So...funny story. It turns out shipping a Durodrive all the way from Rohini back to the bubble costs nearly 200,000 credits. A Durodrive costs...much less than that. And yes, that's exactly why I haven't updated my log in a while. You'd think we'd have a "hey, you're leaving your tablet ELEVEN THOUSAND LIGHT YEARS FROM HOME" warning system in COVAS, but nope, apparently nobody in the Pilot's Federation thought that was a feature worth including.
Anyhow, yeah, I'm back. In fact, right now I'm docked at Explorer's Anchorage. I actually made it back to Rohini last night, but I was so exhausted I couldn't make myself write anything. I'm about as tired tonight, but now that I'm caught up with the fleet and ready to make progress on both of our Community Goals, I've got just enough energy to spare to jot something down before I collapse in a pile of empty Any Na Coffee cans on the bed.
So. Many. Binaries! I haven't made a single exploration stop on the way back out here in the Neb
(yes, I changed ships AGAIN. I know, I know.) but I ran into easily 40 binary stars on the way out here. Hell, a couple of them I very nearly literally "ran into." I've written before about how, after a hundred jumps, everything starts to look the same, and that's true. When you find 7 binary systems in a row, though, it really gets your attention. And if you somehow miss that, you'll notice it for sure when you turn in your cartographics data and what should be 2 million turns out to be 6 or 8 million. I'm not complaining, mind you. In total, the last 2 days of flying earned me just over 40 million credits. Yes, FORTY MILLION. I wish my dad could see this, rest his soul. He was so proud when I got into Sirius's mining academy, but I don't think he ever thought it'd lead to this. Mom is speechless. Or I think she is - either that, or signal reception is just that bad out here. It really could be either one.
Even unfinished, Explorer's Anchorage is something to behold. It reminds me a little of Omega Mining in some ways. It's rough, but unlike Omega, the people here aren't. I mean, they're a hardy bunch, sure. But you get the impression most of them are just putting up a facade. The people here now are the usual crew who sets up a station. They're construction workers, not miners. And on one level, they're the same. They both do hard work with their hands. However, the mindset of each is totally different. The construction worker sees each station as a task to be completed. They go to the site, assemble the components, and leave for the next one. They're used to living on a ship because they have no time to get acquainted with a permanent home, but at the same time, they're really not used to "living" anywhere. Really, they're just sleeping on that ship. You could freeze them in an escape pod for 8 hours and they'd never know the difference. To them, it's just a bed in space, but that's fine. Attachments to a physical location can be dangerous when your job is to constantly leave them.
The miners, on the other hand, are wholly dependent on their station. If one of them gets seriously hurt, they're nearly 8,000ly away from any serious medical facility. Even with a high-range Anaconda, that's several hours from help. So their station, such as it is, must survive. Oh sure, the specific rock itself at Omega Mining is made to be disposable. But there must always be a rock nearby to call home. These guys can't live on ships. Hell, many of them I spoke with said they didn't remember the trip out because they had themselves frozen specifically to forget it.
And, really, I guess it all makes some sense. Because the construction crews can't count on their stations, they anchor their lives to their ships. Because the mining crews can't count on their mining rigs not to explode the next time they hit the wrong density of ore, they anchor their lives to their station. Still, this all hits the construction workers harder. Because they don't really "live" anywhere, the long haul from the bubble and back is a total nightmare for them. They're not built for spending this much time away from civilization, whereas the miners are. And so you see it. You notice the cracks at the edges. Not of the station, but of the people. Each and every one of them, just a few setbacks or problems away from a little mini-meltdown. It's only because we keep mining materials faster than they can use them that they don't have time for their minds to wander, and perhaps to split wide open.
The upshot is that the station is coming along amazingly fast. With literally nothing else to do, the workers are pulling 20 hour shifts as we breeze past Tier 9 of the mining goal. It feels like a race to see who wears out first, with both sides secretly happy no matter who wins. In this way, we are saving the construction workers just a bit. Where their ships are failing and the station would never do, their work is their anchor, and we're making sure it ties them down for the whole week. I suppose it's good for us, too. After all, nothing good ever came of 13,000 pilots sitting on their hands and twiddling their thumbs for a whole week.
For now, I sleep. Tomorrow, I direct the Neb towards some pirates, and maybe a little ore, too. It's gonna be a fun Monday.