Finally reaching Colonia after weeks of travel in Elite Dangerous feels like a big achievement. Not only because you get one pop up on screen for doing it on Xbox but also because of the time and numerous jumps required to make the distance. What was cool though was that my second last jump was perhaps the most drama filled too.
The last system I stopped at before Colonia had an anomaly that I went to investigate which turned out to be my first sighting of a Lagrange Cloud filled with a massive number of floating crystals. When I first left supercruise everything turned red and I actually thought it was the end for me but thankfully it was just the cloud casting that light. It was the first time I had encountered anything like that and made for a thrilling close to my trip as I scanned the crystals and carefully navigated around the edge of the cloud before making my last jump on this leg of the trip. There is stuff out there for players to find but apart from an unsuccessful encounter with a Thargoid long ago this was an unexpected moment for me that gave me a hell of a buzz.
Once my little exploratory side trip was complete it was time to arrive in Colonia and it’s always great to be returning to a populated system. Seeing as most of my work is legitimate there is that sense that you can take a breather while planning for what’s to come next. If anyone wants to take a few shots at you for your cargo you’re (usually) covered. Still there were plenty of places for me to visit with a listening post and megaship to also pass by. But seeing Jaques Station for the first time, something that has been a frequent mention in many stories over the years, is a great feeling too. And the story behind that station and why it’s out here is a piece of in game fiction that really stands out because of the legacy it left behind in the game.
Jaques Station is a unique in the lore of Elite Dangerous thanks in part to it having a crazy big engine slapped on the back that allowed it to travel between systems long before megaships made their appearance in the game. The story goes that after a community goal had completed for collecting enough fuel for a long distance jump there was a major mishap and the station was assumed lost. Eventually one enterprising pilot within the game was able to locate the damaged station 20,000 light years away and after a drive to resupply the station succeeded (yes, players did this!) it was decided to set up a new bubble of human civilization away from the powerplays of the Federation and Empire. And so the system that Jaques Station was once stranded in was soon renamed to Colonia.
Cashing in my data again netted me enough credits to make it worth my time but the next big task is the run to Sagittarius A*. Unlike the route between Sol and Colonia there isn’t an established “highway” of stations to stopover. It’s 11,000 light years calculating out to be 326 jumps for my humble little ship – we’re talking almost three times the longest leg of my Colonia trip. There is one system with a station parked close by (Explorer’s Anchorage at Stuemeae FG-Y d7561) but not a whole lot in between (if at all) so I’m looking at one mighty long trip here. It almost went astray from the start after an Alliance Crusader tried taking me out for my precious cargo of space grog which required a return trip for repairs and clearing out the hold but now I’m on track again to see if I can pull off this last leg safely.
The plan for me now is to make 50-70 jumps and then bookmark my position in a “safe” system where I know I can refuel and make the return journey. Laying out these should mark out a decent route that I can hopefully reuse in the future. And if I run into any trouble forcing me to retreat I can then retrace my steps along a familiar path. Let’s see if it works out. 😉