First of all - HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO THE CROWD ACROSS THE POND! (Well at least technically it is here anyway )
At this point, I doubt many people haven't already seen the Mamba - but just to be safe, there'll be a couple of quick pics below including the ship! I won't really talk about it much though, just the pics There's also a bit of blurb about the Zurara, the ship out past the Formidine rift, so yep - spoilers!
I have a Beyond stupid trip in mind (I should be shot for that one) once ch4 releases, and that previous 'Meet The Crew!' thing was sort of part of my daydreaming about exactly what the trip will entail. Now that I know what I plan to do, I kinda want to do the setup for the actual trip, "meeting/recruiting" that crew, so it's a bit out of sequence but hopefully it's not too weird! It'd be a bit of a big log to do in one, so I'll post in a couple/few "bits"!
swear, I'll learn one of these days.
Newp, I'll always be this dumb!
It's stupid o'clock at night, I'm hunched up in my bunk and quickly making some last minute notes before things happen. Big, stupid, why-am-I-doing-this-again things... I'm making even less sense than usual, impressive! I'll rewind a bit.
After the ups and downs of the last month or two, including our skulking around the bubble after the Cone stuff (a down) and a really fun little trip to the core (a definite up!), Coral, Hal and I found ourselves mooching around Jameson at a bit of a loose end. There were rumours on the horizon of some swanky new ships hitting the markets, some really
cool improvements to scanning tech - all of which meant that right now, a whole bunch of pilots (us included!) were kinda holding our breath. What to do?
Whatever it was, if we stuck around much longer we'd go Bubble-crazy! Sooo plan;
a) Grab Cassandra
, that gorgeous Gutamaya beastie;
b) Throw explorey stuff and kitchen sink on board;
c) Pick random direction and go walkabout till the new tech hits!
I say random direction, but not so much; when we were out in the core a couple of weeks ago, I remember one night seeing the Andromeda and Triangulum galaxies really
clearly - as in bizarrely clearly, considering we were smack bang in the middle of the Milky Way core lightbulb at the time! So we had a vague plan of scooching off out to the south-western rim to get some nice clear spelfies (space selfie, patent pending) of our neighbours, hitting some of the shiniest nebulae en route.
Our last couple of trips had been in the Clair de Lune
, my lovely conda; and while she is just unquestionably the absolute go-to girl for my kind of exploring, the cutter is - just - amazing. Fair warning - I'm going full Gutamaya groupie in this log! Every time, every
time I take the Cassandra
out, I'm instantly in love with her. She feels just so solid and beautifully put together compared to the more popular exploration ships. Yes, she has the same turn rate as continental drift; no, she can't jump anywhere near as far as the superlight ships; but when you're drifting past the stars in such utterly pampered, elegant bliss
- you don't count the jumps half as much as in a stripped down tin can.
Enough with the adverts already! First stop - Veil West.
I've honestly lost count of how many times I've been here but every time - it's awesome.
There's really nothing like it anywhere else in the galaxy, not that I've seen anyway! Sure there's a lot of very, very pretty blue/purple/pinky nebulae, but nothing quite as clear as this one. And it's only a hop, skip and jump outside the bubble! If you've never been outside "civilisation" and are looking for a quick weekend break for two - give it a go!
We pinballed around a bunch of nearby nebulae on our way out to the south-west, Pelican, Cave, NGC-thingy (and a thousand explorers cringe - it's the one with the line of O-types - 7811? 7122? I'm tired, leave me alone!)
- and last, but absotively posolutely not least - the bubble nebula.
Gutamaya; the symbiosis of form and function-
Awesome place. Just nuts. I'd say the name is a bit last-work-thing-on-a-friday-afternoon, but it's incredibly apt; it really is just a big, huge purple bubble, floating in the middle of nowhere. And when you drop in to any of the stars within the nebula itself, the sky is just insane! Quick scoot down to a nearby photogenic little trio and some more Gutamaya promo material snapped!
From here to the edge of the rim was a little same-old same-old - I think Veil West and the Bubble nebulae had kind of spoiled us. Still, the trip was a pleasure cruise thanks to Cassandra
drifting along, all classy; and it really didn't feel like it was too long before we were getting right out there on the rim. After a few interstellar three-point-turns, getting stuck in some cul-de-sacs out on the sparsely populated rim, we found a narrow little lane of stars taking us right out to the rather lonely cliff of the intergalactic void.
Doesn't matter how often I come out here, that huge honking stretch of nothing always blows me away.
I'm fast running out of superlatives but it's truly mind-boggling - as big as we think our galaxy, it's just one of a handful that makes our dinky little local group, of the supercluster, of a bigger supercluster, and on, and on, and on... It's a good kick in the mental butt of our stupidly inflated childish little egos sometimes.
Didn't stop me taking the slf out for the promised spelfie though!
Woohoo! So the big guy on the right is Andromeda and the other guy is the Triangulum galaxy, about 2.5 and 2.7ish million light years away respectively. Which on paper at least means with all the pinballing around our little Milky Way Coral, Hal and I have done over the last year, we could have made it out to them! Although even if you skip over the minor technical issue of no navigable jump points and no fuel resupply, I think I speak for us all when I say we would have gone stark raving space baboon out there with nothing around for unimaginable distances.
There's this thing that sailors used to get back in the history of Earth called - calenture I think? Sailors would just suddenly lose it, convinced that the seas around them were actually fields and would jump overboard. I don't know what the equivalent today would be, out there in the void, but every now and then, particularly on the inter-arm gaps, I get that creepy thing that almost all explorers get now and then, where you seem to suffer from agoraphobia one second, then chronic claustrophobia the next?
Ok, gonna shut up now - I'm in a parked ship in a station right now and I'm still getting spooked! Speaking of spooky....
We said goodbye to the rim and headed back to the bubble. On the way, Hal was just stupid enough to tell Coral about the tale of the Zurara
. So of course had to go and take a look. Thanks a bunch, Hal, like I hadn't already weirded the crap out of myself on the rim! Bunch of jumps later and there she was...
I'm not going to say anything more about it, other than the audio logs are just so horribly creepy that Coral immediately regretted coming. Hal, idiot that he is, took an SLF out to poke around inside the superstructure, despite us continually shouting at him over the comm that he was an idiot and had clearly never seen any horror movies. Finally back on board, we got out of there sharpish; I don't ever want to end up like that! WHOLE bucket of jumps later and we drifted back into Jameson, a few days after leaving. Fun trip, albeit with a spooky ending!
And then - OH yes, invite by Zorgon Peterson to test drive their new toy, the Mamba! Practically stampeded over to the docks to get our first peek and yep - she's a looker! Bit of a mad scramble tearing stuff out of the FDL and throwing it onboard but very quickly I was strapping into the hot seat. Coral and Hal were going to hang back (albeit grudgingly) and give the anaconda some TLC at my request - we'd put a lot of miles on her lately and could use a little spacedock love; if I'd known what we'd be doing soon, I'd have stuck around myself and gone over every square millimetre of her, but oh well!
Fired up the Mamba, pulled up the gear (which was VERY reluctant to come up, teething troubles always fun!) and out the letterbox.
This thing is fun
. She's pretty fast - and don't kill me ZP but she kinda looks like she wants to go faster than she does! I love the twin hulls poking out in front of me, that glorious
bubble canopy - but something's niggling me. I'm going to get killed for saying this, way too early to say for sure but - I'm not getting that falling-in-love feeling? I mean on paper, wow, what a ship! And she's really
good looking, handles great and bizarrely enough, although I heard she was a bit of a furnace, I wasn't having any oh-crap-my-butt-is-on-fire problems with the heat! But I just wasn't getting that I'll-sell-a-kidney-for-this-ship feeling - purely a personal preference thing, 100% - I don't think ZP can be accused of making a flop with this thing, that's for sure!
A lot of test pilots had already looked at how it performed in combat, racing etc, so I took it out for to stretch its legs/hulls/sticking-out-bits. A few hundred jumps out and - yep. Great little ship, no problem at all with prolonged jumping, scoop is fine and the toasty is manageable; but sorry, you're not setting my hair on fire. But you get marks for looking absolutely beautiful.
Back to Jameson and tucked the Mamba away. I met up with Hal and Coral, who had a laundry list of minor bits and bobs that the Clair
needed doing, so we set to work on that. After a few more days and a whole ton of love, the ship was looking brand spanking new again; this obviously called for a celebration! So after showering off a horrific amount of machine grease, sweat and dirt, the three of us trotted out to our favourite dive in Jameson Memorial, a popular (if a bit grimy) little pit of a bar that a lot of the deep spacers hang out at.
Which is where I put my massive feet in my even bigger mouth. But I'm about to collapse into a sleep coma so I'll save that for the next log.