Chronicles expedition log: September 4th 3306, 18:10hrs UTC. 
Inner Orion Spur region, 116 Tauri system, Reference Point: Planet D2

The True Bearing is on approach to 116 Tauri D2 to survey additional surface biological sites.  It’s another in a series of high metal content worlds within this system, bathed in the cold blue white light of the class A fourth star.  The site of interest is locked into the navigation computer and the Diamondback Explorer begins the orbital descent to the planet’s surface.  As a 1.27G planet, D2 has less attraction than it’s immediate neighbours and the approach is expected to be uneventful.  This should be another text book planet fall.  The ship’s systems register an acceptable orbital cruise approach pattern and my mind turns to the mental conditioning required for the lengthy journey out to the far western edge of the Errant Marches region.

Surfacing from the period of self-reflection, my subconscious responds to the chimes and chirps of the control systems indicating the imminent transition out of the glide to the surface’s final approach.  The reverse thrusters fire and the force of deceleration pushes me forward in the command chair.  Instinctively my thighs push outwards against the sides of the chair in an effort to maintain posture and control of the ship’s systems.  At all costs I must not pin myself into the chair using the throttle or flight stick for leverage as that could result in an unintended accelerated dive into the planet’s surface below, and unwelcomed consequences.

Emerging from the glide the signal source reticle on the HUD indicates the current trajectory of the ship will overshoot it’s intended target so I adjust the pitch accordingly to create a direct approach.  My attention once again wonders, choosing the scan the horizon for interesting features as well as watching the nearby star begin to crest the horizon as the looming surface begins to consume more of my lower field of vision.  My subconscious begins to notice something is off with this approach but my conscious mind has convinced itself this is just another by-the-numbers planetary approach.  After all, 1.27G is not significant in the grand scheme of high gravity planets.

My eyes dart right to the altimeter which shows a precipitous rate of decent at a relatively low altitude.  Years of training kicks in.  The ship struggles to respond to a sharp pull back in pitch.  Land gearing is deployed in a effort to decrease velocity.  All available power is diverted to shields.  I reach positive pitch and hit the afterburners to assist in decreasing the velocity at which the ground is approaching.  Geography, however, is against me as a large mound transitions to the foothills that form the base of a hill range.  Shields buckle and collapse as surface impact becomes inevitable.  Klaxons begin to sound in the flight deck.  Rocks tear at the lower hull like claws shredding away at a wooden door.  Shields are gone at this point and any chance of shield regeneration before catastrophic structural failure dies as the power distributor is ripped from the ship by a passing rocky outcrop.    

Hull integrity is critical.  The illumination fades from the flight deck display as if the ship no longer wishes to report on it’s final moments.  My body tenses.  It has been through this sensation before.  Pressure builds within the flight suit as various components of the Remlock system deploy to protect me from the sudden introduction to the vacuum which is about to make an uninvited entrance to the ship’s interior.  With some semblance of the outline of the hull around me, it’s structural integrity tenuous at best, I grasp for the escape pod entrance and perform a contorted form of acrobatics to achieve a feet first entry to what is soon to be my rather cramped accommodations until I emerge from my cocoon at a yet to be determined star port.  The Diamondback Explorer yields to the inevitable as an explosion rips through the frame.

I awake once more at Thompson Dock. The loss of the True Bearing is regrettable.  That ship had seen me traverse many hundreds of thousands of light years.  It deserved a better ending.  It deserved a better pilot.  One whose judgement had not been lulled into a false sense of security through repetition or the distraction of the promise of adventures to come.  A pilot that treated every planetary approach as if it was still new and was prepared to continually assess and respond to the situation around them.

If I am to endure the epic expedition that lies before me, then I cannot disregard the stark reminder of the need for focus and concentration across the five hundred thousand lightyears ahead.  The loss of exploration data is negligible at only five hundred light years from Sol.  In fact, for an expedition of this length, this reminder that exploration is not without it’s own dangers could not have happened at a more convenient time, with the exception of it not having to happen at all.  As I make my way through the maze of bays in the shipyard I look up to the bar on the opposite side of the station interior and wonder whether the beverages of the fellow patrons had some prophetic qualities just those few evenings ago.  As is custom I will buy a round of drinks the next time I find myself passing through the  Varati system.

I am resolute.  The galaxy has offered up a stark reminder that, for the most part, my life as an explorer is in my own hands.  I plot a course to ‘Wredguia XD-K d8-24’ in the navcom with a regained awareness of my surroundings and dismiss the misplaced reassurances of repetition. 

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Bow Lof Petunias

Bow Lof Petunias

Bow Lof Petunias is a player character in the galaxy of Elite Dangerous, specializing in long range exploration, cartography & prospecting. When he's not aboard his Fleet Carrier, the "DSSA Chrysaetos Refuge", this commander is a confirmed screenshot junkie, a random scribe and an occasional video creator.

“The 400B” was created using assets and imagery from Elite Dangerous, with the permission of Frontier Developments plc, for non-commercial purposes.
It is not endorsed by nor reflects the views or opinions of Frontier Developments and no employee of Frontier Developments was involved in the making of it.

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