Peak - A new high point in exploration

I think this ought to explain it...

As part of my daily routine, I spend some time poking around the galaxy map, never really looking for anything in particular, just looking to see what catches my eye. I ran across an old bookmark of mine while cleaning them up, and it took me back to a system I had visited long ago. A system over 2800 light years below the galactic plane. I remembered the feeling of isolation and aloneness, and after spending some time back in civilization, I had grown weary of the hustle, and longed for that feeling again.

I set out into the void between the stars of the galaxy, aiming toward to true void where there are no more stars to be seen. No more galaxy. No more light. Only darkness.

The journey took a while as I passed through many interesting systems. Found another previously undiscovered stellar remnant nebula. Added several more of the rare CJ class carbon stars to my data base. Cataloged a few earth like and ammonia worlds, along with an entire subsector filled with helium rich gas giants.

The stars started thinning as I approached the local galactic floor, and before I knew it, I had to carefully study the galaxy map, and manually calculate distances to determine not just the best path, but perhaps the only path down.

So close. So so close. Sitting there at only a few light years less than the -3,000 light year near mythical threshold that few commanders cross. I could stop have stopped, knowing I was one of a select few to ever make it this far down, but the allure was just too great...

While not the lowest point ever reached, going over 3,000 light years below the galactic plane is something not many commanders can say they have even attempted, let alone done. The unobstructed view of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds is something to behold.
Mind over matter I suppose, as there is no true orientation in the void of space. Up is down, and down is south by south-east depending on one’s point of view. But this. This is different. This is a void like none other, where the entire galaxy is laid out before me, with cleanly defined borders between the beginning and the end. Here, up most definitely feels like up.

After breaking the 3,000 light year below barrier, the only thing to do is break the same barrier above, and to do that, I have to go up. Up. A long way up, because from the bottom of the galaxy, the only way is up.

Three thousand below, three thousand above, strangely a very different feeling. Perhaps it's the primal fear of falling. Space madness maybe. It's a long way down.
The thrill and challenge of achieving these dizzying heights was intoxicating, and drove me higher, until I had a very sobering moment and realized I was just below the highest point above the galaxy that any commander had ever been.

Well, unless you believe the legend of the neutron frameshift glitch that supposedly allowed two supercharged neutron injections to be stored, and used in subsequent jumps. All experts in frameshift technology agree that it never should have happened, and if not for the records kept with Universal Cartographics, it's doubtful anyone would have believed it. It is unfortunate that those same experts did not take the opportunity to study the phenomena, perhaps with efforts to make it reproducible, and opening up another layer of exploration. Maybe in the future. For now though, since no one can reproduce that effect, those instances will remain asterisks in the history books.

Peak - Achieving new heights. It tasks me

From the ancient mariner text, Moby :

"Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ’tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me"

In February 3303, Legendary explorer Commander Allitnil reached the Systeia Aub BA-A g12 system, the highest known point above the galactic plane reachable with current technology. It was fittingly named Summit.

Surely there must be a Peak beyond Summit. Surely there must. Surely.

I eagerly set out to find that Peak, but that enthusiasm slowly waned as I ran into dead end after dead end. This was not going to be easy, and I learned very quickly why this record has stood for so long, only being challenged by a select few other commanders. While many paths up seem promising at first, finding the exact combination of neutron stars, other intermediary systems positioned within range of injected jumps, being able to make it all the way up, and back down, all while not running out of fuel made me realize...Damn, this is hard!

Then I saw it.

While the neutron stars were not in ideal positions, they would work. There was only one small problem. There was a gap that was just too wide to cross with my Asp Explorer, the Buckeye II, even with a premium injection. Well,technically, I could have just made the gap if I jumped on fumes, but that would have left no fuel for the rest of the journey upwards.

I could have called the Fuel Rats I suppose, but that is kind of along the lines of making a suicide run. It just doesn't keep in the spirit of my view of exploration. I want to get there by myself, and live to tell the tale, but I digress.

After much consideration, and manual calculations, I was not going to let this one slip away. There was only one thing that was going to work. I was going to need a bigger boat.

For the first time in well over a million light years travelled, I tried out the oft touted Neutron Superhighway, and made it back to Jameson Memorial at my personal best pace of nearly 5,000 light years per hour.

Once there, I outfitted and engineered my first ever exploration Anaconda, cristened it Buckeye Spirit, and left poste haste. It had been a long time since I had flown and Anaconda. Since one of the early trials and tests years ago. I have to say, that it actually worked really well for this particular journey. One that was purpose driven with very little in system supercruising, so the lackluster turning was not much of an issue.

As I began my climb up, I stopped at the final scoopable star before a series of nine jumps with no known fuel sources available.

Come to think of it as I am writing this, I really should have taken more pictures, because I know people like stories more if they have pictures. So, here is a picture of my hand written route with my manual calculations, along with the actual numbers as I made the trip.
Anyway, several jumps mixed between injections, and neutron boosts, I arrived.

In keeping with Alintil's spirit of system naming, I submit this as Peak.

Honestly, when I first jumped in, I was expecting a fairly mundane high mass system with three black holes. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would fin what I would find.

There were three black holes, a T class brown dwarf, an L class brown dwarf, and an M class star. But the real treasures were the planets. There were two icy bodies, three rocky bodies, one of which is a terraforming candidate, there were three water worlds, one of which is a terraforming candidate, and then there was this...

Yes, all the way up here, 3180.5 light years above the galactic plane, orbiting a T class star in a system with three black holes sits a lone Earthlike world.

I was so in awe and filled with excitement at just making it here, but then to see what actually WAS here, I spent a long time in this system just looking at everything, looking over the edge at the vast galaxy below. For those moments, there was no fear of falling, just feelings of peace and the solitude which I sought.
I noticed my fuel was starting to run down, and for some reason, it didn't register with me that I had a fuel star right here in this system. I started my decent, and on fumes, I made it back to the B class star that marked the last foot hill before climing Peak.

A very quick and uneventful trip along the neutron stars, and the Buckeye Spirit touched down on the Dove Enigma in Colonia. A lot of records just fell today on EDSM.

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Absolutely awesome achievement and write-up commander. I've featured it in the Trending section of my sticky "Best of Forum" thread and will probably give this tale a permanent home in the "Epic tales of derring do" section*1. Bravo sir!

*1 yup - I did, totally deserves to be in there.
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Outstanding achievement Commander and a great read +1
As Allitnil implies, you just raised the bar, but 'watch this space' … :cool:
Great achievement, great write up and extra special to find that special ELW waiting for you. Congrats!!

Wonder what I'm going to be doing today.... :D
when you get to the edge of space and its undiscovered, then some premium jumps later Allitnils tag pops up :) you edge hopper you!
Epic post. Fracking excellent post and story.

I've not explored much at all this year, but this story actually stirred my desire to get out there again much more than Frontier has done!
"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too"

Thanks everyone!

This accomplishment proves that there are still grand things to accomplish in the Elite galaxy. Extreme places to go, beautiful rare sights to behold!

I was a bit late to the exploration game compared to many of the other well known exploration pioneers. I have been playing Elite since the kick starter days, but never really left the bubble until Horizons dropped, but since then I have spent far more time in the black than anywhere near civilization. From the get go, I wanted to be out there, but somehow had myself convinced my ships weren't good enough, I didn't have the skills necessary, which in retrospect, was complete crap.

I've always been drawn to the rare things, the difficult things. Those things still exist in spades in the Elite galaxy. Leading up to this, most of my time in deep space had been spent in the sparse ares between the spiral arms, manually calculating distances and working out combinations of injected jumps and neutron boosts to not only get to places, but to also make it back.

Yes, achievements like this one, and many of the other extremes does take a bit of foresight, planning, and not every ship can do it, but the most valuable tool and skill in exploration is the ability to dream. To set a goal. To persevere in the face of adversity. They aren't quite so obvious today as they were in the Pioneering Days of exploration, the days that made Cmndr Allitnil, Erimus, Dr. Kaii, and many others household names in Exploration, but they are there is one has the drive to seek them out.

The Buckeye Spirit, while not fully loaded with all the bells and whistles, is a fully functional exploration build including a shield and SRV bay. As I said earlier, this was a purpose built ship, so while I generally have the ability to boost and things like that, I knew I wasn't going to be spending a whole lot of time surveying planetary surfaces, so I decided to forego that convenience for this expedition. I was hoping for a landable planet in the Peak system, perhaps small enough to do a planetary circumnavigation, but alas, no such luck. I had to settle for an earthlike world instead.
The story makes it much more interesting than just a "so I found a system with some new records" would have. Right on, Commander!
Man, what a wonderful journey, and fantastic write-up! Totally epic. +1
This journey was the ulterior motive behind my asking about the galactic extremes :D I was heading down low to break my own previous record when I started to notice I was really a long way down, and it got me wondering about just how low and high people had gotten, so again, a huge thanks to you for running those numbers and putting them on your awesome Astrometrics site!
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