Once landed, I contact Starport Services, and bring up the commodities menu. Stone me but there's a lot of different things up for sale. Crop 'arvesters, mineral extractors, alloys, even tea, all with information about supply, demand, buying prices, galactic average price. Can't see any two for one offers though. Wot I 'ave got is 1,000 credits and only 4 spaces in the cargo 'old, so I guess we'll grab something that has an average price reasonably 'igher than the buying price here in Azeban. Cotton looks like a decent deal, but 'ang on, Alcohol is more expensive and I could only buy three units, but there's a big mark-up on the average price. Besides, if the worst comes to the worst, I can always flog it down the Nag's 'ead at a coupla quid a pint. Lovely-jubbly.
I 'ead out the dock, and bring up the navigation menu. Right, who's most likely to buy alcohol at a high price. Asellus Prime is a 'igh-tech economy. They'll probably be more into 'erbal teas and energy drinks. Ah, Dahan is a "refinery" economy. Surely those 'ard working lads 'n' lasses will be 'anerking for a pint after a 'ard day's...ah...refining. I lock in the destination into the in-built intergalactic satnav, bring around our space van, and hit the "frameshift" drive to make the jump into 'yperspace, which is like regular space, but 'yper.
Our space van shoots through a tunnel of stars in an effect that is best described as "weird and glowy." As I come out the other side, the star of Dahan fills the cockpit screen. It burns a deep orange, like that crate of out-of-date spray-on tan I lugged down Portobello last week. Dahan's station, Dahan Gateway, is located deeper into the system. So I engage the Sidewinder's "SuperCruise" mode, which according to the ship's manual enables it to travel at FTL speeds. I'm assuming FTL is short for "Flog The Liquour."
The Sidewinder might look like a breville-toaster that's been squashed at one end, but it ain't 'alf nippy. Feels great to fly too, rumbling pleasantly around you as the thrusters push it forward, whirrin' quietly as you twist and turn and flip through space. Wish I could get one for bobbin' around London on a weekend. I could do all the markets at once. I'd shift those knock-off Sumsing fridges in no time. That reminds me. Anyone wanna buy a fridge? Respected alternative brand. Extra-cold. Third off.
I'm about 'alfway to Dahan Gateway when a warnin' flashes onto the screen "Interdiction Detected" Wot the bleedin' hell is...
My space van is wrenched out of Liquor-flogging speed, and spins around helplessly in the blackness of space. A message flashes up on the intercom.
"Federal Security Service: Stand by for cargo-scan."
Oh sod it. It's the bleedin' space rozzers. Well nuthin' to worry about here officer. I am embarkin' upon an entirely legitimate errand, transportin' these cases of a fine Eranian vintage to-
That's when they start shooting.
I'm still not sure why they started shooting. No, 'onestly guv'nor! The only explanation I could think of is, Alcohol must 'ave been classed as illegal goods in Dahan, meaning I'd accidentally become a smuggler and been caught red 'anded.
Their ships have significantly more firepower than my space van, and their lasers are quickly fryin' my shields. Gordon Bennett! I can 'ardly start a barney with the fuzz, so I start chargin' the supercruise again, redirect as much power as I can to my engines, and start dodgin' like a market stall selling bootleg adult videos.