I finally made it to Colonia yesterday after a couple of hiccups on the way from Polo Harbour (a colony about 20,000ly from Sol I stopped in at on the way).
What hiccups you ask? Well, let me tell you a story.
I’d fallen behind the Galactic Nebula Expedition, so I opted to bypass a few hops and cut across the galaxy in the hope of catching them up. While this wasn’t to be (and I consider myself officially off that expedition now), I was making a bee-line for Colonia and Jacques Station when Frontier (the developers of the game) dropped the 2.2 patch. This patch introduced a few things, but the most interesting for me was the changes to neutron stars.
Now, a neutron star is an extremely small star with high mass, and some eject a lot of electromagnetic radiation (called a “pulsar”). In game they look a bit like this:
The blue jets are actually rotating out from the core in that shot. Very pretty and cool looking.
Now, the actual gameplay change they introduced was that you can fly into the jetstream of these stars and, while taking some damage, can supercharge your frame shift drive (this is basically your faster than light engine in the game). Supercharging it in this way increases the jump range by 300%, meaning you can travel 4 times as far as you normally could on your next jump. This reduces overall time to get from place to place significantly, and as a result people have been busily mapping out “Neutron Star Highways” between key areas of the galaxy.
I decided to aim for one of these highways, starting from a new colony called Polo Harbour and going all the way to Colonia and Jacques Station.
Got to Polo Harbour fine and even nabbed my very first discovery:
I then started off down the highway.
Then disaster. I misjudged how close I was to one of the neutron stars, and did an emergency stop. Normally this just results in a few points of hull and module damage, except this time I was caught in the jetstream of the star and it proceeded to absolutely hammer my ship. The ship’s modules were going on and off uncontrollably, and it took me at least 5-10 minutes of trying before the frame shift drive stayed active long enough for me to get into supercruise. By then, I was down to single digit hull, and worse, my canopy had blown and I was on my last few minutes of reserve oxygen. Sure enough, a few minutes later, my ship self-destructed.
I woke up back at Polo Harbour. It was fortunate that I had landed there otherwise I’d have woken up 20,000 light years from where I exploded, back near Sol.
I had to take a bit of a break from Elite after this. Another commander by the name of RedDragonSwords (previously GoingXwell) suggested I lodge a support ticket, because there was a bug in the game that implied that neutron stars were a bit too deadly, and my situation was caused by this - in other words, I should have been able to escape the jetstream without dying, but the stars were programmed to be too deadly and I suffered as a consequence. I did end up lodging a ticket, and Frontier were kind enough to credit me for loss of ship and exploration data value (although I lost the actual exploration data against my Elite rank and all my first discoveries).
I did manage to take a couple of interesting pictures along the way:
I finally came back to the game, and took off down the highway once again. There are 43 odd hops between Polo Harbour and Colonia, and I jumped about 13 of these before deciding to call it a night. I found a nice planet in the system I was in and decided to land there and park for the night… bad move! I had forgotten that planets, as opposed to the moons I’d been landing on most of the time, have actual gravity, and misjudged the landing while looking to enable my shields, hit the ground too hard … .
Back at Polo Harbour again. sigh
This time there was no messing around. I did the entire highway between Polo Harbour and Colonia in about 2-3 hours. Arriving at the system Colonia was a relief, to say the least:
And landed - and that’s the first other ship I’ve seen in months:
Colonia is a very pretty area of space:
And then I headed off to Jacques Station to check out the outfitting. Haven’t seen a station in a long time either:
Apparently back on Sol it was some kind of appreciation holiday for one of the old nation-states, and they were selling some special paint jobs for ships … I don’t know, I don’t keep up with these ancient traditions, but I do like the black paint jobs.
Next stop is Sagittarius A*.