Category Archives: In Character

Galactic Powers

I am currently sitting in Leesti, enjoying breakfast and a nice glass of Azure Milk, wondering what to do next. I still lack a significant amount of money to complete upgrading my Asp – so much, in fact, that I wonder if I should trade it in for a Type-6 transport for some time; trading in the Asp is simply not very profitable. Even though it is much better suited to Rare commodity trading, I feel like I would benefit more from scaling effects in a larger ship.

Still, the Asp is a little bit like home already, and I really don’t want to give it away.

Another option to earn money seems to be to support one of the 10 factions vying for control of Human Space.

Rewards

Looking at the compensation offered, it seems that the remuneration is more or less the same in all cases. However, each faction is selling one piece of advanced technology to their higher-ranked followers:

  • Zachary Hudson (Federation): Pacifier Frag-Cannon (longer range, tighter spread, but less damage)
  • A Lavigny-Duval (Empire): Imperial Hammer (a multi-shot railgun)
  • Felicia Winters (Federation): Pulse Disruptor (A medium pulse weapon that causes enemy modules to malfunction)
  • Zemina Torval (Empire): Mining Lance (Mining laser that does damage to ships)
  • Aisling Duval (Empire): Prismatic Shield Generator (stronger shields)
  • Edmund Mahon (Alliance): Retribution (small beam laser that causes heat damage)
  • Li-Yong Rui (Independent): Pack-hound Rack (medium seeker missiles that fire a salvo of “drunk” missiles)
  • Denton Patreus (Empire): Advanced Accelerator (A specialized plasma weapon)
  • Archon Delaine (Independent): Cytoscrambler (A weapon that is highly effective against shields, but does not damage hulls)
  • Pranav Antal (Independent): Enforcer Cannon (reduced fire rate, improved damage)

None of these items seems very useful for someone who intends to go exploring before long. Out in the big beyond I will not need highly powerful weapons. I won’t be mining either, and that pretty much leaves the Prismatic Shield Generator. Better shields never hurt, and I do want some shields on my ship – I might as well use the best available, right?

Aisling Duval

Besides Aisling Duval sounds like a fairly reasonable person to work for. Perhaps a little too idealistic. Her agenda focuses on social and economic reforms, and she is opposed to slavery. There is a side benefit, in that working for her should help me make contacts within the Empire – and I would like, in the long run, to buy some of their specialized ships.

My mind is made up. I’ll travel to Cubeo and offer to hire out to Aisling Duval. Right after I get done with this trade run – and my breakfast.

Meet The ASP Explorer

After a good night’s sleep – never make a purchasing decision when you are too tired to think – I went back to the Alioth Shipyard. I sold all my Cobra’s component, then the Cobra itself. (Shipyards offer a better rate for individual components.)

Then I picked the shiniest Asp they have available. I am now glad that I have access to Alioth; that’s a million Credits saved.

And even so, my funds are very limited. I spent a lot of time to pick and choose the components for the Asp. In the end, I had to make many compromises, but I decided to choose all the modules I want to have in the long run. That way, I can always simply check for upgrades when I have the funds and arrive in a system with a good shipyards.

This is my Asp’s equipment:

  • Standard 32t Fuel Tank
  • Upgraded FSD to 5D.
  • 72t Cargo hold (one 64 and 8 tons modules each)
  • Shield generator: 4D
  • Auto Field Maintenance Unit: 3D
  • Fuel Scoop: 1E
  • Detailed Surface Scanner
  • Basic Discovery Scanner
  • Kill Warrant Scanner E0
  • Weapons: 2x Gimballed Pulse Lasers, 2x Gimballed Multi-Cannons – Same as on my Cobra

The Fuel Scoop would take 30 minutes to refuel my tanks, but I have never used one and including it already lets me practice it. It is also great insurance in case I ever miscalculate and do run out of fuel.

I really wanted a more advanced sensor suite, but I can’t afford it. As it stands, I am left with only 235,536 Credits, which just about covers the insurance re-purchase cost for this ship (231,272 Cr).

Well, I’m off to fill up that bank account again!

Testing the Witchhaul-Arouca Circuit Trade Route

Just as I was deliberating how best to raise the missing money for my Asp, I read an article by Commander Henneo. In it, he describes the Witchhaul-Arouca Circuit, a trade route he has been following, dealing in rare goods. Having had good experiences with the Lave Loop, I decided to give this new trade route a try.

Since Witchhaul is closer to me, I will start the route there. Where possible, I will take faster jumps over more economic ones. This will raise my fuel bill, but reduce the time needed for the circuit. My Cobra, recently re-configured for trade, now carries 44 tons of cargo.

 Witchhaul to Arouca

Arriving on Saunders’s Dive in Wolf 1301, I discovered that a change in government outlawed Wolf’s Flesh. Until this changes again, merchants should skip this stop.

At Hecate, I could only purchase 4 of the offered 13 tons of Hecate Sea Worms. With a similar experience during the Lave Loop, it seems that a 50-60 ton Cargo capacity is really desirable for these long-haul high-value trade runs.

And on Arouca, Tarach Spice is illegal. Adding insult to injury, I could not find a black market to take it off of my hands – it will have to wait until the next stop. Even with the fine, the first leg of the trade route was profitable: I made a profit of 531,028 Credits. It took me 1h50 minutes,

So far, and including the expected profit on the Spice, the route is roughly equivalent to the Lave Loop, which made 721k.

Arouca to Witchhaul

Tarach Spice is also illegal on Any Na, but I was able to slip into Libby Orbital without another fine. Any Na has a black market, which purchased the Spice from me, and I made a profit of 119,350 Credits.

My cargo hold filled up in McCool City, Jaroua, so I headed to Witchhaul directly, where I sold everything off. The second leg took me 1h27 minutes.

 Conclusion

The grand total of the run’s profit is 1.38 million Credits. That’s profit – not revenue. It’s a lot of money. The entire loop took me about 3h 20min.

Witchhaul-Arouca 650378
Arouca-Witchhaul 736544
Total Profit 1386922

Compare this with the Lave Loop, which earned only 720k Credits, but was also a shorter run, at only 2h20min.

time profit Cr/min
Lave Loop 144 721791 5012,44
Witchhaul-Arouca-Circuit 197 1386922 7040,21

The new route is clearly more profitable. That said, it is a much more time-intensive affair – I feel exhausted now that I am back in Witchhaul – and there are some problems with the, uh, legality of some of the goods transported.

It’s still a great money-maker!

Do keep in mind that my test only involves a partial Circuit run due to limited cargo space. However, this was also the case for the Lave Loop, so the comparison should stand. Still, your mileage may vary if you have a bigger ship.

Access to Alioth

With almost 3 million Credits saved up, I decided it was time to think about a trade-up for my Cobra Mk III. The ship I have my eye on is the Asp Explorer; it seems to be a good all-rounder, similar to the Cobra, but with a slight focus on Exploration – a perfect match for what I want to do.

The Asp costs 6.6 million Credits, but I heard that the Alliance is selling them at a discount in their capital system, Alioth. Of course they do not allow just about everybody in, and so I spent a lot of time picking up contracts from them, making contacts and friends.

As I write this, I just returned from a cargo run from Mizar to 78 Ursae Majoris, transporting copper and urgently needed medical supplies, that I was told that I am to travel to Irkutsk, to receive my Alioth System Permit.

Receiving the Alioth System Permit

I decided to stock up on Liquor for the voyage and left Reading Station.

Update – Irkutsk/Alioth:

I’ve got my Alioth Permit and even made 12000 Credits profit on the booze. Neat. In the spirit of things, though, I decided to donate that money to local charities.

The price for the Asp is 5.33 million Credits. I did not expect to reach Alioth so soon, and even with a trade-in for my Cobra I am 700k short. Plus, I will of course need money to outfit the ASP, as well as an operational budget.

Still, the Asp is within reach!

Testing the Lave Loop

Talking to other traders, I heard of rare trade goods that are being peddled on the so-called Lave Loop. Some Commanders I talked to had big Credit signs in their eyes. “A thousand percent profit,” one exclaimed. “More like 1500%,” another chimed in. They all nodded with agreement that this was the way to go, if you are new and have enough assets to move up from a Sidewinder.

And doesn’t that describe my situation perfectly well?

I am more than skeptical about the profits claimed by these old spacers, but there’s really only one thing to do about wild rumors: Find out the truth myself!

The Start: Coquim

As I type this, I am docked in Oliver Enterprise, Lwen system. I did a few short loops – selling Resonating Separators to Xingait and Silver back to Lwen – for about 90,000 credits profit per loop. Lave is just under 149 light-years away; Coquim is just over 104 light-years away. I’ll therefore start the loop at Coquim.

The voayage was long and mostly uneventful. Burning through 800 Credits worth of fuel, I arrived at Hirayama Installation. I did spend some time scanning the systems en route, so I actually turned a tidy profit on the voyage.

In the commodities market, 11 tons of Coquim Spongiform Victuals were available for sale, at 255 Credits each. I picked them up – filling 30% of my cargo hold already. A good start!

For some reason, the route to Lave goes through CD-75, with a landing at Kirk Dock to buy Kitten Brand Coffee, which is supposed to be sold on Coquim. For my first leg, I decided to ignore Kirk Dock – I did not want to haul Coffee all the way to Lave and back.

En Route: Khaka

I was attacked by a pirate as I approached Ford Hub in Khaka. I was able to fend her off, but my ship took quite some damage. Unfortunately Ford Hub does not offer Repair facilities. Ammunition ran at 1243 Credits, Fuel at 635. On the plus side, I earned 64780 Credits from the bounty. I also took the opportunity to sell 26831 Credits’ worth of exploration data, before continuing my voyage.

Lave

Finally arrived in Lave – a beautiful sight after a long voyage.

Lave Station
Lave Station

The haul took me 57.5 minutes, but of course that includes the action at Khaka. There is some Lavian Brandy for sale here: 7 tons at 3500 each, which I purchased. The value of the Songiform Victuals was 15536 per ton, for a profit of 168,091 Credit. Very nice, indeed, but in itself nothing too awesome considering the long distances involved. It is the return trip that will have to pay for itself.

The next section of the Lave Loop consisted of flying to several systems to pick up additional local specialty wares.

From Lesti to Diso

If you follow the loop, be aware that Leestian Evil Juice is considered Illegal on Guest Installation in Uszaa. Luckily, I got away without a fine.

At Sharon Lee Free Market, in Oreere, my hold reached 33 of 36 tons. I decide to still land on Diso, where 11 tons of Diso Ma Corn were on offer. Naturally, I bought 3t.

I spent about 35 minutes collecting everything – This number is a bit unreliable because I botched stopping the time.

Return to Coquim

With my cargo hold full, I decided to skip CD-75 again and fly directly to Coquim. The voyage was uneventful, except for two interdiction attempts, which I avoided. I had to refuel twice, and so the return voyage took 51 minutes.

Profits were indeed excellent. I sold my rare goods for 600,000 Credits! Here is a list of income and expenses:

Good Purchase Sale Profit
Coquim Spongiform Victuals 2805 170896 168091
Lavian Brandy 24500 137907 113407
Leestian Evil Juice 1828 62900 61072
Uszaian Tree Grub 8685 147600 138915
Orrerian Vicious Brew 8190 207896 199706
Diso Ma Corn 1005 46755 45750
Total     726941
Fuel, Repairs, Ammo -5150
Final 721791

As you can see, the Lave Loop is absolutely worth it. I could have made about half that with more local trade in about the same time, I reckon, but the longer trip was more fun. As a bonus, I earned 96,728 Credits from exploration data and the pirate’s bounty – but that’s of course not inherently part of the Lave Loop.

Conclusion

The Lave Loop does, indeed, offer a 1500% profit on the cost of the trade goods – the rumors were true.

If you go on the Loop, I recommend having circa 50 tons of free cargo space – as you can see, I did a somewhat incomplete Loop due to having only 36t of cargo capacity. As an aside, my Cobra is only somewhat upgraded, and a better ship will probably shave quite some time off the round trip.

Finally, be aware of the illegal nature of Leestian Evil Juice in Uszaa, and switch your destinations around so that you purchase from Uszaa before Leesti, to avoid any fines.

 

The Logbook

There is a galaxy of opportunity out there, waiting to be discovered, they say. It beckons, they say. And they are right.

I am fresh out of flight academy – where, I have to admit, I passed rather than excelled – and I have three days of trading behind me. I am now the proud owner of a Cobra Mark III, the classic two-seater that is used in so many SV serials. How is that, compared to the mundane jobs of days past?

The Cobra is the modern version of those famous ships from ancient mythology, the real world version of Arthur Davis’ Mithra, or Malcom Reynolds’ Serenity. I’ve upgraded mine for more cargo space. The goal is to earn more money, as quickly as I can – so that I can go out into the wilderness, and look at what strange and beautiful things I may find.

There are certainly weird things to find out there. I heard stories of a pilot who narrowly escaped a black hole. I heard that some people have been all the way to the galactic center. And rumors abound about Unknown Artifacts that have recently been recovered. I can’t wait to go out there, to see what lies beyond the next star system.

In the meantime I will maintain this logbook to chronicle my travels. If I make it, it will be an important document for future generations of travelers. If not, it still gives me something to do on those long hauls.