favorite shows, you want to talk about my new crush that you can’t stand?

Daisy Wences: Fine. Go ahead.

Lars Gonall: From the makers of such fine reality vids like Kid Empire and Weapon Wars: Shoot-Out Edition comes my brand new obsession, Face to Face, a dating show with a brilliant premise.

Daisy Wences: You mean an insanely creepy premise.

Lars Gonall: Oh, yeah. Won’t argue with you there. This is definitely a show for people who love cringe binging. All the contestants are sent into one of those new and really expensive BiotiCorp machines and given identical faces.

Daisy Wences: Want to know how they picked what that face would look like? They created a composite head from all the main single person’s exes. How messed up is that?

Lars Gonall: The show claims they’re trying to create an ideal partner for the selector by looking at their previous romantic choices. The lucky –

Daisy Wences: I guess that’s how they could be described…

Lars Gonall: The lucky bachelor is a fitness instructor from New Babbage named Eris who goes on dates with all the contestants and eliminates anyone they don’t like. Once eliminated, the candidates are reverted back to their original face.

Daisy Wences: I swear it’s like some bizarre cult. One of the contestants who got cut was sobbing because they didn’t want their old face back. I know it’s pretty common these days to adjust how you look, but the way they were all losing their identity while trying to become someone else’s fantasy made me really uncomfortable.

Lars Gonall: You had a much darker take than I did. For me, it was fun to watch people get to know each other in a situation where their looks didn’t matter. Eris couldn’t judge people on who was attractive or not, it was all about if they had a connection. What’s really going to be interesting is that the winning contestant gets to reconstruct their face however they want. Do they go with their original? An ‘improved’ version of themselves? Keep their new face? So many choices.

Daisy Wences: Do you think the people at BiotiCorp would have made the Calliope if they knew that this was how their amazing invention was going to be used?

Lars Gonall: I assume all scientists hope for a day when their discovery or invention can be used to help strangers pretend to be in love on spectrum.

Daisy Wences: Shall we move on to a show that we were actually scheduled to review this week?

Lars Gonall: Even better, a show that we both actually liked.

Daisy Wences: Last Friday saw the premiere of the much-heralded docu-series One Step Back. Filmed on Asura, it’s a hard look at what life is like for former criminals trying to re-enter society. The first episode focuses on Liz ‘Necro’ Salguero, a convicted shipjacker who was released from Quarterdeck last year.

Lars Gonall: You get a real sense of what it must be like to have this criminal reputation hanging over your head. At one point, she goes through a checkpoint on her way to sell some scrap and seeing how security swarms all over her to do a deep scan was really surprising to me. Maybe this is just my naïveté talking, but I always figured that serving time was enough to clear your record. It turns out though that the Advocacy keeps you flagged as a person of interest for a long time after you’ve been incarcerated, and a lot of people get access to those records.

Daisy Wences: One of the people they interview is a criminal rights advocate who is trying to change the law so that once your crime is atoned for, your records remained sealed unless you are charged with a crime again. We expect these people to be able to make a life for themselves, but with their past available to potential employers, many can’t find work and even when they do, it’s a long hard road to earning trust and respectability again.

Lars Gonall: This isn’t exactly the same thing, but I do remember this one time growing up when my dad accidentally clipped a ship that was rising out of hangar bay. He got flagged and until he paid off the fine, we weren’t allowed to use a lot of public landing areas. It was only a week, but still.

Daisy Wences: I had no idea you came from an outlaw family. It’ll be interesting to see what the show does to help forward the dialogue about all this. Apparently, since the episode was released, Liz has been overwhelmed with job offers and people looking to help her out. Pretty touching really. Of course, that’s just one person.

Lars Gonall: Strongly recommend you give this show a try. It’s not exactly lighthearted, but it’s doing some important things.

Daisy Wences: All right, on that surprisingly serious note, we have to take our first break. When Spectrum Spectators returns, we’ll be discussing the new Tavi Arteaga comedy, One Mann’s Treasure, about a young woman named Aleria Mann who leaves her bustling life in Prime to run her sick mother’s salvaging business out in the far reaches of Corel.

Lars Gonall: I’m pretty excited because we haven’t reviewed a ‘the character’s name is a title pun’ show in a long time, so be sure to stick around and we’ll be right back.

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch/16930-Spectrum-Spectator-One-Step-Back