So you want to be: A Trader (part one)

Before we begin trader school, get yourself and your ship over to the George Lucas station in Leesti.

Ok, ready? Let’s take a look at your assets.

The Sidewinder

It’s small, not particularly well armed, only lightly defended, quite short-ranged and has just four tonnes of cargo capacity.

Yes, four tonnes. Your grandma could probably haul more in her shopping cart, right?

Right, which is why we’re going to halve that straight away. Granny may be strong but she’s stuck in her old ways, and we need to get creative if we’re going to earn some creds and get our business started.

[EDIT: I wrote this guide by buying an off-the-shelf Sidewinder and setting aside 1000 credits. It has been pointed out (thanks, Cmdr Odhrán) that if you’re just starting out, the free Sidewinder you’re given has loaned weapons, so selling some of your kit may actually get you zero credits. I had forgotten this fact as it has been a long time since I was in a starter Sidey. If you cannot follow this guide because of that limitation, please let me know via twitter. Thanks.]

Setting up

Okay, hit the outfitter’s, and replace your four tonne cargo rack with a two tonne version. That move just earned you 2,250 credits.

Swap out your shield generator for an E1 fuel scoop. No, really. We’re not planning on going toe-to-toe with any bad guys. And you’re able to dock and leave stations without scraping the paintwork, and to scoop fuel without incinerating yourself, right? If not, get back to flight school and get those things nailed first. That done? Good, you have an extra 1,669 credits.

Sell one of your pulse lasers. That’s worth 2,200 credits.

Upgrade your frame-shift drive to a D2 version. That’ll make a net reduction of 3,956 credits from the 7,119 in your account, leaving 3,163 credits for you to buy something to trade.

Almost done, so hit the marketplace and grab yourself two tonnes of Leestian Evil Juice. That should set you back around 914 credits or so, and you’ll still have about 2,249 credits left, depending on market fluctuations.

Some reflection

Before we move on, let’s understand why we did those things.

The fuel scoop you fitted will help you go further without pouring your cash into the tank, and it’ll save you time, and the risk of unshielded disasters, if you don’t have to dock over and over to top up.

If everything’s gone to plan, you should have a jump range of 9.75 light years with two tonnes of cargo on board, and that FSD is more efficient than your old one, so although you’ll still have to scoop fuel from passing stars, you won’t have to scoop so much at each jump.

By carrying only two tonnes of cargo you can go further. So we freed up some cash by chopping out what would otherwise be wasted space if you kept the four tonne rack. You have enough slack in your budget to keep the 4t rack if you want, but I prefer to fly with some cash in reserve.

The Leestian Evil Juice becomes very valuable if you can take it far enough away from Leesti. It’s a rare item that you won’t be able to buy anywhere else, and unless something has gone very wrong in the system, you should have been able to buy two tonnes comfortably.

You could have just bought 1000 credits worth of stock from whichever station’s market that you started from. But the systems around here are busy, and turning a decent profit will be tricky and time consuming.

Finally, it’s nice to have shields but the upgraded FSD makes more places accessible to you and the further you go, the more those rare items will be worth and the more good the basic discovery scanner will do for you when you’re passing through less-travelled systems. It probably won’t be much, but hey, free cash!

The six “P”s: Proper Planning Prevents, um, Poxy Pirate Plundering**

** this isn’t the original 6Ps definition

On this trip we’ll be going out to Schweickart Station in Aegaeon and we begin staring down the barrel of a 292.74 light year trip (146.37 each way).

Between jumps, you’ll need some cooling-off time before you can start the next one, especially given that you’ll be skimming the outer atmospheres of the stars to top up the fuel tank, which warms things up a bit.

Remember, you’re a small boat on a big sea and, arrr if there ain’t pirates wantin’ to relieve ye of yer treasure at every turn me hearty, arrr. Be ready to evade interdictions as you’ll be vulnerable to pretty much anything, including a kid with a pea-shooter when you fly with this setup. It’s not very heroic, but for now run away from trouble. Always run away.

Take the time to learn to spot when you’re about to enter an Anarchic territory and make sure you top off the tank beforehand. Quick in and quick out is the safest policy.

Plan your route carefully, and make notes of where you’ll be going and where you might need to stop if you do run low on fuel. Even with a scoop, that can happen if there aren’t enough of the right kind of stars on your flight plan.

This particular route is very good though as pretty much every jump destination has a compatible star, and there aren’t that many dangerous systems to negotiate either. However, you may find that the scanner doesn’t earn you much if you follow it exactly, so you may want to take a detour or two along the way.

Your initial course plot should look a lot like this (figures in brackets are jump distances to the system;

  1. Orerve (3.73)
  2. Crucis Sector JX-T B3-3 (6.39)
  3. Bruthanvan (6.22)
  4. Amijangal (5.09)
  5. Morten-Marte (9.43)
  6. Crucis Sector GM-V B2-4 (8.99)
  7. Komovoy (5.05)
  8. Pemoeri (4.05)
  9. Panopi (4.18)
  10. Solati (4.69)
  11. LTT 4487 (8.77)
  12. Crucis Sector AL-X B1-5 (7.23)
  13. Sokoji (6.27)
  14. Sak Chelmir (3.08)
  15. LTT 4461 (8.44)
  16. LP 793-33 (6.95)
  17. LFT 824 (6.74)
  18. LTT 4170 (5.61)
  19. LP 906-9 (6.79)
  20. Penglai (7.94)
  21. Puppis Sector DL-Y D106 (7.45)
  22. Wong Ten (8.00)
  23. LHS 2106 (7.01)
  24. LP 787-52 (3.07)
  25. LHS 2069 (8.92)
  26. Fasti (4.57)
  27. Ross 439 (7.40)
  28. Tau-1 Hydrae (5.65)
  29. Nott (8.92)
  30. LP 546-48
  31. Ross 623 (4.87)
  32. NLTT 19808 (7.90)
  33. V397 Hydrae (7.96)
  34. Hunahau (7.03)
  35. Aegaeon (1.65)


So, you’re sealed in, packed up and ready to roll. What are you waiting for? Get gone! See you at Aegaeon.


(This advice is given against the background of a changing galaxy. There may be inaccuracies either as a result of other player’s actions or other more fundamental changes. I might also make plain old human mistakes, and while I’ll always try to keep these to a minimum, it will probably still happen. I ain’t gonna offer any promises, guarantees or whatnot – if it goes wrong and you lose everything – too bad. But I hope it works out for you, I really do.)

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