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Writing the No Man’s Sky fan fiction feels good. I am definitely exercising muscles that have been dormant for a while. This will get me ready for writing the next draft of the next chapter of Adam’s Name. And by chapter, I mean book. And by book, I mean… book. Dangit.
The school year has started back up, and we opted for fully virtual, rather than a hybrid in-person and virtual setup. Neither their mom nor I felt or thought that it’s safe enough for anything else. The old adage of schools being petri dishes is incredibly apt right now, no matter how much sterilization or separation that they’re able to pull off. I am more than happy to put up with complaining about the kids missing their friends in exchange for being sure they’re not going to be involved in an outbreak.
The Razer laptop’s battery expanded, contracted, and has been replaced. Kudos to the third party battery company for not abandoning their customer after ten months. Free replacement, no ridiculous hoops, and the new one does the thing. If you’re looking to replace a laptop battery, check out ANTIEE.
I boarded my freighter, loaded in the coordinates that Polo had provided, and told the navigator to engage when ready. The data insertions began in that very first system. At every jump, I was being fed both a portal glyph and the coordinates for the next system, leading ever-closer to the center of the galaxy. Who was sending me that data? Who would be able to? Was it something about being a Traveler that triggered all of this? Was someone watching me and my crew? No, they were bread crumbs, left by the Atlas itself.
I followed them, and they led to another Atlas interface, like the one I’d found when searching for Artemis. Metal that was not metal, lights that held words like the Knowledge Stones, and a smell like rotting faecium and burning silicon strong enough to coat the mouth. As I approached the massive, pulsating red orb, I felt… too many things. What it wanted me to do, in a desperate attempt to keep its experiment going, was unthinkable. Its need, its magnitude, and its pain sent me reeling. I could not contain any of it. I lashed out, told it no, and staggered backwards. It was not angry; it didn’t attack or threaten. It spoke to me, in words, and said it would be waiting for my return.
I found myself on the surface of an uncharted planet. I stumbled back to my ship, only to find it showering sparks and in need of repair. Inside the cockpit, I tried to ignore the burnt-hair smoke and begin repairs, but my mind raced. The pull to the center of the galaxy had been manufactured. Apollo and the strange base Overseer were planted to ready me for this. My memory-less existence as an anomalous Traveler, alone even among others of my kind, was purpose-built as a safety valve in the Atlas’ great machine. Its grand, multiverse-spanning simulation.
When I returned, I told Nada and Polo. Time was finite, and would run out. There was no way of knowing how long we had, but I had cursed us to that end, because the alternative was worse. I would not do what Null had done. They took it as well as they could, and I returned to Akrodne X, doing my best to ignore what had happened.
As far as I can determine, the painful discorporation I experienced when attempting to enter Nada and Polo’s station was just another symptom of the simulation breaking down. The broken freighters, drifting between planets, infested with dangerous… something… is more evidence to throw on the pile.
And yet, Polo’s hope may not be unfounded. I’ve seen an entirely new type of ship, one that seems to be alive. It pulses with a kind of inner light, and is made of an organic material like nothing I’ve ever seen. I’ve also heard stories of a new kind of exocraft – a mechanized suit for operating with more dexterity in extreme environments. Elearu has even mentioned new Travelers building bases, right here on Akrodne X.
Is this some sort of desperate, creative spasm by the Atlas? Some last-ditch attempt at changing the inevitable course of its experiment? Or has something truly changed for the better?
Sixteen. Over and over and over. Through finding Artemis, putting up with Apollo, getting my footing with Nada and Polo and their strange space station, it’s always been sixteen. Across the worlds and systems of the Euclid Galaxy, that number has shown up everywhere. Gek and Vy’Keen never remembered speaking about it, though they did, and with voices not their own. The Korvax never spoke of it, but they were closer to the Atlas than anyone but the Sentinels. And I’ve found no evidence that the Sentinels have ever spoken to anyone.
Since my last communication, I’ve made it back onto the anomalous station. Something drove me to keep trying, despite the threat of painful discorporation. It wasn’t the blueprints, and it wasn’t the frantic hustle and bustle of all of the Travelers. Maybe it was Nada’s sad acceptance of the multiverse’s fate. Maybe it was the rich, chocolatey scent of Polo’s continued hope. Ah, I’m skipping ahead.
I couldn’t shake the pull. I hadn’t seen any other Travelers on Akrodne X, except for Elearu, in ages. They could have left for other systems, or perhaps they’d slipped out of our reality, like Artemis had. Who could know? I’d find myself staring out through the glass of my grow domes, at a countryside littered with abandoned bases, slowly being reclaimed by the environment.
I could no longer find the solace in building that I once had, that Elearu still did. I had put so much of myself into creating these sprawling pods, glass-filled corridors, and underground concrete. I had built something beautiful, but it was complete. My compatriots, Gek, Vy’Keen, Korvax, and whatever the Overseer was, could operate just fine without me. They had their own project and own lives, despite Attendant Eil’s implications.
I looked to the stars next. I’d explored several nearby systems, but each was so like the last. There had to be more. There had to be.
There was. I had been told that many Travelers had ventured toward the center of the galaxy, in search of the Atlas itself, but that few returned. Perhaps they’d found renewed purpose, a place to call home, or something more sinister had happened to them. Nada had expressed their misgivings about seeking it out, and I’d put together some of the why. The Atlas was tightly linked to the Korvax hive mine, and Nada had been split from it for a very long time. Most didn’t survive that sundering, let alone thrive. Nada was afraid of being forced to rejoin, and of losing their individuality among the many. And they were right to fear.
The Sentinels were designed to answer directly to the Atlas, and they had wiped out entire universes of living beings. The ancient Gek had been punished by the Atlas, reduced from a mighty empire to trade-obsessed merchants, for their transgressions against the Korvax. It mercilessly hunted any being that rebelled against it or sought to escape it. Fearing the Atlas was wise.
And yet, the visions I’d received from the ruined monuments told me that there was more to it. The appearance of shattered worlds told me that something was wrong. And Null had said the Atlas was in great pain. Were we, the Travelers, not the Atlas’ way of knowing itself? Were we not its curiosity? Its drive to understand? That’s why the Gek fear us. That’s why the Vy’Keen aid us. That’s why the Korvax revere us.
As part of switching over to a new setup and layout for the site, I’ve needed to finally go back and switch from WordPress’s category system (old and busted) to the tagging system (new hotness).
It’s tedious, but it’s worthwhile, and I should have done it ages ago. I’ve started at the oldest posts, and am working my way forward. Of course, those posts are part of the massive LiveJournal import I did before I closed that account. And hoo boy, are these LiveJournal posts.
The signs for my anxiety and my migraines were clear, and I was a stubborn idiot not to recognize them. I had thought that my first real migraine was on my honeymoon with my first wife, but these entries say otherwise. All of the symptoms are there, and some of the headaches lasted for days. I’d been having them a LOT longer than I’d thought. And my anxiety, mostly about work and failing those I cared about… wow, it was intense. It wasn’t the same flavor as when my life began to revolve around children, but it is clear as day to me, in the now.
There are all kinds of details that I’ve misremembered over the years. Not the big, life-changing ones, but the small ones that I could have sworn went another way.
Also, it should be known that, as a bachelor, I marinated A LOT of what I cooked overnight. Maybe I should start doing that again.
Also, since all of this was posted to the internet, and I’ve decided to keep the posts alive here, I should NEVER run for office. Or, I suppose, if I do, be ready to glory in my younger self, rather than be ashamed of the shit that came out of my mouth.
My No Man’s Sky character doesn’t really have a personality. He’s made choices, buffeted by the story line and the revelations that came from finishing quest lines, but he’s never been active about it. He’s never had a driving goal, or something to accomplish for himself. A completely passive character isn’t compelling, and isn’t fun to write.
The game has been fun to play, don’t get me wrong. There’s no way I’d have as many hours into it as I do if it wasn’t. I would never have stuck around through the bugs, the graphics clipping, and the new bugs introduced (and then subsequently resolved) with every major update. I’d have never weathered the game’s detractors and the controversy surrounding its launch that still hangs on, four years later. My favorite aspect of the game, base building, is still hobbled by the game’s inability to negotiate between terrain modification and terrain regeneration/respawn.
And yet, it’s fun for me, and I stick around.
The difficulty with my fan fiction idea is that I chose to make my PC the main character, when he’s just a thin veneer laid over whatever neat thing I want to accomplish next. That leaves two options that I can see:
Write stories about another Traveler out in the No Man’s Sky multiverse. That leaves me to continue playing as I have, and allows freedom to stretch that might not exist if I’m constrained to writing about what happens in-game.
Take the opportunity provided by switching to playing on PC to actually play a character. I’ve started over in the quest and story progression, which means I can play a character in the game, rather than letting the game drag me along.
I should give this some thought, and find out what my streaming community thinks.