Hardspace Ship Breaking: Ship Wrecker is a dangerous job, and it doesn’t help that these ships look like they were made with some questionable security protocol. Reactors, pressurized cabins, electrical devices, explosive fuel tanks. One wrong move and you could send the entire ship to the furnace in pieces. This is after Lynx Corp pulls another of their clones out of your Petri dish and sends you back to work.
Here’s a rundown of the dangers you’ll encounter in Hardspace: Shipbreaker and how to deal with them. Note that these aren’t the only things in the game that can kill you. Gravity is, and always will be, your biggest enemy. However, knowing how to navigate the various moody systems of the various ships will increase your chances of surviving your turn.
While explosive depressurization might not seem all that scary from the sealed comfort of your spacesuit, it’s the explosive part you need to be afraid of. Explosive depressurization occurs when the atmosphere held inside a ship’s cabin is suddenly sucked into the vacuum of space. Anything in the cabin will make a quick trip towards whatever hole you’ve just made, and if you’re unfortunate enough to be directly in its path, you can get a closer look than you intended as it goes right through your visor.
To safely depressurize a ship, you first need to safely enter through the air chambers. Air chambers ensure that any indoor atmosphere remains where it is needed. You open the doors by turning the lever next to them. Be careful, you can rip these panels off right away, making a violent change in atmosphere your only option.
Once inside, you’ll look for the atmospheric regulator, which looks a lot like a window-mounted air conditioner. Typically these are found near the air chamber. After activating one of them, the atmosphere will be safely drained. When done correctly, the right side of the screen will display “Depressurized”. Be careful though, some ships have multiple cabins that need to be individually depressurized. Don’t think that just because you’ve switched a regulator, it’s safe everywhere.
Although Hardspace: Shipbreaker gives you a warning before you start working on a ship, whether or not it has a reactor present, you can always tell when you’re getting close because the radiation will mess with your HUD. The reactor should be a big priority for you as it can get damaged and explode, destroying a large part of the ship in the process. It might be wise to start with the reactor, as once it’s gone, you’ll be able to breathe a little easier.
There is one thing to note with the reactor, and that is that you may need to purge the fuel lines before pulling it. This is different for each reactor, but generally you are looking for a lever or a computer console. Sometimes you can just go ahead and switch them around, releasing the lines and continuing with the removal, but other times you need to find the keys to them. They will be floating somewhere inside the ship, usually near the cabin.
Note that after releasing the lines, the reactor will collapse, which means you need to throw it on the barge before time runs out. It is a good idea to clear a path between the reactor and the barge before touching it.
Also, keep in mind that some ballasts are not connected to anything and you can just pull them out. You should be able to recognize when there are no fuel lines present, but just in case, take a tour of the interior of the ship to look for consoles or shut-off valves.
You’ll eventually hit the Class II Reactors, which have a few more steps to their dance. You can just clear a path for the barge, pull it in and throw it, but that doesn’t leave much room for error. To extend how much time you have before the reactor melts, you must first eject the thrusters, then go to the Environmental Control Unit and rip out the cans (see below). Note that the ballast will not even move when you press the thruster eject switch, but will start to collapse when you disable the ECU. Clear a path before doing this. Even though these actions will increase the amount of time you have to get the reactor on the barge, you need to work carefully. You can still hit the reactor really hard and it will go up like a Christmas tree.
You can imagine fuel pumps very similar to reactors, but there are usually fewer safety measures in place. Atlas ships in particular have a design where the fuel cut-off is located behind the thruster. This requires you to cut the four tubes connected to the thruster and then quickly pull it out of the way. You then have little time to go through the nacelle, past the erupting gas and fire, and reach the cut. The danger is not over, however. The two halves of the nacelle separate, which can cause you to be thrown or crushed. This can be deadly, so it might be a good idea to hold on using your hands until the danger passes.
Removing the thruster and cutting off the fuel can be the most dangerous procedure in Hardspace: Shipbreaker. Just stay calm, avoid the fire and work fast.
It’s a little easier to deal with electrical devices only not be around them when you are taking them apart. However, there are ways to make the whole venture much safer. For example, if you follow the wires around the ship, you will often find a strange junction where a power cell is located. Plucking this out (from a safe distance) will reduce the chances of arcing from the wires themselves when you cut your splices or pull them off the wall.
Larger ships may also have fuse boxes scattered throughout their cabins. It’s very important to find them and turn them off before messing with anything electrical. Not doing so can be quite shocking. To do this, simply remove the fuse when the flashing red lights that surround it are off.
Once all fuses are removed, everything including the power generator must be safely removed without arcing everywhere.
Environmental Control Unit
Of all the things that can kill you in space, this is probably the least deadly. It is also one of the easiest to handle. While you are doing your initial inspection of the ship, if you come across an Environmental Control Unit, it is simple to dismantle. Simply peel off the front panel and tear off all the cans. That’s all there is to it. Nothing will blow up in your face if you go too slow.
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