August 12, 3305
Distance from Beagle Point: 39,163.57ly
Distance to Waypoint 12: 0.00ly
Distance to Sagittarius A: 5,968.94ly
Distance to Kunti: 27,345.98ly
Another logbook entry, another little series of mishaps and mistakes. The space madness might just be settling in here, as I’m making errors I normally wouldn’t make, and that could prove extremely costly this far from home, even with the safety of Explorer’s Anchorage almost in sight. I think my current view is worth it, though.
First up, I have indeed found the Neutron Highway since my last entry, and the galaxy has flown by since entering it. I’ve jumped thousands upon thousands of light years pretty much every day. Even a mild illness last week did little to slow me down. I’ve gone some 25,000 light years since my last entry a little over a week ago, and I’m loving the progress, especially with no sign of those troublesome computer troubles I had in The Abyss. That progress has still seen plenty of discoveries, including my first undiscovered Earthlike since before I reached Beagle Point. Plenty of terraformables and water worlds, as well, along with the odd ammonia world. Even found a rather rare rocky terraformable moon. Explorer’s Anchorage should see me bank a lot of credits for all the data I’ve gathered of the far side of the galaxy.
But it has not been entirely smooth sailing. By now, I’m long used to the process of using the jet cones of neutron stars to supercharge the StarNova’s FSD for a distance boost. All the creaking and groaning as the ship gets flung about is routine, although I do keep my hand close to the emergency button to engage life support, just in case some hull breach happens. But in the last couple of days I’ve made the same basic mistake twice...that of forgetting to repair the FSD every few boosted jumps as the overcharging strains it. And, naturally, as the integrity of the FSD drops from repeated overcharging, malfunctions start showing up...which would be deadly if a malfunction drops you into realspace inside a neutron’s jet cone. On both those occasions the FSD did indeed malfunction...thankfully in both cases it was a minor one that simply interrupted my attempt to hyperjump away from the system, and did not disrupt my supercruise. Both relieving and terrifying, and hopefully a scare that will keep me from making such a mistake ever again.
On top of that, I made a small navigational error that thankfully was in no way dangerous, just a minor thing that caught me off guard. Even being this close to Explorer’s Anchorage, there’s a sight I’ve heard about through stories at the pilot lounges back home that my course home sent me close to. A system called Sluenoe CL-Y g5, which is not only a bizarre trinary system of two black holes and a neutron star, but among the brown dwarfs and gas giants orbiting the system is a sight I had yet to see...a ringed Earthlike moon. With so many rare, interesting sights, I decided to detour through it on my way into the galactic core. What I failed to notice until I attempted to plot the course yesterday was that the system is a long way below the galactic disc...3000 light years. For some reason when I had first looked up the system in my nav computer some months ago, I had remembered it being closer to 2000.
The point of this is that 3000 light years is a long, long way below the galaxy, almost as far as any ship can go with our current technology. As such, getting down there was an exercise in patience and finesse with the nav computer. Unable to chart a course the whole way there, I managed to get within about 300 light years, before the lack of system stalled my progress, forcing me to explore the area manually, visiting systems and inching a bit closer until I could find something within the 240 light year range the StarNova has when supercharged by a neutron jet.
Through these efforts I came across the first black hole on this voyage, and the first one I’ve ever seen aside from Sagittarius A itself. As a warning to all pilots reading this, especially those who enjoy exploring the galaxy; be very, very careful around black holes. They are much smaller than they seem, and as such the FSD drops you from hyperspace extremely close to them. I did not realise this the first time I dropped in front of one, and after scanning the system pushed the throttle to supercruise away to a neutron star nearby to boost out in an attempt to find another path further down towards my destination. I was still facing the black hole, and the burst of thrust was enough to see the ship’s safety systems drop me into realspace so I didn’t accidentally drop beyond the event horizon...I doubt even my FSD could get me out of that one. Still, more minor damage to the hull and power plant my AFMUs cannot repair, but I’m alive. The view of space around me warping and distorting from my close proximity to the black hole was unnerving, and got downright surreal when I jump back into supercruise and the cosmos around me literally shifted back into place as I pulled free of the hole’s gravity well. It still gives me chills, even as I write this out...it’s really something that we as humans aren’t truly meant to comprehend, I think.
Anyway, after that brush with disaster...and minor existential crisis...I managed to find a path down to the system I was after. So many exotic stellar bodies in one place. And finally, a ringed Earthlike world. The view of the galaxy spread out above is stunning as well, and hopefully the images here provide a sense of that. I’m sitting in orbit of the planet as I write this, and honestly...I think I might find a way to come back here once I’ve had enough of piloting the galaxy and retire. It’s not terribly far from Explorer’s Anchorage, less than an hour’s travel if I’m not scanning everything. I could live out here, I think.
But for now, I’ve got a voyage to continue. Depending on how things go tomorrow, I might be reporting in from a station for the first time in over two months! Even if it’s not that soon, my next log will almost certainly be from there, regardless. Looking forward to gravity, company and proper food once again! It's been over three months since I left home now, and with the aid of the Neutron Highway, I'm actually back on track to make it home within my five-month expectation.
CMDR AustralianChaos, signing off.