Sagittarius A* was a 'been there, done that' proposition. However, the first time I visited there were no visitor beacons - and it was a pretty lonely place. I'm always blown away by just how big the black hole is when you enter the system. It doesn't make any attempt to hide from you.
Kyloall AA-A h65 is where I'm currently at: A Wolf-Rayet star on the way to Colonia. The star must be at the low end of Wolf-Rayets as it looks more like a Class:K orange than a Class:A blue-white. But the true wonder is 311,400 light seconds away - a massive Class:O star that - even from that distance - I was still able to scan with my Surface Detail Scanner. That monster must be huge!
Mynoaw AA-A h26 is a 'must' for fans of Black Holes. There are four Black Holes in close proximity (Don't apply speed until you know exactly where they are or you may hit an exclusion zone). But the extra treat is further out: a Neutron Star with a large, flat, dark ring around it. This system is worth the visit if you have the time.
Also had a chance to practice my Neutron Star Highway Jumps on the way. Didn't do too many. After all, explorers gotta explore. Still, a nice technique to add to my bag of tricks. FSD takes a slight hit every time you jump but that's what the AFU is for. Longest jump: 233 light years.
The pulsar, PSR J1709-4429, had a big buildup. When jumping into the system the hyperspace screen showed a bright white object in the middle of the field, gradually flaring. The flare grew intense and you think you're going to jump into the most active Neutron Star you've ever seen - and then - what a disappointment. Just a standard Neutron Star with two jet cones doing a slow wobble. Seen it many times before. In other words, not really worth the trip.
V1033 Scorpii wasn't very exciting either. Some major stars, a couple of black holes and then it's time to move on.
NGC 6357 (The Lobster Nebula) showed a lot of promise - dark dust areas mingling with the blue glow of excited gases. Even so, not so pretty once you're actually in the nebula itself. It's better seen from the outside.
Think I'll go find a Wolf-Rayet star just to see what they look like. They seem to be harder to locate than black holes.
Looked interesting on the EDDiscovery map so I thought I'd head out that way. Plenty to see and the sky looks best when you land on the 'dark' side of one of the little airless worlds. The landscape is lit up red by the gas glow of the nebula. Picked up a lot of prospecting materials to replace the ones used in the Engineering process.
There's only so much in the Human Bubble that I can find to distract me. As a Combat Elite I could go fight Thargoids but to what avail? Another wave will soon be coming along. I did pick up a lot of Modified Embedded Firmware doing passenger missions. I can remember when we had to go around ground installations and scan data points for that, and then run like crazy in our little Scarabs when we scanned the last one.
I like the new Engineering system. I've heard many complaining about it but the Material Traders are great for those of us who don't like to attack and destroy innocent convoy ships for things like Pharmaceutical Isolators. And I'm patient enough to wait around Famine Distribution Centres to get all the Datamined Wake Exceptions I can hold to exchange for other things. Plus Dav's Hope have been a great source of material, especially Chemical Manipulators.
So I've taken the time to upgrade a number of my ships, including the Stellar Cross and Travelin' Man. I've maxed out their engineering potential and have ships capable of 67.5 light year and 57.5 light year jumps respectively. If only I had that on Travelin' Man (the Asp) when I tried to reach for the Western Meridian and failed. Now it's more than capable of going there and even to Star One if necessary.
I also did some work on my Dolphin, Solar Max, but nothing particularly useful in the end. May end up selling it and kitting out a special Anaconda for passenger missions.
So after that I'm off into the black again. Currently in the V945 Scorpii Star Cluster going where many have been before. Getting across that gap between the arms is so easy now. I remember the first time I did it in an Asp back on my Sagittarius A* expedition. Not so easy then. I wish I had all the records from that trip to enter into the EDD database. But that was another laptop long ago. It might be worth mentioning that I arrived at Colonia while it was still new, within a couple of weeks after the lost station had been found. At that time it was the only thing out there.
Currently flying in Travelin' Man. The Asp is dependable, capable of the Far Jumps, turns on a Canadian Dime and handles so much better on planetary landings than the Stellar Cross did. I don't have to drop at 'floating feather' speeds to stay intact and not take hull damage.
Achrende is in the Human Bubble. If you've made it here then you've not only completed the Expedition but you're home. Now that I'm back I hope to rest for a few days, maybe do some more Engineer work on the Stellar Cross to max out the FSD, and then, if nothing exciting happens, I might head out into the black again. There are areas of the Formadine Rift I'd like to explore.
Located on the fringe of the Skull and Crossbones Nebula is this little system with a wonderful Class B star, a couple of planets and two black holes. I have to admit, the black holes were a surprise. This marks the second to the last waypoint of the expedition.
A Class 'MS' star. An M class star nearing the end of its life. Huge monster from even 5000 light seconds away. Not very hot for a star, though. Has a surface temp of about 3000K. Looks more formidable than it actually is.
A small system with a Class M star at it's center. I suppose it's most prominent feature is that it sits next to the Pernicious system (considered the 'Eastern Meridian'). I guess, for me, that makes all compass points now touched. Takes jumponium to reach here. Longest jump: 124 light years.
Way out at the edge of the Perseus Arm of the galaxy sits Ood Fleau ZJ-I d9-0 (Magellan's Star). Takes some jump materials to reach but it's not an issue. The system itself isn't very remarkable. I assume Magellan's Star denotes the point one could conceivably jump from to reach one of the two Magellanic Clouds that sits outside the Milky Way - assuming such jump tech were ever available to the player. Had a nice conversation with CMDR Maia Posidana along the way. She seems to be taking the Expedition in reverse. For myself, I've been suffering from a very nasty cold that's left me in badly lethargic state. Nothing seems to help and I'll probably just have to weather it through. The next waypoint is some 20,000 light years distant.