After The Cataclysm: An Old Traveller's Telling

Following inspiration from another CSD member (and the fact I enjoy rambling and typing stories), I’ve decided to also do a journal type entry type of tale but mine shall be from the point of view of a traveller who kept their save game.

“Decode…Corrupted…decode corr >> |#&< upted. Kszzzt…fol &&l…do not tr… cast…
End!.. End !..”
…the screaming voice fades and the dream ends. I’m standing in the landing bay of a space station but I don’t recognise my surroundings. The dream fear hits me and I stagger and stare about. It’s the same as most but yet there is something different. Something is wrong? Something is very wrong!"
These were my first thoughts as I came back to myself. I’m unsure what has happened but there is a feeling over everything. Like a coating of glamour. I recall staring as an unfamiliar starship landed nearby. The individuals around me in the flight officers lounge were as I remember yet there was one I felt I had never seen before. I conversed very little heading back to the landing bay to my ship. The strangeness is everywhere. I feel as if my vision is heightened and my senses more finely attuned. Perhaps I ingested some bad nip nip…I need to go home.

Once on board my faithful old C class, I noticed it has been upgraded although I have no memory of signing for this. No matter. The scanner revealed that I was in my own system and only a short flight from home. I felt I did my best to grasp the alterations someone has done to my ship and launched. It was not pretty. I’m feeling old and fragile today.
I feel as if I’ve been sleeping for decades and in my absence technology has moved on leaving me behind. My personal equipment is also altered and much of what I thought I knew is now outdated and obsolete. As soon as I viewed my home world, the sickening realisation of 'different", swept over me. I immediately saw the change to the land scape and as I drew near, my fears were recognised for truth.
I swept in low towards my home over the forests fearing the worst. Somehow now everything is frozen. What was once lush pastures are now snow laden glens. What has happened? Is this real? Is this some sort of nightmare?
I came in to land poorly, totally missing my landing pad but thankfully no damage. My home is mostly intact but someone has stolen all the ladders and ramps. Who would do such a thing? Many plants in the domes still thrive but the planters bear only sullen sprouts and the planters power sources are all depleted. I can’t even recall ever needing to fuel my planters. I’m so disorientated. All the technicians have left.
I’m alone.
I think rest is needed.

I awakened to find the nightmare still real. Outside, the ice covered landscape confirms this.
I accessed my CSD coms but have found the galaxy is in disarray. Across the known cosmos there are reports of devastating changes. Entire systems are in confusion yet the beings in the space station seemed to not even notice. It seems much data has been lost and I’m aware that some Citizen Scientists have given up completely. There are also odd reports of the dead portals activating and of orbs and of glitches but the information makes no sense. What I do know is the here and now.
My time in survival simulation has taught me to be prepared and now I know I’m not going insane I feel I must push on. It is my duty. For some reason the name Emily keeps coming to mind. And sixteen? I cannot fathom what these thoughts are.
I feel it is best to ignore what I can’t fathom. Madness lays that way.
My first task was to rebuild my strangely missing ladders. I’ve investigated around my base a small amount but have not gone far. Resources are more limited than they were. My freighter is in good order and responded when summoned but it seems there is an issue with it’s technology processors but for now it seems functional. My resources are largely intact but it seems my recollection of what I had in stock is incorrect. There are some things there that are strangely familiar yet are not what they seem, Much of my crafting data is gone. I must remedy this.
I plan to return to the nearby space station and employ some help.



Excellent! A really fun read. I love this alternative view of the “event”, as compared to my restart-based “Awakening” journal.

“Perhaps I ingested some bad nip nip…I need to go home.”

“My home is mostly intact but someone has stolen all the ladders and ramps.”

So good! :rofl:

Maybe we can get a new category started on the forums called something like “Fan Creations” where we can post own creative writing, artwork, audio, video, etc in one place.


I’ve acquired the services of locals but they are somewhat grudgingly false. The main supervisor strikes me as possibly untrustworthy. He seemed unnecessarily happy about forcing me to execute wildlife to acquire resources.
They all seem to have underlying problems, with my Vy’keen vehicle specialist suffering separation anxiety and my Korvax Scientist may well be suicidally depressed. My new agricultural specialist may have different issues altogether given he thinks stinking up my house with Coprite is a good thing.
Needless to say it has been a gruelling process re-acquiring all the lost technology blueprints. The scientist insists on exact measures and ignores me if I don’t follow his instructions. Who’s the bloody boss here anyway. The Vy’keen vehicle specialist was extraordinarily vague so I found myself rebuilding my exocraft pad several times until he was happy. I didn’t tell him I just recycled everything.
So on it goes. CSD coms confirms the disaster to be widespread with most technology data bases wiped and most finding themselves starting over. The other rumours will be a point of investigation as I find the dead portals intriguing so if they have reactivated that is a fascinating turn of events. There are now also reports of many freighters gone missing presumably crashed. I’ll keep an eye on that situation. Mine seems fine. Pirates are taking advantage of the disaster and are far more troublesome than they have been in the past. Extreme caution needed.
Following receiving extensive damage to my ship thanks to trying to keep my armourer specialist happy, I’ve managed to get a bit of time off to explore while trying to find some repair materials.
Found a lovely planet that my database claimed I’d already been to and had previously regarded as unpleasant. Glistening oceans, lovely coloured landscapes and a type of plant I’ve never seen before. Was a bit rainy but I’m enjoying my time away from my base. Found a creature taller than 6 meters today.
Had less luck on a mostly barren hot planet where I landed at night and was promptly set upon by a pack of large beasts. Will continue to explore and recalibrate my data base as I go so hopefully my local systems identities can be corrected.


Reasons to come back to ETARC # 75 to # 210: ~Mad Hatter.

Look forward to more travellers tales from you :smiley: GREAT to be back in the land of the nerdlings and away from all those noisey socialites!


Nice work, liking it! :+1: I feel a movie coming on :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I’ve decided to retrace my steps locally to correct my database. Fortunately, the naming method I use ensures there is minimal misleading info. The planets titles are all scrambled though so I have some work ahead of me fixing that.
Have followed the chatter on ECSD coms and found the resilience of my fellow CSD members heartening. Many are taking on new crafts and updating to new technologies that I’m not yet familiar with.
Had a strange new craft land at my base recently. It was gone again before I got a good look but it was certainly interesting looking. Can’t move quick enough in my old age it would seem.
My Vy’keen armourer is obsessed with smiting sentinels to the point my Gek farmer has joined in, with both of them getting rude and insisting I go fight. I think those two get on the spicy nip-nip when I’m out and are going to need to be separated. This younger generation have no respect and I’m getting a bit sick of it. I’m an Atlas traveller retiree not some young cosmonaut apprentice.
Have made some headway organising my freighter. Found that explosives are still high in demand so I’m tweaking my horticultural setup to exploit that.
Once done here, I’m going on a holiday.
Ohhh yeah. It’s good to get away from the grind and go exploring. Been gradually correcting my planetary database while checking out some cool planets. I’m seeing a lot of scenery I havent seen before and really taking the time out to enjoy it.
While checking out some ruins and monoliths I came across a dumped starship. It’s a nice little A class fighter. Didn’t take much to get it up and running again so I left my old yellow hauler and took the A class back to my freighter. I’ve also bought a newer better hauler so I now have 3 ships in my fleet. Nice!
Have decided while I’m in orbit here, to spend some time using my rover and check out things here for a bit. The open landscape makes finding abandoned crates easy and the treasure hunter in me can’t resist grabbing a few lost treasures. I’m too old to be jetpacking over ravines and fighting Scraggorytes so this should be pretty relaxing.
Been a few days since I last logged in. This is the life! I found myself distracted by new data regarding a portal on this very planet. Seemed like a good adventure so I set off in the rover 2 days ago…and am still travelling. It’s interesting the way the landscape varies from open plains to cresting rock formations. Patches of rocks shake things up a bit and clustered forest patches break up the landscape. Some of the higher vistas provide great photo opportunities. Rover is running great.
Despite the open country there are some sinkholes, that can easily swallow my rover. Have had a few issues but nothing I couldn’t deal with. Fuel is plentiful and I’m periodically summoning my starship to ensure my treasures are stored and extra fuel is put away in these lean times.
Beginning to feel I’ve bitten off more than I can handle with the portal still so far away. The days are become as much of a grind as mining Heridium in my young days was. I’m determined to finish what I started but maybe driving halfway around the planet was a mistake.
Each day is blending into the last. I travel by starlight and by day. I stop, I replenish and then I go again… what was I thinking?


Love the “traveller retiree” angle. Such fun! Did you really set off in your rover to cross half a planet?! That is a heroic undertaking. Great way to see the scenery. And more scenery. And more… :upside_down_face:

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Yep. All very close to exactly what happens. Truth is better than fiction.
Going to try and be a bit more thoughtful in how I write to make it more…I don’t know… more philosophic.
Gone back and edited the previous tales to correct the spelling mistakes and to download the text so I have my own record.


I lay back watching the heavens last night, my tech-pad in my lap forgotten, while out in the forest strange creatures howled. I’d realised in my quest to travel across this icy wilderness, I’d forgotten to enjoy my journey. As I read back over my journal entries since the Cataclysm, I realised that I had been forced back into the cold clinical logic that comes with survival in the Euclid. It was coming out in my words, masking the life I’ve been living. In my retirement, my life had become comfortable. I’d spend my time organising my stock, crafting goods or just trekking off across the stars to places I knew to gather resources I needed. I would wander through distant biomes, soaking up the ambience and growing contentedly naïve to the looming threat of change. And change has come.
I know now that if I am to survive I must change with it. I must embrace the technology I have at my fingertips and forget what was before. I must discard my doddering old mind even if my creaking stiff old joints object. While I breathe, my existence means something, if only to me. If I remain complacent to the changes that have come and will keep coming, my life will be forfeit to the black abyss that embraces the stars above. I must once again become the warrior traveller I once was or else I may well perish, the only indication of ever existing; a forgotten gravestone on a distant world. I feel there is purpose now. What does it mean, the strange reports I am receiving through ECSD coms. Portals alive? I feel tomorrow I may see. I believe tomorrow I may reach the portal I’ve travelled so far to see.
Near me the dark hulk of my hauler keeps company with my rover, its belly full of treasures and fuels. In the darkest recess in the back of my mind there is a red glow. A red glow I haven’t sensed in what feels like an eternity. My thoughts remember the Atlas and suddenly I feel the deep cold around me as if for the first time.
I was dragged back to my youth this morning when at long last the grey tower of the portal come into view. It looked more fearsome than I recalled, more dangerous. I parked looking at it for a short while before I drove in closer and approached. I hadn’t seen one since I was young and now, with the rumours of the portals being alive I was anxious.
Suddenly I felt small and weak.
Perhaps I should never have come?
The screaming thunder of my freighter coming into low orbit above me was nowhere as unsettling as the unexpected metallic grating of rock as the knowledge stone and adjacent pillars suddenly rose as I neared. It was indeed not dead as I’d so long believed portals to be. The central knowledge stone had separated revealing a hollowed receptacle and a series of sixteen glyphs in a ring. The stories were true. These were indeed a portal and they required fuels and a sequence of glyphs to program them. It was still asleep and although I had the resources to prime the glyphs, I instead chose not to.
As my summoned starship landed noisily behind me I left a beacon and a message for any who may come through. As I walked away, the stone pillars sunk back into the positions they had been when I first arrived, seamlessly settling back into the resting places that had cradled them for eons.
Who knows where this doorway could lead. I feel I have a different journey ahead of me.
I wished I could see behind me as I flew away and watch as the portal’s towers receded from view but instead I stared ahead towards my waiting freighter.
For the second time in my life, I soared away into the heavens leaving the dark towers of a portal to its secrets. Behind me the portal stood silent on that frozen plain, as if I’d never been there.


Awesome! I love the introspection, the realization of change, the resolve to become a vital part of it. And the decision to leave the portal behind… sweet! It feels like this story is really blossoming.

I have travelled back to the ruins of my home one last time. I walked around contemplating the grime and corrosion on what was once my beautiful residence and nursery. Some plants have been taken, used for resources; missing teeth in the maws of a diseased beast. My technicians ignore me as if I’m a wisp of wind; of no consequence. My databanks are dormant and corrupted. I cannot acquire the tech to fix the corruption nor can I progress and rebuild the life I once knew. Outside, my exocrafts sit unused and dormant, while all around the shredding cold suffocates the world I once treasured. The reality of the Mercury Process surrounds me and permeates all I see.
In the back of my mind the red glow pulses threateningly. I know what I must do.
As I left and my silver shuttle hurtled upwards and away, I had none of the desire to look back as I had done with the portal. There was no mystery or magic here, only decay and stagnated processes. My ruined base would stand like countless others I’ve seen. Abandoned and derelict. I now know why.
Time has passed and many planters in my freighter stand neglected and pulsing. Half-grown seedlings crouch in stasis awaiting sustenance and attention. Most will serve no more purpose for what I must soon do. The star chart floats in front of me as I scan and scan and scan, searching. Eventually I find the peaceful system I long for as my new home. I set the coordinates and punch the warp thrusters for what I know will be the final voyage. The familiar rainbow of prism shard lights flash by and the dials all go blank as they always do when travelling interstellar at this speed. I’ve pushed my jump to the limit yet again but it will be worth it.
I ignore the space station floating nearby as I come out of warp, instead scanning the multiple planets in this system. The planet I select is an azure blue orb. Something in that satisfies me.
As I approach my chosen landing site, the open landscape is nearly flat green meadows separated by ridges of grey white stone. Small lakes abound but there are no oceans. Scanning says it’s wet but I never experience a storm or rain and the temperature is mild. It is perfect.
As the sun sets, nocturnal creatures with glowing points abound yet none seem threatening. In time to the sunset’s glow, the red ambience in the back of my mind also glows.
This will do nicely.
I set about building a simple structure. A single square room above the cylindrical starter unit. A corridor leads from ground level out to the landing area but I build no pad. I don’t want any visitors. Above the corridor rests a single dome nursery which I imagine filled with a ring of Gravatino Orbs. The building colour is emerald green and the structure is soft and blends in to the landscape in sculptural simplicity. When the Orbs matured they would glisten like diamonds in an emerald cluster setting. This makes me think of Emily and for a moment I see a face and a symbol of love but it is gone so fast it, may have just been a trick of the light. I plant no orbs.
I build no terminals and keep decorations to a minimum with just a few beautiful plants in their little glass homes. Outside, parked in parallel are three exocraft. Other than to position them, they are never driven. Walking is far more relaxing.
I’ve taken my beloved Mozzie 3 for a final flight. I’ve travelled so far across the cosmos in this one little craft. It feels a part of me and I want it parked next to my dwelling so I can look upon it. I take the time to enjoy the serenity after the recent events that shaped my life. Here the light moves in joyous blends of rich colour. At sunset, I find the light comes past the glass dome in sunbeams. It’s so peaceful here. So beautiful.
I enjoy the quiet. Above me the silent shadow of the freighter patiently waits in a backdrop of glistening stars. Perhaps for an eternity.
I sit staring at the type-pad wondering: what I should write? What will I say that is of consequence?
I have never stepped through a portal but I have seen one. I have walked among ruins and learned languages. I’ve seen the expanses of desolation and I have seen the wondrous beauty of nature in all its colour and savagery. I have only ever witnessed the mechanical majesty of a gigantic freighter in space but have never once seen the corpse of one lying broken and in ruins. Others have.
From the moment, I first awakened in the snow next to a small red space craft so very long ago I have soaked in the experience. I have seen things.
The call of the Atlas is strong now. I have done what I can but the Mercury Process is broken and I cannot continue. On the shelf in front of me the options are displayed. It is time.
Tears brim in my eyes. My fingers falter over the button that will end it. A lifetime deleted.
The red glow grows as the circle expands.

… it is not truly an end.
It is a new start.
It is a restart.


It is here we leave my old save and I will start anew. Thanks to those who enjoyed my little tale which is actually a 99% true account of my NMS time since the 1.3 update. I really have deleted my old day-one game, and did so as I wrote entry 16.
I have not yet started a new one.


The ruins of my base…


Arriving at the portal after driving halfway around the planet


MOZZIE 3 just before the Cataclysm in a simpler time on a world that is gone now.


I want to cry! Who needs Books-A-Million?!!! Very moving! #1on the NMS Best Seller list (which doesn’t exist, but should)


@Mad-Hatter Thank you for sharing your story. The final “Ent:” has moved me to tears.

One thing I noticed is that throughout the telling of this tale your storytelling improved tremendously. From a kind of lark at the beginning (humour can help us cope with the worst disasters in what is ultimately an absurd existence!) to a deeply courageous decision to turn and face the current reality on your own terms.

As I read through the entries I was pulled more and more into the human drama of your story and your decision until you had me fully immersed. I was there with you! Well done! :congratulations:

Your story is helping me to inform my own decision to restart or to carry on glitched --or maybe to quit playing NMS altogether. I am deeply saddened at the destruction. I log in. Look around and log out again. Haven’t played for two days now. Just keep reading about the experiences of others, watch their YouTube vids, trying to decide what to do. Is this a game I even want to play anymore?

Sometimes it really helps to read stories like yours that resonate in many ways with my own. I’m not willing to make the final choice yet, But your story helped ease the loneliness of that decision. So thank you.


For those who were here during the WT ARG…the whole infamous red button question seems to have come into play here. Many of us chose not to push it and yet, it seems, we have in fact been pushed to that choice in-game. We just never realized that we were pushing the button on ourselves (our life in-game as it was) for a chance at a better beginning. I am not really too sad over the choice because how often do we get to start over? If, given the chance in real life, would we take it?


But I’m glad you enjoyed the journey.

You are right. It started as a toungue in cheek journal and became a saga. I didn’t plan that; I just started enjoying telling my travellers story.
I write regularly so it doesnt take much for me to get carried away once I get my teeth into something. Sorry it went a bit dark.

I will restart NMS & I’ll take my time doing so to give HG a chance to sort out the bugs. It’s a brilliant game but I think too much got added muddying the waters leading to many bugs.

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I enjoyed it. I didn’t feel as though it became dark, but instead became more of a “Hero’s Journey” into the unknown and unknowable. Pretty cool.

(Also, did you mean to add that strange link into your reply or was that caused by a typo?)