Mass Effect (Shadowrun 4th ed)
Getting around is easiest if you own your own FTL space ship which is costly and troublesome. Very few of our fine readers have ever been cursed with enough money to have to worry about this. Many people would be surprised how lucky they are not to be tied down by such things. The universe is still yours to explore and it won’t even cost you very much.
Spaceships. Spaceships/spacecraft/starships/skycanoes/etc are how the modern traveler gets from point A to point B. (assuming point B is at least a million kilometers away anyway).
Getting ride on a spaceship: the hardest way to get on a starship is to pay money. Some would tell you it’s the easy way but we don’t really recommend it. Starships will charge you whatever the market will bare. A trip can range from a few dozen credits to ride to the local moon crammed into a bulk people carrier to tens of thousands of credits to escape an embargoed world. This is an easy way to go bankrupt so we recommend a few alternatives.
- Stowaway : possibly one of the oldest tricks has become harder in recent centuries. These days you will have to either find your way into a cargo hold that has life support (always check first), this is easier on ships carrying live cargo. Also you can try stealing or copying a legit boarding pass. You could climb on board from outside and enter a hatch. You may need a spacesuit and a some hacking skills to both open the hatch and to not set off alarms when you do. From then on it’s a matter of keeping a low profile.
- Learn a trade and get a job in the crew. We cannot overstate the usefulness of knowing a useful trade. Knowing how to repair a ship’s plumbing, fumigate spacesuits, plot FTL jumps, perform surgery or even cut hair can get you not only a free ride but they may even pay you. The downside is that you might be expected to actually perform this work they’ve hired you for.
- Be charming as hell. Find a bar near the station/port and find someone with access to a ship. Strike up a conversation and convince them that hanging out with you is terribly fun. This can work quite well if the subject is a spoiled celebrity as they have a habit of dragging an entourage across space an not expecting anything in return. This method can be the most challenging of them all but most likely to get you free booze. Editor’s note: readers will find this method significantly more easy if they maintain good hygene.
- Contact your embassy and demand refugee status. Some governments actually try to rescue forlorn and beleaguered members or citizens. Convincing them that you’re being oppressed or endangered by the local government and they may buy you a free ride home. The downside: transport is unlikely to be comfortable and the paper work involved is astounding.
Travel time can be long. Space travel is not so sexy after you find out how long it takes. while lining up for a Mass Relay only takes minutes, actually traveling at FTL can take hours to weeks depending on the ship. Bring a book.
Where can I stop for gas? If you need starship fuel then there are lots of places to get it. Most notably are the Fuel Depots. Many are based in stations. A list can be found here. They often have fuel refineries built in. These stations are larger and have a full time staff, limited medical faculties, ship repair facilities and a company store. Some sell space probes.
Can I get there from here? Mass Relays: Big honking automated spacestations people think were built by the Protheans. The Protheans are all dead so we can’t ask them. These are scattered all over the place. Mass relays are basically shortcuts to predestined locations. You fly up to one, send the right kind of transmission and the big ring thingies spin up , you fly close to em and Whooooosh! You’re now thousands of light years away in no time flat. How close you are to where you aimed is dependent on your navigator.
Important The citadel has passed laws that any inactive Relay that you might stumble across cannot be activated. Only relays that have been studied, activated and explored by the Citadel can legally be used.
A list of Relays can be found here.