Another long week, this time up to the top of the galaxy, if up is such a thing out here. On the way I had an interesting stop over at the "Crown of ice" in Phipoea WK-E d12-1374. Planet 4 B, a rocky, icy moon that is orbiting a ringed gas giant. I came into orbital cruise aiming at the northern pole where a 50km ice mountain pierces space. Unfortunately, I'd arrived during the wrong time in the moon's cycle and it was pitch dark. I turned on night vision but even then, due to the high peaks and deep canyons I could not get a good look at the place, the ship’s computers struggling to keep my field of view lit up in its simulated dark green light. I abandoned any low flying or landing and pulled my ship up into the orbital sweet spot and slung her over the top of the moon and into the light of the star. This time I headed for one of the turquoise canyons and gently cruised in, spotted a slight plateau and bought her down with a puff of ice crystals and dust. Photo HERE
of the surface.
I deployed the SRV and went for a drive. The blue canyon went on for thousands of kilometres, with sharp rocks and formations jutting out from the floor, the walls towering above me on either side. I bumped and skidded on, making use of the SRV's jump thrusters to smooth the ride out. The right-hand wall eventually gently sloped away, making it less vertical and creating a very steep hill up to the top of the canyon. I say steep, it must have been 60 degrees. I couldn't resist and gunned the throttle and headed up the "hill".
It was lots of fun at first and I made good but slow progress, then it got steeper and narrower. To my right and left were deep ravines that dropped down hundreds of meters and in front was basically a wall as the slope went near vertical. My wheels started spinning, kicking up rock and ice and when I eased off I felt myself slipping backwards but the wheels were refusing to stay straight. I craned my neck to look behind, then suddenly the tyres got traction and the SRV lurched forwards but at the same time upwards, pushing me nearly onto the rear bumper and with that the left back wheel slipped off the edge. The right wheel came off the ground and I flipped over and sideways, I then started to tumble over and over. I gripped onto the controls and could just see rock, then stars, then rock and ice, accompanied with crunching and banging as I started to pick up speed whilst toppling over. There was a brief silence which felt like forever before an insanely loud bang and a jolt that rocked my spine and shook my brain against my skull as I landed on the roof again. My Remlock survival helmet's visor must have got confused and activated, slamming shut the visor and turning on the oxygen. The spinning and rolling then picked up pace, my stomach swam and turned over with every flip. A wave of confused nausea took over and I puked into my helmet. Now I couldn't see, the brown mulch of regurgitated ration packs obscuring my vision entirely, with the remainder sloshing about in my helmet, going up my nose and in my eyes. I just closed them and screwed them shut even though it made the burning sensation worse. Eventually the chaos just stopped, and I managed to see out of the corner of my helmet and make out the HUD. I was tilted backwards, so I hit the jump thrusters and wiggled the stick left and right. As the thrusters stopped firing the right side dipped, so I pulled the stick to the right and reversed. The machine came down with a gentle thud and I was back on all four wheels, flat on the ground. I could just make out on the dash and was sure that I didn't have an atmospheric breach, so I groped around the helmet's collar, found the safety latch and pulled it. I then nearly threw up again, as it all spilled out of the helmet onto my lap in a steaming puddle. After clearing my eyes, nose and cleaning myself up as best as I could in the confines of the SRV cockpit I headed back to the ship with 30% hull intact. Yet again thinking to myself that I need to stop being so reckless, will I ever learn!
I cleaned myself thoroughly, dumped the dirty clothes out the cargo hatch and got into some new ones. I left that disaster behind me with just several cuts and bruises and continued on, heading further and further upwards toward the top of the galaxy. Stars really started to thin out even though I was still at the centre where they are most densely packed. I had to revert to using neutron stars to jump from system to system due to the distance between them. After several hours I finally reach the goal, Swoals IL-Y e0 and Goliaths Rest. The view was utterly surreal, it felt like I was on the edge of existence. I looked down and could see the mass of the galaxy with its milky centre graduating away into the distance as it stretched to the galactic horizon. I looked up and there was nothing, apart from the odd lonely star hundreds of light years away, there was just black nothingness. It was an amazing view, probably one of the best on the expedition so far, one I probably won't see again or at least not for a while. I headed over to moon B 1 which is just 35 ls from a massive, bright, rare carbon star. I landed on its 1.41 g surface and took some more startling views of the galaxy and the extremely close by star. See HERE
I stayed there a while before travelling a few neutron star jumps back down from the ceiling to Waypoint 8. I am behind the fleet by a day or so now so there were only a few commanders to meet up with. I entered in the next set of route POIs for the leg to Waypoint 9 and started off again straight away. Hopefully I will catch up this coming week.