A Traveller's Journal - Awakening


#1

Following a period of agonizing that was brief but, well… agonizing, I decided to restart NMS from scratch with the new 1.3 update. It seemed to me that there had been so many significant changes, including extensive new and potentially altered narrative, that I wanted to experience the whole of it again - starting with those first few tentative steps on an unfamiliar world and leading outward to the mysterious journey into the cosmos.

I had my first play session last night and thus far I have no regrets with my decision to start from scratch. Shortly after my eyes opened upon the scene of a crashed ship and as I began to explore my surroundings, searching for resources and coming to grips with the hazards of the environment, a surprising thing happened. I found myself writing a journal, from the point of view of my character, about the experience. No game has inspired me to do that for many a long year!

I am sharing what I wrote here in the hopes that others will respond with their own experiences and perhaps even post their own creative work inspired by this incredible game.


Awakening

1A. Nothing of my past remains. No memories. No images of days gone by. No joy, no grief. Whoever I am, I start this day as one new born, albeit in a body that is fully mature, possessed of reason and one overwhelming need. The stars beckon. Their call resonates within every fiber of my being. I will go to them if I can.

1A-1. Near where I awakened there is a ship. A starship. I don’t know how I can be certain of this, but I am. Wisps of smoke and steam curl upward from the damaged ship, rising languidly in the frigid air. Did I crash here, damaging my memory along with the ship? Yet… I am free of pain. I cannot reconcile that with the scene that surrounds me.

1A-2. I have repaired the hand tool I found. It appears to have many uses, serving as both a weapon and a tool for gathering resources. Should I be surprised at the sophistication of this technology? I am not. Perhaps my lack of surprise ought to be revealing, but insight does not come. For now, survival.

1A-3. This world is cold. Very cold. This suit that I inhabit affords me protection for a time, but ultimately it cannot maintain the temperature I need to sustain life. Fortunately the ship is warm. I ensconce myself within it like a caterpillar preparing to become a butterfly, planning the tasks I must perform in order to take flight.

1A-4. Work progresses upon the ship. My ship. I have christened it the Ad Astra. Soon the repairs will be complete and we, the ship and I together, will depart to the stars.

1A-5. It struck me today that I have given my ship a thing that I currently lack - a name. What use is a name when you are wholly alone and possess no past? Yet it has come into my mind to leave some trace of myself, of the beginnings of my journey, upon this world. To do this I will need a name. I shall call myself Malveka Starwind. The words mean little to me at this time, but perhaps we shall grow to fit another, my name and me, in the travels to come.

1A-6. Repairs on the ship are complete. I have gathered only a modicum of the materials I will need in order to launch the ship and make it spaceworthy. Before leaving this world I will need more. It strikes me as odd that all the resources I needed to repair the ship have been near at hand. Challenging to obtain, yes, but just enough so that I have become adept at using the tools at hand. I cannot help but wonder if my circumstance was contrived to be thus. It is a strange thought.

1A-7. The crater in which I lived and worked for that past several days is now behind me. It was with no small trepidation that I strapped myself into the Ad Astra and initiated the launch sequence in earnest. Though I have lived but a meager scrap of life following the blankness of before, I have no desire to lose the little that I have gained! And the future spreads before me like a magnificent feast. The wings of the butterfly have unfurled. I left behind a fragment of my cocoon. A technological shell containing the briefest of messages for any that may travel this path after me.

Comm Station:Starting Location: 1A Here it begins. Ad astra.

--------------------------

1B. Today I discovered an edifice of inky black stone. Its geometric lines sprang skyward and a line of fulgent blue light shone from within it. It spoke to me. It spoke to me with a clarity that surpassed ordinary language, attuning its message directly to my thoughts. Alas, the communication was one of arrogance and violent intent. A message to inspire despair. I am disquieted. The stars have touched this world, but the transaction was not a happy one. I take this as a sign. It is time for me to depart. My ship is ready. Tomorrow I will point its nose to the heavens and ascend into the mystery that calls to me.

Comm Station:Monolith: 1B Disquiet. Yet the stars still await.


#2

Can’t wait for your next installment. Loving the inspiration.
Mine is progressing gradually.


#3

Thanks! :grinning:

I’ve been taking notes as I play. The difficult thing for me is giving up the play time to do the writing, lol.


#4

Part II

2A. The glory of the cosmos has been revealed to me! I have seen a million suns, burning pinpoints of light, shining beacons in the inky blackness, unobscured by the moist refractivity of a planetary atmosphere. I have witnessed the endless whirling of planets, the inexorable race of shadow and light across the face of worlds. I have navigated the hazards of hurling asteroids, metallic inclusions glinting in the merciless sun. I have beheld delicate ribbons of glowing incandescence, far distant clouds of stellar dust, shot through with magenta, vermillion and gold.

And when I had seen these things, I wept, my body wracked by uncontrollable sobs. I was filled with such mingled feelings of grief and joy that I felt I would burst. Some part of me, deep and unreachable by conscious memory, recognized these sights - knew these wonders - had, perhaps, experienced them before. What strange manner of being am I? I cannot help but suspect that I am truly cursed or truly blessed. Maybe I am both. Perhaps it is this way with all sentient beings. I know so little, but begin to feel so much.

2A-1. I have named the planet on which awoke. I call it Origination. I tried on some other names, like “The Magnificent Yet Hellishly Cold World On Which I Awoke Naked Much To My Surprise” or “Home of the Beautiful Blue Plants That Nearly Take Your Hand Off If You Touch Them - You’ve Been Warned”, but ultimately decided brevity was better, if less original.

Several hours flight from Origination I encountered an orbiting space station. At first I thought it might simply be a huge geometric shape, inexplicable and unwelcoming, but at last I discovered an entry to the landing bay. About that - I learned it is wise to go easy on the engine boost when very near to large rotating objects. Thanks to the station landing beam I left only a smear of red paint from Ad Astra on the station’s entry portal. It might easily have been a smear of me.

(To be continued…)


#5

Fabulous! Such complexity in your descriptions and phrasing choices. Wow!


#6

Thank you! Only a brief entry this evening, but better, I hope, than no entry. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

And now, finally, to go spend some time in that amazing universe.


#7

I finally got some time to write another installment! This is still quite early in my traveller’s story - I’m considerably further along in my gameplay. But I have been taking notes right along so that I may continue to chronicle interesting events in this journal as time permits. It’s a pleasure to share my writing with kindred spirits. I hope you enjoy it.


Part II (continued)

2A-2. My ship tracked the landing beam down the long gullet of the station. I gave the controls an experimental nudge, but they were unresponsive. Apparently the Ad Astra did not want any interruptions to its conversation with the station’s guidance systems. Just as well, probably. The darkly glowing walls were very near and speeding by so fast that the marker lights become a single streak of brilliance. I judged that flying by the seat of one’s pants in these narrow confines could easily result in one losing them, and more besides.

After the landing was complete, we were spun about to face the way we had just entered. All the better for a quick getaway, I supposed. Through the distant opening another ship entered and came hurtling towards me. I held my breath as it plunged onwards, convinced that a devastating collision was imminent. Somehow the ship passed over the Ad Astra and landed behind us. The other ship was big. Much larger than the one in which I still huddled, marveling at the total lack of the resounding crash I had expected.

I remained in my ship for a time, watching the other vessels come and go, paying special attention to the shapes that scurried to and fro between the landing pads and the gangway leading to the upper reaches of the facility. There was one dominant form. A species that seemed to combine the traits of avians and reptiles, they were perhaps just over a meter tall on average, sporting a great variety of head and facial features. Some with eyes on stalks, some with beaks, some with large curving extrusions from the top of their head. Whether these last were some kind of horn, or bone or flesh I could not tell. A few of them glanced incuriously at my ship as they passed. I think they could not see through the tinted cockpit canopy.

2A-3. Finally I readied myself and exited the Ad Astra. Time to make contact and discover more of these beings that left behind life on terra firma and made their abode among the stars. I strode purposefully across the landing bay and up the gangway. If my ship had drawn no attention, my person was quite another matter. The few avioids I passed on my way stared openly, some of them chittering and chirruping in what presumably was language for them, but meant nothing to me.

When I entered the station’s exchange office, the avioid behind the desk glanced up, started to look away then swiveled back to stare at me unabashedly, all four of its eyes opening wide. Suddenly, a foul reek filled the room. The stench caused the breath to catch in my throat, but a quick glance at my exosuit monitors revealed no dangerous gases. I stepped forward warily, hands open and spread wide, hoping to indicate that I meant no harm. The creature’s eyes shot about the room in a surreptitious manner, then it pecked hesitantly at something on the desk. Looking down, I saw an array of containers of various substances, which I excitedly recognized as minerals that had been processed by a mining tool. While I examined the contents of the desk, a horny beak rapped me three times squarely on the chest. I staggered back, more from surprise than the force of the blows.

Feeling threatened, I grabbed my multi-tool from my belt and pointed it at the creature. It appeared unfazed by this, but from behind me I heard a series of snarling barks. Whirling around I found myself confronted by a huge green alien, its skin mottled with yellow, two beady black eyes set in a squarish head with a lantern jaw. The creature was clapping its hands together with apparent relish, protruding jaw spasming with each bark it emitted. I got the distinct impression that it was amused.

From behind me came a stream of chirps and the sound of a beak rattling an empty container. I spun back to face the avioid. It looked pointedly at one of my exosuit storage pouches and then pecked again at the empty container. A light dawned. I holstered my multi-tool, pulled the storage pouch from my belt and dumped a small measure of iron oxide into the empty container on the desk. The creature behind the desk nodded approvingly then pecked at my offering, ingesting a generous portion. Moments later the stench in the room was replaced by the heady scent of flowers blossoming in the sun amongst a field of aromatic grasses. For a brief moment a vision flashed in my mind, an orange sun in an azure sky, a hillside sloping down to an ocean, a cave, a starship. It was there and fled in an instant.

The being before me was chittering enthusiastically and slid a packet of nanite crystals across the counter, indicating they were for me. I pocketed them gratefully. I mimed to the creature that I could not understand what it was saying. It slowed the stream of sounds it was emitting and I realized there was a word it continually repeated that I did recognize.

Gek.

The name of the creature that had spoken to me from the monolith. A chill ran through me. Could this be one of the beings that claimed the title DESTROYER OF WORLDS? It seemed improbable. For all that it had startled me, the creature did not strike me as a hostile purveyor of mass destruction. Still…I know so little of this universe in which I am newly wakened. I gave what I hoped was a polite nod, and turned away.

The massive green alien loomed near the exit. It issued a single bark and motioned me over. I approached cautiously, wondering what unpredictable behaviors might pass as normal for this imposing species. I didn’t have long to wait to find out. As soon as I was near, it shot out a huge paw and snatched at the multi-tool on my belt. Since it didn’t bother to distinguish between tool and holster, I was yanked violently forward, slamming into the creature’s horny chest. The holster’s clasp parted with a snap as I rebounded from the immovable bulk of the alien. As an apparent afterthought, it extended its other hand, grabbing me by the shoulder and preventing me from tumbling backwards to the deck.

It glared at my multi-tool, barking in seeming disgust as it examined it. Beads of spittle impacted on my visor as it spewed forth a string of what I could only imagine were vile deprecations at the inadequacy of such a weapon. Finally it tossed the multi-tool heedlessly to the floor behind it and reached over its shoulder to draw out a much larger device. It was recognizably a multi-tool, but much longer than mine, equipped with both a grip and a stock, and some additional attachments that I did not recognize. It was also battered and scarred, clearly a survivor of many expeditions. The creature shook the weapon menacingly in my direction then expertly flipped it around with one hand, offering me the stock and releasing its grip on my shoulder. I accepted the proffered tool reluctantly. I was angry with this alien’s treatment of me and my equipment. I made to hand the tool back and retrieve my own, but paused long enough to look more closely at what I held.

The body of the device was lined with rows of expansion slots. Many of them were corroded, possibly by whatever strange fluids had discolored the barrel. I judged that with some effort they could be repaired. I checked the existing enhancements and found it was equipped with everything my multi-tool sported and a few extras. Even with these extras, and the damaged slots, there were more available slots than my current tool. I looked up and found the green alien studying me intently. Apparently satisfied with its inspection, it unclasped the holster on its back and tossed it to me. I caught it, gave the sleek lines of my old multi-tool a last rueful look, then holstered the new one and attached it to my suit. The alien barked a final “Grah!” and turned away.

Suddenly I felt overwhelmed by the strangeness of the station and its unpredictable inhabitants. Giving a final nod to the occupants of the room, I hurried away down the corridor, down the gangway, into my ship and out. Out and away into the blessed solitude of the open sky.


#8

So good, Mal! :joy:

I’m noticing a bit of rust flaking off and some very shiny stuff appearing on your multi(writing)tool! Love the combination of subtle and slapstick humour, but never over the top.

Thank you for this. Can’t wait for more (though I guess I will have to) :wink:


#9

Thanks @TravelEcho! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. It’s true that my writing is a bit rusty. It’s been awhile.

I’ll try not to keep you waiting too long! :upside_down_face:


#10

Excellent. Thoroughly enjoy these!