SubJovian And Moons
I'm sure the Runabouts were just a consolation prize to make us support the Exploration Service. Not that I mind. Flying these little beasts through uncharted star systems beats the heck out of driving shuttles back and forth between the surface of Libertas and the old ramscoop of same name. Sure, the Runabouts are cramped when you stick more than two people in them and they've got nothing but old-fashioned reaction drives, but they're good solid Libertine tech, built to last with barely any maintenance. Plus, the microwave plasma drive can run off water, so refueling is a cinch, and the worst a busted tank can do is rust.
There are two Runabouts on each exploratory ship. With pilot and flight engineer that puts at least four Libertines on every expedition, even if we don't manage to provide that many scientists. Not much room for science when you're trying to tame the Inback and grow Earth crops on alien sand. But farming grains under the bitter sky is not in my blood. This is where I belong.
Sure, the fancy ship blinks across light-years in a wrenching instant. And it flies across space with pods that fake a gravity well. The science I'll never understand. But most of those physicist-engineers and science punks rarely leave the ship. If they want samples or detailed surveys of rocks under the gaze of alien stars, that's when I get to blaze the way.
-- Lieutenant Jose Burbank, Flight Officer, CES Shackleton, Confederation Exploratory Service, 3 June 2237
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by Geir Lanesskog, All Rights Reserved