Segment 5 is done. Just done. It took long, including all my stopovers, dropping by some interesting systems (over a thousand ly away from my main route... yeah, just dropping by) and other stuff. But finally I'm here, at Eos Scraa EA-D b27-19, a blue giant system on the border between regions 5 (Norma Arm) and 2 (Empyrean Straits).
7300 ly to the centre. The journey continues.
Segment 4 is done. It was another 5000 ly travel across the vast space, and finally I'm here on the border between regions 9 (Inner Scutum-Centaurus Arm) and 5 (Norma Arm). My last stop, Nuekau FH-U e3-5519, is quite fascinating itself. First, it's a white-blue supergiant, the first one I found. Second, it's the first system where I found a life-form, bioluminescent anemones.
12200 ly more to the centre. The journey continues.
My quest for a Wolf-Rayet star is over. I've visited about 40 of them and finally discovered a new one. Not a big deal, considering there must be tens, if not hundreds, of thousand of them over the galaxy. But I understand why people see finding a Wolf-Rayet star as an achievement. They are beautiful =)
I've rested for a 2 weeks floating in space and looking at an unusually bright neutron star, one of numerous great views you can find in space. But at last I have to move on. I'm returning to the base at Skaudai CH-B d14-34 and heading to the galaxy centre from there.
(Systems visited - 326, first discovered - a lot, discovery data sold - 248.6 MCr.)
The journey continues.
For the first time I used the real-view map to plan my route, and I was surprised how informative it can be. Big balls of light for bright stars, coloured specks of main sequence stars, deep crimson flashes of proto-stars, tiny white dots of neutron stars and white dwarves, pitch black spheres of black holes. With some practice you begin to distinguish stars by star class and luminosity with just a glance. After few hours with the map I marked about 200 systems in the Skaude sector that look interesting. There's a lot to see.
The optimal solution was found - continue going forward, but find a place to repair. Simple, isn't it?
Yeah, easier said than done. I had an idea that somewhere in space, even away from the Bubble, there might be a colony, a base or a settlement, where I can dock and fix my ship. So I decided to search inside nebulae, which might be a good place for a resource-based colony. A wild shot, of course, even with some useful filters applied to my star map. But I got lucky - just in the third nebula I spotted an inhabited system with a planetary base.
Skaudai CH-B d14-34.
48 jumps to that system. Fixed my ship. Sold exploration data for 398 MCr. And now I could continue my journey, but then I had another idea. On my short travel across the sector 9 I saw a lot of interesting systems, so why not to take a break and discover some rare stars.
Let's go hunt.
Segment 3 is done. And I am not.
Grim humour, yes, and there's a reason for it.
From my last stop at Traikoa IM-W e1-32 I planned my path to the border between the region 18 (Inner Orion Spur) and the region 9 (Inner Scutum-Centaurus Arm). Stellar density grows as I move towards the Galaxy center, so I managed to plot it using types O-A stars only. I think I have a soft spot for bright stars. It was another 153 jumps including a stopover at a neutron star, just to take a look and mark it in my Codex. And also I was doing some planetary landings to take a break and enjoy some views. That's where it went wrong...
It was a small icy moon of a gas giant that caught my attention by possibility of finding some carbon dioxide ice geysers on it. Nothing extraordinary, just to make a record in the Codex. Vanity, I might say. It was covered by deep canyons; ice crust stretched and creased by tidal force - not an easy landscape to land on, but it didn't bother me. The geological site I found was on the dark side, which made piloting more difficult. But the gravity was very low, and I thought it must be ok to land there. When you land on a high-g planet you expect troubles with keeping your speed at low level, and you take some care. Who'd think that low-g planets can be dangerous as well.
The surface appeared quite suddenly before my eyes, out of the dark. The first I saw was the hull integrity indicator dropping down to 50%. That was bad enough, but quite acceptable; I believe one can fly across half of the galaxy with 50%. I managed to drop my speed, made a maneuver, landed, took a a breath - and there was just 6% of the the hull integrity. Still have no idea how it happened, but that was the reality.
I found a small comfort in finding those carbon dioxide ice geysers (Codex record - checked, yay...), but now I had a real issue on my hands. I needed to decide if I continue my journey to the galaxy centre or turning back for repair. I still believed it's possible to reach the final destination point with just 6%, but it meant no planetary landings anymore. It would be too boring. On the other hand, it was almost 8000 l.y. to the Bubble. And I decided to finish the current segment first; another 200 l.y. won't make any difference.
Finally I stopped at Preae Aewsy GF-R d4-126, right on the edge of the sector, and now I have to make that decision. Going back and start it over or continue my route without any planetary landing? Not a choice I'd like to make. Are there other options?
Segment 2 is done.
178 jumps. Can't say I was travelling across a completely uncharted area; I encountered alreadyy discovered systems from time to time. But at least half of the system I visited were undiscovered. Found a lot if planets, Earth-like worlds included.
Stopped at Traikoa IM-W e1-32, the first Herbig star I found. It was a bit of disappointment, because this star is nothing special, though I know Herbig stars are rare. And it was already discovered by someone else.
From here my path lies to the edge of the region 18 (Inner Orion Spur). The journey continues.
Segment 1 is done.
I landed on several planets on my way to the edge of the Bubble gathering materials for FSD boosts and AFMU. Hopefully I won't need to use them, but it's better to be on the safe side. One of those planets was my first metal-rich body I landed on, an I was really surprised how many rare metals can be found there. On the other side, very basic non-metallic elements - carbon, phosphorous, sulfur - were scarce. Made a note to myself regarding that fact.
My last stop at a station was Talantas, a system where you can find a trader for raw materials. Some say those guys are bunch of crooks, but hey, what would you do otherwise when you need that darn arsenic, but all you've got is just some high grade stuff? Anyway, he saved me some time to fill my most important resources up.
The last thing I did on the station was selling all my exploration data. Data for 2 systems left unsold as being too close to Talantas, 318k Cr worth. I think it's nothing compared to what I can gather on my way to Sagittarius A*, so it's effectively zero.
After that I travelled about 1000 ly above the plane of the Galaxy until I stopped at Wregoe GJ-G C27-0. Saw a lots of unmapped planets on my way, up to 40 bodies in system sometimes, but almost all of them were of no interest to me. No one is interested in small icy worlds or even in high metal content worlds outside the Bubble. An explorer who decides to map them all should be highly dedicated to his cause... which is not my case. My aim is Sagittarius A*, and I continue my journey.
Finally, my exploration program for the Bubble is done. It was pretty short, to be fair, but still I visited 550 different systems and gathered about 180 million worth exploration data. More than enough to maintain my ship. And now I'm ready to start my trip to Sagittarius A*.
Ship: Cobra Explorer, quite standard setup, moderately engineered, jump distance 42 ly.
General plan: Reach Sagittarius A* without boosted jumps, in order to to keep it simple. Explore all first discovered systems. Map high-value planets in already discovered systems. Make personal Codex discoveries, if possible. Make this trip by segments, planning route between POIs or arbitrary chosen milestone systems.
And the foremost task: DIE NOT!
Everything is ready, and so am I. Well, almost everything, but these are small things that can be done while I'm crossing the Bubble. No reason to wait anymore.
Deep space, here I come.