DISTANT WORLDS 2 (PART 15) – EMBRACING THE SPACE MADNESS
21 APRIL 3305 Luna’s Shadow (Smootoae QY-S d3-202)
Resuming log. Well, I will be alone, but I must go on. One of the purposes of this stage of the expedition is the mapping survey of the regions called the Boreas Expanse: Boreas, Styx and the Bleak Lands. I am in the Boreas now, ready to cross the Styx, but there is a detour that could take me along a great sector of the Styx region. A huge detour.
There is a system called nowadays Rendezvous Point, that was the set for the first ever deep space encounter beyond the galactic core regions. Commander Erimus Kamzel and Commander R4nger0 met there on 16th February 3301, during a time when seldom few had reached those remote regions of the galaxy. And this system is seven thousand and five hundred light years from here. If a trace a path there and back again to Kalipheron, the following meeting point of the route, it will take me al across the Styx Region for more than fourteen thousand light years. That will be quite an exploration detour. Let’s get to work. I must hurry up if I want to make it on time for Luna’s Shadow.
Resuming log. Ahem. I keep Flying. Still one thousand light years to arrive to Rendezvous Point. This was not a good idea. I think I know now why they call this region the Styx. It is dead. For thousand of light years I have found nothing interesting, only frozen planets and some gas giants. There is no life here. All the systems I jump are barren, dark and frozen. I have been making little detours heading for the heavy mass systems of each sector. I was able to find a black hole in sector Preae Auwsy, but it was already discovered. Beyond that, nothing. The star density is quite low here and there are not many promising stars to look for. After so many jumps I am exhausted, I feel dizzy and I have started to talk with my COVAS, Archer. I chose him because I thought his British accent would be very relaxing and appropriate for an explorer vessel. Now, I find him quite annoying.
Resuming log. I have arrived to Rendezvous Point. No signals of any other vessel from the fleet. I had no expectations. I need to land and rest. The fifth planet has a landable ringed icy moon with a comfortable gravity, that will do me good. There I go.
The Hyperion landed at Rendezvous Point 5 A
Resuming log. I am feeling better after a good sleep on a planet surface. But I must continue if I want to make on time for the final stage. There is still a huge distance to cover across the Styx. I am now more than forty three thousand light years from Sol. I wonder how Erimus Kamzel and R4nger0 felt when they found each other here, so far from civilization. There were no route plotters on that time. Commander Kamzel was returning from a mission on the Outer Galactic Rim, and Commander R4nger0 was attempting to cross the galaxy in a Sidewinder. That is madness. How they could resist the vertigo of being adrift for so long without reference points. I can not imagine.
Resuming log. The trip back to the route is being as fruitless as the way to Rendezvous Point. I have started to see strange lights while passing through witch space. I even found a waterworld, a lonely waterworld in a system with five stars. No other planets there. I scanned it and heard some weird noises. It was like if the only life bearing planet I have found on this desolated region was calling me.
The Hyperion approaching the lonely waterworld (Eactainds JD-I b23-3)
Resuming log. I have made it to system Byua Aub WO-K b36-0, Kalipheron awaits me. I would like to find someone, anyone there.
Kalipheron is a moon that is geologically active with ammonia magma, one of the rarest forms of geological phenomena so far discovered. And I am not alone this time. My scanners have caught the signal of a vessel piloted by a commander called Gimpinstars, approaching Kalipheron too.
Commander Gimpinstars landing on Kalipheron (Byua Aub WO-K b36-0)
I guess I am not the only one affected by space madness. When I found Commader Gimpinstars flying over the meeting point he was reluctant to land, despite his Phantom was armed and my Diamondback Explorer not, and he demanded me about my intentions. I had to land first in order to build confidence. Space can make you paranoid. I understood him perfectly. After that, everything went smooth. We met in our SRVs and we could enjoy an animated chat, face to face.
Commanders Gimpinstars and Jav Marlo meeting at Kalipheron (Byua Aub WO-K b36-0)
There were no one more there. We talked about the specs of our ships and we shared our experiences of the expedition. I guess that is what explorers do when they met in the other side of the galaxy. I wonder what commanders Kamzel and R4nger0 talked about in Rendezvous Point. Anyhow, our tales were quite similar, we both have been alone for a while in space during this stage of the expedition. It was nice to have company.
Commanders Gimpinstars and Jav Marlo chatting at Kalipheron (Byua Aub WO-K b36-0)
Resuming log. I have arrived to system Byeia Free WR-W b56-0, known for the Misty Mountains of one of its moons. It is said that the dark side of this moon is covered in a heavy mist with deep canyons. Well, it is pitch black here on the dark side and I can not see if there is mist, but these canyons look quite dangerous. I have decided not to risk the ship. Not so close to the end. I am leaving this place.
The Hyperion navigating one of the canyons of the Misty Mountains of Byeia Free (Byeia Free WR-W b56-0)
Resuming log. Just some jumps away there is this system, Striechooe HO-D c14-2, which contains a gas giant with an extremely narrow ring. They call it the Hula Hoop.
The Hyperion at the Hula Hoop (Striechooe HO-D c14-2)
Resuming Log. I continue to look for high mass systems on the way to Luna’s Shadow, and I think I might have found something in system Swuenoi AA-A h86. The system contains two stars and many high metal content worlds. There is vulcanism activity in just one rocky body, the only moon of the first planet.
The Hyperion approaching Swuenoi AA-A h86 A 1 A
The surface of the moon is covered by very deep craters and lots of peaks and mountain ranges. I am going to land on the verge of one of these craters that has a huge peak on the other side.
The Hyperion landed at Swuenoi AA-A h86 A 1 A
I have rested and now I feel ready to continue exploring the surface of the moon. From above I can see many lonely mountains, and one peaking above the rest.
The Hyperion exploring the surface of Swuenoi AA-A h86 A 1 A
I have tried to land on the peak, but I could not do it. This system is in the region known as the Formorian Frontier. The Formorians are a supernatural race in Irish mythology. They are often portrayed as hostile and monstrous beings who come from the sea or underground. That reminds me that, according to Irish mythology, the site of the first battle fought in Ireland, that confronted the Formorians with the followers of Partholon, took place in a plain called Mag Itha. The plain of Mag Itha is said to have been devastated by Partholón's army. Three hundred Fomorians took part in the battle, and Partholón was victorious. Well, from above this mountain I feel myself like contemplating the battle field of Mag Itha and its many scars after the confrontation. I can not think of a more appropriate name for this place.
The Hyperion hovering over a peak in Swuenoi AA-A h86 A 1 A
I wish I had more time to spare on this place, but I must go on.
Resuming log. I have found a black hole in system Swuenoi DL-Y G2. It is a lonely one, no more bodies in the system, but it is big, more than five solar masses.
The Hyperion observing the black hole in Swuenoi DL-Y G2
Resuming log. Finally, my luck has changed. I have found life in the middle of the Bleak Lands. There is an Earth like planet in system Auphaibs EY-J b3. It is tiny, cold and has a landable moon.
The Hyperion approaching Auphaibs EY-J b3 A 1
A nice camping site before arriving to Luna’s Shadow.
The Hyperion landed at Auphaibs EY-J b3 A 1 A
Resuming log. I have arrived to system Smootoae VE-R d4-134, also known as the Shadow Earth, because it contains and Earth like world that is situated 51,819 light years along the zero meridian line from Sol, and 25,919 light years from Sagittarius A. It is thought to be the closest Earth like world discovered to the physical antithesis of Sol on the far side of the galaxy.
The Hyperion flying over the Shadow Earth (Smootoae VE-R d4-134)
And the antithesis of Sol on the far side of the galaxy is just fifty light years away, system Smootoae QY-S d3-202, Luna’s Shadow. Situated on the galactic prime meridian, and one light year above the galactic plane, some 25,898 light years from Sagittarius A on the far side of the galaxy, this system is the physically located antithesis of Sol. Remarkably the star system also has eight major planets, the third one being a water world orbited by a moon that is strikingly similar in both appearance, size, and composition to that of the Earth's moon, on the opposite side of the galaxy from this location. This moon, nicknamed Luna's Shadow, is an ideal location for travellers to land at and collect Jumponium resources before heading out to the Abyss. And the moon has a huge crater known as the Magnificent Desolation, where the basecamp of the expedition is.
The Hyperion approaching the Magnificent Desolation (Smootoae QY-S d3-202)
There are already some commanders landed there. I can see a Cobra a Diamondback Explorer like mine, some Anacondas and one Beluga. Huge ships. Probably with a crew of a few. I guess space madness feels different when flying one of those.
The Hyperion landed at the basecamp of Magnificent Desolation (Smootoae QY-S d3-202)
It seems that we are at least a couple of hundred commanders who have made it to here so far. And they say that a mass jump is being organized right now. I cannot believe it. I have made it on time to participate on a mass jump. One of Distant Worlds` most popular rituals. And this will be the last mass jump of Distant Worlds 2.
I quickly go back into orbit and request permission to join one of the groups that are being organized by commander Rebecca Lansing and her partners. Soon, I am invited to join the group of Commander The Sonderval, and I drop out of super cruise at her beacon. A bunch of commanders have already gathered there.
Jav Marlo joining the mass jump group leaded by commander The Sandorval (Smootoae QY-S d3-202)
The final stage of the itinerary has been released by commander Erimus Kamzel. Everybody wishes good luck. All the vessels align themselves for the jump.
The Distant Worlds 2 commanders aligning themselves for the last mass jump (Smootoae QY-S d3-202)
T minus five. The chaotic formation of more than fifty ships make a big honk altogether. Frame shift drives charging. Holding thrusters.
The Distant Worlds 2 commanders ready to mass jump (Smootoae QY-S d3-202)
In the last two weeks I have covered more than thirty five thousand light years exploring. That is more than half the distance between Sol and Beagle Point in straight line. And the final goal is just thirteen thousand light years away. It is time. Now! Frame Shift Drive charged. Thrusters at maximum power. See you at Beagle Point. 3, 2, 1, ENGAGE.
The Hyperion mass jumping from Luna’s Shadow (Smootoae QY-S d3-202)