Come on a journey through the stars and planets of No Man’s Sky. Welcome to Player 2’s Stories from the Universe.
Stories from the Universe: The Life of an Intergalactic Researcher
The life of an intergalactic researcher is not an easy one.
The hardest part is never sleeping. Sometimes, day turns to night in the blink of an eye. Other times it can feel like the transition gets stuck in a state of perpetual stillness. I can never tell what time it is because time has no real place in this universe. Time would just get in the way of all the things I have to do. I’m too busy to think about time. There is too much out there to find and catalogue, but only a handful of us to do it. That’s why we cannot afford to think about time. Because time is against us.
The life of an intergalactic researcher never stops. We have to keep going; keep researching. Our job is to build and maintain the database containing all the information we can discover about life within this wonderful Euclid Galaxy of ours. All creatures, great and small, as well as rocks, trees, sea life and other assorted curiosities. We want to see and understand everything this universe has to offer and is it a great responsibility to be chosen to undertake this task.
We travel across the galaxy. Our home is our cockpit. We watch the sun rise and fall, just like anyone else, except sometimes we will watch it from different planets, under a different sky. Sometimes the air is a cool hue of blue, like back home. Sometimes it’s thick and hot, barely able to sustain anything, let alone life. I’ve been places where the temperature drops below -100° at night, where you’d imagine nothing could survive, only to see the most incredible flora flourishing across its surface. Everything we thought we knew suggests nothing should be able to survive in these extreme climates; the logic of it defies all reason. But that’s why we’re here. To understand.
The life of an intergalactic researcher can be filled with incredible sights. The creatures we find are varied and beautiful, often in remarkably unique and odd ways. I’ve seen large creatures with the head of a Tiger and spines emerging from its back run at the very sight of me. But I’ve also found large, floating Jellyfish-like creatures with an instinct as predatory as a shark who will attack-on-sight. A good researcher must always be at the ready to react to a dangerous situation but must also have the tact and wherewithal to know when to when to keep their distance and not antagonise the wildlife. We must respect the other life of the universe, and only act when life does not respect us in return.
When leaving the atmosphere of a world and entering the vast and vacuous space surrounding it, we’re often greeted by large asteroid fields. Back in the day, they were considered the intergalactic researchers worst nightmare. Shield technology hadn’t caught up to a point that gave researchers shi[s any real protection against an impact – a problem I’m glad we don’t have today. Asteroids are now less of an inconvenience and more of an opportunity, as they are rich in the minerals required to fuel our continuous journey.
The life of an intergalactic researcher is a lonely one. Whilst we are privileged to travel to distant worlds and stars well beyond what can be observed from Earth, such a privilege also brings with it downfalls too. One thing you learn when you spend a lot of time travelling a vast black ocean of rock and gas is just how small and insignificant we really are. The universe will evolve and move, just as we do, and will continue to do so, whether we are there or not.
But physical insignificance does not stand in our way. It can’t. If we are to gain any sort of understanding as to our place in this universe, we must understand everything within it. We must scour and search every corner and crevice until we complete our task – finding our place in this universe.
The life of an intergalactic researcher is lots of things. But most of all, it feels like a very special one.
James Swinbanks is a Games Critic currently writing for GameSpot, although you’ll still occasionally see him popping up on Player 2, because frankly, he loves the smell of the place.