Before I left HD 167971 I consulted the galactic map for a distance check. I was over 2000 light years from Sol. I was so far out nothing humans had ever broadcast on any medium could have reached me. Even if I had an old-fashioned radio, there was simply nothing to receive. Just interstellar background noise. It was a disquieting moment.
I'd traveled for weeks to get to HD 167971 and never once felt lonely. In the back of my mind I just knew there were people around; a stray signal I could listen in on. I could never be truly alone because there are so many people in the universe. I was wrong. Compared to the stars in just our one galaxy, humanity is rare. It's easy to forget when you are inundated with people all the time. Easy to forget until there is nothing to remind you the rest of humanity even exists.
I've decided to head back to colonized space. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I need a people fix. The galaxy is beautiful, but it's nothing compared to human companionship. But don't get me wrong, I'm still going to take my time and survey as many systems as I can along the way. I need cash the same as anyone. And just knowing I'm heading back has eased the disquiet a lot.
I am now about 200 light years closer to Sol than I was. I've surveyed four systems of note and added them to my star system catalog.
The first notable system was BLEAE THUA NV-N B20-3. The only planet of any value is a lovely ringed gas giant. That's not what got my attention. The main M class star is orbited by three companions forming a trinary of their own around which the gas giant orbits along with some icy worlds. Two brown dwarfs orbit a cool class L star closely. They arrangement was beautiful.
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The next star system I surveyed, BLEAE THUA DP-I C9-23, was also a multi star system, but this one has two class M stars in close binary orbit of each other. It was really, really bright when I dropped out of hyperspace between the two of them. You can see how close they are in my survey video. Fortunately they are not so close as to overheat my system. My ship normally runs at about 26% heat capacity so it takes a bit to cook her. Besides the close binary M class stars there was a L class star only a few thousand light seconds away. Both the binary pair and the L class companion had four high metal content planets each (eight total) with one of those four a terraforming candidate (two total.)
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That system however is probably not the most profitable system. Though it had one planet and star less, I think it will be out done by BLEAE THUA TQ-W B15-7, which has not only two terraforming candidates but the second is a terrestrial type water world with carbon based life!
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But as profitable as those last two systems are, I think my favorite of the four was the last system I surveyed. BLEAE THUA YY-S D3-0 is a brilliant white A type star with seven planets. The inner three are high metal content worlds with the third having a strikingly lovely Io type moon that intensely contrasts the black of its master. But the real gems of this system are gas giants, which looked like none I've ever seen before. The first is a class III gas giant so blue with white clouds you'd swear it was a giant water world if you didn't have a surface scanner. The second is a class IV gas giant the color of a hunters moon back on Earth. The third gas giant is another class III with high white clouds over a rust colored troposphere. And lastly comes a ringed class II gas giant the color of milk with the lines of cocoa powder just starting to be stirred into it.
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And when I get back to civilization, and after I take a long needed shower, I'm going to look up a few old friends and fly with some people for a while. But there's a lot of systems between here and there that need surveyed. It may be awhile. Fly careful.