Mole Mining Drone

The Mole is small, completely autonomous, and perfectly adapted for its role. A small fusion power source of high efficiency means that it can remain active in a sector for years on end. Usually this is not necessary as the drones are unloaded en mass along a pocket of asteroids to which they are capable of stripping an entire sector bare in under a week.

The tool of the Mole is a plasma torch that annihilates the surface rock and turns it into a gaseous form. This is then sent through a mass separator which sorts out the valuable elements from those that are not needed. A large storage chamber located in the rear of the drone is filled with upwards of 50,000kg of materials before it is required to be unloaded. This is done through the complete detachment of the storage pod and a new one is quickly reattached so that the drone can go back to work. At the same time a fuel cell can be replaced while a maintenance scan is run. This allows for the Mole to operate continuously for maximum effectiveness.

There is a sort of hive-mind working in the AI of the drones as any unit that finds a particularly rich source of resources will soon be joined by others despite the fact that there is no direct communication between them. Only drone-to-ship communications are used to prevent an area becoming saturated with signals.

On at least once occasion in recent history have the Mole drones been called upon to serve a higher purpose than simple mining. At the deep space station Endless Horizon there was an attack by a large pirate force set on taking the station for their own. Without any real defense force it ended up coming down to the role of an unnamed programmer who was able to remove the coding in the station's large outfit of drones which made it so the drones would not "mine" another ship. The drones were sent out as a last resort and the end result was fantastic if not quite gruesome when one realizes that when this load of resources was automatically processed… some of the elements came from the bodies of the pirates who were killed in the defense of the station.

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