I have finally taken my leave of the Verne settlement in LHS 293, which had been a base for me over the past few weeks, fighting against the wanted criminals that this area seems to have harboured in recent times. Their numbers have dwindled and I have not seen so many Anacondas or larger groups recently. The pirate gangs are fighting against each other rather than attacking the miners, while security has further increased thanks to more friendly ships patrolling the extraction sites. I also needed to get back to gravity for a while, the zero gravity has weakened my body.
I was sad to leave the station in many ways, particularly one or two folk whom I have become very good friends. I’ll miss those evenings fuelled by Bongo wine, the games we played, the pranks, but most of all those deep conversations I have had with the `mother hen` of the station. She gave me about a years supply of her special `space jam` that she makes, which tastes suspiciously like un-synthesised blackberry jam with all the bits (and probably a few insects too).
I headed out to pick up the Anaconda and to prepare her for the six week long expedition ahead, picking up those last few modules and carrying out a few tests. I bought her months ago, but had not flown her since. After weeks of flying the Krait mk2, it will take a while to get used to. The Krait has served me well, no doubt I’ll be flying her again soon.
Being a little ahead of schedule, I decided to make a visit to the Sol system. I feel like such a tourist. I stopped by Mercury, tested out the Anacondas planetary approach suite and landed on the surface near a crash site, another Anaconda. I decided against getting out and salvaging anything from it though, it looked like much of the useful stuff was either damaged or gone already and anything remaining not worth fighting the patrolling skimmers for.
After visiting the other inner planets briefly, I landed at Mars High and found a suitable room for the next few nights, Small and basic, but that’s all I really need. Although the gravity is artificial, It makes sleeping so much more enjoyable.