Of Space Travels and loneliness

DISCLAIMER


I wrote this some time ago- while I still had internet at home and could play at Elite. It still applies.
Also… Since I’m getting close to a connection again- I’m getting withdrawal syndrome. I need it…
Badly.


There’s something that always amazed be about Elite.

The loneliness induced by the sheer scale of the game.

No, it’s not a rant or a nag- a mere observation.

The feeling was simply unbelievable, the first time I took my Cobra
Mk.III outside the bubble and finally reached my first uncharted System.

I know it sounds silly.

I smile

That moment was immense and a heart-thumper inducing one.

No one had ever been there before.

First among the first.

And terribly alone at that.

For a short fraction of time I wanted simply to have someone else,
anyone, sitting in the cockpit beside me, to look at- both gawking eyes
in

eyes at our discovery.

A useless, sad, grey-ish ball of dust suddenly would have been our biggest treasure.

And instead I was alone- uniquely so.

A tiny fraction of my consciousness tried to play dirty and bring in
that breathlessness the part of real world framing the Monitor I was
looking at, the empty room, the white walls- work papers, a trash bin…

My reality shifted back to the game and a Space Commander in his late 30’s was feeling a kid again.

My smile slowly fades

From that moment everything became a bit less extraordinary as I gained
proficiency, expertise, speed and a sense of been-there-done-that.

As I ranked up as an explorer I loved going in the deep black. Coming
back meant finally see stations again, a sense of protection and a
different sense of danger.

But the amazement left space to the… Job of the explorer.

Until last night.

I traveled to one of my favorite backwater, forgotten by everyone yet
inhabited, Star System and set to land. I want to roam all over the
planets in there and make it truly mine. To know it. To make it a bit
more mine.

I select the first planet. A grey-ishly sad, useless ball of dust.

Pause and a shrug

I approach it.

Smile again

I was trying to fight the sense of wonder- I’ve been this close to planets before, play it cool man. What’s the big deal.

Except finally I was “closer”. And then the HUD changed- info relative to the navigation towards the surface.

smile widens

What’s this? Why I’m getting impatient… why is my heart racing…

The Orbital Cruise efficiently turns into Glide Cruise and I expertly bring the “Voodoo-Child”, an iron Viper Mk. IV, to the ground.

Although I never did it before it pools from my wide flight experience, accumulated so far…

The engines whine down to a low hum.

It’s almost without thinking that I activate the SRV and I get lowered on the surface.

With the same sufficiency I dismiss the ship and it simply turns on its
engines and fly upward- rocketing to the black sky above.

pauses to sigh

Then and there it hits me. Hard and brutally.

The ship- MY ship, is… gone.

I’m alone on the surface of this planet.

That exact same feeling I had almost an year ago.

Alone.

As I stare at the fragile-looking, glassy, shell that separates me from a very uncaring death… I let it sink.

This loneliness will never be as big and as strong as now- I savor it.

I can almost feel the silence patiently waiting for me to do something. To give up its reign to the engine of my Scarab.

Eventually I push the throttle forward and I go.

And I can’t believe the love I feel for FD.

Thank you.

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