ELITE DANGEROUS: EXPEDITION TO THE CORE – FAN FICTION #2

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I rested far longer than I should have, but I needed the sleep. I was pushing myself too hard lately trying to get to the core on schedule. My first trip out this far is proving to be quite the challenge. It doesn’t help that my client is extremely insistent that we keep to this ridiculous schedule, almost to the point that I’ve considered tossing him out of the cargo hatch. We’re over five-thousand light years from occupied space, sitting on a planet in the middle of a nebula… No one would ever find him out here. Luckily for him, I need the money he is offering for this trip of his, so off we go.


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I get comfortable in the pilots chair and check all the ships systems as we make our ascent into the open space above the planet, a planet I recently dubbed the Cats Paw Hilton. Not a bad place to stay if I may say so, five stars just for the view. The thought of staying in a hotel lingered in my mind long after we escaped the Hilton’s gravity, and made our first few jumps. The farther we traveled from the bubble of humanity, the more I felt homesick and alone, more so than usual anyway.

Muscle memory took over and guided the ship from system to system as my head went deeper into my memories of home. I was there again for a brief moment, home. I went to a time before all of this nonsense began. Before I got the ship. Before I was a commander. I went back to when things were simple. I could see it clear as a sunny day…

…In fact, it was a sunny day. I was on my way home from work. The dust trail behind my truck was being blown off on an easterly breeze. That same breeze was carrying the crisp smell of salt water. I enjoyed that smell of the ocean more than I enjoyed the ocean itself. Is was always a relaxing, clean smell for me, reminding me of happy memories such as those from my youth, and of the summer that I met her…

Over the next hill I could see my home in the distance. I pulled into the drive and as always they were already outside waiting for me to come home. She was standing in the doorway wearing a sheer white,  loosely tied sundress that combined with the easterly breeze to make her look like a Greek goddess flowing in the wind. I pulled to a stop and our two children came running up to me just as I stepped out. I looked right at their little faces in that moment, but now I can’t remember how they looked. I try, but the memory was faded. Too much time had passed. I try to remember her face but when I look up all I see is the white dress reflecting the suns light. The brightness burns my eyes and I squeeze them shut. The thought of not remembering my family’s faces nearly drives me to tears. I felt like had a planet resting on my chest.


“WARNING! OVERHEATING! WARNING! OVERHEATING! WARNING!

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The brightness of that dress turned out to be more than my imagination. The memory faded away instantly as my mind pored back into my body. We just jumped into a Binary Star system. This was bad! I was flying us into a fucking STAR! I pulled back and reversed trust all at once. The surface of this monster filled my whole view screen. The ship was shaking violently while warning klaxons filled my ears with high pitch noises letting me know that death was coming soon If we didn’t do something fast. To make things worse, my passenger decided now would be a great time to chime in.

I punched the comm button to off and continued to pull back on the controls. It felt like an eternity but I could finally see the blackness of space again. I wasn’t sure how much that really mattered though, we were practically sitting on this star now. My faster than light drive was nearly charged. All I had to do was make it a few more seconds and the jump would take us out of here. I had the ship aligned with our destination when the warning signals started to list off malfunctions inside the ship. We were about to lose our FTL drive. There was nothing I could do now but wait and hope that this thing held together. A moment later, the stars in front of us began to stretch and fade one by one, beginning at the outer edge of my view screen working towards the center. The drive was working. The computer counted down to one and we jumped.


I assessed the damage to my ship, and once the adrenaline rush was over, I reactivated the comm channel. Immediately Mr. happy was in my speaker. “What in the HELL was that! I thought you were a pilot mate!”

“We jumped into the middle of a Binary sir, nothing much I could do, however… I would like to point out that we are still alive…” I said this with more aggravation in my voice than I anticipated.

“I’m done! This mission is done! Turn it around NOW!” .

A piece of me was relieved to hear this news. I was done with this mission a thousand light years ago. “Roger that.” I replied blandly. The comm clicked off. I was about to begin plotting the route home when I noticed a warning light flashing in the corner my HUD. I examined the report, instantly realizing that we were not going to be returning home just yet. I scanned the solar system we just arrived in looking for a landable body and found exactly what I needed. I took the controls and began supercruiseing through the system towards our next destination.

I flipped the comms back on I made the announcement. “Prepare for planet fall! We’re making a supply run!


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Elite Dangerous: Expedition to the Core. #1

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The holographic displays lights up the dark interior of my cockpit with an orange glow. The landing dock my ship is attached to begins to slide forward as a hatch slides away overhead. I can see other ships passing overhead inside the space station. Ships of all shapes and sizes. They put my tiny little Sidewinder to shame, but I am not deterred. I am ready to get on with it already. The landing pad comes to a sudden stop, then begins lifting my ship to the interior surface of the station. I can see a slit at the far end of the station that leads out to the inky blackness of space. That is where I need to go.

I feel the ship release from the landing pad and a timer pops up on my display. My ship begins to float slightly to the left just as the station Air Traffic Controller comes in through the speakers in my helmet. I am informed I have five minutes to clear the airspace inside the station or face a fine. Eyeing the controls for one last time everything seems simple enough. Left hand on the throttle, right had on the control stick… I give the stick a little nudge to even the ship back out. Turned out a little was too much and I over compensate in the other direction. I now hear metal on metal coming from the rear of my new ship as a klaxon goes off in my ear. My display has red warning flashing in every corner. My shield is weak and was broken instantly from the impact. I throttle up just a little in an attempt to nose up the ship.

The ship lurches and jumps from the landing pad into the open air. I back off of the throttle but the momentum is still carrying my through the space station. I try to level off and center my flight path but I just end up barrel rolling through the station, impacting the other side in a fiery explosion.

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This was my first experience with Elite Dangerous a few years ago. I repeated those same steps a few more times before turning the game off and wondering if I had just blown my money on a game I couldn’t even play. ED is unforgiving, much like space in real life. Mistakes in ED are easy to make, and the penalty for making them is almost always death. I had to die many times before I ever figured out enough of this game to do anything fun or productive. It literally took me years of stop and go play before I finally got myself into a position to really explore anything outside of what is known as “The Bubble”(Human controlled space).

The dark spot at the center is the "Cats Claw Nebula"
Leaving the “Bubble” on my way to the core.

Here I am now, on my way out to the core of the Galaxy! I’ve always wanted to make this journey as an explorer in ED, and to be honest, I have had the capabilities to do this for about a year now. The only thing I lacked was the confidence to get on with it… and monetary motivation. Truth is, I found a passenger willing to pay my 30 Million credits to take him near the core of the galaxy and back. My time frame for this mission is 4 weeks in real life. Now that I have decided to go, I also decided to document my journey for your reading and viewing pleasure.

To begin, I am flying a stripped down ASP Explorer with heavy modifications making it possible for me to jump up to 42 Light Years in a single jump. I am scanning each system as I arrive and looking for anything rare or unique along the way that may warrant further investigation. Primarily I’m on the lookout for Earth-like worlds and Water-Worlds. Getting a detailed Scan of these bodies can net me a nice payout once I return from my journey.

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Rocky World with Rings of Rock and Ice… Not What I Need.

I have planned to visit a few nebula along the way as well. I reached my first stop earlier today, The Cats Paw Nebula. (FYI, this is a real place in the galaxy). Below are some of the pictures from there, as well as some other shots from my 5,800 Ly journey so far. Thanks for reading and enjoy.

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Two Jumps Away From The Cats Paw Nebula
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One Jump Away
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On The Edge Of the Nebula
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Speechless
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First Interior Jump Inside The Nebula. Found A Binary System 
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Scooping Fuel From A Very Active Star. 
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Glad I Wasn’t Over There.

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Setting Down Planet Side For the Night.