Target: Eta Crucis / HIP 59072
As I wave goodbye to Earth, I'm excited to be underway. I'm going to cover 64LY in just 3 jumps. Somewhat better than the 5 or 6 I would have needed in the Cobra. Of course, I've got no cargo with me. And hardly any shields. But I should be relatively safe. It's not like I haven't run from pirates before. I know what I'm doing.
First jump: LHS 2447
Aaaand, Anarchy? Well, I mean, I guess there's nothing here to police.
Just a class K star with two brown dwarfs in orbit.
Second jump: Sesuang
A red dwarf with a sub-red companion, with a couple billion people running farms and industry. I don't feel like an explorer yet. Still miss my chair. I am enjoying the uprated fuel scoops I splashed out for though. It takes almost no time to top up the tanks.
Third jump: Eta Crucis
Well. I'm here. And I have some work to do, according to my scan pulse. 53 system bodies to chart. Nothing that hasn't been seen before, of course, but the information in my computer is threadbare at best.
Well, a full system scan took a while, but less than it took me when I was learning how to use the scanner suite, in the Hajanheimr system. One big difference: now I'm carrying some planetary mapping probes. So I have rather more to do.
Eta Crucis AB 1 is pretty. I have a soft spot for ring systems I guess.
### The Unexpected
In the middle of launching probes at the moons of AB 1, I get a direct message asking me to help undertake a local salvage operation.
"But, you're exploring, you don't have any cargo space!"
Aha. Heh. Hehe, well. I couldn't resist installing just a few cargo racks. It's not like I could find any useful equipment to store in the secondary module bay. I didn't want the additional permanent mass of class 4 shields, and I'm not sure I could spare the power budget even if I wanted; I'm running on a tiny little 2A powerplant. So, yeah, empty cargo racks.
Guess who's happy they have them now?
Fourth jump – Sideways: Arro Naga
Nothing to discover or map here. I stopped by the local NAV beacon to find my salvage target and found myself needing to cover nearly 10 light hours in supercruise to get there. I spent the time messing the the seat adjustment levers. I think I've got it how I like it now. I also finished hooking in my remote market lookup gear. Now I can check on prices at a station without having to be docked. The information isn't perfectly up to date, but it's an awful lot better than no information!
Well... Seems like the salvage I'm supposed to collect isn't in orbit of Naga B 2. It's on the surface.
And I didn't pack an SRV. I mean, I've been given a very long time limit for this mission. 4 Days. But just in case I get lucky I check the local system outfit registry and they do
stock vehicle hangars. I can swap out my AFMU for an SRV bay just to deal with this salvage job. Looking at the payout from this mission however, it doesn't look like I'm spending my time well. I'm not about to quit mid job, but I don't think I'll let myself get so side-tracked again. Not for a mere 120k.
I spend a few thousand credits buying an SRV. I think I get ripped off, but it's not like I want to jump back to Lave to pick up my own.
Wow, I just realised. I have had, uhm, exactly no
practice at planetary operations. At all. When I said "my SRV", what I meant was "an SRV I was given as part-exchange for a cargo haul". Landing was a bit scary without a pad but I managed. I'm going to have to read the manuals for how to drive a Scarab though...
While reading the manuals I get a message asking me to courier some low-value data. I hit the delete key. Nobody bothers me like this in Leesti.
I'm an idiot. I'm so used to docking pads; I spent half an hour wondering why the SRV bay wouldn't release, when I was hovering 40cm in the air the whole time. A distance I'm sure makes no difference to a rugged ATV like my Scarab. Perhaps the thruster wash would have been an issue? It's probably something to do with Safety Protocols. Safety Protocols, am I right?
Fifth jump: Eta Crucis
Well that took too long. I thought I'd be doing a good deed at least – salvaging a flight recorder or something. Nope, they just wanted some cargo retrieving. There were a couple of extra containers more than they were asking for, so I loaded those up too. When I dropped it off I noted just how much
less than 4 days I'd taken to retrieve their pottery, or whatever it was, and I must have been convincing because they paid me a 50% bonus. Then I sold the extra containers for a little extra-extra bonus. Even so, I've netted much bigger payouts for much less work. I don't think I'll be bothering to take any more side-quests like this from now on.
In fact, all that driving about nonsense was murder on my spine. I wasn't sorry to trade that SRV back in. I think I've had enough activity for the day. My bunk is looking at me longingly.
End point: Polyakov Survey – Eta Crucis