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Roberts Space Industries ®






July 18th 2018


Scraping By

In anticipation of the release of a new version of the Vulture, Drake Interplanetary has coordinated with Discovered to provide a number of experienced scavengers early models to test in the field. Chosen from a pool of hundreds of applicants, archaeologist Lorenzo Chernov proposed the exploration of a secluded debris field he discovered in the Idris system.

Here are excerpts from his logs.


2948.02.17_05:48 SET

Ok, here we go. Day one of exploring. Wonder what I should call this place. If this was an official UEE Archaeological Society expedition, it’d probably get something generic, like ‘Debris Field 8514J-Idris system’. At least I’ve landed on a name for this new salvage ship. This one feels like Amaira to me. I’d like to give a big shout out to the folks at Drake for letting me try it out. Of course, they did have a bunch of stipulations, including that I record this audio log to track my adventures and what I like about the ship, what could be improved, and so on.

Plus, if this debris field is truly more than just a bunch of modern scrap, like I believe it is, then they’ll also get credit for making this mission happen. Definitely couldn’t run this op without Amaira’s help. No way I could afford to outfit the expedition with a Reclaimer, let alone the cost of crewing one.

I finished a general set of scans yesterday, so there’s a clear picture of how all the pieces were found. Analyzing them last night, I noticed a few larger pieces of detritus near the middle. They look like parts of a fuselage, maybe even a cockpit. They might be my best bet to determine what ships were involved, and more importantly, what era this wreckage is from. The debris is really dense around those pieces, so EVAing to them could be problematic. The last thing I want to do is upset the balance of materials and create a collision cascade. As Professor Haley used to say, “better to take your time than ruin the find.”

First thing this morning, I charted a path through the wreckage, but it’s going to take some work to get there. My initial estimate is that there are probably ten to fifteen ships here. Plus, there’s most likely additional material from vessels that were involved, but made it to safety.

Even though the picture isn’t clear yet, I get a gnawing feeling that this isn’t just the fallout of some racer kids gone stupid. Or a deal gone bad.

Then again, I’ve said that before…

All right, Amaira let’s get to work.

2948.02.28_20:34 SET

Amaira and I just returned from another run to Tanys. Sold the latest round of scrap and resupplied. Gotta remember to take the next load to a different shop. The desk jockey at Dumper’s remembered me and made conversation. Hopefully I didn’t say too much. Hate to have half the scrappers in the system turn up looking to score. I will say it was nice to talk to someone instead of just rambling into this thing all day long.

I probably didn’t need to leave Tanys heading in the wrong direction before making a series of random jumps back here. Mom always said I was overly cautious.

That applies here too. I’m doing everything by the book. EVAing over to every piece of debris, carefully scanning and cataloging it, and then determining if it’s worth saving or salvaging. So far, there’s been a lot less worth holding onto than I hoped. Nothing I’ve kept is actually important, just material sample for later analysis.

Oh wait, I almost forget, the Dumper’s clerk did mention something interesting. I guess the composition of the alloys I brought in last time was a bit unusual. I tried to play it cool and not press her for too many details, but that’s gotta be a good sign, right? I know ship manufacturers have adjusted their specs over the centuries thanks to technological advances, changes to their supply chain, or a whole bunch of other factors. A part of me wants to send a piece of debris for further analysis, but it’ll have to wait. I’m already cutting my budget pretty thin. The stuff I’m scrapping has been just enough to stay stocked on essentials and keep Amaira functional.

Honestly, I really couldn’t have done any of this without Amaira. So far I’ve got nothing but positive feedback on the Vulture. The tractor beam is super sticky, and the industrial-grade scraper chews through materials like a charm. Living quarters are even comfortable enough to make me forget I’m floating in some long-forgotten part of Idris, surrounded by a dozen or so ships that dueled to the death.

There is the smell, though. Not that it’s terrible, but if you folks at Drake do listen to this, couldn’t hurt to think about upgrading the O2 scrubbers a bit. Then again, maybe I’m just a little bit riper than average.

Time to grab a few hours of shut-eye, and get back to it.

2948.03.03_13:23 SET

Damn it, that did not go as planned.

Well, the good news is I was right. That big piece was definitely from a cockpit, looked like it was from an early Aegis ship too. Some of the control panel was still intact. Haven’t seen many like it, so I EVAed over for a better look.

That’s when I saw a piece of debris unlike any other, distinctly designed to look like a big feather. At that moment, I forgot all about the cockpit. That distinctive piece meant a Prowler was part of the wreckage.

Think I went woozy for a second before my rational brain began wondering about the cost to get the feather piece analyzed. There’s always a chance it’s a replica, since Esperia makes theirs so damn close to the real deal.

In my excitement, I redirected around the cockpit, completely forgetting that I hadn’t cleared the other side. For a second, I took my eyes off where I was going to change my suit’s scanner settings. Suddenly, I felt this dark presence above me. I looked up and slammed face first into a giant piece of metal debris.

It scared the hell out of me. I even thought I was partially blinded, only to later realize I’d cracked my faceplate. Luckily, the seal held. Needless to say, I overreacted. Course corrected back the way I came way too hard and way too fast. That slammed me into the cockpit piece, sending it spinning swiftly away, down the path I’d conveniently spent clearing these past weeks.

Everything inside of me wanted to take off after it. But that second collision really messed up my helmet. Guess I should’ve splurged for a better one, because this one started beeping about a ‘critical failure’, forcing me back here to patch it before it was too late.

I really messed up that last walk. That chunk of the cockpit is lost to the void and I didn’t even get a good scan of it. Still, I can’t stop smiling.

I think I’ve found a lost battle site from the First Tevarin War.

2948.03.03_22:09 SET

It took some work, but I got that piece of the Prowler into the hold. I don’t want to lose it, but it’s also taking up more space than I’d like. Keeping it back there will definitely cut into my bottom line when Amaira and I make runs to Tanys. Might have to find a place around here to leave it when heading back to civilization. It’s not an ideal solution, but I don’t want anyone to see it and start wondering why it’s not being scrapped. If I can swing the credits, it’d be worth setting up a mooring drone as a temporary fix. Then I could safely float any other large finds until I’m ready to hire a transport.

Despite the cockpit debacle earlier, I’d say today was a success. Tomorrow, I’ll start clearing a path to the piece that looks like it’s from a fuselage. Maybe I’ll find a few more pieces of the Prowler, if I’m lucky.

2948.03.08_01:36 SET

Well, I finally made it to that large piece of debris. It was definitely part of a fuselage. Spent hours inspecting it, but couldn’t find any maker’s marks. A part of me wanted to save it for further analysis, but to be honest, I really need the creds from the scrap. My trips to Tanys are becoming less and less frequent as I spend more time inspecting the stuff I’ve found. It’s becoming harder and harder to decide what’s worth saving and what’s safe to feed to the Vulture. Hell, it would’ve been nice if Drake had thrown in some supplies to save me the trouble, but I guess they wanted to see how she handled on the day-to-day.

Anyway, I felt bad having Amaira cut it into pieces, though I made sure it was properly scanned and cataloged before doing so. Despite the heartache, gotta say the scraping laser’s been a joy. Gonna take the scrap to Tanys tomorrow then come back here and keep searching.

2948.03.15_18:47 SET

Another day with nothing to report. Everything I came across was scrap. I figured by now I would have part of a component or something, anything, that could tell me more about what happened here. This is getting pretty darn frustrating.

Every day I stare at the Prowler piece and wonder when I’m going to find more. My working theory is that the rest of it was blown into unidentifiably small bits. Either way, based on the accumulated amount of wreckage I’ve found, if this is a lost battle site, then it’s pretty clear who came out on top.

To be honest, the lack of debris from Tevarin ships worries me. There’s a lingering fear that maybe this was just a random skirmish between gangs and one of them happened to have a new Prowler. I hope that’s not the case, but every day I don’t find something significant, I grow a little more worried that I’ve been wasting my time picking through random debris from a week ago.

I’m understanding why so many of my colleagues prefer digging planetside. The dating is so much easier.

2948.03.19_05:22 SET

Today was… well, technically yesterday, was the day I’ve been waiting for. After weeks of slowly shifting through random debris, I finally found something undeniably significant – a black box.

I rushed it back to Amaira and immediately started my examination. When the date of the last log popped up, I… ok, I’ll admit it, I freaked out. I screamed. I jumped around until I was out of breath. The last recorded date on it was October 1, 2544.

That’s right, not only is this wreckage from the First Tevarin War, it’s actually from the Battle of Idris IV. The infamous Operation Nemesis that was almost a complete disaster until a young Ivar Messer turned the tides of the battle and arguably the entire war.

Once I calmed down, I dug through the logs to figure out why these ships ended up all the way out here. From what I can tell, this spot became a rallying point. These ships fell back here to regroup after surviving the surprise attack by the Tevarin’s planetary defense system. I’m not exactly sure what happened once they were all here, but it obviously didn’t turn out well for them.

I really should get to sleep, but there are still so many things to figure out. Like, should I report the discovery right away, or wait until I’m done examining the entire debris field? Feels weird to walk away in the middle of exploring it, but I could probably land some grants to hire a proper crew. That would make examining the rest of the debris so much easier, but probably take months to organize. Not sure if I can handle waiting that long before finding out what else is out here…

I should really send my Mom a comm too. She’s gonna lose it when she finds out I was right. Maybe I should take Amaira back to Tanys tomorrow and send it via a secure comm to ensure it doesn’t get hacked. What… a… day!!

Lorenzo Chernov’s discovery brought further clarity to the fog of war surrounding the Battle of Idris IV. Careful examination of the discovered black box revealed that the wreckage was mainly members of the 12th Squadron. Their fate was previously unknown, though many historians assumed they had been destroyed by Tevarin planetary defenses. This site proved they had survived the initial assault and were in the midst of planning a counterstrike when they came under attack from Tevarin forces.

Though the Prowler debris proved to be authentic, no other Tevarin ship pieces were found. While the site clarified the fate of the 12th Squadron, it is hoped that further research may reveal how they were so handily wiped out in this small corner of space. The recovered ship remains have been transferred to the Naval Museum on MacArthur, where plans are in progress for them to be placed on display.

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