In January 3302, a grand expedition is launching. Dubbed “Distant Worlds”, it is a trek across the galaxy, with the destination being Beagle Point. Over 300 Commanders have signed up for it – and, you guessed it, I am now one of them.
I just couldn’t take the boring cargo hauling. I need to get out there, into the Black, with nary a station within hundreds of lightyears.
Or, in this case, tens of thousands of lightyears.
I always wanted to travel deep into the galaxy, but have been debating worth-while goals. And, perhaps, I have been a little afraid. Afraid of getting stranded. Afraid of running into something… nasty. With the Distant Worlds expedition, help will always be – relatively – close at hand.
While the expedition will not launch for a few weeks, I must prepare for the voyage. While there will be help – some Fuel Rats have joined up, for example; all hail the Fuel Rats! – supplies will limited, and what we don’t bring – and can’t synthesize – we must do without.
There are no set requirements for the ship we can use to join the expedition, except that the organisers say that one jump, near the end of the voyage, requires a 34ly range minimum. (This can be achieved by stocks of Jumponium, of course.)
I will be flying a brand new Asp Explorer, which I have christened “Hot Needle of Inquiry”, after a story written by one of the ancient Earth authors, Larry Niven. I spent much of the weekend working on the loadout I think will be optimal, and this is it:
- D-Rated ship’s system, with the exception of A-rated powerplant and Frame Shift Drive.
- One 3A Powerplant – sized as small as possible to support other components.
- A 4G Planetary Vehicle Hangar, which carries two SRVs. This way, I have a spare.
- A 5B Fuel Scoop. A compromise between efficiency and price.
- A 3D shield generator. I’d like more, but the Asp just can’t fit anything better if I want two SRVs. Also, shields tend to be a huge power drain.
- A 3A Auto Field Maintenance Unit. I’d really like to bring two, but my fellow explorers have told me this should be unnecessary. Carrying only one does allow me to fit a small cargo pod.
- 3E 8-ton Cargo Rack. I may replace this with an AFMU before launch, but it would be nice to carry some supplies or goods – and perhaps a ton of luxury foodstuff and beverages for the celebration at our destination.
- Detailed Surface Scanner and Advanced Discovery Scanner. Never leave home without them.
- 2x Medium 2F/G Pulse Lasers. Not enough for any serious fight, but being completely defenseless strikes me as a bad idea as well. I may downgrade them or omit them before departure.
- 2x Heat Sink Launcher. Can’t fabricate heat sinks, so I’ll bring as many as I can.
- 1x ECM: Just in case.
- 1x FSD Wake Scanner. Just one more sensor to bring to the table.
I have not tested this setup yet, as I haven’t the necessary modules available. I may find, for example, that the weapons are way too powerhungry, or some other such limitation.
The Next Steps
Once I have outfitted the Needle, there is one mandatory task that must be done before departure: Obtain materials to synthesize Jumponium, AFMU refills, SRV fuel, and the like. Launching fully supplied will help stay caught up with the main fleet.