Week Four Out
Four weeks have gone by since i left port and I'm now on the second phase of the exploration trip, arriving at the first waypoint over the weekend. The next stage of the journey covers three times the distance of the previous stage with a total of 6000Ly to cover — I'm hoping to finish this next leg by the end of March. From there i go onto Sagittarius A* , a distance of yet another 6000Ly or so, then the long journey back to the bubble.
The scanning has been excellent this week with a highpoint during the weekend when i came across a number of high quality systems. I also managed to find my first earth like worlds which helped lift the spirits after a rather tiring (but productive) Saturday. At several points that day i just felt like turning for home but fortunately the feeling had gone by Sunday.
The sense of detachment seems to be a blessing or a curse depending on how you feel on a particular day. Certainly the events going on back in the bubble take on a rather surreal insignificance when you are so far away from them. Going back home and seeing ships on the scanner may take some getting used to after weeks in deep space with no-one but yourself for company.
One issue that can’t be resolved, until i return home, is judging the progress I've made. Unlike combat and trading, exploration has no active indicator to help you judge progress — well not until you are cashing the data in! My last journey out was rather disappointing from a rank progress point of view and led to me to changing my approach. A large amount of detailed and slow, painstaking scanning took place that didn't seem to bring in much of a return.
So what will I earn on this trip? To be honest i have no idea! I'm certainly hoping to put at least a sizeable dent in the rank progression even if i don’t quite make the Elite explorer rank. One thing in my favour this trip is that the quality of the systems is far higher. Is exploration as much of a grind as the other ranks? Well yes, but in a slower, quieter, more subtle way.
It all comes back to the value of the data cashed in at the end of the trip. If i do go out again then i will probably take a Diamondback Explorer, but that is a bridge i cross at a later date if i have to. For now, It’s back to the scanning and fighting off any sudden urges to head for home. Am I suffering the first symptoms of space madness? Most probably.