Operation HOT-MESS

Tonight we’re space truckin’. Because what else is a responsible, serious-minded 45-year-old going to do of an evening, hm?

My player group, the loose collective of awesome good-eggs known as the Hutton Orbital Radio Truckers, are still engaged in Operation HOT-MESS, a project to distribute the local rare commodity – the Hutton Mug – to systems around human-inhabited space. (There’s not a huge market in uninhabited space, as a rule. And the Thargoids don’t drink from mugs, as far as I’m aware. I’m not sure what manner of appendage they’ve got that they’d put through the handle, nor with what they would slurp the contents).

(The contents usually being gin. And I’m not sure how aliens – I mean really proper aliens – handle gin.)

Hutton Mugs can be purchased from only one place in the Galaxy, the famed Hutton Orbital – a small platform in a distant orbit around the trinary system Alpha Centauri, whose third star, a small M-class red star called Proxima, is in the real world the closest star to Earth (excluding the Sun). Hutton Orbital circles the small rocky planet Eden, itself in orbit around Proxima, a dizzying 0.21 light-years from Alpha Centauri A, the main star and the system’s jump-in point.

It looks a lot closer on the map.

Sadly, due to the complex gravitational topography of the system, Proxima isn’t massive enough to create a deep and discrete enough gravity well to lock an interstellar jump drive to. The only suitable witch-space exit point in the system is at Alpha Centauri A. So we have to do the journey from there to Hutton using the intra-system ‘supercruise’ engine, which is faster-than-light, but sadly not very faster-than-light. So It takes about an hour to an hour and a quarter flight to get there.

No, that’s real time. Real, actual playing time.

You don’t go to Hutton Orbital because you want thrilling gameplay. You go there to be able to say you’ve been.

Or because you want Mugs. Like, really badly want Mugs.

I badly want Mugs. And Gin. Mugs and Gin. And this is the ship I’m going to fetch them in.

(“Mugs and Gin. Mugs and Gin. And this is the ship I’m fetching them in.” Hey, I wonder if I could sell that one to Will Ferrell? 🤔)

I’d have painted the said ship (the new ‘Least Weasel’, Freight Futret of the Stars) in more exciting colours, but the livery options for the Cobra Mark IV are a little uninspiring. So in the end I went with my inner teenager – and let’s face it my outer adult – and painted it, black.

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