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Container Chaos

Most Venusian trade goes to Earth.  It only makes sense, since Earth has the highest population and is Venus's closest neighbor.  Plus Earth makes a great dumping ground for lower end Venusian engineering and biotech products.  Likewise, most of Venus's defense fleet is concentrated on protecting that close-by stream of commerce, the densest stream of commercial traffic in the System.

The newly unified Venusian Defense Fleet doesn't have a lot of deep space vessels or fancy-fueled deep cruisers.  The VDF relies on water-fueled craft with high powered MEV plasma engines.  That gives cheap fuel, high acceleration -- up to twelve gees sustained, if the crews can tolerate it -- but crappy endurance, with an exhaust velocity less than a fifth of the best lead vapor ion or hydrogen fusion engines.

It doesn't much matter, since the goal is to quickly come to the aid of nearby commercial vessels.  The densest traffic lanes are also the ones most infected with pirates.  Those renegade shuttles and single seat fighters are no match for an organized military force, but they can seize a freighter for ransom or hit and run, making off with the most valuable cargo long before a defender can arrive to help.  Sometimes.

 The One-Eyed Wolverines took it a step too far when they jumped the freighter VCS Alfreida Vasquez just a million klicks out of Venus.  The VDF Intrepid and its patrol boat escorts were there within two hours, barely enough time for the pirates to start digging through the cargo containers for treasure or to track down the crew's saferoom container.

 So the One-Eyed Wolverines dumped the cargo and hid among the flotsam of a thousand containers.  Captain Landry should have known better, but she brought Intrepid in too close.  Even a 20mm coil gun can cause a lot of damage if it penetrates a thruster nozzle at point blank range.

 --Koni Worton, Venus World News (Interplanetary Edition), 19 June 2520

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