I understand the Distant Worlds 2 expedition left today for Beagle Point, that puts them about 9000Ly behind me, I've plotted a course out over 70 waypoints averaging 1000Ly between each one, the expedition I think has plotted a route out over about 15 waypoints, so the race is on :)
The Sanctuary at Etain is ghostly apparition of its former self, the scarred buildings stand as a monument to the humble souls they protected. The eerie recordings buried within speak of emotional and spiritual conflict.
I’ve never been so glad to leave a place, retreating to the embrace of the void as my ship soared away from that abandoned desolation.
Back at Founders World I realised that I’m too late to register for the Distant Worlds 2 expedition, however, as they don’t leave for 6 days and my favourite engineer Felicity has now increased the FSD of Erebus (my Diamondback Explorer) up to almost 50Ly for jump range, I’ve decided to head to Beagle Point. With any luck I should be there to welcome the expedition when it arrives, and I can meet up with Commander Llanelwy who has just arrived there.
When I docked at Gandharvi I was met with the pleasant surprise of having been awarded the rank of "Elite" for due diligence in exploration by the Pilot's Federation, they have also given me a permit for Founder's World.
Naturally this has meant a slight change of plans, with a detour to Founder's World before Etain now planned. Currently I'm around 130 jumps out from Eagle's Landing (having just traversed from the inner scutum-centaurus arm to the inner orion spur) which in turn is approx 7000Ly from Sol, so not too far to go.
“Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
He wasn’t kidding! I’ve been out to Colonia, onto the centre of our galaxy and am now heading back to the bubble having traversed over 85000Ly. My Asp Scout has a new voice pack, coat of paint and name plates and is still going strong.
Whilst briefly back on Colonia another pilot asked me how I put up with the mundane grind of exploring. My answer to them has always followed the line of that humans strive to learn, to explore, to push boundaries, to see what’s around the corner. This is in many ways a fundamental need, and space exploration is a fantastic manifestation of that. The Universe is huge, beautiful and mysterious. Even if the other reasons were not there, this alone should be enough for us pursue exploration.
Space exploration is our final frontier and by far the most daunting yet.
For myself, I'm heading to Etain then onto the other side of the galaxy, the frontier beckons.
Finally arrived at Jaques Station having made the journey out to The Great Annihilator, onto Sag A*, then 1500ly above the galactic plane and finally back to Colonia.
When I left Colonia I had just made the rank of Pioneer, on my return my Pioneer rating has gone from 0% to 67%, and I've made over 130 million credits for my troubles from selling the cartographic data, with a number of first discovereds to my name.
So what's changed? Well it looks like engineers made it out here, some of them I know quite well, so looks like a trip to them, time to swap my trusty Asp Scout for it's bigger brother with an increased jump range so I make a stab for Beagle's Point.
My Asp Scout, the Nostromo, will be put into temporary storage, it's been repaired although the worn paint work gives it a nice lived-in look, so think I'll leave the paint as it is.
At roughly 1500Ly above the galactic plane and over 11000Ly from Colonia, I finally re-plotted a course for that homestead which is the closest inhabited system to my current position. For the last couple of months I've been exploring the neutron starfield and have got neutron star hopping down to a fine art, averaging a 100Ly jump in an asp scout for each hop. Due to this I'm now only 7900Ly from Colonia, it'll be good to get the Nostromo back to a starbase of any kind where the hull can be repaired and certain modules can be brought back to 100%. It will also be a chance to catch up on the latest political news from the bubble and the current situation with the Thargoids. Only 260ish jumps to go.
Made a rookie navigation error. Looking around Sag A for the neutron star field and wondering why I wasn't seeing any, started thinking my scanner was on the blink and would need replacing when I got back to the nearest port when a fellow commander relayed the vital information that the neutron star field is approx 1500Ly above and below the galactic plane. So a quick change of angle of 90 degrees to the galactic plane and I'm now heading about 2000Ly above Sag A to pick up the neutron field where I'll try a bit of neutron star jumping and see if I can set a record jump distance for an Asp Scout before heading back to Colonia.
Met up with Commander Llanelwy at Sag A*, got some nice pictures of our ships framed against the supermassive black hole, he is now heading for Beagle Point, I am heading back to Colonia to swap my Asp Scout for my Asp Explorer (with a 34+Ly jump range), after which I will be heading for Beagle Point.
My first expedition was from Sol to Colonia along the Colonia Highway, nigh on 22,000Ly. The next expedition was from Colonia to the Great Annhilator, roughly another 11,000Ly, and the last expedition saw my arrival at the centre of the galaxy at Sag A*, a shade under 3000Ly from the Great Annihilator. An overall trip of roughly 36,000Ly so far in my Asp Scout. The next question is where to next?
It's been a long haul from Colonia, but after 11000Lys, I finally arrived at the Great Annihilator, a system that contains two black holes. Commander Llanelwy rendezvoused with me, (he still driving a Diamondback Explorer, should trade it in for a reliable ship like an Asp Scout), we got some nice photos of our ships against the backdrop of the Great Annihilator, before going our separate ways to Sag A*
Sag A* is 122 jumps away and I've now first discovered over 1200 systems, hopefully the next log entry will be written from the centre of our galaxy.