1% hull, 99% guts

Today The Colonia Gazette speaks to a Commander who has accomplished something both courageous and extraordinary while on his way to Jaques Station.

Greetings, Commander Djhato! Firstly, we’d like to ask – what first made you want to embark upon such a long journey to the Colony?

Well a friend of mine, Commander Oneslyfaux, introduced me to this group of void travellers and I thought “Gee, that could be fun”, so I decided to get a ship and head out to this new horizon. Besides, I needed to get out of the Bubble for a while, because…well, let’s just say the Empire is more keen to see me than I am them, if you get my meaning.

What ship did you take there?

My ship is a Diamondback Explorer with a full exploration suite complete with lander and a range of 30.9 light years. Her name is Lucile.

So tell us about the first part of your journey. Had you planned to conduct detailed system scans and explore while moving at a slower pace towards your target, or simply race to Jaques as fast as possible?

I was skipping snowballs and empty systems, but if I saw something out of the ordinary I would scan it. I only raced the last 5k because I wanted my baby fixed and I wanted to reach the safety of Jaques.

Which brings us to The Incident. Could you explain what happened?

Well, I was just cruising through space on the way to Jaques, having a few beers, sightseeing, you know — the usual tourist-explorer thing. And then I saw this snowball of a planet with huge rings and I decided it would make for a pretty picture or two. So I decided to come in for a landing.

But as you know, space is very empty out there, so on my co-pilot’s monitor I was watching a movie, and I got a tiny bit distracted by that. And suddenly I was going down way too fast.

As a last ditch effort to avoid death I angled my nose up and boosted. That saved my life, but I left the planet at 1% hull and soaked in sweat.

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Before the crash

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After the crash

You survived that ordeal but now you were facing a difficult choice: return to the Bubble to repair your ship or carry on towards Jaques. Arguably, most Commanders would have turned back. And yet you chose to continue your journey. Can you tell us why you chose that path?

I don’t give up easily and at that point it was about 7k back to the bubble, and then another 7k to get back to where I was. I felt I’d much rather go the 14k to my destination and complete my goal than go back, repair and head out again, travelling the same distance and spending the same amount of time for no real progress. And it was also a bit of a challenge for myself to see if I could make it.

How did the prospect of flying over 14,000 light years with 1% hull affect your journey?

It was very tense at times! I only had 200k in credits so a death would mean in debt at least with Lucile’s buyback cost of 600k; I did not want that, especially on top of all the collected data I would lose. But in the end the appeal of wanting to do it was stronger, because I had never done something so challenging.

I almost didn’t make it though; I was casually cruising on that last 1% thinking I was being nice and safe and taking it slow, when suddenly I got dropped in between a close binary. I instantly got a heat warning but luckily I’d throttled back on arrival. I was within 10 degrees of sustaining fatal hull damage when the ship started to cool again.

How much help and encouragement did you receive from other Commanders? Were you aware before you arrived at Jaques that people had heard about you and were rooting for you to make it?

Oh, loads! Every time I spoke with people already at Jaques they were encouraging me to move on and try and make it. And when I streamed the landing there were at least 10 people from the CCN watching me. Some no doubt came to see a boom, but hey – that’s what I would want to see. That’s good entertainment.

After a long trip, many Commanders are nervous as hell coming in to land. Were you able to keep cool-headed as you reached Jaques and the prospect of completing your unique journey?

The thing that played most in my head were the things out of my control, such as ram-happy cops. l actually had a dream of system defences ramming me during a scan. I thought about me bumping the pad a bit too hard and dying at the finish line. So yeah, I would be lying if I said I didn’t sweat a little. But I knew I’d done flawless landings countless times, so I was confident that I could set her down without a problem.

What now for you Commander do you plan to relocate to Jaques? Are there any more trips to the Bubble and back planned?

I’m going to chart the nearby systems in and around 200 light years’ radius around Jaques. I may go back to the Bubble, run some of those rares and bring back some earth coffee, who knows? For now I am content to explore the void and come back every so often for some R&R and some of that space station gravity.

Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Commander Djhato. Your feat has attracted attention and admiration in equal measure. In recognition of this, noted designer Commander Qohen Leth has created for you an exclusive badge. Display it proudly. And fly safe(r) in future!
Thanks. I would like to say I never received a welcome in any community like I have in the CCN. I’ve been here less than a week and it feels like I’ve been part of it forever. I’d also like to thank Qohen for making an amazing badge, which I will display on my stream feed with pride.

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