Logbook entry

LongDistanceClara / 30 Dec 3304
The Andromeda Run - December

Last update: 30th December

Day 30/31
Stupid-o-meter (light years):


Sorry I know I keep saying this but I really wasn't planning to post again this year and I promise this is just a super quick one! Buuuut idiot that I am, I'm kinda celebrating having reached this milestone in the expedition I'm a tiny bit ahead of schedule somehow! I've been looking back at the goofy crap I've done this year and it's been quite a silly one thinking about it!

- Booze cruise in a luxury-kitted Beluga with every type of alcohol in game to Ishums
- Circumnavigating the galaxy in a Viper MkIII in six days (SO stupid )
- The Lost Souls expedition route from the Bubble to the southern rim and back - without a fuel scoop.
- Galactic graffiti artist doing a starry birthday cake for Inara
- Numerous Beagle runs in T10's, Kraits, Chieftains, Colonia there and backs in a weekend in an FDL and whole bunch of other stupids

Muppet. And yet this trip is kinda turning out to be one of the hardest, keeping up the distance whilst not compromising on explorey bits! BUT - very pleased and kinda amazed that we managed to hit the Million Light Year mark in the first month, I really thought Xmas and my December work schedule would put me in a hole that I'd have to try and climb out of in January but somehow we kept up!

The slightly more horrifying thought is - I'm not even halfway on the challenge yet!


Without getting too cheesy though, I just wanted to thank a bunch of people who have made this year of internet spaceships a whole bunch of fun! It gets kinda lonely sometimes being an independent and I would like to thank RSC, TF, BGDR, LORE, Alchemy Den, 12 Ronin and buckets of others for letting me crash on their discord couches and read/natter whilst eating cold tins of rations and drowning in coffee out in the middle of nowhere! I hope to repay your guys' friendliness and PMFs with stupid amounts of data when I finally get home tho!

Also a big fat thanks to my discord secret weapons of Arc for his constant stream of wholly inappropriate memes; SidetrackSam for keeping me entertained with the latest in cutting edge christmas SUIT fashion; and the stunningly gorgeously magnificent Ziva Tevar who is quite simply too kickass for words and has kept me sane (or a close approximation thereof) for the last few weeks.

And muchos gracias to everyone else who has had to put up with my insane & inane space-crazy ramblings on discord these past twelve months! Thanks again you guys, love ya! Have a wonderful, amazing New Year's and see you soon


PS: And gl to those prepping for DW2, hope to drop in on a waypoint or two once I get done with the whole 'Rommie thing!
PPS: Some wonderful new Things posted below today! Thanks to the authors for the reading fodder



Meet the Crew: https://inara.cz/cmdr-logbook/55054/32129/
The Bet: https://inara.cz/cmdr-logbook/55054/32200/

"...and What's the Plan, Stan?"
To cover a distance of no less than 2,500,000 light years (the approximate distance to the Andromeda galaxy) in no more than 80 consecutive days, by travelling around, over, under and through the Milky Way while finding a ton of shiny things and going full-blown deep-space-wacko in the process.

Prior Entries:

Day 0:

THE STUPID-O-METER! (light years):

First of all - apologies for the spam, last log was only on thursday! Can still see my last post on the boards, I hate that! And this one's out-of-character, rest will be from Clara as usual! But yeah - big day has arrived (wow I'm overselling this)! I'm going to be heading off at 1500GMT and already a bit "this is such a stupid idea" but it's just a bit of a giggle after all. I just felt like it made sense to have a "day zero" post to kick things off - I promise I wont be going crazy with updates, maybe one or two a week I would imagine at best, given how crazy busy it's all going to be here!

My plan is to pop any logs-and-things up in a single post, since I've found that to be a really good way over the last few trips of keeping stuff flowing (in a river of drivel) and stop from spamming the logbooks boards with a billion separate posts. SO - I figured I'd have one "thread" for each of the three months of the trip, and just update them with posts as and when, so maybe several logs in a given thread. Hopefully that'll work - I'm trying to optimise the piccies so it's not a horrible data hog if opened on mobile or creaky devices!

Few hours left before launch and I'm twiddling my thumbs, so I started playing a fun little game I've fooled around with before...

The Casting Game!

This is a fun little thing I've played with a bunch of friends in various games; basically it's "who would you pick to play your character in 'Elite: The Movie' ? And you can go crazy with the rules - do you mean by appearance, prior roles, can I use ppl not still around or when they were younger etc - you decide on the rules with whoever you're playing with at the time!

Since I went nuts and decided to expand my crew, as I plan on popping a bit more story/rp into this trip (mixed in with the actual in-game stuff), I thought it might be fun to try and "cast" my crew irl while I wait for the start. So a few things; first of all, I absolutely didn't have anyone in mind when I came up with the crew initially - I think that's pretty important, to define your characters first, otherwise you can end up just turning them into the actress/actor rather than who you see them as! I definitely 100% know my crew's personalities up front, so now it was a case of casting for the role.

NEXT - just for giggles to make it thoroughly awkward, I decided I had to pick characters that a) are alive, b) are vaguely age appropriate (aka not having Clint Eastwood play Hal!) and c) actually look a bit like the holomes, or at least vaguely so! I generally try and not go too nuts with a star-studded cast - it's fairly common for people to say "oh, insert-massive-a-list-celeb would play me" and just to be difficult, I try and steer clear of that - but it kinda got away from me a bit here, just because I think they fit too well! The other thing is - this isn't CSA level casting right here We don't have to care about how the show would play with so many massive names around etc - it's just a bit of a giggle, so not one to take too seriously!

ANYWAY - this is MY quick stab at the cast of The Andromeda Run! Now I'm off to triple check I've got everything before I undock!

(Link to original post about the crew in-game here.)

And that's pretty much it! Wish me luck!

Day 3:

//Little bit of art-imitating-life here - managed to beat up my shoulder irl a bit over the weekend so it's made life really fun these last few days! And a rather weird personal/rl skiing analogy snuck in too, sorry! Anyhoo - underway at last! Here's the last few days

Funky times! We're off at last!

Stupid-o-meter (light years):

This'll sound kinda stupid but we've been stuck in 'civilised' space for all of last week and honestly, I think that's the longest we've been bubble bunnies in - I've no idea, but I think we were all getting pretty stir crazy! So when 1st December hit, it was such a relief to get underway (and also pretty "oh god oh god this is a terrible idea" etc. )

We weren't scheduled to depart until 3pm, so - last minute change of plan! We nipped a few jumps over from Shinrarta to Achenar. None of the rest of the crew seemed to mind - in fact, Lauren and Yan had never been to the Imp homeworlds and were actually kinda excited to see! Since we'd be gone for a while, I wanted to poke my nose back in and give my folks a goodbye-for-a-bit hug on Capitol; and while there, I wanted to treat the guys onboard to a bit of Imp hospitality - aka some lavish pre-departure pampering followed by the best meal we'd get in a few months!

The pampering bit was very well received and was just a blatant excuse for a soak and a massage - I'd somehow managed to beat the hell out of my shoulder during the Clair's refit and my neck was absolutely killing me! So a couple of hours of dissolving in a tub, followed by being pummeled to a pulp by some expert hands left me feeling a LOT better! Followed by a really amazing meal at a swanky restaurant on Dawes Hub (the port orbiting Capitol), before we all trotted down to the hanger and clambered aboard the Clair ready for the off.

I absolutely adore my ship. Oh-god-here-she-goes-again and I'm sorry, I know I've banged on about this before but I can't help it! I'm sure a lot of pilots feel the same - to everyone else, it's just A.N.Other conda; but to me she's like a pet dog - albeit a 400 ton, 155meter, bajillion-pounds-of-thrust dog! We've covered millions of light years together and have millions to go, she's kept me safe when I've been floating off out in the darkness and faithfully brought me home each and every time. It's got to the point where I feel genuinely bad if I dink her into a star or a planet! I'd be completely heartbroken if I ever had to retire her and there is NO way I'm about to lose her in this bet!

So all aboard and strapped in; and I remember neurotically checking all the modules for the thousandth time - this was it, soon as we were "skids up", there was no re-docking! Everything looked good and soon as the clock ticked over to 1500 - so long Dawes! Coral and Kei were quiet, both sat with me on the bridge, but behind me down the corridor, I could hear Lauren and Hal whooping it up from their jumpseats Was SO good to finally be off, even on a crazy trip like this one!

Weird analogy this one, so bear with me! I used to ski a lot as a kid, up in the mountains near where we used to live on Capitol, long before space grabbed me.  Sometimes, when the snow had been dumping down and we were feeling particularly nutty, my friends and I would ski over to a cliff we knew of and jump off, dropping maybe thirty feet into the soft snow below. As you started your run to the edge, you'd get this surge of fear as you approached, heart pumping like crazy, adrenaline coming out of your ears - and as soon as your skis left the lip and started flying through the air, all that fear just - "click" - gone, replaced by a massive rush of euphoria I know that sounds really daft, but it honestly felt a bit like that, as the skids came up off the deck and we glided smoothly out of the dock - just such a buzz, all worry about the huge distance in front of us gone.

And as was fast-becoming a bit of a tradition - a lap of Capitol before saying goodbye for a while.

Bit emotional as we left, kinda glad no-one can see stupid me tearing up in the pilot's chair!

RIGHT - WE'RE OFF! Honestly felt so good to be out bumbling off into the back of beyond again! Or at least, it did for most of us. Come lunchtime, I dropped us out of supercruise and Kei, Coral and I unbuckled and headed down to the common room for some munchies. When we got there, I could see everyone already there grabbing food - except for Lauren. Yan explained that halfway through the morning, a very green-faced engineer had shuffled into his medbay, said she wasn't feeling great then promptly threw up everwhere!

Poor Lauren had never actually been in zero-g, let alone prolonged skipping through witchspace (which is a bit brain-melty even if you're used to it), and the poor thing was horribly spacesick! So Yan had given her some anti-nausea meds and she was having a lie-down. I wanted to go check in on her but apparently she was pretty zonked out! She'll find her no-gravity-feet in a day or two but she had everyone's sympathy - we all remember what spacesickness is like and it's no picnic!

So we rattled on. Our first arbitrary plot was to a location out near the edge of the Abyss, the region of space far up to the north-west of the galactic spiral. We made it pretty comfortably by the end of day one, with a whole host of shiny marbles stored away in the databanks (a whole bunch of the usual planetary bodies and some shiny stellar oddities to boot! ). I usually like to set the ship down on or near a gravity well for the night, just so we have the feel of the deck beneath us (I never sleep well in zero g either!); but I figured the quicker poor Lauren got used to it, the better, so we just setup camp for the night drifting quietly along in deep space.

Over the next day or two, our poor queasy engineer got a lot better - so much so she felt up for a trip to the Big Enchilada - aka Sagittarius A*! So we quickly scuffled over to the galactic core, dropped out of witch and supercruise and there it was.

Most of us had seen this monster at least once before, but it's always fun seeing first reactions and Lauren was no exception She'd managed to make it up to the bridge along with the rest of the crew and we all sat or stood in silence, goggling at that huge singularity quietly nomming away at anything within its grasp. It's had so much written about it and compared to everything from the entrance to Dante's nine circles of hell to a galactic garbage disposal Although I think Lauren had the best description of this big ol' galactic plughole I'd heard before now ("Can we go now? It looks hungry" ).

For the next little while, we just bounced around the inner arms in the Orio-Persean conflux area (up a bit from Colonia ); it's always a fun place to poke about and we ran into a bunch of fun stuff almost straight away, including a few slightly unusual binaries:

It's a little hard to see, but the one on the left is a Herbig that's actually blocking an absolutely massive super-giant A-class that's about 15,000ls behind. The one on the right is pretty cool, that's a B-type sat in very close proximity to a huge honking rather rare and chilly purple Wolf-Rayet in the background! So yep, not that common and quite a nice few finds early on. And honestly lost count of how many all-round fun systems we've hit in just three days, although this one did tickle me quite a bit:

Herbigs are such fun!

So then - what's the plan? Well for right now, I think we're going to just pinball back and forth around the inner half of the galactic spiral, just get a feel for things and let everyone settle in to the ship. Once we're a bit more comfortable, we'll see; I kinda feel that since some of the guys are new to deep space and if we're going to do millions of light years anyway, it'd be daft not to do the usual "ticklist" things for them - cardinal points, extreme top and bottom, furthest-from-sol etc. Once Fynn has his scanners all properly setup and calibrated, I'd also like to go to some of my favourite finds over the years (including my secret ELW hideaway!) and get some really good-and-detailed planetary scans?

Buuuut honestly, for the most part I'm happy just opening the Bumper Book of Galmap every morning, stabbing a finger randomly at a page and saying "let's go there today!" That's what I love most about exploring - there's a hundred billion possibilities out there containing mostly boring stuff, granted - but you never know when you'll find the shiny.

ANYHOO - very early days but everything is going ok! First hunderd k down, only - 24 to go! In the meantime, Flynn wanted to show me something to do with the scanners so I better scoot and see. He said he's hoping to have them up and running by around the 11th, so fingers crossed!

Take care out there!  

Day 6:

Stupid-o-meter (light years):

//Moody Clara! Little random but I was listening to this as I quickly jotted this down at the end of a jumping day and it just seemed to go quite nicely with the mood and setting of my little explorer! Anyway here's the link if you want to listen while reading the following nonsense; Max Richter - On the Nature of Daylight. Not to go too power-emo but this song in the film 'Arrival' makes me bawl like a baby every time! ANYWAY - shenanigans

Well this is different.

If things sound a bit weird, it's because I'm not making this log in my bunk as I usually do; I'm currently sat in a Taipan with all the systems off, floating a few hundred metres away from the 'conda above a huge, glowing B-class star feeling a little blue, if I'm honest.

Kei (bless him) is sat up on the bridge, keeping an eye on me. Everyone else is tucked up fast asleep aboard the Clair and I'd hoped to be able to sneak out quietly, hop in a fighter and just scoot off for a little time alone to clear my head, but Kei hears like an owl and caught me on the way down to the fighter bay. I tried to tell him I was fine and didn't need any help, but he wouldn't listen - he's a product of the Imperial Navy and regs would never let anyone scoot off without being monitored in case of shenanigans!

That having been said - he's a star. You never need to explain anything to Kei, he just knows instantly and doesn't question; I think he could tell I was feeling a bit down and just wanted to clear my head, so no questions asked - but he went straight up to the bridge where he's quietly keeping an eye on me.

So why am I out here, chewing my fingernails and hiding?

In all honesty, it's just me being dumb! Everything has been going really well. We've been quietly humming along, eating up the light years and running into a huge amount of fun stuff, all the usual bits and bobs along with a couple of very chilly Wolfies - the first one was just under 2k' surface temp, the second one was only just over 300 - a stellar ice-cube! I know they get a lot colder but that's probably one of the chillier ones I've personally seen.

As the days have gone on, we've been poking further and further out, leaving the jump-security of the inner arms and nipping out into the inter-arm gaps. This puts a bit of a strain on our daily target, but you get some pretty beautiful views out here! Yan, our doc, has been bubble-bound most of his life and mentioned over dinner one evening that he's never really seen a good view of the Magellanics - the location of the bubble on the Orion spur can kinda get in the way sometimes.

OK - target for the next day! We nipped out to put some distance between us and the core and headed straight down below the plane to get away from all the light pollution. Had to engage brain a bit - was merrily jumping away to get as far down as possible before Kei reminded me to keep track of the boosted jumps - neutronning to a layer with no return neutrons is a classic exploration horror story of ships that one-wayed out, never to return!

As it turned out, we did need to neutron across a gap, but there was a nice friendly pulsar on the other side to send us home later, so it was all good. And pretty soon, we reached the end of the road;

There they were, looking gorgeous as ever. These little guys are wonderful, always there and very familiar to anyone who's ever been out to Tenebris or up to Beagle, twinkling away off in the distance. Although not too distant - the Small Magellanic Cloud is only about 160k away, its larger brother the LMC about 200k, meaning we'd actually covered the distance to them in the last six days quite comfortably! They're relatively tiny little dwarf galaxies, about 7-14k across, much smaller than our own Milky Way, but this far below the plane, away from the light of the galactic bar, they're crystal clear.

Speaking of the core - we all had a good gawk at the Magellanics and Yan was very grateful for the opportunity, but as we brought the ship around to start heading back up the plane, quite a few of the crew were taken aback by just how pretty our own galaxy looks from this far up/down. I guess it's easy to get a bit blasé about it, but it really is quite breathtaking, spinning away quietly beneath us and we ended up sticking around for a while to take it in.

It's honestly so beautiful but I've always been biased - I grew up in a fairly rural area, away from the big cities and although humankind can create some truly wonderful things, art, music etc - nothing could ever hold a candle to nature, for me. Odd sentiment for someone floating around in a marvel of technology, I know! And I'm not doing down any of our achievements as a species but we really need to step back sometimes I think and be put in our place by the universe - be proud of your accomplishments but have the humility to respect what's around you, and all that jazz. Typical rambling, I kn-

"Still alive out there?"
"Yep all good Kei, thanks!"

Sorry about that. So yep, we had our peek at the core, then started heading back up to the plane. Once there, a quick shimmy in the general direction of the top end of the Mare Desperationis and we called it a day. It's not been a cakewalk, but we've been comfortably hitting our target distance of about 36k a day whilst still getting in plenty of snooping around and exploring - I'm just very conscious that we're only six days in to an eighty day tour and it's going to be rough keeping that up, especially as we start heading out towards the more sparse regions of the galaxy!

I was fine when I finished "mooring" the ship at the end of the day around this B-class star and headed down to join the rest of the guys chilling out before dinner. Lauren's fine with the zero gravity now and happy as can be futzing with the ship's engines. Hal apparently has found something to occupy his time down in the cargo bay but has forbidden anyone from going down there, although Lauren has complained about him stealing her tools! Yan says he's been enjoying catching up on some reading and finishing up a paper he'd been working on in the bubble and Flynn is still going flat out trying to get our scanners up and running for their inaugral test on the 11th. All in all, everyone is happy and really beginning to gel, with a lot of laughs and stories over dinner.

And out of nowhere, I suddenly felt this horrible sense of responsibility! Up till now, I've never had that. I mean yes, I've been off out exploring with Hal and Coral, but that was more like friends along for the ride and we were all in it together? Before all this, I did fly with the Imp Navy but there again, you were part of a machine and there was always someone above you in the-buck-stops-here chain. But watching my crew chattering away, having fun and relaxing, I suddenly had this overwhelming feeling of "they're YOUR responsibility! You screw up and it's not just you anymore - you can get them all killed!".

We finished up dinner and called it a night, everyone heading off to their respective bunks but I couldn't sleep; I just kept thinking "oh god, what if I screw up?" and started conjuring horrible scenarios, like a situation where I have to sacrifice one for the good of the crew - I felt properly sick! Borderline panic attack, so I got up and started wandering around - which is when I met Kei on the way to the hangar bay.

I've calmed down a bit now and feel a bit better out here. They're an amazingly talented and cool bunch who are honestly much smarter and more sensible than I and if we all do our jobs, it'll all be fine. I've been out here for years and never had anything happen that I couldn't get out of; but as much as I'm loving the fun of this trip, now that some of the early excitement has worn off, I'm starting to feel this new weight of responsibility.  I've not had this before and although I'm sure I'll get used to it, I don't think I'll ever grow to like it.

There's no way I'll get any sleep right now if I head back, so I think I'll just sit out here a bit longer and look at the stars. I used to love sitting up late at night, tucked up on the bridge and staring out of the canopy, just the galaxy and I in my early solo days, when everything was a lot simpler...

Day 9:

Stupid-o-meter (light years):

//Some random blorp about Remloks (I remember having a natter about suits with one of the lore types ages ago and thought since it was just a quick log, I'd stuff some rambling in )

I've noticed the logbook list is absolutely heaving these days with tons of great new stuff; and with the patch dropping on tuesday, it's probably going to go even more nutso! I don't want to clutter it for others posting,  so will hang fire to make room for peeps or it'll be a bit of a spamfest I suspect! Sooo might be a bit longer before my next nonsense . Looking forward to reading about some others' shenanigans while I'm poking around Have a great ch4 everyone!


Anyway - it's been a tough few days!

We passed our first week since launch - and far from feeling good about that, it just brought a sense of "oh crap - ten more to go!". Still - the Clair is most definitely in her groove now. She's purring along just fine, only needed a handful of fsd repairs and I've got to say - having that monster of a power plant humming away, able to deal with anything that gets thrown at it is like a warm security blanket. Although I also know that any emergency stops will bring an instant yell from Lauren to the tune of "if you could try not to crash us into every - goddamn - thing out there?!"

Anyway - we decided after a good solid quarter-million light years, it was time to stretch our legs properly. First stop - Erikson's Star, one of the most westerly stars of our galaxy. I remember it being a tough little cookie to get to in the bad old days. Even with Clair's updated boosted long legs, we ate up a lot of injections getting out there! Travel out here is a LOT slower than core travel also - anyone who's scuffled around the galaxy will tell you that you can nip through the core in mere moments with your hair on fire, but scooching around in the dark out on the rim is a WHOLE different kettle of fish.

Still - it was another 'first' for Lauren, Yan and Flynn - a trip to the rim. And one of the less commonly visited ones too - in contrast, Ishum's/Beagle is a tourist trap and far less challenging, considering we've taken a Beluga with a cargohold full of booze and a coupla huge luxury cabins out there! But Erikson's is a bit of a tortured maze of twisty, long jumps requiring boosts - kind of the K2 to Everest, to borrow a mountaineering metaphor!


Snaps dutifully taken, we about faced and headed home, following our trail out; but that little jaunt had eaten heavily into our synthesis reserves. A sneaky bit of poking around local bodies and we found a ball of cheese with just the right elements to go poke with an SRV. So we've set down on this cold little pebble, still far, far out on the western rim. Hal's suited up and taken an SRV out to prospect for some materials, with me up on the bridge monitoring that little 'blip' scurrying one way and another, nervously chewing my fingernails.

Honestly, it shouldn't make any difference - charging around in an SRV 10ly from home or 10,000 is just as dangerous. Anytime you step out of the airlock and expose yourself to the vacuum of space, it's always a bit of a mental cliff-dive - at least it is for me! That thin albeit very fancy layer of fabric between you and the almost-nothing of space seems very, very fragile and the consequences of something going wrong don't bear thinking about! Whether things go sideways on a moon in sight of civilisation, or waaaay out in the wilderness, the chances of you surviving are slim to none in each scenario, so relative proximity to the bubble is irrelevant; but this far out on the rim, the mind plays tricks on you.

I worry for him, out there alone in the dark. Please come back safe!

Day 19

Stupid-o-meter (light years):

//Little put-off posting this tbh after some recent unpleasantness! But thanks to some advice from friends,  I figured I write these daft things for my own amusement - scribbling logs makes me smile so I'll keep scribbling and try to learn to ignore any snide remarks I am probably going to cut back quite a bit on posting however, although that's mostly due to being rather busy irl!

This one is more of a mess than usual - hugely rushed as time is gold-dust atm! So apologies in advance for the uncountable errors. Last post before Xmas most likely, as things are about to go into hair-tearing-overdrive irl so that being the case, have a FANTASTIC holiday everyone!

Hellooooo from the black stuff!

It's been a few days and then some! We've almost doubled our distance since I last logged and at last, at last, it feels like we're really settling into the trip. As in, proper, everyday routines, everyone clicking along and working more or less on autopilot. Every day, I get up, zombie down to the galley, quickly grab some breakfast and collapse in the common room where Kei, Coral and Yan are usually already chatting away and eating. Hal normally wanders in next, followed much, much later by Lauren and Flynn. Lauren is always the life of the party in the evenings and so is usually the last one to bed at night - and naturally the last one out of her bunk in the morning. Flynn on the other hand has usually already been up for ages, working on some problem or other and has a tendency to lose track of time till his stomach reminds him.

Anyway - breakfast over and a quick chat about where to go today and everyone disperses to squeeze into their Remloks before heading to their various little fiefdoms on the ship. Meanwhile, Coral, Kei and I head up to the bridge and go through the lengthy process of waking up the Clair de Lune and bringing her online; and usually, a little under an hour after breakfast, we're aligning to our first jump of the day, spooling up and 'boop' - off we go.

Flynn has been busting his hump trying to get our swanky new scanners online and after a very sketchy first day which basically had us at a standstill and lost us one day's travel - they're up and running. Between you, me and the bulkheads, he's actually done an amazing job getting them up and running; but I'll never tell him that, he'd be insufferable. Anyhow - he promised these new scanners would be worth the effort.

Aaaand yep - he's not wrong.

Test driving the new toys at Sag A*!

HOLY CRAP - they're amazing! I won't go into boring detail but as someone who's done their fair share of scanning, these new toys just make life a cakewalk! I was a bit worried that it wouldn't keep up with the old graphical interface when it came to quickly identifying the shiny in a system but newp - once the relevant planetary signatures are "programmed" into the brain, it's actually even quicker! Just crazy.

And for the last week, it's just been a blast. SO easy to rip through systems, poking around with these magical scanners revealing more than ever before in the blink of an eye; lagrange clouds of every flavour, gaseous anomalies, all sorts of geological and biological curiosities (when I think back to the hours spent scouring surfaces hunting for vents, fumaroles and bio-oddities!) - just wonderful. And it's been keeping the crew busy!

Urchins and Boulders!

Lauren has been working her butt off, trying to get everything "just so" in engineering. For all her boisterousness and joking around, as soon as anything engineery is involved she's just laser-focused, all mucking around gone - and god forbid you get in the way or scratch "her" ship! We found some pretty cool biological growths on a high-g planet and as we were coming in to land, I was nervously making sure we touched down as smooth and gently as possible, lest I waken "The Beast"! (as Flynn has christened her - which almost got him a spanner to the head.)

Space coral courtesy of the planetary scanners!

Speaking of which, Flynn is still fine-tuning things. Every now and then, some little thing or other will go screwy, forcing us to drop out of supercruise and take some downtime while he fiddles and futzes with things. It's not a serious problem, but it's annoying - every time he has to take the navcomp offline which means that each time, we have to replot our route and given the distances we're covering, it takes forever! Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade our new scanners for anything - but the sooner he irons out these glitches, the better!

Kei and Coral have been getting on really well up on the bridge. I think Coral was a bit nervous initially, since Kei's very stoic, no-frills demeanour can be a bit intimidating if you don't know him! But once you get more familiar, you get to realise he's actually incredibly kind and patient. Also an amazing pilot and one of the few people in the galaxy I feel safe about leaving at the wheel of the Clair while I go goof off in a taipan!

Sunbathing in a Taipan

Yan, our resident Doc, has had nothing worse than the usual bumps and bruises to fix lately. Which is a good thing, as he has kept himself insanely busy examining all the weird and wonderful new specimens we've been bringing aboard for him to poke and prod! It almost feels like cheating but with Clair's new spectacles, we're finding stuff we've never seen before - spaceborne goop, floating in dense clouds of dust and gas, or weird growths punching up out of the ground on the most inhospitable of dustballs. Either way - Yan is in paradise.

Halloween Redwood

And all that weird and wonderful stuff gets dragged on board by Hal, who's logged more slf and srv time in the last week than probably all the time I've known him! I gotta admit I get rather nervy when I hear the hangar doors go and he trundles off towards some weird, alien 'thing' and although I'm trying to play it cool, I bet he's getting sick of my constant "you ok? you good?" every thirty seconds over comms!

When he's on board, he's banging away down in the cargo hold. It's empty right now and is only there in case we need to synthesise and store some limpets, but he's forbidden anyone to enter and any attempt to find out what he's doing is just met by a maddening grin and "patience!". So we'll see what mischief he's gotten up to in a week or two I guess!

Thrusters vs Geysers in a cookoff!

For myself - everything's going good. It's busy, sure, and being on the go from dawn till dusk every day can get pretty tiring! I think we worked out that we're travelling a little over the distance from the bubble to Colonia AND half way back, every day! And to date, we've travelled the equivalent distance of more than two and a half laps of the galaxy - so it's quite a slog! But we're seeing some amazing stuff along the way.

It's also really wonderful seeing how the crew is bonding. I've never had a crew before but in all honesty, that's not how I see them; they're friends, equals and everyone is getting on so well - even Lauren and Flynn! I mean, those two still have blazing rows and will bicker about the pettiest little things; but every now and then, I wonder - anyway, it's amazing. My favourite part of the day is fast becoming the evening after dinner, where everyone just collapses in the common room and swaps stupid, hilarious, embarrassing stories of their past. I'll try and sneakily pop a few in some logs in the future but I've never laughed so hard!

Anyway, we're done for the day. We've setup camp overnight in the rings of a little planet to give us a bit of gravity and, at Lauren's request, I've nipped out to just run an eye over the Clair. She's running smooth as silk despite the incredible distance she's carried us in such a short time, but Lauren is a stickler and wants some eyeballs on the hull! I gotta admit though - I can't wait to get back and locked up tight for the day so I can join everyone at dinner.

I really love those guys. I don't know why it took me so long to get a crew but I can't begin to imagine going back to life without them. ANYWAY - focus, doofus! I better get back to it - Clara signing off.

//Just a quick "thanks!" to the multicrew legend Ziva T for posing for the lagrange crystal pic above in the taipan And just for giggles - I knocked up a quick google docs sheet at the start to record progress, so here's a quick peek at the "story so far"! It's been pretty ok to date, with only the complete server brainfart on the 11/12th losing me a day; but the next week irl is just insanely busy so I think this is where I start eating up any gains and fall behind the "target" line! I'm stupidly busy tomorrow (today, crap it's past 3am! ) and don't expect to make it on much (if at all), so I went ballistic yesterday evening  to hit my daily range for this afternoon - that being the case, the distance stat will be as shown by 1500gmt today. Anyhoo - here it is

Day 25:

Stupid-o-meter (light years):

Hope everyone had a great Xmas! I wrote this blorp a fair few days ago since I didn't want to be anywhere near my computer during the holiday! I figured it'd be my last one of the year.

Finishing the year in the festive season with something a bit different for Clara. Ever since I started scribbling my logs a bit more "in character", I've always found her love life a bit of a tricky one - she's such an innocent that sometimes it just seems a bit of an awkward one to broach without it seeming rather contrived or out of character! But she's been around for over a year now as my in-character avatar and for quite a while now it felt like a bit of an elephant in the room, particularly building over the course of the last month during this expedition! So this one is a very light hearted attempt at a bit of fun for Clara (aka very innocent and nothing risqué!   ).

So apologies, this one isn't particularly relatable to exploration or actual in-game shenanigans, aside from the taking a break from the travels! But will get back to it in 3305 All the best and from an inept logger and her in-game sidekick, have a wonderful New Year!

Soo - things have happened.

Here I am, recording my log from a nice warm cocoon of blankets in my bunk while everyone is sleeping off the effects of too much food, booze and hangovers after the festivities - and yet where I am isn't really where I want to be right now, but I'll get to that. All I'll say at the moment is that I feel like a teenager again, all giddy and excited with a stomach full of butterflies and if I keep talking like this, it's only a matter of time before I start scrawling hearts on my pad; and at that level of saccharin cuteness there's nothing for it but regular shots of insulin or a shotgun So I'll try and avoid getting too "Dear Diary" with this entry but it's hard!

Things had been going really well. We were cruising along, eating up the light years and running into biblical amounts of shiny, courtesy of Flynn's Felicitous Foragers For the Freaky, Fantastic, Funky and Fab - aka our new scanners. The little blinking rack that is our nav log has data coming out of its ears at the moment and although I've really never been that fussed with the whole "gotta plaster my name across the galaxy!" thing, at best guess conservatively we'll have about thirty thousand fresh systems worth of data to dish to Unicart when we're done! At the risk of sounding like a tour guide again though, the real reward is the never-ending stream of exciting new stuff pouring into our eyeballs from one day to the next.

The days were blurring together, but in a really good way. Everything was so - comfortable, I guess would be the best way to describe it? Everyone had found their rhythm. Flynn and Yan were happy as kids in a candy store with all the new discoveries and samples we were bringing them, spending hours each day poring over this new thing, exclaiming over that; while Coral and Kei were loving both the predictable routine of each day and the amazing spacescapes unfolding through the canopy with each new jump.

Lauren - well, she's just a superstar. I thought I knew my beloved Clair de Lune inside out, upside down and rivet-to-rivet; but Lauren has been teaching me things I never knew about this old Anaconda. She reminds me so much of Donk, the deck chief at Jameson (aside from being about a quarter his size!) - she plays down her smarts, explaining the tweaks she's made to the ship in dummy talk for yours truly, but it's clear she is one very, very smart cookie. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking of engineers as brainless grease monkeys; but I've heard her discussing Lorentzian theory with Flynn and you forget sometimes that those "dumb spanner jockeys" are actually incredibly bright - they have to understand how our drives distort the very fabric of spacetime, after all!

I think I'll stick to my flightstick and flashy lights.

Geodesic Gizmos!

And this'll make you laugh - but Hal had been teaching me some hand-to-hand and self-defense, when he wasn't clanking away in the cargo hold! Our lovely ship may well be an absolute superstar of exploration but she's very no-frills and doesn't have any swanky gyms onboard like a Saud Kruger pleasure palace! So the best you can usually manage is running lengths of the engineering access corridor aka 'the catwalk'. It's on the lower deck and runs all the way down the length of the hull and if I'm perfectly honest, always gave me the willies!

The lower deck is basically just a massive, gloomy cavern, running the full length of the ship and several dizzying storeys in height. The catwalk itself is a very long walkway, a narrow grating suspended up near the ceiling by various rods and cables, dangling high above the vast interior below. Arranged all the way down its sides are the modular bays, cradles into which the various paraphenalia of cargo holds, scanners, AFMUs, limpet controllers - you name it - are fitted. They're like nothing so much as mechanical icebergs, their tops peeking over the catwalk's railing to allow for maintenance access whilst the vast bulk of them extends down into the pitch-black of the cavernous hold below.

And snaking around these monolothic modular bays, weaving their way through bulkheads and struts far down below in the darkness are giant coiled snakes of pipe- and cable-work, huge heavily reinforced ducting and more tanks, valves and bizarre machinery than you could shake a stick at. I honestly don't know how Lauren can be so cheerful, whistling away as she hooks up her safety line and vaults over the railing to float off into the darkness and bang around in the little pool of light from her torch!

Space fungus!

So you wouldn't think it'd be possible to get claustrophobic in five-hundred feet of hull and that vast auditorium, whilst being surrounded outside by the Infinite; but I was getting a bit fed up running lengths of the catwalk to stay in shape. Keeping fit is pretty important, especially on long duration deep-space voyages - aside from making sure you can take the punches the prolonged jumps and bouts of gravity throw at you, those figure-hugging Remloks are very unforgiving! So Hal had offered to teach me some self-defense stuff as an alternative form of exercise, which was a lot of fun but absolutely exhausting! I'm sure he's taking it easy on me but after the first few sessions, I was fairly bruised and pretty sore - good thing the water reclamation system on the Clair is nearly 100% efficient, I've probably used a small lake soaking my aches away over the last week!

It's been so much fun though. I've known Hal forever, since we were kids back on Capitol; and in all that time, we've been more like family than just friends - I didn't have any siblings growing up and Hal and his brothers kinda 'adopted' me. We lost touch a bit when I went off to fly for the diplomatic corps and we only really reconnected about a year ago, give or take. And here's the thing. Since then, there's been 'something' going on between us. At first, I thought I was imagining it, that I was just happy to see him again; and after that whole San Tu business, he started being super protective but I thought that was just him being like a big brother or something? I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to these things - obviously!

But lately we've been spending a lot more time together than usual and I was realizing more and more - he's just one of the most amazing people I know. He can be infuriatingly stubborn, even pig-headed and his at-times cavalier attitude to risk drives me mad! His pride won't let him accept help from anyone which just makes me want to scream at him at times - even when I went to bail him out from that whole business in Kamas he gave me grief for being reckless - me! But he'd put himself in harm's way to protect those he cares about in a heartbeat, without a second thought; he's had me in stitches laughing and he's always been there whenever I've been feeling blue. And lately, every time he's taken the SRV out to obtain some new sample or other, or even just for a routine bit of digging around to replenish our synthesis supplies, I've been hunched up in my seat up on the bridge, chewing my fingernails into oblivion until he's safely back on board.

So I guess yep, when you're trapped together in a tin can for months on end, with nothing to do but spend hours together in the evenings, catching up on old times and getting to know each other all over again; and you're training together and he's teaching you how to defend yourself and then you're tumbling - what I'm VERY artlessly trying to say (and there's no way of saying all this without it sounding like some horribly cliché romantic flick!) - it felt kind of inevitable that something would happen.


Christmas Day arrived; and we had all decided to have it as our first official "day off". We'd found a perfect little moon to rest up on and the morning was spent giving the Clair her Xmas pressie - some TLC time. We fired up the maintenance units and off they clanked, fixing up the dings and scrapes to the various modules - I even pushed the boat out and pinged off a repair limpet or two so that by lunchtime, our faithful ship was back to perfection, although I wish I could give her a new lick of paint out here!

Lending another pair of eyes, watching Kei bring the Clair in to land in a pumpkin patch!

With the morning gone, the maintenance complete and the Clair snugly buttoned down in the middle of a very fun sea of disco pumpkins, after a quick shower everyone congregated in the common room. The rest of the day was spent eating way too much, drinking even more (Yan cracked open some godawful thick, viscous green stuff which he assures us was safe to drink but I've heard horror stories about med students for way too long to trust a doc when it comes to booze!) and generally just having the most wonderful time vegging out. We were about to break the million light-year mark on the trip and although everything had been going so well, after nearly a month of continuous exploring a day off was a very welcome respite!

Evening drew in and things quickly devolved into booze-fuelled silliness, the highlight of which was probably Kei singing (or trying to sing) Taking Care of Business at the top of his very tuneless voice, culminating in some gymnastics that led to him falling off the stage (aka the lounge table) and landed him on what I imagine is his still very bruised butt! And then the 'most embarrassing story' contest started dragging some confessions out of the woodwork, some of which I'd love to commit to record but would fear for my life if anyone found out I'd done so. I may try and sneak a few in in the New Year because some of them are just too good to be true - Lauren's in particular!

Night came on very quickly; everyone finally started drifting off to their bunks (I say drifted, more like staggered or in Kei's case, crawled). Hal declared loudly I was far too wobbly to risk walking; so, with both of us cackling like a pair of drunken jackals, he rather unsteadily carried me off down the corridor, bouncing my head of every hatchway on the way to crew quarters. We finally got to his bunkroom and despite being fairly woozy from a cocktail of cocktails (and probably a minor concussion at this point), I clearly remember looking up and giving him the ol' "big eyes" routine - which in all actuality probably made me look like a slightly stunned owl.

Still - just as I was saying goodnight (or a slurred approximation thereof) he picked me up again, smushed me against the bulkhead and kissed me.
Very enthusiastically.
For about several years.
And then finally put me down again, said "goodnight", gave me a weird, goofy grin and wobbled inside, leaving me standing alone in the corridor, pretty nonplussed! I remember walking back to my bunk in a bit of a warm and fuzzy daze, thinking "ok - so what the hell am I supposed to do with that?!".

I swear I got most of the way back to my quarters before turning around. I just want to say for the record - this is so very, very not me! When it comes to making a move, I'm absolutely the worst, beyond hopeless! So I don't know if it was Yan's cursed green stuff giving me some courage or if I was just finally being honest with myself and realising that this had been a long time coming; but a few minutes later I found myself standing outside Hal's door, knocking.

And a few moments after that, he opened it. And I grabbed the stupid oaf, kissed him furiously like my life depended on it and slipped in through the door.


Early next morning and I'm quietly tiptoeing down the corridor - I've never done the walk on my own ship! So I quickly duck in the shower to get 'human-ised' and throw on some fresh clothes before heading down to breakfast. Everyone's nursing hangovers of various sizes at this point, while Hal and I are studiously avoiding looking at each other, trying to be all nonchalant although we're both probably looking like the most unsubtle, happy idiots. And I look up and see Lauren looking first at me, then at Hal, then back at me before grinning and saying "Niiiiice!".

I hate that bitch!

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CMDR's logbook

CMDR LongDistanceClara
Explorer / Freelancer
31 Jul 3305
Go for Friday! (& Race Route)
26 Jul 3305
Update: Race Delay!
19 Feb 3305
The Andromeda Run - February
31 Jan 3305
The Andromeda Run - January
30 Dec 3304
The Andromeda Run - December
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