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)

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Going out there

Under Construction, New Yembo. (Neat.) The news tell of a new conflict, where the Federation attacks a supposed pirate system, Nijotec. In the meanwhile, the conflict in the Empire which was hinted at by some earlier news (Falisci) seems to still be under the hood. But this is far away from where I am. Today, I want to try out some mining; it has been a while. But I suspect it will not capture me too long. The commodity market doesn´t have any mention of high value minerals, so I fear that mining here will not yield much wealth, anyways.

I opt to go into the New Yembo 7 metal rich ring. 1600 ls, on the other side of the sun, well chosen... 15 minutes later, with an amazing load of 1 lepidolite and 2 uraninite, I am outta here.

 - mining for the poor

Instead, maybe some exploration of the surrounding systems would bring a pristine source? And, no, I am not writing down the ridicilously complex system names! COL 285 Sector GQ-R B 19-3. There, I did it. And I am moving on, as everything here already has been discovered and marked for that according commander.

After four or five jumps, I have entered the first system which still has unexplored planets. As I start to explore them, I get interdicted by an Asp. I do not have a kill scan so I do not get a bounty for destroying it. How inefficient! After the fight, I drop my plan to surface scan and jump onwards.

Two systems later, again some unexplored planets. Again I try to scan their surfaces, and again I am interdicted, this time by a Viper. It explodes rather quickly, after a short dance of flickering laser fire, even its powerplant, which I always chose as a subtarget, still hat some points left; weird. I assume that I got a lucky hit into the cockpit.

First mistake: Overheat after fuel scoop and jump init. Hull is down to 98%. I am not even far out yet and my hull is already scratched.

- received a sunburn from those nice twin stars

After several jumps I am finally and indeed there where no one has been before. No CMDR has been here before, because there are no names attached to any planet. So, COL 285 SectorSM-Y B 15-9 will have the first honor of bearing my name as an explorer! The distances are horrible, though. 3000 ls out, the farthers on the other end 6000 ls, so I skip the outer ones.

The next few systems are already "taken" by intrepid explorers, and then I find another virgin system. I commit once more to scan down all planets there; COL 285 Sector LA-C B 13-3. Whew. This is getting a bit tedious; the last planet is 16,000 ls away. I think to be a good explorer, you need a second monitor and a good music or video playlist... I gotta stay high all the time...

For comparision of the possible profits, I re-scan a system which has already been discovered by another, CMDR Tequila, namely HIP 110021 3. There is a blueish planet and guessing right, this is reveiled as a water world after a surface scan.

After a while I cannot help but feel confirmed that any completionist will die out here of old age, never having mapped all systems and planets. Imagine the countless numbers of Asps with some skelletal remains of CMDR floating out here...

At some point again an entirely unexplored system. Lots of asteroid belts, and since those tend to confuse the scanner and throw them into an endless loop, I want to drop in and see whether it could be valuable. Hm, not too bad. The first asteroid drops about 12 chunks with a good concentration of silver. And the next one has a tiny bit of gold, and the one after a bit more of gold. That´s better. However, what is confusing that there seems no way to "tag" the asteroids which I already depleted. As it happens, the next asteroid I target does not contain any ore anymore, so I must have been at that one already.

 - golden aura

Nevertheless, after a while, I am getting impatient and want to move on. The Credit per hour rate is still not so high that it would be worth extended efforts. But still, 4 tons silver and 3 tons gold is nothing to be ungrateful for (=~50k Credits).

While traveling onwards, I find it a bit difficult to maintain a direction. After I while I realis...

WOW. wowo. damnn. Interdiction. A Dropship, ranked deadly. My shield (measly class 3C ones!) melt the instant I am dropping out and deploying weapons. Desperate, circling, but it also got turrets. Crackling noise of laser energy melting my ship´s light alloy and hacking it apart with a host of multicannon´s pellets. One thing is clear; if I boost away in a straight line, I am done! So circling circling it is, all the while the Dropship´s turrent is gnawing at my ship. Thank god, the turret is only on its upper (lower?) side, so my shield batteries at one point get a break to do an emergency recharge. I grind my teeth and activate supercruise, still circling. Damn, the Dropships gets some distance; if it turns towards me now I will be done for. Hull 44%! But shields are up, will they hold? I am counting my insurance already. Then the Dropship initiates another circle; my frameshift drive is blocked by the Dropship´s mass. So, I break away, having a close eye on the holo display in order to gauge the Dropship´s heading. As long as its nose does not point towards me, I should be fine. Come on, come on. And after what seems an eternity, the countdown kicks in, right the moment when the Dropship is back on an attack vector. My shields hold, 3 ... 2...1 and... I survived. Whew. Hands shaking.

 - close encounter

With the damage sustained, travelling onwards is risky. Scanning the next system helps calming myself down. I have come this far, and going onwards is somehow compelling. But I sure will have a closer outlook on the scanner; all those pesky Eagles and Sidewinders made me become unattentive.

The next systems are consisting of purple brown dwarves; lots of them out here. There are only icy rock planets to be expect here.

... where was I. Ah, yes. So, for exploring, I would love to be able to target astronomical objects in the system map view. I tend to screw up the optimal order in terms of travel time without any overview on where exactly the are located relatively to each other. And for my jumps, I would also have a mechanism to tag systems as already visited. As concerning finding a proper heading, I realized that I am heading towards a nebula. The Horse Head Nebula, no less. (That´s about the only nebula I knew already from my little knowledge about astronomy).

I am still suffering from my completionist sickness and scanning almost every system I visit; after all, there could be some cool surprises, somewhere, somewhen... but in this virutal reality, I should probably just scan the system and move on, if some of the planets do not show the betraying blue earth-like colouring. Water worlds and earth like worlds should be worth a bit more than the average bunch of rocks. But there are also systems with a lot of metal-rich planets, e.g. COL 285 Sector HH-V D2-43, with all nine planets. I am curious what their data is going to be worth.

In the next system, a moon with a golden tint catches my attention, but getting close reveals just a standard piece of rock.

 - not the golden egg I was hoping for

Some systems later, I am attentive enough to spot a Python and make away in haste. I can rest in systems where Sidewinders roam about; there rarely seem to appear more than one ship. And frankly, even that one ship I got rather consistently per system is already bordering on improbability...

As I am slowly inching closer to the Pleijades, the second name I now from astronomy, it being a stellar birth place, something catches my eye in the galaxy map; Almach consists of something huge blazing, probably a supernova? I have to see this.

 - inferno awaiting?

However, even four light years away, the last system before Almach, the speck which is Almach seems to be too small to be really a supernova. Nevertheless, I am tense as I initiate the jump. On arrival, I am greeted by an immensive greenish-white star. So this is it, a spectral type K giant star. The star name revealed after a surface scan is surely a known one in astronomy, Gamma Andromedae B.

With my curiosity satisfied, I have to end this session. This blog entry is already an accumulated report about two full game sessions; exploration is indeed a bit slow paced, but I have to admit, it has an as hypnotic effect as the trade grind, while still being more interesting but less profitable.

- finally found the green ending =)

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