Casual Play Astrogation

Zeta Tuttle Xander 44f (Concolir)

Your ship's integrated intelligence takes control of the ship away from you almost as soon as you drop out of between-space. It's shocking, kicks fear into your heart, but the reason for locking you out becomes clear in the space of a breath, a blink.

You don't feel the sudden braking, the quick shifts, but you can see them, can see the towering spires of metal-rich rocks rolling through the darkness, trading shadows across the starry void. The integrated intelligence's reflexes are quick, far quicker than any human's, and that's enough to save your life. Your ship threads the field of tumbling rocks like a needle, comes out above it all, or beside it all– hard to tell. It's all the same in zero gravity.

Once you're outside the field, you start to see how big it is, how wide-spanning. Metallic signatures light up everywhere, glitter red in some machine-meshed part of your mind, stretch as far as you can see. Gold, iron, platinum, uranium– and they're all naturally occurring. No claim buoys, no ships, relics, artifacts. You check the network, and there's nothing, no notes on this point in the universe. Absolutely nothing. No one's been here before you, no one's claimed this field.

You take a few seconds to register mineral rights, keep them cheap, negotiable, put the information up on the open market. May take years before you get a note, an offer, a message, but that doesn't bother you. The money isn't important. It'll keep you flying, sure, but fuel costs aren't a problem right now. This field– it's the applications, the lives that can be bettered by the processing of the metals here. A quick-printed signal buoy seals the deal, starts transmitting claim credentials as soon as you set it up outside the field, leave it while you put a little more distance between yourself and the rocks.

Once the claim comes through as verified and recognized, you turn back to the asteroid field, watch the rocks turn, roll slowly through the stars. In the distance, a binary of yellow stars catches your eye, holds your stare for a moment, and then you reach back into the controls with your mind, spin up the phasedrive, point the nose of your ship toward your next destination.


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