Reached the next waypoint on my route into the Rift: the abandoned Beta Site.
The system is astonishing from the entry with its three main stars (2 M dwarves and 1 giant) welcoming you as soon as you get out of hyperdrive. Luckily I remembered to set the speed to zero before jump-out, otherwise it would have been a bit too warm a welcome to be comfortable.
The site itself is not far, and not really impressive as far as the structure goes. What is remarkable is the feeling you get by reading the logs: despite the mystery being solved by now, I can imagine how the first explorers finding this site would have felt. A shipwreck far out from the Bubble, a whispered project "Dinasty", a suspect beacon being left in space....all of those are perfect ingredients for the wildest plot!
I hope someday to be able to stumble upon something like this :)
Made it to Salomé's World. By itself this system and its planets are not very special, a couple of ammonia worlds, one terraformable and a series of HMC planets. Interesting but not particularly rare.
Still it is a place of hystorical significance, one of the few systems in this galaxy outside the Bubble that will be remembered in the years to come. A mystery within a mystery: while there's no secret (as far as we know now) in the Rift, still we do not know, and probably will never know, why CMDR Salomé decided to scan the two AWs and nothing else during her probably last exploration voyage.
Anyway here I am, looking down to what she saw years ago and wondering, maybe like her, what hides in the vastness of space that will probably be never discovered. That's my reason for exploring: even if not by a lot, I want to reduce that amount of "unknowness".
Before starting my trip toward Salomé's world I wanted to see if I could find a Class "O" star: I had never seen one before. Being in the Chi Persei cluster (NGC 884) I thought there were higher probabilities of finding one than somewhere else.
And I was right indeed! A mere jump from RS Persei lies the TYC 3694-1331-1 star system, where not only I found a blue class "O" star...I actually found two of them orbiting each other relatively close (1.6KLs) in a beautiful binary pair!
I decided to start my exploration of the Rift and its surroundings by visiting a veeery big star: RS Persei.
At almost twice the solar-radii than Betelgeuse it's the biggest star I've ever seen this close. Fun fact: you can fuel scoop almost until the surface of planet A1....the only limit being that as soon as you drop out of FSD the scoop stops.
Next step Eafots RX-T d3-3 aka Salomé's World, this would mark my official entry in the Rift and will earn me the title of "Rifter"
At last I made it to Base Camp in the Soul Sector.
Another asteroid base....yeah you already know...I like it :)
Anyway: for the last stretch of this trip I replotted in order to avoid using neutron stars. It took me almost 50 jumps instead of 16, but I managed to find, scan and map a lot of new systems, so it was worth it. Credit-wise the trip from Station X wasn't very rich, probably due to the use of too many jet-cone assisted jumps, but it was still worth quite a few millions.
Not that money is actually an issue...at least not out here where there's no real opportunity to spend it anyway ;) And by the time I get back home I'll have plenty.
Now I need to plan for the next trip. As I said I want to explore the Formidine Rift.
I think I'll start by paying homage to CMDR Salomé, by visiting Salomé's World and then move to some of the abandoned settlements. Then I'll see if I can make it all the way to the Zurara.
Just a quick entry while approaching my destination, to share the beauty of the Heart & Soul Nebulae.
Nebulae are very nice to see, all that colours in the otherwise blackness of space are surely a welcome panorama. Still those are extremely tragic areas of the cosmos, considering that those coloured wisps are the remnants of the outer layers of old stars, ejected in their death-throes, while collapsing on themselves....and annihilating any eventual planet unfortunate enough to be too close.
Yet from this places of violent death new stars, and maybe even new civilisations, will be born in time. Meanwhile for all of us staring at the sky there's the joy of this radiation induced fluorescence lighting up the dust :)
Wheew..I had some kind of a predicament lately. I was preparing for a neutron-star-enanched jump when suddenly everything went black. One moment I was looking at the count-down and the next I was floating in the darkness of space, with only the eerie bluish light of the neutron star telling me that at least my eyes were still working.
I panicked for a moment, checking frantically if there was some breach in the cockpit area. It's not a nice feeling to find yourself stranded some thousands light-years from the closest human outpost, in uncharted space. Then my years of training as an explorer kicked-in and I was back in control. After all rule #1 for an explorer was written right on the front cover of the most important text-book: DON'T PANIC!
After a few minutes (or maybe less, my sense of time was still a bit shaken), power came back and life support started working again, but the rest of the ship's systems were still down. I started the diagnostic tools and after making sure I was not in immediate danger I decided to go in cryosleep: it would take a few days to complete the checks since I selected the most thorough protocols....maybe it was overkill but better safe than sorry!
So here I am now, back travelling. I'm moving in a sort of neutron-highway with many consecutive jumps from neutron star to neutron star, only leaving the path for the occasional refueling.
It is the first time I use this strategy and I'm not sure I like it very much:
-PRO: you get to destination very fast, no wonders with an average of 160Lys for jump!
-CONS: it's boooooring! All the neutron star systems have already been explored by someone else, while as soon as I step out to the more "normal" star-systems I'm in uncharted space once again.
I think I'll modify my route to use a bit less NS-enanched jumps: it'll take a bit longer to get to Base Camp, but I'll have much more to explore!
By the way here is a nice pic I took lately: have you ever tried to fuel scoop from two stars at once? It's tricky but tempting :)
Going on with my travel to the Rift. It's definitely a lonely trip, lots of areas where I'm the first to arrive.
Still when looking up from a world noone else has ever been before I can still see the familiar view of the Barnard's Loop. To think that this journey started because I was curious to visit that structure that I've always seen on the horizon...
So here is the next target: the Formidine Rift. I've heard many legends about it, Raxxla being there is one of them, but I know that nowadays noone believes there's any real mystery in the Rift anymore.
Still it is an historical area with a lot of folklore about it so I think it is a nice target in my journey.
From the Jellyfish Nebula to Base Camp on the edge of the Rift there are about 5Klys so it will be a nice exploration trip, but not too long before I'm back to the safety of a base.
It seems this route is not very popular since I've already found several totally unexplored systems and I've barely started, even though I've already crossed the boundary into the Elysian Shore sector.
No nice vistas for today though, which is a bit of a let down, but I still have a lot of road ahead so I'm sure I'll find something nice to see in the next days.
This final tranche of the journey has been graced by the very nice sight of the Jellyfish Nebula getting bigger and bigger in front of my ship.
In system Jellyfish Sector TO-R c4-2 I even had the opportunity to take a picture of the "jellyfish" trying to get back into the sea of a water world :P
I almost had a panic attack though: due to a transcription error in my notes I expected to arrive at destination there, but the outpost I was looking for was nowhere to be found. Luckily a quick look into the Galactic Mapping Project database reassured me since I was just a couple of jumps from my destination.
On the last series of jump I actually dived into the nebula which was giving a very impressive display of colours in front of me
I finally reached the deep space outpost known as Beta Site, an asteroid base inside the rings of a gas giant in the middle of the Jellyfish nebula. I always found this kind of outposts very interesting as they show that humankind can really adapt to survive everywhere.
So I'm finally here resting for a while after a week and almost 5Kly since last docking, planning for the next trip. And all of the scanning and mapping I've done till now netted me several millions credit and a promotion to Pioneer....next step is Elite!