commanding officer: TFAS-EX Pitter Patter
Well, I'm lucky the Pilot's Federation approved my flight plan this time around, especially since my failures aboard the Giordano Bruno were so prolific and copious.
But, we've done it, and we're back. Expedition Taco 2 is both better equipped, and has a more experienced crew this time around.
The original plan was to venture to Colonia and back, but, once we arrived, we all felt the itch to go further. In fact, without all of the extra modules and heavy equipment we brought along, the journey was both quick and pleasant. After my embarrassing failures on our first trip, I was reluctant to keep a public log. First, we lost valuable data, including a few earth-like planets and even the locations of some previously undocumented, space faring life forms. These were nearly identical to the mollusks found in Colonia, but they existed far away from a nebula, and could have been valuable to xenobiologists.
It was also upon arrival to Colonia when the crew and I heard the news about Prof. Palin, and the Thargoids. We had a long discussion about returning home and reporting for Anti-Xeno duties, but when we looked at it realistically, there was no guarantee that we'd be able to make it back to our combat vessel before we ran afoul of a Thargoid raiding party. We worry for our families and our friends, but we came out here to survey the galaxy, so it came down to a vote.
Crewman Vega wanted to return. His extensive combat and diplomatic experience convinced him that he would be able to do some good. When I pointed out that even the Corvette wasn't equiped for Thargoids, he was deterred, but only slightly. We all know what happens when you try to fight the bugs with conventional weapons.
Crewman Astra, who is a bit of a coward, suggested completely bankrupting ourselves to move the fleet out to Colonia. There was some sense to this idea, if the stations storing our fleet are attacked, we could lose everything. The problem is, We make our fortune by mining, and if this current incident subsides, we're not going to have the funds to ship everything back to inhabited space, where the mining market is most profitable. Given that the pilot's federation is finally legalizing personal ownership of carriers and support ships, Taco Corp. would like to be able to acquire theirs quickly.
I decided to do neither. If the fleet were to be destroyed, insurance would cover it, unless this was the Thargoid's coup de gras, and then the market won't exist anyway, and we'd still be some of the wealthiest people in the colonies. We could easily set up planet side and live our lives in comfort. Whether or not it was a deathblow to humanity, we'd never get back in time to do anything about it, and get armed and trained to fight the bugs in any meaningful way.
Plus Sagittarius A* was only 11,000 light years away, and I've always wanted to see a black hole. The privilege of command is an incredible thing.
So we went, and holy crap. I thought we were going to die. In fact, because of the odd way light behaves near a black hole, I immediately order an emergency stop. Some local passenger pilots had a good laugh over that. We found a tourist beacon and decided to stop by and get some information. It's nice to be told about where we are, rather than having to scan and infer. Both Astra and Vega are accomplished scientists, but they never shut up and let me enjoy learning new things. If anything, they bicker endlessly over independent, unverifiable hypotheses.
Oh boy, can I ever not wait until they get their own labs aboard the exploration carrier. It's bad enough that they argue about things I can't understand, now they'll have numbers to back themselves up.
The Center of our galaxy though, was enough to shut even them up.
From here, I wanted to stop by the Distant Worlds Megaship. She was magnificent, but it made me sad that I couldn't go aboard and see her from the inside. I earned my command shortly before she left on her last expedition, and was not equipped to go on Distant Worlds 2. I watched the images roll in, and felt a deep longing to see the abyss for myself.
The privilege of command is an incredible thing.
When I turned around to propose my idea to the two scientists, They were behind me, standing at attention. Oddly enough, so was the cat. I didn't even have to say it. They were already with me.
You see, there's no reason we can't retrace her steps. We have the equipment to be self-sustaining. We can synthesize everything we need, and we even have a pretty good stock of materials.
Sure, the abyss is infamous for eating small ships. We can Jump in, but can't jump out. But I've got a 55ly Jump range in the Pitter Patter, vs the 26 I got out of the Bruno. I'm also neutron star certified now, and feel quite comfortable using the Jet cone boost.
The only real concern is that I might crash and damage the hull, but I'm a cautious pilot, and I'm confident in my knowledge of procedure.
We are now headed out towards Beagle Point. From there, it is our hope to return home via the entirely unexplored western rim of the Galaxy.