Logbook entry

LongDistanceClara / 23 Jan 3306
Romulus & Remus - A Wolf Rayet Binary :)

Second week of the "New Year New Discoveries" expedition and it's already been a pretty eventful one! Nonsensical ramblings will begin below, but a HUGE thanks to everyone on the trip for waiting for my sorry butt struggling to get online during last Saturday's Amazon Web Services brainfart, so I could join in the mass jump! Was very much appreciated indeed!

Apologies in advance if the piccies aren't up to par and I'm talking more gibberish than usual - rl has been a bit of a beast this week so have rushed this one out!


If I start writing more nonsensical drivel than usual, please forgive me - I'm exhausted!

Honestly, I'm having to write this from the bridge, because if I went with my usual M.O. of collapsing in bed and putting brain-to-pad, I'd be snoring before the end of the first sentence. I am absolutely exhausted. This "little local loop" of an expedition has kinda gone off the rails a bit, but it's entirely self-inflicted. We've dragged the Ylva through a light year or two so far this week and although it's been worth it, I am pretty happy to be locked up tight in Attenborough's Watch, a lovely cosy little asteroid base out in the Lagoon Nebula.

Deep space pitstop!

Last Friday, we'd scuttled back to the Statue of Liberty sector, in preparation for the mass jump the following day. Our plan of making the mass jump into our 100,000th new system and cross the 7.5m light year mark all at the same time was on track - but necessitated a little ping ponging around and some constant number checking, alongside a few bitten fingernails. But with a lot of headscratching, double and triple checking, we ended up in the jump system at 99,999 virgin systems visited and 7,499,997 light years on the clock. Everything was set!

Come the next day, despite a few technical hiccups, we slipped our big beautiful Beluga in line with the rest of the expedition fleet, spooled up our drives and fired our engines. And it never gets old - watching a fleet snap away one by one on blazing rails of incandescent light into Witchspace is always pretty exciting. Almost as much so as the crowd of fireflies dropping out into the target system at the other end, each little soft glow of light buzzing around the star indicating the presence of another expedition ship. And a quick glance down at the navcomp confirmed we'd hit our milestones square on the head.

Hurrah! We're idiots! I couldn't help thinking it was a bigger testament to the scale of our good old Milky Way, that despite all those different systems we'd been in, that still only represented less than one ten thousandth of a percent of the systems that make up our galaxy. So a lot left to discover then! And without the need to be quite so meticulous about our pathing now, we set our course for second star on the right - or more accurately the next waypoint - and scuttled off.

Everyone had been finding various bits of shiny along the way and it had frankly been awesome to hear as those new to the field of exploration had found their first very own water world, ammonia planet or assorted geological and biological knick knacks. One in particular had been wonderful - one of the expedition fleet had found her first ELW and not just that - a 'trinary', three beautiful blue-green marbles in a little gravitational ballet. These aren't exactly the most common of things and definitely deserving of celebration! To that end, the commander in question decided to knock up her very own cocktail and it's gone down on the menu at the Tipsy Whale without hesitation!

Jane's "Earth Like World":

Harma Silver Sea Rum (White Rum), 40ml
Blue Curaçao, 70ml
Green Kiwi, a tablespoon
Yellow Melon, a tablespoon
Thrutis Cream (Chantilly), some 80ml
Simple syrup, some 25ml

//Huuuge thanks and congrats to Cmdr Jane, discoverer of trinary ELWs and creator of cocktails - a real-life analog of the above which she made and posted on the expedition discord!

Onwards! The usual bits and bobs of shiny along the way kept us going, but it was more or less business as usual until much later that night, we rolled into Morgan's Rock, a little asteroid base where we could settle down for the night. Have to admit, I was a little bit dopey on the way in but woke up pretty sharpish as I brought the Ylva's skids down to the deck - space is at something of a premium in these hollowed-out roids and I practically had the Beluga's nose tickling the gantries on the way down!


A fairly good night's sleep - not as good as usual though, not all these asteroids spin like the Coriolis/Orbis ports and I swear I'll never get used to sleeping in zero g! A bite of breakfast and a good long chat with the crew about where to go next. There had been some chatter over the expedition comms about wanting to see some of the rarer types of stars and the thought occured to go and stretch our legs a bit, have a sniff around one of our favourite stomping grounds for all things shiny - the Orio-Persean Conflux.  It was a bit of a hike in our current spacewhale but last time we'd taken the Ylva up there, we'd bumped into all kinds of shiny so I figured she was something of a good luck charm!

Done and done! A few hours later we were drifting into Coeus, our favourite little launchpad out in the Colonia region. A quick stop off to restock supplies and straight back out, heading more or less due north up into the conflux. And straight away running into all sorts of weird and wonderful things - peeking at supergiants and black holes alike. Although this particular singularity seemed to be peeking right back at us;

I see you...

Bit spooky - time for a stiff drink, courtesy of the expedition boozehound aka Sir Jumpnick:

Basilisk's Gaze

3 ounces Bast Snake Gin
1 lime (cut into 8 wedges)
1-2 teaspoons sugar
Drop 4 lime wedges into a solid bottomed rocks glass, add the sugar and muddle well. Throw in some ice cubes, top with the gin and enjoy! (The venom adds a wonderful kick!)

//Huge thanks again to Cmdr SirJumpnick for the above text!

Fun! Right, onwards. We had a nice little campsite in mind - a rather pretty Earth-like we'd found on a jaunt up here a while ago. We had however been in the Clair de Lune at the time and that old exploration warhorse of a conda had FAR longer legs than the Ylva, necessitating a little crazed zig-zagging to get up to the system! But it was very much worth it in the end. The view down from high above the plane is always gorgeous and, in my opinion, never more so than when viewed from near the galactic core.

Marble in the Heavens!

Everytime I say this, I know but - imagine standing on a mountain top, far down below on that glimmering little blue green ball and looking up into the night sky to see that - the core in all its splendour. Gives me shivers!

Pretty as it was, we were all fairly tired at this point and seriously - those luxury cabins we'd brought along are a drug in and of themselves. So a quick goodnight wave to the celestial lightshow below, collapse into an ocean of silken sheets, several blissful hours of comatose snoring later and boom - a fresh new day.

I'd identified a "few likely candidates" from the navcomp to go take a peek at, and after a few hours of pinballing around, we'd mapped out a bunch of new finds for Unicart - several Wolf-Rayets and supergiants, along with some funky high-mass Herbig systems. We'd even had some visitors from the expedition via telepresence, complete with a little duck hunting (aka Cmdrs Orphan and Arburich getting a little target practice with the Ylva's SLFs) A little trip down to a previously discovered planetary nebula was time well spent, as we found a funky little black hole lensing the distant light of a nebula through the green fog of the system.

Green Hole!

All great fun. Honestly, this area of the galaxy never disappoints! And the Ylva was maintaining her track record - we'd sniffed out another twelve hitherto unmapped Wolf-Rayets and about five honking great supergiants, one of whom was pushing half the size of VY Canis Majoris! And then just as the day was drawing to a close, our Beluga popped into a system and came face to face with another Wolf-Rayet in a binary system.

I know it seems like I have a bit of an unhealthy love for these things, but they really are beautiful. They come in a variety of flavours, various spectral identities but have shared characteristics - they are generally pretty huge and are incredibly luminous beasties with some of the highest photospheric temperatures of any star in the universe. I am a completely unashamed magpie when it comes to these majestic things and their relative rarity only enhances their value to me - they are simply wonderful and the intense purple glow given off by some of them is captivating.

Moth to a flame!

Anyway the reason I mention this is - Wolfie's aren't the rarest thing in the galaxy, but they're not exactly common. At best estimate there are several hundred of the things in the galaxy, maybe more, so they are out there but not a dime a dozen. So it's always fun when you find a "fresh" one and we were quite happy dropping into this sytem to see a nice chunky Wolf Rayet in front of us. There was another star in the system, forming a distant binary, but that wasn't unusual - Wolfies often have an O or B companion with them. Until we turned our scanners to take a look at it - and realised it was a second Wolf Rayet.

WR Binary

I think we were all kinda blown away by this, at this point. I had jokingly named this Beluga Ylva last time because she'd been such a good luck charm when it came to sniffing out these gorgeous stars but to find a binary pair of them - just amazing! We decided then and there to name these two beautiful stars Romulus and Remus, a little nod to their canine heritage.

Finally tearing ourselves away from the sight before permanent blindness set in, we set about trying to find a nice little spot to camp up for the night. The conflux hadn't finished throwing toys at us just yet and we ended up in a lovely little Herbig system, packed with various stars from brown dwarf, to T-Tauri right up to a hefty B-class. When we set the Ylva down for the night on a rocky little pebble orbiting the Herbig primary, however, we had our last little surprise of the day.

Pink Pumpkin Patch

I've seen plenty of space pumpkins but these have always been by far my favourite; they pulse with a soft, pink glow that intensifies to a strong, almost neon colour. We were lucky enough to find a landing spot in a field on the darkside of the moon; it's pretty magical to simply shut off your ship lights, park up right in the middle of them and watch in the darkness. After a while you notice that their glow has a rhythm to it, a pulse, slowly growing in intensity then fading over the course of several seconds. And as you watch, you notice that the whole field pulses in unison - almost like a unified heartbeat.

Really magical little things. I took an srv out for a quick trundle around in the dark, but even with their beauty all around, my eyelids were getting pretty heavy, so it wasn't long before I was heading back to the ship to crater into bed alongside the rest of the guys.

Beluga Basecamp

Day - four? I think - since the last mass jump. I staggered onto the cavernous bridge of the Beluga and flopped into the conning chair, yawning enormously with a bucket of coffee in hand. Without really noticing it, we'd covered quite a bit of ground as we'd ping ponged around up here in the conflux and by the time we had zipped back down south to join the expedition in readiness for the next mass jump, we would be on the wrong side of a hundred k light years this week. Still, it had very much been worth it and while I'm not that fussed about getting my name plastered over the Unicart database, I will admit - I won't mind bagging that Wolf binary pair.

But by unanimous consent the crew and I agreed - it was time to be getting back. And as much as I wish Remlok made jammies that doubled as flightsuits, it was back to the cabin to change, up to the bridge to plug into the flight seat and dust off as gently as possible so as to not disturb our neon neighbours. Course laid in for the Lagoon Nebula and off we popped.

I have said this numerous times and I know, I am just stuck in a loop - but god, I wish I could squeeze just a slightly heftier scoop onto this spacewhale. Don't get me wrong, in all other departments, the Beluga is amazing - far more agile both in and out of supercruise than its bulk would imply, plenty of room for all the usual exploring toys and that canopy - ugh, too gorgeous! I can even make my peace with her toastiness which, with a little judicious juggling, can be kept in the 90's fairly comfortably. But when you absotively posolutely need to bucky your butt off and gotta-go-fast, that scoop has me grinding my teeth a little bit!

Still - perfection is boring! And the Ylva has character in spades, so I'm not going to hold it against her. And frankly, the journey back to the bubble was quite tolerable, made all the more so listening to Cmdrs Stormysan, Gilmster, Orphan and Winston taking it upon themselves to light up the expedition comm traffic with some tunes - much appreciated guys! I will freely admit, my wake wasn't exactly plumb-straight at times as I was practically crying with laughter listening to the more memorable pieces. The Fleet dipsomaniac also chipped in with another glorious concoction, although I think we're going to have to keep an eye on both him from now on and anyone ordering this one!

The Gallows Pole

2 parts Thrutis Cream*
2 part Leestian Evil Juice
1 part lime juice
The quartermaster gave me this one. The Thrutis Cream is actually made fresh on the ship from the milk of the giant rats that are always scurrying around, and the eggs of the captain's pet Mock Turtle. I suppose you could use the store bought stuff, but it probably won't be the same... Anyway, according to the Q-master, "Get a bunch of dem parts, toss all dat dere into a barrel and mix it wit Scoot's good wooden leg. Keeps away da skurvy" (I threw some nutmeg on top... fancied it up a touch). I'll warn you now, this one will kick you in the teeth...

//Thanks once again to Cmdr SirJumpnick for the above text!

After a looong stretch though, we finally dropped out of Witchspace into the Lagoon Nebula and headed, bleary-eyed, to the nearby asteroid base at Attenborough's Watch. We'll be meeting up with the rest of the guys on the expedition over the following few days, in readiness for our next mass jump.

Locked up tight for the night!

But first - sleep. And somehow, this time, I don't think the lack of gravity is going to stop me from drifting off. I can barely keep my eyes open at this point anyway so I'd better make a move to my cabin before I fall asleep here and end up drifting face first into a bulkhead at four in the morning!

Fly fun, sleep soundly and see you all soon!


One Last Little Note:

Not overly related to Elite! But I, like many, was sad to hear of the passing of Terry Jones, co-founder of the Pythons, this week and though they were well before my time I always found their material hilarious I know a lot of people I've come into contact within the Elite community are huge Python fans - indeed a couple of them were talking about them in expedition chat today! - and so I just wanted to pop a little Elite-relevant homage in here before signing off.

Fly funny Terry, you magnificent man

Composer  Lyricist: Eric Idle
Composer: John du Prez


Previous Expedition Log - Week 1 (16 January):

So I'll see how things go, but I may update this log each 'week' to keep things nice, tidy and referential; I just wanted to put a little acknowledgement in for the organisers of the trip:

Arburich for organising, hashing out the details, website shenanigans, funky discord commands etc; Gilmy for being route planner, tour guide, "How to splore" handbook writer and all-round expedition guru; & Blue, Winston, Jumpnick, Malcolm & Stormy for helping organise us rabble on saturday, answer questions and generally keep everything on track in the scrum before and since!

Your patience and calm in the face of a horde of excitable explorers is awesome and is very, very, VERY much appreciated. Thank you all so much!


Zero gravity SUCKS!

Yes, I know I should be used to it after all these years - and in all fairness I am! While I do like finishing the day either in orbit of a star or on the surface of a dustball (so I can properly collapse into bed!), I'm perfectly happy zooming around the ship like a deranged, directionally-challenged lemming. It's a wonderful feeling once you train your inner ear to get used to it (which in my case took a LOT of time!) and it's tremendously freeing. Movement is simply so effortless in zero-g.

This is however not a desirable trait with champagne flutes.

Obviously I'm used to keeping everything locked down tight in my various ships' galleys; but your average culinary bits and bobs on an exploration ship are fairly chonky, built for function over form. That's what I'm used to; not beautiful, intricate glass sculptures that just 'happen' to double as drinking vessels - with all the structural integrity of a snowflake in a blast furnace. So when I got a tiny bit overexcited in some canyons and gunned this big old Beluga, my joyful whoops of "must-go-fast!" were kinda eclipsed by the musical sound of a tray of glasses shattering in the bar. Lesson learned!

We're currently just doing some maintenance aboard the Ylva before heading back to the first weekly waypoint for this expedition. Barring kitchen casualties, it's been going very smoothly; an awful lot of shinies found and a bunch of new people met! But I'll start at the beginning.

And it was a wonderful beginning!

//Have to say, it was a very good looking fleet! And tremendously good natured - I've been on an expedition or two and these things can dissolve into pure chaos at the start! This however was probably one of the more ordered and calm launches I've seen yet - although having SirJumpnick's Anaconda jump literally into the middle of the fleet as a several hundred ton "OH HAI!" as we assembled was a bit of an eye opener! Launch went off without a hitch and a huge congrats and thanks to all the organisers involved!//

The first leg would be a nice relaxing week of steady cruising out to the waypoint for the next meet. Or so I thought, but more on that later.

We had a really nice first evening. Just gently rolling our big beautiful Beluga around the stars, poking and prodding around the systems we were drifting through, listening to the comms chatter away excitedly as the expedition fleet scattered and marvelled at all the shinies along the way. As someone who is used to being an antisocial space hermit, drifting through the deeps alone, the social sides of an expedition are always a lovely change of pace. But it had been a very long day, following the frantic shopping expedition beforehand, and before long it was time for the crew and I to drift off to our beds - aka the ridiculously-decadent-suites-of-bliss courtesy of our very own personal luxury cabins.

I can safely say I've never slept better while exploring.

Next morning, I staggered dopily into the adjoining gargantuan luxury cabin that we've converted into the "Tipsy Whale" - our expedition Bar & Grill - with a simply spectacular view above us; Lauren and the techy wizards at Jameson had somehow managed to integrate part of the expansive canopy of the Beluga's observation deck into the roof of the cabin. So all in all, not a bad place to eat your breakfast!  But it was soon time to get underway - and very quickly we bumped into this;

Well, not literally. And I've seen a fair few singularities before now, but the beauty of the lensing effect will never get old, nor what it means - that huge gravitational distortion literally shaping spacetime around it - just magnificent! But we had to get moving, so after a few quick piccies - onwards! And with no shortage of fun stuff nearby! A brief diversion brought us down to an S-class, one of the rarer breeds of star hovering on the tipping point of slipping into "carbonhood". Further along the way, a wolf-rayet - not just any wolfie though, an extremely toasty one with a photosphere temp over 170,000'k!

And if this all weren't enough fun, within no time at all, we were bumping into another expedition member; Cmdr Orphan. Who apparently had decided to come as a very 'proactive' repair vehicle. Complete with over two hundred tons of repair limpets to fix people - and armed to the teeth with a battery of lasers to give him something to repair if he got bored and people were too competent. Quick natter, and we decided to go poke around a nearby deserted base, just beyond the fringe of the bubble.

Big mistake!

Deserted bases are always inherently spooky but you keep saying all the logical things to comfort yourself - there's no rational reason for being scared, just go poke around, it's all fine. Which was all working great until we started picking up the logs;

Internal Message Log Fragment 1/5:

"Erm… Control, we’ve got a problem down here at Hab B. I’m going to need someone from security down here on the double.

We’ve found a body, and before you ask, it’s not one of us. All personnel are present and accounted for.

You’re going to think I’m crazy. There’s no way this guy should be out here. It’s not like a dead body can be classed as personal effects but he’s here all right, just appeared out of nowhere."

Personal Log: J Bottone Array Commander:

Wilkins is right, we’re going to have to inform the authorities about this. But how do we do that, they’ll think we’re either crazy, or worse, that we’ve killed this guy. It doesn’t matter that there isn’t a mark on him, or that according to our medic there is no cause of death. No disease, no poison or radiation.

We’ve looked up this ship and it’s disappearance. Some kind of anomaly causing the ship to just vanish without a trace. These things are just stories that the deep space explorers tell to make their job seem more interesting than just scanning stars and pianets. Nothing like that actually exists or we would know about it.

I need to report this.

Personal Log: J Bottone Array Commander:

It started this morning, everything seemed normal but there was an uneasiness among the team. No one could put a finger on it, just a general feeling that something was wrong. And then the signal started.

It was about 10km from the station and appeared to be some kind of radio transmission, with a digital data packet encoded into it. We spent hours trying to figure out how to decipher it but I have to say at the moment we don’t have a clue what we’re dealing with here.

Along with the signal, something has appeared on the planet’s surface that according to our surveys simply can’t be there. There is a gravitational pull of some massive object but there’s nothing we can detect physically there. The gravitational field measured approximately 0.1 Gs, but we can’t see what’s creating it. Whatever it is, it’s the source of the signal.

We’ve sent a skimmer out with some equipment as a probe. I’m not going to risk anyone going out there until we know what we’re dealing with.

Emergency Broadcast:

Do not come here… I repeat… do not come here.

He opened his eyes… There was something there… the signal starting… coming from him, like it was inside…

I’ve ordered everyone out, locked off the infirmary until I can figure out what is going on. Signal is building stronger… people started feeling it… like it was in our heads.

This anomaly… closer now… can’t explain… seems to be… think it’s going to…

Recovery Team 963 Sit Rep:

"Team 963 reporting in.

I don’t know what to tell you sir, there’s no one here. No bodies, no sign of any problem, all the automated systems are A OK, just no one is here. It’s like they just vanished.

Yes I know how that sounds. All the security logs on the door say nobody left, the ships and escape pods are still in place. They left their belongings, food, water, clothing.

Yes, sir. Yes I Understand. Securing the station logs now, sir.

Team 963 out."

That fourth log? Big fat honking great "newp"! Was quite glad I was being the chicken in an slf while Orphan happily trundled around the site in his SRV.

After a hasty scuttle back to the relative safety of the Ylva, and a quick waggle of the wings, we went off our separate ways. As spooky as the encounter had been, it's little ad hoc meetups like this that make expeditions so fun, speaking for myself. And so to celebrate, after a few quick queries pinged at Orphan's departing T10, I'd decided on the first "Chef's Special" that would be served in the Tipsy Whale:

Orphan's Gaucho Grill:

Sourced from the exclusive HIP10175 system and famed for its unique spicy  flavour, this tender 12oz bush meat sirloin has been marinated in a sweet sherry/ochoeng chilli blend and flame-grilled with a cedar honey glaze. A sure way to warm any deep space explorer after a long cold evening in the cockpit.

Served with avocado & mango salsa and a complimentary shot of Indi Bourbon

Back to the 'sploring. And as we settled down, I noticed Coral tapping her teeth as she eyed up the navcomp - which generally heralds either something really good, or bad, or in this case both. After some prodding, she finally caved in and let us in on the secret.

Apparently, we're about to hit another milestone in our travels. Actually two; we were closing in on our 100,000th new system and the "triple rommie" as she put it - specifically 7.5 million light years. And the genius/dumbass idea hit of trying to combine the two, at once, for our mass jump from waypoint 1 next week. The only downside to this - we would have to explore over sixteen hundred systems in the next week, taking care not to jump further than 19ly each jump. And even then, we'd have to do a lot of scribbling and headscratching to make sure we hit the waypoint at 99,999 and 7,499,99x!

Still - the obscene luxury we were living in would make it more than bearable. So that's a yes! A little futzing with the navcomp, covered our fsd booster with a tarp, and with a revised dinky jump range off we went.

And - just so much pretty! Aside from the usual undiscovered bits and bobs, the various points-of-interest dotted along the way by the organisers were absolutely beautiful. A little jump up above the plane to the 'Ghost of Jupiter' gave some wonderful views, not least thanks to the epic canopy of our dear space whale's cockpit!

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore my Clair de Lune, that conda and I have been through an awful lot together - but every time I've gone out into the deeps with the Beluga, I've never been disappointed. The views are just spectacular! And when we dropped into a nice little lagrange cloud not too long after, the Ylva really did look wonderful.

Onwards. Pinballing through system after system with our dinky jump range, scanning down every flavour of planet, including a very pretty terraformable with a nice thick atmosphere that we were extremely tempted to go in for a closer look - until Coral spotted this little detail;

Ok, not sure if the surface had any combustible material on it but let's not risk incinerating an entire planet with our engines maybe! Sheepishly (and very gingerly!) backing away from that beautiful orb, we continued onwards. And despite taking our time, tiptoeing through the systems with our reduced jump range, quite by accident we reached the first waypoint a few days ahead of schedule. With (according to Coral's schedule) about a thousand more systems to explore and ~20,000 light years to get under our belt if we wanted to hit our milestones by Saturday!

Soooo where to go now...

As it turned out, the Eta Carina nebula wasn't too far off. And that's always a pretty one - every time I've gone out to the east from the bubble, it's always been a stopping off point for me, a bit of a galactic truckstop so to speak. So we pointed the Ylva's nose straight up, popped a few hundred light years above the plane and scuffled along. We hit a bit of a "shinies desert" along the roof for a while, so everyone was a little fatigued when we finally dropped into the nebula. But as always - so worth it.

I am a self-confessed space magpie - but I really do love seeing these bright, vivid splashes of colour after drifting through interstellar space for a while. A little nosing around the nebula and we decided to carry on out towards the east of the galaxy, just poking around system after system, before a quick group huddle. Some rapid calculation and head scratching and we figured just to play it safe, we better start heading back to the meetup waypoint; we'd still need to do some more jumping around the area to 'finetune' the stats but things were looking pretty good at this point.

Everything, that is, apart from the Ylva's exterior sadly. I have to say, it amazes me that in an era where we can manipulate the very fabric of spacetime that someone hasn't invented a glorified drone-with-paint-bucket! I took an slf out to eyeball her exterior although the rather disco jets that Lauren had added to the little imperial fighter made it a bit hard to see through the pink haze! But it was still easy to see the toll all that poking around had taken; some ships wear their distressed look well, but Saud Krugers were made to look beautiful - I can't even pass this off as shabby chic!

Oh well. She's still as pretty as ever on the inside - speaking of which, we needed to come up with another 'Chef's Special' to add a little variety to the Tipsy Whale's menu for the upcoming weekend meetup. And as luck would have it, as we were pondering this, through the hiss and crackle of the expedition comms we happened to hear of one commander's penchant for noodles. Done!

Borson's Boar & Brandy:

Slow cooked pulled pork, lightly braised in a Lavian brandy and shallot reduction, with seared bok choi served on a bed of Tipsy Whale noodles. The noodles are unique to this expedition, made from Aepyornis eggs and Azure milk, rendering them at first a pale blue; the combination of blue with the strong colour of the shallot reduction however results in an unmistakably intense purple colour, to delight both the eye and the palate.

(Please note: the pork is slow cooked for several hours, please ensure you place an order when booking with us.)

So that's the munchies covered. And the booze list wasn't bad - but as luck would have it, one of the explorers was a raging alcoholi- connoisseur of mixology. And after exchanging a message or two, reviewing our cargo and a little experimentation, he was happy to oblige with hopefully the first of many expedition cocktails!

The Violet Dwarf

4 parts Chateau De Aegaeon Champagne Reserva 3286
1 part raspberry purée
2 parts Limón lime sparkle

Simply mix all the ingredients into a large chilled wine glass and you are set! It's just that easy!
Now some of you at this point may be thinking, "But SirJumpnick... isn't that vintage a little expensive? Didn't the last bottle sell at auction for a price so high the seller was able to buy a moon? Could I make due with a lesser sparkling wine and maybe a lemon-lime soda? Also, how is it Champagne if it isn't made in France on Earth?"

Jeez, has anyone ever told you that you ask a lot of questions?! But fine, the answers to those questions (in order) are:
- Yes, but what's life without a bit of splurging
- Yes, but it was a reasonably small moon
- Sure, if you are strapped for cash you could make a facsimile with a cheap Moscato and some Sprite. (how are they still in business...) But I will tell you right now that I'm judging you for this... harshly
- The makers actually transported acres of Champagne region dirt to their Chateau many years ago to bypass legacy laws

That's it for this installment, check in next time for more drinks!
And don't forget Commanders... be responsible, don't drink and Frame Shift Drive!

//Huge thanks to Cmdr SirJumpnick for the above text!

So - here we are. Laid up just shy of the first waypoint with a few hundred more systems to survey and a light year or two to rack up before we're ready for the final jump into the meetup system. It's been fairly relaxed up till now and no huge surprises, just the usual exploration stuff. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for us as we double check our navcomp numbers and try not to overshoot for the mass jump!

Clara signing off - all the best with your travels wherever you are - and fly sober!


//I'm going to try and 'ration' the various rare foods I have in my cargo, so I don't duplicate anything during the course of the expedition. Am hoping to do at least a couple of specials every week. So if some of the dishes sound a little peculiar, I'd crave your indulgence for a little poetic license and just go with it And a quick thank you to Cmdrs Orphan, Jack Borson & Sirjumpnick for joining in with the Tipsy Whale's shenanigans!

One final note for budding explorers:

I realise I'm in horrible danger of sounding like a grump here but all I wanted to say is - if you want to try exploring, it's very very easy to get started. Literally a ship, a fuel scoop and if you like, a surface scanner and that's it. You don't NEED massive amounts of engineering, or a multi-multi-million dollar ship; you don't NEED to know "what to scan to make money". It's not complicated, or dangerous or scary at all. The only reason I'm saying this is that while there's a lot of good info and advice out there about exploration, there's also this growing trend of "me big splorer, do what I say" especially over the last couple of years and a lot of times it's quite unnecessary and misleading info!

Everyone has a different idea of what exploration is to them, and each and everyone of them is right imo - it's their game to play after all! All I would say is there's a lot more to exploration than just credits-per-hour, or trying to plaster your name across the skies for bragging rights Almost everyone starts out like that because it IS exciting! Your first ringed earthlike world, your first ammonia binary etc - but as you get more experienced, you'll realise that the money and discoveries come in very easily and organically. I wouldn't get fixated on "huge jump ranges", or "only scan high values" or "me found xyz me great splorer"

Don't worry about other people - just enjoy your time out there, wandering around. Honestly some of the most fun I had in exploring was back in the early days of Elite when I just said "screw it", threw a scoop and a discovery scanner on my cobra and just scuttled off into space knowing nothing and just figuring it out as I went along. Didn't care about money (you made nothing from exploring back then anyway! ) etc. - just soaked up the immensity and scale of the galaxy. Over the years I've found a whole boatload of weird and wacky things, and in so doing have also learned a lot - I was always interested in stellar physics but have learned so much more having my interest piqued by bits and bobs in the game! The first discoveries and money came in completely incidentally.

Again, having said all of that - absolutely do it however you want! I'm just suggesting to maybe be a little cautious of listening to the "do it my way, this is the only way" crowd. Exploration is not some great convoluted, difficult thing to do, much as some might try and make it out to be - its one of the cheapest, easiest professions to buy and fit a ship for, for starters! You be you, just throw a ship together, get out there and have fun. All the best!
Do you like it?