DISTANT WORLDS 2 (PART 5) – THE DISCOVERY OF A NEW POSSIBLE POINT OF INTEREST
04 FEB 3305 Conflux Delta Site (PRU AESCS NC-M D7-192)
I was way out of schedule. The fleet had departed eighteen hours ago. I was delayed because of my discovery of an Earth like planet in system Pyramoe XW-Y c2-7. I spent a lot of time mapping the whole system. FleetComm had marked some interesting points off route and I did not want to miss them, so I took off and locked system CD-28 14266 on the nav com. I wanted to see the planetary nebula known as NGC 6565. Upon my departure, I received a message saying that my recent efforts had awarded me the rank of Pioneer of the Pilots Federation. Just one step more and I would be Elite and have access to Shinrarta Dezhra.
The Hyperion departing Roald Landing (Omega Sector VE-Q b5-15)
The planetary nebula of NGC 6565 in Sagittarius constellation, with its greenish halo, was discovered by Earth astronomer Edward Pickering on the nineteenth century. It remained relatively obscure among cosmologists until twentieth century optics technology allowed for first detailed fully-color images of its bright eye-shaped gas cloud. NGC 6565's dying Wolf-Rayet star is orbited by a binary pair of Class V gas giants with beautiful rings and two volcanic high metal content worlds.
The Hyperion flying over the rings of CD-28 14266 1
The next stop, off-route, was The Arkgamanon Mountain Range, in system Pyramoe PM-X b33-6, a very striking geological feature created by some towering mountains that peak over twenty five kilometres in altitude erecting from a very flat valley. The system was first surveyed by Commander Isaiah Evanson and Lyrae Cursorius in early 3303 during a scouting mission to uncover some of the mysteries of the Sagittarius Conflux. That was a perfect campsite for the fleet, alas, no commanders remained there, so I spent the night alone, enjoying the view.
The Hyperion landed in front of the Arkgamanon Mountain Range (Pyramoe PM-X b33-6)
I got up some hours later and took the time to enjoy a coffee in a real mug thanks to the gravity before departing. The sight of the mountains on fly with daylight was even more impressive than from the ground.
The Hyperion departing from the Arkgamanon Mountain Range (Pyramoe PM-X b33-6)
The next stop was the first step of the itinerary, the nebula NGC 6229. Located in the Sagittarius constellation, it was discovered by Earth astronomer William Herschel in the eighteenth century. The nebula's white core is a Wolf-Rayet star that is surrounded by a halo of blue and purple nebular gas. There, I made a happy finding. Flying around the Wolf Rayet star I found another member of the Distant Worlds squadron, Commander Issengrim, flying his shiny Anaconda, The Second Dream. I wonder how exploration must be flying one of those. It seems that I was not so delayed after all.
Jav Marlo in the Hyperion finding Commander’s Issengrim Anaconda (CD-23 14350)
Very close to there was system NGC 6629 SECTOR SU-O B6-3, which contained a stellar phenomena consisting in Solid Mineral Spheres floating in a yellowish Lagrange Cloud. It was worth a visit.
The Hyperion in a Yellow Lagrange Cloud in NGC 6629 SECTOR SU-O B6-3
There, I had to decide if it would be worth doing a really big detour, more than two thousand five hundred light years to visit another nebula. But on this occasion, this one was way above the galactic plane. I have never seen the galaxy from the top, so I headed to system BD-21 4483, to the nebula known as IC 4634.
Star systems became scarcer as I rose and, when I was about to reach the nebula, I jumped into a system, Ploi Aerb UX-L d7-2, that contained an Earth like world. And this one was huge, almost double of Earth. It was a beautiful sight, such a big blue planet, with its clear skies there, floating above the galaxy.
The Hyperion recognising Ploi Aerb UX-L d7-2 3
I was tired, and there was no place to land in the system, so I decided to continue the trip and land at the first chance possible. After a couple of jumps I arrived to Ploi Aerb JK-Y c-14-0 A, a system discovered by Commander Kleckerklotz, with a landable high metal content world with a comfortable gravity. I stopped there for the night.
The Hyperion landed at Ploi Aerb JK-Y c-14-0 A 1
The following day I finally reached BD-21 4483. The Nebula IC 4634 was discovered in the nineteenth century. It floats around a Wolf-Rayet star that cast a brilliant purple hue across the three planets within the system, creating incredible sights.
The Hyperion in the Nebula IC 4634 (BD-21 4483)
Time to return to the official itinerary and head for the Eagle Nebula. I had a lot of exploration data to deliver to Universal Cartographics. The trip went without incidents, I explored several systems on the way with no significant findings and arrived to Eagle’s Landing hours later. Eagle’s Landing is one of the outposts constructed in 3302 to connect Colonia with the Bubble. Its name is because it is situated in the Eagle Nebula, and it pays homage to the lunar module used on the Apollo 11, the mission by which the first humans landed on Earth’s moon.
The Hyperion in Eagle’s Landing (Eagle Sector IR-W d1-117)
The Hyperion was the only ship of the Distant Worlds 2 expedition there. The whole fleet had already departed. Thanks to that, I could find accommodation in the station and rest in a proper bed instead of my bunk. I also collected more than forty five millions credits from my exploration data.
The following stop on the itinerary was Eudaemon Anchorage in the Rohini system, but I decided to make another detour to visit the Phantom Streak Nebula. Anyway, I was delayed already. I found some interesting things on the way, like a system with sixty eight stellar bodies: Pyraleau YK-V d3-46. But the most striking finding of everything I had discover on this trip was in system Pyraleau YL-Z c2-5, I quite anodyne system that, according to the Galactic Mapping Initiative, was discovered by Commander Thonya, but never explored.
The Discovery Scanner revealed twelve stellar bodies, and the Full Spectrum System Scanner showed nothing interesting, but I decided to identify the bodies because there were not so many of them. I had localized ten of the bodies with no problems when I heard the signal source of an icy body. They had to be the last ones. But, to my surprise, the scanner was able to see them, but it could not magnify to identify them. They seemed to be moving very fast on the screen. I tried several times with no success, so I decided to pay a closer look and try a visual identification. I wanted to see what the problem was. They had to be the moons of the fourth planet, a small class I gas giant, so I headed there.
The two moons I have decided to call Tristan and Isolde (Pyraleau YL-Z c2-5)
And there they were. Two astonishing beautiful icy moons, one yellow and the other blue, sharing an orbit so tight, that the scanner was unable to identify them. An approximated measure showed that they were less than 3MM one from the other.
They deserved to be named. Their official names did not make justice to them. So, I started to think about couples of lovers of the ancient legends of Earth and the story of Tristan and Isolde came to my mind. A tragedy about the adulterous love between one knight, Tristan, and a princess Isolde in the twelfth century. If I remember correctly, they were from two different enemy kingdoms, thus their love was impossible. I guess their story came to my mind because Isolde was described always as the blonde, and the yellowish of Pyraleau YL-Z c2-5 4 b reminded me of that. Pyraleau YL-Z c2-5 4 a, on the contrary, is blue with beautiful red canyons, that reminded me of the reddish hair of many of the habitants of the original English kingdoms back in old Earth. That was it. It was decided. I was going to call them Tristan and Isolde. Both orbiting together as close as possible for the eternity.
The yellow one, Isolde, is the tiniest, with just 721 Km radio and a gravity of 0.04 G. It has geological activity and many water geysers.
The Hyperion landed on “Isolde” Pyraleau YL-Z c2-5 4 b
The blue one, Tristan, is bigger, with 1.015 km radio and a gravity of 0.06 G. It has great geological activity with major water geysers.
The Hyperion landed on “Tristan” Pyraleau YL-Z c2-5 4 a
And these geysers can be very violent. I run over one with my scarab and almost was expelled spiralling out of the planet to the void. The weak gravity force did not help either. I barely survived.
Jav Marlo onboard a scarab spiralling out of control over “Tristan” Pyraleau YL-Z c2-5 4 a
After the fright with the scarab and the geyser I decided to stop for the day. So I headed for Isolde looking for a place to land and rest with a striking view of the Tristan and the gas giant.
The Hyperion landed on “Isolde” with a view of “Tristan” and the gas giant (Pyraleau YL-Z c2-5)
The following day I flew around both moons exploring their surface. They have a striking beauty, both with lots of geological activity and their proximity generates astonishing views. I think they have the potential to become a Point of Interest. I have decided that I will report this discovery to the Galactic Mapping Project and they will decide.
The Hyperion flying over “Tristan” Pyraleau YL-Z c2-5 4 a
I resumed the trip and some jumps later I finally arrived to the NGC 6741 Nebula, also knowns as the Phantom Streak Nebula probably because its blue-purple halo. Its discoverer, Edward Charles Pickering, back in the nineteenth century did not put that name to it. The central star is a standard Wolf-Rayet which is rapidly blowing off outer layers to form the nebula. Other than a companion M-class star, no other bodies are found inside the nebula.
The Hyperion in the Phantom Streak Nebula (BD-00 3630)
From there, I headed to the Rohini system but, on the way, I found a system, Phantom Streak Sector JH-V c2-19, that contained seven stars and an ELW quite similar in size to the Earth. I had to stop and map the place. The sky over the planet was incredibly clear, and I tried to imagine how a sunset there could be with so many stars shining on the horizon.
The Hyperion over Phantom Streak Sector JH-V c2-19 A 4
But that was not the only finding I did on the way to Rohini. Some jumps later I found something I have heard about but never found before. A ringed ammonia world in system Pyraleau PE-X d2-170. The rings were huge compared to the size of the planet, so I decided to take a closer look. They had hotspots of Serendibite and Musgravite.
The Hyperion exploring Pyraleau PE-X d2-170 6
And when I was about to arrive to Rohini, I found another tiny ELW. This one was very close to a transited route, so I guess it has chances of being colonized one day. As usual, I did the compulsory reconnaissance fly.
Jav Marlo onboard the Hyperion flying over Nyeajaae BW-C D205 5
I was exhausted when I finally made it to Eudaemon Anchorage in Rohini. It felt so nice to be in a proper Ocellus spaceport again with its comforting variable gravity. The place was established in 3303 and it is run by the Patrons of the Conflux. I cashed my exploration data and made close to fifty five million credits. I also informed about my discovery of “Tristan and Isolde”. Still shocked by the fortune I was gathering, I run to a bar to celebrate and hired me the most expensive accommodations that Eudaemon Anchorage could offer. I wanted to have a real shower with its falling water.
The Hyperion in Eudaemon Anchorage (Rohini)
I departed Eudaemon Anchorage with very high moral and headed to the system Flyiedgiae QN-T d3-17, where I expected to visit the planet known as the Quantum World, one of the smallest known worlds in the Galaxy so far discovered, with a radius of just 137 km. The world has interesting geological features, with a variety of colours ranging from sandy yellow, to beige, orange, and brown. I landed to enjoy the view and discovered that the gravity of the planet is also very weak, like in “Isolde”, making quite dangerous to use the thrusters of the SRV.
The Hyperion landed in the Quantum World (Flyiedgiae QN-T d3-17)
I resumed course and finally made it to PRU AESCS NC-M D7-192. I scanned the system upon arrival and saw two interesting things. The first one was a stellar phenomena located in the ice rings. There were several flavum and purpureum metallic crystals floating among the asteroids.
The Hyperion in the stellar phenomena of PRU AESCS NC-M D7-192
The second one was something the scanner identified as an unregistered comms beacon. That was intriguing. I decided to make an inspection and found two members of the expedition there: Commander Junagu, flying in his Pyhton the Mine Botallack Crown, and Commander Jaw, flying his Krait Phantom the Void Wanderer. It seemed that beacon transmitted a message every hour. We waited together to hear it.
The Hyperion in the unregistered comms beacon in system PRU AESCS NC-M D7-192
After the several minutes, the beacon transmitted the following message two times:
DYJEPQY UWLUDCQCKJ XUEOKJ
DJPQY P6 UNL 002
NEHHY LKCJQE 3E
LNR EUPOP JOID7192
Intriguing! It must be cyphered. I am going to need to research this.
Even with all the detours and exploration I did on this stage of the itinerary, on this occasion I managed to arrive to the final destination several hours before the release of the next waypoint, so I headed to the designated campsite, the Conflux Delta Site, and landed there for a sleep. It was close night and several commanders were joining around the installation.
The Hyperion landed at the Conflux Delta Site (PRU AESCS NC-M D7-192)
When I wake up there was daylight. The nearby ringed star was casting its light over the site, so I decided to explore the place.
Jav Marlo driving his scarab towards the Conflux Delta Site (PRU AESCS NC-M D7-192)
Jav Marlo arriving to the Conflux Delta Site (PRU AESCS NC-M D7-192)
Scattered around the camp, there were many comms log uplinks, and I was able to unlock four extracts of the registers of the settlement:
CONFLUX DELTA MISSION 1/4
Expedition Log: 30/08/3270
“I’m just the engineer on this particular jaunt. I was advised to prep the ship for a seriously long haul into the void, so I’m loaded up with as many hyperdrive spares as I can cram in. When I asked why, the captain just responded with ‘Don’t ask’.”
CONFLUX DELTA MISSION 2/4
Expedition Log: 12/09/3270
“It’s putting a strain on the ship, that I can tell you. I’ve asked for some downtime so I can run some maintenance, but the captain says we have to hit a schedule. What can be quite so important a thousand light years from the nearest inhabited planet I can’t say, but we’re in a mighty rush.”
CONFLUX DELTA MISSION 3/4
Expedition Log: 18/09/3270
“I warned ’em. We blew the hyperdrive initiator coil jumping in today. Caused a right mess down here. Lots of collateral damage. Scanners are offline and the main generator is running hot. Can’t figure out why, looks like we’re in empty space, but the heat is fierce!”
CONFLUX DELTA MISSION 4/4
Expedition Log: 01/10/3270
“We figured it out. Gravity. We’ve dropped out near a neutron star. Can’t see it, but we can feel it. The ship is cooking around us. No way we can jump out before it gets us. We’re being pulled in. Odds are even as to whether the heat, gravity or magnetism kills us first. We’re jettisoning the logs, if anyone ever finds this… save yourselves! Beware the neutron star.”
Jav Marlo at the Conflux Delta Site (PRU AESCS NC-M D7-192)
Who were this people? What were they doing here? Why so much secrecy? And, the most important, why Erimus Kamzel and Dr. Kaii had chosen this place as the campsite for the expedition.
Jav Marlo exploring the Conflux Delta Site (PRU AESCS NC-M D7-192)
So many questions. What was the point of luring so many commanders here? What do they want to expose?
This is commander Jav Marlo, recording this log at the Conflux Delta Site, in system PRU AESCS NC-M D7-192. The next part of the itinerary of the Distant Worlds 2 expedition has just been released. It seems that we are going to the Llyn Tegid Nebula. I better come back to my ship and depart with the rest of the fleet.
Jav Marlo observing the Conflux Delta Site (PRU AESCS NC-M D7-192)
The next stop is more than one thousand five hundred light years away. That gives me plenty of time to search the GalNet along the way looking for clues about the Conflux Delta Site. I want to know what all this is about.
Jav Marlo signing out.