Supervisor: Chief Science Officer
Branches: Expeditionary Corps
- EC: Ensign (O-1)
Duties: Go on expeditions. Lead explorers to discoveries. Try not to get the entire away team killed. Bring weird stuff to Research.
Related Guides: Standard Operating Procedure, Guide to Exploration, Guide to Ships, Guide to EVA and Internals
The Pathfinder is the team 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 the Chief Science Officer.
How To Play
First and foremost, know the ins and outs of exploration before playing this role. A team leader (which is what you are) has experience with the grunt work aspect of their job, and you should know what you should be bringing back from exoplanets. Despite this, you are not meant to be the ultimate super-explorer, and lore-wise you generally have a particular field you specialize in (like xenoarchaeology, botany, biology, etc).
Thus, the Pathfinder has the following responsibilities:
- Being a liaison between exploration, command, and science.
- Making sure that everyone in exploration knows their job, and are doing their job.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. Tell one explorer to help load stasis cages on the Charon, tell another to grab jetpacks in case of EVA. When on the planet, assign duties based on specialties – the guy with weapons training might be the best to fire the ballistic launcher.
- Communicate. Ask exploration which planet they want to go to. Ask Research if they want to send someone with. Ask the Deck Chief or the Shuttle Pilot if the Charon is fueled. Ask the Bridge Officers what the planet looks like on the sensors. Keep your department up to speed on what's happening.
- Stay calm. This cannot be stressed enough. This doesn't mean you can't play a character who is aggressive or a little emotional, but panicking in a bad situation is a good way to kill off your entire team. Clarity, directness, and efficiency is the best way to come out of unexpected issues intact.
- You're scientists, not pirates. Keep your team from looting every weapon and trying to act like infantrymen – your goal is to explore.
It's a good idea to keep in contact with your team, and keep them in contact with each other. Assigning buddies is a good way to make sure someone can at least call out over the radio if hostile xenofauna start attacking. In case of emergency, you should always know where the Charon is and how to get to it – note the rough coordinates of it when you touch down on the planet.
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.
- 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). It can be holstered or drawn with the hotkey
- 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.
- 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.
- Bluespace flare: Can create a landing zone for another ship, provided the area is clear enough to accommodate it.
- Universal recorder: For recording a conversation with the Ascent or what-have-you.
- 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.
- 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; it has more armour values than a voidsuit, more radiation protection, and most importantly comes with cool modules like illumination grenades, a built-in flash, and assorted scanners. On the other hand, it takes up your backpack slot (though you can always just hold your bag in one hand).
Prepping the Charon
Before you take off, you're going to want to make sure a couple tasks are completed.
Is the Charon fueled?
Generally, the fueling of the Charon is the job of the deck crew or your pilot. Should the task fall to you and your explorers, fill it up using the areas in the hangar for doing so.
Is a flight plan completed?
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 on a laptop or the console in the Charon crew compartment.
Are your explorers ready?
Is everyone on the Charon? Does everyone have their shortwave radios? Relay positioning devices? A full tank of oxygen? Do you have all of these things? It's amazing what you forget sometimes.
The Charon's cargo bay is built to hold all the appropriate scientific equipment that is required for doing exploratory work.
- 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 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.
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. If everything is green, you're clear to go.
If a Bridge Officer or any other command staff capable of flying the Torch are awake, they'll generally bring the Torch over the planet where you or your pilot can simply use the shuttle control console to take the Charon to the surface of the planet. Other times, the Charon crew will have to take matters into their own hands and depart on their own.
The job of the pilot is to take the Charon to the away site within a reasonable amount of time. Generally, you will have the coordinates or the bearing of your away site, and getting to it is simply a matter of pressing the right buttons. But if something unexpected happens, or a mistake is made, it's important to know standard procedure in order to get your team out alive.
Oh no, your pilot is new/flew diagonally/lost connection and drove the Charon directly into hazards!
- 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 your team 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.
Generally, it's up to you and the consensus of your team to determine if the mission can be salvaged or needs to be brought back to the Torch. An easy rule of thumb is that if one of your team is dying or at risk of dying due to the integrity of the Charon being compromised, it's time to pack it in.
On The Ground
Congratulations, you made it to the planet! Now it's time to do what you're assigned to do; collect samples, gather data, and bring back evidence of any cool stuff you encountered along the way. Remember, it's important that your explorers stick together in groups if you're in unfamiliar territory (which is ICly always), and stay in contact over the radio. Call out the coordinates of anything you find, be wary of hostile fauna, and make sure the atmosphere isn't flammable (because the ballistic launcher lights up atmospheres).
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, or for you. Depending on what the mobs are, staying on the planet after the biological spike may be a bad, bad idea.
So you've made it back alive and relatively intact – well done! Now it's time to make your team drag the anomalies and xenofauna to the Petrov, put the satchel full of plant samples on research's desk, and, if the Chief Science Officer is awake, fill out an exoplanet report for them to look over. Otherwise, unless you're going out on another mission, it's time to have a seat at the bar and regale all the other patrons with tales of heart-racing peril.
- Despite being head of a field team, a Pathfinder is still a scientist. They may have an area of expertise, such as archaeology or botany, but much like their counterpart the Senior Researcher, they tend to have a variety of scientific knowledge.
- 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.
|Bridge Officer ∙ Commanding Officer ∙ Corporate Liaison ∙ Executive Officer ∙ SEA ∙ SCGR|
|Chief Engineer ∙ Engineer ∙ Engineer Trainee ∙ Roboticist ∙ Senior Engineer|
|Explorer ∙ Pathfinder ∙ Shuttle Pilot|
|Chief Medical Officer ∙ Counselor ∙ Medical Technician ∙ Medical Resident ∙ Pharmacist ∙ Physician ∙ Trainee Medical Technician|
|Chief Science Officer ∙ Research Assistant ∙ Scientist ∙ Senior Researcher|
|Brig Chief ∙ Chief of Security ∙ Forensic Technician ∙ Master at Arms|
|Chaplain ∙ Chief Steward ∙ Crewman ∙ Sanitation Technician ∙ Steward|
|Deck Chief ∙ Deck Technician ∙ Prospector|
|Merchant ∙ Passenger ∙ Robot|
|Changeling ∙ Cultist ∙ Loyalist ∙ Mercenary ∙ Mutineer ∙ Ninja ∙ Raider ∙ Renegade ∙ Traitor ∙ Vox Raider|