Life out in The Black has been good these couple of weeks. I have been able to jump with a steady pace and Celeste has been good company. Star after star glided by.... red, white, blue, yellow, orange, and even brown. I know that chances of finding anything very interesting are remote while drawing a line through space, but we are enjoying ourselves. In my downtime I have been writing extensions for Celeste to include more information about my travels. I know.... tinkering with crucial software is dangerous so far out from civilization. It will be fine, as long as I don't integrate them with Celeste yet.
After about 6 days of flying I noticed some sluggishness in certain subsystems. Looking at the status screen, I'm not happy with the readouts. They are off by some margin. Given this I decided to make only 1 loop and then head back for Fuelum to have it checked out. 5 days later we made it back to Fuelum. My normal engineer was out on a trip, so I got stuck with some replacement. After an investigation he told me everything was up to spec. Perhaps to Faulcon's specs, but not mine. Despite what he told me I took her to a couple of the Engineers to realign the modifications to those systems. And while I was at it, I also upgraded my fuel scoop to the best of the best. It cost me quite a lot of credits, but it feels good that my Shosa is the best she can be. I also integrated the extensions and tested them thoroughly. Now I can keep track of more things I encounter and get a better estimation of how my travels go.
The next day I left Fuelum again and headed off to the starting point of the next line, which is slightly beyond Sagittarius A*. As the ancient Sol song went: "on the road again... Goin' places that I've never been... Seein' things that I may never see again"
I haven't had much time or energy to keep my log up to date lately. My time was quite busy with remembering the first mission to land other people on a new world. There were two initiatives started last month to remember it:
Together with over 600 commanders we flew from a science centre to the nearest earth-like world with a single moon. Within a couple of weeks we flew nearly 6000ly in celebration with meetups and fun races.
It was a very busy and amazing time, and met a lot of other great commanders. During the expedition I went back to the Bubble to help Cmdr. Deluvian with his flight, which takes them from the actual Earth to the actual Moon in normal space. This is quite a difficult challenge, since the Moon moves faster than any of our ships, so he needs to keep ahead of it and not fall behind. He will manage it.
These two things left me little time and energy to write up a log entry, so here we are after a month of silence.
After this busy month I needed time for myself, so I started on the next part of my current drawing. It will be a 120kly trip around Sagittarius A* and form the outer line of the Coriolis station.
This week was very interesting. While I was waiting for the meet-up I was flying around through interesting systems, which were previously discovered by other commanders.
When Cmdr Deluvian came online I invited him on board together with Cmdr Elewys. With the three of us on board, we started our tour of some sights around the center of the galaxy.
We started at an amazing ringed neutron star in system Phroea Ploe AA-A h284. And even better it forms a binary system with a black hole. We saw some effects of neutrons and black holes, and a bit of low level flying through a huge crater.
From there we went to Fegefeuer (Hell's Fire): a hot planet, which is only 1.3 ls from its star. It proved to be quite hot, but my Celeste and I have faced hotter situations and we are still out in the black.
Since Fegefeuer is close to "Black in Green" we went there next. When we got there we talked about the amazing richness of the green color, and the gravitational lensing, the beauty of the tourist installation, and finally we left a Shan's Charis Orchid at the Black hole and talked about lost friend, relatives and commanders. That was a very touching, emotional moment.
Later Cmdr Deluvian needed to go and I continued the tour with other commanders to the Great Annihilator to show more of the gravitational lensing around black holes.
Then it became time to start on my drawing. Leaving the core for the area around Colonia I came across a nebula, which looked like a rat sitting on it's hind legs. I dubbed it "Rat's Nebula", although that was not the official name. Then it was time to put my game face on and start jumping. A couple of days and hundreds of jumps later, I finished that part. And here it is:
Now on to the rest of the drawing....
Sight seeing trip:
While I am waiting for the meet-up I've decided to make another drawing across the galaxy. I've done LEGO® Space Logo, one of the sources of my fondest childhood memories; cannot still grasp how simple plastic bricks survived so long. As I reminisce about my childhood, I remember another amazing game: Elite. That will be my next inspiration.
This is what it will look like:
I'm dotting the I's and crossing the T's and then it's off to the unknown worlds again for me. Who knows what I will find out there.....
A couple of weeks ago I left for Colonia to get some extra upgrades to my Anaconda, which can only be gotten there. A quick 2 day trip to and from.... It was nice, but still not the same as the weeks before.
Now while I'm back in the Bubble and it is quite good helping others.... there is still something missing.... Something undefined.... Something still.... Something silent.... (must resist to use the q-word!)
There is so much noise and activity here. So much violence. I lost another ship the other day. Luckily only a sidewinder, and the funny thing was, that 2 days later they needed the help of the Rats. Other Rats were closer, when I responded. A Rat's life is hardly ever dull.
Now that all my ships are upgraded with the new upgrades and I'm hanging around a bit, the Black calls even louder. One could say that it sucks me in. And when I told a friend about the "Black in Green", they want to see it.
So here I go again... I sure know where I've been, and I do know where I'm going.....
After reaching Beagle Point I flew back to the Bubble along the Sagittarius-Carina Arm. After meeting other commanders regularly at expedition waypoints, sharing stories, and helping eachother out this part of the trip felt quite lonely. Only me and Celeste out there in the deep space, which was quite a challenge at times. Stars can be very far apart in those regions. Since there were not many distractions out there, I made quite a nice speed in getting back. The only thing slowing me down were all the various undiscovered celestial bodies and other stellar phenomena.
One week later I arrived at Fuelum. There I spend some time to handle various administrative tasks, and have engineers take a look at my ship. She had been through a lot, and it showed: loads of systems were barely working and highly jury-rigged. She kept me safe from the rigors of space and needed a break and some pampering. So there I was looking for a new ship and my eye fell on a blue white Beluga Liner. Having luxury abound was what I needed as well, but I still wanted to fly out there to finish my drawing. So outfitted the Beluga for exploration and had the engineers transfer Celeste to my new ship.
Once more out into the black..... in luxury this time. It was quite the adjustment to the new ship. She runs at a much higher temperature than the Anaconda, and scooping is so much slower. But in return I could lavish in a jakuzi in the blue star light of a previously unvisited system. The heat and my tendency to fly very close to stars, occasionally caused problems with the on-board systems. Luckily I am always prepared for the heat of stars and black holes, and the trip wasn't that long.
When getting back to Wollheim Vision it was time to take stock of the whole trip..... It was a long and eventful past 6 months. And since my Anaconda was still in dry dock. I could take the time to process my drawing, the Distant Worlds 2, and everything I had seen and experienced. And that was a lot.....
The Space Logo drawing is done: LEGO® Space Logo time lapse
The Distant Worlds 2 is over: DW2 Flight path time lapse
And I reached the milestone of having flown 2,500,000 light years.
A week later I got the message that the amazing Mischief Engineers were finished refurbishing my Anaconda. They did a very good job on her, and she looks amazing and as good as new. I cannot wait to fly her out into the black again.
Next stop: Colonia
This week the stars were thinning out very quickly, as I am leaving the central arms of the galaxy and fly into The Abyss towards the deep blackness of inter-galactic space. A couple of bumps and scrapes left my ship a bit worse for wear. I'm continuing to make improvements to Celeste to pass the time, while my ship slowly cruises along to the various celestial bodies. She becomes more and more accustomed to my peculiarities and my daily rhythm.... and I to hers.
After a couple days flying around the various reported nebulae and historical tourist attractions I found myself on a direct route towards the endpoint: Beagle Point. Jump after jump the edge of the galaxy creeps closer and closer. The growing blackness is taking the light and I'm starting to feel the emptiness filling me. Am I losing my mind as I start to stare out into the blackness ahead.
After days of travel I made contact with humans again once I got to Beagle Point. That staved off the madness of the Abyss. We reminisced about the sights we saw, the trials and tribulations of space. It was a time of jubilation, shenanigans, drink and food, but also of mourning and melancholy. All commanders have spend weeks forming friendships and wings, and now it was over. Each of us would make the way back on their own or in their own groups.
It took me precisely 101 days and 35 minutes to fly from Pallaeni to Beagle Point and help with building Explorer's Anchorage and also do some drawing of the Lego Space Logo. I will be travelling back to the eastern part of the galaxy along the Sagittarius-Carina Arm back to the Bubble. It will be a long way back, but I am feeling confident that I can reach the Bubble via that arm and the Centaurus Reach.
Back into the emptiness and loneliness of the black again....
(On my trip as shown here the Bubble is on the top-right and Beagle Point is on the bottom-left.)
It's been quite a while since my last post. Time starts to fade into one continuous stream of jumps and scans here out in the Black. And then you forget to do the simple things, like keeping a logbook.
We managed to build Explorer's Anchorage, which is one amazing feat from all those commanders helping. It really helps to unlock the central part of space for the more casual explorers. Having a station for repairs out there make it much easier to fly around.
Above Explorer's Anchorage something a bit bad happened: I ran out of fuel. For the first time in my career I needed to call upon my fellow Rats to help me. The responded very quickly and helped me out.
I loved it flying high below (or low above; space has no up or down) the galactic plane. It feels so peaceful..... so quiet.... so alone. I did play host to a couple of other commanders to show the beauty of the black, but most of the time it was me and Celeste.
Celeste is a wonderful companion during this trip. Without her help I would not have gotten this far. She keeps me awake and alive with her constant reports on the ship's status. Hopefully she will remain around for the next 300,000 ly of travel. I would love to reach the distance to Andromeda with her.
So far so good..... Let's get on our way to Beagle Point.
I finally reached Explorer's Anchorage last week and did some exploring there. Loads of amazing places to see in the Core, both high up and down low. While going back to Explorer's Anchorage from The Peak, I failed to notice my fuel levels were getting too low. And there I was stranded at a T-Tauri star......
I did what every explorer should do in that situation: call the Fuel Rats. Within about half an hour two Rats arrived and helped me get on my way again. Thank you so much for the aid, Rats.
Back at Explorer's Anchorage I outfitted my ship for some mining to support the mining Community Goal there, but I got bored after a couple of days and not very much tonnage of the needed minerals.
So here I am again..... out in the Black. At least 22kly from civilization exploring the galaxy and making my drawing. It's going great. Making good progress. About 6kly more to fly and then the ship of the drawing is done. Then all that is left is the swoosh and part of the planet. Feeling good about it...
It's been a busy time lately, hence the late update. I've been flying around a lot, looking at amazing sights, helping other commanders and also jumping back to do some drawing.
The progress so far has been tricky. The further DW2 travels away the longer it takes to get to do some drawing.
My ship and all systems are still running quite well considering the strain they've been under. Celeste is always friendly and helpful. I'll miss her once I'm in the bubble again and fly other ships.
A couple of days ago I also joined Highwaywarrior on his ship to break up the monotony of being alone in the real Black. He has been doing the "Beyond the dark edge" Fuel Rats rescue.
Only a couple of hours now until Highwaywarrior will be refueling the client.....