Sometimes I think that my copy of Elite Dangerous must be broken. The game I keep hearing about on the internet always seems much more exciting than mine. Case in point: over the last few days, while I've been dutifully honking my scanner at undiscovered planets to make a bit of cash, the Elite Dangerous community has been going gaga over new evidence of alien life in the game. There've been sightings of alien ships, strange signals from the depths of space, and the discovery of vast alien mega-structures—and players have been racing to uncover their secrets.
This flurry of alien activity began a few days ago when Elite player lightningwing92 stumbled upon a strange, spiralling mega-structure (which you can see below) while scouring the surface of an otherwise unassuming planet. After seeing details of his find on the official Elite Dangerous forums, the community launched into action. It was quickly determined that the structure housed a complex series of not-exactly-natural-looking caves, most likely created by Elite's legendary alien race, the Thargoids. Before long, an energised community had not only gained access to the caves, it had managed to locate four similar structures around the galaxy.
Infiltrating the caves proved a little tricky at first, but enterprising players soon learned that entrance was possibly by bringing certain artefacts (the purpose of which had previously mystified Elite Players) to their doors. Once inside, however, another mystery was revealed: commanders uncovered a large chamber housing an imposing, distinctly alien machine. This in turn prompted more experimentation with the various 'Unknown Devices' that have been accrued in recent times.
Some attempts to kickstart the machine, although admirable, weren't exactly a rousing success. By incorporating an Unknown Probe, Unknown Artefact, and Ancient Relic into the machine, and then initiating a scan, explorers managed to bring the contraption to life—albeit in about as aggressive a manner as possible.
As demonstrated in the above video by respected Elite YouTuber ObsidianAnt, it seems the alien device takes offence at the inclusion of the Guardian-created Ancient Relic (various bits of recently discovered Elite Dangerous lore imply that the Thargoids may in fact be creations of the Guardian race), causing it to send out deadly pulses of energy while its alien drones attack. Not ideal then.
However, further tinkering has elicited greater success. By feeding an Unknown Artefact, Unknown Link, and Unknown Probe into the alien machine, players have managed to trigger a far more benign, and beautiful, response, causing the device to project what appears to be a galaxy map onto the surrounding cavern walls. It also sends a transmission to your ship which, once run through a real-world audio spectrograph, reveals another puzzle piece: a cryptic map. Where this map will lead, however, is a mystery that the community is still trying to solve.
It's likely that more pieces of this ongoing investigation will slowly be revealed as the release of Elite Dangerous' Thargoid-themed 2.4 update draws closer. In the meantime, I'll be dutifully transporting canned goods from one space station to another, wondering when I'll get to have some alien fun too. Maybe I should learn to be a bit more adventurous.
Top image source: Reddit user rahhaharris