A little story from the world of Elite Dangerous; a story full of words and ideas that will mean a lot to of some of you, and perhaps excite everyone else..
TL/DR: I’ve delivered a Hutton Mug and some Mega Gin from the galaxy-famous Hutton Orbital station to every stop along the Colonia Bridge… in a Sidewinder.
I’d half decided it was time to emigrate over to the Colonia region. All my ships, all my modules, and the Fleet Carrier, the whole smash. Not a little day trip to get some engineer unlocks and return on a taxi, this would be a return to the frontier, Elite style.
It’s a popular trip, with long range jumper ships ten a penny on Coriolis and regular ferries from The Bubble. But I wanted to do something memorable on the way out there, and not just let the stewards serve me English Butter Muffins while I sat in a comfy business class suite. The opening of the Colonia Bridge provided the answer.
The Bridge is going to be a polar route for travellers, and the crews that are manning these islands are doing a lonely and thankless job. Well, almost thankless. How about I thank them in the way that only a Hutton Orbital Trucker knows how? With a galaxy-famous Hutton Mug, and some Centauri Mega Gin to fill the mug with.
And because it’s Hutton Truckers, then let’s be a bit silly, and do the trip in a Sidewinder.
How It Works
There’s a few moving parts here. The first is my Fleet Carrier. Once all my ships and modules are recalled, I’ll be plotting the jumps to move from The Bubble to the Colonia Region. All well and good. It’s rammed full of tritium, it’s got some supplies for unlocking engineers in Colonia, and all my ships and modules are aboard.
Then you have the Hutton Mugs and Mega Gin cargo. This needed a few missions back and forward to Hutton Orbital to not only get enough of each (there are 84 stops along the way), but also a few spare for any mistakes, and to have some in Colonia to sell as well.
Finally there’s the small matter of the Sidewinder. Given it can’t carry the 168 tons of cargo needed at once, the Fleet Carrier will resupply the Sidewinder with mugs and gin. The Sidewinder will jump ahead 500 light years to the next stop on the route, hand the gifts over to the crews, and then pick up the next set of mugs and gin from the arriving Fleet Carrier… before doing it all again. And again. And again.
That way I not only have an unbroken line of Hutton Mugs, but I’ll be flying a Sidewinder from The Bubble to Colonia. And while it’s been done before, it’s not been done before by me.
My Ship, The Sidewinder
Okay, I’m a bit crazy but not mad. This isn’t a the starting ship stock Sidewinder. It’s been round the engineers to squeeze out as much jump range as possible. Components have been stripped back, FSD drives have been optimised, and it’s as slick as possible – even if that means travelling with no shields (relax, the hull is engineered, it can survive a full speed full boost crash into a very solid object). There’s some concession to being an explorer, with a 2t slip tank in one of the optional internal slots (Coriolis Links)
Nevertheless, she’ll do 40.5 ly unladen, and 39 ly with 2t of cargo. Of course it has a slick paint job, and there’s a Hutton Orbital Truckers sticker on the front.
It’s a pretty simple route, Hit every single Megship that is part of the Colonia Bridge, That’s 56 stops. Each is handily just a little bit less than 500 ly from the next step so it’s a nicely signposted FC jumping route as well. Now add in the 6 Ocellus Starpors built in phase 3 of the Colonia Bridge project. And finally add in some of the classic systems that had the first Outpost stations built back in 3302, along with the Starports built by The Blue Star Link – handily the Megaship route uses these systems, so there are some systems with multiple deliveries.
There are two quirks though. Both the Gagarin Gate and Polo Harbour outposts – part of the older Colonia Connections route – are a long way off track. Each will require a 3000 ly diversion (1500 ly in each direction) to drop off the mugs. I feel sorry for these stations – once they were shining beacons on the route, now they’ve been bypassed and I doubt they’ll see many passing ships.
All up that’s 84 stops to make, the first at Alcor’s MacDonald Station, and the last in Colonia’s Jacques Station.
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Colonia
We tried to deliver when you were out
It took me four days before I discovered a system in lockdown. Well that’s fine and dandy, I thought, I can’t sell my mugs or gin here until the system clears. So I waited. Then helped out a bit with a handy Corvette I had gathering dust in my Fleet Carrier. And nothing changed.
“I need to keep making deliveries,” I thought, “so what should I do?” Clearly what every delivery driver does in a rush job. Tap on the airlock door at the front of the station, drop the cargo, and leave them a little note when paying off the littering fine. Sorted.
(Twitch Clip: The Airlock Delivery Method)
A fun observation in one of the Asteroid Bases, as someone got stuck in the airlock and needed to be shot out of the way by the system defence forces. Boom. That’s one way to keep the path clear. Thankfully I was far enough away not to get caught up in the debris.
(Twitch Clip: Exploding Airlocks).
We don’t need an AFMU
I only used Neutron Boosting for the two 3000 ly diversions. On the first I made the rookie error f not packing an AFMU and I was just a touch short of FSD capacity on the last few jumps, with a couple of misfiring jumps happening. On the second diversion I did remember to pack the repair bots, but I never went under the critical 80 percent limit to need them.
(Twitch Clip: Distant Delivery)
I ended up doing a lot of travelling late at night, which wasn’t conducive to lots of Twitch chat and banter. Instead I moved over to doing “ASMR Night Deliveries” on the channel, with the mic turned down low, Elite’s sound just ticking over, and some chill music in the background. Text chat, sure, but anything loud and raucous? Nope, not going to happen.
Remember You’re A Fuel Rat
I could have finished two days early, but I decided to rest up and not push the jumps when I was tired – that’s when mistakes happen. And on the night before the actual finish, The Fuel Rats’ Rat-Signal lit up. There was a stranded Vulture some 23000ly away from The Bubble who thought all hope was lost. Well, 23,000ly away form the bubble but just 398 ly away from me.
I hadn’t used it since I was in The Bubble and preparing for my first Long Range Exploration back in early 3307, but I have an AspX set up as a Ratter. Quickly hauled out of FC storage, I ran down the checklist to prep for a rescue, and was on my way. Five minutes after the call, I’m in system and ready to rescue another Commander.
There’s My Towel!
My final docking berth at Jacques Station was Pad 42. Douglas Adams ould have been proud.
(Twitch Clip: Deliver For 42).
Some Final Thoughts
Apart from the first leg out of The Bubble, and the last leg into Colonia, there were rather a lot of unexplored systems, with Earth-like and Water Worlds all discovered. So even though this is a pretty straight line, there’s a lot to discover on the strat line, let alone a hundred or so light years above and below.
Each of the Phase 3 stations all had other player Fleet Carriers in the system. Whether they are staying there or not I can’t be sure, but the potential of mini-bubbles for explorers at the six key stations is there. Rather than point to point trips, explorations might want to consider this in the future.
Overall the Colonia Bridge does make everything feel a little bit easier than just empty space between the two points. Will this encourage more commanders to head out to Colonia? I think it will – not everyone is ready to build a stripped down Anaconda for the Neutron Highway.
Of course the question is going to be what would make players travel the route. Why would the storytellers at FDev create a bridge to Colonia? Is it to help travel? To get to a new area in space? To act as an evacuation route?
- Distance travelled: 29273.30 light years
- Time elapsed: 48 hours 4 minutes 57 seconds.
- Jumps made: 730
- Average jump distance: 40.1 ly
- Deliveries made: 84 tons of Hutton Mugs, 84 tons of Centauri Mega Gin.
- Satisfied Commanders: 1. That would be me.