A moment’s Carelessness…
Dbx "Alexei Leonov" NH-16DBubble Sector GR-W d1-37 planet A 1Distance from Sol: 7,146 ly.
Day 8. All systems nominal as I prepare to move out after a well-earned night’s rest.
It’s been an eventful 24 hours to say the least.
Yesterday I arrived in the Bubble nebula well ahead of schedule, and decided to reconnoitre the landing zones, starting with the LZ at geosite 10 on Bubble Sector LX-T b3-1 planet A1. Approach scans indicated geosites and biosites in profusion so I diverted to investigate the biosigns. I took the SRV out and found a field of bark mounds and spent some time both scanning them for data and also harvesting some of their by-products for materials.
Having finished my data-gathering at the biosite, I moved on to the LZ at geosite 10. When I arrived, I EVA’d in the SRV again to get some data from the magma vents in the area.
It was then that disaster struck.
While i was running the camera drone, attempting to get some good shots and data from the vents I hadn’t noticed that the SRV had strayed too close to the heat and was accumulating damage at an increasing rate. The first hint of trouble was a warning of imminent chassis integrity failure from the onboard computer.
Switching back to the cockpit I could see only 8% hull remaining and as I backed away from the vent in a hurry the chassis integrity failed and the SRV canopy detonated around me.
I woke up back in the ship – the Remlock had saved me and apart from some injuries and no knowledge of how I got there, I was okay… but the SRV was lost.
This was a major setback to say the least. Without an SRV replenishment of materials for synthesis would be impossible. Reconnaissance and data collection would be untenable. I’d effectively be confined to the ship.
I weighed up the situation. With so many days of the expedition left and no idea of when I would next see a starport I decided that I had to get to a port with outfitting facilities to obtain a new SRV. Problem was, the nearest was 4.3 Kly away, and I would miss the jump-out later in the day if it took too long for the round trip.
I made the decision. I boosted off of the planet and started the journey to Medusa’s Rock at Crescent Sector GW-W c1-8, close to the Crescent nebula.
I pushed the Leonov hard. we made the trip there and back to the Bubble nebula in record time, and I was descending to the Dark Fortress POI after an 8.6 Kly round trip and only 2 1/2 hours of travel time. I had sold my exploration data to date, repaired and re-equipped the Leonov and ensured that a new SRV was stowed in the garage before heading back.
Comms and coordination problems were causing issues with meeting the rest of the expedition for the jump-out, so I contented myself by meeting up with just a handful of commanders at the Dark Fortress POI and we had an impromptu SRV race in which I came a distant third (out of three – SRV racing is not my strong suite!).
We jumped out together, and after sending our farewells I jumped a few light years along the course to WP3 and found a planet to set down for the night as I was close to exhausted. The planet in question had a tight orbit around its primary but heat levels were tolerable. I found a geosite with sulphur dioxide vents and set down close by for the night.
It’s a salutary lesson – I got careless and the universe kicked me in the backside and reminded me how narrow the margin is between life and death out here. In this era of Remlocks and Escape pods, death in the Black is mostly avoidable, but not impossible for the suitably careless.
I survived this one though I can’t afford to get lax again. Next time I might not be so lucky.