SPACE TRADERS FLIGHT TRAINING MANUAL
ELITE by Firebird
for the Commodore 64
1. Introductory Data 3 Missiles
Interior of a Cobra Mk III Energy Bomb
The Cargo Hold
The Bridge Defensive Measures 17
The Drive Sector Safety Zone
The Living and Hygiene Section Shields and Energy Banks
The Equipment Level ECM
The Status Page Escape Capsule
Your rating as a Combateer
Non-Combative Equipment 18
2. Navigation and Flying 6 Fuel
Navigation Fuel Scoops
Navigation Controls Cargo Bay Extension
Galactic Chart Docking Computer
Worldata Link Intergalactic Hyperdrive
Local Navigation Chart Asteroid Mining Lasers
Navigation Key Functions Combat Key Functions
A Corolis Space Station 8 4. Intergalactic Trading 20
Leaving the Space Station How to Trade
Basic Manoeuvers Advice to Traders
Console Readings Agricultural Worlds
Making for Your Target World 11
Hyperspace and Related Controls Alternatives to Trading 23
Hyperdive across Galaxies Bounty Hunting
Docking Procedure 11 Asteroid Mining
Flying Key Functions Illegal Trading
3. Interplanetary Travel 13 5. Political Profile of the Universe 25
Combat Protocol Consequences for Trade
Manoeuvering Corporate States
Signs of Danger Dictatorships
Likely Enemies 13
Bounty Hunters Alien Races 26
Pirate Vessels Bird-forms
Thargoids and Thargons Felines
Other Space Types 14
Rock Hermits 6. Observer’s Guide to Ships 28
Space Dredgers 7. Appendix 38
How to Load the Disk
Combat Console 15 How to Access the Disk
Lasers 8. Pilot's Log 39
Welcome aboard this Cobra Mk III trading and combat craft. The ship has been supplied to you by Faulcon deLacy Spaceways, by arrangement with the Galactic Co-operative of Worlds whose Space and Interstellar Pilot's Exams you have just successfully completed. The small flight manual supplied with the craft is designed to familiarise you with all aspects of space flight, combat and trading, and we hope that it will be of use to you.
The Cobra Mk III
Deflection Shields, fore
and aft, 4 hull mountings
for Ingram ‘rapid-fire’
pulse lasers, a Lance &
Ferman ‘seek & kill’
missile system, a
Holodirect & Thruspace
and provision for a cargo
You begin your career, your ship equipped with a single forward-firing pulse laser, 3 homing missiles, 7 light years of fuel, and the sum of 100 Credits (CR), ready to embark from a space station in orbit around the planet Lave.
The Cobra Mk III is the best of the medium-range, medium capacity fighter-traders, and is an ideal ship for new traders intent on building their fortunes, or new combateers who will constantly need to finance the cost of both armaments and non-combative equipment.
The ship is highly manoeuverable, has a good C-holding factor during hyperspace transit, can hold sufficient Quirium H-fuel for a 7 light-year single jump and has full Auto Trading Systems Link for use at space stations. Further, it is protected by Dual Zieman Energy Deflection Shields, powered by 4 energy banks, and has a powerful, rapid-fire pulse laser mounted on the forward hull segment. Flight controls are elegant and simple, and ThruSpace GravDistort communications systems. Its life support functions are varied and flexible to ensure maximum comfort during trading or hunting operations.
Pilot licences are issued only at the planet Lave, and it is likely, therefore, that you are now docked at a Coriolis station in orbit around that particular world. Lave is a rich, agricultural dictatorship, but is a reasonably safe world at which to begin your endeavours. GalCop and the Lave Authorities allow practice docking and departure runs to all their space stations here, and you would be advised to take advantage of this facility.
INTERIOR OF A COBRA MK III
The Cobra is essentially a single-pilot trade-ship, but has been designed to support a second person, provided that person is of ordinary human or humanoid dimensions and physiology. The ship itself consists of five main areas:
The cargo hold fills the bulk of the mid-space area, and the cargo bay doors open downwards. The capacity in an unmodified Cobra is 20 1-tonne canisters. Extra cargo space may be acquired by extending the cargo bay, which does not affect manoeuverability. Tonne canisters (TC) attach magnetically to the cargo arms within the bay, and 2 AutoShuttles occupy the central space.
The bridge has seats for pilot and co-pilot, a MedStim Centre, entrance to the escape pod, descent well to living quarters, communications console, special suit locker, RemLock supply case, attachment facilities for AutoDock System and a hand-weapons locker. The main wall is occupied by the scanner screen, astrogation console and main systems monitors.
The drive sector houses the directional thrusts, the System Space Kruger ‘lightfast’ motors, and the Irrikon Thru-Space drives. Also here are the rear laser housings, the ECM capsule, the Zieman shield generators, and energy banks, and the Witch-Space fuel condensors (Quirium). There are both internal and external access panels. Radiation level is high.
The living and hygiene section is below the main bridge, and reached through a descending gravity well. Two bunks, food dispensing facilities, waste disposal (including high-tox copper exudate for Aonians), SynPleasure relaxapads, and videos.
The equipment level runs throughout the ship, and houses all energy banks for lasers, plus the missile rests, with dispatch shafts to the lower hull. The communications centre is here, and the escape pod (with a separate entrance from the bridge) life support systems, cryogen tanks (two) and 40 cubic meters of FacsEnvironment for emergency use.
THE STATUS PAGE
A new pilots’s rating is
COMMANDER JAMESON ‘harmless’; his legal
Present System : Lave
Hyperspace System : Lave
Condition : Docked
Fuel : 7.0 Light Years
Cash : 100.0 Cr
Legal Status : Clean
Rating : Harmless
Front Pulse Laser
The ‘Present System’ refers to the planetary system which your ship is currently in; while the ‘Hyperspace system’ refers to the system onto which the hyperspace is locked.
There are 4 possible ‘Conditions’: DOCKED means that you are docked in a space station at the Present System; GREEN means that there is no immediate danger; YELLOW indicates enemy ships in the vicinity; Condition RED signals a high-risk on-going death-type combat situation.
‘Legal Status’ refers to your Galactic Police record. If this is CLEAN you have nothing to worry about, but as an OFFENDER or, still worse, a FUGITIVE you are likely to be attacked by police ships.
The ‘Rating’ is a dispassionate assessment of your performance in combat so far.
Current cash and fuel are also displayed, along with a list of ship fittings.
The status page is always retrievable by pressing 8.
COMMANDER JAMESON rating is ‘dangerous’,
which is not surprising
Present System : Disco when you consider the
Hyperspace System : Leesti equipment and cash he
Condition : Green has managed to amass.
Fuel : 3.4 Light Years In fact, as his status
Cash : 7433.3 Cr suggests, this has not
Legal Status : Fugitive been achieved without
Rating : Dangerous sailing quite close to the
Large Cargo Bay
Front Beam Laser
Rear Pulse Laser
Left Pulse Laser
Right Pulse Laser
YOUR RATING AS A COMBATEER
To become an elite combateer requires great skill and great patience, because expert trading is essential before the necessary more powerful armaments and equipment available to the Cobra ship can be bought: beam lasers, more missiles, energy bombs, a docking computer, galactic hyperdrive, etc.
As you sail through space between the stars, and as you trade, you will live with your combat rating. You will begin as HARMLESS. If you survive your first skirmish you may be reclassified as MOSTLY HARMLESS. But on the slow climb to a status level that reflects a growing talent for combat you will have to engage many different ships, in many different skirmishes, in the System Space of many different worlds. You will be classified as POOR, then AVERAGE, then ABOVE AVERAGE, then COMPETENT. Then you will become DANGEROUS, then DEADLY. An at last, a few will become ELITE.
Your kills are photographed and transmitted by TS ComDirect to the nearest GalCop Federal Law Center. Your rating as a combateer will increase in direct proportion.
Fly your Cobra craft wisely and carefully. Remember: other pilots may be attempting to increase their own combat rating by attacking either innocent traders, or police Vipers (the ships of the GalCop Police Force). If you resort to such tactics (or if your adopt the fast-credit routine and trade in illegal goods) then your combat rating may rise, but your legal status: CLEAN - OFFENDER - FUGITIVE, will make you Public Enemy Number One with the Federation Crime Monitoring Authority and you will not be left alone.
KEY FUNCTION STATUS
8 Status page originally accessed by space bar, always recalled by 8.
NAVIGATION AND FLYING
The Galactic Co-operative is only one - although the largest - of several planetary federations, and maintains trade and diplomatic links with over 2000 planets spread throughout 8 galaxies. The political profile of a planet is an important navigational consideration as many are in a state of anarchy and are unsafe to visit in poorly equipped ships. Important too is its economic profile, as will be discussed in the section about trading.
Navigational strategy depends of course upon your aims in life. If you think you have what it take to become elite, you will need to chart your path through the galaxies with care and great precision. You will wish to equip your ship as fully and as early as possible. You will, therefore, need to study the trading section of this manual so that you can work out a profitable trading route in order to be able to afford the weaponry you will require. You will wish to lead; in general, the more risks you take (travelling to dangerous planets or trading in contraband goods), the faster you may equip your ship but the quicker you will be killed. You will discover that life in the 8 galaxies is a question of fine balance. Although it may seem, at first, that indiscriminate carnage is a soft option (kills improve your rating, after all), as your skills and experience of living in space mature, you will quickly discover that piracy is a short-lived career.
Success in this context is a mosaic of talents: combative, certainly, but thinking and decision-making talents too.
There are 8 galaxies (of
which this is one), and
over 250 recognised
planets in each galaxy.
So massive a universe
contains very little that is
and offers infinite
Here you are introduced to all the controls which will eventually be useful to you in developing a route through the 8 galaxies.
It is important that you do not press the F1 key for the moment.
Galactic chart (4). This chart shows all registered worlds within the galaxy, and indicates your own coordinate position. The star cursor may be used to scan the shown worlds for potentially favorable trade sites.
Use the joystick, mouse or cursor keys to move the small cross over to one of the dots, and hit F7.
Worldata link (6). The Orbit Space Authority takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information registered here, but the trader may gain some idea of the relative wisdom of trading with the world whose data is displayed. The information shown is distance, type of main life form, degree of agricultural or industrial development, with industrial and technological level displayed on a scale of 1-12. The government type, ranging from Corporate State to Anarchy, will be a strong indication of the danger of trading with the system.
6 involes a planetary
DATA ON REORTE status card. Whether you
choose to amass kills by
bounty hunting or take
Distance : 4.4 Light Years the less dangerous course
of the traditional trader
Economy : Poor Agricultural and defensive combateer,
the police and
Government : Dictatorship economic infrastructure
of planets should
Tech. Level : 6 influence the route you
take through a galaxy
Population : 3.2 Billon (see Interplanetary Travel
(Black Fat Felines)
Gross Productivity : 5288 M CR
Agerage Radius : 6419 km
Use 5 again to return to the chart and acquire information about some more planets.
The larger of the crosses on the chart shows where your ship is and the circle shows how far it can jump with its current hyperspace fuel.
O returns the small cross to the larger one.
Local navigational chart (5). This is a high power chart of all planets in the immediate vicinity of your docking world. Since the Cobra ship has a maximum single H-jump range of 7 light years, the target world must be chosen carefully. The target cursor, used in conjunction with the Worldata link, will indicate dangerous or likely worlds for trade.
If the cross moves off the screen, use the O key to bring it back. Notice also that the D key will tell you how far away the system nearest the small cross is.
KEY FUNCTIONS - NAVIGATION
4 Galactic chart
5 Local chart
D Distance to system
O Retrieve cursor cross
Cross-sight cursor for local and galactic systems
6 Data on system
A CORIOLIS SPACE STATION
Every world registered with the Galactic Co-operative has several Coriolis space stations in orbit at various altitudes. Coriolis stations are ‘neutral’ territory, controlled equally by GalCop and the Planetary Government.
A new dodecahedral design (the so-called ‘Dodo’ stations) is replacing the Coriolis design in the more advanced systems. Coriolis stations are hexagonal in approximate shape. They spin along a single axis running vertically from the planet below. One side of the station always faces the planet, and it is on this facet that the access tunnel is located.
Coriolis stations were designed at the GASEC (Galactic Astronautic and Space Exploration Centre) Laboratories on the planet Vetitice. The first station was in orbit around the world Lave in 2752.
Coriolis stations have powerful defensive shields (against pirate attack and inept docking) and a large fleet of Viper fighters, and several larger types of ship. The inside of the station is free-space, and on each inner facet of the station there are berthing and refueling facilities, as well as cities, hospitals, farmlands and leisure-scapes.
Each Coriolis station has a diameter of 1 standard kilometre. They can berth 2000 ships, and support a fair-sized colonial life development of humanoids.
Front View Space stations are cargo
transition points for
vessels and shuttle craft.
They also provide
lodging facilities for pilots
not wishing to go
LEAVING THE SPACE STATION (F1)
On coding for Station Depart the pilot is advised to accept a 10-second MemnSomn to dispense with subjective experience of the passage from docking bay to Coriolis station egress. The screen will then show a break-pattern, which is the passage through the protective field over the Coriolis entrance tunnel.
Front View Leaving a Coriolis station
and approaching the
The Cobra trade ship needs practice to fly well, though it is highly manoeuverable, very fast, and a good combat vessel. It accelerates and decelerates rapidly using fingertip control:
< (or joystick left) for anticlockwise roll
> (joystick right) for clockwise roll
X (or joystick back) for climb
S (or joystick forward) for dive
? to decrease your speed.
Pitch and yaw manoeuvre requires bi-digital play on keyboard model (X, S, <, >)
Notice the small dot moving around inside the large circle on the dials (just above the large ‘S’). This is your compass; the dot corresponds to the position of the space station. If the dot is small then the station is behind you. When the dot is large and in the centre of the circle, you should be able to see the space station directly in front of you.
Looking back at the
Rear View Coriolis station where
your Cobra was berthed.
Practice rotating the space station off the screen and using the compass to find it again.
You might see some Cobra Class ships. These are other traders like yourself, and will not harm you unless you shoot at them. If you do this they will either attack or, alternatively, run away. Should you use them for combat practice, do not expect the space station to turn a blind eye to such unruly behavior. Nothing will attack you while you are within sight of the space station - unless you make a nuisance of yourself.
It is not possible to land on the planet, and flying into planets or space stations is fatal. The altimeter shows your height above the planet's surface, and you should not let it fall too low.
(If you are a new pilot, now is your best chance to practice docking manoeuvers with the space station at Lave. The Lave Orbit Space Authority permits an unlimited number of practice runs by newly appointed pilots, and does not charge. This facility is suspended during attack, or when the Coriolis station has no free docking space. See the illustrated section on docking procedure.)
E L I T E S 4
1 2 8 6 7 5 3 4
1 4 7
Cabin temperature will Gyro orient bar indicators Compass. This instrument
increase and the console show right/left roll and first picks up a target
register this when your dive/climb status. planet when it remains
ship flies too close to a out of range of the main
sun. flight-path scanner. When
5 the planet’s space station
S refers to the space nearest to you comes
2 station and indicates that within range of it, the
Altimeter. Your altitude you are on target for it and compass picks up that
above your destination within its protective instead. When the dot is
planet can be crucial. range. small, the object is
Flying too near its surface behind you; when large
will be fatal. and in the centre of the
6 compass circle, it should
Flight grid scanner. This be visible through your
3 sophisticated instrument front viewfinder.
Forward velocity should displays a
be maintained at three-dimensional view of
maximum on planetary space in the immediate, 8
approach. Keep it low vicinity of your ship, seen Fuel level.
during space station from a point behind and
approach, and minimal for above it. The precise
final docking. position of any ship within
its range can be
MAKING FOR YOUR TARGET WORLD
HYPERSPACE AND RELATED CONTROLS
Having left the space station you will be in low orbit above the planet Lave, moving at low velocity. Decrease your velocity to absolute minimum before coding the astrogation console for Hyperspace Jump.
During space flight only, F1, F3, F5, and F7 provide access to views all around your ship.
Use 4 or 5 to display a chart (galactic or local, respectively), and move the smaller cross to choose a larger planet, press F1, then hit H. After a short delay, the hyperjump motors will engage.
On arrival in a new planetary system, after transit from hyperspace, you will find yourself at some distance from your target world. This conforms with GC Flight Law.
Even in the safest systems there can be unseen dangers, and you will be well advised to approach orbit space, and the safety of the space station, as quickly as possible. Increase forward velocity to maximum. At this point you can take full advantage of the space-skip facility (J). Inter-space jumping does not function (because of interference patterns) if there is another ship, a planet or a sun in the immediate vicinity. If this is the case, a sound signal will occur.
Soon your ship's computer will pick up the beacon signals of the nearest orbital space station and will re-engage the compass to track that instead of the target planet. Once the Cobra is within scanning and protective range of the Coriolis station, the flight-grid scanner will begin to track it. Its own defenses are now available for your protection. The scan console will register the letter "S" as long as the space station is within range.