This Mission was brutally tough. Not all of us made it through the night. We departed late, with great weight upon our backs. USB Pale Horse was equipped with a trailer, unfortunately due to severe damage during SCULimpics shifting gears would spell certain disaster to the drive train. That's exactly what NoWayRay did one light year into the mission. The derailleur sucked into the cog set, snapping the chain and tying it all up in a big sloppy greasy knot. Unfortunately the trailer was designed to attach to quick release hubs, and USB Pale Horse was the only chopper that possessed said feature. Skunk took the damaged ship over his shoulder and raced back to Fort Francis to swap it with a LRS Centaur, a fixed gear. Soon we were back on course.
The bike path was eerie that evening, the mist and silence proved quite contrary to the bright light and loud traffic we had become accustomed to. A slight grade over a long distance made heavy cargo hauling particularly draining. After a few rests we reached the dirt singletrack departing from the paved Minuteman path. Quietly we deactivated thrusters, dismounted and spacewalked as not to alert the inhabitants of the system.
Navigating six ships though the winding forest paths in total darkness with silent running and minimal lighting proved a challenge the convoy. After 30 minutes or so we found the campsite NoWayRay had carefully chosen beforehand. Unfortunately the area had since been visited by people who like to break bottles and throw trash. We set up just off to the side of the mess, and unpacked our gear.
We brought a lot of food. NoWay had a portable grill to cook with, and keep warm with. RadioBag provided mellow tunes for pilots to gaze the stars by. After a few hours none of this could keep four of the pilots from yearning for home. NoWay navigated them back to the path, and returned.
Over the course of the remaining pre dawn hours things started to get grim. The night air became increasingly cold, and the veggie dogs lost their appeal when they began to develop huge blisters. DeadByDawn grabbed a quick nap, while Skunk and NoWayRay stayed up to watch the sun rise and laugh at us. When it was bright enough we picked up our trash and the trash that was there before us, and packed up our gear.
Eating berries and bugs to survive, we managed to find the bike path one last time. The broken glass poking though the trash bag was difficult to keep from scraping against a pedaling leg, but it wasn't too far to the trash barrel. We set course for lovely Luna Starbucks in the Lexington System.
Unfortunately they were no way near to opening. We waited until six and bought coffee from Luna DD's up the street. The cream was rotten and offered no comfort for the exsausted pilots.
Skunk seemed to fare the least of the three. He spent a lot of time rubbing his face into looser and looser facial expressions, while NoWayRay chirpily mused about trivial things, all the while DeadByDawn operated the black box recorder. After realizing energy level were dropping to critical, we pointed our ships for home and raced home at beat the exhaustion clock speeds.