Man. If you are ever in these parts and stop by the Omega Mining Operation, please take a moment to thank these workers for me. They have done a helluva job. I mean, imagine being out here in the middle of nowhere and have a massive fleet show up looking for support. Crazy right? On top of that, I hear a lot of the mining gear arrived only recently. Still, kudos to them. Despite all of it, I have had little problems here.
Where was I? Oh yes, the start of the expedition.
I arrived for the US launch. There was EU, US, and I think AUS launches. I'm guessing "Early Underway" "Underway Standard" and "Also Underway Standard"? I don't know. Nobody explained the acronyms and I didn't care to ask.
I'll admit, it was an exciting occasion. It was finally happening! This is it, I thought. Hee hee! As the clock clicked closer, a handful of nearby ships decided to form up for a ceremonious first jump. I joined in. And when the clock struck 01:00, one by one we blinked ahead. It was great.
It wasn't so great an occasion for everyone. I remember a lot of chatter on comms about pirate attacks all over the system. I don't know why they were hunting explorers. Seemed odd. But they were. And a lot of pilots were calling out for help. It was heartbreaking. But what could I do? No weapons, not even shields or countermeasures. No, there was nothing I could do for them.
Anyways. After that first jump, the fleet seemed to break up. Commanders were making their way to the next waypoint at their own pace. I guess. All I know is, after that first jump I did not see another soul until I reached Shapley 1. In fact, I only ever seem to run across other commanders when I am at or near a point of interest designated by the expedition. I guess that is to be expected for a deep space exploration mission. Space is big.
My first stop was at Shapley 1. It felt good to finally be underway. And Shapley 1 was a nice place to stop for the night.
After that first night though, reality started to sink in. It was going to be a long trip. A very long trip. At a jump range just shy of 40 ly, I was going to need to do a lot of jumping just to reach the next waypoint. But this voyage wasn't just about waypoints. I came to explore new worlds. To do that, I will need to deviate from the most efficient path. And that will require even more travel time. An insane amount of travel.
I swear, this first waypoint route was mostly an endurance test. Can I really commit to this level of travel? Because to be honest, the farthest I had gone into deep space was less than 600 ly. This first leg alone was more than 5,000! Just let that fact sink in for a second. I felt every light year. When you have been traveling for a long time and the nav computer says you still have 90 more jumps to go, that can be crushing.
Now add to that certain, um, fleet requirements I was still juggling. When I signed up for DW2, I decided I was going to assist the scientific departments by providing data I collect. TGMS, Mapping Project, biological and geological discoveries. I mean, what is the point of joining an expedition if I am not contributing to it in some way? Plus I do better when I have constructive objectives to work towards. Unfortunately, when I signed up I failed to realize there was a lot more setup to do than just get a ship and register. I was going to need to install and learn custom programs and tools. I needed to develop a personal process for packaging and submitting data regularly. And I was doing all of this while trying to map out my first waypoint route. With this happening on top of everything else I mentioned, I don't think it is crazy to start questioning whether all this is worth it.
And boy did part of me start asking those questions. Why am I here? What is the point of doing this? You don't need to go this far out to be an explorer, do you? There are plenty of stars near the Bubble yet to be explored. Is it really worth it?
Yup. Definitely an endurance test.
Still, I have seen some amazing sights out here. I found my first biological anomaly. I think they were Bark Mounds. Let me see if I can find the system. Here: NGC 6530 Sector EB-X D1-40. That was just the start. Found other biological creatures, including one on a 3g planet that became more of a challenge than I was ready for. Maybe I'll talk about that another time. Let's see what else. I visited Labirinto and Cycladia. I believe I have flown through the PW2010 Supercluster, though I haven't seen any black holes or neutron stars yet. Oh, and of course I have visited the asteroid base here. I have contributed to the TGMS as well as submitted anomaly discoveries. I've also scanned several new star systems and added them to cartography.
Is it worth it? Yes it is. Though if I were being honest with myself, I would add "for now" to the end of that response. It is only the first waypoint. Out of what, 15?
I want to do it. It would be awesome to stay the course and make it all the way to Beagle Point and back. Big accomplishment in my book. I hope I have what it takes. We will see.
But enough of that. It is going to be a couple more days before they announce the next waypoint. I am gonna grab a drink. See if I can find out about any juicy discoveries in the area. End recording.
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