Might & Magic VI | New World Computing
A man following someone else’s plan is walking blind in a hurricane. He can only hope his newly adopted tour guide has his best interests at heart. Without seeing the grand design he can only hope his next step is not his last. One should only play ignorant till he has a base of power and a hand to bluff with.
Enjar the Traveler landed on a planet that appeared to be paradise after tracking a beacon that leads him right to it. The beacon itself was quite damaged and after repairing it he was able to recover blueprints for building a base. After the constructed of a very simple base he soon discovered one of the most formidable beings in the universe-- Sentinels. Needless to say paradise with its lake and warm nights could not have been further from the truth.
After what seemed like an eternity sitting and staring at the blinking incoming transmission light there was really nothing to lose at this point. On one hand whoever it seemed quite intent on contacting him. On the other, he was floating in space low on fuel, supplies, with no clue where he even was.
The choice was simple and with a flick of the switch, communication lines opened. It was an unknown entity refusing to declare who or what it even was. It was almost like a prerecorded message that seemed to be almost sentient with its replies. It simply instructed the Traveler to dock at the local space station. Further instructions would be given.
Why that is pure insanity Enjar thought there was no space station in this solar system. His scanners after running them again informed him as such. Perhaps this signal simply becomes corrupted or was coming from a nearby solar system.
After checked the corresponding coordinates that he was given it turns out they pointed to an empty part of space only a couple of hours away. After doing some quick math it appeared he had enough fuel to get there and still get back to the planet if needed. Without much risk of getting stranded, he pushed forward the smaller red leaver and off he went with great velocity.
As the minutes ticked by that feeling that he was just sent on a fool’s errand set in. There was nothing but rocks and dust among the stars. His mind slowly wandered back to the Sentinels that he has just encountered before. They seemed so set on scanning things around them and only wanted to kill him once they realize his existence. It was like he was an unwanted anomaly in a computer system and they wanted to correct the error. Expect in that case that would have been death, yet, he could swear he had died many times before. That strange feeling that something more was going on is one he could never shake.
Getting close to the location now he snapped out of his current mindset when an object appeared out of nowhere. He was quite certain he was not drunk and no one was going give him a ticket even if he was. A black and blue object constructed out of geometric squares and triangles had just appeared. To make matters even stranger it looked like the outer paint had just dried yesterday. There were no signs this space station had ever been raided by pirates let alone a space ship scratching it. Heck, there was not even a rock dent from the nearby asteroids just flying past it without a care in the world it was there or not.
Then he heard it. A spaceship bluer than an ocean at night shaped like an eagle passed him and went right into an opening on the side of the station. Then another one this time neon pink with a glass bubble front like a submarine. He was not alone this place was quite active.
After waiting to see if any more ships where coming or going he as well approached the section of the space station that was bleeding blight blue light in a pulsating fashion. The closer and closer he got the deeper the knots in his stomach twisted and turned. Pure terror entered his heart when he realized his ship was being tractor beamed in and he no longer had any control. It was now a done deal.
The entryway of the space station was quite long and lined with lighting to direct oncoming ships towards the back. There were a dozen or so landing pads that ships where automatically being dropped off at. How this worked was quite unknown. One of the landing pads lights turned green as his ship was delicately placed onto of it. As if it was an egg being placed on a countertop or perhaps the owners did not want risk being sued for damages so the upmost precaution was ensured.
There was railing with stairs to the left and right of him leading up. With creatures, tables, lighting, and all kinds of craziness going on. Some places looked like they could be a shop, other working stations for a crew, and he even swore people were gambling at a table with flashing green lights.
After getting out of his spaceship there was no one to greet him. Everyone and everything seemed rather indifferent that he was even there. As if it was no big deal a spaceship with a stranger just landed on a space station in the middle of nowhere. Someone disappointed he had a look around.
The left side was filled with a bunch of empty desks in cubicles near the stairs. All the computer were on and appeared to be unattended. There where strange devices on the desk that he could not even begin to comprehend. What felt strange was the lack of personal items anywhere to be found. After looking through a few and not finding anything of interested he proceeded into another section.
This one corridor lined with vendors selling all kinds of upgrades and modules. One guy not speaking anything he could understand was trying to push on him an upgrade for his spacesuit. While another seller had upgrades for Multi-tools and even tried to sell him a new one which seemed more broken than his own. There were many others but they were not what he was looking for.
There also seemed to be a backroom that leads even deeper into the space station. It required an access key of which he had not. No one seemed interested in even going back there perhaps that is where employees took breaks and maintenance crews hanged out. Regardless this mystery will have to remain for another time.
On the other side of the space station was a round device that displayed the current buying and selling prices listed in units. He was not quite sure how you would even sell an item to this device. There appeared to be no apparent opening or tray to place things. Besides his ship was filled with rather heavy ores and minerals. Those would be a pain to have to drag up the stairs. Even the smaller stuff he had with him appeared to have no place to insert.
While walking to a table to get a better look at a tablet looking device a hand reached out and touched his shoulder. He turned to see what it was and the creature seemed to be as confused as he was in what was going on. The hand-turned colder than death and suddenly the creature was something else. Yet it was communicating with him. How he was quite unsure about what was going on.
Apparently, a planet in this solar system contains a base with blueprints and materials for making warp drive cells. Enjar than could fuel his hyperspace engine and attend a meeting in a nearby solar system. This was perhaps the best news he had been given in his entire life. A way out of this blasted system filled with Sentinels and who knows what else.
While there were lots of other interesting things to look at in the space station like a blue portal device that creatures were walking in and out of. He did not want to overstay his welcome and had no idea how long his ship was even permitted to be parked down in the hanger bay.
A Break In
After leaving the space station he headed right for the plant with the outpost. He had seen that planet before with its many rings and icy surface but had yet to venture onto it. There was no stopping to consult his computer about the planet itself once he landed. He did not care who or what was on the planet. It had his only ticket to getting out of this place. Nothing else mattered
The facility itself seemed more like a giant complex with a number of rooms attached to it. All grey metal and boring with antenna and other instruments attached to the sides and roof. After circling around it a couple of times on foot he could only find one door and it was locked. He even tried knocking a few times and shouting “anyone home???.” No reply back but the flat thumps his fists made on the door as they echoed back.
It was getting late and so with his sprits lower he climbed back into his spaceship and slammed the hatch shut. Perhaps everyone was off for the night. He went to sleep and would try again in the morning. Perhaps then they let him in or be open for business.
From all the stress and excitement from the former days, first light did not wake Enjar. He was in a deep slumber dreaming. Yet again that dream was nothing but white lights and nothing else. Around noon or so he finally awoke with a yawn. Suddenly remembering he still had no idea where he was or anything else. It was time to get that blueprint and materials.
Again he yelled and nocked as hard as he could on the door with no answer. Another couple runs around the building yielding nothing. No signs of life inside of the building or out. For all he knew, the building could have been shut down for decades or even longer.
He pulled out his Multi-tool and set it to the mining laser setting. It was time to crack that door open and see what is going on. At the first blast of the laser, he heard them. The Sentinels were alerted at his attempted to get in and appeared from outside of a hill moving in his direction.
Not wanting to give up or run he counted to hit the door with the mining laser. This time focusing on the hinges hoping they would be the weak points. The Sentinels slowly made their way towards him and then he could feel that sensation again of being scanned. The last hinge on the door fell away and he pried the door open rushing inside.
Once inside the Sentinels started to scan rocks and plants all around the outpost but never dared to enter. He did not dare fire back at them either as they seemed to have forgotten him yet again.
Inside appeared to be a strange scientific outpost that had been long forgotten. A bunch of unused instruments on the walls covered not in dust but some kind of ooze with a pulse. It was slimy, smelled of rotten eggs and even looked like it was going puss more ooze just for looking at it.
It was also covering what appeared to be the main computer system in the middle of a room. It had a giant hologram viewing station in the center of it. With a couple of hits of a laser, the slime detached and rotted away into nothing as soon as it hit the floor. Leaving him access to the control panel to take a further look.
Most of the computer files appeared to have been corrupted and no longer working. A couple of times the entire base even lost power. After searching around in a random database he found still intact exactly what he needed. Blueprints to crafting hyperspace fuel and an inventory log with everything needed still on the base.
After searching the outpost and having slime ooze onto his space helmet a couple of times while walking down dark corridors he had found the supply room. It was unlocked and had just enough raw resources for a single hyperspace jump.
The Sentinels were outside between him and his ship scanning away. As soon as he exited the outpost they were again alerted and ascended towards his location. He made a mad dash taking direct fire a couple of times. Thankfully he had not parked too far away and the hyperspace fuel bay was on that side as well. They did not even get through his shields on the spacesuit before he slammed the hatch shut on the space ship and blasted off from that planet.
He confirmed with his computer that all systems were a go. After double-checking, he had the correct coordinate enter in. It was time to pull the giant red lever and activate hyperspace.
- . . 2. . . 1. . .
He was expecting to feel extrema g-forces but they never came. There was no sound and the stars where just lines of light across the ship. If it was not for that he would think he was not even moving at all.
What felt strange was he could have sworn the entire universe was known to him all at once. It was incomprehensible. Everything and yet nothing. Every time he tried to reach out with his mind to touch something it was gone. He suddenly felt like the Greek Tantalus.
A New Home
In almost the same instant that he had pushed the giant red leaver the hyperspace jump was done. He was in a new unknown system. Perhaps this one would be friendlier.
The communications light started blinking again and without a second thought, he flicked the switch to activate it. His unknown friend was contacting him and told him where he could find a crashed ship to repair and claim as his. Right next to it would be the preface place to set up a base as well.
The planet itself had a single moon and these amazing rings around it to look up at the heavenly sky at night and see. Many nights were spent enjoying that sky. It might just have been the best view in the universe.
While it was a freezing planet the Sentinels were docile and needed to be provoked before they would take action. The computer seemed to almost be as joy struck filled about this news as he was. So far they appear to be on every single planet but at least here there was no worry about them for the most part.
The local area had a piece of land in the shape of a flattish shelf alongside a giant hill with nearby caves to explore. The caves were loaded with cobalt, oxygen, carbon, and crystals. The hillsides with trees and a valley not too far down below with copper nodes and needed crystals for making fuel.
The first few weeks where spend building a bigger base than the hut he had on another planet. It might have only been made of carbon from all the nearby trees but that would change over time. This time it was two stories high and four long with lots of room to grow. It would be big enough to house all the future experiments and instrument stations he would need to carry out future endeavors from.
The crashed ship itself was right where it supposed to be. There was however a mystery surrounding it and how it came to be in such bad shape. From the outside, it did not look so bad. The inside, however, was another story. Random places had bends, dents, and flat out chunks of systems missing. While others even rights next to extreme damage were left unscathed. It was like the ship had been through a black hole and the tidal forces of gravity only affected certain areas.
The ship was at least repairable and took almost a month to carry out all the repairs. From all the metal plating, gold, ferrite and a bunch of other materials you could have built an entirely new and better ship. It was still a massive upgrade from the old one. With an upgraded hull, more storage, and a much further traveling range.
After the ship was in mostly running order it was time to update the software and try to clean up its databanks. It had a large amount of useless information taking up most of the hard drives. Some of it almost seemed to have some kind of logic behind it. There were a couple that seemed intact but where encrypted. They were all named with sequential numbering after them. Perhaps they were from the former owner. They felt special and were not purged from the system like the rest of the nonsense.
Days turned into nights that turned into days as just a blur. Every day the thirst for adventure and exploring the universe would grow. One night not too far from now that thirst will be quench again. For now Enjar the Traveler is following someone else’s plans and that someone will want more soon enough.
A fanfiction loosely based on my adventures in No Man’s Sky.