One man’s look at flying solo
Hey there, this is Old Jegger. Thanks for tuning in to hear this old dog howl about this and that. Hopefully, I spit out something that strikes a chord or makes you feel a little less lonely about the vacuum of space wrapped around your ship.
Strange to think about that, isn’t it? That only a bit of metal separates you from, well, nothing. I realize that’s something we all take for granted in this day and age, but it’s a pretty spectacular feat when you think about it. Goes to show that just because something is common that doesn’t mean it ain’t incredible too.
In fact, I’d argue that a lot of stuff we take for granted today is pretty incredible, if you really think about it. Like how our lenses just feed us all this info. Or how about those Torpedo Burrito vending machines? Honestly, I’ve never gotten a burrito from one of those things that wasn’t delicious and perfectly wrapped. The engineering and maintenance that must go into ensuring that level of consistency across the Empire is just astonishing.
Anyways, not sure if you can tell, but I’m in a contemplative mood at the moment. Just had one of those experiences that makes you stop and take stock of things. Now, don’t you worry about Old Jegger. Everything’s gonna be ok and, in fact, I’m probably better off because of it. In my opinion, it’s good to get your cage rattled every once in a while. Keeps you on your toes, so you don’t get caught flat-footed.
’Cause it’s those simple, small things we all take for granted that can really come back to kick you in the keester if you’re not careful. For me, it was a reminder that no matter where you are in this universe, you can’t take your safety for granted.
It all started after I made a few modifications to Shana. I met a hauler at a Covalex in Baker who recommended a few tweaks and, well, they worked like a charm. They made Shana’s shield genny a little more efficient so I could pump out a stronger shield while saving some energy. It was a nice upgrade, but it also lulled me into a false sense of security.
The fact that Shana now had a slightly better shield got into my head. Suddenly, I was feeling safer than I had ever been, so I started doing things I usually wouldn’t, like venturing into Oberon even though I know Vanduul keep being spotted there. Coming out of there unscathed just made it worse, so when I was back in secure space, I wasn’t afraid of nothing. That mentality was exactly why I stumbled in the heap of trouble I found in Ellis, of all places.
I had just enjoyed some cruising time around Noble, soaking up its beauty, before settling in for a quiet trip into the system’s outer reaches. As Shana passed one of Noble’s moons, I noticed a small blip on my scans. I slowed to a stop and sat down at the scan station to investigate.
After a little fine tuning, I was pretty certain the blip was a wrecked ship caught in the orbit of Ellis 5b. Now, I’ve been around the block enough to know that particular moon gets pelted by meteors. Usually, I avoid it just for that reason, but I know those high-strike areas also increase your chance of finding decent scrap. So, excited by the prospect of what might be waiting, I quickly charted my course and got Shana to the coordinates as fast as I could.
As I dropped out of QT and brought her in close, my heart leapt at the sight of a brand, spanking new Constellation Aquila floating in front of me. Looked like it could’ve been right off the showroom floor, if it wasn’t for the gaping hole punched through both sides of its cargo hold. I’ll be honest, as I think back on it, I’m a little ashamed that it took a few seconds to think about who had set out in this pristine vessel only to meet such a sad fate.
I mean, I’ve explored my fair share of wrecks and seen what the effects of space can do to folks, and yeah, it’s taken a toll on me. When you’re all by your lonesome, there aren’t as many distractions to keep your mind from focusing on things you’d rather not. For the longest time I learned to make myself numb to it. I tried to think of it as business and nothing else. I ain’t saying I’m proud of that. A person’s a person and it’s always sad when someone dies tragic, but dwelling on it ain’t healthy either.
For a while it worked. Like anything, you do it enough and you’ll get used to it. Until I came across this one wreck that … yeah, it’s tough for me to talk about even now.
Well, after seeing the Aquila, I closed my eyes and said a little prayer I learned from some Church of the Journey folks for those lost on the drift. After it was done, I noticed a number of crates floating outside the ship but still within its gravitational pull. I took that as a sign I was the first to find this wreck. That’s when I started to get excited again. Shana’s electrical system was in dire need of an upgrade and this ship would do the job just fine.
I climbed out of the pilot’s seat and started putting on my EVA suit. How fortunate was Old Jegger, getting first pickings on a ship like this? It was almost too good to be true. Then it suddenly was.
Shana’s sensors started to scream. With my EVA suit half on, I stumbled to the cockpit to see a number of ships coming in hot. So I cranked up the shields to max only to lose power to the entire ship. I’d never pushed the shield so hot, and it obviously didn’t agree with the rest of the system.
My heart just about beat out of my chest. I was a sitting duck, and with my EVA suit half on, seconds away from becoming a space popsicle if Shana’s hull was breached. Suddenly, I saw a flash. It took me a second to realize what it was — an EMP blast. These outlaws had no intention of shooting me to pieces. No, sir, these folks were intent on boarding Shana, and that’s probably what saved my life.
Since my maxed shields had already popped the system, it wasn’t affected by the EMP, but the outlaws didn’t know that. They proceeded thinking I’d be down for a bit, but seconds later Shana’s systems came back online and she roared to life.
Took those wanna-be-boarders by surprise too. I dumped every last drop of power into the engines and quickly put enough distance between us to avoid another EMP. The outlaws chased me for a bit, but once my new shields were deployed, at a more reasonable power level, they couldn’t make much of a dent in ’em. When they finally peeled off, I QTed to a safe location.
After the scare, I promised myself I’d get back to basics and stop being so cavalier in my actions. So, to make sure I’d keep that promise to myself, I sat down to tell you all about this. Gotta say, it’s kind of embarrassing for someone as seasoned as myself to admit to falling into a trap I should’ve seen systems away. Hopefully, by hearing my tale of foolishness, maybe a few of you have learned what not to do.
Just goes to show that it don’t matter how many years you have on you, if you want to survive the drift, you can’t take anything for granted.
Until next time, this is Old Jegger signing off. Somewhere, far from home.