|Go on expeditions. Lead explorers to discoveries. Try not to get the entire away team killed. Bring curiosities to science, document what you can't carry back.|
|Access: EC Expedition Prep|
|Related guides: Guide to Exploration|
|EC branch ranks: Ensign(O-1)|
The Pathfinder is the de-facto leader of the Exploration department, the one responsible for leading away missions to distant planets, abandoned space stations, and asteroid clusters. They have a team of hardy Explorers to throw at danger and order around, and are responsible for making sure the team gathers samples of plant life or mineral data, captures xenofauna, and collects anomalies and alien artifacts. The Pathfinder is only ever an Expeditionary Corps Ensign (O-1), and is a staff officer who reports to Chief Science Officer.
As the Pathfinder, you have among the hardest jobs on the Torch; nay, the entire Expeditionary Corps. You have to keep the exploration department in line long enough to get some goddamn samples back to the science team. You have a team of Explorers specifically hired to participate in your away missions, and you can decide whether or not additional crew such as medical technicians, engineers, or security escorts are required for a mission to be carried out properly/safely. Almost any member of the Expeditionary Corps can be called upon to serve in away missions if the Executive Officer or Commanding Officer approves it. If deemed necessary, you can also pester the Deck Chief for supplies to complete a mission.
In the event a dedicated pilot is not available, the Pathfinder is qualified to pilot the Charon themselves; make sure you invested some points in that Piloting skill.
All of this can be found in your locker in your office on Deck Four. There's no need to loot an Explorer's locker for stuff, and doing so makes you look like a tool.
- Machete Belt: A six-slot belt for holding your gear.
- Titanium Deluxe Machete: Your big fancy machete, used for stabbing hostile xenofauna or menacing Vox with. (Note: This is only slightly more robust than a crowbar; don't think you're the new Chief of Security after picking it up.)
- Light first aid kit: A little more comprehensive than your survival kit, this contains gauze and three injectors that respectively contain inaprovaline, dexalin, and deletrathol.
- Shortwave radio: A handheld radio that automatically connects to your headset. Sticking this in your pocket and using the regular comms prefix (
;) away from telecomms range will allow you to speak over the  radio frequency. Use this to communicate with your team!
- Relay positioning device: Also stick this in your pocket; it allows you to view your coordinates (in x:y:z format) and take note of where you are.
- Locator Device: This can be linked to a tracking beacon and points you towards the tracking beacon's location.
- Tracking beacon: For usage with the Locator Device.
- Universal recorder: For recording a conversation you have with the Ascent, a traitorous Shuttle Pilot, or the like.
- Gas analyzer: Click a tile to get a reading of the atmosphere of an exoplanet. You can click on it while it's in your hand and hit "Print Data" to get a physical copy of the readings, which is helpful for filling out reports.
- Tape: An extra recorder tape with ten minutes of free space on it.
- Research tape: Used for marking off scientific curiosities, or in case of a forgotten or lost relay positioning device, acting as a breadcrumb trail while you fumble back to the Charon.
- Explorer's combi-knife: A multi-functional pocketknife.
- Buddy tag: You can turn this on and match numbers with another explorer; the buddy tag will beep anxiously when you're out of range of your partner.
- Large webbing: Attach this to your clothing slot to get more storage space! Particularly useful when you're without a backpack in your hardsuit.
Also in your locker are a box of spare exploration keys, for handing out to non-exploration people to coordinate with before the mission, and two SCG banner capsules, for planting on the surface of the planet. You're the only one who can plant these flags, so make sure to remember them!
As the Pathfinder, you're also the guy who gets to wear the HCM, a.k.a the hardsuit in Exploration storage. Your hardsuit is considerably more robust than your average exploration voidsuit at the cost of filling your backpack slot, though you can hold your backpack in your hand.
To refill your tank in the hardsuit, do the following:
- Apply crowbar to HCM control module.
- Apply wrench to HCM control module. This will trigger a popup asking you what you want to remove; click the tank.
- Fill your tank at the O2 canister.
- Pop the tank back in your HCM control module.
- Apply crowbar to HCM control module to close the access panel.
Your suit also comes with a flash module, which you can activate by clicking 'Activate Flash' in your Hardsuit Modules tab. From then on, clicking on a mob with an empty hand acts like you have a flash in that hand. Like most hardsuits, you have a built-in jetpack that you can toggle on and off. (Note: Make sure to toggle stabilizers before you use it, so you don't float off into space.)
You answer directly to the Chief Science Officer, but in the field, you're running the department on your own. As such, it's your job to direct the Explorers and generally not become pirates in purple suits. A few good ways to do this are as follows:
- Like any command role, delegate, delegate, delegate. Make your Explorers load the Charon with the appropriate equipment (see below) and make sure your pilot does the flight plan (if you have a pilot); team cohesion works best when you give everyone a solid list of objectives to follow.
- Keep your team in contact with each other. Check in over the radio every so often to make sure everyone's doing alright and hasn't been brutally murdered by hostile xenofauna. Feel free to split your team up, but make sure nobody goes alone; everyone should at least have a partner with them.
- Above all, keep your team focused on the Primary Directive. You and your Explorers are scientists, and should act as such. Nip looting weapons and personal effects of dead people in the bud; that's for Prospectors to handle.
- Coordinate with the Chief Science Officer. They're your boss, after all, and chances are they'd like a look into the inner workings of Field Operations and how things are going. Fax them reports, keep them updated on anomalies, plant samples, and captured xenofauna, and debrief each other post-expedition.
Prepping the Charon
Before you take off, you're going to want to make sure a couple tasks are completed.
This is generally the job of either the Shuttle Pilot or the Supply crew, but it doesn't hurt for you to know it as well. You might also want to take an extra hydrogen tank and keep it in your cargo bay; it never hurts to have extra in case Vox have stolen your fuel.
Flight plans and you
If the Deck Chief is at least halfway competent, they will pester you to complete a flight plan. While it may not be necessary on code green, completing one make for some good paperwork RP and gives some important information on who'll be missing from the Torch while the expedition is ongoing, where the Charon will be flying to if the Torch hasn't moved, and when the Torch can expect a status update/your return. In the event of utter catastrophe, the manifest on the flight plan will indicate who's MIA or dead.
You or your pilot can create a flight plan by downloading the 'Deck Management' program
The Charon's cargo bay is built to hold all the appropriate scientific equipment that is required for doing exploratory work. When the round starts, you'll want to load it (or make sure your explorers load it) with:
- Emergency Floodlight: For lighting up a particularly dark exoplanet. One spawns in the Charon by default, the other spawns in Expedition Prep.
- Stasis cages: Two cages made for transporting xenofauna. To use it, trap an alien creature by firing a net shell from your trusty boomstick, and drag the creature into the stasis cage. (Note: Doing this is slightly bugged; you have to drag the creature's sprite, not the sprite of the net into the cage. Alt-click the tile the creature is on, and in the alt-click menu, drag that creature into the cage.) You can't load a cage containing a live creature into the exploration mech.
- Anomaly containers: Two containers for, well, containing anomalies that aren't stuck to the ground.
- Drill: The drill consists of a drill head, two braces, and an ore box that can be used to transport goods. See Mining to figure out how to operate it.
- Suspension Field Generator: For the scientist, if there is one. See Xenoarchaeology for usage.
- Exploration Mech: Your trusty Exosuit. Can carry up to four items in its hydraulic clamp; very useful for lugging cages along.
- Air Scrubber: Turn it on to filter out toxins in the air. You generally want to keep this in the crew area; one of the racks can be deconstructed to make space for it.
- Air Pump: Turn it on to restore pressure to an area. Make sure this is filled to 15000kpa before heading out.
- O2 Canister: For refilling your oxygen tanks when you run out.
Once all of these tasks are completed and your
trained monkeys team is aboard, you or your Shuttle Pilot will ask the Deck Chief for permission to fly. Provided you've given them a half-decent flight plan, they'll give you the clear, and you're free to go.
- Despite being head of a field team, a Pathfinder is still a scientist. They may have an area of expertise, such as archaeology, botany, or fauna studies, but much like their counterpart the Senior Researcher, they tend to have a variety of scientific knowledge.
- A Pathfinder's experience in the field may make them unaccustomed to or uncomfortable with the fancy-schmancy rules and regulations in the Corps. Nevertheless, if they're an Ensign, they probably know when to salute and who to call sir and ma'am; whether or not they care is up to you.
- Leadership is an important quality in a good Pathfinder. They don't always have to be nice about it, but they do have to be good at keeping Explorers on track and doing their job. As stated prior, keep an eye on your team, and be ready to make tough calls quickly. Doing so can mean the difference between life and death.