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.
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.