Category Archives: In Character

Distant Worlds Preparations

The Distant Worlds expedition launches in 11 days, and I feel ill prepared. Having spent prospecting for several days, I have a mere four 25% FSD Boosts ready.

The best place to find Germanium and  Vanadium seem to be High Metal Content worlds, and there, do look inside craters. (Interestingly, I also found several caches of canisters containing gold, guarded by sentry drones operated by criminal gangs.)

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But the low number of FSD boosts isn’t even the worst of it – after some some extensive repairs of the Hot Needle of Inquiry became necessary, I am now dangerously low on funds. Basically I do not have enough cash to cover the rebuy cost of the Needle.

Needless to say, that’s a terrible state of affairs, so I decided to head out into a random direction to scan some systems. Exploration data can be a good source of income, and especially a very low-risk source of income. Just the sort I need when a destroyed ship could set me back, well, completely.

And it does remind me why we go out into the black. This is the spot I chose for today’s lunch.

time for lunch

Quite the sight, isn’t it?

The two planets you see in the shot are a binary pair, and the small rock I landed on is the ringed planet’s moon.

Happy New Year 3302!

Happy New Year to you all! May your cargo be profitable and your discoveries be fascinating!

I am writing this from the Hot Needle of Inquiry, parked on a random snowball. I spent the last day or so gathering supplies for the Distant Worlds mission. It’s a bit of a chore, but with two weeks left, I still lack most of what I need. Planetary prospecting is time-consuming, and I wish the materials  so obtained could legally be traded on the interstellar markets.

parked-in-a-crater

In other news, I have caught a little bit of a cold. And while coughing and sneezing here on the flight deck of the Needle, I contemplate the irony that despite being sealed in a spaceship, and despite all the health procedures that exist on space stations and docks, and despite all our medical advances, we still catch these silly little diseases. While it’s only an inconvenience, really, it does delay some of the audio-visual reports I was going to send back to the Bubble by a week or two.

canyons

Distant Worlds: Sign-up and Planning

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.

The Loadout

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.

 

 

A Trader’s Life

I am an explorer. Always have been, always will be. But a man’s gotta eat, and more importantly, a man’s gotta upgrade his ship.

Exploration data doesn’t pay very well.

With a view towards a future out in the deep Black, I decided to sell the Blue Sun, my trusty Asp Explorer, and purchase a (slightly used) Lakon Type-7 Transporter. It’s ugly, it’s uncomfortable, but it can fit a decent amount of cargo.

HR-Type7.jpg-lowres

I am currently hauling marine equipment and Palladium, Gold and Machinery. I now know what it feels like being dead inside, but the prospect of a bigger and better exploration ship (it doesn’t have to be bigger) keeps me going.

 

Rumors of Alien Artefacts

The spaceport bars are abuzz with rumors these days. Everybody is talking about the assassination of the Emperor, but one persistent topic are the Unknown Artefacts that have been discovered in several systems. So many, in fact, that the Federation has now taken notice and started researching them.

One rumor I heard was that several such objects have been found in the Pleiades. Of course I had to take a look for myself. I spent three entire days out there, scanning one system after the other for Signal Sources, but found no trace of artefacts – just several narrow escapes from pirate bands who seem to be preying on the influx of explorers.

pirates

Eventually, I decided to call off my search. I took a circuitous route home, and scanned several hitherto unexplored systems. The most interesting of the lot had two worlds with indigenous life-forms:

I am now back in Cubeo, contemplating my next steps.