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Mas Tequila II

Annual Report 4053

The Tequila Pirates - We Suck (TM)

A Dirk Enterprise Company

Dear Board Members, dear Shareholders, dear Friends, we are proud to announce another record result for our struggling little used-ship dealership. As you all know we have decided to take letters of marquee for the Echo Cluster, a region of the galaxy in dire need of Tequila, limes, gambling, womanizing and other sinful pleasures. However between our signing the entry contract and the actual commencement of our operation, the Echo Cluster Charter was changed to disallow the famous "NUK trap", our foremost defensive measure and a source of great wealth to our beloved business. So we chose none of our bold and daring vice pirates to chair this subsidiary but Dirk Fischbach, the head of our strategic scheming & schmoozing subdivision. A wise decision as hindsight showed. His first target was to find and neutralize the four largest dangers to any Privateer's well-being: The Federation, the Lizards, the Crystals and the Fascists.

Federal Farming, Inc. was far away and friendly, so our company signed a cooperation treaty with them. Unfortunately our Federal friends decided to initiate a hostile takeover attempt against the mighty Colonial Cashburn Co. and were completely surprised by that company eventually fielding Virgo-sized cash reserves against them rather than just folding. The original Colonial Chairman was lousy (first race to give away the HW position by ship traces) but the race advantages and ship list were enough to prevail in such an early struggle. By the time our first reconnaissance ships arrived, Federal Farming was already as good as gone and had handed the remains of their corporate fleet to their northern neighbors, Imperial Assault Inc.

Crystal Construction Company had their headquarters just two blocks down the street from our own as we soon found out. Given that our company lacked the proper vehicles for a successful takeover, we reluctantly decided to enter a join-venture with the Crystals. In hindsight this was one of our best in-game decisions. Their chairman Hansi Rübenkamp proved to be a competent and very likable player. Jointly our companies were highly successful in the Tequila market. In a sell-and-lease-back arrangement, we gave them a few Gambling ships that in turn provided web-mine insurance coverage for all of our key Tequila production facilities. It has always been a great pleasure to conduct business with the Crystals, especially as we jointly stumbled onto the Fascists very soon - they were the Crystals Southern neighbor.

Fascist Facilities, Inc. was a market failure. When we met them, they had a puny fleet and we found little of value in their domain. For a used-ship dealership like ours it is very pitiful to see corporations caring so little about building a good economy and churning out a decent fleet worthy of our ability. So we moved on beyond the Fascist space, taking only fuel and a freighter, while the Crystals covered the area with web-mines and finished off the Fascists in turn 18 to add their real estate to the Crystal Corporation.

Lizard Ltd. turned out to be our northwestern neighbors. In his wisdom our chairman decided "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" and thus we opened cooperation talks with the Lizards as well. These proved a bit more difficult than those with the Federation and in hindsight we have often wished to have not entered that alliance and instead sided with Birdmen Brokerage to exterminate that nuisance. However, at the time it seemed like the best choice so we eventually entered an alliance with the Lizards. Right thereafter (turn 8), the Birdmen started attacking the Lizards. Despite our repeated offers of assistance the Lizards decided to fight him all by himself and gladly the Birdmen proved to be much less of a danger than originally assumed. They lost their corporate headquarters to a Lizard counter-raid in turn 14 and fled north ever since. However our Lizard ally failed to exterminate them completely and that slowed their growth until they copied our business model of underwriting Crystal web-mine insurance on important planets. That caused a hike in fuel prices in the Northwestern territories and finally delivered much of Birdman's fleet to Lizard Limited.

On flying South of the Fascists we met Rebel Rental, a luxurious company with a lot of shiny Falcon Cruisers. Starting in turn 20 we took a few 'involuntary leases' from them but mostly used their fleet for target training, especially as real life demands forced our chairman to devote less and less of his attention to fleet operations. Rebel Rental responded to our business activities by paving the area with minefields. Given our sweeping power that was gladly only a nuisance and caused only minor losses. One of these losses hurt our pride, though: Once Rebel Rental outguessed us by setting their home base to the FC "mkt" and forced one MBR to surrender. Gladly they made little use of that precious ship and staying a sitting duck made them an easy target. At times 90% of our traveling Salesmen (called MBR for Mobile Business Representative, not for 'Making Bounty in Rebel-land' as was often believed) were in the region to take control of several Rebel Tequila plants and stall their other operations. The mode of operations was simple. Two ships cooperated to scan for mines and industrial activity (and consequentially defenses too weak to hide them from our scans). Any such planet was then visited and easily taken over after checking for a defensive fleet (and robbing that if necessary). To the end of this fiscal year, the Rebels never found an appropriate response to that method and soon showed hefty losses in their quarterly earning reports, especially as Crystal Corporation came in from behind and mopped up much of the Rebel's remaining facilities, including their headquarters. The Rebels must have felt really sorry for declining our early request for an insurance policy (carrying the modest price of our asking just for 4 ships). Yet they had just initiated a bid for Borg Breeding Inc. and while far from winning that market, they had at least taken the Borg headquarters in turn 26, raising their confidence too high to realize that their thinly spread operations stood little chance against the Privateer-Crystal joint venture.

By turn 39 our growth reached a limit as we had colonized all planets in our home sector. We had also taken the center of the Echo cluster – originally to get a better position for helping our Federal ally but these outposts proved convenient for other operations, especially repair and restocking of the MBRs in Rebel space and for those moving East. There we ran into the first Borg Breeding outposts. Being already very involved in our war with the Rebels we were reluctant to open a new line of business there but have a near fuel-less Biocide and 3 Fireclouds sitting around idle proved too tempting. In turn 42 we were proud to add the reassuring "backed by a Biocide" to our friendly letters of marquee – 1260 KT of robbing capacity are a very convincing argument. After that additional blow of having to fight not just the Rebels but us and the Crystals, Borg Breeding basically stopped their operations and reduced staff attention to mere maintenance, which of course made additional charter operations much easier. This was helpful as we had crossed the Western seam in turn 40 and encountered outposts from Colonial Cashburn Corp. there. Their second chairman already headed them but he was too self-confident to agree to our modest request for a peaceful border and instead of a response sent much of his security forces East - a fatal mistake: Most of them came late and had little impact. He had little knowledge of what he was facing while we soon had 1/3 of our fleet scanning and sweeping his markets. That provided a few bargain deals (a Virgo, several unguarded Tequila plants) and soon the Colonies found us grabbing all of their Eastern holdings and moving into their core markets from the Southeast while other Privateer Sales Reps knocked on their Northeastern door and the Crystal/Pirate cooperation established a booming towing service in the West. As our company was already active in too many markets and our Lizard partners proved increasingly difficult, we gladly accepted an offer from Robototronic Cash Register Corp. - exchanging a weak BR4 for a Golem (2000 KT of robbing capacity - the largest in the market) that we promised to use against the Colonies. We only regret that we never found one of the surprisingly rare Colonial Gemini as a Christmas present for the Robotic leader Jocelyn (who took the helm when George/Vano had to quit). The Lizards never understood why the Robots made such an uneven trade but it was actually a brilliant coup for them:

Robotronic had faced early attacks by Imperial Assault Inc. - a venture capital group that believed in sending out unprotected Superstar Destroyers into Robotronic minefields and was obviously lacking a decent understanding of the way such businesses operate. Yet, even Robotronic are challenged by having to beat a fleet of Gorbies (5000 Imperial KT blown to pieces in a few turns) and they must have believed in the Lizards getting ready to attack their home market. It saved them a lot of sweat to have us fending off the Colonial attacks that were sure to follow the first small border market disputes between Colonial Cashburn and Robotronic. That left Robotronic free to develop their economy. If they had better knowledge of the lacking strength of Lizard Lounge Limited, they would have probably initiated a bid for their assets. Yet as it was, they never got a chance for that, nor did Lizard Limited's impressive fleet ever reach the Colonial market that they were sent out to conquer (until the fatal planning error of not having taken along enough fuel forced them to turn around after three turns), so all companies agreed to end the fiscal year as early as turn 53 and declare the Privateers the undisputed market leaders. We thank our competitors for that, for being fun to toy with (especially those of you who showed a great sense of humor, like the Rebels did even in times of heavy losses) and for being kind enough to allow all wars to take place in their rather than our space. :-) Our gratitude goes of course to the Federal Reserve Chairman David Pickerell, whose guidance led to the development of such booming markets as ours.

However there our Annual Report would not be complete without one sad personal note by our chairman Dirk Fischbach:

I am sad to report that in 'Mas Tequila II' I had to spend most of my time not with my enemies but on dealing with an 'ally'. I entered an alliance with the Lizards (Akseli Mäki) in turn 6. I knew him a little from a previous game where he came in as a replacement player on my team and was looking forward to working with him as I believed him to be an excellent player. Little did I know. Akseli is great at one thing: being vocal, surprising as that is for a Finn. He cluttered my mailbox with letters and having ample time to waste himself, never understood that I was pressed for time and had no desire to spend all day long discussing things with him. What really annoyed me though, was that "me, me, me" Akseli as I came to call him, never realized that alliance are a "give and take" thing (or that it does not mean "ally gives, Akseli takes"). Akseli's idea of splitting the planets in our part of the Echo Cluster was that he got 90% of all those planets despite the huge economic advantages that the Lizards have. When we finally settled on a deal that gave him 70% of those planets, he still claimed to have been cheated and right away started complaining about his lack of fuel and minerals, so I turned a few more planets over to him, even though I was short on Duranium myself. Yet, Akseli never expressed any gratitude but continued to annoy me, demanding MBRs while at the same time threatening to ground-attack(!) allied planets to give more weight to his childish demands. Instead of winning the game by being a good player and by fighting our joint enemies, he tried to dominate it by subduing his ally and neighbor. Hansi, our Crystal ally told me that he got along well with Akseli, so maybe it was my being a close neighbor that had Akseli staring so greedy at my soon well-developed planets instead of going about developing his own sector. And despite what Akseli will soon claim in the Firefall Forum (where I expect a burst of outrage from him in response to this), it was not the MBRs that gave me the edge - it was simply sound economic management. He wasted his resources on building mines (400 mines on several planets are hardly ever justified - certainly not for the Lizards), towed around his Stardrive 1 freighters with fuel-sucking LCCs while complaining about his perceived lack of fuel (that the actual numbers never justified), sent out a huge attack fleet (on a detour), only to note three turns later that he forgot to take along enough fuel to reach the Colonial space, forcing him to return home, in short: Akseli played a lousy game. He never developed his own sector of the Echo cluster but when I reached the limits of mine, he tried hard to deny me any further planets. Despite having still half of his own sector undeveloped, he laid claim to planets right across the seam of mine. He even openly admitted that he tried this only because his only way to win was by keeping my number of planets low and then having more of his (1 clan-)Tequila planets allowing his Tequila score to catch up and surpass mine.

Arm-wrestling an ally into submission might be his idea of how to win a game but it achieved the opposite with me. Up to that time I (like Hansi) did not care who would lead the board as long as the three of us ended the game atop. Yet, when Akseli in his eagerness to win stepped over all bounds of acceptable behavior, I became determined to ensure that he would not succeed with his blackmail. Had he focused only half of the attention that he directed towards stalling his Private ally on developing his own economy, then he would have probably won easily. But no, instead Akseli threatened me with ground-attacks, insulted me (and got really annoyed when I started to respond in kind), and kept demanding more planets and MBRs rather than trying to win in his own rights. I can only hope that this game was atypical for Akseli but it has me wondering after this game how anyone could consider him a decent player.

PS to Akseli: Feel free to slander me in public for including this in my endgame report. Yet it would be utterly incomplete without including this. You as my "ally" cost me more time and nerves than any enemy ever did. IMO your conduct was completely inappropriate and very immature. Besides: I play for fun - you were none.