We're 2378 ly out from Colonia. Since we left the bubble last Friday night we traveled around 21 thousand ly to get this far. I expect to make it to Colonia later tonight. Two hours if I make a run for it, three if I scan a system or two along the way. A day more if I decide I want to spend another night in deep space with Frankie.
Bringing her along has been a huge pleasure. I'm a pretty decent space cook myself, but having a Grade A licensed Chef on board is another thing. I had the kitchen fitted with a few extra gizmos before I picked her up, she complained it was better outfitted and stocked than her own kitchen. What can I say, the Captain likes to dine well. I don't think any deep space explorer ever did so as luxuriously as I have the past few days though, I've tasted cuisines from places I didn't even know existed.
I've been going quite fast, scanning only 2 or 3 interesting systems on every 1000 ly stretch. Still, that and the data from 500 honks is going to be worth a bunch. I found countless terraformables, water worlds, life-bearing ammonia worlds, probably a few earth-likes. It will keep the flatlanders happy. I didn't really keep track of them, to me the beauty is in the stars, all those rocky and gassy balls and rings are just the stuff that's left over after something magnificent came into being. And stars there are out here in amazing abundance! The galaxy wraps all around us, still faint towards the rim, but it's clearly a continuous band going around the full 360. Against that backdrop there are countless white and blue-white stars, littering the skies like a confetti explosion. I can't get enough of it, but I need to go deeper, I need true symmetry. Sag A is calling me.
It's been 6 years and a few days since mother died. Exactly one year less since father disappeared. I got a message last Friday to notify me that he had officially been declared dead. Deep space suicide they called it. His possessions are now mine. I didn't touch anything. I didn't tell Frankie about it either, she loved my father, she would take it hard. It's all nonsense anyway, those pencil pushers don't understand how we live. He took my mother's ashes when he disappeared, that tells me all I need to know. He's off to bring her to their own special, secret place. Considering they traveled the galaxy for over 30 years together, most of it before I was born or old enough to understand these things, it could be anywhere in the milky way and I have no idea where. Nor am I certain I will ever see him again, he might simply have decided he's had enough of people.
One thing I know for certain though: if he died, he went out kicking his FSD and slamming his thrusters, trying to get away from whatever celestial object or event killed him. Suicide wasn't in his vocabulary, or as he once told me when I was saddened by the suicide of some childhood pop idol: "You can't jump off a bridge in zero g." Who knows, one day I might run into him out there in deep space. The chances are a billion to one against, but the universe has a way.