Having made it to Sagittarius A* in two days, leaving on March 13th and arriving March 15th, we decided to take the next few days easy. We picked a planet only 10 light years from The Core to set down and rest for a bit.
We picked up on March 19th, and begun marching on Beagle Point.
We earmarked a nebula we wanted to visit, which took us back out of The Core at about a 45 degree angle, and the nebula was almost a straight line hit between Colonia and Beagle Point. We really should have thought about that, because the nebula was tagged. What a shocker.
The first thing we took note of leaving the Stuemeae JM-W c1-8510 camping ground just outside Sagittarius A* was yet another Water World. This particular one was in a trinary with two High Metal Content planets.
We also discovered an Ammonia World, but it's not our first and thus not an objective for the trip.
The initial 2000ly from Sagittarius A* wasn't very planned. We had a look before setting out from our basecamp for Black Holes and Neutron Stars, and thus we spent a lot of time darting about between those identified targets.
Our very first Neutron Star. This had been one of our "Special Objectives" of the trip.
Despite being very dangerous, these are exceptionally beautiful sights. Of course, with finding a Neutron Star comes another special objective - Neutron Jumping.
Not the most impressive range we've seen other pilots attain, but this ship is built for endurance, not heavy hitting jump ranges like seen on Distant Stars.
Sadly, the distribution of Neutron Stars wasn't too great for doing a Neutron Highway of sorts, but we have the experience of doing it now, so maybe the next time we go to Colonia we'll use the Neutron Highway instead. They do damage the Frame Shift Drive module, but given that we packed two 6A AFMU modules, we had no issues with damage.
You can guess what our complaint is going to be here. Without filtering star types on the map, it becomes impossible to see anything clearly, and of course the route plotter slows down to a crawl.
This particular Neutron Star had an Ammonia Water World. This was one of the few Water Worlds we ended up picking up, because we began leaving them to make progress towards our next target and special objectives.
See anything there? Look again.
Easier to see this time.
Special Objective number two; scanning and tagging an undiscovered Black Hole. After darting about the pocket of Neutron Stars and Black Holes, we found a Triple Water World system. After reaching The Core we pretty much stopped stopping for Water Worlds. We only considered stopping for Triple WW systems, or ones that looked special. We wanted to begin making progress getting towards Beagle and subsequently home.
Just like in this system. Both planets either side of the selected one are also Water Worlds.
Alas, we didn't scan much more en route to Beagle Point. We identified four target systems for basecamps before "The Abyss" to search for J3 - Jumponium. We knew we would probably need at least J2 for some jumps for a 50% boost, and we had some stocked prior to our journey out.
Breaching into the last galactic arm before The Abyss, nearby star systems got fewer and fewer in number. Issues like this would become more and more of an issue as we neared Beagle Point, but there was another Galactic arm before that point, and we identified a number of systems as basecamps to search for Jumponium Grade 3 materials; Arsenic, Niobium, Polonium, and Yttrium.
Only one of the four original designations had any of the sort.
Chua Eop NE-T c6-0's 2nd planet has 1.4% Niobium 1.3% Yttrium, its last planet parent body 1.6% Arsenic, first moon has 1.6% Arsenic, 0.7% Yttrium, and second moon 1.6% Arsenic. The system also has a Water World in it, which was a terraforming candidate.
We found an awful lot of those three Materials over those two planets, enough to give us 16 and a bit jumps of J3, minus the polonium which we set off to find next. None could be found in this system, but it served us very well.
Chua Eop SJ-X d2-11 was the next system we looked at. It had Two Water Worlds and a number of High Metal Content planets. We had yet to find an Earth Like World since the three we found in quick succession before Sagittarius A*, and we always hoped we had found another; only for them to turn out to be another Water World or High Metal Content. The primary system had a terraforming candidate High Metal Content planet, and the first body in the system was a Gas Giant, which was quite a surprise to us. The secondary system only had two landable bodies, both moons. The first had a small Yttrium concentration - 1.2%. Both the second moon in this system, and the only one in the primary system had no viable elements. so off to a new one we went.
The day spent prospecting was a good exercise and a great change of pace from the breakneck jumping we had been doing, but it took its toll. We had a check of the next system in line, Chua Eop OE-T c6-1, but we pressed on to the last designated system of our basecamps, Chua Eop TJ-X d2-14, which had a Neutron Star along with two other stars and a single, landable planet.
It however had nothing of worth, so we picked up the following day - March 31st, and went to Chua Eop JT-L c10-1. A truly unremarkable system, but three of the planets had a 0.6% Polonium concentration. We spent time together in our two SRV's, but we only were able to get 6 units of Polonium. That left our cap at 6 uses of Jumponium J3, as well as the reserves of J2 we had obtained earlier for 7 more jumps. The Beagle Point system had Jumponium too we were told, thus we didn't worry too much about the low reserves.
Those 6 units of Polonium were the first of that Material we had ever retrieved.
Alas, we reached The Abyss. Star systems began becoming very sparse. The ships route plotting computer could no longer plot solid 1000ly paths without failing. Sub 500ly plots became the norm, and there had been no Earth Like Worlds since well before Sagittarius A*.
This is where things started to become very difficult. We had to begin manually plotting our jumps. We almost immediately had to make our first ever use of Jumponium, and quickly began burning through our supply, trying to dig a route into a more dense cluster of stars to allow us to normally plot again. We bled fuel, trying our best to maximise our jump range without tanking ourselves and getting stuck.
We continued plotting manually trying to reach star clusters that allowed us to make some progress. We came across a great respite spot and wonderful relief to boot. After over 35000ly, we finally dropped into a system that had an Earth Like World.
A welcome sight for sort eyes
It was such a welcome sight that we parked it there for the night. Took the opportunity to refresh supplies where possible.
The following morning however, things took a turn for the worse...
We took a gamble to use our 2nd to last unit of J3 Jumponium to try and see if another cluster would open up.
It dropped us into a cluster of three systems.
I'm naming this system Survivalists Redoubt. It is a Green System, having all the components for grade three Jumponium in it. We have a history of chancing ourselves and getting extremely lucky, but this time not even the fuel rats could help like they helped Macedonica. It may not have much Polonium, but it was enough.
The next few days were spent thoroughly crawling through The Abyss a few jumps at a time manually plotting every jump, and stopping every little while for J3 intake.
Having went 35000ly without one, we got ourselves our second Earth Like World in quick succession.
And a double Water World system
The Journey through The Abyss was pretty stressful. Our 28ly Jump Range was not suited to this task. We made numerous stops on planets searching for Grade 3 Jumponium, and at times our patience, and our sanity, was tested.
Yes, that rock is actually buried in the surface... No we couldn't get to it with the guns...
We vastly underestimated the volume of J3 required to get this far. We barely scrounged up enough J3 to cross The Abyss, and by Monday morning, the 3rd, we could plot 30 jump routes again. This allowed us to cover 2000ly in very quick time, especially compared to the previous three days. We didn't stop again for materials, but we had to take some gambles to get there, and boy did they pay off. We took calculated, observed risks, which led us to this situation:
We only had one set of Premium Grade 3 FSD enhancement left. It was enough to carry us over the starless void into our final primary objective - Beagle Point.
Commanders Mathew and Katie of Tegalus - April 12th 3303 20:30 Galactic Standard Time (GST)