NMS: THE NEXT ADVENTURER

in story •  last month

NMS: THE NEXT ADVENTURER

SEVEN: FINDING NOMA

The traveller spent the night in the newly constructed shelter, lulled to sleep by the sound of waves gently lapping at the edge of the lake. When ve awoke, the light of a new day was whining through the open door.

However, it had not been daylight that had roused the traveller from sleep, but rather an incessant alarm coming from the base computer. The traveller went to see why it should be issuing an alert.

On examining the device’s display, the traveller discovered that the base computer had interrupted its own archival retrieval program to relay some kind of emergency message. “Scanner detected unusual…” the text read as it scrolled across the screen, “repeating 16...the space station…”

Space station? The traveller gazed skyward and, sure enough, there was what appeared to be a morning star, too big not to have been noticed before. Another alert redirected attention back to the base computer. “The traveller finds their wings. They fly toward us, as they must. You will find us when the time is right”.

Again, the traveller looked up at the space station, suspended in the sky like a dazzling jewel. The message...it seemed to be calling to the Traveller, like there was somewhere ve was meant to be, or someone ve was expected to meet. But where? And Who? The traveller did not know.

But if there were answers to be found, the space station seemed a good place to look for them. Climbing aboard the Radiant Pillar, the traveller lifted off and set a course toward the newly-arrived space habitat.

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By the time the ship had reached low orbit, the space station had grown from a point of light to a diamond-shaped structure that dwarfed the relatively tiny Radiant Pillar. Some kind of insignia, several stories high, was painted on its side, though what it represented was unknown to the traveller. The entrance to the station’s landing bay could be clearly seen, the blue light of its tractor-beam shining like a homing beacon.

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Moving closer to the station, the view outside the cockpit now became a wall of triangular panels that seemed to stretch endlessly no matter how far you craned your head up or down. The tractor beam caught the Radiant Pillar and assumed control of its flight systems, gently drawing the ship into the landing bay.

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Once the Radiant Pillar touched down, the traveller opened the cockpit. The sounds that greeted vir triggered a profound emotional reaction. After being alone for so long, it came as an immense relief to hear social interaction going on all around and languages being spoken, even if their alien tongues were not understood.

The traveller ascended a flight of stairs, each footfall ringing out as ve trod on the metallic steps. At the top of the stairs there was a spacious room overlooking the landing bay. At the other end of the room there were alcoves with alien beings sat behind desks, no doubt there to trade with anyone looking to do business. Rows of chairs sat between plants that brought some natural flavour to an otherwise artificial environment, and milling around the place were aliens of various races, the owners of ships parked along with Radiant Pillar in the landing bay.

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The traveller studied the fellow visitors. One of them had to have sent the message. The traveller approached one and attempted to establish communication, but it either did not comprehend or was not interested in any interaction. Nor were the next few able or willing to talk. But then the traveller noticed an alien, clad in green, studying some kind of screen. When ve approached it, the alien turned to face the traveller, its face an inscrutable black mask. But then a blue light began to glow, faintly at first but then quite brightly, and it somehow felt like a sign of recognition.

The alien introduced itself as Engineering Entity Bekovyliki, and its strange language was interpreted by the artificial voice of a language translator. “We are watching you traveller friend. Find what we have left for you”.

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A set of coordinates was transmitted to the traveller. With that, the blue light dimmed, and Bekovyliki returned to studying the device it held in its hands.

The traveller was about to leave, when ve noticed a large device. It consisted of a platform that you stood on, and robotic arms that reached down from a housing built into the ceiling. There was a computer terminal and, going by the graphics it displayed, the device offered customisation of one’s spacesuit.

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But, more importantly, the device would scan whoever set foot on the platform and identify certain things about them. Alas, it could not tell the traveller what vis name was, but it could identify what species the traveller belonged to, and that was something at least. The traveller stepped onto the platform, and a ring of light surrounded vir. Above, the robotic arms unfolded and hung in anticipation, awaiting instructions.

The traveller watched the screen intently, as the names of various races appeared. Vy’keen, Gek, Korvak...and then one name in particular was highlighted: Anomaly.

So, the traveller’s family were the Anomaly. Ve said the name repeatedly and a vague sense of familiarity became associated with it. “Anomaly...Anomaly...Noma….Noma…”

Something lit up within the traveller’s foggy, amnesiac mind, a recognition that connected to vis very sense of self. “Noma...my name….is Noma”.

Noma looked at vis spacesuit and felt the urge to customise it to mark this occasion when ve had rediscovered an important part of visself. And so, after the robotic arms had finished their work, it was Noma who stepped down from the platform. Noma, the traveller, who had somewhere to go….

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Thanks to Hello Games for the images.

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