I started talking with myself again. I didn't even realize I had stopped. It's a good thing too, a spacer who doesn't talk with himself isn't sane. You have to be vigilant of course, you don't want to just be talking TO yourself... it's important to keep the dialogue open. When you start ignoring yourself it's time to find the company of others.
I never have the time for a good discussion with myself on the tourists runs. The hops are too short and the cargo always crawls all over the ship, wanting to hear deep space stories, asking questions about aliens and generally making a nuisance of themselves. The load I have in the perishables container now (pardon me: the passenger cabin) are all veteran deep space researchers. You can take that 'veteran' literally, two out of the seven actually used walking sticks when boarding. They're clearly enjoying the weightlessness, wearing it like a comfortable blanket.
They're all scientists of the old school, you know the type, you have to ask everything twice because they're always engrossed in their work. Not that I mind, they're an easy going bunch, on the whole 7000 ly run to the Raxxa's Children staging post they only popped into the cockpit twice, to ask if they could hook in to my ship's computer to download some of my recently updated star charts. I gave them permission of course, these people take a lot of pride in their work, they wouldn't try to pull a fast one on me and submit my scanning data to the star chart boffins and claim my discoveries before I get the chance.
I made quite a few of them too, it seems this path isn't particularly well travelled yet. Plenty of undocumented water worlds, even a neutron star that now has my name on it. I took my sweet time on the way there, several days for just 7000 ly as I scanned a lot of the systems I came across. The staging outpost is located right in the middle between the Heart and Soul nebulae providing a nice, sky-wide view of both of them with the band of the Milky Way running between them. From this far out towards the rim, the Milky Way looks more compact, but as a result ever so much brighter, bright enough to cast shadows.
I don't like to double back on my tracks, so after visiting the staging post I turned sideways and set off for the NGC 281 nebula, a small insignificant nebula about 2000 ly up the galactic arm. The stars aren't very dense there but the Nomad had little trouble plotting a scoopable course with its ample 36 ly jump range. I didn't hang around for long there, as expected it wasn't very spectacular, so I turned towards the bubble and started the 7K to 8K ly trip back to Cubeo to deliver my cargo. I'm still a few thousand ly out but intend to make a run for it, so I hope to arrive back in the bubble later today or early tomorrow.
Back in the bubble my next project is waiting for me: the Crank. A brand new Asp Explorer, almost entirely D rated except for the FSD, AFMU and fuel scoop of course. I also opted for the 4A Power Plant instead of the 5D. She should end up having a 47-50 ly jump range after I get the FSD boosted by an engineer. I'm short on the necessary materials though, so although I didn't plan to cannibalize the Nomad I might decide to transplant only her FSD to the Crank and worry about getting the other engine boosted later. I built the Crank specifically for the trip to Colonia, and from there I plan to mount an expedition towards the galactic core. I have seen the galaxy from outside inwards often enough, now I want to see it all around me. Once there I will decide whether to continue towards Beagle Point, return to Colonia, make my way back to the bubble, or perhaps do some random exploring in the largely uncharted 4th quadrant.