The undiscovered anomaly (No Man’s Sky part 4)

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[ This is a blog series about the game No Man’s Sky: NEXT where I summarise my playthrough in a fictional story. Not everything I get up to, like collecting resources, is included, as that would be boring. Spoiler warning. ]


I leave Polo and Nadas anomaly somewhat calmer. I explore a few planets, learning more words and gathering some upgrades to my equipment.

My ships computer directs my attention back to the messages I had received, and provides some coordinates on a planet in a nearby system. I find a crash site there, but no ship.

I interact with the beacon, containing a red orb, similar to the one at my ships crash site. I hovers out of the casing, spinning and pulsing.

– zzktt – … – zzkttk –

There are no signs of life. Only the static of a broken communicator. I extract the records from it, but whatever message was once here has been scrambled beyond recovery. All I extract is the pilot’s name, ‘Artemis’. Whoever they were, they are long gone.

The only other uncorrupted data is a set of plans to upgrade my mining beam.


Back in space, I get another incoming broken up communication, including a holo projection.

… … … -zzktt – … where – zzkttk –

Is anyone – kzzkt – out there? It’s outside, it – zzzkkt – something’s wrong with –

I ask the stranger what is wrong. There is a moment’s pause. The only sound I hear is the background hiss of cosmic radiation. When it continues, the communication is identified as Artemis.

You – you found me… There’s so little light. I thought I’d never hear another soul again, I really did.

How did you find my voice?

I reply that I found a crashed ship, and their communicator ID inside the distress beacon.

It’s outside, but I think I’m – kzzzkt – safe…

There are sixteen of them, they look just like – kzkzkzt –

I ask them where they are. Fear and confusion dance within the eyes of the stranger. After a few moments of silence, they turn to me, imploring –

You don’t know who you are, do you? You – kzzkt –

It lied to me. It lied to all of –

The sound cuts out, but their face lingers on, silent, before it too fades into nothingness. Artemis needs my help. I need to find a way to boost the signal. Using my ships system scanner, I locate a Holo-Terminus, a device for long distance holographic transmissions.

Climbing to the top, I activate the interface. It’s more cooperative this time and should allow me to reestablish the connection to Artemis.



I select Artemis’ frequency and upload the data from our previous communication. The terminus whirs to life, the orange blob flying to the center dais, lifting the projector into the air, finally projecting a round arena around the dais. In the middle, a figure is projected, which I recognize as being Artemis!


“Who’s – kzzkkt – who’s there? You – it’s you again, isn’t it?”

“You really are real, aren’t you? You aren’t a dream?” they ask. I say I’m real reassuringly.

“I’m sorry, it’s hard to think here. Something’s wrong with the – kzzzkkt -”

“It’s easy to fabricate a better reality when you have to. I thought you might be a dream. I’m sorry, I haven’t heard another voice in so long, not since I cut the speaker from my exosuit. It said such terrible things…”

I ask them what they are, since they look markedly different to the three alien species that seem to inhabit this Galaxy. The stranger smiles through the static. “I’m just like you. You are a Traveller of worlds, aren’t you?”

I reply with another question, what is a Traveller? They do not respond with speech. They transmit a vision, a red star and a fragile world. I do not understand the shapes within, the whispers… I see lifeforms scattered to the far reaches of the galaxies. I see this stranger’s first breath, yearning for the stars. I see myself, slumbering in the crimson void, waiting for a dream of worlds. And through the darkness, I hear it said…


Anomaly detected. Designation: TRAVELLER

“What I showed you just now… it was already inside of you. We are all born with this memory, even if we don’t know how we lost it.”

“We are the Travellers. We are the fourth race, discoverers of worlds. How long did it take you to realise you were different? From the moment you woke, you must have sensed something. so did I.”

“Before I became stranded here, I was on a journey to find others of our kind, to finally meet. It cannot be a coincidence that you found this signal… Tell me, do you still have the data log from that crashed ship?” Nodding, I upload the data they request, including the strange transmission I received and the data I found at the crashed vessel.

“Much of my equipment is damaged. I am alone, on foot, stranded on a sunless world. I don’t even know how your signal is reaching me. But this ship you found… it belonged to me, once. Perhaps there is hope after all.”

“We need to work out where we both are. If you build Signal Boosters across this system, we should be able to triangulate your position. I’ll finally get out of this hellhole and you’ll get all the answers you seek. Sound like a deal?”

I agree with the plan. I am hopeful to find them.

“Thank you, Traveller. You’re going to save my life. You’re going to find me.”

With that, the communication ends and the projection disappears.

With coordinates programmed into my computer, I set down the booster on the ground at the holo terminus to begin with. The other two points are on another planet in the system.


Back up in space, I am contacted by Artemis.

When I first reached out to the heavens, I had no idea what to expect. The beauty, the mystery, the adventure, the danger. And here we are, aren’t we?

Go to a HoloTerminus, upload your data. Let’s find each other. If you’re as close as I think you are, we’re about to make history.

I head back to the terminus and tune to Artemis.


They appear, excited. “Have you triangulated your position? Let me know when you’re ready to receive some data.”

I confirm and they transmit a packet of data, a star chart showing the skies around their location.

“I only have the equipment I came in here with, and it’s done me no good so far. I don’t know where I am. I don’t even know how long I’ve been here…”

“So, we’ll need to go take an old fashioned approach. We can use the sky to figure out where I am. If you visit a space station, you should find plenty of locals able to match our star patterns.”

“I’ll patch my translator through so that you can understand what they’re saying. You’ll need to calibrate it first, but that should only take a few words.”

“Good luck. Or maybe – see you soon!”, Artemis waves as the projection fades away. My computer shows me that there are Korvax lifeforms on this planet not far from here. I stop on the way to pick up a few words from knowledge stones to calibrate Artemis’ translator.

-{{ Eheu! Insignificance does not register with the Convergence. Of interest, but not of worth. }}-

Through the garble of Artemis’ translator, it is clear that I am yet to make an impact among the Korvax. Some items I have picked up seem to greatly please the lifeform, so they point me to someone nearby to handle my request.

As I approach them, the lights in their shell casing begin to brighten and constrict, chattering noises issuing forth. They hold out a scanner. It is unclear if Artemis’ translator is working.

-{{ Information exchange possible. We only require a small sample of your organic components and a full technology scan. }}-

I ask why, and their chattering ends. They stare at me with disappointment. As a show of good faith, I share some of my scan data.

-{{ This – this data is invaluable to Korvax Convergence! Thank you, Traveller, I will of course assist you! }}-

I transmit the star chart, asking the lifeform to decode the star chart and provide a route to Artemis’ location.

-{{ Location does not exist, Traveller. Eheu! Nothing is more tragic than a corrupted piece of code. }}-

Confused, I ask if they could have made a mistake. The Korvax seems momentarily confused, as if the concept that they could have made a mistake has never even been considered. They claim their systems are infallible, superior to the judgement of any organic lifeform. I apologise and leave. Frustrated, I fly into space, clear my head. Not too long after, I receive a communication from Artemis.

There you are! – kzkzkt –

I’ve found high ground, I think. When you arrive, I’ll fire my multi-tool into the air to mark my location.

What’s wrong? Why aren’t you saying anything?

I tell Artemis the locals could not decipher their star chart. The alien even went so far as to claim those stars did not exist.

That’s impossible. I can’t have travelled that far from charted space. You found my ship…

I ask how they got there. As I speak, the line begins to crackle with interference. Artemis looks up at the stars in panic.

The stars – kzkzkt – they’ve altered since I made that chart – blinked out in – kzzkt –

How is this possible? What’s happening to me? I need to get out of here. I need to – kzzkt –

It is quiet at first. But it is there, unmistakable, growing steadily louder with each passing moment. A sound beneath their words, a sound as if glass could scream…

They’re coming for me… I can see them, smell them…

I discovered the glyphs for a portal, Traveller, a gateway between worlds. I thought it would lead me to another of our kind. But now… I don’t even know if the voice was real.

The pathway collapsed while I was still inside. I found this place in the darkness. I thought perhaps it was a planet. I -kzzkt – I was so wrong, I –

I can see their faces, I – kzzkt – there are seeds of glass within their –

They’re gone, my data fragmented in the – kzkzt –

I just wanted to discover worlds. I wanted to find other Travellers. I didn’t – kzzkt – to be alone anymore…

Sixteen – kktkttkzkt – worn your face, it – kzkt – please, not yet… I’m not – kkttkktzzt –

The signal cuts off. As it crackles into oblivion, I hear a name through the static: “Apollo”. I register the ID in the computer. I should be able to contact them at a HoloTerminus, which I find through the scanner.

I hastily input the contact ‘APOLLO’, and after a few moments, a different figure stands on the dais.

The transmission is silent. The stranger just stares at me. I greet them.

“Identify yourself or I end this call.” they say curtly. I tell them that I am a friend of Artemis.

“No you’re not.” I begin to argue that I am so, and they continue –

“Why do you use that word at all? ‘Friend’. It is just a label, a pretence to make you feel better about being alone.”

“Why are you contacting me, anyway? Is Artemis behind this? I haven’t changed my mind. I don’t care if some dream says we’re Travellers, I’ll meet if I’m paid to meet.”

“Even this conversation is a waste of valuable contract time.” I tell them that Artemis is in trouble. That they attempted to use a portal and became stranded on some distant and uncharted world, disappearing from the HoloTerminus network. Apollo’s demeanour changes. They appear uncomfortable at the news.

“Send me your data logs. Let me see this for myself.” I oblige, and send the log of my encounters with Artemis. Apollo studies the log, pausing and replaying the various segments of static and distortions. They turn to me with a glow of excitement.

“These noises, they sound just like the echoes of Sentinel events. You’ve seen them before, of course. Drones that appear from nowhere if you interfere with their precious planets. But this data, it’s distorted, inverted…”

“The Vy’keen will pay handsomely if we figure out how the sentinels appear so quickly. And this recording of yours? The portals? Perhaps they’re the key.” I sense Apollo going off the subject, I say that life is worth more than money.

“You’re worried about Artemis? Don’t be. If we can figure this out, we can save them.”

“So what do you say? Do you want to work together on this? Be partners?” they ask. I agree to working together, since I have no other way of finding Artemis.

“If you’re going to work with me, we need to set you up with a decent base of operations. I’ll send you to a contact of mine, they’ll supply you with what you need. Just remember to be polite.” As the hologram recedes, Apollo’s head turns to the side ever so slightly, as if sighing, saddened. Or perhaps it was nothing, a ghost in the machine…