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)

Monday, 23 February 2015

Go get ´em!

Under Construction, New Yembo. This is one of the moments where I am so damn glad that I am writing this blog. Even though my exploration attempt was so rudely crushed and every cartographic data from eight hours of travels is gone, I still have two blog entries which will continue to tell the story, the story that I was there!

However, all the systems which I was proud that I got there first will never bear the label "discovered by Falkenherz" now. I do not have neither the resources nor the motivation after this setback to go out again. I had my drink. Several. Musing, cheers, refill, I would have to downgrade to a cheaper ship in order to not become totally bankrupt, I tell the bartender, a nice lass. Well, she says, why don´t you do it? Or I could pour you another glass...

You know what, I say, yeah, I guess this is what I am going to do. I just don´t accept getting smacked in the face like this by a freaking random encounter and then run away crying. Yes, this is what I am going to do: Downgrade to a cheaper ship, screw the superb cockpit view of the Asp, re-visit the systems which were noteworthy and revisit those, and only those, and come back, alive this time, and finally learn how much exploration is actually worth doing in terms of credits earned from an previously entirely unexplored system! That´s my boy, go get ´em, says the lass; but I am already outta the door.

In order to downgrade, I have to find a system with a shipyard, preferably one which sells either the Hauler or the Adder. The latter allegedly was made for exploration, so lets have a look at it. I only had flown it once briefly as it first came out during the gamma phase. Six jumps I need to get to Yakamu, Lyell Port. It feels weird to fly the Asp now, with only 1000 Credits cash available and the knowledge that another accident will devoid me of this asset worth 15 million Credits.

There you got the problem: Each with a class A frameshift drive, the Asp has a range of 28 (25 laden) ly the Adder only 19 (18 laden) ly. Why is this ship should be good for exploration escapes me. Even the Hauler has a better range of 21 (17 laden) ly. Basically the only thing better than the Hauler is that it can jump farther with a full cargo hold. But I do not need cargo when I want to explore. I am probably missing something, but as it looks, a Cobra might be a better choice with 22 (20 laden) ly jump range and its combat capability on top. Beggars can´t be choosers, but there is no way I go out there again without proper combat capabilities. Sad but true.

- this time, a more... agressive... explorer setup

A Cobra it is then. 15 million cash are reimbursed upon selling the Asp, I feel better now. But the equipment is sorely lacking here, so I have to do a little outfitting tour for my new Cobra. It is a triple-A outfitting tour, and after my Cobra has every module classed as "A", my cash is down to 5.7 million credits. The full programme, full combat capacity inclusive kill warrant scanner. Those pesky explorer pirates will suffer! Only the heavy military armor I skip because of itts burden on my jump range; the Cobra´s class A shields, together with a shield cell bank, should be more than sufficient.

My first nav point: Revisit COL 285 Sector HH-V D2-43. Áfter the first jump, I scoop fuel and wait for an interdiction for a test run. An Eagle approaches. Good. And a few moments later I am so glad that I did submit to this test. The moment I deploy my weapons, my power grid is overburdened and leaves me defenseless. At 86% hull, I finally manage to get something up and running and make the Eagle finally explode. Back to start, repair and re-setup my ship. And of course I had forgotten to buy charges for my shield cell banks, anyways. Noooooooob!

Setting now my power grid priorities properly, my Cobra should be good to go. I was 7% over grid capacity, but setting frameshift drive (2%), scanners, cargo hatch (3%) and fuel scoop (2%) to a lower priority compensates. After repairs, I am finally ready to go.

After four long range jumps, I go back to short range, more economic jumps. Fuel is already at 1/3 capacity and the last three star systems had non-scoopable brown darves or white stars. Exploration has started, again! A little while later, I have altogether now jumped through fifteen systems and not a single one of them had a fuel-scoopable star. Definitely a reminder to plan your fuel carefully!

Finally, a yellow star apprears. Greedily my Cobra sucks up its helium emissions, or whatever my ship´s tastes are. It takes a while, maybe I should have bought a fuel scoop for a bigger ship slot.

The large number of either white or brown stars I ecounter in this "pegasi sector" is amazing. Many systems bear the name of CMDR Ren or Rotsenburg, so I am practically following their footsteps.

One interdiction by a "dangerous" Cobra makes me work for my money. Oh, I forget to kill scan it, and so I actually work for no money. But I realize again, another lesson I had forgotten, that the class1 weapon mounts are useless for fixed weaponry and that a quadruple laser outfit sucks the capacitors emtpy far too fast. As a consequence, I disable them and keep them only as emergency backup in a seperate weapon group.

- you can come at me now, I am prepared! (I think)

After a while, I finally am back into unknown territory. It appears that, IF I survive the voyage THIS time, Pegasi Sector SF-U A4-0 will get the honor of being labelled as first explored by me. All objects here are rock or ice planets, oh well. I guess you can already take a hint from the way a planet is shown by your holodisplay.

Another of the myriad systems I visit, COL 285 Sector OH-M a23-0, is comparable in size and composition, but it has been first explored by CMDR The Mariner. I nevertheless surface scan everything, so that I can have a comparision of what a "virgin" system brings more, money wise, in comparison.

- ...brown dwarf...

Next jump, a telephone call almost destroys my Cobra. I answer the call during the jump, get caught ... and just in time I hit Escape and escape to the main menu. Next time I log in, heat has neutralised but quickly mounts again because my Cobra got parked awfully close to that brown dwarf. I get away with 119% heat, close to the threshold of 125% where my ship starts to get damaged.

COL 285 Sector JB-O A22-2 is the next unexplored system which I completely add to my data. Brown dwarves with ice planets seem to be the most frequent setup in this particular arm of the galaxy. Which is a bit weird because I did not have this impression during my last two sessions. There were much more (valuable) metal rich planets on the - now lost - route I had taken.

A cheeky Eagle pilot tries me, with a routine end of the fight. At least this time, I think of kill scanning the pilot before.

- ...brown dwarf...

COL 285 Sector UI-T A 19-D is another completely unexplored brown dwarf system which I scan down. Unexplored systems become more and more common, the more out I am. Of course. This game really makes you feel the vastness of space. Experiences like this confirm for me so much that humanity´s most important task is to get ready to go out there and actually use all this abundand energy and vast resources instead of just cuddling together and bashing each others heads!

- finally, a white star which is also fuel-scoopable!

Finally, I am back at one of the nav points from my first exploration attempt, COL 285 Sector HH-V D2-43, and I re-surface-scan all its high metal planets. Now I am indeed curious what this data is worth, seeing now that there are so many more useless brown dwarf systems out there! What I realize now is that I instinctively did a right approach on my last trip; just skip all dark red stars in the galaxy map, they have only icy planets, anyways, and jump to yellow orange or white stars.

- ... oh, what is this? A water world,  ammonia based, I wonder how that looks like on the surface!?

Huh, I had forgotten that this system also contains a water world, with carbon based water life; or did I even overlook this, last time? I find it unusal that this planet is the third last out there, normally, the habitable zone is much closer to a star. But, of course, this particular star is huge. Well, I think getting myself to come back here after that huge setback was the right idea! No it is only a matter of bringing this information here back in one piece... how far should I still go out and explore and take the risks?

Spurred by this success, I also want to re-visit HIP 110021, which also contains a water world. It is already scanned by another CMDR, but I want to see exactly the possible difference in worth.

On my way there, a lot of red herrings, uhm, brown dwarves. I resist the urge to scan all unexplored ones and focus on reaching stars which have different colors in the galaxy map. One such system is COL 285 Sector KN-T D3-64. It has a white-yellow primary star, but there is a secondary, orange star about 26,000 ls away; the interesting thing is, the first planet, as seen in the system view, looks blueish and seems to have clouds. This piques my interest to undertake the long trip in supercruise. My suspicions are confirmed. It turns out that I have found my first terrestrial water world, i.e. with an earth like atmosphere and carbon-water-based life! Yiphieeh!!! I wish I could name it!!!

- Water world! And actually water-based, at that!

I think with this success I should leave this game session. And probably, please, not screw up the following one. Best thing would be to bring the data back before trying anything fancy. Log out.

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