Part I – Careful which button you press

It was my first expedition with IMPGEO. We stood on the landing pad at Port Olisar looking at the massive hull of a Aegis Hammerhead.

“Where did you get this again?” I asked. RogueSquadron shrugged, that’s when I was beginning to worry.

“You know how to fly it, right? SpaceCoder?”

“Yep, I flew one before.”

The Hammerhead is a magnificent ship. It’s not particularly fast or agile, but you can expect that with a ship it’s size. But add some escort ships and you have the perfect ship for any battle. Remove the escort and you have a powerful patrol corvette. She can take a few hits, but I personally think you need to tweak it a little, improve the coolers at least. The problem is that the guns have a huge heat output so they don’t handle sustained fire very well. Many inexperienced gunners make the mistake of holding down the trigger and then wondering why their turret got jammed or overheated.

Back to the story though. We were headed Hurston’s mood Magda. I can never get over seeing the Hammerhead in quantum, so sleek, so menacing.

Our first destination at Magda was an asteroid field with a ruined orbital station floating inside of it. I don’t quite recall the origin of these stations, but they are supposed to be all around the moons.

The one we visited had a wreck of a Caterpillar floating on the inside of it. I only ventured into EVA for about half an hour. I explored the wrecks of the station and the ship more closely. But I didn’t want to leave the Hammerhead unmanned so I returned to watch the radar readings for unwanted visitors. I wasn’t too worried as we were in UEE monitored space, but you can never be too cautious. As the sun retreated behind the moon I turned on the floodlights to illuminate the scene for my fellow explorers.

When their suit oxygen was almost gone we decided to move on to the surface to refuel and explore a bit. I took the Hammerhead on a slow descent to one of the Hurston Dynamics mining outposts. Thankfully the atmosphere of Magda is not too thick so the poor aerodynamics of the ship didn’t cause too much trouble. But despite the noticeable turbulence my fellow explorers would run around the ship and take pictures of everything, recording the smallest details of our journey.

I leveled off our descent at about 3 kilometer altitude to take us on a slow approach to the outpost. Others in their faster ships overtook us and landed, but I enjoyed the view. When RogueSquadron joined me on the bridge I could see the outpost through the hazy atmosphere.

“Everything okay, Space?”

“Yup, we should be there in a few minutes. We are about two klicks out.”

He sat down in the copilot seat and started messing around with the buttons around him. I paid little attention to it as I was aligning us for a landing approach.

Then I heard the well known click of an important switch being toggled and the ship lost all power.

There were no alarms telling me that we are falling, which I was grateful for.

“IT’S NOT WORKING!”

Of course toggling the switch back on won’t work, the generators are in cooldown for at least 30 to 60 seconds. In my head I was doing the math of whether we will hit the surface before that, there was very little else I could do. The controls were dead and the ground was approaching fast. I knew that even if we get the power back we are going to hit hard.

Finally, the generators sprung back to life, 500 meters above surface.

“BRACE FOR IMPACT!!!!!” I yelled over the intercom, knowing full well that everyone is bracing themselves already and probably shitting themselves too. I rerouted all the power I could to thrusters hoping to slow us down and lowered the landing gear to soak up the impact. My plan was to put us flat down with some forward momentum that would get us into a slide and eventual stop…or explosion.

We hit the ground hard, harder than I expected. The ship protested loudly, warning lights and sounds going off all around me. RogueSquadron didn’t strap himself in and was hurled from his seat against the canopy. My plan to get us into a forward slide worked, the sounds of stressed metal were unbearable. When we finally stopped I couldn’t see anything through the cloud of dust we picked up. The alarms stopped and a final “Landing complete” echoed through the bridge. It looked like we didn’t lose any parts of the ship.

“That was some nice flying Space.”

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