It's late evening galactic standard time. I'm sitting in my private suite aboard the Jurassic in a previously unexplored system approximately halfway between 'the bubble ' and Colonia. Although that puts us ten thousand light years from Sol, we've already traveled over seventeen thousand light years since we first began. We did some sightseeing along the way.
I say 'we' because I'm not traveling alone. Previous deep space trips I've taken aboard the 'Leif Erikson', my Asp Explorer, were always solo trips. The Jurassic is an Anaconda class ship that I've rebuilt into an explorer and has more available space as well as capability. I decided to add a few passenger berths at the last minute after being approached by a travel agent that I'm on friendly terms with.
He had a quartet of people who wanted to relocate to the Colonia area and knew that I planned to eventually pass through that region. After meeting with them and explaining that I was in no particular hurry to arrive at their destination, we reached an agreement for transportation. They turned out to be two young couples hoping to start new lives elsewhere, and actually seemed rather pleased with my plans for a sightseeing tour.
I also brought my long term telepresence fighter operator along. Fenn Sanchez had decided to relocate there as well, and I'm happy for both his company as well as his service as a steward for the trip. The passengers have turned out to be pleasant company as well and I've enjoyed seeing them marvel over some of the sights we've seen.
We passed through a black hole cluster early on, as well as catching a few stellar phenomena such as floating spaceborn crystalline structures that show signs of being some sort of life form. The first neutron star was a beautiful sight for everyone until they realized I intended to pass through the energy cone in order to boost the range of the Frame Shift Drive. I think they're more comfortable with it now after doing it several times.
Tonight we're sitting on the surface of a world never before seen by human eyes. We enjoyed an excursion in the pair of SRV's carried in the Jurassic's belly before dinner, and are now relaxing in the relatively low gravity provided by this small world. After several days of zero gravity, you'd be surprised how much of a luxury it is. Taking an actual shower isn't something I take for granted.
I'm anxious to see what all the fuss is about with Colonia. Humans being what they are, I suspect it really won't be much different than life in the bubble. As a race, we tend to bring our problems with us wherever we go. I'm predicting a microcosm of the core worlds with only the names being different.
As for the Jurassic herself, she's performing remarkably well. I managed to incorporate some Guardian technology into the FSD, and even with the extra weight of the business -class passenger compartments, have been attaining jumps of over seventy-five light years. That's shortening the trip considerably while doing a lot less wear and tear on the drive itself. I may extend the trip beyond what I'd originally planned.
At our current rate, we'll see Colonia sometime in the next week or so. I'll make the call then.
- - - -
A letter left on an antique wooden desk...
I'm sorry for the way things turned out between you and Kaiden. I never meant to take your daughter away from you like this. She believes in me and knows how much I want to succeed. We're both engineers and tried to show you our business plan, but you refused to look at it. I told you before that we weren't asking for money. All Kaiden wanted was your support.
My biggest regret is that you never got to know me. Just because I'm from the Federation doesn't mean that I hate your Empire. I couldn't care less about politics, which is why we've decided to elope and go somewhere that political boundaries don't exist.
You should know that Kaiden was four weeks pregnant when you last saw her. You're refusal to accept me as a part of her life means that you'll never meet your grandchild. Maybe one day you'll see what your stubborn nationalism has cost you. Hopefully it won't be too late then to change.