I usually don't carry artifacts on board. For some reason I still run into Aliens. It happens a lot in low-stealth builds, of course, but recently a promising explorer on Crazy with decent stealth died to Aliens on the way to the SW corner of the Quadrant. (I blame it on Steel Song. ) It was weird, he suddenly had a series of encounters, first with 2 hives, then an Alien that decimated him.
You're lucky nobody ever loots your WF. I almost always get my WF looted when surrendering to a faction pirate I don't have a permit with. Well, they loot the other stuff first, but if I carry only WF then they loot the WF. And yeah I think the Escape shuttle is almost a must-have for non-combat builds (or even combat builds in progress). On Crazy or higher, your chances of hull collapse are pretty high and not having an escape shuttle is rather unwise.
That is kind of why I love Aperio Caliga. If you keep Wf not too higher than 25, the pirate ships will leave you be. No joke. They cannot detect any cargo on your ship, so they will not attack and you can just ignore them. Then it seems like due to the state of my device, the game has became bugged at some aspects of mine, namely alien hunting (I have low alien encounters, and not really any random ones), the water-fuel is intact no matter what,... and somehow I have noticed no changes in AI :/ Well, I am looking forward to getting a new device