“Fuel Rat Control to all available personnel. RATSIGNAL. Stranded Cmdr in the Ceramix system. Respond with distance. Fuel Rat Control out.”
I had left the Crom system a few days ago and had been wandering in no particular direction. As it turned out though I was close to Ceramix.
“Control, Aitken responding, 40 Ly out, 2 jumps. Over.”
There was a slight pause as I assumed Control looked over available assets.
“Aitken go. Keep me updated on status and progress. Client will be sending Comms request shortly. Control out.”
After acknowledging Control I locked in the route on my Galmap and started charging the FSD. Just as the FSD was warming up the Comms request from Cmdr. Terry came in. I was a little slow and “4, 3, 2, 1, engaged.” beat me to the punch. Oh well it could wait till the next system.
Booom, woooosh. A bright orange, angry ball of flames greeted me. I knew from Galmap that I could scoop it and top up my Asps tanks before heading in system. I turned to the Comms panel and accepted the request for Comms and wing formation from Cmdr. Terry.
I sent a quick text message to reassure him that I was on my way. The reply was a little slow in coming in and told me he was cold.
Tanks full, I orientated the “Bennachie” toward the Ceramix system jump point. Throttle wide open, FSD engaged. Blam, with a kick in the pants the “Bennachie” and I were hurled into hyperspace and the short hop to Ceramix.
“Aitken to Control, in system.”
“Roger Aitken, update when you have acquired visual contact with clients beacon. All requests to client have been sent with instructions. Control out.”
I held station next to the star that gave the Ceramix system it’s name waiting for the light blue glow of a wing beacon to appear on my HUD. In due time, which seemed like hours not minutes to me, it appeared and I selected it as the target.
“Aitken to Control. Acquired beacon at 150,000Ls out. Heading there now.”
“Roger Aitken. Advise when starting fueling. Control out.”
I settled down to what should be a couple of minutes journey and checked the Nav panel once more.
“Aitken to Control. Correction client is 1,500,000 from entry point. This could take a little time. Over.”
“Roger Aitken. Get a fix on clients position and distance, we will be advising him to shut down everything apart from life support and this includes the beacon.”
It was a precaution and standard procedure for all nonessential systems to be shut down upon first contact. Control had moved on to treating this as one step away from a “Case Red”, no fuel and on emergency oxygen. The hope was that shutting down the few remaining systems would prevent it developing into a “Case Red.”
“Everything locked in Control. I still have contact with client and will update you as needed. Aitken out. “
“Received and understood. Control out.”
The blue icon disappeared from my HUD, I pushed the throttle to max and once again settled in for what would be a far longer journey than I had first thought.
750,000Ls from entry point, half way to client. I opened voice comms and attempted to talk to Cmdr. Terry. Nothing, so I sent a test asking if he had received. Negative was the response. I was concerned over the lack voice comms. I pulled up Galmap and started to look around the nearby systems.
“Aitken to Cmdr. Blazener. Respond please.” My search had turned up what I had been hoping for. A fellow Fuel Rat in close proximity.
“Blazener here, what can I do for you Aitken?” A calm and patient voice replied.
“Good to hear your voice Blaze, I might have a problem with the mission I am on and could use back up just in case.” We were communicating over voice comms which only added to my concern. I could talk with Blaze but not Terry, that suggested I could have instancing issues later.
“Ceramix correct? What seems to be the problem.”
“System is correct, I have text comms but no voice. Everything should be good but if you could wait next to the star just in case things go wrong. I’d appreciate it and be a little more at ease.”
“No problem Aitken, I’ll be there if needed. Good luck and fly safe, Blazener out.”
1,000,000 from entry point, I watched as a pale blue icon appeared behind me and gave a slight smile. Cmdr. Blazener had arrived in system, it was good to have the reassurance that if things went wrong for me the client would still get help.
1,250,000 from entry point. I reduce power to 75% as I do not want to overshoot, text Cmdr. Terry and chat to Control, updating all on my progress.
1,500,000 from entry point. Power set at zero. I send a text to Cmdr. Terry to make sure he has the correct steps needed for the rescue. He assures me he has everything he needs.
“When you are ready, power up what you need to and drop the beacon.”
The wing invite pops up in my Comms panel and as quickly as I can I accept and turn on my nav lock.
The space in Super Cruise starts to blur at the edge of my vision and I feel as though I am looking down a tunnel. BLAM, my head is thrown forward as I enter normal and the “Bennachie” decelerates quickly. I glance at the HUD and select the blue icon that is Terry and start to rotate toward him.
“Programming fuel limpet.” The non pulsed Betty announces. Schwoosh, I hear as the limpet leaves the Asp and streaks across the gap toward the Sidewinder before me.
“Refueling in progress. Mission success.” The message to Control and Cmdr. Blazener are sent simultaneously. Fueling complete flashes up on the HUD. A request for Terry to raise his shields and stand by for another three limpets is dispatched as Control and Blaze get back to me. Control with a brief “Received.”
“Good job Aitken, I’m bugging out. Fly safe.”
“Thanks Blaze. Fly safe Commander.” I replied and then turned my attention to Cmdr. Terry. I had an idea of the answer but still I had to ask the question over the text comms.
What are you doing 1.5 million light seconds from the closest star?
I am heading toward the next system, Brani.
A smile creased my lips as I started to type back my answer.
I hate to tell you this Cmdr but it is impossible to Supercruise between systems. No ship has enough fuel capacity or oxygen reserves to allow it. There was silence for a moment as Terry let the revelation seep into his mind.
Oh. So I was wasting our time out here, my apologizes Cmdr, I just received my wings and thought that it would be possible.
I reassured Cmdr Terry that he was not the first to try and fail at that self appointed task. We chatted for a while and it ended with the scoopable star list. OBAFGKM and a recommendation that he buy a fuel scoop.
We have fuel, you don’t, any questions?
If you do have questions we may have the answers.