May I present my journal from just before 1.3 dropped to present day. Condensing and artistic license has been used to (hopefully) enrich the story, all names persist in the game and key events documented are true and did happen.
Originally conceived as a coping mechanism to deal with differences between 1.24 and 1.3, I developed a story to give myself a door back into the game following everything that had changed. I needed to know why!
Hope you enjoy it. Literary criticism is welcomed and indeed encouraged so feel free to Private Message me if you can offer any help or guidance on this. I’m still flexing my creative writing muscles and normally write in 3rd person so 1st person has been a new experience for me. Be gentle!
Thanks to everyone for submitting their own stories, you have both inspired and raised the bar to a level I can only hope I can be part of. I hope my writing does the core story justice.
EDIT: Minor corrections
Let the sun beat down upon my face
And stars fill my dream
I’m a traveller of both time and space
To be where I have been
The hypnotising spectrum of colour wheeled past the viewport at speeds I could not comprehend. At last it slowed and the cold blackness of space appeared before me, revealing the Solo System and It’s one planet, Soleth Prime. A large barren and hostile world that I had no desire to visit again. Once was enough. I adjusted the controls and guided my ship towards my freighter, The Intrepid. She was a an old Gek model, not particularly large or grand but it was reliable and served my purposes; a steal at 11 million units.
“Come in Intrepid, this is Indigo Rain on approach, requesting landing” I said through the comm unit. There was a short silence and crackle of static as I awaited the Captains reply.
“Indigo Rain this is Intrepid, we have you on our scopes, you are cleared on approach. Please adjust course to 217 and proceed to Bay 4” came the answer. The strange Gek were always eager to please it seemed, and always so formal! I put the ship on final approach and aimed for the hangar bays and relaxed knowing the tractor beam would take care of the rest. Sure enough, the ship jolted and adjusted direction as I was pulled into another fine landing. Sometimes I would purposely mis-align the ship so the tractor beam would have to work harder, even so much as approaching inverted, much to the Captain’s annoyance.
I landed and I listened to the engine powering down and was immediately kicked out of my ship, ‘I must fix that’ I thought to myself and headed aft towards my ‘Farm’ amid the noise of departing and arriving ships. I had a nice little operation going on, I had 60 Temerium Plants and 40 Spadonium which netted me a nicely profitable +2.5% in the market in the Solo System. That was after all the only reason I was here, far away from Sirasil Outpost, my picturesque home among the lush vegetation and rich countryside of the planet I also called home. A place where I could rest and recuperate, a place where I could explore and learn more about the world I was on. A base to serve as a launch-pad to fuel further investigation. Since acquiring the Intrepid, all farming operations were moved off-world, I then embarked upon converting the base to have three landing pads, I have plans to transmit the coordinates to the stars, for if a weary traveller like myself is lost and low on supplies, here at least, they can replenish and continue their quest.
I took up farming as a way of saving for a Destroyer Class, Deep Space Freighter, one more cargo run and I would have enough. I had seen the one I wanted when she was attacked by pirates, I rescued the stricken vessel but I didn’t have enough units to meet the captains asking price and it duly warped out of system, grateful, but gone. She was a long, sleek black ship with red accents and at least eight times larger than Intrepid, she would serve me well. I was to name her The Crimson Star.
With that ship at my disposal, I planned to continue to unravel this curious mystery of the Atlas, while building up my fleet. I purchased a nice A-Class fighter which was bought mainly as a project really, not yet commissioned or named, gathering dust in Bay 1 of the Intrepid. That would be a project once the Freighter is secured, something to upgrade at my leisure.
I loaded up my faithful ship, Indigo Rain, a reliable C Class Hauler, she had 40 slots and upgraded shielding and weapons which has surprised a fair few naive pirates along the way I can tell you. I spotted her a long time ago and fell in love with it instantly. Sure there were larger ships but it would take a very special ship for me to part with my pride and joy. With the cargo hold and my Exosuit fully loaded with Insulating Gel, I headed back down the stairs to my ship when my comm started beeping at me, it was the Captain.
“I’m picking up some strange readings on the scanner! The Universe Centre… It’s not there anymore!” he said confused. I frowned, unsure quite what to respond with.
“Sir! We have incoming Sentinels out of sector 318, 492 and 183!” he said. The system scanner showed red blips in every direction. The lights in the Hangar started flashing red, he was locking down the ship and preparing to raise the shields. Other pilots immediately scurried to their ships and took off in the confusion. For some reason, all freighter captains had the same “Hedgehog” mentality when it came to danger; Shields up, stay where you are and wait to be run over.
“Captain! Listen to me! Initiate a Continuous Warp Cycle when I’m clear, I’ll contact you on this channel when I know what’s going on!” I said running down and powering up my ship. The hangar bay opened before me and I took off into the empty space. I watched as the Intrepid engaged it’s warp drives and disappear in streaks of coruscating light before my eyes.
Looking towards the Galaxy Centre I could see it was getting brighter, the blackness of space was being replaced with light. I punched the engines and headed for the Station at full speed, the intensity of the light increased, I saw a freighter group attacked by Sentinels for no reason, I saw the flagship lose power and begin to fall until the gravity of Soleth Prime had a hold, sending it plummeting in a shroud of flame towards the surface. The smaller vessels in the flotilla were destroyed and any remnants burned up in the atmosphere of the great planet. I pressed on and wondered if this was happening everywhere. The light grew brighter and it had almost swallowed all I could see, the ship was violently juddering and I prayed she would hold together. I entered the station at full speed, the tractor beam was off-line and the ship buffeted the sides of the long entry passage in a hail of sparks, it seemed like every warning beep and light was going off, responding to the terrible screeching of metal grinding metal as the hull of the ship desperately tried to slow itself.
Darkness and silence.
To sit with elders of the gentle race
This world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait
All will be revealed
Dreams of stars wheeling overhead at incomprehensible speeds, heading towards a bright centre. I was aware. I could alter my course. I could move around this fast-moving existence, was it an existence? Was this death? I could hear nothing but a sweet melody, the sound of stars or the sound of static I could not tell… then… something else. Something mechanical. An engine? The stars began to disappear along with its orchestra. Suddenly I perceived I was. I woke slowly. It was dark. I was disorientated and… cold. Where was I? Who was I? My eyes adjusted to the darkness and I could just about see that I was in a large cavernous space. I recognised it as the hold area of a ship, my ship. There was a fetid smell, something had been rotting in here with me. I tried to move and felt pain course through my entire body, muscles in a state of atrophy. Gradually the painful sensation of feeling ebbed back into my limbs, ignoring the spikes of pain I clambered through to the cockpit area, weak and groggy, and I sat in the chair, exhausted. I took a few deep breaths and waited for the pain to subside. I looked around. The Ship was powered completely down, I looked up, a thick film had covered the viewport, I couldn’t see out. I looked over the thick, dust-caked controls and followed my fingers to the power control, how I knew this I could not remember. I flicked it and the systems immediately responded, the ship started to hum in a familiar way. The console powered up, a graphic of the ship appeared, Indigo Rain, I remembered, or did I? I went back aft to the cargo area to find the source of the smell, I opened one of the containers and saw a gelatinous gloop festering within. The container was marked Insulating Gel. The gel had a guaranteed operational life of 5000 years? How could it have rotted? I jettisoned the waste and activated the air filters, then I pressed the control to exit the ship and found myself in a space station. Looking back at the ship it was covered in dust and grime like it hadn’t been moved or touched for many years.
The station looked familiar to me. I followed my feet and headed instinctively for the Pilot’s Lounge and as I walked across the landing bays my attention was drawn to a ship entering the hangar bay, it’s type was one I’d never seen before, a round cockpit with a long dorsal fin. I gazed in wonder for a moment at its sleek lines, I frowned, shook my head as if trying to wake myself from a dream, nightmare, and pressed on, trying to make sense of what was going on. Up the stairs I walked and found the Pilots Lounge right where I was expecting it to be, only different. Familiar faces and new ones. Everything I saw just gave me more of a headache, something else to try and process. One of the mechanical beings noticed me standing disorientated in the doorway. The lights on its visor danced and audible clicks and beeps accompanied the light-show. It was talking and to my surprise I could understand most of the words.
Talk in song from tongues of lilting grace
Sounds caress my ear
And not a word I heard could I relate
The story was quite clear
“Fsefaew! Fsefaew to Solo System!” it said.
“Solo System?” I repeated. I remembered, this is where I should be, this is where I was before I blacked out… before I crashed here… Slowly my memory returned. Solo System, Soleth Prime…
“Soleth Prime?” I asked. I decided on showing a little knowledge of where I was may give me more information. The beings lights stopped moving. It was like it was trying to process something.
“Soleth Prime jof not exist” it eventually returned. I looked confused. Then just off to the left, an older looking being jittered to life.
“Soleth Prime lfaojw exist. Lofjsl 16,298 years ago, lfojase agdhw, renamed Xinglator IV dakwld Cataclysm”
“What?! 16 thousand years ago?” I protested. The other being acknowledged the older one in seemingly as much shock as me. He returned to face me again.
“Hja, Soleth Prime dlaiwhf long ago. Flihea fawd gvor changed much. Beware!” The being did not or could not explain any further. Could it be that I had been out for just over 16,000 years? Was that possible? My head spun and I felt a hot flush wash over me. I have so many questions that needed answers. I left the being and saw a Galactic Trade Terminal on the wall, everything was different. It was like finding an old jukebox expecting to see old songs on it. I looked at familiar products with unfamiliar names, prices had increased, others had fallen, I felt sick and my knees began to weaken, I closed the terminal connection.
How much more could I cope with? The Terminal reminded me of my home, maybe I would get some answers from Sirasil Outpost, my friends and workers would surely give me a straight answer? I turned and ran towards the opposite room in the Station crashing into a potted plant on the way to confusing glances from the gathered crowd. I found the Teleporter and activated it, as I did I noticed another being behind a counter offering various jobs and contracts around the near galaxy, the rewards were nothing like I’d ever seen, Freighter Drives? I ignored him and the details for Sirasil Outpost appeared before my eyes. I stepped though.
Pilot of the storm who leaves no trace
Like sorts inside a dream
Leave the path that led me to that place
Yellow desert stream
Like Shangri-la beneath the summer moon
I will return again
As the dust that floats finds you
We’re moving through Kashmir
The trip through the teleporter was an assault on my senses and it spat me out the other end, throwing me to the floor in the familiar circular room of my base. Silence. The message droid that cheerily greeted me was silent. The busy workings of those I came to call my friends were strangely silent. I stood up and peered through the window expecting to see the rich vegetation of my homeworld.
Ice and Snow. I stumbled back at the sight in disbelief. I rushed outside and beheld the sight, falling to my knees in sheer horror and disbelief. Mount Sirasil was there, looming large over the valley as always but the deciduous trees and rich amber grasses that once dotted the skyline and formed the dense forests I fell in love with were replaced with sparsely placed evergreens and bracken’s. My suit warned me of the plummeting temperatures and I was suddenly aware of the weather, I gathered myself and went back inside. The howl of the harsh wind ceased as the door hissed shut. I headed further in, emergency lighting was on but the old place looked abandoned.
I went to the crew room and checked the log, the horror and realisation that the being in the Space-Station was not wrong sank in. 16,000 years ago or so a Universe wide event occurred, changing the fabric of the world as we know it. My heart sank. My faithful friends journaled the entries and it seems an Ice age was brought on by the event, changing this planets makeup and geology. I looked around and saw empty terminals. They continued to document the aftermath noting the severe climate change, increased sentinel presence, and then nothing. I wondered what happened to them, did they leave? Where they captured? I doubted I would find the answers to these questions.
I would mourn the loss of my friends, but right now, I needed to survey the damage. I walked around my base in a state of disbelief and thankfully everything was where it should be. My storage vaults still held their valuable commodities so that was some comfort at least. I decided that I needed to clear my head, being surrounded by all that has changed was destroying my will. I opted to go for a drive. My Roamer was still parked on its pad and its cockpit would provide me protection from this harsh, cold new planet.
Oh, father of the four winds fill my sails
Cross the sea of years
With no provision but an open face
Along the straits of fear
Oh, when I want, when I’m on my way, yeah
And my feet wear my fickle way to stay
I fired up the engines and headed away from the base. Carelessly smashing Iron and Detritum deposits, venting my anger at this imposter of a home planet, deliberately trying to hurt it and longing for the planet I carefully chose to be my home. I drove on. I wept for my planet, mourning it’s passing more than that of my friends it seemed, the trees, the remarkable sunsets, all that was gone, replaced with this empty featureless backdrop. But it was not completely empty. It was not just white, it was sculpted and varied. Even in this desolate world, life flourished and even persisted. After a time I came to begrudgingly appreciate that the snowy tundra held a majestic beauty that I did not see at first and the more time I spent amongst it, the more I looked in wonder. My mood was lifting, each turn and each rock escarpment crested gave up more bewildering sights. I stopped in a valley and got out, the cold instantly hitting me, I gritted my teeth and pressed on. This white backdrop before me, I suddenly came to view as a blank canvas with which to paint my new adventure on.
…as I scan, this wasted land.
Trying to find, Trying to find… Where I’ve been…
I emphatically scanned everything I could see, names of once known plants had changed, hidden elements were now revealed to me and given new names by whom or what I did not know. I did not care. I greedily collected resources and drank my new environment in. I felt joy and bewilderment as I once again indulged the thing I loved to do most; exploring. I recognised one of the native species, a Dubong, I thought it strange that they had not evolved to the new environment but it’s sight was at least some semblance of familiarity that I craved. Then there was the new, flying high above me I beheld a species I named the Puppydove. I deployed my Camera Drone which captured a perfect 3D image of everything around me. This enabled me to view the data and pan and move in real-time around my subject. I looked closer at the marvellous creature, furry with four patterned wings, the face of a young puppy. I felt joy at seeing its face! It looked so happy to be gliding along!
My happiness was interrupted by my suit warning me of rapidly decreasing temperature so I headed back to my Roamer and tried to plan where I would go next. I just drove, caution was thrown and I followed my nose, I drove on and in a large valley I beheld the ruin of a crashed freighter. I approached in silence, mood returning to a more sombre state as I had a flashback of the Sentinel attacks and thought of the crew that lost their lives. I slowed and stopped next to some ejected machinery and got out. I checked the ships log from a pod and it confirmed the Sentinel attack was Universe wide. This freighter was apparently responding to a distress call. I sensed it was ambushed.
Just then my thoughts turned to my own freighter; Intrepid. I hurriedly placed a beacon down in case I wanted to return to this place for salvage and got back in the Roamer. I traversed the terrain single-mindedly and was soon back at my base. I headed for Pad 3 and called the Indigo Rain, jumping back into the cockpit I hit the thrusters and left the atmosphere of my newly named planet, Freyo. What its name was before I can now not remember. It wasn’t long before I was in the blackness of space and immediately hailed the Intrepid.
The ship appeared before me and I tried the comm but there was no answer.
“Come in Intrepid… This is Indigo Rain requesting landing… Come in…” There was no answer. Only Static.
The hangar bays were open so I approached and waited for the tractor beam to do its work, thankfully it was still operational and I landed. Lights in the cavernous hangar flickered into life and as I exited my ship, I could hear the sound of the generators powering up. I headed for the bridge but it was empty, dust and years of neglect had taken hold, all confirming the course of events I had so far unravelled. Just then a door hissed open and the Captain emerged. The small Gek waddled along clumsily and greeted me with a half asleep look. He explained that he and the crew had entered Hyper-sleep and programmed the Intrepid to wake them when I hailed them. He and the crew were in just as much shock as me when they discovered it was 16,000 years in the future, the Continuous Warp Cycle saved their lives.
The Captain checked his Navi-computer and noticed the Galaxy Map had also changed, gone were the O, G and other system classifications, instead he noticed that economies and conflict levels as well as the dominant race was now present. He scratched his head and I left him to his thoughts as he tried to work out this new world. I headed for the ‘Farm’ and saw my Spadonium and Temerium plants were ready for harvest, strangely they were glowing red and the plants themselves now had new names. I took it in my stride but decided to leave the harvest where it was for the moment, until I discovered more and decided how best to use it.
I checked my Exosuit and saw the resources I collected from Freyo, I wondered how much they were worth now? I headed for the storage units and opened one up. I saw a Voltaic Cell but it was listed as “Obsolete” I frowned and placed it in my Exosuit and then I remember nothing but a blinding light.
When I came to the Captain was peering over me with a concerned look on his face. He explained that there was an explosion, I was unhurt but my pack was in tatters. One of the crew had repaired it but the inventory it contained was gone, thankfully the technology was unharmed. He explained that he managed to install a deeper cargo section and a separate technology section for which I was grateful for. I got up a little disorientated and it was then I had an epiphany.
I resolved to rebuild what had been torn down. I decided I would recruit new workers and by completing their tasks again, maybe they could teach me the ways of this strange new world. Maybe more answers would fall at my feet, Atlas… the word entered my mind once more and the mystery it holds, Nada… Polo… and… Artemis… Where that came from I cannot say, but like so much right now, it had to wait, wait until I was ready. I’m sure unravelling their mysteries would provide answers but I despaired at the real truth that they would only provide more questions. I would be patient, I would prepare, Freyo was not an ideal place to live despite its beauty, that was also something that needed addressing. I knew I needed to find my place in this new world. 65 million units were at my disposal, I had no idea what that would buy me now but it seemed I had a lot to spend it on. Thoughts of owning a Destroyer Class, Deep Space Freighter entered my mind once more, I smiled at the thought of the challenge.
I headed back to my ship and had an overwhelming desire to share my experience, I dreamt of visitors to Sirasil Outpost so I visited the Mainframe, even that had changed, I uploaded everything from this journal to photographs and to my surprise it was answered. Other travellers had been busy uploading their findings and discoveries, talk of mysterious portals and tales confirming that the cataclysm was multi-verse wide. I spent hours reading through some of the journals, poring over their findings. I found it interesting and comforting that some were at a similar stage to myself, one Echo of a Traveller in particular I strongly resonated with, it was a document of the past and future and shared the same level of confusion and disarray that I experienced. I wanted to help but felt powerless. I was amazed as the feeling that I was not alone washed over me, it was overwhelming. Maybe my experiences would help? Maybe this would encourage others to persevere? I suddenly felt like I had a duty to record what I see and upload in the hope it would help someone I have never met or never even knew existed. All I had ever known was solitude. Reading on it seemed there were more and more travellers, like minded individuals who were just as lost as me, all trying to work out the answers. I took off from Intrepid and I mulled over my next destination, I started heading for the Space-Station with a view to recruit an Overseer and start the rebuilding operation. Instead I found myself steering away from the Station and I was opening up the Galactic Map, it looked different but right now, I wasn’t trying to find anywhere in particular, I over-rode the waypoint controls and selected a random unexplored system; to find oneself, you first have to lose oneself. I engaged the Warp Drive and the spectrum of colour appeared before me, taking me to a far off unknown region and a whole wealth of life just waiting to be explored and discovered.
I would meet the challenge, I would overcome, I would endure.
I’m a traveller of both time and space
To be where I have been…
Sirasil Outpost - Pre-Cataclysm
Sirasil Outpost and Mount Sirasil - Pre-Cataclysm
Mount Sirasil - Pre-Cataclysm
Mount Sirasil - Post-Cataclysm
Sirasil Outpost - Post-Cataclysm
The Indigo Rain - Mid storm
The crashed freighter on Freyo
Puppydove over Freyo