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A Funny Thing Happened...
So, it took me a bit to figure out how this blogging software actually worked, in order to do something that's a bit less formal than my posts to the Academy. It's often nice to talk about things that happened while I was out and about the 'verse. Therefore, I had to first figure out how to create a new category so that our Commander-In-Chief, -Emperor Jin of the Slingshots - (as I've been advised to call her), won't squelch my blathering. :D
In my Academy posts, I generally share information essential to helping new crew members operate their equipment successfully, and to help folks better meet the objectives of their missions by conveying a bit of background on why things work the way they do. (Most of that based on hard-earned experience.)
Here, however, in my pilot's log, pretty much anything I find amusing may be fodder for tall tales of my various adventures.
To kick things off, I wanted to convey something I found especially funny... literally laughing-out-loud funny... that happened during a recent DSC crew training exercise.
Commander Smut (one of these days, I'll have to ask the background of his call-sign) had assembled the lot of us for a variation of what folks on my side of the pond refer to as "capture the flag." In this case, though, we were attempting to "recover supplies from a disabled Carrack."
One of the fundamental training elements for this event was to have the ground crews attempting to recover the supplies, to work with their drop-ship pilots, on the finer points of team coordination and mission insertion and extraction. For those of us serving as drop-ship pilots, it was an opportunity for us to practice our combat landings and coordinate with the local commander of ground forces, who was coordinating the operation.
Now, Smut was the commander for our team, which also included Chilee, Glumm, CaptainBabyJesus, Mac (Whipl8sh), Xeno, and two others who's names escape me at the moment. (Sing out if you were on our team, so I can give proper credit!) But, here's a photo of the group as we assembled...
As you can see by the photo, our "drop ship" was an Argo MPUV Cargo. Keep in mind, that I hadn't been fully briefed on the mission until about thirty minutes before the event kicked-off. During that thirty-minute pre-kick-off period, I purchased said MPUV at Teach's Ship Shop; I had never seen an MPUV in person prior to this moment, let alone sat in one or flown one.
That's a critical piece of information for later reference...
After purchasing my new mini-drop ship, I proceeded to our team's IP (Initial Point) so that everyone could set their preferred ICU on Xeno's Cutlass Red. We then moved out to the location we would use as our base of operations for the event, loaded everyone up, and waited for the signal to begin.
So far, so good.
Then the fun started...
Smut gave the signal to move in on the disabled Carrack and I fire-walled the throttle in an effort to insert my team on-target ahead of the opposing team. The objective was to recover more than half of the supply containers from the disabled ship to be declared a winner for that round; we were scheduled to compete in three rounds, time-permitting.
Immediately, the decision to fire-wall the throttle became an obviously-bad decision, but I knew that all I had to do was spin the ship 180 degrees and I'd be able to bring the team in without over-shooting the landing zone by too much. In fact, it put us in the perfect position to drop the team before the other team arrived.
Sadly, as soon as he stepped out of the cargo pod, Glumm fell off the ramp and was immediately and unceremoniously evacuated to the ICU bed on the Cutlass Red. But, the team pressed forward and quickly returned with three of the supply crates to load into the MPUV, which I was to then ferry back to the Cutlass Red as secured cargo.
Because Glumm was already waiting at the Red, he was able to help unload the crates before returning to the Carrack, to continue the mission.
In fact, once we arrived back at the Carrack, the team already had four more of the boxes ready to be ferried out.
Furthermore, the team was able to secure the final supply crate, extracting all of the supplies from the disabled Carrack. It was a lot of great teamwork and things were well executed by everyone on the team.
Except for a little incident that everyone missed. Everyone but Glumm, that is.
Seems like he's always there to see the truly ridiculous things that I sometimes do.
Remember that I had purchased the MPUV less than thirty minutes before we set out for this little excursion.
And that in my excitement to move my team quickly between the base and the disabled ship, I might have increased the throttle limiter more than I should have.
An additional factor to consider is that I had been working with Dook to practice my spot landings.
So, as I was returning to the Red during the first ferry flight, the one where Glumm was waiting for pickup from the ICU, the one where I was carrying the first three supply crates... Yeah...
As I was approaching the Red, I decided to make a spot landing in a ship with which I was not at all familiar, carrying more speed and, therefore, more energy on the landing, than I should have.
Now... As an experienced pilot, I can tell you that:
I should have performed a "go-around..."
I should have made a second attempt at the landing only after I'd stabilized my approach (including retarding the throttle sufficiently for a proper landing)...
I should have read the POH for operating limitations before attempting to operate the vessel...
I should have died in a fiery explosion...
However, something entirely unexpected happened...
As a testament to the sturdiness of the MPUV, I skipped across the landing area like a rock skipped across the surface of a pond.
And, I went spinning wildly, as a result. Fortunately, I immediately implemented my stall/spin recovery procedure and regained control over the ship. But, of course, I wasn't smart enough to have turned on my recorder beforehand. So, the circus-like incident was lost to everyone, save myself and, of course, my one spectator on the ground, Glumm!
It was a good thing for the rest of the group that we were in push-to-talk comms; I was laughing hysterically at the botched landing in a ship in which I had less than an hour of flight time.
The icing on the cake, though, was that I continued to bounce the little ship around for the remainder of the event. Not enough to push it beyond its limits, but abuse nonetheless. Still, the MPUV soldiered on, and our team continued to execute their mission well above expectations. But, when I was returning Smut, Glumm, and myself to Levski for the intermission, the poor little ship had all it could handle...
That fiery explosion I had been expecting earlier hand held off until after the mission had been completed; the MPUV exploded on touchdown in the hangar at Levski!
Irony of ironies.
Again, I was laughing off-comms, apologizing on-comms, and just shaking my head in disbelief; this little ship took a beating most larger ships couldn't, and kept on goin' on. Amazing!
Next time, maybe I should spend some time in-type before I go charging off on some wild adventure...
Great story and was sad to have missed this event, seems like some great fun! I don't have much experience with the MPUV either, but I have seen oneGreat story and was sad to have missed this event, seems like some great fun! I don't have much experience with the MPUV either, but I have seen one attempt a landing inside of a Hammerhead - immediate explosion. i think there's something more to these MPUVs than meets the eye. More ...