Bit nervous about this one! Posting as a kind of a "fait accompli" to myself!
I've decided what my next Elite silliness is going to be and it's pretty stupid! On paper, it doesn't sound that ridiculous but considering it's falling right smack bang in the middle of the busiest season of my work schedule and the holiday season - yep, pretty darn stupid! Still, after a few test runs and some rather optimistic calculating - I
think it's doable. SOOO the first half of it's explained below. I think I'll need to squeak in one more log between now and departure (which'll be 1st December! ). I'm kinda equal parts excited and "oh crap!" about this one, but anyway.
And the pic below has absolutely nothing to do with the log beneath it, I was just out doing the aforementioned test drive and took this pic which kinda tickled me
Prepping the Clair de Lune for her biggest trip yet!
weet tapdancing space baboons...
I'm 'hiding' up here on the bridge, away from the howling racket going on down below. Which either consists of the banging-of-machinery being shoehorned into a poor overloaded conda, already fit to burst; or the banging-of-heads as my lovely
crewmates yell at each other. Don't get me wrong, I love them all to bits - but I'd say there's a fifty-fifty chance that Lauren and Flynn will kill each other before we leave the dock!
Oh yep - this'll work great
At the end of my last entry, Coral, Hal and I had decided to nip to the Hootenanny
, our favourite dive bar on Jameson Memorial. It's kinda become the adopted hangout of a lot of deep spacers. There's long-range hauliers doing cargo runs to Colonia, UniCart ferrets on a stop-over in the bubble before disappearing off out to the rim again; there's even a few long-range passenger pilots, although they generally prefer a slightly shinier place to relax - the Hootenanny
has a very dingey, steampunky vibe to it and could never be accused of being swanky, that's for sure!
So we bundled in, a few "hi!"'s to the usual suspects and set about drinking our bodyweights in booze. Which always goes really
well. I have vague memories of falling off the top of the bar (because obviously) and staggering back to the Clair
trying to teach Coral to sing some very
inappropriate songs on the way home. Aside from that, I didn't remember much, apart from pouring myself into bed and begging the room to stop spinning before falling asleep/unconscious/same difference.
Got worse the next morning; it's just great
waking up to the soothing noise of the Jameson docks at full voice when you've got a hangover so bad your brain is trying to scramble out of your ears and find a more mature owner. So that was nice - and got even better when, over a breakfast of water, water and more water, Hal filled in the gaps of the previous night.
Apparently, half-way through our celebrations, some smarmy random guy had shown up and started coming on to Coral. She's not exactly
the best at dealing with that sort of thing and was looking rather uncomfortable, so I had wobbled to her rescue and politely (if a little slurred) tried to give this guy the brush-off. Which, despite being as articulate as a poet I'm sure, failed abysmally as he continued to try to impress both of us with stories of his magnificent deep space exploits...
I mentioned this a while back, but you pick up on two fairly distinct types of deep-spacer. The first type are the "all mouth and no trousers" brigade, who wave their jump ranges and trips to the far reaches around in a very
Freudian way; and then there are the "real McCoys", who don't say much about who they are or where they've been. They just quietly get on with it and those in the know are well aware that these guys are serious
. There's also a third type, hopelessly inept "wing it!" explorers that bounce around the galaxy, getting themselves into all sorts of trouble and by some miracle manage to avoid checking out in a huge fireball...
ANYWAY - Mr Romeo here was clearly the first type, banging on and on about his HUGE jump range (paging Sigmund) and his recent trip to blah blah blah. And according to Hal, I may have got a teeny
bit lippy and teased him about how easy it is to cover massive distances these days. In all honesty, I think the tech advances are awesome
and I don't want to bittervet - I really honestly do think it's great that more pilots than ever before can just up sticks and go off into the wilderness to see all of the awesome the galaxy has in store! But I do have a soft spot for the old pioneering days and when a twerp like this guy starts bragging and banging on - newp, sorry buddy!
But of course the guy had some friends who didn't like me teasing him, so they showed up and before Hal could get all manly and defensive, I managed to defuse the situation by sticking both of my size billion feet into my mouth (figuratively - wasn't that drunk).
"Sherio-seriously, with all the, right? with all the jum- <belch> jump ranges right, you could, you could <hiccup>, you could go to Andromedemedema in like, whoops <slip on floor, land on butt> I'm 'kay, I'm 'kay - in like (wuzzat book, the one with the thing and the stuff?) - eighty days! Thassit, eighty days. Hey, where's my <slurp> never mind, found it... "
"Ok then - so do it. Two-and-a-half million light years in eighty days. Gonna back up your big mouth?"
"You <burp> you, you betcha! Yeah we'll (shto-stop pulling my arm Hal), yeah we'll do it easy (what? nah nah is fine, don't worry!) - what, ok, what, what - what was I saying? OH yep - ok, what, whatsa bet?"
"Ships. Winner takes all."
At which point apparently I shook hands, giggled a bit then threw up all over him before being quickly carried out of the bar.
My parents would be so proud.
I will freely admit - I'm a weak-willed, easily-led idiot. But a bet is a bet is a bet, no matter how much alcohol your brain is swimming in at the time. So holy crap - two and a half million
light years in eighty days, ok, that's doable, that's just the equivalent of - ten circumnavs of the galaxy. Crap. And I don't even know what ship he has - I've probably just wagered my beloved Clair de Lune against a rustbucket sidewinder with a billion light years on the clock! I can't back out though, I have a reputation to uphold. A reputation as a drunken facile idiot that has been carefully cultivated over several years.
So - we needed a PLAN!
Alright - we could
make life easy on ourselves and just strip the ship down to squeeze out jump range and just pinball back and forth between a couple of neutrons. But that basically sounds like cheating to me and about as much fun as a lobotomy! For all my dopeyness, I love exploring
and if I'm going out there for eighty days, I want to explore and find the shiny!
So it's going to make life a lot, LOT harder on us but we're going to fit the Clair
for long term, serious exploration. Whichever way you slice it though - we're going to cover a lot of ground; and we're really going to need a first-class engineer. Also, we're gonna be out of touch for weeks, so although Coral is an awesome patcher-upper, I'd feel a lot happier with a legitimate doc on board.
NEXT - if for some reason I'm not able to crash us into stars personally (NO not because I'm sleeping one off), we'll need a co-pilot. Last of all, if we're going to do this, especially with all the fancy new scanning tech, let's do this properly and bring a science guy on board. So our shopping list was copilot, doc, engineer and science dude.
Coral knew a great doc apparently, so that was her part of the shopping list and she quickly disappeared off, promising to be back in a few days. Hal said he knew a bit of a wunderkind genius who could handle the sciencey stuff, although he warned me the guy was a "bit of a handful" - it'll be fine I'm sure. So he went off to track him down. This left me with an engineer and a co-pilot to find.
The co-pilot was easy. Before becoming a space bum, I'd gotten my wings as an Imp in the Navy (although I spent most of my time ferrying bigwigs around, thrilling stuff!). During basic flight, I'd met this really cool customer, Kei - amazing pilot, just cool as a cucumber however crappy things got, definitely someone I'd want when things went sideways (as they have a bizarre tendency to do when I'm at the wheel!). I managed to track him down to a smart little tour operator running out of Achenar and he didn't take much convincing to hand in his notice and hop a shuttle with me - awesome! One down, one to go.
Returning to Shindez with my new co-pilot!
I left Kei to get acquainted with the Clair
, as he'd mostly been flying those floating palaces made by Saud Kruger, and went off to see about recruiting an engineer. My first stop was obviously Donk
, my man-mountain buddy who ran one little corner of the Jameson dockyards. It was a long shot at best, as he was one of the top hotshots working for the station and he sadly said he wouldn't be able to get away to join us. He did however point me in the direction of a bar (shurrup) where apparently I could find someone from his deck crew who could work magic on anything mechanical but was a bit "feisty".
Sounded perfect! So I went for a wander, found the bar and the engineer Donk had mentioned, a larger-than-life redhead called Lauren, who shook hands and proceeded to kill off what little braincells I had left. I bet I made a great impression on Kei as I wobbled back on board later that night and fell asleep facedown on the cargo deck. Consummate professionalism.
I got woken up the next morning at a ridiculously early hour with banging on the access ramp; it was Lauren, who apparently had decided to come along for the ride and was offensively alert and cheerful considering the lake of stuff we'd inhaled the night before. On the plus side - two for two! I still hadn't heard back from Coral or Hal but it had only been a couple of days, so while we waited, Kei got himself up to speed on the conda and Lauren wasted no time in poking around before presenting a list of toys she wanted to install.
For the most part, they were bits the Clair
already had in storage. A few legacy modules had to be brought up to date but she was pretty much good to go already. One thing Lauren did insist on though was the power plant - she wanted a big fat shiny size six, massive overkill - but it'd cost us less than a light year and meant that if it DID take a hammering from SOMEONE repeatedly falling asleep at the wheel and smashing into stars, we could still run primary systems at less than fifty percent output and keep on trucking.
Throw in a couple of afmus, a hull repairer, two srv bays and a mining laser and boom - the Clair was theoretically unkillable. Theoretically.
Anyone remember the Titanic?
The yelling has subsided a bit down below now - I'm going to risk a trip to the galley and get some munchies. When I get back, I'll update about Hal and Coral's recruiting shenanigans.
EDIT: I got a few PMs asking about the fit - I don't want to give too much away, as all the above is actually only the first part of the plan, but I'll pop it up before I go if anyone wants it - there's reason in the madness! It's just a cookie cutter exploration fit with a bit more redundancy and a honking great pp built in - the above graphic was just a live test of the primary systems, a ton of stuff has been changed around since.
TL:DR - yes, I COULD strip down and run a race spec conda back and forth between two perfectly spaced neutrons and get the trip done in half the time - but as mentioned in the log, that's just hacky imo and in no way would I consider that exploring. The idea is to actually explore and find some shinies WHILE covering the ground. So I'll be "rolling heavy", about 11-12ly off max theoretical, with all the toys for both the above 'bet' and the 'mystery' second half.