Ship’s Log of Salvage Dave’s Final Mission

Order received from command: Alex wants campaign testing, especially of new salvage mechanics, missions, and abilities. So I say, why don’t I turn some testing notes into a blog post? Command approved the initiative noting, however, that it was imperative that I – paraphrased – “use discretion when it comes to certain elements you may encounter”. Discretion is my middle name! There isn’t room for it on my Domain Ident Chip however, so you’ll have to take my good word for it.  

Cycle 206, March 03

salvage_dave00

Over the last cycle, I’ve been making my living as a smuggler. The ship under my command is a Wayfarer-class freighter, the Iota-Max II, with good cargo capacity and decent armament.

Recently I’ve filled my cargo holds with contraband – and legitimate goods to disguise it.  All in all, recent life in the Sector has been relatively … Normal.

That’s all about to change.

My Benevolent Patron has shown great interest in the workings of the neutrino detector, a finicky but powerful device which requires great skill to operate effectively. Using my aptitude in technology, I have trained in the use of sensors with a particular focus on the neutrino detector. My goal – and that of my Benevolent Patron (BP) – is to explore the outer reaches of the Sector to discover great wealth in those derelicts that may have been missed by previous scavengers. My training in navigation will come in handy to speed the long journey to and from distant systems. And if I find hostile pirates or aggressive scavengers, I should be able to escape from them by using asteroid belts, nebulae, and other terrain to slow my pursuers.

salvage_dave01

So I’m essentially a space-nerd. This’ll work, right?

sd_mini1I am in orbit of Jangala, in the Corvus system, with 5000 credits and a hold filled with weapons, drugs, and some other junk. My first goal will be to see if I can find an underworld contact who will pay a high price my illicit goods; as I explained to BP, I wish to leave the smuggling business behind and take on scavenging.

There are no procurement missions, legitimate or otherwise, for illegal goods. I can dip into my reserve, then: I sell some extra junk and purchase fuel and crew contracts. To scavenge derelict ships and debris I’m going to need heavy machinery, but the Hegemony has locked down all available sources. Old habits die hard, as I find what I need on the black market. No volatiles are to be found on Jangala Station however – and I’m going to need a small supply to operate the neutrino detector, so add that to the list.

I’m going to risk a run to the pirate-held Garnir Extraction Depot. I have the navigator lay in a course. We won’t use a sustained burn for this run because we’ll need to be able to maneuver around pirates, if any are out there.

Cycle 206, March 04

Out of range of Hegemony sensors; I’ve ordered our transponder turned off in anticipation of docking at Garnir – and to avoid creating a large sensor reading.

to_garnir1

Rough terrain between Jangala and Barad.

Cycle 206, March 05

Arrived at Garnir. Tough crowd; both the station commander and the quartermaster seem to have picked up the nick-name “Blood”-this and “Blood”-that. Not terribly imaginative if you ask me, but they didn’t because I managed to avoid both of them while selling off some organics and a crate of drugs on the down-low. Meanwhile, my quartermaster found a seller of volatiles to stock up for the neutrino scanner. Doesn’t look like there’s an easy mission to take us out of this system, so I’ll see if I can scavenge after the leavings of the (extremely common) Hegemony patrols. And if a weak enough pirate scout happens along then perhaps this Wayfarer can take it on for that sweet system-wide bounty. Say what you will about the Hegemony, but they love paying bounties.

to_garnir2

Lovely magnetic storm off to port.

garnir_bloods

Maybe it’s some kind of gang thing?

Cycle 206, March 06, first watch

And what do you know, soon after exiting the local volume of Barad, my sensors officer picks up not one but two derelict ships! Didn’t even need to use the fancy neutrino detector to find ‘em, either.

derelict_found

Avast there pilot, and lay in course for yon drifter!

Cycle 206, March 06, second watch

We approach a drifing Wolf (D). We have the supplies to bring it back into operational status and can outfit a skeleton crew. We do so. The “Aurai” is not worth repairing, the list of fundamental defects is long: Degraded Engines, Destroyed Weapon Mounts, Faulty Power Grid, Compromised Hull, Unreliable Subsystems; it’s a mess. We’ll strip the Annihilator launcher to sell it and the hull when we get back to Jangala. They’ll likely turn around and send it for shipbreaking on Agreus in accordance with Hegemony regulations.

derelict_wolf

Looks like it’s only held together by only the force of mutual spite it shares with its last crew.

Cycle 206, March 06, fourth watch

I order the tired recovery crews out a second time; this time we’ve got a Hammerhead (D), though totally inoperative. We strip extra fuel, spare parts, and any undamaged armour plating that can be found. Now we set course for Jangala and stand for some well-earned sleep.

derelict2

This sure beats mining asteroids!

Cycle 206, March 08

Docked back at Jangala and sold the Wolf (D) for almost nothing. I meet with the representative of an independent salvage company about a mission to analyze a derelict in Epsilon Olwyn, but 37 lightyears there and back is pushing it for my fuel supplies sitting at 72 units. Let’s see if there’s anyone offering interesting work on Asharu — and maybe find some salvage along the way.

jangala_missions

Cycle 206, March 10

They weren’t kidding when they said Asharu was a backwater- without the water. Only two contracts were displayed on the missions board, one for an Atlas-load of ore to Aztlan, the other a familiar request for 60 units of fuel to Ragnar Complex in Valhalla. Well, let’s do a bit of mathing: 3 lightyears to Ragnar, 60 fuel for the delivery, and a quick resupply run to Sindria, font of starship fuel and oppression? This could work out. Once in Sindria, I can use the credits to stock up on cheap fuel for a long-range exploration contract that’s sure to be offered from some Diktat bureaucrat with lofty ambitions.

It's a good plan!

It’s a good plan!

Course set for Ragnar Complex. I’ve ordered a Sustained Burn engaged for this long-distance trip, putting our burn up to 20.

course_set_to_ragnar

Burn 20, engage!

Cycle 206, March 13

Just as we jumped in to Ragnar’s volume, we picked up a couple of tailing pathers. They’re fast, but they’re flying garbage. Hopefully the sustained burn keeps us safe, though the decel/accel through the jump-point will be the deciding factor.

pursued_to_ragnar

Pather scum.

Cycle 206, March 14

We got ‘em beat; steady 19 burn against their 12. Bloody Pathers. Can’t trust those people who don’t know the value of credits. Speaking of- shipment was successful and made some bank. Set course to Sindria to load up on fuel!

fuel_delivery

They should really have a word with the logistics department about these fuel problems.

My last sight around Ragnar is a patrol hunting down the Luddic Path Raiders. Good riddance.

pather_pursuit

Ludd can’t help you now, Pather!

Cycle 206, March 19

A quiet sustained burn got us to Sindria. Have made it through the jump-point to the inner system. Long-range sensors have picked up a cluster of unidentified signs among the Stone River asteroids. Sure, could be a pirate fleet with transponders off just lying in wait — but this close to Sindria? Doubt it. I’m guessing its debris. Altering course to investigate.

It could be treasure!

It could be treasure!

Cycle 206, March 21

Debris it is. I’ve ordered salvage parties to recover what they can.

One spacer's rubbish is another's treasure.

One spacer’s rubbish is another’s treasure.

During the operation some bloody idiot broke one of the heavy extractors. Funny thing, we managed to find one in the debris that matched functionality closely enough, so we’re still operational. I’ll have to request that the quartermaster pick up some spare heavy machinery at the next opportunity so we don’t find ourselves operating below minimum safe capacity on a long-range run.

Cycle 206, March 22

Closed with a drifting Wolf (D) apparently left behind by a Diktat patrol. I was prepared to order salvage crews to disembark when the sensors officer warned of a hostile blip incoming – and fast. I’m in no rush to fight pirates in this under-armed Wayfarer, so it’s time to E-burn out of here.

incoming_ping

We make good time, losing the hostile contact among the dancing flares of Sindria.

Cycle 206, March 23

The Emergency Burn got us all the way to Sindria C&C in good time. It’s good to be back to civilization, of a sort. The markets are bountiful and, sweet Ludd, the fuel stocks available put the rest of the Sector to shame. And those prices! I order our tanks filled to the brim – and the minor engine damage from the E-burn repaired in the docks.

Later, I met with just the Diktat military bureaucrat I was looking for and secured an easy 50k contract to scan a derelict in Zeta Tar a mere 18 lights out. The target’s given position in Zeta Tar is vague at best, but that’s why we’ve got the neutrino detector. I order the ship prepped for a long easy burn into the unknown.

ill_take_that_one

I figure this is a good a time as any to find out what I can about our destination. Zeta Tar is a blue giant in the Tar cluster approximately 18 light-years away and … “No planet data available”. I guess it’s off into deep black; this’ll be fun.

This intel is not especially helpful.

This intel is not especially helpful.

I order the navigator to lay in a course and engage Sustained Burn.

The planned course. Planning is key.

The planned course. Planning is key.

Cycle 206, March 25

We’ve left the vicinity of Askonia so I’ve ordered the transponder turned off. No need to attract undue attention, especially as we’ll be burning right through the heart of Luddic space, past Al Gebbar and Eos Exodus before crossing a long patch of deep hyperspace. There’s no telling how many Pather raiders are lurking, and my feelings about Pathers are established.

Cycle 206, March 28

Crossed paths with some Luddic Path raiders, but ha, they’ve got bigger troubles: a mercenary patrol with several destroyers is chasing them down.

Pathers. I hate these guys.

Pathers. I hate these guys.

Cycle 206, March 30

Can’t sleep. The storms of deep hyperspace are booming all night, you can feel it through the hull. They say they’re not really storms, and it’s not really “deep” in any sort of direction we’d understand. Makes no difference.

storms

Cycle 206, April 3

The storms are taking their toll on the ship. I’ve ordered repairs halted; better to save our supplies for survival. Combat readiness will suffer, but if we end up in combat we’ll have lost already. We’ll rely on speed and stealth until additional supplies can be salvaged.

Cycle 206, April 4

We’re out of the deep hyperspace, just off  - ha-ha, the Beta Despair system. How appropriate. It’s clear running however so our effective burn is back up to 20.

beta_despair

Cycle 206, April 5

Approaching Zeta Tar. There are many jump-points, the place is lousy with gas giants. I suspect there’s going to be a lot of junk caught in those gravity wells. Supplies are low, fuel is plentiful, and the salvage crews are eager for something to do after the past week being bounced around in hyperspace. I give order to head for the inner system jump-point; may as well start looking where there’s likely to be plenty of salvage to stock up on supplies before searching the outer reaches of the system for our mission target.

What could go wrong?

What could go wrong?

Cycle 206, April 7

It’s a busy place alright, all sorts of little gravity wells for things to stick in. Setting course for Zeta Tar III.

What, was the Domain Exploratoria naming algorithm not working the day they first mapped this place?

What, was the Domain Exploratoria naming algorithm not working the day they first mapped this place?

Cycle 206, April 10

Absolutely nothing but extremely strong magnetic fields. I’m not even going to bother preliminary surveys of these planets. The neutrino detector isn’t picking up anything interesting this side of the system further out, so setting course onward to the lonely Zeta Tar III L5 asteroid field, then on to Zeta Tar IV’s L4 planetoid.

Nav- append star chart with names "Mostly Hot Air" and "Worthless Rock".

Memo to forward to nav officer- please append star chart with names “Mostly Hot Air” and “Worthless Rock”.

Cycle 206, April 14

Asteroid field has nothing. Nothing on the neutrino detector. Supplies running lower. Putting on a brave face for the crew.

At least we know it works!

At least we know it works!

Cycle 206, April 16

Zeta Tar IV L4: Again nothing, and the neutrino detector catches nothing interesting further out. Setting course for a cluster of inner planets, including Zeta Tar II, a gas giant with three moons, and the lava-world Zeta Tar I. Surely there is something to be found!

Annotated image given to navigation officer; I expect a course solution within the hour.

Annotated image given to navigation officer; I expect a course solution within the hour.

Cycle 206, April 22

Reached the inner cluster of planets, we’re now out of supplies. Had better find something quickly — will perform a sustained burn through the Zeta Tar II L5 which contains a small planetoid before heading to the outer system, first to the cryovolcanic planetoid in Zeta Tar V’s L5, perhaps swinging through Zeta Tar IV’s L5 asteroid cluster.

Lonely and awful. No wonder the Domain never colonized this place.

Lonely and awful. No wonder the Domain never colonized this place.

Cycle 206, April 25

Nothing, and nothing – until we get a ping orbiting Zeta Tar V-L5. This may be our target. Ordered nav to close.

Our luck is about to turn around!

Our fortune is about to turn around!

Cycle 206, April 27, first watch

Sensors officer gave an update: two pings, both unidentified. This may all be worth it after all.

HEGEMONY COMSEC ALGORITHM HAS AUTOMATICALLY REDACTED THIS IMAGE. DISPUTES MAY BE SUBMITTED TO HEGEMONY CITIZEN SERVICES DEPT. C/O INTSEC OMSBUDSDEM

Cycle 206, April 27, second watch

We’ve identified the targets – great news, we’ve found not one but two

[THIS SECTION OF THE LOG HAS BEEN REDACTED BY HEGEMONY COMSEC]

[partial log recovery in this section]

[PARTIAL FILE RECOVERY]

[PARTIAL RECOVERY DISPLAYED]


… for that Ion Cannon – it shut down their weapon systems, one after the other until all four were drifting and …

[DATA UNREADABLE]

… complete victory despite our low combat readiness due to lack of supplies. Picking through the wreckage, salvage crews manage to recover several light PD weapon systems, 17 supplies, fuel, heavy machinery, and usable metals.

Having dealt with the [REDACTED BY HEGEMONY COMSEC] we managed to recover survey data for an ocean planet orbiting a gas giant in the Alpha Tar system. An unexpected but valuable find!

survey_data

[PARTIAL RECOVERY DISPLAYED]

 

The [REDACTED BY HEGEMONY COMSEC] is too large an operation for my salvage team to safely undertake, so we leave it be. Perhaps with the proceeds of this mission we can outfit a larger fleet, perhaps with a Salvage Rig, and return for a more complete operation.

HEGEMONY COMSEC ALGORITHM HAS AUTOMATICALLY REDACTED THIS IMAGE. DISPUTES MAY BE SUBMITTED TO HEGEMONY CITIZEN SERVICES DEPT. C/O INTSEC OMSBUDSDEM

Oddly enough, neither of the [REDACTED BY HEGEMONY COMSEC] was our mission target. But morale is high; this salvage run has already more than paid for itself after a shaky start. I order nav to set course to Zeta Tar V, 60 degrees up the orbital path.

Cycle 206, April 30

Ran the neutrino scanner for a time, all pings correspond to known entities — the fringe jump-point, various gas giants, the Zeta Tar L5 asteroids. We’ll give it another run further along the arc, closer to Zeta Tar V.

I’ve ordered repair to be carried out on the Iota-Max II; we can certainly afford to maximize combat readiness now.

Cycle 206, May 3

Call it a hunch, but I decided to order us off-course to investigate the fringe jump-point. And indeed we found a [REDACTED BY HEGEMONY COMSEC] whose signature was masked from the neutrino scanner by proximity to the jump-point itself! I’m feeling lucky, so I order an approach with salvage teams ready.

Sensors reading active energy signatures inside the hull. Battle stations!

[THIS SECTION OF THE LOG HAS BEEN REDACTED BY HEGEMONY COMSEC]

[partial log recovery in this section]

… four incoming …

… flux overloaded … 

… disabled the Ion Cannon …

last_battle

[PARTIAL RECOVERY DISPLAYED]

… hull breached in …

… evac! …

[END LOG]

Log recovered from databanks of escape pod found in proximity of star Beta Despair. No human remains found in escape pod.

Recovered and redacted log entered into public record at Jangala Station by Zala Liu, commander of recovery operations fleet operating in fringe systems during late cycle 206.

“BP” figure remains unidentified. Ocean world survey data is presumed lost, but an independently-funded survey expedition is rumoured to be outfitting in bay 12.

* * *

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