250k Seemed Like it was Worth a Shot.

Skimming around in my Sidewinder, I’m predominantly a courier at the moment. I’ll haul some crates if they’re going the same way I am. But for the most part I’m on the look out for juicy files to ship around.

So when I found a job for 250k, the biggest contract I’ve been in the position to take to date, I grabbed it with both hands. Not only that, but I also found two 10k jobs for the system I’d pass right through to get to the main one. I was rubbing my hands together in antici......pation of all that lovely cash. :)

The main job was to take data to Hutton Orbital in Alpha Centauri and while most of the courier jobs I’ve taken so far, have come with a “might get attacked” warning, it’s never really happened. Well.. one interdiction, but I got away. But this time I assumed that they really meant it and were paying accordingly.

I bet some of you more seasoned pilots have already guessed where this is going. Thing is that despite this being my second attempt dipping my stripey toes into ED, my L-Plates are still prominently displayed on my ship and I seem determined to dare the game to slap me in the face. I don’t want to, but I keep doing it. “Come on then universe!” I yell while leaning in provocatively. “See if you can slap me!” Only to skip back deftly as EDs gaunletted fist swipes past. “Ha! Toooooo slow ED, to slow for this Badger!”

I had two data missions for Alpha Centauri. The first was the second of the little ones and was at a station (I forget the name now) close to the system arrival point. After lifting off from that one, I pointed myself toward Hutton Orbital and the big score and I kicked the tyres and lit the fires. Erm.... slammed the pedal to the metal? ..... fill in your favourite in this space.

It didn’t really dawn on me at first. Distracted by the hypnotic blur of space rushing by and the lure of upcoming loot, it actually took me a couple of minutes to realise what it was niggling at the edge of my brain.... the distance to target... it was HUGE! I kept staring, convinced I must be reading it wrong. But no. As far as I could tell, this journey was going to take over an hour!

I briefly considered abandoning the mission. But I kept thinking about all that money! And at this point I really need every penny. So I thought, let’s do it! I had some things do do and as long as I kept monitoring my progress in case of that attack, I could just get on with some RL stuff and let ED take care of itself.

It wasn’t until the gauge said I had about 25 minutes to go, that I sat down in front of the screen again and suddenly realised the gravity of my situation. The fuel gauge only had two blocks left and the real-time indicator line above, which steals another block each time it gets to zero, was about to do just that again.

It just never occurred to me to consider the fuel. Up till now I’ve really only thought about it in terms of usage for jumps. Not flying around in normal space. Normally I’d top up every time I landed (assuming I hadn’t scooped from the star on my way in) but it occurred to me that for whatever reason, this time I hadn’t. I had no idea how much I started with and now my second to last block was being used and I had no idea what two blocks of fuel meant in relation to the time and distance I had left to travel!

The second block had only just started and there were now 19 minutes left to Hutton Orbital. I figured that if this current block got me down to nine minutes left, I’d make it by the skin of my teeth. If it didn’t..... then I’d use my remaining block to leap away. But was a single block enough to actually make a leap? I guessed to Barnard’s Star. And if it was, would I arrive there with no fuel and be in the same boat? The safest thing was to leap now and then plan better for another run at this.

But we Badgers are not renowned for always having the wits to play safe. Reading advice from the net I shut down any system I could, to save on any fuel they might be sipping and gritting my teeth I watched the seconds crawl by. “Come on ED, slap my face... you know you want to!”

“Fuel reserves at 10%” the computer announced. Then 5%, then finally “main fuel tank drained!” My last block was in the pipe and now I was well and truly committed. Whether or not I’d have been able to use that block to jump or not was now a moot point. Now I definitely couldn’t. I noticed with horror that the last block did not give me as much fuel in the pipe as the others had and looking at the time left to go, I just didn’t know.

An agonising few minutes later and I realised I was probably going to make it. There was only a tiny sliver of fuel left, but I was so close now. Close enough that I was having to slow down. I needed to get the approach right as I wasn’t sure I even had enough fuel for the loop of shame. It occurred to me then that I’d not been attacked. If they chose now, surely I was sunk. But there was no attack and I’ve never been so relieved to land as when settled onto the platform at Hutton Orbital. Time for my hard earned reward :)

While I was researching about fuel use to try to save myself, I read about the Hutton Mug, which is an item for sale only to pilots who make it out here. I read in the description that popular myth says they are made out of metal plating, taken from the ships which ran out of fuel attempting the trip! That did give me a chuckle, so I bought a few. :)

Badger Out
 
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There're two players types in ED: who visited Hutton Orbital and who did not.
I've heard that it is long travel, but never thought about fuel aspect.
 
There're two players types in ED: who visited Hutton Orbital and who did not.
That's not even the long distance to travel in a single system. There's this one system that has a white dwarf that's 0.27ly away. It's a Draconis system but I forgot the number for it.
 
yeah. I remember thinking I was onto a big score (something like 380k credits! ah... them were the days!), and Alpha Centauri was only one hop away, so I took it on and headed for Hutton.
After a few minutes, I was musing on my little astronomical knowledge and wondered how FD might have implemented Proxima.... checking around the volume on the galmap I couldn't find it... then realised to my horror where I was heading in my engineered, standard fitted engine AspX...

... I got to bed at about 3am
 
It's little stories like this that give this game life.

I must have been a glutton for (Hutton) punishment. I used to do the Hutton booze cruise 2-3 times a day. It all started when I scored a million credit mission at Gilmour Orbiter. I had just enough room in my Viper MK4 for the beer. I stacked half a dozen data missions in the computer and set off. It was a long uneventful trip but netted me a cool 2+ million credits. I reinvested that money in ASP X and stocked full of booze from Tau Ceti before making regular runs out to Hutton. Before long that ASP X was upgraded to a Python (The Snuggly Duckling). The thirst of the Hutton truckers netted me my first 100 million credits and an A graded Python. Thank God they can hold their drink.
 
Loved your story, obviously you are a writer....ED provides great muse inspiration... yes?
Mine:
hee hee.... at least you did it in a craft that could dock... I did it in a large craft and couldn't dock...I didn't know that orbiting outposts couldn't handle large craft so I sat there and sat there and sat there requesting docking authority, declined, declined, declined .....never been back to get my mug... :) but learned a valuable lesson about orbiting outposts and craft size... (once I confirmed it with research)


Hutton orbital Image C/O https://elite-dangerous.fandom.com
 
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Absolutely. :) My favourite games have always been those with immergent gameplay, which produce those excellent water cooler moments.
yeah, agree it has an organic quality where the player writes his own story... his own campaign... etc... a welcome change to the usual games I have played n the past. A trekian fantasy to go where no one has gone before... ....lol "Strong the muse is", Yoda chuckled.
 
LOL. Both those big ships were out of stock sadly. But they promise I can have one of each if I go again tomorrow. :)
 
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