March 15th 2017
OP.NET is back bringing you the unfiltered information mercs needs to know. My name’s Conva Maynard and sitting co-pilot, as always, is my main man Skiv. He’ll be joining us later in the show to discuss the Avenger Renegade variant. Skiv’s been more focused than a laser beam on finding good uses for all that extra space. Think he even spent most of last night here working on a few of the options. Hey Skiv, you get any sleep?
He’s nodding his head, but I know that look. Like the lights are on, but nobody’s home. All I know is that he was working when I left last night and was still at it when I returned this morning. Can’t say this guy isn’t dedicated to his job.
Ok, before we get to the nuts and bolts of today’s show, I’d like to start on something of a personal note.
“Always focused. Always on guard. Always expecting the unexpected.” Those words were drilled into my head by my mentor, Geddy Tremonti, who commed me last week to say he’s finally decided to retire. Didn’t quite hit me until just now what a shame it’s gonna be knowing he ain’t out there, but after sixty years chasing scumbags and running protection missions, I’d have to say he deserves it.
I first met Geddy when I was a young buck in the Army, and we kept in touch after his honorable discharge. When I returned to civvy life, I have to admit I was a bit lost about what to do. It was actually Geddy who said I might just make a halfway decent merc. From the beginning, I idolized Geddy for his cool and composed demeanor even when under immense pressure. He was the definition of a stone-cold professional.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I learned about the merc trade from this man. All I can say is that I wouldn’t be here, running this show, if Geddy hadn’t been so generous with his time and knowledge when I was coming up. So, congrats on the illustrious career, Geddy!
Hopefully, now you can focus on becoming a halfway decent trigger player. Maybe I’ll even give you the chance to win some of those creds back.
Now, Geddy and I haven’t spoken too much over the past few years. Hearing from him definitely had me reflecting on everything he taught me and how sometimes I learned just as much about the job by watching him work and learning what not to do. I know that sounds pretty confusing but let me try to explain.
See, Geddy loved being a merc, but it was still a job for him. He always used to say that everybody needed an exit strategy, whether it was on a job or life in general. So, he sought out the biggest paydays because the more he made the less he’d have to work and the less often he’d have to put his life on the line. Every time he checked a job board, first thing he’d do is sort it by payout, then work his way down the list until he landed one.
Even though Geddy was a great merc, he wasn’t the best at running his business. To him the promise of big credits overshadowed a lot of other factors, including other costs that might come his way. I tried to explain this to him once, but he wasn’t having any of it. I even laid out a whole slew of numbers that showed sometimes after expenses, a gig that pays less can end up being more profitable.
Now, this all popped into my head right before the show as I was looking over two similar postings that hit our Job Board. The first job that came through pays pretty well. It’s looking for mercs willing to work the Leir System and help clear out some of them Vanduul raiding parties that’ve started operating out that way to avoid Bishop and his Retribution. Guess even though the Outsiders don’t want anything to do with the rest of the universe, they’re still willing to shell out significant creds to mercs willing to protect them from it.
The second gig is protecting a water shipment from Jalan to Vosca for the Yu Shi Corporation. They’re also worried about the increase in Vanduul activity in the Elysium System.
If Geddy had seen these two gigs next to each other, I know in a heartbeat he’d be ready and raring to go to the Leir System. My first few times out in the field I went about it the same, but after each job, I’d go home, calculate my expenses and be left scratching my head. It’s then that I realized some of these high paying offers weren’t as lucrative as they first seemed.
I quickly became aware of these hidden costs, and started factoring them in. Once I did that, it changed my view on what was really a good paying gig. Unfortunately, there’s no simple formula to guide you to making the right decision. Each job has its perks and drawbacks that need to be worked through.
It’ll be easier for me to just show you through example. So let’s look at the two jobs currently on the table. We’ve got the good paying gig protecting the Outsiders in Leir versus the security run for Yu Shi Corp in Elysium.
The first thing to consider is distance. Unless you’re one of the very few mercs who actually live in Leir, you’re most likely going to be burning extra fuel to get there. Now factor in refueling costs. You can bet fuel costs a premium in Leir compared to UEE systems. Same goes for resupplying ballistics, rockets, missiles, chaff and just about anything else. Unless you’re bringing your own personal supply ship, which is another expense in and of itself, it might be tough to restock those items without blowing through a good portion of your pay. And that’s only if those resources are available in system.
Continuing on that train of thought, what happens if your ship takes some damage or malfunctions? How much help will the Outsiders be if you need your new Behring shield generator fixed? If you’re lucky, you limp back into UEE space and pray you don’t run into any trouble on the way. Most likely, you’ll be blasting out comms to find a repair ship and paying a high price for their services in an unclaimed system. All these things could add up fast if you’re not careful. So, while that water job doesn’t pay as much, what you clear at the end of the contract might just wind up netting significantly more than the higher paying gig.
That’s just an example of the other considerations I’ve learned to factor in when picking up jobs. Stuff that Geddy never considered. Taking one of these jobs over the other won’t make you a better merc, but it might let you take fewer jobs, and expose you to less risk, while still clearing the same amount of creds. When you’re in such a dangerous line of work I think that’s something worth considering. Even though he didn’t know it, Geddy taught me that just by showing me what not to do. That make any more sense to you all? Hopefully so. And hopefully, Geddy won’t begrudge me too much for pointing out a few of his flaws. Maybe next time he’ll take me up on my offer to be a guest.
Anyways, we need to take a quick break, but once OP.NET is back, we’re going to talk to Reza Warner about the increased number of Vanduul incursions and what mercs should do, and who they should comm, if they find themselves up against a ’duul. All that plus Skiv’s segment on the Avenger Renegade when OP.NET returns.