|Take Charon to the fiery death planets. Stay behind on the shuttle and miss all the fun (and dying).|
|Related guides: Standard Operating Procedure, Guide to Ships|
|EC branch ranks: Chief Explorer(E-7)|
|Fleet branch ranks: Chief Petty Officer(E-7), Petty Officer First Class(E-6)|
|Civ branch ranks: Contractor|
The Shuttle Pilot is the dedicated pilot for away missions on the Charon, and holds the responsibility of ferrying a team of Explorers to an away site. Not only must they take the shuttle to the planet/asteroid/station, they must navigate around the various hazards that dot the sector the Torch is visiting, be mission control when the Charon touches down, keep in touch with the bridge crew and the Supply office, and be ready to quickly and effectively pilot the team away from danger.
The shuttle pilot will always answer directly to the Pathfinder, regardless of rank or branch.
- 1 How To Play
- 2 Pre-Flight Checklist
- 3 In Transit
- 4 On The Ground
- 5 Post-Mission
How To Play
IMPORTANT: This is not a role for those new to flying a ship. You should probably play a Bridge Officer first, so you have a command crew who can guide you through piloting the ship, or read the Guide to Ships.
You are something of the red-headed stepchild of the Exploration department; you're not technically supposed to go out with the explorers, but you don't have as much authority as the pathfinder. Despite this, you have a couple important responsibilities:
- Being mission control. You let everyone know what the coordinates of the Charon are, you receive calls from the bridge and the supply office on the holopad, and you receive via teleportation any supplies/manpower that explorers may need at the time.
- Actually flying the ship. If it wasn't immediately obvious, you fly the Charon to away sites (probably before the Torch can get there) and navigate hazards on the overmap. Sure, the pathfinder or a bridge officer could get them there, but they have other responsibilities; the Charon's your baby.
Though they seem simple, these may prove to be harder than they look.
Unlike those other E-3 to E-5 grunts, you actually have an office to put your stuff in! It's just south of the stairwell on the Hangar deck, right across from exploration prep. Not only does it come with a drink machine and some glasses, but it also comes with a locker that contains:
- 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. Turning this on, 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.
- Blue hazard vest: Never enter the hangar without it.
- Tool belt: Contains tools.
- Bluespace flare: Can create a landing zone for another ship, provided the area is clear enough to accommodate it.
- 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.
- Binoculars: Click on these while they're in your hand to see several tiles ahead of you. May mess with your UI, depending on your resolution; click the binoculars icon again to get out of the screen.
- Assorted pilot helmets: An EC pilot helmet, a Fleet pilot helmet, and a corporate pilot helmet.
- Explorer's combi-knife: A multi-functional pocketknife.
- Large webbing: Attach this to your clothing slot to get more storage space!
- A randomized light source: Can be a flare, a flashlight, or a glowstick.
Before lifting off, there are several tasks you're going to want to complete beforehand.
Is the Charon fueled?
While it's usually the deck crew's job to help fuel the ships, they may be otherwise occupied or not in-game. Thus, fueling the ship falls to you!
To move between Z-levels (i.e. lifting off and descending to the surface of a planet, moving from the hangar to the overmap), a shuttle needs hydrogen. The Charon's hydrogen fuel port is at its exterior on the back end of the ship, behind a small yellow door.
To refuel the hydrogen:
- Use a crowbar to open the fuel port.
- Click on the fuel port with an empty hand to remove the fuel tank.
- Put fuel tank into a purple hydrogen (H2) canister. The fuel bay in the hangar is right behind the Charon.
- Fill it to the max pressure, like an usual air tank.
- Click on the fuel port with the canister to put it back.
- Crowbar it closed.
- If you have access to the shuttle's helm, check the shuttle console for the hydrogen level. The Delta-V budget should be at 2912 if a full tank of hydrogen is loaded.
To move across the overmap, a shuttle needs CO2. The Charon's fuel bay is located directly under its front airlock, as seen on the left.
To refuel the carbon dioxide:
- Ask engineering to maximize the CO2 output to the Hangar, if they haven't done it already.
- Take the CO2 can (indicated in green) from the Charon fuel bay.
- Drag it down to the fuel bay, wrench it onto the connector port, and max the output on the gas pump.
- Wait for the canister to fill to its maximum level - around 15,000 kPa - and then take it back to the shuttle and wrench it back where it came from.
- Open and maximize the fuel valves (indicated in pink).
- Repeat the process once or twice, depending on the planned length of the flight.
- To determine the amount of fuel inside the thrusters, head up to the cockpit to look at the engine control console. Clicking on the 'Details' tab will show how much fuel mass is inside the thrusters; if they have 54.19kg or 15mPa of fuel, that means that they're completely full.
- On the engine control console, it's advised to set the thruster power below 100%, as this will make the fuel last longer with a negligible effect on the shuttle's speed.
Air is something all of the sapient species on the Torch breathe, so naturally, you need a supply of it to keep the Charon running properly.
The main airlock of the Charon is supplied by the canister indicated in red. If it is not filled, the airlock will be "stuck" and unable to cycle properly without venting the shuttle.
The cargo airlock is the airlock present at the back of the Charon, with just enough space for two people to cycle out. While it's used less than the main airlock, it will still be used, and thus is a good idea to fill.
To fill both air canisters:
- Unwrench the air canister.
- Bring it north of the Charon's helm to the Hangar Atmospheric Storage (behind some shutters).
- Hook the air canister up to the connector port outlined in blue lines (at the start of the shift, a portable air pump should be hooked up to it).
- Wait a bit for the canister to fill to roughly 10,000kPa. Do not fill it to capacity (15,000kPa) - the air canister needs room to suck in the atmosphere of the airlock when cycling.
- Bring the canister back to the Charon. Hook it up where it was.
Is the exploration equipment loaded?
While most of this is pretty superficial to your job, the scrubber, pump, and space heater are very useful for fixing any atmospheric contamination
those goddamn machete monkeys a hapless explorer brings in.
- 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. 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 Xenoarcheology for usage.
- Exploration mech: Your trusty mech. 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; it can be filled up to 15,000kPa.
- Space heater: Though this can also be appropriated for any Unathi explorer that happens to be aboard your ship, it can also warm up the Charon provided it's exposed to the atmosphere of an icy cold planet.
- O2 canister: For refilling your oxygen tanks when you run out.
Is a flight plan filed?
A half-competent command or deck crew will want a flight plan (accessible in the 'Deck Management' program on a console) filed. This can provide valuable information on what time you planned to leave, when you expect to be back, who's on the shuttle in case of horrible disaster, the status of your fuel, and various other miscellaneous information you choose to include.
...Uh, are all the explorers on?
It's amazing who you can forget because they don't talk over comms.
See also: Guide to Ships
To first lift off out of the hangar, you need to use the shuttle control console (the one with the light blue background).
- If the Torch has moved above the away site, you can select a landing zone on the away site to transition to. It should look something like
Planet Name, a [adjective] exoplanet - (X, Y, Z), with XYZ being the coordinates of the landing zone.
- If you need to move across the overmap, select
Charon - Open Space.
If you're moving to the away site, fly across the overmap to the coordinates or bearing of your away site. In the meantime, make sure those shortwave radios are powered on!
Oh no, you made a mistake/flew diagonally/lost connection and and drove the Charon directly into hazards! The important thing is not to panic. Assuming your team doesn't lynch you then and there, there are simple things you can do to fix the situation.
- Electrical storm: The main problem with this hazard is that you're likely to drift into other hazards, creating something of a snowball effect. Head into the cockpit, swipe your ID on the APC to unlock it, and click on the APC to bring up a screen. Then, reboot the APC. Once you're out of immediate danger, head around the ship and unlock the other APCs to reboot them. (Keep in mind, as long as you're in the storm, the power will keep going out.)
- Asteroid fields: Close the shutters. Then, tell everyone to turn on their internals and magboots. Then, get the hell out of the hazard - meteors can pierce the hull of the Charon even with the shutters down, not to mention the fact that they can pierce directly through your team's voidsuits (and their lungs).
- Space dust: Close the shutters. Then, get out of the hazard, preferably before your sensors get sandblasted.
- Carp school: Close the shutters. The carp/pike/cosmosharks won't attack you (or the walls) if they can't see you.
- Ion cloud: Ask the roboticist to fix your borg's laws when you get back to the Torch. Otherwise, doesn't do anything.
- Dark matter influx: Stay in your seats; you don't have gravity on the Charon anyway.
Once you're out of danger, it's time to assess the damage. If the Charon is breached, set up inflatable doors (can be found in the fire safety closet) around the breach. If anyone is injured, triage them, stick them in a sleeper or the stasis bag, or have the Medical Technician you brought treat them. If pipes are damaged, there's a pipe dispenser in the Charon fuel bay, etc. It's also a good idea to call the supply office or the bridge and update them on the situation, and maybe ask for an Engineer/some extra titanium sheets/a Master at Arms/etc.
A very common problem that many exploration players run into at some point or another is an essential console, such as navigation, engines, or shuttle control being taken out. In situations like an EMP or a meteor hitting the screens, they may lose a component called a console screen, which makes the console un-interactable. Not to worry! By using a screwdriver on the atmospherics console or the console in the crew compartment, you can remove the console screen with a wrench and install it in your broken console. Now it works enough to get you back to the Torch!
On the other hand, if your console circuit board is somehow misplaced, god help you. (Or you could call the bridge and ask them for another console board, as Research & Development can print you a new one.)
On The Ground
Congratulations, you made it to the planet! Now it's time to sit back, relax, and watch the explorers try not to die through their helmet cameras (you did tell them to turn on their helmet cameras, right?).
It's also your job while you're on the ground to cycle out any of the equipment that the team needs. A much quicker way to do this is to cycle things out via the disposal chute in the Charon cargo bay.
- Place equipment on conveyor belt in Charon cargo bay. Do not step on the conveyor belt.
- Click on the lever that is next to the conveyor belt.
- A klaxon sound effect will play, and the conveyor belt will move the equipment on it through the disposal chute, outside of the Charon.
- Click on the lever again. The conveyor belt will stop moving.
It is also your job to answer calls from the supply office or the bridge while the explorers are off doing exploring. If they provide information pertinent to the team, it's probably a good idea to inform everyone.
And finally, it is your job to call out the coordinates of the Charon when, inevitably, some lost soul needs to get back to the ship.
On occasion, you may hear an announcement that a biological activity spike is happening on the planet you're on. What this means is that hostile mobs will crawl out of the ground and beeline for the ship. As staying on the planet may be a bad, bad idea at this point, you're going to want to quickly call everyone back to the Charon and lift off as fast as you can.