GalNet connection set up. Source system: Byeia Eurk OS-X b42-3. Recipient system: Sol. Ready to transmit. Timestamp 05:25 Nov 4 3302.
I said at the end of my last log that the immensity of my trek was setting in; it has now fully set, thank you, a third of the way out there and half a week down. Not great time use, though that’s not for lack of trying.
I have three weeks to bring a passenger 22,000 light years away and then back again. I have next to no long distance experience and don’t have a good ship for it. This is an Elite: Dangerous adventure.
Perhaps the most interesting thing was approaching the Lagoon Nebula, the site of my second stopover. I mentioned it a bit in the previous entry; its approach dominated a couple hours of my trek as it got larger, gained more colors, and most interestingly had a trail of newborn stars trailing it. These stars are either in the wrong stage of their life to be scooped for fuel, or the route just happened to plot around them; they dominated the left side of my voyage for a while but I didn’t venture in. If I had more time and more confidence in my long-distance jump capabilities I might have gone for it, but I’ve had to remind myself multiple times on this excursion that I’m not an explorer – I’m an explorer’s chauffeur. And Jade Warrior, a Finnish-Chinese martial arts film, has just finished playing on the entertainment system.
The last jump before my signpost system is breathtaking. I’ll be right on the leading edge of the Lagoon Nebula and it completely fills my vision.
Reaching Lagoon Sector NI-S b4-10, I came in to dock at Amundsen Terminal. The rock it’s on is so small that it’s not even spherical; pretty sure the IAU wouldn’t let me call it a planet. The nebula isn’t visible from the settlement; it’s on the wrong side of the tiny worldlet, it’s too close to the star (which seems to be the actual reason for the sky being darker after jumping, nothing about planetary ecliptic dust; this is hard science being done here, people), and I didn’t notice it on the way in because I was too busy finding the station. I sold off another 1,683,653 Cr of exploration data (total so far: 3,158,986 Cr) and took a quick look around, determined to make it a shorter stopover than the last one.
While docked, I did see a Beluga come in to land. It’s a nice reminder of what I’m working toward, and I positioned myself to get a shot of it as it came back to the surface.
Yeah, that’s nice. Maybe a couple more as it lifts OKAY NOW COME ON
So, when 2.2 dropped, people complained about how implausible it seemed that so many NPCs had Belugas. Here we are, more than five thousand light years away from the bubble, and there’s two of them right there. Yeah, the game developers need to take another peek at this. They need to take a peek at a lot of things; I kind of hope that by the time I get back to the bubble some of the more serious issues are patched.
I queued up Space Pirate: Captain Harlock on Netflix and again launched. One of Ms. Müller’s expedition companions came up just to check on me in the cockpit; satisfied that I wasn’t laughing maniacally, he again retreated to the business-class cabins I’d put them up in. I’ve ditched the First class and two Economy class cabins I normally carry in order to make the ship lighter – and thus jump farther – and I think the space left from one of them has been taken over by the all-important fuel scoop.
Elite: Dangerous strives for a certain realism. We see images of nebulae and look at them like big puffy clouds, and think that flying through one would be like that. While I know it isn’t true, the image from playing Freespace 2 was still stuck in my head. So it was with disappointment that, two or three jumps later, I was already past the Lagoon Nebula. Thirty light years across is nice and big, to be sure, but I still pass that after a few jumps, and I didn’t get far enough away from the glare of stars to really look around between jumps. I’ve vowed to get a few good shots when I’m inside the Eagle Nebula; hopefully, if I take just a few minutes, I’ll be rewarded with some breathtaking views.
I won’t do another nebula approach sequence like above, but I did want to share this one shot that I took. I’ll be threading between the Omega and Trifid Nebulae to reach the Eagle Nebula; on the far right of frame, NGC 6357 can be seen, probably one of the largest in the galaxy but very distant compared to the rest. Maybe, if I ever get myself a proper exploration ship, I’ll make the trip; but for now, it’s on to Eagle. By the end of the night I had passed the Trifid nebula, then Omega and its clearly visible stellar nursery. The Galaxy Map shows a very densely packed cluster of new stars inside the Eagle Nebula, and I’m looking forward to seeing them. The core of the Milky Way has gotten noticeably wider and better defined; to the right is a shot I took at the start of my journey and one from the last system for the night.
At the close of another long day’s journey, I had traveled almost all of the way to the Eagle Nebula; Harlock long finished, I had started an anime series called Strike Witches. I don’t recommend Googling it without SafeSearch. I wondered what my passengers thought of it and started to feel defensive; you can’t fault a lone explorer for his entertainment choices out in the black. But then I realized that Kiara Müller is also an explorer, who is used to far longer stays outside the bubble than I… and swore to never look in her cabin for the remainder of the trip.
We’re six and a half thousand light-years from home. Personal space can be found in abundance out here.