After 2 back-to-back excursions for so called famous explorers I turned back to the bubble to give the Nomad a new lick of paint and read up on the latest news. As I turned in my stack of scan data to the chart boffins - including full scans of over a dozen systems with one or more water worlds and several systems with earth likes - I received a message that they had promoted me to Elite rank, immediately followed by an invitation and permit from the Pilots Federation to visit the Founder's World. So I headed over to Jameson Memorial, they're bound to have some good painters there - the Nomad deserves a bit of love and care considering how far she got me.
After hiring a painter I had some tea in the diner overlooking the dock. I don't like letting her out of my eye while she's being overhauled. The painter seemed to be doing a good enough job, I hired a human for the occasion. Sentimental nonsense of course as it just means he'll stand next to the painting robot while it does the exact same job, but I am sitting on a mountain of cash I don't know what to do with so I might as well spread some of it around.
My thoughts drifted to the jobs I did in the past 2 days. Most of them had been for famous explorers, or so my contacts advertise them. It always puzzles me a bit what makes these people famous explorers if they don't even have their own exploration vessel. I mean, technically I am doing all the exploration, and they're just... perishable cargo, right? Oh well, that's flatlanders for you, they like to pound their chest, the less impressive their accomplishments the harder they will pound. I swear that last guy's chest must have been on the verge of caving in.
I guess I shouldn't complain, at least they have been out there, and all their arrogance and showmanship aside they know what ship life is like. They're nowhere near as bad as the celebrities and rich tourists I sometimes ferry. They always want to see ice geysers. Beats me what they find so interesting about them, it's just a sack of water blowing off steam. I have a first class cabin full of those.
I've learned to deal with them though and have devised some excellent methods to keep them happy and occupied. The famous explorers and boffins are easy, they don't complain much, they give you plenty of time to do some of your own exploration on the side. As long as you get them there and back in one piece they'll be happy. Business and military folk require a slightly different approach - efficiency is the name of the game. These people are always in a hurry, so don't dilly-dally, go as fast as you can, the trick is to get them back to port before they have time to ask for additional services. I tend not to take on criminal passengers if I can avoid it, they are probably the least demanding but obviously the security services are none too happy about these freights if they catch you.
Finally there are the rich tourists and celebrities. I've found there's only one way to make these jobs easy: bring drugs and liquor. Bring lots of it, and then add some more. And take some extra just in case. A celebrity that isn't doped up will complain, even if there is nothing to complain about, so keep them drugged up to their eyeballs. It's not like you need to force feed it to them, just wave them in the general direction of your liquor cabinet and they'll home in like a seeker missile.
I will be going off on a trip to the Alliance Research Base next. I've been following reports from a Commander DNA-Decay who seems to have found some interesting fungi nearby the base. Sounds like something I haven't encountered yet, and it's only a measly 1000 ly away. It will mean taking out the SRV, not my favourite thing to do but the gravity and landscape of the planet seem agreeable enough for a little excursion on gas filled tires. It will be interesting to see some indigenous life on one of these rocky balls, who knows what we can learn from studying them.