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Adventures in Orbiter

Mining the Moon - Pt. 1 Author: David Organ ( Staiduk )

To: David R. 'Staiduk' Organ. Rank - Captain
Deep space rating #SP5371154

From: Glenn Oliver; sup. Dispatch Office;
Extraterrestrial Research and Surveying Department

02 May 2084

Glad to see you back after your sabbatical; hope you liked Japan, I hear its lovely this time of year.

You'll no doubt be happy to hear your last claim turned out to be quite a successful strike - initial refinement trials are showing great early productivity. As per contract; you are entitled to one percent total profit from the mine; which when added to your salary and deep-space bonus will amount to a fairly hefty sum - easily enough to pay for the next time you want to spend 6 months in a foreign land again.

Now that you're back on the flight roster; we might as well get you back into the thick of it. R&S has identified several locations on the Moon which may possibly contain high levels of natural iridium. We would like you to check those areas out; and stake a claim if you find a workable site.

Your craft is scheduled to launch May 23; collect your mission package no later than May 13; of course. Information for your flight is available at the flight desk; but as usual I'll leave the details of the survey up to you.

In addition to the survey run; We would like you to transport mail and passengers to Brighton Beach lunar colony. Warning: 3 of the 4 passengers have never been off-planet before; so please fly normally. Normally for us that is; not normally for yourself - we want repeat customers (ha ha).

Look forward to seeing you soon;


"Look forward to seeing you soon". Yeah; that's a hot one. Glenn's one of those bosses that's always nice and friendly, etc. even when he's sticking a knife in your back - he's a Company man through and through. You know; I've heard there are a lot of dispatch supervisors out there that take real good care of their pilots and represent them right up to the wall in company matters. Glenn, apparently, hasn't heard of them.

I'll give you an example: Two years ago; Slim Reed (buddy of mine) was coming back from Lookout Station out at the L1 in an old A-type when his environmentals blew. How he ever got the damned thing back is beyond me; somehow he rigged the backup system through the APU so it kept him from roasting to death. As it was; he did the last 9 hours into Waypoint One while wearing a pressure suit. YOU try fine-tuning an orbit with gloves on. (And a helmet - which means you have to actually unbelt and turn around to access the docking clamps.)

Anyway; Good Old Glenn there was the cause of the whole mess. He's been lining his pockets saving on the post-flight checkouts; figuring if it worked last flight it'll work the next. Worse than that; the investigation (led by Glenn of course ) concluded it was pilot error that blew the system - which if you know Slim is ridiculous.

So Slim's reward for bringing a broken bird home was loss of bonus; zero royalties (this was the Thunder Home claim - 4th largest that year) and the bill for the repairs to that old piece of crap.

Yup; Glenn's a real saint. Did I mention he just had a new house built in Rio?

Geez I hate my job.

Well; that's not true. I love my job; prospecting other worlds for resources is a wonderful adventure. And the DGIII is one helluva bird as well.
Powering up the 'Weasle'
It's the employer I can't stand.
Read the letter above - sounds like I'm just raking in the Big Bucks doesn't it? They might think so; to their way of thinking anyone that's ungrateful enough not to work for free is a strain on profits. In reality; I'm getting slave wages - about 200 grand a year. Sounds like a lot; but all my personal gear - P-suit; MMU, survey equipment, etc. has to come out of that. Oh; I could use Company equipment; but there's no way in Hell I'd trust my life to one of those old Goodyear suits the Company buys - no deep space pilot would. You want to work in space; you get your own suit - custom made. It's expensive - like 75 grand for a real good Fairweather or Gibbs. Hell; even a tailored off-the-rack Airworks will set you back 30 K's. But it's your life; and your comfort after all - if you spend time in the Big Black you want the best.

And yeah; going back to the letter - Glenn is genuinely happy to see me back; mainly 'cause I - along with Slim, Mike, Terry and Fred - got our deep-space ratings back when O'Drowsky was running the show - a terror if there ever was one; but he made damned sure his pilots were up to scratch. Glenn hires the pilots that kiss his butt the best - translation: out of 21 S&R survey pilots; there's 6 that show regular profit - the others are all office boys with ratings. But do they get dinged for a zero-claim trip? Nooooooo - that's only for us old heads.
Every time one of us has our quadrannual sabbatical; profits go down - sharply. (The Company psyche boys figure our job's stressful - so we have to take 6 months off every 4 years. Hey; suits me fine - except they don't pay for it; you've got to save up. Figures.)

So anyway; here I am relaxing at home wishing I was still in Japan when this fax comes in. So; off I go down to the Intersolar S&R offices; exchange a few niceties with Glenn that neither of us meant; and picked up my mission package.

For all my grousing; it's a plum; right up my alley - if you don't include the 4 freeloaders that'll be hanging around for 400,000 kilometers.

I like iridium prospecting; 'cause it gives me the chance to really get into the Moon - you search for the stuff around impact craters and the like - in short; all the places that make the Moon interesting.
I also like the plane. The Mark 3 DeltaGlider is a sleek, trim little spaceplane - fast, reliable and above all tough as hell - the DS design bureau really knew what they were doing when they built her. She's bigger than she looks; actually quite roomy inside. It's a little cramped with 5 people; but you can't expect miracles.

So anyway; Glenn aside I was pretty much chomping at the bit to get back into freefall. It was supposed to be a simple 1 month survey/prospecting run.

What it turned into was the flight I'll never forget.

Lifting offIt all started early on the 23rd; when I checked out and signed off on the Whistling Weasle (that's what I call DGIII #38; SP-11076; 'cause her aft RCS have a particular shrill sound when fired); suited up and strode out to the spacecraft.

Everything went well initially; got my passengers (as I expected; 4 Bonded Couriers - more on them in a while) strapped in and luggage secured; then got my clearance from Pad Control.

Because I had passengers; I didn't use my typical hover-and-blast style takeoff; I taxiied out to Runway 35 like a good little boy and took off normally - 50% throttle; just enough to lift off and clear the coastline at subsonic speeds.

Pushing for space

Once over the ocean; I throttled up to full and hit the booster pumps. True to form; the Weasle took off like a scared rabbit - blasting for the black at 3.3 G's the whole way.

 Approaching South AmericaIn a few minutes; we were in a perfect 0-ECC orbit; heading to alignment with Waypoint One station. This is the best part - low over the Earth; speeding along; the view is INCREDIBLE at 200 Km. up.

Docking with W-1

Boost, intercept and realignment with W-1 (an old Russian-built space station converted by Intersolar into a refuelling stop for Moon-bound ships) went ideally; even the spoiled guests out behind me weren't quibbling - they were enthralled by the view. The docking went picture perfect.

On to Mining the Moon Pt. II >>

You will need the following add-ons to run this mission for yourself.

- DGIII and skins
- Moon Base Alpha


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