When I last logged out of Elite: Dangerous, I had just finished my lengthy pilgrimage to Empire-controlled space. The trip took well over an hour, thanks to the need to re-fuel at space stations every few jumps. I’d left on this mission (foolishly) without equipping a fuel scoop and there weren’t many larger starports in the area, which meant I couldn’t modify my ship to make it better suited for long trips between uninhabited stars. If I wasn’t careful, and didn’t stop whenever I got the chance at the smaller outposts to top off the fuel tank, I knew I could end up trapped in a dead-end system with no way out. And I didn’t want to start over, even if that would let me plan the trip better in the first place.
Elite: Dangerous is a space sim, by the way. You pilot a ship, visit the stars, shoot other people visiting those same stars, and smuggle weapons parts. It’s the sort of game that should require a keyboard and crazy flight stick, but the developers managed to port it to the Xbox One. That’s where I’m playing it because of my PC gaming aversion that I’ve long chronicled on this blog.
There was one particular space station between Federation and Empire space that stands out to me. I don’t remember the name, of course, because the places in Elite: Dangerous are all procedurally generated. Most of them don’t stick in your memory. They have generic-ass names like “Hoffman Enterprises” and “Cleve Hub.” The name of this station doesn’t matter. What matters is that it was the only populated place within jump distance as my fuel reserves dipped into the lower 1/4 of the gauge. I needed to stop somewhere–anywhere–and this place would have to do.