Broadcasting to a non-existent studio audience, this is legendary cosmonaut Phineas Souvarine, coming to you live from the base of the Scutum Centaurus arm of the Milky Way, aided by my interstellar assistant Margot.

Margot! Cue lights!

Margot blinks at me before lazily raising her leg behind her head to lick her unmentionables. Damn you, Margot. Yet again you hold me back from greatness.

The Vortigaunt spins gently in empty space some fifty light-seconds from a mundane M-class star about eight thousand, nine hundred light years from Sol. After nearly a day starjumping I’ve calculated that – bar brief stops for sleep – I’ve spent just over half of that time in hyperspace. Well-documented though the effects of prolonged witchspace transit are, I still wonder how playing such feats of origami with spacetime are likely to be affecting me. How, for example, are my cells regulating their gradual degeneration when I am spending such lengths of time outside of anywhere, not to mention anywhen? Ho hum. Such musings are for the scientific community, of which I am a barely sometime member.


I do know that I’ve recently passed through the NGC 6357 nebula; a spitting image of the Witch Head, as it happens.


Before that the Trifin Nebula; and before that, the Lagoon Nebula, a beautiful stellar cradle not dissimilar to the Pleaides, but with a glorious trail of O-type blue-white stars bursting from its core.


Early this morning I switched off the orbit line indicators from my HUD, in an attempt to see space more naturally. This turned out to be a mistake. Without the helpful proximity line showing the safe distance to maintain from stars, I found myself ploughing deep into the corosphere of a brown dwarf in the Scutum sector. This stretch of humanity’s local space is somewhat perilous for the uninitiated due to the abundance of unscoopable brown dwarf stars, and the Vortigaunt dropped abruptly into a distinctly warm patch of normal space rather too close to the brooding giant for comfort. That episode cost my internal modules a light dusting of heat damage, but gave me valuable experience. The orbit lines will henceforth remain on, and I have managed to further reduce my heat generation by way of powering down the Power Distributor and the local space sensors, neither of which are needed for interstellar trips.

I discovered a pristine Earth-like planet about one thousand light years from the Empire, which I imaginatively named Souvarine’s World, though those bores at Universal Cartographics will no doubt insist it remains COL 359 SECTOR UU-F D11-91 4. As well as this the annals of history will no doubt credit the discovery of several rather beautiful water worlds to me, one of which was bare but for this improbable island chain. I’d love to live somewhere like that one day.


I named it Phineas’ Aqua Park.

Happily, the past few thousand light years of space have been plentiful in main-sequence stars, so traversing them has been simple. I’ve been occupying myself with learning to spot the various star types by eye. I’m getting there – A I now know are the dull white ones, B are the greenish-white ones, and O are the blue-white ones. Lower than that will take longer, as they all descend into similar shades of orange.

The glowing core of the galaxy becomes brighter with every hour that passes. I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited.

Souvarine out.




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