Enter the Sidewinder

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George Lucas Station, Leesti System

One of the problems with flying a Sidey is that it pretty much ties you to areas that you know you can find a harbor in. The Sidewinder is not known for its spaciousness, nor its ability to sustain a pilot for very long without resupply.

These little ships supply a moderate punch for their size, in the form of two small hardpoints that can carry a variety of different weapons.  I’ve opted for gimbaled beam lasers with delusions of getting turreted beams some day, but they could be ballistic weapons such as miniguns or canons, torpedo launchers, or missile launchers.

Even these two weapons tax the systems on the ship. Run the lasers too long, and they’ll overheat the main power distro box or the power plant itself. Get trigger happy with a ballistic or missile weapon, and your entire ship’s complement of reloads will be gone in no time. 

Additionally, your jump distance is limited by the small size of the main fuel tank.  20 LY or so and you’re toast. You can certainly mount a fuel scoop to remedy that, but you’ll sacrifice something for that, such as scanners, shields, or cargo.

Even if you could extend the range of the Sidey, you’d be stuck in a ship that consists, largely, of a cockpit, a hallway with a sleeping alcove, and another, shorter, hallway with a privy at the end and a small table that you can prepare and eat your somewhat edible meals at. The accommodations are pretty limited for even the captain and crew (of which you are both) and even passenger jobs require that they bunk in cargo canisters.  But even if you wanted to, there’s no place on the command deck that a passenger could even sit.  This is a painfully one-person ship, and it goes to great lengths to remind you of that fact.

Still, the Sidewinder is an excellent starter ship and a starter pilot like me could do a lot worse. I’ve heard of ships that don’t have, for example, internal environmentals, which sounds fine until you’ve lived in a space suit for more than, say, a day. Then you start to get a real appreciation for the fact that the life support module is not optional on a Faulcon de Lacy brand Sidewinder.

All this in support of the fact that I tend to station-hop rather than go long distances between ports. I have a nice home here on Wild Heart, but sometimes you like to stretch out on a bed that doesn’t have walls all around it, and sit in a chair that doesn’t have a joystick and throttle in front of it. Humans were never meant to live in the Big Black, but the Sidewinder is very much a creature of that environment, and it lets you know that every single day.

Schematic_Sidewinder

After clearing the boards at George Lucas, I’ve set sail for 47 Ceti once again; the next station in that chain is my destination, and I’ll start the hunt all over again. Bounty hunting has proven to be a very lucrative enterprise in this stage of my professional development.  I can’t take on anyone over Competent rating without some serious issues, but as long as they don’t shred my shields immediately, I can drop chaff and bug out with most of my skin intact, and that’s really all that counts. I’m over halfway to buying an unequipped Cobra at this point, so we’re all grins around here these days.

That probably means something horrible is about to happen. Not gonna lie, that’s gonna be a real downer when it happens. But I’ll enjoy the trip while it lasts.

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