After blowing my nose, drying my cheeks, and one finger saluting the stingy jerks who assign exploration rank points for the Pilot's Federation I decided to take a different tact. 85 percent my, ah, well, you know.
When I got beyond the initial, learn to fly and get oriented missions, I worked to buy a Cobra MK III thinking ahead to days of running a rare goods trade route. When I got McGruff my Cobra, I outfitted him for cargo and traveling with a class A FSD and Fuel Scoop and crammed as many cargo bins in him as I could. I ran that rares route for a really long time, wracking up the LYs and establishing a lucrative trade business. After a while, the repetitiveness started getting to me and I decided to check out a Community goal for delivery and bounty hunting. I split my time between cargo runs and hiding behind the skirts of Security Services ships at a resource site and taking pot shots at their targets when they got them low enough for me. That is where I ran into my future wing-man, Eddelos.
After the CG wound down, we flew off to G 35-15 where he was loosely based and he, in his Cutter, and I in my new Type 6 would run supply missions. After I earned enough credits to upgrade to a Krait MKII, Edd taught me all about Void Opal mining (See Log Entry, "Best Advice I ever Got" ). One day Edd and I were running cargo missions, and the next day, he was gone.
Enter GrendelShogun and TDOG (The Dragons of Grendel). He had me running septic tank runs between Neritus and Cai and when I could sneak away I was still doing my VOpal Mining, too.
So now, after my nightmare trip (see Log entries, "Close, but no Cigar series" ), I sat at 15% shy of Elite in Exploration, but was so gun-shy, I couldn't make myself go back out there again so soon. I was only up to Expert in Combat. So that left Trade.
With all the trade I mentioned above, I was only 5 % from Elite in Trade, but I had so wanted to lose my Elite cherry to Exploration, that sounded so romantic, but it just wasn't in the cards.
Being tired of swapping modules around between combat and mining/trade, I bought a new Krait MKII and settled all my mining/cargo mods into it and kept Mustache Rides set up for combat. I jumped in VOpal Miner, the new Krait and set off after more Void Opals.
After an hour of popping rocks I had 46 tons of VO's. I found a spot to sell them for over 1.6 mil per and...
[Angelic chorus in the background singing Hallelujah] I AM ELITE!! You may bow and grovel at my feet now!
OUCH!!! GrendelShogun actually punched me in my nose!