This is it... The final jump...

This is it… The final jump…

This is it… The target of my journey is in sight, just one final jump away… It’s so close now but has felt so far in the past few days. The Elite Dangerous 1.4 update has been rolled out earlier in the week, temporarily wiping recent exploration records, in my case the Great Annihilator and some 60-odd neutron stars. Then, it turned out that in addition to those 3 days of lost records, the scans done after the update were not stored properly either, finally pushing Frontier Developments to call a temporary halt to exploration activities. With less than a thousand light years to go, it was a very unwelcome delay… But things got fixed at the weekend, my old scans are back up, and in the worse case scenario i’ve only lost some 400 light-years of data, with pretty much nothing of note. With things back to normal, i got to cross the little distance left to my destination, and watch the countdown to the hyperspace jump. 4… 3… 2… 1…

Sagittarius A*, with the galactic plane as a backdrop for pretty lensing effect.

Sagittarius A*, with the galactic plane as a backdrop for pretty lensing effect.

And here i am, facing the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. The gravitational lensing is impressive and i spent ages playing with it, using the galactic plane as a backdrop while thinking about my departure, almost two months ago. It’s been a while, and i look at the current numbers on my ship’s records: 1770 systems explored so far, of which about 100 were before i left civilisation, 1874 hyperspace jumps, 25843 light-years away from my starting system.

My statistics on arrival. I had about 100 systems visited before this trip.

My statistics on arrival. I had about 100 systems visited before this trip.

I navigate a bit more around the black hole, and to my horror, a sinister eye appears inside and a giant mouth opens up to devour me. My psychiatrist back in Lave won’t ever believe me, but I KNOW WHAT I SAW! I’M NOT MAD! IT WAS TRYING TO EAT ME!

OMG! It's trying to eat me! Boost away!

OMG! It’s trying to eat me! Boost away!

After that narrow escape, i try to settle my nerves with a gentle hypercruise towards “Source 2”, the big blue companion star in the system, scooping up some fuel and tinning up a jar of it for memories.

Source 2, the big blue star companion of the black hole. Also: the petrol station at the centre of the galaxy.

Source 2, the big blue star companion of the black hole. Also: the petrol station at the centre of the galaxy.

And so, this is it. I’ve been there. I made it… Oh, it’s not over and i’ve still got to make it back to sell my scans, and discover some more sights on the way, but hey, no matter what happens now, it’s ok, because i’ve been there. And aboard my trusty Cobra Mk. III, the “I’m Only Doing This So You Don’t Have To”.

It feels like the end of a pilgrimage, and i find myself looking back while powering away. It’s not looking at me anymore… i think… and maybe it was just a big misunderstanding, who knows… Fare thee well Sagittarius A*, i may be back, some day, but it probably won’t be for a while…

Saying goodbye...

Saying goodbye…

 

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