End of the Line: 100 Kilometers Under The Sea
- Fly 100 light years
- Witness every MBTA light and heavy rail subway terminal stations
Mission SummaryPart I: All aboard the century train!
As has become tradition, Fuzz organized a local-ish, modular route designed to allow flexible bail points and interception opportunities, perfect for would-be centurions tempted to dip a toe in before committing to one of the more far-flung escapades. This year’s theme was "end of the line", exploring the endpoints of every MBTA subway line from Alewife to Wonderland. The date was also set to coincide with the first day of fall, perfect century weather. Brisk air! Warm sun! What could possibly go wrong? Well, first of all, the weather forecasts leading up to the mission were dire, showing heavy radiation for both days of the weekend. Much back-and-forth on the BBS ensued, with pilots weighing in on possible timing changes. On Friday afternoon Lordmcfuzz made the call and we gambled on Sunday being the better weather. Unfortunately, the house always wins.
A crack squad consisting of Dr.Claw, Gritty, Wombat, Cosima, and Dead Bride assembled at the fort for a 0730 launch. Wombat in particular had a very early start - please see Part II of this report for a full accounting of this anomaly. After only a slight delay so Dr.Claw could make some adjustments, mission leader Lordmcfuzz conducted a swift mission launch and off we set towards the slippery banks of the Charles asteroid belt, glinting with morning radiation residue and foreshadowing our damp fate. The first several light years were characterized by a light mist of radiation. This moist atmospheric activity settled on our ships and spacesuits - fresh, but not chilling; swampy, but not altogether unpleasant. We snaked along the wormhole and passed by our first terminal, Riverside, before stopping for a fuel dump near a particularly high-end outpost. Next stop, Braintree! Here’s when things gradually started to go wrong.
A series of neverending g-wells through the Blue Hills with continuous stop-and-go progress soon began to hamper spirits. We slogged through hostile territory filled with narrow starpaths and suburban assault craft, with a brief respite from climbing on an uncharted wormhole full of moon rocks and primordial ooze. Here we passed by a shimmering nebula, teeming with plant life and swampy beauty despite an increasing mist. We stopped again and refueled, with Wombat generously sharing from his clutch of eggs. As we set off to rejoin the starpaths, the mist intensified.
The final nail in the coffin came when the sky opened up and utterly drenched everyone to the core at a Dunkin stop in Braintree. Spacesuits were soggy. Rain blobs were pinging off faces and eyeballs, forcing pilots to squint intensely just to make out the route ahead. Cosima nearly water-boarded herself by attempting to shield her face with a buff, which soon got soaked. Everyone’s feet were swimming in shoe-contained puddles, except for Dr.Claw who was smart enough to wear sandals. Gritty’s box of donuts disintegrated before our eyes. We soldiered on for many more crawling light-years, passing Braintree, Mattapan and Ashmont. Ultimately the call was made at the Forest Hills terminal to abort the mission with 40 light-years left to go and darkness creeping in on a school night. Despite the disappointment, the troops flew together through the scenic backroads of the Jamaica Plain and Brookline Systems before returning to the fort. With only 6 light-years remaining to complete a full 100 after his early start, Wombat decided to continue on his own in search of singular glory and perhaps the only century medal to come out of this debacle.
Part II: Wombat’s big adventure
Through all the hasty rescheduling of the century launch, Wombat forgot that he had a big important concert to attend smack dab in the middle of when the fleet would be flying on Sunday night. He rapidly made some recalculations and decided that the only solution was to get up very early and launch solo from approximately LY 72, intercepting the rest of the centurions at the launch pad to continue with the rest of the route from the start. Armed with several cans of steering dampener, a dozen hard boiled eggs, and one feeble lazer, he set off at 0400 hours for the first leg of his journey.
The lack of a protocol droid would make traditional navigation techniques nearly impossible for most pilots, but Wombat simply stared at the route and blinked slowly for 30-45 seconds until the route was uploaded into his brain. He then zigged and zagged through the Medford System, where the starpaths are littered with craters and orbital debris. Passing the Medford/Tufts terminus of the GLX, he sped north to Oak Grove, reaching it at lightning speed before hopping onto the Northern Strand wormhole. At this point, he checked his watch and decided to lie down for a short snooze. When he got up, he realized he must have entered a rift in the space-time continuum, because no time had passed at all. What a stroke of luck! This escapade may work out after all.
He continued on into the Revere System and the Wonderland terminal. A luna 7-11 glowed in the distance, enticingly, so he veered off-course to pick up a Slurpee. Prized sugary drink in hand, he leaned Catastrophe on the boardwalk railings and wandered into the ocean to stand waist-deep in the water for awhile. Once that was over, it was time to set navigational instincts southwest, flying through the East Boston System and over the horrible hyperspace byway into Chelsea, Everett, Charlestown, and finally downtown Boston. Here, Wombat made a beeline for the AMC Boston Common and locked up Catastrophe to the railings across the street. Then he disappeared inside and watched 4 movies back to back. When they were done and the final credits rolled, it was time to zip back to the fort where the rest of the gang was ready to launch from LY 0. With 28 LY already under his belt, Wombat felt really good. This century is going to be a piece of cake. He crushed another can of steering dampener.
*Medal of Valor to Cosima for heroically waking up at 4 a.m. to pre-run 20 light-years through Malden and Revere with Wombat on her civiship (the true wizard behind that navigational curtain)