Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Thursday, 25 September 2014


Coming back home late, being very tired, I still need some closure, which is best achieved amongst the stars. My Cobra waits for me and I go into an immediate launch. Toggling head turn on, my EDtracker reliably turns my whole vision 90 degree left - it always does at the startof a session, until I click this particular button, on top of my headset, right next to the light bulb. Click. As my vision returns towards the front, I barely have the time to admire the station wall from very up close. I had accelerated without thinking. Unfortunately, Elite: Dangerous ships do not allow for a kind of counter-boost, and amount of normal slowing down can save me at that moment. I briefly hope that my shields can compensate the impact, but in vain. A carousell of flames, then the black-white insurance screen pops up.

Annoyed, I click in my Cobra and confirm. This was my next mistake; I forgot to click also on the loadout, and as a reward, the insurance company refunds me only a non-outfitted Cobra hull. Great, great, this bodes well for the evening.

Here in the Opala system, only basic equipment is offered. And I shudder to think about how many stations I have to dock until the random generator graciously offers again a kill warrant scanner (I am probably mentally damaged from my times with EVE online, until before I had found or was close to the one-stop-shop in Jita). In the end, I launch with 2xC4 pulse lasers and 2x C1 gimballed pulse lasers. Not even a heat sink launcher.

The plan for this late and brief session is to engage into some banditry. Shoot freighters, collect their loot, sell it at a black market. The nav beacon, which every system has close to the sun is ideal. And in order to not collect bounties on myself, it needs to be in an anarchy system. I hyperjump to LP 98-132. An unidentified signal on my way to the nav beacon yields a lucky find; 10 units of gold. In my tired state, I manage to destroy two of them; apparently, when you approach a cargo container too fast (even before the scoop gives you that "high speed" alarm), it gets destroyed even when well targeted into the scoop.

At the nav beacon, my Cobra soon grabs a Hauler, which drops some domestic appliances and other stuff barely worth the effort. Well, I have free cargo space, so I might as well scoop it; the process is much faster and easier than with an Anaconda. Before I can really get at it, my shields start to flicker from enemy gunfire. Who? A NPC Sidewinder? How dares he?! I retract the scoop while accelerating and maneuver myself into firing position. Before I can really get into it, another yellow blip on my radar turns red. It is an Anaconda. A little challenging, now. I am undecided whether the cargo is worth the fight. No. I easily boost out of range. Then again, yes, at least the challenge is worth it. So I get close again. But the Sidewinder NPC has a good scripting; despite several tries of mine, it does not boost after me and thus ahead and away from the Anaconda, so I still have to deal with both of them at the same time. However, I am lucky, as a second NPC Anaconda decides to intervene on my behalf and opens fire on the enemy Anaconda. Unfortunately again, this does not deter the enemy Anaconda from loosing me as its target.

An Anaconda sometimes turns surpisingly fast and also this one, it opens fire only a few seconds after I myself managed to dodge it and to get into firing position for the Sidewinder. There are quite some minutes of wrestling, in which I loose shields and some hull to the Anaconda´s fire, before I can finally obliterate that pesky Sidewinder. Then I turn towards the Anaconda. It is only left at 10% hull, and the kill goes to my unexpected NPC ally Anaconda.

After this challenging combat, I dock at Freeport to repair and sell my stuff on the black market. Roughly 40.000 Credits sell value minus 3.000 Credits repair cost, an ok profit calculation. Before I launch, I hear something which sounds like an ongoing space battle. Maybe something worth to investigate! Unfortunately, once I have lifted off far enough so that the landing pad display does not obfuscate the radar anymore, there is no sight of combat nor loot. I exit the station and am a bit undecided what to do now.

Then I spot a Lakon Type 6 on landing approach. A perfect victim! After a few shots, the ship spills its cargo and I let it escape narrowly over the station´s frame. It is a lot of cargo, and I spot some valuables amongst it; personal weapons and combat appliances. The scooping proves to be a challenging process. Those containers are very, very close to the station, so close in fact that I wonder why they do not collide. The station fills all my view and makes any estimation of speed and course difficult. Just a firm look on the cargo scoop reticule helps me retain any navigational sanity.

After quite a while, my cargo hold is filled with 30 units of the more valuable stuff. Docking again in Freeport, the black market is a bit of a cheapskate. Only 2000 Credits per unit of personal weapons? Weird. This is when I remember the ongoing event with the Federation and Eranin. The latter party offers special Eranin liquor which can be smuggled to Federation systems, the former was said to have increased black market traffic for weapons. This could probably mean that the black market in I Bootis (Federal system) might offer more for my stash? Until now, I am not aware that black markets can, like the normal commodity market,  actually have different price ranges at different stations. It is worth a try. However, two problems. I would need to bring stolen goods into a police enforced system, with the risk of being shot down. And this risk is most probably exacerbated because I Bootis is one of the super busy systems, usually accompanied by extended periods of "docking denied". Not good with a cargo hold full of stolen goods.

No matter, Elite is dangerous and this is a welcome challenge. Hyperjump via Eranin to I Bootis, then enter "low heat stealth". This means I reduce the ship´s heat emission to 0% by shutting off ship modules and take most of the long apporach vector in this condition. Shortly before reaching the docking perimeter, I request landing and go into full stealth (i.e. shutting the heat emitters) in order to mask the raised heat which comes from activating drives and maneuvering. Then it is a question of luck when I can enter.

Executing this plan, I find to my pleasure that it works out perfectly. The station denies docking only for three times, and during this time, I wait unstealthed but with 0% emissions under the shadow of the station, fairly cofident that I am not able to be scanned from afar. Then I get clearance and can enter the station unmolested. Even though I indeed receive a scan warning, it comes so late that I am already far inside the station and the scan thus gets never completed. And, bingo, the black market at Chango Station indeed pays much better, about 4500 Credits for each unit of personal weapons. All in all, this run nets me roughly a profit of 100.000 Credits.

Fueled by success, I want to repeat this. Using the opportunity of a richly staffed outfitting screen, I equip all mounts with gimbal pulse lasers, a heat sink, and am also lucky to find a kill warrant scanner. Then I jump back to LP 98-132 and fool around some time at the sun´s nav beacon, some unidentified signals and finally in Freeport station´s perimeter. However, I don´t have a second streak of luck. Instead, the gimbal bug is back, and two of my four gimballed pulse lasers do not behave gimballed anymore.

At one time, I encounter a player, scan him and discover a smallish bounty on him. I open fire, but the ship vanishes. I so much hope that this will be the past with the next beta client. After that, nothing exciting happens anymore and it is very late again and I log off.

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