This is a guest post, written by Jeanie, from Endless Sea of Stars
The first thing you’re going to want to do is look at the essential systems: air, recycler, and food printer. You can survive for the longest without a printer, so start with running diagnostics on the air system, make sure you have that working. If you haven’t established a working air system, keep your damn suit on. Otherwise, you could pass out before you’ve even realized the air isn’t mixed right. Sometimes ships are really idiotic and don’t activate the alarms when they really should.
Once you know you have breathable air, move on to the recycler. This is where your water will come from, and your waste will go. You don’t want waste collecting somewhere and not being properly recycled. Not only is that gross, but it could lead to running out of water, which is a real bitch. No showers or basic hygiene if that happens, not to mention most food won’t be able to be printed without at least a bit of water.
Which brings us to our last essential system, the food printer. Make sure you always keep the tanks topped up, and I mean always. Even if you never think you’ll use the ship again, if the printer’s been ripped out of a vessel for salvage, you never know when you’ll need to print something, and it’s always going to be an emergency when you do. Printers vary widely in their capabilities, so if your printer will only do food, or only do the most basic shit to keep you alive, that might be all it’s capable of. Always run a diagnostic to check though, of course. No one wants to be stuck eating the bare minimum when printers are so much more versatile than that. You didn’t hear it from me, but it’s not that hard to hack printers to make whatever you want. [Liam’s note: Don’t fuck with your food printer unless you have another food source, no matter what Jeanie says.] [Jeanie’s note: Shut up, Liam. Let them have some fun.]
Next you’ll want to take a look at the heat, the grav system, and the power source. We’re assuming here that you have a working power source, since without one, you wouldn’t have any of the above systems working. I’m talking about optimizing your power source. Making sure you’re not using more than you can afford to if you’re working off fuel and that you’re not using more than you’re generating if you’re working off a fusion core. Some people think heat is an essential system, but in my experience, you can go without heat for a long time and just use the residual heat from the other systems on the ship to keep you alive. Having an active grav system makes everything else way easier, but you can live without it if you have to, and I’ve done so on numerous occasions.
So there you have it, an overview of the systems on a spaceship. Make sure you run diagnostics on everything and get your ship into tip-top shape before venturing out into the abyss, since there’s no help for you out there if anything fails on you. Bon voyage!