This is the first article in our series of coverage of the Colonia Core Circuit Expedition, or C3E, which departed Colonia this weekend for a six-week trip around many of the most famous sights in the Galactic Core.
Several Commanders have kindly agreed to record their experiences of the trip for us, including Cmdr Valiant Crick.
Ship Log: 06-11-3302. Cmdr Valiant Crick
Ship Designation: ‘Meili’
C3E Expedition: Day 01
It’s been 46 weeks and one day since I first acquired my pilot’s license and much has changed. In just under one solar year I’ve seen so many wondrous sights and taken part in things I’d never dreamed of as a young man. Exploration was always the dream, and those days spent hunting pirates in Delkar eventually turned to a shiny Cobra Mk III, and my first voyage into the black.
I look out, upon the landscape in front of me, far from home, surrounded by other pilots from all walks of life, and I find it hard to think that just ten months prior I was a lone Commander taking a short trip to the Coalsack Sector. It’s different here in the Core; so isolated, yet familiar. As a member of the Cannon Research Institute I’d spent much of my time in study, diverting from my voyage into Barnard’s Loop to help the situation in Maia. The alien discoveries there were fascinating and I found myself buried in data, scouting systems in the Pleiades and passing on anything I could learn. Each new discovery was an achievement we all shared, but I found myself at a loss – missing something crucial, I longed for the black and to explore once again.
All of that has brought me here today, 22,000 ly from home and about to set out on a momentous expedition around the galactic core. We’ve gathered near Colonia Hub to celebrate the launch and the vibe is extremely positive.
For me, the most interesting part is seeing the variety of ships present. My Diamondback Explorer is dwarfed by Anacondas, Asps, Cutters and even brand new Beluga Liners. It’s a great experience – SRVs zip around while people discuss the route and their ship loadouts. It’s all new to me and I’ve never been out this far before, the dangers of the core apparent and looming. Neutron Stars, Black Holes, high-gravity worlds and contact binary stars are just some of the dangers I’m set to face.
We depart the surface of the dusty moon and head to our departure point in orbit around the gas giant Colonia 2. Settled just above the rings, we indulge in a few fun antics as pilots do their final checks. Eventually we move into departure formation. Then the order comes through and we point our ships skyward, towards the first jump point. I watch the engines around me light up, and a few cheers ring out over the comms system as the countdown begins.
For some, this is a simple expedition – a sightseeing adventure. As I check my notes and plot my course, over 32,000 ly still ahead, I smile a little in the knowledge that the goal I set myself many months ago is finally about to be realized. I push the throttle forward and follow my fellow explorers into the long and exciting expedition ahead.
The C3E Send Off Party was held at Colonia Hub on Saturday 5th November.
Photography credits: Cmdrs Augustus Day, Omurqi and Petroph.