Welcome to TRACKER. I’m Garret Coliga and here are the latest news, tips, and tech in the bounty hunting world. Today’s show is sponsored by Lightning Bolt Company, makers of both the Yubarev pistol and Atzkav sniper rifle which fire charged electron shots that can spread to nearby conductive targets. Founded by former security experts with years of infield experience, Lightning Bolt weapons were designed to withstand the heat of battle and look dang good doing it too, if I might say so myself. Love the way the barrel crackles with electricity while charging a shot. There’s nothing else quite like it out there. Visit an authorized Lightning Bolt merchant to see for yourself.
Okay, let’s get the show going. Today’s guest is someone I’ve tried to convince to come on the show for years. I begged. I pleaded. I paid for several expensive dinners, but she always turned me down. That is until now, when she reached the most illustrious and important landmark in a bounty hunter’s career, retirement. Nala Govea, thanks for finally coming on the show.
Nala Govea: To be clear, I’m only here because Garret’s holding me at gunpoint.
I tried everything else.
Nala Govea: In all seriousness, it’s nice to be here. I am sorry that it took me so long to come on the show. I just, well, I’m not really one for attention.
Which is one of the many reasons why you were such a good bounty hunter.
Nala Govea: That and a whole lotta luck. You don’t survive as long as I did without dodging a few bullets.
No need to be so modest, Nala. Part of the reason I wanted you to come on the show is to celebrate your incredible career.
Nala Govea: No, I’m serious. This one time I sneezed right as someone shot at my head. Moved just enough that the bullet ricocheted off my helmet instead of being a direct hit.
Why haven’t I heard this story before? When was this?
Nala Govea: Long, long time ago, way before we met.
That had to be a surreal experience.
Nala Govea: Oh yeah, taught me a lot about situational awareness and how to best approach targets on foot. It also convinced me to spend some serious creds on armor. I was wearing this light helmet at the time that I’d picked up secondhand, and after seeing the damage a glancing shot did, I immediately went out and invested in some good gear.
The fact that you ever went out bounty hunting again is a miracle. There was no regen tech then to bring you back.
Nala Govea: Hey, we all have to earn our dinner somehow.
I gotta know, you ever end up catching the target?
Nala Govea: Took a few extra days but I got her. ( Laughs ) We actually became friends after she did her stint. She used to thank me for getting her locked up ‘cause most of the gang she was running with got ghosted while she was away. She said it made it easier to walk away from that life once she got out.
Sounds like she was lucky you sneezed too.
Nala Govea: Lotta younger bounty hunters hate it when I’d tell ‘em that my biggest piece of advice is that it’s better to be lucky than good… which, look, I get.
Yeah, when we first worked together and I was prodding you for advice, “be lucky,” wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. I mean, I can’t make myself lucky, but I can develop my skill set.
Nala Govea: Guess that’s part of the reason why I like giving that advice. It’s really just trying to tell you that there’s a lot to this job that you won’t be able to control, so you don’t need to try so damn hard to control everything. So much of bounty hunting is about how you react and adjust to things you never could have predicted.
Great point and I want to dig into this further. But first let’s take a moment to properly introduce you and your legacy, because I’m guessing that not everyone is familiar with your work and reputation. Partially because, as you said, you don’t like the attention.
Nala Govea: Attention only makes the job harder, in my opinion. The less that people notice me or even think about me, the better.
Now, when I was coming up everybody knew that if you needed to find someone hiding in Pyro, you commed Nala. Not many bounty hunters worked the system regularly and, out of the ones that did, she always knew the lay of the land better than anyone. Stuff like what gangs controlled what areas and which ones were warring with each other.
Nala Govea: You didn’t have a choice. Knowing that stuff was the only way to work the system safely.
Speaking of, do you remember our first discussion? Because I sure do.
Nala Govea: Was that the one where I asked if you wanted to die?
( Laughter ) It was. I was so nervous and you were being so incredibly kind and patient with me until I started to explain that my plan involved going to Ruin Station—
Nala Govea: Which at the time was locked down because the Headhunters were trying to regain control of it from… oh dammit, what was their name? They’re not around anymore…
The Lowside Tomahawks.
Nala Govea: That’s them. That was a weird crew.
Thankfully you talked me outta that suicidal idea and gave me some great advice about how to potentially track down my target, which I eventually did thanks to you. After that lesson, any time I got word that a bounty I was tracking had fled to Pyro I… well, first my heart sank because I knew things just got a lot more dangerous but after that I’d send you a comm. What made you focus on hunting down outlaws in a system controlled by outlaws?
Nala Govea: Well, not many people know this but that’s where I was born and raised. So I was comfortable moving about the system, avoiding the solar flares, and I already had a number of good hiding spots picked out for when I needed to lay low. Also still had friends I trusted who kept me updated on developments in certain areas.
So you were uniquely positioned. I know a lot of bounty hunters who’d drop a target the second they went into Pyro.
Nala Govea: Don’t blame them at all. It’s not an easy system to work even if you’re familiar with it.
You remember the last gig you worked in Pyro?
Nala Govea: I do, but I’d rather not get into specifics. All I’ll say is that the system has changed drastically over the past few years.
In your opinion, what’s changed? Obviously XenoThreat has become a dominant force.
Nala Govea: They’re certainly a factor. Violent gangs have been around Pyro for ages, but using the system to organize attacks on Stanton is a new wrinkle. Most Pyro gangs avoid inter-system operations that’ll attract UEE attention. They’ll do them, but much more discreetly than the Xenos. That way they’ll be left alone to control their own little areas of influence as they see fit.
It’s why Pyro can be such a difficult system for outsiders to work. Gang allegiances and areas of influence are always shifting.
Nala Govea: It’s survival of the fittest. Actually more like survival of the fiercest, right now.
So, I know you’re officially retired, but there are a lot of bounty hunters out there who’d love to hear your thoughts on some of the prominent gangs currently in Pyro.
Nala Govea: They’re all bad and should be avoided if possible. That cover it?
Sound advice. But let’s go gang by gang really quick, like what you used to do with me when I’d ask for an update. Let’s start with XenoThreat.
Nala Govea: Dangerous and ultra-violent bastards who are primarily fueled by hate and anti-corporate rhetoric.
Lot of them are ex-UEE military from what I hear.
Nala Govea: Could be. Don’t think most of ‘em are originally from Pyro. A lotta other gangs aren’t happy about all the attention they’re generating by attacking targets in the UEE.
Next, you mentioned the Headhunters earlier.
Nala Govea: They’ve been around forever. Way longer than I’ve been a bounty hunter. No matter what happens in-system, they seem to survive, so they’re extremely dangerous but you can deal with them. They’re smart enough to not always resort to violence.
What’s your take of the Fire Rats?
Nala Govea: They’re a weird one. On a lot of levels, they act more like a cult than a gang, but I don’t know any other cults that boost a ship as fast as them. They all tend to be true believers in whatever it is they believe.
Guess you gotta be if you’re willing to suffer severe burns just to join.
Nala Govea: Exactly.
Ok, we have to go to a commercial break in a moment but we’ve got time for one more. What’s going on with the Overlords?
Nala Govea: Who knows? There are lots of rumors floating around about them, but no one knows who they are or what they want. What we do know is that they primarily target other gangs and their operations. Some folks in Pyro think they’re actually vigilantes but I’m not convinced they’re fighting for any kind of greater good. It’s just as likely that they’re trying to clear out other gangs so they can take over.
Or set the stage for someone else to move in.
Nala Govea: Possibly.
Ok, we really do need to take that break. When we return we’ll have more with the recently retired Nala Govea. She’ll give us her top tips and tricks when working Pyro, and maybe I can coax her into telling us how she tracked down ‘Wednesday’ Kyles.
Nala Govea: You love that story.
I do, so don’t go anywhere because, trust me, you won’t want to miss it. TRACKER will be right back.