WARNING! HAZARDOUS ENVIRONMENT. CATASTROPHIC SYSTEMS FAILURE.
Log Entry #1: 23:48:52 GST | 3033-10-24
That message was the start of all of my problems. Bleia Eohn HR-C d89; a star system you’ve likely never even popped through on a run to Colonia, much less spent a month of your life trying desperately to get out of alive. I’ve now spent more time drifting through this system than I’ve spent on Sol, which is a damn depressing thought. I got greedy; that’s really all it amounts to. I wanted to go farther, faster… and I got complacent. Neutron Jumps are a fairly common occurrence in my line of work. But as I’ve learned the hard way, all it takes is a few light seconds of error to rip you out of Supercruise on the edge of a jet cone and really, really ruin an otherwise uneventful return leg of a cargo run to Colonia. I’ve made a lot of trips in this old ship; Asp Explorer – Swoksaar. I named her nearly 10 years ago based on an old 21st century series of novels I was reading at the time. Now she might just be my tomb.
Log Entry #2: 02:24:15 GST | 3033-10-25
37 seconds is the amount of time I spent trying to wrestle control of my ship from the grasp of a neutron star while diverting every bit of spare power I had to my boosters and FSD. In 37 seconds I lost all shield capabilities, fractured my cockpit, sheared off part of a stabilizer, and had havoc wreaked on my FSD. By the time I was able to get back into Supercruise I was on reserve oxygen and could feel my FSD about to shake itself out of its housing. I knew I’d better act fast if I wanted to make it out alive. My first priority was establishing myself somewhere that I could work without fear of drifting off into the black; and hopefully someone would pop through and pickup on a distress call. The system has a few bodies though none are earth-like. The closest body is almost 2,000 ls away from the system center, but I somehow managed to make it there and establish myself into a relatively safe orbit. I might have risked the slightly longer trip to a land-able body; but with the noises coming from my FSD and the lost stabilizer I didn’t trust the old girl to hold together long enough to do it.
At that point, I was down to around 5 minutes of air on my reserve tanks. Fortunately, I was slightly paranoid when I was setting up for this trip back in September; I had enough materials to wire my SRV’s life support into my reserve O2 tank and top it off. There’s never been a more frightening experience than trying to keep a ship from dying with 15 minutes of air on reserve; if the systems on the SRV decided to malfunction I’d be a dead man. Fortunately, the crack in the cockpit wasn’t as serious as I’d feared, and with a little bit of epoxy I’d stashed away from my last cargo run (you wouldn’t believe the things you manage to sneak out when you’re hauling 20 tons of the stuff) I had the leak sealed well enough to hold an atmosphere. The ship’s life support systems were in rough shape, but a few replaced capacitors and a circuit board later (seriously, I owe my life to some of the things I’ve been asked to haul in the past) and I had breathable, if not wholesome, atmosphere again.
Log Entry #3: 11:24:16 GST | 3033-10-25
Unfortunately, it looks like my comm systems are completely fried and I don’t have the parts to repair them. The SRV has a short-range transmitter; but unless someone manages to come within around 750ls of me; there’s no way they’ll pick it up. I could have set the transmission on continuous and given the thing a boost back to toward the star, but there are no guarantees and I need it for parts and O2 tank refills. Speaking of the SRV, did you know that the electromagnets on an SRV’s wheels can come in damn handy when you need to make use of the airlock and can’t be bothered to drop the SRV every time you want to get into or out of the ship? The old girl’s been wearing an SRV beard ever since I started trying to put her back right.
Log Entry #4: 20:14:59 GST | 3033-11-09
Once I managed to get enough panels pulled off to see what kind of shape it was in, I realized the FSD was a complete disaster. You know how they practically permanently attach those things to the ship when they install them in port? An ASP has 7 mounting struts that an FSD uses to attach to the ship’s hull… I’d managed to shear five of the things completely in two. The last two were fortunately on opposite side of one another, or there’s a good chance that I’d have blown my FSD out of the top or bottom of the ship. By that point, I’d pretty well accepted the fact that it was going to take me a hell of a long time to get the old bird in good enough shape to limp back to the bubble. With two oxygen tanks and 15 minutes of external air in each; I wouldn’t be able to accomplish too much before I had to pop back into the SRV or the airlock to refill and swap out tanks. I’ve spent basically 2 weeks tearing off plating and non-essential exterior parts to attempt to patchwork the FSD’s support mounts into something resembling safe. Odds are someone has noticed I’m missing by now; but my cargo on the return trip was small and the buyer isn’t the kind of person who can exactly go to the authorities for help, if you catch my meaning. The buyer may try to look for me, but I’m a touch out of the way for a direct route; I’m not going to get my hopes up.
Log Entry #5: 16:45:03 GST | 3033-11-22
Another 2 weeks…. It’s a damn good thing I’m a reader and keep a few novels on a solar powered tablet in addition to a few hardback books in a locker. I’ve caught a lot of jeers for that over the years; but it’s helped keep me sane. I’ve spent all of this time welding, bolting, screwing, and gluing (that epoxy is good stuff for superficial work) as much support as possible onto the FSD. Fortunately, my AFMU mostly survived… well, it survived intact enough to repair the internals of the FSD to the point I’m 60% certain I won’t jump myself into the core of the first star on my way back. I’d like to have gotten farther along, but the AFMU sort of…. melted after it got everything repaired to that point; so it looks like what I’ve got is as good as I’m going to get. There is absolutely no way I’m going to attempt to mess with the internals there manually; I’d be more likely to turn myself and this entire ship into a small sun. I’ll probably be lucky if I can squeeze 25Ly out of her with each jump. Fortunately, it looks like my fuel scoop and fuel tanks are mostly in one piece. I’d hate to take all of this time repairing my ship only to run out of fuel on the way back.
Log Entry #6: 12:05:34 GST | 3033-11-23
I remember hearing stories about today from the old Sol days. Apparently today was called Thanksgiving back in the 21st century. Something about family getting together and eating themselves silly. Well, I don’t have much for a dinner; but it can’t hurt to try and cheer myself up I guess. I’ve only got another 2 months of military rations stacked in a smuggling compartment in my cargo bay after all.
Log Entry #7: 00:52:07 GST | 3033-12-07
Well, I think this is it. I’ve managed to scrap most of the usable parts from the SRV to get my sensor suite and power distributor back mostly operational. The nav computer is completely shot; it can’t even calculate a jump to the next system, much less a route all of the way back to the bubble. Fortunately, if I can feed it a system name it seems to properly lock the FSD for jump prep. It’s been years since I’ve had to do manual input for a route, but I’m close enough to the bubble that it should be less than 60 or so jumps. It’s going to take time, I have to check and recheck my jump systems to make sure I don’t get ripped out of witchspace due to some other celestial body… I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t survive another emergency drop out of Supercruise. Slow and steady… If all goes well, I should be back in the bubble in 2 or 3 days.
Log Entry #8: 02:17:41 GST | 3033-12-07
Nope, the bubble isn’t happening. I expect the FSD isn’t going to hold up that long; the first jump nearly shook my teeth out, but it looks like everything held… for now. Hillary Depot in Blu Thua AI-A c14-10 is likely going to be my only chance. I have absolutely no plans to attempt a planetary landing; but at least they can send up a shuttle to get me out of here and tow me to a pad. Well, in for a penny, in for a pound; as they used to say.
Log Entry #9: 23:39:18 GST | 3033-12-08
I’m currently sitting in orbit around Hillary Depot waiting on them to free up a ship with an airlock for me to transfer to. I had ships from the station meet me practically as soon as I came in system. This little depot is only 29ls from the arrival point; and I’m sure this old bucket is giving off some … odd … emissions with the damage I’ve sustained. Life support managed fine until about 2 hours ago; as soon as the FSD managed to shake itself free of one of my jury-rigged mounts something went pop and that was it. I’d long since run a line out of the SRV and rigged a port into my helmet; so that did me well enough to finish out the run. As soon as I got close enough to the station for my comms system to connect I finally got fresh news from the Galnet. Looks like I’ve missed some very interest developments in that whole Thargoid situation out in the Pleiades Nebula. As soon as I get everything repaired; I’m going to head back to the bubble. I hear Canonn is needing some help with a Sol Sweep project; that should give me some work to do that keeps me near civilization for a while. I think now is a good opportunity to rechristen this old ship. One of the novels I read during this entire thing had an interesting old earth term pop up a few times that I think I’m going to use. Ponkotsu, which is apparently an old Japanese word matching pretty closely to the phrase “hunk of junk”. An appropriately endearing name for this old bucket, I think.
– End of Log