Telegraph Road

Tangine

Dominant
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Tangine Garb Garbender
Chapter One

“Then came the churches then came the schools
Then came the lawyers then came the rules
Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads
And the dirty old track was the telegraph road…”

Dire Straits


Joni was born for hard luck. For first most people would misspell her name. Johnny was the way everyone wrote it. Like Johnny B. Goode. Or the long-since-gone-French-born-in-Belgium-rock-star Johnny Halliday. Joni. J-O-N-I. That was her name. Female. Like Billie Holliday. Maybe it was because of that boyish name that she had decided to take a job usually given to men. Cowboy. A space cowboy, since she had first set foot on Calypso, leaving Earth at so much distance that it seemed time didn’t go at the same speed back there. Here, almost each day was a piece of history.

Only a year and a half earlier had she arrived on the space ship, with nothing but the orange colonists pants and jumper on her. Like convicts in old movies… when there used to be convicts on Earth, that is before death penalty was set as only possible sentence for crimes, in 2151. Giving birth to more than one child was of course considered a crime (against humanity, because of overpopulation), hence she had never had a brother or sister to play cowboys with.

Only a year and a half, but when she had reached her mother on the Over Ligth Speed phone, it was like they didn’t live in the same age anymore. When Joni had been able to afford a first call to Earth, her mom had of course asked silly questions :

_ Do you eat well ?
_ I try to, mom, but there isn’t much edible food on the planet. We want to prevent contamination as much as possible, s we stick to basic proteinic liquids. I found some grass I can chew, though, it makes me relax. And sometimes I grab a nutrio bar to give myself a boost.
_ Isn’t it food for animals ? I thought it had hormones in it, they give cancer you know that…
_ Yes they have, mom, it’s over vitamined too, but it’s only once in while, it won’t hurt me.
_ Oh, and did you meet some nice people there ? Maybe a nice boy ?
_ No mom, I’m busy enough with the cattle.
_ I see. Well, when time comes, it comes… in its time…
_ Yes, mother. Look, I have to hang up, my ped card is almost empty. I’ll call you in a couple months when I’m settled, ok ?
_ Ok. Love you, Joni. Bye.
_ Love you too, mom. Bye.

But she had not really settled yet. She had bought an apartment, but she had no bed there. She used it to store some stuff that seemed useless now but might prove useful later, animal parts mostly. It impressed the few men she brought there. They felt like they were pinned as another trophy in an already astonishing collection, and doing it on a longu plate or a daikiba skull felt weird. They never came here twice, never lasted long either. Cowboys will be cowboys. They like macho girls until they realize they’re not gonna tame them and have them cook chicken and beans for them. And she was hopeless on that matter. She didn’t even bother taking off her Nemesis armor or Foxy stiletto boots when bringing men home.

No man would ever be closer to her heart than her Modified Ewe EP 40 Mercenary, probably the best handgun ever, that she had looted few weeks after arriving on Calypso. It was still being held firmly by the hand of an Imperial Army special forces officer, when she found it in an Atrox stomach. She identified the tattoo on the arm… Took the Rolex as well.

Now why would an Imperial officer use an extremely expensive modified mercenary version of that gun, when they were provided for free with the Military EP 41 ? And what was the bloody officer doing there anyway ? She had no idea. Maybe had been kicked from special forces and kept the tattoo. She thanked God everyday that he had died though. The gun was incredible. But she felt it would end up rusting in her storage sooner than she would have liked. Calypso itself was changing. Around the teleporters, grass was being replaced by concrete. They had opened a museum of natural life in Port Atlantis. Sooner or later, people like her would find a place in that museum.
 
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Tangine

Dominant
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Tangine Garb Garbender
Chapter Two

Joni had been among the early colonists. At that time, no one was expecting you at the landing pad. No one had found out yet that you could gather sweat from animals. The oilrig was a very dangerous place because of the huge beasts roaming around; it was almost abandoned by then. Gathering fruit could help you make some money, but agriculture had never really started : the lack of patience, the lack of engineers, and the unseen before meteorological conditions made it very random so far. No one had ever visited a planet with no nights before. There was water, but no one was actually sure of how plants used it. Several attempts to make them grow in an organized way had failed. And the Empire was in no rush to send more scientists on the planet since they all disappeared mysteriously one after the other.

However, the animal population on the continent at that time was such that hunting and selling hides and skins became a major part of the colonial economy. Things worked fine that way, the Imperial Senate could see no reason to change that balance when they were actually getting rid of the poor and unemployed volunteers while receiving lots of materials. No one ever talked about what would happen when resources of the planet would be exhausted. Joni had a theory about that, but would never say it outloud. The Empire would probably inform people on Earth that they had “lost contact” with the colony, and they would never send another ship on Calypso. Colonists would be on their own. And there would never be a lobby strong enough to force a senatorial enquiry; the Imperial forces had a monopole on long distance space travels. No one would be able to build a ship able to reach Calypso in less than ten years. And then, who would care ? The Empire would cut the Over Speed of Light phone as well. Worst case ? They would spread the rumour there was an epidemic on the planet, and secretly send troops to kill every single colonist to back up that story or cover it up. And the name of Calypso would be removed from history books : so long space cowboys…

Joni tried not to think too much about the future. The present was hard enough to deal with. But she had made some fame now, as a hunter. And she had some overview on things that allowed her to take disciples and train them. In a way, she was building the future. She would explain them how the oilrig was a manhunt territory, where greedy people killed you or blew up your ear or finger as warning with long range sniper gun, just for the fun of it, or to prevent you from picking oil. She explained how to gather animal sweat and what to do with it. She explained the incredible benefits of mindforce powers and how this technology had been found. And for most new colonists landing on Calypso, it was still a dream, a brave new world. A hard world, but the pleasures of discovery, the fun of experiencing a different gravity, and the warmth of the community, bigger now, made it positive. Most were still feeling like conquerors. Still Joni could foresee the changes.

She was there at the first landgrab. It was kill to gain land, under the sometimes benevolent but most times condescending eyes of the Imperial troops who had organized the event, laughing at dying colonists, scorning the bravery of heroes fighting outnumbered one to ten. While Calypso was turning into a King of The Hill, Lord of the flies like butchery, the Empire was drinking beer, or champagne. Now the colonial authorities had decided to clean sweep the corpses and declare the Empire now owned all land and could sell some areas to rich wannabee colonists. Civilization. Some even arrived with mere investing purpose and never used a gun in their life.

A frontier is meant to become civilization. It never stays a frontier forever. It has its heroic times, epic fights, its OK Corral ambushes, its Fort Alamo. Then it settles down. Most of the time colonists were pretty confident in their ability to fight back robot herds, they had faith in progress, against what remained a very sophisticated, but still limited rebel artificial intelligence. Joni could foresee the days when robots would be a mere memory, and the sound of lasers a remainder of the mythic era, a nostalgic music to the ears of the real cowboys. Some animals could already be tamed, and some day, even the fierce atrox would bend its neck and stay. Who knows ? Maybe some day her won mother, very old, would come stay in a retirement home on the shores of Lakeview, Treasure Island.

She would hate to have her mother around. They say even the best cowboys have daddy issues. But they are so overrated compared to the mother issues cowgirls can have. Her mother was by no means civilized. Having her around would be like a new frontier.
 

Tangine

Dominant
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Tangine Garb Garbender
Chapter Three

In fact, Joni didn’t feel like giving up the hunt, the wild ride, the shooting of fireworks in the face of the idiot next to you. She could even do with the begging, the scamming, the fake OJs (new colonists were often referred to as Orange Juice because of their uniform, or was it in the memory of that old OJ Simpson murder case from the 20th century ?). She could do with the absence of law and the efforts of the Empire to prevent too big associations from emerging, especially ones that would look like a Trade Union, or a political party. She could do with the lack of decent vodka in Zychion Bar, the monopoles gained by some colonists who had managed to please the Empire, the corruption and nepotism.

She could do with it because she loved the big game hunting, the smell of dung in the stables, the contests they spontaneously had with other cowboys to see who would stand the most time on the back of an Atrox Old Alpha, or who could smash the most sweat bottles with a whip… She liked the mining trips when she would ride with a friend and stand guard beside him while he was digging the ground to get those precious ores that might make both of them rich. She liked the sound of the unexpected friendly gun that distracts the mob that is on you and gives you time to reload your jammed rifle. She liked the way some perfect stranger arrives and heals your wounds in a couple minutes and disappears in the forest after simply saying “you’re welcome”.

Frontiers are not meant to remain frontiers forever. But the spirit of pioneers was eternal. Not so long ago, a new continent that was so far only visible from space had been reached. An asteroid had been conquered and turned into a night club by an eccentric genius. And when it would all become too crowded and fashionable and cliché, she would simply take her backpack and venture deeper in the bush, where no human had set foot, she would hunt a monster bigger than she had ever met, to get that thrill she discovered the first time she killed a young atrox with her own mentor. Frontiers never disappear. They only move one step further on the map. And Joni thought : even when the whole map is filled with towns and cities and saloons, and when we stop taking cows across the country, and when they put barbwires on that planet too, then the next frontier will be in our heads. Because it will take guts to make this place a better world. Heroes never die. They just fade away. Not in the sunset, like they show it in movies. But in the night, they become the ghost of their own glory, and they slowly become a dream in the head of those fresh young men full of great expectations. They become an example, and a target. Loved and scorned. Like the Frontier.

Joni “Calamity” Kane lit up a smoke. Today it was raining. Her old rancher hat felt heavy. “Damn you Skalman, you’re late…” The familiar noise of a shotgun reload came at the same time as a bump in her back.
_ Hello Skalman.
_ Hello Joni.
_ You’re late.
_ Yeah. I took a shortcut that wasn’t a shortcut. Thought you would wait for me at the backdoor, so I got out front. Nice kid you sent to watch over me. Gave up his job for a couple peds to play with.
_ I guess you didn’t give him much of a choice.
_ Nope. He was trying to catch a rat when I found him. Was all surprised to see me blow up the rat under his nose…
_ I figure he was.
_ So, are you gonna say it ?
_ Do I have to ?
_ I would be pleased, and honoured.
_ OK. You win.
_ That’s what I had predicted.
_ Yes. Does it feel as good as you expected ?
_ Not really. But it will suffice for today.
_ Go ahead then. Nice meeting you.
_ Nice meeting you too. See you soon.
_ Sooner than you think.

The ASG-2 Swine literally ripped her back off. Joni could feel the bullets speed through her body and urge out with a blood spatter. She thought : “Cowboys never die. They just get killed.” Then she saw the white light like a veil over her eyes. A nice familiar warmth spread in all her body. In her head she started to whistle a tune :
“Then came the mines - then came the ore
Then there was the hard times then there was a war
Telegraph sang a song about the world outside
Telegraph road got so deep and so wide
Like a rolling river. . .


Then a metallic voice said : “Revival terminal failure. ”
Oh, shit.







All facts described are fictional, but we hope they somehow reflect a certain reality. This fiction is dedicated to the Gaming University of Calypso and CC Cowboys societies.
 

Tangine

Dominant
Joined
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Posts
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Tangine Garb Garbender
What does a rich noob do ?

Interview with Lee Colonel Bowles

Ladies and gentlemen, today I came across a very peculiar character. I was hunting near Billy’s with two disciples, loot sucked, so we got back to TP with the idea of moving to camp phoenix and hunt feffoids, and there a guy in a grey business suit calls my name, and asks what my armor is worth. At first I heard that bell ring in my head : “reseller…”. I had seen an angel harness around eight thousand peds a few days before so I just give that as an answer, not really caring about it. I mean, if he’s really curious about prices, he can check about anywhere right ? I was already getting bored and worried as I was keeping my disciples waiting, which is rude. He asks about price of a full set, which I have absolutely no idea about, since I’m not looking to buy, and I still miss gloves and thighs.

I chat a bit about how prices skyrocketed and without me asking anything, he starts telling me he has played only a week. I explain that my disciples are waiting and I must get going but I leave the chat window minimized, I don’t close it. I always give people a second chance. During the hunt, I get back to him and since I know business suits are quite expensive, I tell him I suspect he deposited some good money already. I immediately get an answer I didn’t quite expect. The guy deposited three thousand sterling pounds. I checked : that’s about 5600 USD, 56000 peds. Not a reseller. Then he asks about my soc. He's very curious to know what skills you need to get in. Hearing it's only 75k, he lets me know he might join soon. I'm not especially proud about myself, but i think i got into CC Cowboys not just because i was able to show or claim 75k skills. So i kind of bashed him about how entering a society in the Top 50 was more than just buying skills, and that people would expect him to know a bit more about the game, and they would be glad to have some background to rely on. At this point, his self confidence started to upset me a bit.

But Lee was very talkative and liked to share information, so I tried to figure out what kind of player he is, and my first opinion, negative, was already changing. In fact, after a while I’m curious to see if he’s just the next big bragging noob or someone with some brains. The truth is I had met before a few avatars who were claiming they would spend x USD on the game. Some I even took as disciples. Never deposited of course, never played in fact. Some even had the nerves to say the wanted to spend 2000 USD, and then ask me for a free gun, and when I explained that sweating half an hour in phoenix would get them a Jester D1 and possibly some ammo, they would say they wanted a mentor that actually gave stuff for free and they had plenty of opportunities and they would find someone better. Of course, I never heard of them since. So you can imagine both the mentor and the reporter in me were very eager to hear the whole story.

I started to tease Lee a bit, to find out if he’s just someone extremely confident or another stupid show off. The line between the two is somewhat hard to define, but the main difference is that some people actually do what they say and I intend to judge him on that, even though I can’t say I have much respect for people who completely buy their way up to the top. I get him to explain what he did so far, and laugh a bit when he explains how much he chipped up and is now Proficient laser pistoleer and has 120 hp, almost as much as I have after 17 months. I really burst into laughing when he explains “he likes the game, otherwise he wouldn’t play so much for a whole week”. As he confesses a lousy 21 agility, I suggest that I don’t think you can say chipping is actually playing. The answer comes pretty fast :

[wrap=right]https://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/gallery/files/1/4/0/1/CopiedeSCREENSHOT_20061022131307885_984606.jpg[/wrap]

“Well, you gotta be online to chip it, and when you’re online, you’re playing”. It strikes me because it’s absolutely true. Not my thing, of course, but true. Trading is playing just as chipping up is playing. It’s a gameplay, a style if you like. An expensive style, but still a style. That’s how you get 5000 handgun skills and 21 agility. At that point, I decided to give up the hunting, loot was bad anyway, and I offer Lee the opportunity of making a real interview. He accepts. And when we meet in Jason, I learn more astonishing stuff. So, sit tight, fasten your seatbelt, because I do not know if this is actual information or pure hoax, but if the guy accomplishes what he has in mind and told me about, then you’ll hear about him very soon. And it’s gonna rock.



The first thing to be noticed is that he’s not a solo : he has a friend who started with him, called Slayem. While Slayem wants to buy Improved mk2, Lee wants a Modified Mercenary, and they both want them fast, along with full angel and shadow armors : “and we should have all this in two weeks maximum” claims Lee. Of course I start wondering who the person behind the avatar is…

Lee is 18 years old, lives in London, and is a successful businessman, but he won’t tell more. His partner Slayem owned his company at the age of 13.
When Lee started EU he got great help from Linden The Chosen Avery, which is probably the best start one could expect, and from Joker. None of them of course is his mentor, since disciple status is incompatible with chipping, but Lee whispered Avery would get a well deserved reward in due time for all the help. His first impression on EU was “this game has potential”. I can’t help thinking : so do you… The potential in EU is something we all perceive, but that probably doesn’t mean the same to Lee as to most people : he is very much into computer games and has always invested when playing, more than a habit, it sounded to me like a constant policy. More than the possibility of making real money that he already has, Lee came to EU because one of his friends had been playing for three years and tried to have him join since. Basically, he landed in EU because he got bored in the game he was playing before. But that doesn’t mean he got there by chance : I could feel the man had an agenda, and knowing the interview would be published on a forum possibly for hundred or thousands of people to read, he would pick very carefully what he told me about his plans.

And here is the best part. When I asked him if he had an apartment in EU yet, Lee simply replied :
_ “I want the castle”.
_ Has Deathifier been notified that you’re willing to buy ?
Here Lee smiles for a while… then :
_ No.
I finally asked him what he found the most exciting thing in EU.
His first move was “Hunting”. But then… “Working your way to the top.” I bet it is.

I can’t predict what will become of Lee Colonel Bowles. Did I actually meet a future legend, or just some wannabe that won’t last a year and will quit very disappointed and whine on this forum for days ? he doesn’t have an avatar on Entropiaforum yet, so don’t look for him. But keep an eye on the globals and hofs, because if he starts hunting with shadow and modified mercenary, he might hit something nice very soon. When I asked Lee what if he expected any reactions from people hearing about how he bought all those skills and uber gear. I thought of course of what my first reaction would have been : “rich noob, still a noob” or “agility doesn’t lie”, and so on… He took some time to reply. But finally said “not really”. I am sure as long as he reaches his goals, as he did in other games, he won’t care much about what people think.

Now, Neverdie, Deathifier, be warned. Time will tell if this is just another new kid in town, or a real lion. He bought my EP40 merc today. What next ?

Good luck Lee Colonel Bowles, and thank you for your time.
 
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Tangine

Dominant
Joined
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Posts
421
Location
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Kings & Queens
Avatar Name
Tangine Garb Garbender
Madge Mags Moran... the Art of Freelancing

Madge Mags Moran was well known on this forum at one point for having an avatar banned by Mindark for insulting her in the worst way (and for no reason) in main chat. What few people know is that she's both a very strong and firm person and the nicest you can find in EU. she made lots of friends and I couldn't meet someone who didn't like her. In fact she's such a fun girl that everyone wanted her in their society, and that's how she joined Calypso Conqueror Cadets and (i forgot to check that with her) Nothing and Nowhere and finally Menace to Society. I had thought for a long time about making a post about her, and wrote a small piece in my diary, but i took the chance of this contest to make a real interview. Mags was my disciple when she started playing EU, but she quickly outskilled me, and graduated a few hours before her lazy mentor did. As you can see on this picture of her graduation, Mags was a kobold armor adept.

Magsgraduates2.jpg


She's gone a long way since, and here is what she looks like now

Mags.jpg


I asked her for this interview, which we had mainly through private chat, from distance.


Garb : So Mags, when did you start EU ?
Mags : i started on 23/06/2005.

Garb : And what was your first impression by then ?
Mags : I felt lost but i liked it.

Garb : What is your worst memory in EU so far ?
Mags : Putting the wrong gun in auctions and losing 2000 peds.

Garb : And the best one ?
Mags : A 16000 peds Hall of Fame with Bigdog.

Garb : What is your preferred item in EU ? Or the one you would like to get ?
Mags : I like all items, but I want a Modfap. (ahhhh who doesn't ?)

Garb : I know you had started tailoring at some point, then gave up because you were losing so much. Did you try again ?
Mags : I never gave up. But i only craft the materials I loot now.

Garb : You have a beautiful house, Lakeview 17, do you think some improvements could be made to avatar owned buildings ?
Mags : Sharing a deed with a partner would be great.

Garb : I know you made an attempt at buying land when last areas were released, do you still have it in mind ?
Mags : Of course.

Garb : what do you think the future of EU will look like ?
Mags : Land areas prices will keep going up.

Garb : What about your own future ?
Mags : I'll skill up more then figure if the money i spent is worth the value I get.

Garb : I know you went through plastic surgery a couple times. Are you satisfied with the way you look now ?
Mags : i'm happy with the surgery, but if my avatar had not been changed by a bug in the first place, maybe i wouldn't have done it.

Garb : Do you go on beacon missions often ? I have not seen beacon globals for a while now...
Mags : I don't do it often. It's quite messy, and people are always slow to organize. And the loot is usually very bad.

Garb : right now you're wearing a mixed shadow and supremacy armor, but you also own a chronicle armor, which is very rare. Is it even unique ?
Mags : i've seen parts here and there, but never on another avatar. The female gloves don't exist at all as far as i know. I am missing the shins.

Garb : What is your professional standing right now ?
Mags : Marvelous (i guess she considered BLP sniper to be obvious between us)

Garb : What do you expect from EU in general ?
Mags : have fun and not lose peds.

Garb : what was the biggest mob you ever killed alone ?
Mags : Spider (officially known as araneatrox). With lots of reviving. (she laughs)
Garb : same here... with lots more reviving (she laughs again)

Garb : you've been a Freelancer for a very long time after you left Gaming University of Calypso (the society we both started in). Then you joined many societies and left them very quickly. How is that ?
Mags : well, I realized having one good friend in a society doesn't mean you will fit in. In M2S (Menace to society) i am still very free.

Garb : OK, last question, i know you were a bit unconfident about that interview, how did you like it ? And would you like to add something ?
Mags : I liked that interview because i didn't stop hunting while we chatted (we both laugh).

The last question i wanted to ask her and forgot about was what she missed the most in EU when she was at sea, and i will reply for her :
" i don't miss anything, because the constant moving on ship makes me just as sick as the lag and rubberbanding in EU at the moment."
Just my final joke for tonight...
 
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