Abandoned arrays

17th January 2010 – 3.34 pm

Having lost his Nemesis, which really isn't funny, my colleague goes out scanning again. On finding some abandoned hangars and arrays, he wonders what happens to the items and ships inside if the hangars were broken apart. Perhaps the contents spill out in to the vacuum of space, or maybe everything inside is destroyed too. We must solve this mystery in the name of science. But we need to find the abandoned arrays first. He comes back to guide me in my Manticore through the wormholes to the w-space system, and we begin looking.

I rely on my directional scanner again, knowing that the arrays are sitting around a moon somewhere in the system, making them relatively easy to locate. I am able to find the relevant planet quickly enough, simply by pointing my d-scan at each planet in turn. When I see a refinery and ship maintenance array in the results I know I am pointing in the right direction. I warp to the planet and start scanning the moons, with a narrow 5° beam, but the arrays don't appear on any scan that coincides with the planet's moons. The arrays must be around here somewhere.

I move the d-scan around a bit more. Widening the beam initially, the arrays are picked up by the d-scan again, so I narrow the beam once more to get a more accurate bearing on their location. I end up with a 5° bearing on the arrays, but one that points out in to space. As far as I can tell, there are no planets or moons in that direction. But there is more I can do with the d-scan, as the range can also be adjusted. With a bit of extra scanning, I track the arrays to a point in space between 450,000,000 km and 460,000,000 km away from me, nowhere near a celestial object. They really have been abandoned.

A quick calculation, based on a constant flight speed of 500 m/s, puts the arrays around 29 years away, which is a little long. A micro-warp drive probably won't help much to make the travel time feasible either. I'm happy to leave the arrays where they are, particularly as we may not be able to open or transport them anywhere. But my tenacious colleague's curiosity has overcome him, and he stays out there in his scanning boat. By the time I am back at the corporation tower, he has the arrays resolved to within a few million kilometres, only a few months of travel away. Let's hope he sets a long skill training before starting the journey.

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