I hung around for a while and contemplated the significance of this place that is so big that light takes more than two days to cross it; where if it wasn't for the fluid router it would take nearly a week to get a response from the other Sanctuary station on the far side of it.
This place, where lost human histories converge and coexist, but shouldn't.
Then I found a new way out:
I emerged in SBEN-Q in Cobalt Edge: closer to the edge of New Eden than I've ever been, 80 light years from the other side of the cluster in Fountain and 73 light years from my base in Danera.
The far side of the Drone Lands.
"Many strange tales have been brought back from the Edge to the stopping points and waystations of the growing colonies in the neighboring regions: tales of rare solitary drones, specialized beyond normal experience, wandering the systems; stories of these lone wanderers being hunted by packs of 'normal' rogue drones; weird rumors of the 'lonesome ones' actually helping capsuleers in dire circumstances. Most of these tales, not least those claiming aid from rogues, are dismissed out of hand. Yet they persist and are joined by more every time an explorer from the Cobalt Edge sets down in a bar to drink and talk."
I saw a permanent drone hive in here, with drones that had designators I've never seen before and that were as big as a battleship. Then I found this extraordinary nest of disruptor bubbles, out here, around the single stargate in this dead-end system with no other access except the transient wormhole I used. There can be no passing trade here. Evidence of previous action or an excess of expectation?
The Wormhole Distance Perception Paradox: the 2,600 light-year round trip I took through Thera in order to get to Cobalt Edge from Khanid felt like nothing, because it was two jumps. The 73 light-years to Danera from SBEN-Q - via the 'normal' route - is a small fraction of that distance yet felt insurmountably greater. To look the other way, outwards, towards the visible galactic plane and the infinite, was humbling, as if I'd reached the shoreline of a landmass and that the galaxy is an ocean with an unreachable horizon.
Distance and time are inextricably linked unless divorced from each other by the wormhole and its contempt for spacetime.
But what would it be like for us if there were no stargate-wormholes and no warp drive? Without that capability, it would take two hundred centuries to cross the cluster in generation ships.
We would all still be island-dwellers.
Perhaps we always will be.