It's been a long trip, but now it was time to harvest what I came for: those elusive meta-alloys. But where to find them? I knew they were in Merope, but which planet? Time to consult Canonn Research Group to learn all I could about "barnacles" and the meta-alloys they spawn! My research didn't take long - best of all, it made for interesting reading! - and soon I understood these alien things better. What is more, I also ascertained a likely location for my harvesting efforts: Merope 5C. I figured if Sirius Corp. came all the way out here to Merope, I should focus my efforts on the planets in this system as there was probably a high likelihood of finding exactly what I wanted. Merope 5C had three reported sites, so that was my target. First target: Lat: -26.3515 Long: -156.4056 I brought ol' Fitzcarraldo in close to the surface to see what I could see: Lots of impact craters and not much else. But I instantly knew I was in the right place when I spotted a Federal Farragut-class Battlecruiser patrolling over one non-descript place on the surface. Time to set down and deploy the SRV! I confess that the presence of such a massive warship was comforting as I drove around in my lil' fragile rover. I discovered that it was protecting a valley. Guess I knew where I was going next! Notice the shadow cast by the battle cruiser! Somewhere down there was my quarry! The terrain looked too difficult for my SRV to descent on its own, so I motored back to Fitzcarraldo and flew down into the valley. I soon spotted the location that the battlecruiser was guarding. Spotted it through the bottom left of my canopy Time for my close encounter! I landed Fitzcarraldo close by and deployed the SRV again. It took some doing - the intervening terrain was very rough - but I finally closed in on my first batch of alien barnacles. The first indication of something strange nearby was these weird, metallic structures: And then I spotted the barnacle itself: Score! Or, maybe not? I soon discovered I had a problem. This might be an actual alien barnacle, but there was no meta-alloys to harvest! I blasted away with the SRVs cannon but nothing dropped. Frustrating. I motored around the site, investigating and blasting, but it yielded me zippo for the effort. Eventually, I gave up and left, especially once the battlecruiser lost patience with my prodding and ordered me out of the area. It even deployed a wing of vessels to scare me off! Time to move on, I guess. My next target was Lat: 8.3379 Long: -96.1337 But more frustration met me here. I scoured the site from above but found nothing worth investigating, just lots of rugged terrain. Strike two. My last hope: Lat: -28.245 Long: -109.5219 I landed nearby and started exploring with my SRV. Using the wave scanner, I detected an odd, distant signal that seemed promising. Frankly, I knew I had hit paydirt when I discovered that shadowy valley that absolutely gave me the creeps! The further in I went, the darker it got. Eventually, I had to employ my highbeams to see anything. After cautiously crawling my way forward, my lights showed me what I wanted to see: A barnacle site! And unlike the first site, this one had fat, juicy green...things on them. I know something harvestable when I see it! Jackpot! Well, not quite. Again. It took some trial and error, but I discovered that there are two types of pods that you can harvest: the more plentiful small pods, and the juicer big pods. It's the big ones I wanted as only they have the precious meta-alloys in them. The rest just yield ordinally mineral concentrations. So, it turned out in this big field there were only TWO meta-alloy pods. I just needed one, so good enough. I took the two and got out of that creepy valley. I was glad to leave its shadow behind me. Phew. Fitzcarraldo was a welcome site as I brought the goods home. As I left, I discovered that I wasn't alone. No, not aliens. But another Farragut-class battlecruiser keep an eye on things. As I made my way back to Reed's Rest, I realized that this had been quite the adventure. What started out as a routine news announcement had sent me over 300 LYs below the galactic plane, and put me in contact with some genuine alien structures. Pretty cool. I wonder what other adventures the galaxy holds for me? All I knew for sure, is that now I needed to start heading all the way home. According to my calculations, that will involve almost 80 jumps! Here I go again. Back to living on the Edge.