Monthly Archives: October 2011

Moon Unit Flapper

Having taken my first risk, suffered my first loss, and then enacted my first swift and fiery retribution all in the space of a few hours, I’m feeling pretty good. My bank balance is just shy of five figures and my moth is well equipped for my role. I decide to wander further afield in search of opportunities – I need to decide whether to spruce up my Silver-Y with better guns and components, or to save up and just trade it in for a better model altogether. Maybe I should head to the mines to see about getting a foothold on the economy.

While doing so, I come across an abandoned shipment of ore almost immediately, and liberate it for the cause.

I sell the ore at Alpha and return to my wanderings. Come day 10, I’ve received a message from the cops, sent to all fighters, to come and check their wanted list. Looks like word of my shameless ambushing of the wounded and plain old kill stealing has spread. A fearsome warrior, Cass is more than a match for any pilot, as long as they’re completely helpless and very nearly dead. And possibly crippled. Could we get “crippled” added to that? No? Well, alright.

To celebrate, I find another cop shooting at a suspect, and unceremoniously steal his kill. I’m starting to feel genuinely bad about doing this as it’s kiiind of an exploit, however in this instance I have a good excuse – the suspect is carrying four salvage drones (you can carry moth equipment as cargo rather than fit it), which will sell for four thousand rubles each. The cops won’t care about cargo, so it’s mine, all mine.

Carrying this kind of gear is a beacon to pirates and even some hard-up traders, so I dock at the nearest trading post and sell immediately, taking my bottom line up to over 34,000. That should be enough to buy a new ship. I think it’s time I went shopping.

There’s nothing good on sale Downtown, so I fly via the Reservoir to Highrise, which is as the name suggests full of tall, narrow buildings, including many residential areas but a surprising number of shops. Including a moth shop.

Inside are a Neo Tiger, a Hawk, and a Moon Moth. All of these are better than what I have. All are within my budget.

The Neo Tiger is fast, but handles poorly. The Hawk is of average speed and handles quite well. Both can fit basically any upgrade and more weapons. The Moon Moth is the cheapest, and a bit slower than the others (though still faster than what I have), and can’t install the best engine.

However, it handles very well, and is significantly cheaper than the others. I’ll need cash left over to upgrade it (the model for sale doesn’t even have a cargo pod), so… what the hell. Now where’d I put my wallet..?

Look at that! Pretty sexy, no? A little on the lurid side, but I don’t have the patience to go into the game’s files and fix the paint job. Besides, I like primaries. I trade in my old Silver-Y, and am left with about 18,000 koruna. However, without a cargo pod and drone I will be the world’s crappest scavenger, able to salvage only what I can nudge along the ground and scrape up the wall of a shop into its airlock, a bit like that scene with the penny in Ghost.

So, it’s off to the nearby Trading Post, where I pick up a small cargo pod, then look up the cheapest drone for sale in town. This is listed as available in the Mines crater. Erk. There are two available, but I’ll need to be quick as they’re about a thousand cheaper than anywhere else. And away we go!

Here be tunnels! I should add that I’ve replaced the default tunnel and hangar textures, and though I actually kind of prefer the originals, I really can’t be bothered to reinstall everything. In any case, they look pretty much the same either way. The bar running parallel to the tunnel is a monorail, incidentally. The monorails flit about through all the craters, taking traders to and from their hangars to conduct business, as well as ferrying some generic passengers about. They can be targeted and shot down, and even ridden around in if you wait at a station for a while. I might do that one day; take a few days off, like.

You may have also noticed that the Moon Moth is a two-seater. It can be used as a taxi, though only in multiplayer, unfortunately, as AI pilots are too intelligent to risk getting in when I’m driving.

I get there just in time, I think, as one of the drones has gone and on the way out, another pilot is lining up to enter. Too slow, son. But I’ll let you have a go on my drone if you buy me a drink. No? Fine, have it your way.

Next up, I should get a price check on some better hardware. I have a laser installed already, but having a better ship and not upgrading the engine is just daft. After checking in at the local repair joint, though, I plump for a better power cell instead – this moth seems pretty power hungry, as I burned through two thirds of my reserves just getting here.

The Alternative Cell is the only one they have, and is a bit pricey at $4,428. It actually has a lower capacity than my current one, however it also recharges much faster, which will mean less time spent strumming my fingers in lightwells. Could be particularly handy if I draw too much attention and need to charge and bail.

As I’ve not been here before, I have a quick tour of the Mines area. Seems sparsely populated, and what’s this?

“Prison oubliette”?

What’s an oubliette? I must investigate!

O…kay. Docking here triggers a video delivered in the classic (read: dreadful) late 90s hammy sci-fi FMV acting style. Apparently pilots aren’t very welcome here. So um… why let me in, you dolt?

Nothing to do here, and though prison mine beneath offers lots of material for sale, it’s not at a price that will bring a profit. Moving on, I fly past a separate Lazarus mining area, and then a Klamp-G one. They really do have their fingers in every pie here. Seems like the smart thing to do would be to team up and super-oppress the underclass, like Oceania and Eurasia, or Cameron and Clegg.

I also find a hideout for… well, look:

Sith manor. Well that’s not ominous or anything. Think I might be giving Zak Airbrain a wide berth if I see him. I like the clever ploy of basically naming yourself “harmless fool”, though. Might have to borrow that one next time I’m hatching a sinister plot to eat all the ewoks, or whatever it is Sith do.

The mines, it seems, has nothing much in it but mines. Bit of a coincidence. Boring, though. The bottom of the supply web is here, or at least a major part of it – ore and gems go into pretty much everything on Titan – but I’m not kitted out for trade, nor do I know the routes. Besides, it looks like prices are poor right now. No, I need to be getting back to where there are crowds and crimms. Plus I could do with better software. Back to Downtown!

Like a good citizen, I stand by and do nothing while a heroic cop tries to stop a pirate and bites off more than he can chew. I will definitely watch Crimewatch next week – I could maybe apply to be in the reconstruction. Just picture the appeal for witnesses, with me in the background snorting into my tea. Brilliant.

But yeah anyway, the cop bites it pretty hard. I swoop in and tidy up. No cargo, as police usually only carry doughnuts and a picture of a black guy with a bullseye on. The next day, as there’ve been no kills in the area, I stop in at a Software Shack and upgrade everything (though I can’t afford night vision or autopilot), pretty much empyting my account. If I were a trader this would be game over, but as long as I have my drone and a working engine, all is well for the life of salvage.

On leaving the hangar, my new power software reveals that my new cell was an even better deal than I’d thought. Its recharge rate is so great that in daytime, I can cruise about at 2/3 thrust and still charge my cell just from the ambient sunlight. I won’t ever need to visit a lightwell unless I get into a fight or fly flat out for long periods. Efficiency, thy name is Cass.

Later still, I come across a long and drawn out, but clearly one-sided fight. Two pirates are laying into someone with a bunch of chemicals and enough defensive gear to … well, to cause a long and drawn out fight. He’s here letting off several flares to see off an incoming missile, but is either a terrible pilot or has no decent weapons, as he barely touches his attacker. He even has a hologram system installed, and makes liberal use of it to throw off his attackers. However, he fails the second part of the standard hologram procedure, as he neglects to escape or counter-attack afterwards. What a timewaster.

You can just about see his hologram there. The idea is that it flies off and your attacker is confused and goes after it while you skedaddle and/or wheel around and shove a pulse laser up his nostril. This guy failed to do either, so the pirates eventually finish him off.

I can only assume the trader must have sunk all his money into that cargo, or the poor dope would have cut his losses. Oh well. They’re my gains now! Hey pirate dudes! What’s red and yellow and is closer to the booty than you?

Yoink!

I’m away man. I’m in. I’m bad. I’m real. I’m… I’m under attack. Crap.

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Privateer Emotion

Chaos! Lovely, destructive chaos. I have little idea who’s here, and the three or four dogfights going on all round me are impossible to track, but I can guess. Cops shooting pirates, pirates shooting traders, gangsters shooting each other, and somewhere at the bottom of it is me, waiting like a vulture for the explosions to start.

I’ll be honest; the next few minutes are a bit of a blur. The competition was right there with me, but all the animosity above us meant that the world was raining scrap and discarded goodies down on us all. I was like a drunkard in a brewery, snatching jealously at everything in sight and constantly checking through every target on radar, looking up at their frantically firing vessels with naked avarice. There may have been some drooling.

Once people started to go down, I lost count of how much metal I picked up, however when I was first to pounce on a cargo of 5 tonnes (or whatever) of food, I knew I had to get out of there. Quit while you’re ahead, right?

The nearby Shears Yard were happy to pay me about 500 apiece for the food, presumably to feed their workforce. They don’t want the scrap though, so I head off back to Downtown Recycling and sell off the metal that I’d managed to nab before my rivals, taking me up to a pleasant 3882 ducats.

Not a bad result really, considering how many other people were competing for that haul. I probably came off better than anyone – even the victorious fighters were badly shot up, and the other bottom feeders were far too slow to grab much. I swing by the scene once everything’s sold, but everyone’s dispersed.

Later in the day, a cop shoots down a pirate who was sharing a lightwell with me, allowing me to scoop up his wreck and a large pile of sheet metal he left behind. Sheet metal is one of the things the recycling centres and such make with the scrap I provide, so my selling it off at Central Industrial could be the second time I’ve sold it at no cost to myself. How poetic. Maybe we should work a scam together: I bring scrap, they process it and sell the result, and I quietly shoot down their customer and sell it back to them again. Repeat to fade. Or possibly police sirens.

Come day seven, a message from Junkyard allows me to locate their building with my new fancy software. They want junk and I want cash. If only there were something we could do!

I go to visit them in Riverside crater – as you might expect, this has a river running through it. It’s also home to a lot of bars and suspicious derelict warehouses. Rumour has it that there are drug dens all over the place here. I wouldn’t know of course, being usually far too drunk to care.

The junkyard is the tallest building around – my engine even threatens to stall as I approached their airlock. After my delivery, I have twelve grand in the bank. Time to make some investments!

I drop in on a nearby weapon shops owned by Klamp-G, the second major company/faction in town. Selection’s poor, but I sign for some flares, which the salesman assures me won’t clash with my platforms. I suspect he may have been patronising me.

Next up is software. I install Navigation, and upgrade my radar and shield to maximum. Radar will improve my range, and shield will absorb more and recharge faster. Even a weak moth like mine can take a fair few shots before giving up, but it’s best not to reach that point in the first place – repairs cost money, and you can be structurally intact but still be seriously combat- and flight-impaired. Some weapons specifically damage your moth’s CPU, which can wipe out your software entirely, so good shielding pays for itself in no time.

An extended fight between two neo tigers – a pirate and a Klamp patrol – results in a boring stalemate. On my travels I buy some chaff from another weapon shop.

More fruitless scuffles happen throughout the afternoon. Slow day. It’s not until the next morning that I chance upon a cop laying mercilessly into a pirate, Ciaran Mafiablade, as he tries to recharge.

I decide to weigh in. I’d call it my first fight, but it was nothing so dignified. It was, in fact, a naked kill steal, as the guy was almost dead before I opened fire. My laser is very rapid-firing, so I get the kill shot, and shortly thereafter a message from the cops offering me a £2,000 reward for doing 3% of the work, while the guy doing the rest gets nothing. A career in management beckons. Thanks for the help, Constable Sucker! Good luck with that promotion, yeah?

I’m such a dick.

For the rest of the day, pretty much nothing happens, so I focus on shopping. Prices are high for better weapons. Even lasers are now selling for twice what mine cost. Should look into getting into their supply chain when I have the money. I happen to be docked at ‘techparts’ in Downtown the next day, thinking they might sell equipment, when a message comes from Downtown Munitions. They want computer components, and guess what Techparts sell?

I’m not a trader, but opportunities to make easy money are not to be sniffed at on Titan. Though it’s risky, the worst that can happen is I get attacked on the way over and have to sacrifice the cargo to escape. That’ll cost me most of my cash, but hey, it’s not like I worked very hard for it. Buy! Buy! Sell! Soy!

I buy four Arbitraries of computer components at about £1,600 each, and use my new nav gear to target the munitions plant. It’s about halfway across the crater. As long as no pirates come my way, it’ll be a quick and simple flight.

Naturally, a pirate comes my way almost immediately.

Dean Wildbane is his name, and my computer helpfully warns me that he’s targeted me, giving me a few seconds to hit full throttle and dive for cover. Dive! Bogeys at 6 o’clock! Er… vaguely homo-erotic banter! Gratuitous volleyball scene (I haven’t seen Top Gun)!

His opening volley comes from off screen – in my silly panic I forgot to check my radar, but he’s at full shields, so there’s little I can do anyway. Lasers, like mine, are close to useless against shields, and at night the combination of taking damage and firing a lot will drain my cheapo battery in no time. I could hit him with a missile, but I’m already committed to fleeing.

My shields don’t hold out for long. After several seconds of fire, it’s clear I’m onto a loser here. Times to cut my losses, and dump my precious cargo. Bastard.

I lower myself to the ground, trying to get into a position to try a sucker drop. This is what it sounds like – you drop the cargo so they’ll stop shooting, then you immediately pick up the cargo again and leg it, hoping it’ll buy you a few seconds.

Annoyingly, in this case, I don’t have the speed or manoeuverability for it. Gah, it’s incredibly frustrating, just sitting here watching this git scoop up my resources lik… hang on.

He’s picked up the scrap. And he’s leaving. He… he took the cheapest item in the game, and left behind £7,000 worth of computer parts.

Dumbass.

Minutes later, I’ve flogged them to net several hundred quid – the gross being about 35 times as much as what the pirate will have made by stealing my metal. Several hours later still, I’m busy cruising round Downtown, counting my money when … oho, what’s this?

Why, hello there Mr. Wildbane. It looks like you’ve been shot to buggery since you robbed me. And now your shields are down, you’re stuck in a lightwell, and I’m approaching from behind with a fully-charged laser that’s best used on unshielded opponents.

Oh dear. Whatever will I do?

DIE DIE THIEVING BASTARD PIRATE DIE

Okay. Okay. We got him. Think I should take a little time off now. I’m not a killer, I’m a sc-

Oooh! Shiny blood money!

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Food Flight

And there it is! I just realised I hadn’t shown a lightwell properly before.

That’s one right there – the big glowing thing that looks a bit like a dumbbell. Simply hover in the middle and wait, perhaps scrabbling to grab the spoils if you’re woken by the explosions of some poor rube’s moth. Easy.

You might have noticed I’m in Gamma crater. This is largely because I got lost. But no matter – I have no enemies, and am currently the least profitable target on Titan for anyone, so I may as well explore a little.

Ooh. I’d forgotten about this. A couple of the tunnels connecting craters are partially natural caverns. These are popular ambush points, so wise traders generally don’t hang around here very much. Tricky areas to fight in, too, as there’s little room for fancy flyin’ tricks.

Nothing going on at the moment though. There doesn’t seem to be much traffic at all, in fact. Tum tee tum. I stop off at an inn for a while, just for flavour.

Back at alpha, I finally run into a fight. Lazarus corp have apparently decided they don’t like the vaguely racist-sounding Claude Darkback, and explain this to him in their native language of lasers. He doesn’t take the hint and they have to repeat it until he dies, presumably of embarassment. Cuh.

More scrap for me! He was carrying some scrap of his own in fact, so I wolf both pieces up like a dog at the dinner table.

I chill briefly at a lightwell with a survivor of the same shootout, whose name is April Silverchav. Which is a little unfortunate. I don’t say anything though, and try very hard not to think it either lest she kicks my head in.

After (probably) charging enough, I fly off and frankly, am baffled for quite some time. The amount of traffic has dropped an awful lot, and nothing much is even showing up on the radar. Come midnight of day 5, I receive a “calling all filthy jackals” message from Downtown Recycling asking for scrap. With nothing else going on, I use my new system to target their building (although only after flying around the whole crater trying to find them manually, to no avail. I am nothing if not a luddite), and pay them a visit.

Much later in the day, another fracas outside Alpha Trading Post sees someone drop 5 units of food practically in the airlock. Violating my “keep well out of trouble” policy on the grounds that being a filthy scavenger is all about moments like this, I zoom in and grab the cargo before whoever killed its former owner can stop me.

Nobody attacks, but I dock at the trading post immediately, and flog it for 500 Yen apiece. Instantly, I am elevated! Over three grand in my account means it’s time for another upgrade.

With my cargo gone, only the most vindictive pirate would harass me even after a cheeky steal like that, so I’m safe to simply fly off to a weapons dealer in Downtown, possibly while whistling.

In exchange for a third of my cash, the genteel and professional Psycho Bob installs a laser for me, and after some deliberation, I also plump for a pack of 10 Sprat missiles.

Sprats are very basic heat-seekers. They’re best used on unshielded targets, and can be fooled by both flares and chaff, but they’re not to be ignored, as they pack a fair punch and may distract an enemy for a few moments while I scarper. With my leftover cash I buy Flight software, improving my ship’s controls, and finally power software, which will finally give me a breakdown on my ship’s general health.

You can see the power readout in the top left – the top bar is energy (or ‘power’, whatever), the middle is shields, and the bottom cycles between main ship components – ‘structure’ being the most important, as this is the integrity of the moth, without which I am just a shouty lunatic in an extremely heavy airborne chair.

So, six days after taking to the skies, I’ve scavenged up a set of basic software and a bare bones combat loadout, without firing a single shot. Not bad. Now I just have to figure out where the hell everyone has gone. I’ve barely seen anyone all day. Maybe business is booming in another crater and nobody told me. That’d be just like them, too, the spoilsports.

Fortunately, I discover the cause before I even realise it. It’s not an economy thing.

Downtown, I notice a large flashing purple light in a corner. Clustered up around it on my radar are over a dozen moths, hovering motionless. On moving closer, my controls are disabled by the source of the light. An unknown craft, hovering silently for a while, then plummeting to the ground in a fireball.

On its death, everyone’s moths comes to life, including the many people who’d been immobilised twenty feet from their worst enemies. Chaos ensues.

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The Drone Wars

Power supply probably charged, captain! Engines possibly functional, sir! Shields presumably operational! Time to set about saving the bloody universe!

Or hang around for hours, waiting for someone to die. Bah. As night falls, I hear sporadic bursts of laser fire, and head over to a nondescript area where a couple of flyers are engaged in a close firefight.

Before long they’re both heavily damaged and unable to maneouvre, so I’m able to target them. Tark Rinfist and Iris Hawkorgan are their names. I can’t tell if there’s any cargo involved, but I suspect Iris is a bounty hunter. I would prefer that she wins, as she’s unlikely to attack me if I nip in and take any windfall. Pirates tend to ignore scrap metal as it’s so cheap, but there’s no guarantee in Hardwar; I once saw a guy killed over a unit of water. Not pretty.

Ultimately, it’s Iris who buys it, her wreckage tumbling inelegantly down the craterside. That’s some great bounty hunting there, Iris. I’m able to hoover it up before anyone else, and the presumed pirate, Rinfist, putters away to fix up his battered moth.

I haven’t really explained the drone thing, have I? Right, well any moth with a cargo pod can fit a salvage drone. To use it, you must target an item (it ignores moths) and tap the ‘release’ button twice. If the target is within about 300 feet, the drone will zoom off after it, then attract it with magnets or by reading it a poem or whatever. It’ll then come back and tuck itself back inside your cargo pod.

All this means that you have to stay in range, or the drone will succumb to its deep-seated abandonment issues and suffer a total existence failure. You also need to stay still for a few seconds to let the drone dock, so deploying a drone makes you rather vulnerable – you can still fight, but can hardly move, so will be at a great disadvantage.

Competition can be fierce. Well-equipped pirates will have the firepower to chase people off, but a scavenger has only their flying skills to make their claim. Getting to the scene first isn’t enough – your drone has to get to the target first. It’s possible to snatch a cargo even after another drone has come for it, particularly if you ‘throw’ the drone (release it while powering in at full throttle). If you’re good, and have a fast moth, you can poach a pirate’s bounty and be gone before they can retrieve their drone and attack you. This is highly amusing, and therefore a sound tactic.

Note that in the picture above, my drone (with the yellow lights) is already closing in on the scrap (the grey thing that looks like a miniature vacuum cleaner). The two nearby Hawks are already too late, although a very skilled pilot could still blast in and drop their drone directly onto the cargo.

Guess not. With two bits of metal on board, I cash in at Alpha’s trading post.

Most craters have a generic trading post that will pay for common goods, however as they don’t produce or consume anything, their prices tend to flatten over time. Their real use is in their postings – Misop’s many factories and shops regularly send prices and delivery orders to the local trading post, allowing an inexperienced trader to make a bit of money before learning how the production chains work. They’re also handy for scavengers or pirates who’ve found a precious cargo and want rid of it quickly.

The downside is that they’re first come first served, not contractual. If a munitions factory needs 10 units of explosives, they’ll take whatever comes until they have enough, regardless of the source. Much like my ex-wife, etc.

In any case, I can’t make use of them yet, as without radar or navigation, I’m unable to target the sender of any deals or messages. I sell the metal I have directly, leaving me with 669 dolla.

Next up, I arrive a little late to a fight to find the remains of (I think) another scavenger just next to the lake, as well as some more metal and cargo nearby. Though I’m able to grab a piece of scrap, his attackers take the rest.

Best let them get on with it. I don’t think even my most abusive language would be a good substitute for a gun, although obviously I let loose a barrage anyway.

Pickings are slim for most of the morning, and the next action I see is right next to a lightwell. A trader is attempting to reach it to charge up their shields, but it’s a hopeless gambit. He’s blown up and his cargo taken, while I nab the scrap, pipping another scavenger to the post. Should’ve bought an afterburner, son.

Much later in the day, the scene repeats itself, with someone going down over a pretty tasty cargo of ore.

His ship, and presumably his viscera, are scattered all over the lightwell, and several moths hovering nearby swoop in with me. I leave the ore well alone – it’d just get me shot down.

Another fight breaks out just minutes later, this time with a tempting cargo of gems that I have to watch disappear into a pirate’s cargo pod. I console myself with a little more metal and an obscene gesture at the pirate.

Encounters like this are not uncommon around lightwells. It’s here that the poor and rich, the aggressive and timid alike rub elbows and politely ignore each other. A bit like London buses, except with less violence. It’s also here where anyone who’s come under serious fire and/or been hit by an energy-depleting missile will congregate, making them a sitting duck for anyone with an eye on their cargo.

This is harsh, but that’s the world we live in. It works in my favour too – I could conceivably sit here all week and still make money just by collecting from the wrecks. But where’s the fun in that? No, I’ll have a more interesting time following people round as they look for a fight, letting the bully boys do their thing while I pathetically cling to their tail, hoping to make some money and win their approval. I shall be the Blair to their Bush. Except with less violence.

Later that afternoon, I pick up a wrecked pirate who crossed the Lazarus group somehow – a turret on their moth shop blew him up, and I kindly tidied up the resulting litter from their roof. I’m a good citizen!

After dropping today’s scrap off at the Trading Post, I head to the Downtown Crater – I don’t think anyone in Alpha sells software, and need to turn my little stash into some practical goodies.

It’s night-time when I get there. I have about 1,600 Rupees to my name, and a lot of options.

I will eschew weapons and pay for some basic radar and shield software. It takes most of my money, but as long as I’m keeping a low profile, weapons can wait. Shields, however, I might need, in case anyone fires a warning shot at me, or I simply have a collision. The radar will help me target and stay out of trouble. I still won’t know what state my equipment is in until I shell out for power software, but it should be alright as long as I spend a few hours in a lightwell when I see one.

Speaking of which, it’s about time my moth and I caught up on sleep. Won’t be long before we have weapons at this rate, and then the stupid risktaking begins!

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It’s a hardlife

This is my moth. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My moth, without me, is useless. Without my moth, I am useless.

Unless I sell it, which means I might have enough money to buy another one. Perhaps even a better one. Also they’re mass-produced, so as long as I find another one that’s in working order I’ll be fine.

Perhaps this creed is a little flawed.

Welcome, gentle reader, to Misplaced Optimism, the capital of Titan. Although that title is pretty meaningless on an otherwise dead ball of orange rock. I am your host and guide, named Cass, after an ancient family tradition. I have escaped the grubby underworld, scraping together all I own and flogging it for an abysmal but functional moth, complete with a salvage drone, my ticket to fame and fortune.


(Note: I fired off all the flares and star shells as soon as I realised I had some, so ignore that readout on the screenshot.)

I launched into the Downtown crater early in the morning, and spent a little while flying around to get my bearings. Been a long time since I flew one of these. The Silver-Y handles tolerably for my non-combat purposes, but I have absolutely nothing to defend myself with, and my shields won’t even recharge without software. Priority one: buy shield, radar, and power software. I can do this by docking at the appropriate shops, however, first I need cash.

As luck would have it, I already have a message from Downtown Recycling, offering a premium for any scrap metal I can find. Grand. Scrap is typically found at moth wrecks, so I look around for anyone likely to be shot down or drunk enough to crash. And yes, there is a mirror in the cockpit. Why do you ask?

Without a radar I can only target what I see dead ahead, and the first of these is Dil Cartface. Judging by his lack of a cargo pod, I would hazard a guess that he’s a bounty hunter, so will not be interested in cargo. I follow him for a while, and he immediately heads for the Alpha crater. Misop, you see, is divided into several craters connected by tunnels, such as this one. Nowhere is safe, but Downtown and Alpha are well covered by the police and relatively free of open warfare, at least for now.

My hope with Dil is that he will either shoot down or be shot down by a pirate or other miscreant, allowing me to swoop in and claim the scrap, and possibly even their cargo if he’s not interested in it.

He takes his sweet time, but eventually leads me to a fight agains Smokie China, presumably a pirate, who is pressed up against a crater wall and quickly wiped out by a couple of ships I can’t identify. I swoop in and nab a piece of metal from the wreck. Easy money.

As a single piece of scrap is a low-value cargo, I should be safe carrying a few units, so I cruise around Alpha for the rest of the night, waiting for another opportunity. Patience is vital to a scavenger. You can’t buy or bomb your way to resources like everyone else. It’s pure profit, but you have to be in the right place.

Late into the night, I’m alerted by a flare to an ongoing scuffle between Don Flatback (no idea, probably a hunter or gangster), an unknown, and a Lazarus transport ship.

Lazarus are one of the two major corporations in Misop. This kicks off a big fight, and though the transport is almost destroyed, its backup arrives just in time. A rolling fight ensues.

Both leading combatants light up as blue orbs as their shields take the brunt of the assault. The fight moves over water as the transport limps away.

Its shields down, the transport is clearly taking a pounding, but it may be mostly affecting its weapon systems, as it’s still flying relatively well.

Flatback continues to attack, though the damage he’s taking it showing – his guns are firing so slowly that the transport is able to charge its shields between shots. Flatback soon comes almost to a halt as the transport attempts to dock by the water in a bid to escape.

The transport docks, even as a final blast is absorbed by its rallying shield. Flatback remains stationary – it looks like his engines have been disabled by the sustained fire of the Lazarus backup, and it’s not long before he’s killed. Disappointingly, his wreck lands in the water, inaccessible to my salvage drone. Rather than get frustrated, I resign myself to circling the crater again, looking for troublemakers. Patience, pilot. Patience.

Hours later, I dock briefly at the trading post, to see what my financial outlook will be in the scrap circuit. Selling nets me 239 quid, which is about 1/5th of a single laser cannon if memory serves (although supply chain disruptions may alter this). Not much, but it’s pure profit for no risk.

Back outside, this little visit pays off in serendipity, as an unexciting fight outside the trading post costs some poor sap his life. As nobody else is on the scene, I can retrieve this one at my leisure.

I’ve been airborne now for about 30 hours, and with no power software I have no way of knowing what my energy situation is.

Energy on Titan is of critical importance. It’s provided by solar lightwells – huge static buildings under/over which pilots must hover to recharge their batteries (the attraction of aircraft to light is the reason they’re called “moths”). Flight, shield charging, and general operation drains energy, as do beam weapons and some other equipment. If your energy ever runs out, you will drop to the floor in an embarassed heap of metal and corpse.

With this in mind, I pay a visit to a lightwell, and wait there for a few hours. There’s no way to tell when I’m charged, so I figure I’ll just catch up on sleep and head off when I wake up. The Silver-Y doesn’t appear to have a toilet, so I like to think that I just sling it out of the window at the cops. I’m all class.

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