After travelling a vast distance around the outer rim, I’ve finally reached the system I’d selected for myself as my personal point of no return.
EOS BRAI KR-W E1-4
From here, a third of the way around our galaxy, I needed to decide if I was prepared to fight my way across to the next outer arm and continue on to circumnavigate the galaxy, or begin making my way back towards the core and beyond it, the tiny region of space in which almost all of humanity can be found.
I’ve decided to name the system the Osprey Stellar Remnant… its a small, energetic gas plume from a recent supernova, beginning to dissipate into a new nebula around the hyper dense neutron star that is all that remains of the star that once brought light into the darkness.
The decision had troubled me for many thousands of light years now, and here, surrounded by the gases of a dead star, insulated from the rest of the galaxy by a bright cloud of matter, answers were still no where to be found.
I’d been travelling some 7months now, and the remnant was the first point of interest on my travels for an extremely long time. With no direction in mind I studied the cartographical data in my ships libraries, hoping some object would cross my eyes and call me on in one direction or another.
Days I poured over the data, looking for something different, juggling jump ranges and potential system values. Could this system contain life supporting worlds. Could that be a system worthy of geological survey and exploitation. Would this system expose me to dangerous radiation, or would that one be too unstable to consider the jump.
Over and over, mediocre systems that held no more promise than any other, in every direction. It began to become clear that were I to continue on, it could be another 7 months before I found another system that was truly worthy of note. Everything was corewards, all the light, the energy, the unusual stars, nebulae, inhabitable worlds and resources worth the effort of retrieving.
The rim promised only more of the same, small, cold stars, and tiny dead worlds, darkness and the void.
I reminded myself that one of the driving forces behind my journey had been to head out into the cosmos and catalogue interesting things, to make a point of visiting places that may never see another human before they are consumed in stellar novae, all beauty and history boiled away by the burning plasma death throes of a dying sun.
It was time, I decided, time to return to the warmth and the light, time to retreat from the edge of all things and make my way back into human space for a time. With the decision made, I felt as if a dire weight that I’d been carrying all of my life had been lifted. With the urgency of having to make a choice gone, I was able to relax.
I decided to take some time to perform some routine flight checks upon the Ethic Gradient, in preparation for the long journey home. As an experienced pilot, I knew the 43,000 light years home would very quickly turn in to more, there might still be 60 or 70,000 light years before I was able to set my vessel down on a hangar deck, and it would be wise to take some time to ensure both the ship and I were up to the task.
“Beyond the edge of the galaxy there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard” Haruki Murakami…