Babysteps. Walk before you run. Learn to swim before jumping into the deep end.
I’ve gone on my second voyage outside The Bubble; this time, I took my Asp out to the Pleiades – and encountered my first black hole. It’s an awesome, and scary sight.
I looked at a few systems, but found nothing too extraordinary. I am beginning to feel that boldly going so many people have gone before is not really exploration; it is tourism. I’ll have to head out far further for my third trip.
As every kid knows, the Thargoids are an alien race that attacked human space some 250 years ago (3055-3193). The war was only won – we’ll use the term loosely – when the Federation used biological warfare against the Thargoids. Despite a thaw in relations some sixty years later – in the middle of the last century – the Thargoids disappeared and we have no current contact at all. There are even those who – get this – think that the entire Thargoid invasion was a hoax, and that it never happened at all.
I can’t help but feel fascinated by this period of history. Why did the Thargoids attack in 3055? Why did they leave fifty years ago? Where do they live? Or, if you’re a conspiracy theorist, do they even exist?
I spend many hours in deep space pondering those questions.
Fuel for the Fire
The speculations surrounding the Thargoids have peaked in recent weeks, after the discovery of an Unknown Artefact. Very little is known about this device, and the wildest theories have been proposed as to its origin or purpose. There isn’t even any actual evidence linking the Artefact with the Thargoids, and the governments – who should be able to tell – are maintaining their silence.
What should we do about it?
I do not own an Artefact, nor have I seen one for myself, so I can’t research them myself. Not that I am a scientist.
What I can do, however, is follow up rumors. Look beyond the next star. See if I can find any traces of the Thargoids. At worst, I can help identify places where they aren’t. It certainly sounds like a more… productive approach to picking my destinations than random selection.
OOC Note: I’m assuming that the people in the Elite:Dangerous universe have knowldge of the events in FFE and FFE2. Unfortunately, there is no good repository on what is “canon” in Elite Dangerous. If my assumptions are incorrect, I will retcon my posts.
Since there seems to be no chance at providing enough medical supplies to all affected systems, independent skippers – such as myself – have informally agreed to support Bast, first and foremost. As I write this, 634,000 tons out of a needed 2.5 million have been delivered. I have joined the effort, though the Blue Sun can not transport much. Even outfitted for cargo, her hold can only carry 112 tons.
On my last drop-off, locals in Hart Station told me that the situation is dire – the plague is spreading rapidly, and they expect a break-down in public services within four days.
If you have a ship, fly to Bast. Bring medicines – any type! The hope is that, given enough resources, the local medical team can provide further insights into the plague, and make future efforts to combat it more effective.
I am now considered a “serf” by the Empire. How flattering. And while I still can’t afford a Clipper, I think I can now buy an Imperial Courier. I won’t, simply because I don’t really have a use for one. A Clipper would have made a really good trading ship.
In similar vein, the Federation Navy has recruited me, despite my refusal of their previous offer. I wonder whether the slavery mission was a test of my integrity.
I spent all morning in the shipyards here in Bolkow City and refitted my ASP Explorer. Mainly, I’ve aimed for a good all-round exploration outfit. It has a jump range of only 25.16 ly (unladen), but it carries equipment for every eventuality:
Full set of sensors (including Kill Warrant, Frameshift Wake, and Cargo Scanners)
2x Auto Field-Maintenance Units
2x Small and 2x Medium Pulse Lasers
8t Cargo Hold
I don’t expect to need the weapons – the ASP is not at all a combat ship like this – but it feels reassuring to have them. The cargo hold is simply there in case I find anything I want to bring back – I doubt it, but you never know.
The shipyard doe not have better components available for most types of equipment, and I did compromise on some (Fuel Scope for example) in order to save money.
Even without the best jump range the ship could get, I feel the ASP is now ready for my second trip of exploration.
I’ve taken the opportunity to christened my ship. She is now known as the “Blue Sun”, after Spica.
I decided to take my Asp for a spin outside The Bubble today. I just picked a direction at random, and thrust myself into the black.
All systems I came across had already been explored by other people. I did have a scare once as I gravity dropped with two stars right in my face.
My first stopover was Kumbaya, at Hecate Landing. Kumbaya is a lightly inhabited system out in the middle of nowhere. The locals are somewhat deluded – they are communists – but treated me well enough. Probably because they don’t get to meet many visitors. Even though I had not been able to explore unvisited systems on my voyage out, I was at least able to fill in some census information about the locals. Maybe it will bring more visitors to them.
I then landed at Shojon. This system had been visited and cataloged in the census database, four months ago. Visitors are truly rare out here.
At this point, I considered heading back into human space. My Asp was working perfectly fine, and I had wet my feet. But then I saw that I was only a hundred light years from Spica – and I decided to check it out.
Arriving at Spica, I discovered that it had become quite a tourist destination already. Taking a few scans, I turned around and headed home.