It has been a long time since I updated my logs. There were some personal things I needed to go through first.
But here I am again..... Out in the quiet void of the black. Let me start where I left off. When I came back at Wollheim Vision after the 1984 Coriolis station, I was a bit lost of what to do next. I bought a new ship, while my beloved Shosa was being refurbished: a type-10. Yes, I like my ships big. I set it up like an utility ship for rescues, support functions, and collecting materials. Although it isn't as self-sufficient as my Shosa, it handles like a dream. The next 2 weeks I was flying around the Bubble helping others with their troubles and challenges. The solitary blackness of the Void kept calling me, but I didn't have a real reason to get out.... No goal....
Then by chance I visited Slough Orbital, where I met up with some of the Hammers of Slough commanders. One of them suggested that I do there logo. "Why not?" I thought. And then the next drawing idea was born. I rushed back to Wollheim Vision, where my Shosa waited and I started on the design. 2 days later I know the route I needed to follow.
And there I went out again.... Now I'm 125kly further and the drawing is progressing nicely. I am working on a way to show it more actively, which meant taking a couple of subsystems offline. I hope I will get into the habit of posting updates more often. For now I'm just happy to be jumping again.
After weeks of flying I finally came home to Fuelum. Tired but satisfied, I dragged myself to the airlock. The Mischief engineers looked at my ship with an expression of fascination and horror.
The past week has been brutal. I had gotten compliant and my ship took the punishment, like the trooper she is. Last couple of thousands of light years were harder on her than the 150000 light years before that. Celeste was still here chipper self. The inflections in her voice never wavered and she never missed an update. Good girl. I knew that she would get me home again.
Along the way back from the last point of my drawing to Fuelum, I processed the trip's data between jumps. I ran it through the backup core to see the results, and I liked them a lot. After previewing it, I made the timelapse, and here is the final result: 1984 Elite Coriolis Timelapse
Now to take a well needed rest in Wollheim Vision, while the Mischief Engineers work on my sweet Shosa Macan. It won't be long before I pick up a hammer and forge ahead on some thing deep in the void.
It has been a couple of weeks of flying. I got into a nice rhythm of jumping from star to star, doing about 150 jumps per day. Many types of stars glide by the "windshield": main sequence stars, brown dwarves, and the occasional neutron star; sadly no black holes, and luckily no white dwarves. Similar to the different types of stars, the abundance of difference between planets is even larger. Greens, maroons, blues, yellows..... the galaxy is a colorful place.
Thank you, Celeste. It is good to know that the fuel tank is full again. Celeste's continuous updates on the status of the ship form a soothing, almost melodious, background of sound. We talk about the various phenomena we see and look at them from our own perspective. She cataloguing all the celestial bodies and me looking at their beauty.
Only news from home breaks the serene rhythm of the continued jumping. I had one of the fellow Rats over to show some of the more unique systems, I came across. A nice surprise was waiting for me in Coeus. A mug, but not from Hutton:
After having stocked up on supplies again, I left Coeus for the other side of the galaxy to continue drawing. After loads more jumping around, I am very close to finishing it now. And then a poor commander ran out of fuel only 14kly from my location. Life of a rat is never dull. The rescue was a success, and now I need to return to the next waypoint.....
After two weeks flying out in the Black I got back to Fuelum again to check on my progress and read up on the news. The big story of course is the announcement of new carrier ships. I am tempted to buy one eventually, but for now my focus is on my drawing. And it is going great:
It is a lot of work, but I'm going at it in a steady, maintainable pace. In earlier drawing trips I let myself be distracted, but now I have a good focused pace and don't check anything else than the line I'm on. Luckily there are gaps in this trip as well, where I can explore more or show other commanders around. One of my fellow Rats had never done neutron boosted jumps before, so I showed them a bit of how to do it, which is always very much fun to do.
Last time I was back in port my Shosa didn't get a thorough enough checkout, I had the Mischief engineers take a close look at her, but everything checks out nicely. The custom extensions work excellently. They cleared the caches and some memory of Celeste. Now that they mentioned it, she seemed to be responding a bit slow lately. They had also some firmware updates and services updates, which should help more with the archival background tasks. That should prevent the caches from getting overloaded. Or so they say.
While the engineers were working on my Shosa and Celeste, I took my mind of things by helping out a couple of other commanders and do some mining. A commander needs to make a living, right? And now it is time to leave civilisation behind once more....
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