Last update: 10th December
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!
LAST GAS STATION IN TOWN!
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!
TL:DR REFERENCE STUFF
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.
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!
//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
unky 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"
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
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!
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
ell 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...