Log #75 – Quantanium Mining

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A Quantanium gold rush broke out in the Stanton system. I also went on a search.

The job for FTL Courier Service was a flop. So the info that Quantanium was found in the Stanton System came in handy. Quantanium was a very rare and very valuable ore. It was used as fuel for the Quantum engines. A veritable gold rush had broken out.  I wanted to continue my mining success and brought my Prospectors to Microtech.

There were two problems in mining Quantanium. Firstly, you had to find it first. It couldn’t be found at the outskirts of New Babbage. I got the information that the Microtech moon Clio was a good address. Second, Quantanium was unstable. It could explode during heavy flight manoeuvres or too long storage, in the ore pockets of a Prospector. The time factor and a steady hand on the control stick were crucial.

After I had equipped my Prospector with a warning device for unstable Quantanium, I set out on a search. I flew to the moon Clio and searched. I searched and searched. I found Agricium and Taranite. I even found Bexalite, but not Quantanium.  The wild landscape of Clio had its charm, the view was great, but even more I would have been attracted to a damn rock with Quantanium. And so I kept looking.

Like in a trance I sent one ping after the other over the surface of Clio. My eyes became sleepy. I found another rock that contained ores. Somewhat listlessly I brought the ship into position and started the detail scan. The bar of the scanner display moved from left to right. My eyes closed briefly. I had been searching too long and hadn’t slept enough. Slowly, my eyes opened again. I looked at the scanner display. Quantanium. Suddenly, I was wide awake.

Excited like a small child I extended the mining arm, started the laser and increased the power. The window for optimum power levels was pretty small. But I had a Helix mining head and a lot of experience. This should work. I fully concentrated on the energy meter and didn’t look at the laser beam and the rock. Suddenly the display for the energy level of the rock was at zero.

I looked irritated out of the cockpit window.  The laser beam passed the rock. The strong wind pushed the Prospector to the side. I corrected the position of the ship and directed the laser back to the rock. Now it became strenuous. I had to keep an eye on the energy meter and correct the energy level. At the same time I fought an almost hopeless battle against the wind and tried to keep the ship in position.

In my helmet it started to stink of sweat. I fought against the wind and the rock. Two opponents were one too many. Then I remembered that I used to land the Prospectors for mining. I had become just too lazy for that in the course of time. As soon as the ship stood on the ground, the wind was no longer a problem. 

I cracked the rock, crushed the fragments and extracted the Quantanium. While extracting I had to change position several times and was fighting the wind again. Any movement could be lethal once the Quantanium was in the ore pockets. I kept gazing nervously at the instability indicator. My excitement rose in proportion to the level of the ore pockets. Would the Quantanium remain stable, or would it blow up in my face?