Commander’s Log, 22 November 3301
What a week.
It all started with the cargo runs from Fehu on Monday. For some reason, both the Empire and the Federation appreciate you running supplies to them, who’d’ve thought? Within an hour of becoming an Imperial Baron, I completed my run and returned home to Fuelum, to find the Federation offering me Petty Officer rank as well; my Sol permit at last! I parked the Python, switched over to my Asp, “Cleopatra”, and went to take a look at the cradle of humanity, where we started from. After a little time in Earth orbit, I returned back to Fuelum and parked for the night, surely that was my landmark for the week.
Little was I to know.
I stirred the next morning and looked at the clock; 06:20, much earlier than usual. Then I saw a flickering light by the comm unit; a shortage of Rats, the Fuel Rats were calling for members with long range ships, “explorats” to go on a long range rescue. I had five successful rescues under my belt, why not go for a sixth?
TWENTY FIVE Kylies! Blimey, that’s as far out as Sag A*! I already had Cleopatra close to hand, and had recently refitted her with a view on the upcoming Distant World’s expedition; this wouldn’t quite be the shakedown I had in mind, but it’d give me some long range practice and it’d get there quicker than most. I checked the system, launched and made a beeline for the core, almost before I’d thought about it. I’d never been more than 6,000ly out, certainly not been to the core before. I’d read about it, sure, but not actually attempted it.
Within an hour I had backup following me; Commander Spanielz left the bubble with his tanker; whilst mine did lots of little scoops, he had gone for a full hold of fuel and a single larger scoop for fuel every kylie or so. Like me, he’d never been out this far before, and only had a handful of rescues under his belt; three so far. The backup was welcome and the chase was on!
Before I knew it, I was nearing the Cat’s Paw Nebula, and more news filtered through. Paul Kavinsky, with over a hundred rescues under his belt including a similar long range one, was joining the fray in his Asp called Sena, while our client was not only 25,000ly away but was in a Sidewinder as well! What state he’d be in when we arrived was unclear, he’d certainly be low on fuel but would we get to him in time before air became an issue? With such a small ship, would our fuel limpets damage him more than the refuelling helped him? We’d certainly give it a good go.
The Fuel Rats radio channels kept me going on the long haul, stopped the trip from getting dull. Jokes being thrown about, encouragement to reach the client as well. There was plenty going on in our wake; two more rescues over 3,000ly each, and even a call from a commander only a thousand or so light years ahead of me. A detour, help two commanders in one long haul? I had the limpets, but alas, the issue wasn’t fuel. The distress call was from a Commander with no life support, down to 0%. Never found out how, we presume he’d had a run in with a star, but beyond advice, there was nothing we could do to help.
Onwards; through NGC 6357 and towards the core, before we knew it, it was 23:00 and I was at the Great Annihilator. It seemed like a good place to stop for the night, an easy place for my fellow rats to remember. So I did. Next morning, it took an hour or two to get to Sagittarius A* itself, 700ly from the client. Paul wasn’t far behind, but Spanielz had hit trouble; half his limpets had been lost already. One of the rats from the 3,000ly rescues, John_Magellan, had decided to bring his own Asp (the Tannhauser) and chase us, in case we needed backup and as moral encouragement. Again, he’d not been out this far and had a handful of rescues, but all the backup was welcome. He joined us after a day or so, Eagle in tow, and we waited for Spanielz.
And waited. And waited… Then the news came through. As far from civilisation as he’d come, he’d been shot down. He wasn’t coming.
So the attempt was made; we entered the system, Karuv’s little golden Sidewinder next to the star, and John fired the limpet. Success! We’d come all this way, and the client was safe. A few photos later, Karuv was back under way towards the Great Annihilator; the black hole I’d been at a couple of days earlier. John and I went for a quick photo at Sag A*, while Paul made his way straight back to the Bubble.
Now we face the long haul back ourselves, having done a trip in a day that most take weeks to attempt. There’s plenty of sights to see on the way, but I’ll be back out here again soon I’m sure.