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Star Traders: The Engineer

You had signed on to work a long-haul freighter with the engine crew; you had no experience but a great willingness to learn. Your first six months showed your natural talent with ships and engines. You impressed your crewmates, and (more importantly) you impressed the captain. You signed up for another six months.

It was on your second tour that you found her.

Your freighter had gone off course and had to make an emergency refueling at an out-of-the-way gas giant. The refueling station also doubled as a ship salvage yard. She was an old wreck, and had been sitting abandoned for years. But you knew the moment you saw her: this was a ship, this was the ship. Gutted and broken, but you could detect the lines of a dancer, graceful and sweeping. You just had to make her your ship. Every bit of money you’d made so far got you the ship and a berth to house her.

When your tour on the freighter was done, you left with a little bit of money and a bigger reputation. You spent your savings on new parts; you lived on board her and ate reprocessed soy-yum. When the money for parts ran out, you signed on with a new ship. You were back in a new engine room; you kept learning about new ships, new engines. Your good-natured attitude endeared you to your crewmates, and each ship you worked on added to your reputation. It was the same for years; any free waking moment was spent in the salvage yard, tinkering, tuning, tweaking. The rest was spent moving from ship to ship, from crew to crew. Everyone you worked with was amazed by your skills. What had been talent was refined by hard work and experience on countless different models. Your reputation continued to grow and soon people were actively trying to recruit you. But you were always selective about where you went. You’d turn down lucrative contracts to go at half-pay on a ship class you’d never worked on. You never stopped learning.

Then one of your former employers contacted you with a job. The Emperor wanted a new Star Tsar; he would be using a trade contest to determine who that will be. You were offered a job as part of the maintenance crew for the contest, working on the engines in-between flights. You turned him down. You had a better idea.

You walked into your hangar and contemplated the ugly duckling that over the years had transformed into a graceful swan. Her hull was gleaming, as though brand new from the shipyards. She was a technological wonder — a merger of a hundred designs and systems, integrated together through skill and hard work. No other ship could compare. This ship was meant to be dancing among the stars, not sitting in a hangar. You just needed to find the right waltz. You didn’t build for pure speed, but for strength and efficiency; she has the ability to continue on long after another ship would give up. Most people look at you and just see a mechanic. They look at your ship and just see a wreck.

You are the Engineer. It’s time for you and your ship to show the galaxy a few new steps.

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