Just another pilot's story

Tell us your stories of Elite: Dangerous!
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L'Kas Rykr
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Re: Just another pilot's story

Postby L'Kas Rykr » Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:05 pm

Or both! :mrgreen: After all, some of the best either started crazy, or went crazy.
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Re: Just another pilot's story

Postby L'Kas Rykr » Tue Aug 11, 2015 4:13 pm

46 hours. 10 days. I did some rough calculations, and it’ll take me that long to get to Sag A*. Right now, I’m sitting above a metal-rich planet >13,000Ls from its parent star at a ~90 degree orbit compared to the rest of the planets in the system. I’m thinking it was a captured planet. The only way it could’ve wound up in this orbit if it formed around this star is if another massive object came by and seriously disturbed its orbit. From what I understand, most planets form on roughly the same plane around their stars.

Anyway, yeah, 10 days, 46 hours. I get an average of 3.5 hours of flight time on the weekdays, about 6.5-7 hours on Fridays, and 7.5-8 hours on weekends. At an average of 500 LY/hr, with 23,000 LY to go, that’s another 46 hours or 10 days. I tend to busy myself with diagnostics, meditation, and log-writing on weekdays, but I buckle down Fridays and the weekends. The system I’m in, can’t remember the name off the top of my head, is ~2400 LY from TZ Arietis. It’s the furthest out I’ve ever been. Even the Big Dog was only ~1800 LY away.

Found an interesting minor exploring method. Jump in, hit the system with an ADS pulse, take a look at the system map, then scan any planet that looks like it could be something good. Found a couple water worlds that way. I doubt Humanity will get this far out within my lifetime, but the data’s still worth a pretty penny. People have found Earth-like planets on this trip, so I’m hoping I will too. I don’t even really care if someone found it first, I’ll still scan it. The only thing I’ll miss is the tag and the 50% bonus. I’ve already put my name on a few things out here, provided I can get back home before someone else can.

Many people know this already, but I’ll say it anyway: The Universe at large may be cold and uncaring, but if you appreciate and respect its power, you can survive longer than those who don’t. All pilots know that flying too close to an astronomical object in supercruise is bad for you. We all know what can happen. The problem with most pilots, though, is that since they’re usually no more than 20-odd LY from the nearest station they tend to take more risks. “Oh, I’m only 5 ly from such-and-such station, I can make it back no problem.” And then there’s the insurance. Rebuy at 5%, and if you have the money, no worries. Even a successful commodities trader is only inconvenienced by the destruction of their ship. They rebuy it and start the run over. They may have lost a bit of money and time, but it’ll be made up with little issue.

Explorers, on the other hand, tend to learn real quick that when you’re far from home, you could lose a lot of money that is very difficult to get back. Especially on a long expedition. Take my trip to the Big Dog, VY Canis Majoris. ~3600 LY round-trip and 1.5 million credits. It took me two days to collect all that data, before I honed my methods. If my ship had been destroyed, I’d have to make that trip all over again to make that money back. A trader would only have to make a round trip of ~20 LY and have the money back in 15 minutes or so. Back before I honed my methods, I’d have had to spend a good couple of 8-hour days making a round trip of 3600 LY to make that back. Now, I could do it in one not-quite-8-hour day, and actually make more, but still, that’s a long day.

Don’t get me wrong. Traders have no shortage of risks, and in their business, time is money. I understand that, and I’m not saying their risks are less than an explorer’s, just different. It takes them a couple 5-10 minute runs to make a couple million. It takes an explorer a lot longer to make the same couple million. Some people may think explorers are just lazy and don’t want to do any actual work. They just go around looking at things to make a buck. How hard can that be? To anybody asking that: A lot harder than you think.

An explorer is regularly a long way from the nearest station, and therefore from repairs. We have to navigate carefully, so as to not run out of fuel. We have to fly carefully, so as not to get gravity-slammed by a star or planet. We have to prioritize and make sure that certain systems are in good enough condition so that we can make it to our destination and back. We don’t have any nav-beacons to navigate by, so we are blazing our own trails, rather than following others’.

Since navigational computers are built assuming travel in known space, they can’t plot any more than 1000 LY at a time. On a 50000 LY round-trip, that’s at least 50 separate plots. At an average of two hours per plot (in my experience/case), that’s a roughly 100 hour trip. And that’s not counting down time. Down time for sleeping, eating, diagnostics, repairs, etc can easily make a 100 hour trip into a 2-300 hour trip. I said earlier that I had 46 hours to go to get to Sag A*, but that it’ll take me nearly 10 days to do it. That’s because of the downtime. A more experienced pilot with a better ship and more time on his/her hands could do it in 3 or 4 days. Since this is my first major trip, I’m taking the time to do it carefully and make sure myself and my ship are capable enough to handle it.

I seem to be rambling at this point, so I'll end it here for the day. Fly safe, commanders. o7
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L'Kas Rykr
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Re: Just another pilot's story

Postby L'Kas Rykr » Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:16 pm

If you don't believe in luck, you're a fool. It's one of those things you can't really explain. It strikes at random, and it's only felt after the fact. Well, Lady Luck decided to give me a kiss last night. It was near the end of my day, I was tired, and I wasn't watching my fuel level. I jumped for the next system without thinking. When I get there, I notice my fuel level was damn near empty. A ton at most. Well, the star I jumped in on was a class M red dwarf. Lucky me. Filled my tanks and made a few more jumps before ending my day. I didn’t record how far away from home I am, and my computer’s down for diagnostics, but I’m nearly 4,000 LY out.

Right now, though, I’m sitting above my first Earth-like world. It’s the 6th planet of the main star of a Trinary system. Apparently, Lady Luck kissed another person in my area, as my morning meditation was interrupted by the metallic thud of an object impacting my ship. No damage, as it was an escape capsule and wasn’t going that fast relative to me. The pilot hadn’t got much sleep in the cramped capsule, so she’s sleeping in my bunk. Don’t get any funny ideas, because I’m not. I rescued a fellow pilot and explorer, and I’m letting her rest, that’s all. It will be nice to have someone to talk to, though.

-----

I'm going to spice things up and add a bit of dialogue, narration, and maybe some romance (I'll keep it PG-13, I have no intention of breaking any rules here). I'll do it in a separate thread, but it'll be tied to this one.
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Re: Just another pilot's story

Postby Straylight0 » Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:28 pm

Your can plot 1000 LY? Damn, I've never managed more than 500! I'll try it out again later tonight...

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Re: Just another pilot's story

Postby L'Kas Rykr » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:01 am

Yup. Honestly, I figured they all did that. Fly safe o7.
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Re: Just another pilot's story

Postby L'Kas Rykr » Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:37 pm

~4700 LY out. Made good time last night, and had an interesting conversation with Rakhi, the pilot I rescued 1000 LY ago. My last log entry was at ~3700 LY out, by the way. I’m just about a fifth of the way there. ~21000 LY to go. This trip is definitely taking longer than I thought, but that’s okay. About the only thing that’ll make me turn around at the PNR (12500 LY) is a spent AFMU and low module health. Obviously, the canopy integrity is a concern, too. If that goes out, even here, I’m finished. I’ll have to Self Destruct and start over. Needless to say, It’ll be a while before I restart THIS trip.

Okay, enough existential worries. I’m flying smart, so the chances of the above taking place are acceptably low. Not sure how low, and I’m not going to piss Lady Luck off by trying to calculate it. Women tend to feel insulted when you don’t trust them, and “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Speaking of, my “Damsel in Distress” (Her words, I swear), Rakhi. Some people may be asking “How’d they work out the sleeping arrangements?!” Easy: She got the quarters, I stayed in the cockpit. The cockpit’s a far sight better than an escape pod, but I figured she deserved the more comfortable 0-G sleeping bag after her ordeal.

According to Rakhi, she’s an explorer, like me. Seeing as we’re so far out, I don’t doubt that. She had a Cobra configured for long-range flight. Apparently, she’s as new to this as I am, as the huge horizons of Brown and White Dwarfs gave her hell. She was gravity-slammed a number of times and spent her AFMU doing repairs. Eventually, she turned back, only to get slammed again and busted her canopy open. Obviously, she ejected. She’d been out here for days, drifting, until she thudded against my ship.

Seems she’s relatively new to flying in general. I at least started by doing courier runs, light exploring, and RES bounty hunting, so I learned fine control pretty quick. Although, I’m thinking that when I get home, I’m going to do some slalom practice in a Sidewinder and fly through the outer architecture of Snyder Enterprise. They may not be too thrilled with that, but as long as I’m careful, it isn’t illegal. (Just watched a video on YT of a guy demonstrating FAOFF turning, slaloming through the outer architecture of a coriolis station, and now I want to try it.)

When she saw me pulling the throttle back in hyperspace, she asked why I did it. That’s why I say she must be even greener than me. Also, she headed out just as soon as she could get and outfit her Cobra. I explained it, and she seemed a bit embarrassed, thinking it was a stupid question. But, as we all know, the only stupid question is the one not asked, especially when you’re learning. Anyway, we talked about our experiences, how we got our licenses, and what led up to our choosing a career as a pilot. Like I said, an interesting conversation.
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Re: Just another pilot's story

Postby L'Kas Rykr » Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:32 pm

~6500 LY from home, 19404LY from SagA. I buckled down last night and put 2200 LY behind me, and finally broke the 20KLY barrier. Found my first Gas Giant with Water-based life. It was in a binary orbit with a ringed metal-rich planet I wanted to get a closer look at. It may have been by chance, but I’ll take the credits just the same. When I get done with this trip, I’ll post my progress reports. Been keeping a written record of where I’ve been (at the end of each leg at any rate) and what I’ve seen.


That’s my log entry for Thursday, August 13, 3301. I decided to buckle down Friday and managed to put another ~2700 LY behind me, so I never got around to posting Thursday's log. The following is the results of my weekend flight.

9202 LY out as of Friday, August 14, 3301
11400+ LY out as of Sunday, August 16, 3301

I could’ve gotten further, but the stress of drifting for days in an escape pod with little hope of rescue finally caught up to my passenger. Rakhi suffered a nasty rhinovirus infection that laid her out. I spent all of Saturday and quite a bit of Sunday taking care of her and taking steps to prevent becoming sick myself. Not that I mind, though. We all know the risks we take when we go out this far. Obviously, I packed decent medical supplies just in case. We’re quite far from the nearest hospital.

I’m just about halfway to my destination. It’s nearly time to decide whether I’m going to push on, or head back. So far (knock on wood) Izumi’s Intrigue is in good shape. 94% hull integrity, upper 90’s for my individual modules, no cracks in the canopy. As stated above, Rakhi got bulldozed by a rhinovirus, and I may get a whack from it later, unless the inoculations do their job. I do know that my air scrubbers will have it purged by the time I get back to civilization.

All in all, though, we’ve not hit a barrier we couldn’t overcome yet. I won’t say what the future may hold, but so far, so good. The first 5000 LY were probably the toughest. Now that I know what I’m doing better than I did when I started, It’s getting easier to put the lightyears behind me. I could get a thousand behind me in a day’s flying, but now I can get a couple thousand.

Rakhi and I had another interesting conversation last night. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve really opened up since Izumi died, and to a relative stranger no less. She wanted to know exactly why I decided to make this pilgrimage. Most Commanders would wait until they’re more experienced to make such a long trek. I told her why. Balance, Zen, Nirvana, whatever you want to call it was and still is a big part of Izumi’s and my life. I won’t go into too many details,(Author’s Note: those will be in the next chapter of my novella. /Author’s Note) but Izumi and I are - I guess “were” would be more appropriate - very similar. Like her, If my emotions were to run unchecked, I’d likely end up being a Reaver at worst, and guilty of multiple charges voluntary manslaughter at best.

Izumi had to learn to control her emotions the hard way, but I was lucky enough to have help. First Elizabeth, my older foster-sister, then Izumi. If I started causing trouble in the orphanage, Elizabeth had no qualms about knocking me on my butt and telling me in no uncertain terms to calm down and behave. She was the only one who could bully the bully, and I love her for that. She kept me out of serious trouble by putting me in my place as Beta to her Alpha.

Izumi had a softer, more lenient touch than Elizabeth, but by that time, that’s all I needed. Her best method was simply meditation. She’d instruct me on how to acknowledge my emotions and then control them by putting the energy toward something more positive, productive, and/or constructive. Because of her tutelage, I was able to be trained by the Federal Navy garrison at Trevethick, and then pass the psych evaluations of the Pilots Federation representatives there in order to get my legally valid license.

Despite all that, though, I still feel lost. Not sure where to really focus my efforts. That’s why I’m going for what I consider to be the best example of balance in Nature, the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. It can and will destroy anything unfortunate enough to cross it, but it’s a massive (pun fully intended) part of what holds the galaxy together. If I can get even a shred of inspiration from studying it, this trip will be worth it. Hell, even if I don’t, the sheer novelty makes it worth it in my eyes.

Well, I’ve recorded my thoughts, so back to checking and rechecking my ship before I put another couple thousand lightyears behind me. Fly safe out there, Commanders.

Supplemental, as I'm sure someone's going to see it before I post tomorrow's log. I got an invite to join Ghost Squadron, sent in a request, and was accepted. My Signature will show it eventually. Details to come tomorrow.
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Re: Just another pilot's story

Postby L'Kas Rykr » Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:29 pm

Halfway there. 12500LY out. Time to decide whether I’ll turn back or keep going. Due a mix-up that had me in reverse in supercruise, my engines were not responding to my throttle inputs. As such, as I tried to jump to my stopping point for the night, the combined heat of the star and the charged FSD gave my modules a bit of a beating. The cargo hatch suffered the most, going from 97% to 83%. The rest of my modules are still in the 90’s so I’m still okay. If I continue to fly carefully, I’m sure that I can make it in my Diamondback Scout.

Seeing as how I now have a passenger, I can’t make the decision alone, as it will affect her as well. Rakhi and I have discussed it, so now I just have to weigh the points. It seems that the general consensus among PF pilots is that you should make the trip at least once, especially if you’re an explorer. It was a short conversation, and I’ve been thinking it over for the last hour or so. I’ll post tomorrow with my decision.

For now though, further details on yesterday’s supplemental log entry. Apparently something about me caught the eye of Ghost Squadron. Being out 11400 LY, it took a couple days for me to get the message, but I’ve been invited to join by Commander Veyder, a squadron leader within the wing. I read up on the wing, and one thing caught my eye among many good qualities: “Our only allegiance is to Justice.” Sounded like my type of group, so I sent in a request to join, and it was accepted in short order. I’d say I’m a step closer to finding my way in the ‘verse.
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Re: Just another pilot's story

Postby L'Kas Rykr » Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:03 pm

Rakhi and I decided to keep going, and my distance from home is finally larger than my distance from SagA. ~14480 LY from TZ Arietis, ~11340 LY from SagA. At this rate, we’ll be there by Friday. And soon after that, we’ll have some company.

I mentioned joining Ghost Squadron yesterday, and last night I winged up with a few fellow members. All four of us are headed to the core, thus my prediction of company. I plan on waiting for them if I get there first, which I may. My corebound fellows are Dobermann224, Barman31, and Belstarion. There may be someone else, but those were the three I joined last night. We’re all ~2000 LY from each other, but with FTL communication (TeamSpeak), we might as well be right next to each other.

They’re all above me, but at different angles. Dobermann’s to my bow and many degrees starboard, Belstarion’s aft off to port, and Barman’s just about right off my stern, just a hair starboard. Not sure what they’re all flying yet, and I couldn’t tell from their Inara profiles as they all have several ships, and none listed as their main, but I’ll find out when I meet them.

On to my thoughts of navigation. Now that I’m nearing the central bulge, the amount of stars has increased exponentially. The sheer density of just main sequence stars was enough to severely hinder my navigational computer’s plotting system. I had to narrow the field to show just G-types. I picked G-types, mainly because I’ve always found something interesting around a G-type star.
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L'Kas Rykr
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Re: Just another pilot's story

Postby L'Kas Rykr » Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:35 pm

~16400 LY from home and only ~9802 LY from SagA. I’ll definitely be there by end-of-day Friday. It took a few times longer to get past the 20KLY barrier than it did to get from there past the 10KLY barrier. I actually made good time last night, despite having to detour 250 LY down to clear my navcomp’s conniptions. I’m still running into a lot more stars than when I started, but getting out of the galactic plane has definitely helped. It also helped only plotting 500 LY at a time rather than 1000.

Also, I’m running into a lot more main sequence stars, which is keeping my tank fuller for longer. I didn’t have to detour to a main sequence at all last night, as I hit enough to keep going along my plots. I may just stick to a couple hundred lightyears above or below the galactic plane from now on. Seems to be a bit more efficient, which means faster travel. Short log today, as these were my only relevant thoughts. Fly safe, Commanders. o7
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