I’ve had my fill. I’m up to here with stupid crystal forests and stars that look like any other star but are special because.. . I Don’t know, they fart a different gas. Oo look, it’s an Ice body just like the other billion ice bodies you already logged. I’ll just keep focused on it for another forty-five seconds to find out its got one point of oh-so-amazing geological interest. Well la-de-flipping-dar, only another 20 just like it to log in this system.
How is it, I see stunning images from other Commanders every day? A cluster of Neutron Stars here, a beautiful triple sunrise over a valley of alien trees there and a staller vista of exotic suns lighting a cloud of space dust over a life-sustaining paradise that would make angels weep. The best I can manage is a snap of my raggedy arse ship*
zipping along a trench on the dark side of an ice moon. I just can’t ever find a good image to snap. I know I’m not a very good photographer, but I really want to find a beautiful scene to try and capture.
It’s not all bad, the other night I was digging through the cold storage looking for a tray of cakes that may have got misplaced when I found a large pack of Mint-Chocolate Milkshakes. I now have twenty-fore of the refreshingly cool minty masterpieces that I’d completely forgotten about. Well eighteen, I did a few victory laps of the cargo hold and needed a drink after, and you can never just have one Mint-Chocolate Milkshake. So far I think lost Milkshake is the greatest discovery of my voyage.
Jump scoop and do it again. NO! Last night I stopped and had a conversation with an asteroid because the craters on it made it look like it had a face. I haven’t seen another face for so long, it was nice to pretend I’d bumped into a guy (I called him Aaron) that was also going to the local shop to buy a milkshake and some sweeties. He didn’t want to talk to me coz he kept turning away and wouldn’t make eye contact. Rude wanker is off my Christmas list. It’s clear to me I’m becoming quite unhinged and I need to go home before I truly believe the stars are watching me and tell the darkness what I do in the bathroom. Dancing like no one is watching to guilty pleasure songs is crap when there is no chance of anyone catching you at it. I’ve made my mind up, I’m going home and you lot can’t stop me.
Plotting a route has been hard on the rim, I’ve been getting about twenty to forty jumps plotted before the nav-com just sulks in the corner and refuses to plot any more until I give it a hug or call it soothing names. I found the system way way off in the bubble I want to call journeys end, and pressed the button fully expecting a digital raspberry followed by a digit known as The Finger, but no, It seems my computer want to get home too. A two hundred and fifty-odd jump rout plotted in record time, no problem. Bubble, strap ya dancing shoes on, I’m comin home.
On the other hand, only two hundred and fifty-odd jumps away from home. Four months out in deepest space and I can get home in only two hundred and fifty-odd jumps? I could, if I only jumped and scooped, be home in a day. One poxy day after being away so long. It really doses belittle the experience for me. I’m not just gonna rush back, I may be sick of it, but I’m still an explorer with an imaginary friend, but an explorer none the less.
I’m now about one hundred and seventy jumps from journeys end. I hit a patch of cold stars and couldn’t scoop but I kept going. I don’t think I’ve been much lower than half a tank ever on this voyage, so seeing that I only had about eighty light-years’ worth of fuel left was quite the surprise. I warmed up the FSD and the computer told me the next jump was to a Y class star, so I canceled the jump.
Opening up the star map didn’t fill me with much hope. All the stars around me in range looked like dull red dots, except one. One bright blue point to the upper 11 o’clock position along my jump rout looked scoopable, so I made it my destination. A white-blue star greeted me on the other side and I pinged the system and stared mapping it while I refilled my tanks. I wasn’t paying attention to the bodies I was logging, I was just watching the indicator in the top right corner to see if any of the planets offered anything on the surface worth visiting. I had to go back and check on one planet, because I didn’t believe the brief glimpse I gave it before zooming out and logging the next one. It was true; I had found an Earth-like.
I looked at the bottom of the display expecting to see a commander’s name. .. and it was blank! Well, another victory lap of the ship was in order and a quick refresh at the minty station (that’s what I call the gally fridge now) before a quick finger gunfight with Donald the rhinoceros. I won because I have fingers.
All that time out here and I manage to find an undiscovered Earth-like because I almost ran out of fuel and jumped to a place to just to scoop. Amazing how it works out isn’t it? I’m definitely on my way home now, because I have a planet to name. It’ll be my first and I’m really looking forward to that. I’ll still be logging everything I find along the way, so I got a few more days yet, but I’m finished, and happy with what I’ve done on this expedition.
*I don’t mean it Mercy’s Reach. You’re an amazing ship.