I'm back home now (that's not for long, be sure
) and my palms are almost not itching (I should admit, they have pretty good plastic surgery there in Colonia, not at all as good as in Royal Hospital in Achenar, of course, but still) so it's time to recollect some impressions of the Distant Worlds 2 expedition.
As you probably already know, one of my former classmates in Achenar's His Royal Majesty Emperor Hengist Duval's Cadet Corps... I can't believe that after all those years The Corps still wears the same name, that fact in itself shows how deep have we fallen it that shameful dynastic crisis: the Emperess feels so uncertain on the throne, that she can't even dare to keep up good old tradition of renaming The Corps after the current ruler!
But, well, back to the story: this friend of mine works in Imperial Rings Research Institute, and he is always in desperate need for more data. I, on the other hand, am always glad to fly to some godforsaken outskirts of the Galaxy. So it was just a matter of time for us to start a common expedition
The idea was simple and brilliant (or so we thought at that time): we take my newly re-outfitted long range yacht HMS Cicindela and fly across the whole Galaxy with the big Distant Worlds 2 expedition fleet in safety and comfort, serviced by hull seals, refueled by fuel rats and protected by iridium wings.
We made a few circles around the Bubble to test the new engine (to be completely honest and for some sightseeing too) and hit the road.
Very large and hot gas giant in front of it's dying star in HIP 12028
The enormous accretion disc in HD 175876
Feeling kind of dizzy in Pyramoe UN-F B3-6
Good old GGG in Bleia Dryiae HF-W b35-1
As you can see from those waypoints, our route was far from straight line
The first interdiction attempt was at Pallaeni. The superior maneuverability of my clipper allowed us escape easily. This was s sign, however. The sign we didn't read.
The reality soon turned it's severe side. We managed to catch up with the expedition near some remote mining base in Omega Nebula. And we were right in time to watch the whole fleet massacred by a group of bored imperial aristocratic "golden youths".
You see, the super-advanced imperial medicine (for those, who are noble and rich enough to afford it, of course) has, let's say, a negative side. On one hand our aristocracy live long, very long, way too long to provide social lifts for the new generations, on the other hand the very same medical care allows them to stay in the reproductive period for a very long time. It's quite simple to see where it leads: many aristocratic families have a lot of children (I myself, for instance, am the fourteenth and the youngest in my generation of the family) who inherit the titles, but can't inherit administrative posts, because the Empire just not needs that much high ranked officials. That is exactly why the Empire is drowning in absolutely unnecessary bureaucracy -- because a lot of them want to occupy a post worth of their aristocratic title. And that is exactly why you can see a lot of privateers with loud titles (like imperial barons, dukes or even princes) hanging around all over Bubble -- because when they finally get bored with doing nothing, they buy warships (their families are rich enough to provide them with such expensive toys) and start looking for trouble. No wander that from time to time they massacre each other and everybody else. However, enough of that grumbling.
My yacht HMS Cicindela is a fast ship (in fact, I can proudly boast that it is -- or rather it was -- one of the fastest ships in it's class). That and only that allowed us to gain enough time to crash-land in the labyrinth of canyons on some small moon of a small brown dwarf in some system in Omega Nebula (actually, I was too busy to remember the name), put on helmets, jump out and hide among the rocks. A moment later group of two cutters and one anaconda found us and sprayed the remains of the damaged yacht onto molecules.
We waited for some hours and then -- when we thought the main massacre was over and it was safe enough to demand for some attention -- turned on the distress beacon. A few more hours later we were picked up by one of the hull seals (who had luck to survive the whole mess) and delivered to the Omega Mining Operations base. Can't say that it was close, because we still had oxygen for more than 40 minutes.
A friend of mine for some reason decided to continue the expedition remotely, while physically staying in the silence and safety of his office in Achenar. And I myself headed back to the family hangar to look for something sturdy.