Interstellar help OXP
Interstellar space is a treacherous territory, and misjumps are dangerous. It's not only what you may meet out there, it's the sheer fact that you may get stranded in the vast voids of interstellar space forever. Initiating a witchjump and creating the tunnel through witchspace consumes fuel. So if—for whatever reason—the tunnel collapses halfway on your journey to the next planet, you are thrown out somewhere in the middle of nowhere, in the vast realms of ghastly, pale green half-light, your fuel tanks nearly depleted, possibly with not enough fuel left to create another tunnel to the closest system.
Many pilots have just vanished without a trace in the boundless void. Some ships have said to be found drifting into the outer zones of an adjacent system—but only decades after their life support systems ran out of energy.
So the family of space-farers gets even closer together in the uncanny zone of interstellar space, where everybody is far away from home, and everybody may find himself at the mercy of fellow captains, or be lost in space forever. One for all, and all for one—although for anybody in the dire straits of need for fuel help comes with a price.
This OXP introduces some interaction with fellow commanders in interstellar space. You may meet another trader who got stuck in interstellar space who sends distress calls and asks for your help. He is willing to pay a good price for some fuel from your tanks, or for a ride in your wake. If you are in the mood to help him, just answer his call by flying towards him. You will have to get closer than 1000 meters in order to make clear that you are there for him.
He then will either be wanting to buy some fuel from you, or request to follow through your wormhole, after you have jumped to your destination. If you agree to sell him some of your fuel reserves, you just have to get very close to him. So close that he can scoop any of the fuel you are venting from your tanks. The process starts automatically, monitored by your ship's computer, as soon as you have approached him closely enough. If you want to end the transaction you just have to turn your nose away from his scoops. If you do not do so, he will take all the fuel you have until his tanks are completely filled. The usual price for a fuel transfer so far away from the next supplier is ten times what you would pay at a main station.
If he asks you for a witchspace ride, all you have to do is jump to your current destination. After you have jumped to any system within your reach, he will follow you through your wormhole (note that he will not jump out at the exact same location as you; wormhole ends are a tiny little bit fuzzy, which means that ships leaving the same wormhole will all be somewhere in the vicinity of the witchpoint, but not at the exact same place). You will have earned the eternal gratitude of a fellow trader, and a financial reward, which will always be enough to cover your fuel costs for the jump.
Need help yourself?
But what if you are stuck in interstellar space yourself? Do not despair, that's where your Electronic Thumb comes in handy. Available from any equipment store of techlevel 7 or higher, the Electronic Thumb is a short squat black rod, smooth and matte with a couple of flat switches and dials at one end. Just activate it any time during flight to flag down passing spacecraft to either buy fuel from them or hitch a ride in their wormhole. Note that the Electronic Thumb only works if you need it, that is in interstellar space. If you're in a system it does nothing.
After you have activated it, just wait a little for a ship approaching you with the offer to help you. Again you have to close in to him in order to accept the offer. Depending on his mood he may offer you to buy some of his fuel reserves, or to take a ride through his wormhole. This time it is you, of course, who has to pay the price.
Again, if you agreed on a fuel transaction, you have to get close enough to scoop the fuel he is going to vent from his tanks, and again your ship's computer takes care of monitoring the transaction. You can end the transfer anytime, by pointing your ship's nose (and therefore your fuel scoops) away from your donor. The transaction will also end if you run out of money. And your benefactor will not sell all his fuel—he is going to need some for his own journey, after all.
If the offer is to take a ride in his wormhole, he will initiate his jump and invite you to follow him. In that case you are supposed to pay him on the other side. Oh, in order to allow him to initiate the jump sequence it may be necessary that you get out of his way first.
In any case it would be considered very rude to shoot at your benefactor or try to extract his fuel otherwise. The attempt won't be successful.
Interstellar_help.oxp v 2.1 requires at least Oolite 1.75.1. For Oolite versions below that you can still use interstellar_help v 2.0.
Interstellar_help v 2.1 is available for download via box.com.
Interstellar_help v 2.0 is also still available via box.com.
Move or copy the file interstellar_help.oxp from the download folder to the AddOns folder inside the Oolite main folder. Restart Oolite.