Wednesday, September 02, 2015

A Commanders Log

These are the voyages of the starship sleepy pete, her ongoing mission to avoid black holes, seek out new galaxies and to boldly go where no computer ninja has gone before..........

A friend gave me that quote and I thought it was perfect. I think I'm going to have fun with this one, it's going to be very role play. I hope you have fun and a few chuckles too while you read it. Here we go :

Stardate  3301.08.23
This is it ! We're setting off today. My Asp class explorer ship, the "Is This The Right Place For The Shauns ?" is all fitted out, kitted out, stored out and I'm eager to set off on the way, point the ship towards the black and head off in the direction of the Galactic Core. It's a trip every starship commander has to take at some point in their career.

It's a solo expedition with no one but me and Sitana, the ship's personal assistant, to talk to and I'll be pacing myself. I don't know how long I'll be so I've taken advantage of a craze sweeping Imperial Space where society has looked back 1300 years to the beginning of the 21st century. My ship leisure computers are all loaded with the fiction, music and a little bit of the culture too. Hell ! When I'm 1300 light years away, I'll be able to turn the sensors back at the Sol system and see what we were all up to. The scanner will reach that far won't it ? It's a weird feeling in our Faster Than Light society. We can look back along our track and see where we were a little while ago. Eerie.

What am I doing ! Time to get out there. The plan is to head 2,000 light years to galactic clockwise so I don't repeat my track coming back as going there. Then it's straight into the core.

Stardate 3301.08.24
DISASTER ! The hangar monkeys have really let me down. The freezer is bust ... Guess that's me on the backup MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for the rest of the trip. This is not good. I'll start on the MREs for tomorrow. There's ice cream in that freezer and I'm not wasting it.

We covered good ground today and yesterday. The stellar-nav can plot out to 1,000 light year trips, which works out at 33-36 hyperspace jumps. The heating as you come out and fuel scoop is being a problem. That heating/cooling cycle gets to me and I can manage 4 of those 1,000 light year legs before I need to take a rest and dive into that 20th/21st culture. For the non-pilots reading this, we come out of hyperspace right on top of the dominant stellar object, be that a star or black hole or multiple stars. You really have to be on your toes. If you get tired and the reactions slip, you can easily bounce off a sun while avoiding another one.

That's really bad for the complexion.

Stardate 3301.08.27
You may have noticed I missed a couple of days. I think I had the Cerberus Plague. Special Heike Tea sorted me out. I had some on hand and was planning to use it to celebrate when I got to Sagittarius A*, our supermassive black hole. It definitely wasn't the steak I had which made me ill. It was going to be the last proper meal before switching to the MREs. I've been in my rack trying to stay alive but I'm all good now. Ready to hit the stars and head off again.

Stardate 3301.08.28
Hurrah ! Back in the groove. Another few legs done. We've reached the bulge where stars get far more dense. In populated space, stars are maybe 7 to 10 light years apart. Maybe more. In the core, you have tens/20s of stars all within 1 light year of each other. It's a nightmare for the stellar-nav, it takes ages to plot the next leg of the trip. I've been zipping through most of that with jumps of 30 light years at a time.

Kind of a rush there and back. Definitely motivated by being on those MREs ! And a limited supply of popcorn, plus I want proper coffee again ... It's not the same without milk (also a victim of the freezer/fridge incident).

Stardate 3301.08.29
We're getting really close now. Going to make a big effort to get to Sagittarius A* before I have to hit my rack. I have to say, I'm loving this 21st century music. There are a couple of groups called Alisha's Attic and The Cardigans who are taking the edge off being on my own all this time. I'm really missing the Pretty Ladies Commanders who keep me company chatting over the comms and definitely missing those bubbly chuckles. I think the ships computer is trying to keep my spirits up by saying "Friendship Drive charging ..." (it's actually Frame Shift Drive but there's a huge accent there)

Made it ! God Damn. Staring at a supermassive black hole from just a light minute away is pant wettingly, brown trousery scary.
One thing about this trip, the various sights I've seen have made me look up Wikia Galactica to see the science behind what I'm seeing. Sagittarius A* looks like a globe of deadly nothing. You can see its eye in the picture. It is the abyss. The stars curl around it as you fly by, engines straining to maintain position. That's gravitational lensing. You're actually seeing two images of the star, the direct path of the light plus the light after being bent around the black hole. The science people do really clever stuff with that. Way cleverer than I can understand.

WikiaGalactica has info on the stars too. You can only refuel at certain stars. Old stars aren't kicking out the hydrogen any more. They're no good. T Tauri stars are too young, they're not burning their hydrogen like "Main Sequence" stars. Stars in the middle are just right and you can fuel up at them. It's fascinating the science behind it. We are made of elements only created in stars (and particle accelerators and fusion reactors but those are meh). It's part of the beauty of the cosmos.

See ! Not just a redneck bootneck Commander who wouldn't know a wrench from a socket ! I read too. Been enjoying catching up on my reading and definitely haven't been playing Galaxy Of Goblins in my downtime. And you will never find any evidence of the AgriVille games.

Stardate 3301.08.30
Started heading back from the Core today. The stellar nav is having a massive nightmare. I had to restart it a couple of times to even get 500 light year legs. I'm heading to the Great Annihilator today. It's a system 3000 light years from Sagittarius A*, in the homewards direction. More later.


The engines drop you out only 6000km from Great Annihilator A. That's close enough to still make out the poor unfortunates caught in the time dilation as they got too close. GA A is the first black hole in this system. The engines really don't appreciate this. This is way scarier than the core. You come out a light minute away from that monster. I swore as I banked away, my right arm felt drawn towards it. Gravity ... sucks ?

Great Annihilator has 2 black holes and a few other solar bodies. It's a really scary place. You've heard of Condition Green, Yellow Alert and Red Alert ? Well this is Condition Brown and White Knuckle Alert state. I'll let you guess what the Brown relates to.

Stardate 3301.08.30 ... a little bit later.
There are things more scary than black holes.

There is a spider on the ships canopy. It is looking at me. You'll be relieved to know that after Condition Brown, the no 1 spacesuit is in the wash/recycler and I'm in my spare. I had been feeling a curious itch like my hairs standing on end. I'd put that down to the heating and cooling of fuel scooping. Apparently I was wrong. Apparently I had a hitch hiker in my suit.

(This gap represents text from the audio log which has been automatically deleted by Sitana - it could not have been printed anywhere due its graphic content and repeated use of unprintable colourful dialogue).

I am now in my spare spacesuit as the other cleans. I do not plan to leave this spacesuit until the spider situation is resolved. There is a problem here, as it seems to know how fragile spaceship canopies are. If that goes, you're so dead. These ships can only be flown from the cockpit, they're not big enough to have a reserve flying station. You can escape into the living area but that then becomes your tomb ...

So you can see, a really bad situation as I head back to civilisation. Better make it quick. It's not nice to spill the popcorn down your spacesuit.

Stardate 3301.09.01
Hurrah ! Spider situation has been resolved. I took emergency measures. Have you ever spent 3 solid days inside a space suit ? Trust me, you really don't want to. I'll spare you the details. Remember what I said about the air situation in these ships ? The ships can recycle the air pretty much forever but they don't have that much spare. So I weighed up the options :

Share my ship with a spider that had a talent for getting in really uncomfortable places.
Suit up, SPACE THE BUGGER and sacrifice some of my limited air reserve to the void.

The spider is still out there somewhere.

I dropped it off near a barely hospitable planet designated LV426. That's not going to cause problems down the line. It's not like that canopy is exposed to solar radiation (that's the other reason we wear the spacesuits) that could mutate a spider with an enhanced survival instinct into anything nasty.

Stardate 3301.09.02
Been getting kinda lonely. But it's almost time to rejoin civilisation.

Two stages in the trip today - the first took me to within 400 light years of my final destination. Then I thought I'd better make myself presentable again. Clean spacesuit. Clean Commander. Explorer's Beard consigned to the waste disposal. It wouldn't do to get dragged off and hosed down before turning in all the juicy exploration data.

It is really good to be back home. The Core bathes you in the cosy glow of 1000 million stars (I dunno, that's what it feels like !). As you leave that central bubble, the star field gradually lessens until it's just you, the endless black and your thoughts to keep you company. And Sitana. One of those 21st century films I watched was Moon and I think Sitana was taking notes from the AI guardian in that film. She started flashing up emoticon signs on the displays. I hope the computers survive the last few light years.

Stardate 3301.09.02 a little bit later
Home again ! This entry is being dictated from the Adder And Abacus, a charming little old style bar where I'm really enjoying that first steak since ... oh dear. Bad memory. Pizza later. I really need that decent food again since surviving on the Rat Pack MREs for so long. The next trip will have a backup freezer.

Enough resting ! Time to turn in all that exploration data. Next plan ... This ship has got me through so many light years but I'm definitely feeling the need to paint it black, hunt down where galaxy renowned (and definitely infamous) Disaster Zone are playing their next UltraMetal concert and donate it to the classic Quantum Bomb Star Dive climax. Let's just say they only play in a system ... once.

Commander Iceangel, signing off. For now.

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