Category Archives: CMDR Cynnrain’s Commander’s Log


“It’s not your ship you need to worry about when you’re out there Cynn’. You’re the most careful Commander I know… to the point of obsessive, if I’m being really honest with you.”

Vin’ and I were sat at the bar in Hutton discussing my plans to go exploring. This was a few months back

“And worrying about developing appendicitis whilst you’re out in the black? Well, yes. It might happen. But you’d be bloody unlucky” He took a swig of his gin and rolled it around his mouth for a while, seemingly losing his train of thought whilst he gazed across the bar. Then he looked me directly in he eye

“It’s your head that gets you in the end” For effect he tapped two fingers on my forehead. “That’s what gets to most explorers. Their heads go.”

And now, after just three months in the black, I see his point already. He’s been around long enough to know these things has our Vin’.

That’s not why I’m coming back in, mind. No, exploration was never supposed to be a long term thing. I’m heading back to learn to fight. I’ve achieved Merchant ranking in trade and Ranger in exploration so it makes sense that I learn to fight. I’m returning with a stack of data to sell, so I’ll be able to kit out a combat Cobra III pretty well and still afford a few rebuys. Happy days.

So what have I learned about myself and other Commanders over the past three months.

Firstly, I’ve learned that I am capable of total idiocy. My ship’s fine … like Vin’ said, I’m very careful. I’ve not even used my auto field maintenance unit. However, two weeks out while I was sorting my cargo bay, I stacked my precious supply of tobacco against the Frameshift drive casing. The bottom three cases are dry as a bone, even through the packaging, due to the heat generated. Brilliant. Well done me.

With that minor disaster aside, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I spoke to several experienced Commanders before leaving and most of them told me to head out to the neutron star fields where I’d amass a small fortune in exploration data. “Go to Sag A”, they told me “You’ll get rich quick”.

And so I set a course towards Sagittarius A. Except I quickly realised that isn’t what I wanted to get out of exploration. Because it wasn’t so much exploration as a well trodden path. A pilgrimage of wealth accumulation that I wasn’t really interested in making.

I turned back and headed around the bubble in the opposite direction to Sag A. Not really heading anywhere in particular. Just scudding along, scanning and scooping fuel as I went. But most important to me … I discovered. Anything of value, from high metal content world and up, was subjected to my detailed surface scanner. Gas giants, water worlds, earth-like worlds … if it didn’t have a ‘first discovered by’ name to it, I scanned it. It won’t get me rich as quickly as the neutron stars but so what? My name will appear in the exploration maps forever. I have seen, close up, what no other human eyes have seen. And that means more to me than the riches of the neutron stars or being able to say I’ve been to Sagittarius A. I’m not saying you shouldn’t want wealth or to travel to the centre. It’s just not me, that’s all.

But it has been interesting looking at the behaviour of other explorers. Some clearly jump into a system, give it a quick blast on their Advanced Discovery Scanner (ADS) whilst scooping, then jump again. They’re not interested in having their names immortalised. They don’t have time for all that.

Then you have your more typical explorer. They jump, scoop and honk their ADS then check their system map for anything they want to take a closer look at with their surface scanner.

And then, at the opposite end of the spectrum (and possibly, slightly on another kind of spectrum) are the explorers who just scan absolutely everything. These guys are scanning floating rocks and ice just to get their names by them as a ‘First Discovered by’. And why not?

There’s no wrong way of exploring. Well, running out of fuel or frying your ship would be quite wrong. But if you stay fuelled and safe, you’re your own boss out in the black. If you want to race through the universe as quickly as possible, crack on. If you want to scan everything possible and plod around seeing the sights, great. Do it your way.

I’ve enjoyed exploring my way. You enjoy exploring your way. It’s not like anyone can see what you’re up to once you’re out in the black anyway is it? You’ll settle into a rhythm. Your own daily routine and some seem to come back in claiming they got bored. If you’re the sort of Commander who likes to see spectacular light shows and hear loud, aggressive shouting over your local intercom, I can understand you would be bored.

But for those who like peace, maybe a bit of Hutton Orbital Radio and regular sights that are so wonderfully beautiful they make you catch your breath, you’ll enjoy exploration.

Stay safe out there Commander o7



Tonight’s piece is a tale of drunkeness, carelessness and failure. I hope my anguish will act as a lesson to Commanders both experienced and new … here we go:

It’s that instant human reaction when something goes wrong. Blame someone else. In my case I blamed Cecil. I did for a few seconds once I’d got my ship back to normal temperature at least.

After all, it was that drunken old sod that lost the bizarre drinking game involving a funnel, Hober’s boot and 26 beer mats on my last night in the bubble. It was he that, for once, didn’t wriggle out of his bet with me and bought me my height in cases of beer. It must have been his fault because I wasn’t even going to take alcohol out into the black.

Yet, three weeks into my first exploration mission and heading out to Sagitarrius A*, Cecil didn’t sit by me and force six beers down my throat, did he? Well not in person anyway. The old devil was probably egging me on in spirit. It wasn’t Cecil who jumped up and walked away from the cockpit, desperate for a pee, was it? It wasn’t Cecil who knocked my sunglasses off the dashboard cover straight on to the SILENT RUNNING button. And it wasn’t Cecil who happily lurched off to the toilet without noticing that my precious Keelback – my beautiful Pallypongo – was just about to fry whilst I was offloading the processed beer.

Yes. It was me who walked away from the cockpit, totally unaware that I’d knocked the SILENT RUNNING button. When I returned, there was beeping and red lights going off everywhere. Sparks had even started flying off my control panel.

When I should have just shut the ship down temporarily whilst I was away, I left it running. Modules fried. And, after I had got the ship back under control, I slumped in my seat and uttered the words ‘Cecil. You total b*****d’.

My Auto Field Maintenance Unit did its job for the most part before it ran out of juice. There was nothing else for it … no AFMU … no mission. I aborted and turned the Pallypongo back towards the bubble. And it was on that long, miserable journey back that it dawned on me that I was responsible for my own downfall. Not Cecil. I had walked away from the controls of my own ship.

I had to hope that I could get back to the bubble, get repaired and kitted up again and head back out … to the Wregoe systems this time … before any of the other Truckers spotted me. I’d never live it down. I imagined, more than once, the reaction I’d get from Toad and Dogg.

My first exploration trip lasted about three weeks before my negligence ended it prematurely. I’ve been back out for a week and all is good. A couple of minor bumps but 97% hull still and everything else in tact.

But, there is a lesson to be learned here, Commander. Never walk away from your cockpit for any period of time without shutting the ship down. You just never know.

Now, time to go and get another beer …

Stay safe out there Commanders o7 #ForTheMug



“Ice White”

“It’s fookin’ WHITE”

“It’s Ice White”

“It’s white, white fookin’ white”

This had been carrying on for a couple of minutes. Not a debate. Not even contradiction as essentially both men were in agreement as to the colour white. The bone of contention appeared to be the addition of the word ‘ice’.

“Dogg” Toad finally looked exasperated “I’m not saying it isn’t white”

Mahdogg threw his head back triumphantly.

“I’m just saying that Lakon call that particular white, ‘Ice White’. Cynnrain, am I right”

I smiled and nodded. This is how it is with CMDR’s Toad and Mahdogg. Dogg looked disbelievingly at Toad.

“Can you hear yourself man? What are you, some sort of Lakon paint expert? Have you got Lakon colour charts pinned up in your cockpit? Have you got I heart Lakon stickers on the back of your ship? You need to get out more Toad”

“None of those things Dogg. If you cast your mind back to the pretty brunette girl I used to be … friendly … with at Massimo Dock. Can you remember what she did for a living?”


“Yes. Sales. She sold paint for Lakon”

“Wow!” Dogg looked around the group “That was your pillow talk was it? Testing each other on Lakon paint terminology?”

“Don’t be so crass”

“Can I get you commanders more coffee?” The waitress provided a welcome distraction. Nods and smiles from all six commanders.

“I thought there would have been more at the party last night” Toad to nobody in particular “I thought at least Alvin might come. He gets on really well with Cynnrain”

“Everyone gets on well with Cynnrain” Commander Vingtetun didn’t bother shifting from the head tilted back position he’d taken up as the waitress left the table “I told you we shouldn’t have let Cecil send out the invitations”

“Dear boy” Cecil was swaying in his seat “The invitations went out. Trust me.” Raised eyebrows from all at this final statement.

“How many did you send Cecil?” from Hober this time “How many?”

“I lost count after six old fellow”

“There are six of us around this table” Vin’ looked at Cecil with narrowing eyes “You only sent out six invitations didn’t you? And … oh no … you actually invited Cynnrain to his own surprise going away party as well? Well done old fruit. You’ve outdone yourself”

“It’s fine Vin.” I thought I’d better come to Cecil’s defence. The old chap still reeked of Centauri Gin and probably didn’t need a hard time right now “It was a good night, wasn’t it?”

The waitress arrived with more coffee and there was silence other ‘thank you’s’ as she poured.

“Farm boy. Have you done your final checks?” Toad gave Dogg a sly wink.

“You know he has Toad.” Vin answered before I could “I’ve been out with him twice to check everything before you even woke up.”

“You never really left the navy Cynnrain, did you?” Dogg joined in “Do you ever get tired of checking everything is in working order?”

“This coming from the man who is on first name terms with most of the fuel rats” Vin to my rescue this time “You’d do well to take a leaf out of Cynnrain’s book, Dogg.”

“They love it. They’d get bored without my weekly call for help” high fives with Toad across the table.

“Let’s drink up and get Cynnrain on his way.” Vin drained his cup and stood up “Are you ready Cynnrain? Time you were out in the black old fruit”

The walk to my Keelback was slow owing to Cecil’s two steps forward, one step back approach. Down to, entirely, to the quantity of gin he’d thrown down his throat last night.

“I still don’t know why you sold your Cobra Mark III for that” Toad jabbed a finger towards the white Keelback.

“Now, now Toad” Hober interjected “Keelback’s are perfectly capable exploration ships. All sorts of ships are out in the black. And if you remember, Cynnrain does have a taste for the out of the ordinary sometimes. Remember his first Hutton run in a virtually unmodified Sidewinder?”

Toad gave a laugh and nodded as he turned towards me ”I do. For an obsessive compulsive worrier Cynnrain, I have to say, you do sometimes have a capability to do some really odd things. Now, are you sure you’ve checked you’ve got everything?”

“I’ve got absolutely everything I need. Everything has been checked and double checked”

“And you’re sure you don’t want to check everything again before you leave? You’ll be away for at least a couple of months, you know?”

At this point, I remember looking at Vin for his thoughts. I got a shake of the head and a smile in response “No need old fruit. Everything is working fine. You know it is.”

I think Toad and Dogg thought I might panic at this point and go for another check anyway. They were both looking at me with strange smiles on their faces. I held firm. I had to shake this dull, methodical, obsessive reputation I seem to have got myself.

“No, as you say Vin. It’s all working fine. Everything is in order” I said as I reached for my door remote to find it wasn’t there. Panic. I started patting the pockets of my boiler suit. Toad was swinging the remote in front of me when I looked up. Panic over.

“They had fallen out your pocket at breakfast Cynnrain. I meant to give them back earlier but forgot.”

“Thanks Toad. I can’t believe I did that. I’m usually so careful about these things”

“Well, you’ve had a lot on your mind Cynners” Dogg patted me on the back as I opened the Keelback entry hatch “First exploration voyage and all. It’s all very exciting fella isn’t it?”

“Well, I appreciate it lads. Thank you. For the Mug Commanders” I addressed the small gathering and saluted to a chorus of “For the Mug” and returned salutes.

And a few minutes later I was in the cockpit and waiting for station clearance to take off. The gang had moved up to one of the viewing gantries to wave me on my way. They must have prepared the gantry because they were all holding up silver Hutton Orbital Trucker mugs. But then Toad and Dogg pulled up a big hand written board. I was puzzled. I had expected ‘#ForTheMug’ to be written on it. Or maybe ‘Goodbye Cynnrain’. Or something of that nature.

But no. On the board was written ‘#ForTheBum”. They were laughing and waving their free hand with great enthusiasm. Before I was able to puzzle any further, the flight controller’s voice came over my intercom. The last female voice I’d hear for some time. “Landing gear released Commander. You’re ready to leave the station. Stick to the greens on the way out”. And I did.

I took my time plotting my course and had only made two jumps when Vin’s familiar tones broke over my radio.

“Cynnrain. Are you there old fruit?”

“I am Vin’. Is everything okay?”

“Everything is fine Cynnrain but you’re going to need to stop off before you hit the black.”

“Why?” Now I was really puzzled

“If you check your cargo hold, you’ll find that pair of jokers Dogg and Toad have removed all of your toilet paper. They lifted your hatch remote before breakfast and removed every last roll. For the Bum, old fruit. For the Bum”

And with a lot of swearing, I carried on my way to my first exploration trip. Albeit on a false start.

High Metal Content Worlds

While I’ve called this entry high metal content worlds, I’ve only actually called it that because that’s what I’ve been mainly doing today.

Over the coming weeks I’ll explain why I left the bubble to explore and how I go about it. Today though, I’ll take you through how I kitted out my ship and let you know where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to.

I fly a Keelback. That’s right dear Commander, you read that correctly. I fly a Keelback.

Why, you ask? Why not? There seems to be a common feeling amongst my fellow commanders that the Keelback is a silly little monstrosity of a ship. I say two things in response to that. The first is beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The second is that I’ve not seen another human for three weeks and no human other than me has laid eyes on my ship for that time. So what does it matter? It serves me well for how I explore. Some day I may or may not own an Imperial Cutter or an Anaconda or another big ship. Until then, this one does me fine.

Now, about the specifications of this Keelback of mine which I’ve named the Pallypongo by the way – I do agree thats a daft name but there is a sentimental reason behind it, which I might divulge at some point in the future. Now, for the specifications:

4A thrusters, 5B shield generator, 1A auto-field maintenance unit, 2A sensors, 3A power distributor, 4A fuel scoop, 1A life support, 4A frame shift drive, 4A power plant, 1C advanced discovery scanner

I think I’ve covered everything. As I said, it seems to be suiting my purposes well and was equipped within my budget whilst keeping enough aside for at least 3 re-buys. And if you’re a new commander reading this … please never fly a ship that you can’t afford to rebuy. Bad, bad, bad.

I’m currently wending my way somewhere towards Sagittarius A*. I say ‘somewhere towards’ because I’m not actually heading for Sagittarius A* really. It’s a well trodden path. More of a pilgrimage than an exploration.

No, I’m a wanderer. If I discover a new system or planetary body, that’s great. I take my time, I look around, I scoop fuel every time I’m able (for new commanders, you can only scoop from star classes K,G,B,F,O,A and M – that’s always worth remembering). I jump, I scoop, I honk my scanner. Then I take a look at my system map and decide if there’s anything I want to go and see a little closer. There’s no rhyme or reason behind this necessarily. It just passes the time out here. And, as an explorer, time is something I have plenty of.

So, today, I have visited the following:

COL 285 Sector QY-R C4-112

You can scoop here because you jump into a K Class yellow-orange star. Good news. It was interesting, to a degree at least, as I detail scanned a water-world and a high metal content world. I wish I’d got closer to the water-world now so I could have taken a picture for you. Another time. I chose to take a picture of the metal world instead. It looked quite dramatic with hot lava spewing out in places. You can see it below. Other than that, there were 9 rocky bodies, which I couldn’t be bothered to scan. I moved on to:

COL 285 Sector IH-V D2-38

Dull, dull, dull. A non-scoopable T Tauri Star. That’s it. Jump!

COL 285 Sector FC-K B9-2

Scooped from a Red Dwarf (that’s M class) star and scanned. 6 Rocks but nothing else. Move on Cynnrain, there’s nothing here for you.

COL 285 Sector FC-K B9-3

Jumped into a T Tauri star. The disco scanner revealed 3 large stars, brown dwarf’s I think. I moved on without taking a detailed scan.

COL 285 Sector OD-S C4-12

Another darned T Tauri star. No fuel scooping. Now here’s where my cautious, meandering, short jumps really come in handy. Not even I’m paranoid about running out of fuel yet. I detail scanned a Class I Gas Giant and a high metal content world but left the icy body alone in favour of the lure of as scoopable star. Off I went.

COL 285 Sector OD-S C4-13

Got a scoop this time. A lovely red dwarf (class M star). Scanned whilst I was scooping to reveal no less than seven high metal content worlds. Happy days. I wanted some pictures so I went and scanned all seven. Very lovely they were too.

And that was my day. Looking down at my hull, it’s still 100%. Not bad for three weeks out in the black. My lovely new ice-white paint job and SpecialEffect decal looks a little worse for wear but that’s easily fixed.

Time to settle down and listen to Hutton Orbital Radio for a while.

For The Mug you filthy Truckers 🙂







A month ago, at the Hutton Bar….

I’d bought Vin a drink.  Or two.

“So – what do you reckon on this exploring lark…. I mean… don’t you think it would be a bit lonely out there?”

“Take a book or two, a radio tuned to Hutton Orbital Radio, a nice camera and enjoy the ride.  The worst that can happen is that you blow up and end up being rescued back here.”

“I suppose you’re right,” I said. “Send you a postcard….”

The next morning, I set sail.