DISTANT WORLDS 2 (PART 13) – THE SHADOW ZONE
7 APRIL 3305 Mors Pit (Bleethuae NI-B D674)
This is commander Jav Marlo, onboard the Hyperion, registering this log at Mors Pit, basecamp of the Distant Worlds 2 Expedition in system Bleethuae NI-B D674, in the Morphenniel Nebula.
The farther we go, the more mysteries we encounter.
The week started fine. On this occasion, I woke up at Tranquility Valley basecamp several hours before the releasing of the itinerary to the next waypoint, so I indulged myself in an animated chat with other commanders gathered there. I even drove around the valley watching the Kraits, ASP Explorers, Cutters and Anacondas landed there, dreaming about being the owner of one of them soon, now that I have the credits earned through my exploration efforts. When driving around I met friendly commander Thudpucker, who taught me how to make my scarab rest over its butt in a vertical position. I aligned my SRV with his and we both performed a particular figure of sun salutation to the gas giant above us, resembling some kind of ancestral ceremony before embarking us on the next stage.
Jav Marlo and Thudpucker performing the Sun salutation at Tranquility Valley (Phroi Bluae QI-T e3-3454)
Then it came the transmission of commander Erimus Kamzel with the coordinates of the next waypoint. Most of the commanders wished good luck to everyone and departed.
The Hyperion landed at Tranquility Valley in Cerulean Tranquility (Phroi Bluae QI-T e3-3454)
The first point of interest of the itinerary was the Undine Haven, in system Phroi Bluae LS-B d13-744, which contains a neutron primary star and two secondary stars. Its most distinctive feature is that in one of the secondary stars, at a distance of about twenty eight thousand light seconds, has six water worlds orbiting, all of which are terraformable. According to the Galactic Mapping Project database, the term ‘Undine’ refers to mythological water spirits first described in the alchemical writings of Paracelsus.
The Hyperion flying over one of the waterworlds in Undine Haven (Phroi Bluae LS-B d13-744)
A pity I did not bring my swimsuit with me. From there I headed to the Briar Patch Nebula, in system Hypuae Briae BV-Y e3851, a lone neutron star inside a nebula that has an eerie feel to it as it is the only star there.
The Hyperion at the Briar Patch Nebula (Hypuae Briae BV-Y e3851)
Close from there and way above was the Zinnia Haze, in system Hypuae Briae LC-U e3-152, a small planetary nebula located more than a thousand light years above the galactic plane. It has a neutron star as its primary object that gives a blue hue to the nebula when watched from the inside close to the arrival zone.
The Hyperion at the Zinnia Haze (Hypuae Briae LC-U e3-152)
But when observed from the nearby system of Hypuae Briae LU-A b33-10 it shows its true and beautiful purple and pink colors.
The Zinnia Haze observed from Hypuae Briae LU-A b33-10
Down again it was the Hydrangea Nebula, in system Hyuqeae MT-Q e5-4335, a small nebula with bright red, orange and green colors that gives it a very floral appearance, hence the name. It has a neutron star as its centre and a collection of planets with many airless moons.
The Hyperion at the Hydrangea Nebula (Hyuqeae MT-Q e5-4335)
And very near it was too the very impressive Magnus Nebula, a large vivid purple nebula along the inner Perseus Arm near the galactic core. According to the Galactic Mapping Project database, it is possibly one of the largest nebulae so far discovered on the far side of the galactic core. Magnus Nebula contains several thousand star systems, including two neutron stars and three K-Class Giants. In system Hypuae Briae YQ-Z c28-339 I found two big high metal content planets sharing an orbit that had the tag of being discovered by commander Erimus Kamzel himself and landed in one of them for a rest. The 2.5 gravity tensioned my muscles and made all my body ache, but I decided to endure it since I was feeling very weak after so many days travelling with no gravity. All the space explorers loose muscular mass when out in the black, it comes with the business.
The Hyperion landed at Hypuae Briae YQ-Z c28-339 4
The Magnus Nebula is situated just seven hundred light years outside the mysterious borders of the Bleia Permit Zone. Commander Erimus Kamzel warned us about that through the Fleetcomm channel. “If route plotting fails commanders will need to look for passable sectors skirting around, above, or below these restricted sectors in order to reach the Morphenniel Nebula”. Restricted sectors? What does that mean? Let’s find out.
The Magnus Nebula observed from Hypuae Briae OE-D c27-751
I arrived to the Infinite Bonds in system Hypuae Briae YF-E d12-2760 without difficulty and found the stunning pair of Earth-like worlds there with their beautiful purple colors sharing their orbit just 0.25 light seconds apart.
The Hyperion at the Infinite Bonds (Hypuae Briae YF-E d12-2760)
And there is when the problems started. I opened the navigation map in order to lock the next system of the itinerary Vegnoae BK-R d4-1105, also known as the Neighboring Necklaces, but the computer was not able to plot a route. What the hell! I guess that was what Erimus Kamzel was talking about.
I randomly tried to lock on systems in the Vegnoae sector until I found one that the computer was able to plot a route to, and I headed on that direction. It seemed that the problem came from the systems in the Bleia 3 sector. When I tried to lock on them the computer it simply said: “unknown permit required”. Unknown permit? Here? I know that some systems require a permit in order to travel there, like Sirius
. Indeed, it took me a while to get the permit to those systems. But why an unoccupied sector so far from civilized space will require a permit? Or, maybe, is not so unoccupied.
I managed to skirt around Bleia 3 and arrived to a system that was well above the Vegnoae BK-R d4-1105. From there, the navigation computer was able to plot a route and I finally made to the Neighboring Necklaces, two planets of the primary star in Vegnoae BK-R d4-1105 system that are in a binary configuration with such a tight orbit that their rings almost touch themselves. The contrast between these two worlds and their necklaces of rings is also remarkable, being one an airless landable rocky world and the other a gorgeous lava world. A great camping spot.
The Hyperion at the Neighboring Necklaces (the Vegnoae BK-R d4-1105)
I checked Galactic Mapping Project database looking for other sectors in the far regions of space that were permit locked too and found there were many of them: Bleia, Dryman, Hyponia, Sidgoir, Froadik, Bovomir, Praei… And there were many others closer to Sol like Col 70. Wait! I remember now. Col 70, that was the sector where Salomé found something
. Something that costed her life. Something important enough to rally hundreds of bounty hunters that tried to prevent her for coming back to the Bubble with her secret while thousands of independent pilots tried to protect her. Somehow, she must have managed to get into there. That shadow zone. But, how could she? It always amazes me how she, Salomé, managed to be involved in every mystery and conspiracy that puzzles the galaxy: the battle over the Prism system, the conspiracies within the Federation and the Empire, the Dark Wheel, the Children of Raxxla, the Zurara, the INRA bases and the Col 70 sector mystery. Is it possible that they can be all linked? But how? I fear that secret died with her.
As far as I know, space navigation depends on the Pilots Federation GalNet system, that is installed in every independent starship. The GalNet system is not only a star chart, it is also a communication system that provides newsfeed, markets information and many more. The Pilots Federation is not only the dominant provider of this information, they also manufacture the hardware and software serving this data that is embedded in every starship and space station. Summarizing, they control the communications net and the navigation systems of almost everyone. And that is a lot of power. They claim to be politically neutral, but all their endeavors are involved in secrecy.
I could understand that such an elusive and mysterious organization like the Pilots Federation locks the access to some systems in order to protect dark secrets. Conspiracies are the fuel of politics nowadays, or always have been. But we are talking of huge sectors of the galaxy blocked here. Places that were beyond the reach of any starship just five years ago. This cannot be just because of the Pilots Federation. There must be something more. Some other reason behind this shadow zones.
The system Vegnoae WE-R e4-9257 and the Eos Nebula was just six hundred light years away and I did not have problems plotting a straight route there. The place takes its name from Eos, the Greek goddess of dawn, because of its rosy calming colors.
The Eos Nebula observed from Vegnoae IO-P c19-206
I found a notable stellar phenomena within the nebula, a yellow Lagrange cloud filled with solid mineral spheres, rubeum metallic crystals and some serious electric activity.
The Hyperion inspecting a notable stellar phenomena at the Eos Nebula (Vegnoae WE-R e4-9257)
I thought it was time to head for the Morphenniel Nebula the closest visitable nebula in the middle of the mysterios shadow zone of Bleia. But it was not easy to plot a route to the system Bleethuae NI-B D674, where the base camp was. I had to approach little by little, locking in the navigation computer the systems that took me in that direction while avoiding the shadow zones of the Bleia sectors in the way.
The process was tiring, and I had been flying without resting for days, so I decided to make a stop in the way before reaching the basecamp. Anyhow, I was way before schedule. I was looking for a suitable place when I jumped into system Phroi Byoe FE-B c29-23, which contained a class V gas giant orbiting very close to the secondary star of the system. I decided to make an approach to enjoy the views.
The Hyperion approaching the class V gas giant Phroi Byoe FE-B c29-23 B 1
I think I have never seen a gas giant so close to a star. The view was mesmerizing. I flew around the planet before leaving looking for a place to land.
The Hyperion flying around Phroi Byoe FE-B c29-23 B 1
I landed on the third moon of the primary star, and I could enjoy a beautiful binary sunset that reminded me of an iconic scene in an ancient movie from the twentieth century that told a story that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Binary sunset (Phroi Byoe FE-B c29-23)
After a short rest, I finally was able to plot a direct course to system Bleethuae NI-B D674. The view of the Morphenniel Nebula from Bleethuae UH-E b1-14 was majestic. It is said that, with its bright orange-white tip that falls away to darker orange and red colours, it resembles from some angles the tail fire of a rocket.
The Morphenniel Nebula observed from Bleethuae UH-E b1-14
I had arrived to the basecamp seventy two hours before the release of the next waypoint, so I expected to be alone there, but soon I noticed the presence of other commanders.
The Hyperion landed at Mors Pit (Bleethuae NI-B D674)
I decided to ride into the SRV and say hello. I had just left the Hyperion when I heard a loud boosting sound coming close right behind me. Out of nowhere, a superfast Taipan flew over me did a loop and stopped hovering right in front my vehicle. It was commander Hyundai35
closing by to say hello. He greeted me, performed a pirouette and lift up boosting leaving a cloud of dust behind him. I love these Taipans. They must be great for surface exploration. I have to get my hands in one of those as soon as I am able.
Jav Marlo greeting commander Hyundai35 in his Taipan at Mors Pit (Bleethuae NI-B D674)
It seemed that commander Hyundai35 was not there alone. A couple of minutes later he came back accompanied by commanders Jipsee
, and they were flying guardian fighters. Amazing technology! I need to find a way to contact the engineer known as Ram Tah and get some Guardian technology too. They approached my humble SRV too and greet me amicably. It seemed that we were the first commanders to arrive to Mors Pit. That is one of the best parts of this expedition. The camaraderie between commanders from so many different allegiances. Here, in the black, we are all explorers, and I think that feeling of camaraderie gets tighter the farther we find ourselves away from civilized space.
From left to right: commanders Jipsee, Hyundai35 and Liilee flying their fighters at Mors Pit (Bleethuae NI-B D674)
In the following two days, different commanders came and go. I took the opportunity to exchange thoughts with them about the crossing of the shadow zone of Bleia, hearing all kind of theories. Some say that these sectors have higher than usual density of ammonia worlds. Others talk about mysterious distant objects and sightings. But the most common theory says that these could be a region of space controlled by the Thargoids. Alas, none of these rumors has been verified. I am afraid that the mystery of the shadow zone of Bleia will continue in the shadows for the time being.
Jav Marlo signing out.
Jav Marlo in his scarab at Mors Pit (Bleethuae NI-B D674)