Last voyage of the Betsy.

Distractions can be a good thing! Was first distracted from the way back to Colonia by a high-lying nebula that must be investigated further. What's another 5 - 10 kly travel? Then I got distracted by a nearby planetary nebula. Just a single star (again), but the distraction brought on another distraction, yet another system with multiple (5) terraformable HMC planets, and also a sweet little ELW. Might settle there, if they have cable.

What lies below?

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So the journey continues. I should probably call it the journey (back) to Colonia, or the journey of distractions. In this case, on my way to yet another nebula, I spotted a little planetary nebula. Or so I thought. Getting closer, it was visible in the cockpit as a little blue blob.

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A single neutron star lives in the middle, with a couple of brown dwarf companions. On the inside it is blue as well.

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This system was already discovered by others, but it did become the first system here in the Inner Orion-Perseus Conflux where I found life. And in a rather odd place.

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On a mountain side! Nowhere to land there, so maybe one of the five other biological locations would let me set Betsy down.

Yep:

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Yes, it is a close moon to a rocky body orbiting a ringed brown dwarf orbiting a neutron star in a planetary nebula. And also the first place I have seen Sinuous Tubers. Fantastic!

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You don't have to get rid of the Betsy. :)

Also a lot of good alternatives.
Being photogenic is a definite must. Bonus for being able to xfer 1 to 1 with a Krait Mk II or Phantom.
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The plan is to apply the gold paint job I got for her a long time ago, and then maybe grab a Krait Phantom and take that for a hoon for a few months. Betsy might retire into being a rail Asp or something otherwise recklessly amusing.

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After the last nebula visited I took a hard right and headed towards Colonia. Only 10,000 light years or a cozy 180 jumps or so. Or that's what I thought. Getting out of the nebula immediately had me find a system so ripe with life that it should be called Zootopia. Most of the life was on high gravity worlds, of which 2 made up a binary orbited by a third heavy moon.

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Lots of high gravity landings, although mainly in the 2 - 3 g range.

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I can recommend double-checking the gravity readings on the HUD, especially in VR. What I thought was around 1 g on approach proved to be about 3, which makes for a different experience when exiting glide at a slightly too steep angle.

Another system had life on every single landable planet. Took a few days to map and visit all, even if it was "just" bark mounds. It was a long time since I'd seen those, though.

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At least they don't grow anywhere high gravity. So I have had to make up my own danger. Overcharging the hyperdrive in the cones of white dwarves is one such way of making life interesting.

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55 jumps until the next distraction!

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Terraformables come in all size and shapes. This one is pretty average, size-wise. But I had to look closer as it had an orbital period of only 37.5 days. That's a lot of birthdays... It also had a similar-sized atmosphere-less moon in close orbit, and it is hot enough at the surface to melt lead. Yet, those terraforming engineers can do it: If it is on the table it can be done, I reckon they tell themselves before pumping public funds into massive engineering projects.
Reminds me a bit of the Larry Niven concept of having sent seeder ships out to colonise systems with the right envelope for life. Although forgetting to specify that there had to be a planet or moon at least. One book I recall with some fondness had a donut-shaped life-bearing cloud around a neutron star capable of supporting human life. If you like floating between similarly floating trees, that is. The environment shapes the people, and while the ones here might not develop prehensile toes and a keen sense of direction, they would at least be well tanned and able to sustain themselves on a diet largely comprising birthday cake and leftovers.

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For the last stretch, the galaxy decided to throw everything at us, and at poor Betsy who has been limping a bit for the last few klys. First, this planet seems to be the source of all the sparkles:

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I can scale this:

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The last bit of the journey took us into Odin's Hold. Coming back out took us into a region full of close binaries, including this brown-trouser-moment-inducing pair:

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Eventually we arrived at Colonia, and could cruise up to Jacques Station. There I realised I had actually never landed on a station in VR. Hint: They are huge.

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Despite a slightly broken HOTAS, the final landing was uneventful. Betsy is finally home.

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So now it is time to repair and upgrade her, tweak the build and get going again. Still lots of galaxy to explore. But first:

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Time for a bit of boy-racer fun. Flew one of these during the last beta. Time to hoon around in one again!

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