Galactic stardate 04FEB3305
Although our overnight campsite was beneath a wonderful multi-coloured nebula canopy, we awoke eager to press on.
The next suggested port of call on the fleet's itinerary was Skaude AA-A h294, better known in exploration circles as the Collection Of Wonders. We had heard talk of this system from several explorers/tourists/galaxy wanderers back home in Eleu who had been looking for the services of a pilot and ship to bring them out this way, so we were keen to see what all the fuss was about. A quick systems check and a bite to eat, and we were on our way in no time.
Our final view of the Rusty Net was spectacular.
24 uneventful jumps, with a couple of mapping distractions, and we dropped into Skaude AA-A h294.
Wow! we were not disappointed!
On approach, the system seemed unremarkable and provided no clue as to what it held. If you didn't know, you could quite easily have sailed on past and been none the wiser. But that would definitely have been a mistake, as we would have missed two black holes, a ringed M-class star, a ringed white dwarf, and a ringed neutron star!
Neither Cathy nor I had ever seen any star other than a brown dwarf with rings before, so we simply throttled down and gazed in stunned silence for a considerable time.
Collection of Wonders - even that title somehow undersold what we were seeing with our very own eyes.
The M star looked particularly threatening, but we were here and it had to be done so, after scanning the tourist beacon (I can see why the pilot's Federation spent the time and money to signpost this system!), I eased us closer to the M star and towards it's ring system, trusting that Star Reaper's hull and systems would keep us safe and stop us burning up into galactic ash! Fortunately, the modern cockpit canopies have full radiation protection and prevent our eyes and other vital body parts from being seared and boiled away in an instant.
From normal space within the rings the M class looked even more brooding and ominous, but Star Reaper did indeed keep us safe from harm. I guess in reality, we actually get closer to stars when fuel scooping, but psychologically, this was much more worrying!
Back to SC, and the next stop was the neutron star and then the white dwarf. Both looked much more benign, but we had to keep our focus and remember that everything's dangerous out here, and the galaxy actually wants to kill us all the time, and will do if we let our guard down!
Having survived today's excitement, we jumped out to a neighbouring system and found a rocky planet in a quieter backwater to use as our base tonight.
we sit here watching a peaceful starry sky, and finding it hard to remember the tremendous amount of energy and destructive potential orbiting itself a mere 5lys away.
God, the galaxy is scary if you think about it too much!
Tomorrow is another day - alien civilisation day!