When the Enterprise Crew returned to Earth in the 1986 Paramount movie ‘Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home’ they did so in a Klingon Bird of Prey, travelling back from the 23rd century to the 20th in order to find Whales to take back to the future and prevent the destruction of the planet. They must have succeeded because it’s still there in the 34th century :-)
My adopted home system is Jamapa – 142.5 light years from Sol and my visit to the Human home world as reported in an earlier post was a chance pilgrimage. My journey home to Jamapa from Sol gave the opportunity to visit another system close by with a link to Star Trek. 7.78lyrs away is the Wolf 359 system. A disastrous battle was fought here between the Federation and the Borg in 2367 with a single Borg ship destroying 39 Federation vessels. The Star Trek fans amongst you will know the battle well but any non-Trekkies can look the battle up on Wikipedia. Visiting the system I was hoping to find some recognition of the battle but I guess Frontier decided that as a fictional event it wouldn’t be part of Elite: Dangerous. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough – perhaps there was something there to be found – after all, I understand from the Elite Forum that the Voyager spacecraft are out there in the Elite Galaxy! But, of course, there’s nothing fictional about them… I hope ;-)
I next headed for the Aldebaran system. The brightest star in the constellation Taurus, Aldebaran is an Orange Giant and with its Arabic name, is a star that has been recorded since the earliest times of mankind studying the heavens. I have viewed it myself through a small telescope and it appears as a double star though this is the result of a close neighbour that shares the angle of view. In 1888, S.W.Burnham discovered a faint companion that is considered to be its partner in a true binary star system and this is how it represented in Elite – a giant and a smaller companion. A more intriguing recent development is the possibility that Aldebaran may have a planet. The possibility was raised in 1993 as a result of observed oscillations of the star but were put down to stellar behaviour when compared with similar stars Arcturus and Pollux. A new paper published in 2015 suggests that there may also be a component to the oscillations caused by the presence of a planet – we await the outcome but in the interim there is no planet in the Elite simulation.
After this I turned in the direction of Jamapa. Although all the star systems along the route had been discovered there were many that needed detailed mapping and I made lots of exploration credits as I travelled home. Some of the populated systems offered trade and smuggling opportunities to make money as well. I recall doing a major Narcotics smuggle around Wolf 1301. The offer was 205000Cr for shifting 12 canisters of powdered green leaves – Risky because it would attract pirates and, if scanned by the Security Services, attract a large fine. I estimated a 30KCr fine and decided to risk the pirates. I successfully avoided them but the Pigs, Plod, Rozzers, Fuzz, Feds or whatever criminal slang you prefer to use for the Police scanned me and issued a 29600Cr fine (good estimation by yours truly!). So, a very nice little earner of 175000Cr was completed :-)
Closer to home I found myself shifting all manner of contraband between the CK Arietis system and the Marcon system for a while as money making opportunities presented themselves. Whilst generally law supporting, I’m not whiter than white – I’ll shift anything other than slaves if the price / risk is right! This ruffled the feathers of the local crime barons and I received a couple of warnings that I was sloppy and they expected me to divert my cargo to them and attend a school to teach me how to be better at smuggling… I didn’t take up their offer and left before they became too persuasive!
Finally, I reached one of the systems in the region I call home – HIP 16343. I announced my return by taking down three local lowlifes and paying for my fuel with their bounties. I was greeted at Patsayev Port as ‘Respected Ally’ – a real ‘Welcome Home’.
Then I made my way to Jamapa with a bit of an anti-climax cargo wise – essential medical supplies and security documents. Only, it wasn’t an anti-climax… I was interdicted by a very competent Asp and we had one hell of a battle. He took my ships bulkheads down to 60% and shattered the cockpit canopy. I was glad that I upgraded the life support and had 15 minutes in hand. I stayed in the fight using the auto-targetting beam lasers as I couldn’t target the multi-cannons with the HUD not working because of the broken canopy. The Feds joined in on my side until he warped out, probably with damage as bad as mine! That left me with around 10 mins flying time before I would die from lack of oxygen.
With the screen wrecked the HUD doesn’t work at all well. Fortunately, I wasn’t too far from Lessing Depot and I was able to find the space station and make the final approach to land safely. None of the usual guidance but my Piper Cherokee skills came in handy! A great adrenalin rush at the end of my voyage home! And no bounty for the one that got away… I’ll have him on another occasion ;-)
Screenshot from Elite: Dangerous. Image of Klingon Bird of Prey from Paramount Films ‘Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home’ used under fair use rules (public domain).