Saturday, 20 June 2015

Day 11: The double scoop

Collective madness.

Those who have been out amongst the stars, travelled far, and returned, will know that a certain routine sets in after a while. We've managed to maintain a good camaraderie at the times when comms has been established over the distance that we've been travelling, and the separation between the ships in space.

But a need to try something different steps to the fore. A break to the routine. The taking of a risk in a profession mostly noted for being adverse and always looking to the longer term result.

So something like this was bound to happen, a rebellion of sorts that allows you to shake something out of your system. Otherwise a tension builds up that distracts in an even more dangerous way.

The cabin temperature builds up as the heat accumulates in the ship. 85%... 92%... 97%. Insistent klaxons demanding attention and prompt action are rendered meaningless. There is nowhere to go and nothing that can be done except to complete the transit between the stars. The cabin fills with an intense dry heat as the cooling mechanisms struggle to cope.

It flattens out at 98% and then falls back in relief to more normal operating levels. A bead of sweat runs down the side of my temple and the cooked feeling fades away.

Moments later a fellow explorer in our group reports arriving at a similar tight binary star system over 500Ly away. After hearing of my exploit the madness jumps this distance and he has to repeat exactly the same manoeuvre. Communication is lost for a moment from the interference of the stars, but resumes with a jubilant cheer and laughter with a slightly manic edge to it. I know how that feels.

The journey continues with the tension released and balance restored.

For both of us.

Yesterday's waterworld with rings clearly wasn't nearly as unique as I'd thought for. After only a few jumps in there was another one waiting for me, this time with caps of ice.

The A class star that it orbits also casts a disturbing muddy white hue that I don't think I have ever seen before. It makes the gas giant look altogether gruesome and unreal.

As if on cue I hear the drip...drip... drip behind me of water onto a metal plate. The fresh water condenser and purifier, recently broken, has started working again for no apparent reason. A few drops of water drip out as the machine goes through an internal cleaning cycle. Operation is restored.

The transit between the twin stars must have shaken something lose, but I'll still have to keep an eye on it. I have fresh water again and the storage containers accumulate a supply that will keep me going much further. I'll draw some water out and build up a reserve in case it packs in again.

Getting back into the routine and I find myself in a fortunate position. Close enough to another stellar object with a most appropriate name, and also worthy of a visit.

Course change set. Jump initiated.

Video link (YouTube): Elite Dangerous: Binary star refuelling
Duration: 0:50