I awoke on a small moon this morning with 99 jumps until home. I figured I would get about half of those done today and then arrive home on Sunday. Then about 44 jumps into it, I see what I thought was the nebula surrounding Colonia. I knew then that I was going to make quick work of the remaining jumps and just get home already.
It took a little bit, but I made it. Jumped into Asura, and targeted Mizuno Dock. It's been a couple of months since I've entered inhabited space, and docked at a station, so it all felt a bit strange to me. I get clearance from control for landing pad 3, I think to myself "huh, 3 that's a good sign as 3 is my lucky number" and proceed to read back my clearance. The approach goes like clockwork and I touch down like I wasn't out of practice.
I get the Karelian Dawn into the hangar and notice that the hangars don't look so good, the station appears to be in disrepair at least in the docks anyway. I shut down all of the Dawn's systems and head down the elevator. It's been a while since I have been outside the ship without my helmet on, and it feels nice.
I walk to the Dock Masters office and place an order for a thorough inspection and overhaul of my trusty Krait Phantom. She's just put a lot of light years behind her and she deserves some TLC. A couple of quick biometric scans to confirm the work orders and I am off to Universal Cartographics to see what I have earned along the way.
I talk to the rep at UC and it turns out that the system is looking to invest, so they need the exploration data. Well I authorize the transfer from the ships computer and get a nice 544,000,000 for my trouble.
I head to the lifts that head down to the residential sections and that's when it hits me. Distant Worlds 2 is over for me now, really , truly, officially over. It like a ton of bricks just landed on me. I realize it's going to take some time to work thru how I am feeling about it. It was a truly epic journey, and just like that, it's over.
I reflect on the past 6 months that this journey has taken, what I have seen, where I have been and what I have discovered. The expedition fleet was great, they were the ultimate travel partners and made the trip that much better.
I step off the lift with my head still swimming about the trip being over and I know I have to deal with another emotional episode in just another minute, I approach our apartment and scan in through the door... I am home, and much to my surprise my grandson comes running up and hugs me. My wife comes out from the kitchen and embraces me with the sweetest kiss a weary explorer could ever get. She tells me that my favorite dish is almost ready and to go change out of my flight suit and put on something comfortable for dinner.
We sit down and she catches me up on the last 6 months, our 8 year old grandson is visiting for the summer, and I am to take him back to Ray Gateway before the start of school. I always enjoy spending time with him so it makes being home even better.
We have a couple of drinks and I start to tell Tracie the details of Distant Worlds 2. There's so much to tell that I have a hard time keeping it all straight in my head. This story will take weeks to tell, but then I remember to tell her about the money from Universal Cartographics, and that we are now officially billionaires! She says she wants to look for another station to live on and based on how the hangars here are looking I agree. We will look around at whats available in the Colonia area when I am ready to fly in a week or so.
For now I just want to enjoy my family time while the Dawn get's her refit and I have my search and rescue ship Savitskaya undergoing modifications to make her more capable.
So I sip my whiskey from the glass, look out through the window to the space outside of the station and I am both glad to be home and overwhelmed that DW2 is over, but also knowing the call of the stars won't leave me alone for long.