I didn't really want to leave the Rachel system. There were lots of planets, all of them were great for different reasons, and I was making mega space bucks. I found another planet, not far from Gravitino Rush, that was covered in venom sacs. They were also worth a bundle, and collecting them was just as dangerous as it was with gravitino balls. I made myself another half million units or so within 20 minutes, which isn't bad going, is it?
Once I sold off my harvest, I entered the galactic map to search for another red star system to go to (yellow ones were just not as interesting anymore). While I was looking, I noticed something I'd yet to try; in the bottom left corner of the screen, there is a prompt to scan for nearby discoveries. Why hadn't I done this before? I push Up on the D-pad. I must've been in a popular part of the galaxy, as about a dozen stars were highlighted with crosshairs, and they were all systems that had already been discovered. I hadn't encountered one yet – everything I'd seen up to that point was first seen by me. Excitedly, I pick the nearest and jump into warp speed.
I wasn't expecting anything spectacular to happen, or anything to be that different, but when I reached the abrupt end of my faster-than-light travel, I was shocked to be faced with an Atlas interface. It was gigantic, bigger than the space stations, and intimidating, with its black exterior and glowing red orb. I was far too curious to see what was inside to even think about planet hopping. I approached the entrance. It was grand, and unlike anything I'd seen before.
Inside was a huge hall with a jet black floor spotted with lights, and a ceiling so high I could barely make out the point at the very top. At the end of the walkway was a massive, red sphere, pulsating and fluctuating just as that red orb had right at the start of my journey. It speaks of some sort of truth that only the Atlas can provide, and I'm awarded an Atlas stone. What did it all mean? All I had done up to then had been carefree, with a vague aim of heading to the centre of the galaxy, but should I have been focusing on this path of the Atlas? My head full of questions, I decided to head back out and explore the previously-discovered system.
As it turned out, whomever had been here before was obviously only interested in the Atlas station, as not one of the four or five planets had been touched. I was surprised that they'd not even bothered to land on the planets and have a look around, let alone potentially name them, or scan their wildlife, or stock up on resources. No, they had simply left them alone, and moved straight on. Seeing as I was there, I thought it polite to check out at least one of them.
It was hardly worth my bother. Interestingly, however, it was positively Earth-like, with blue waters and brown, hilly land, most of it covered in green, and trees dotted around incoherently. I spent some time flying over its surface in search of something interesting to see, but beyond its looks, there was very little that warranted my time and effort. I opened the galactic map, found a red star, and jumped.
Another first – a structure labelled as a space anomaly was practically right in front of me. It was clear I was meant to investigate, and so I landed inside the spherical station to see what was what. There were two aliens inside, one Gek and one Korvax, and they appeared to be scientists. In the middle of the room was a bright blue, swirling pillar of light, and I wondered what it could possibly be. I spoke to the Gek, named Polo, who gave me the blueprint for an AtlasPass v.1. I'd seen so many locked items and doors that required one of these things to access it, and was only just finding out how to build one. I then spoke to the Korvax, named Nada, which gave me three choices. It could offer me either some resources to help me on my journey, a shortcut to the centre, or help with finding the Atlas stations. I of course picked the shortcut, as finding the centre was the whole point, right? Then the screen flashed something about a black hole, and I didn't quite catch what it said. Maybe I'd stumble into one later?
I decided not to worry about it for now, and set off for the nearest planet. Almost immediately, pirates swarmed in, and within seconds I was fighting off half a dozen of the cretins. Amid the chaos, I accidentally shot a friendly ship, and with sentinel forces out to blow me up with their justice lasers, it wasn't long before I was spiralling into death.
Let's try that again.
Once I'd picked up my inventory, I hightailed it to the closest planet, which looked like a leopard from space. Sadly it wasn't all that interesting up close, with a barren landscape and hardly any resources to gather beyond plutonium and iron. Its saving grace, though, was its gorgeous night sky, a mix of deep blue, turquoise haze, and a neighbouring planet hanging close. Maybe that one could offer me something a little more dramatic.
Even before I landed, I could tell it was going to be a hot one, but I wasn't prepared for how much. This was an extremely hot place. My hazard protection was going down faster than Usain Bolt on a descending escalator. I remembered I had an upgrade for my suit that gave added protection against heat, and luckily I had enough stuff to craft it. Even with this equipped, I still had to keep vigilant and top up my shielding every few minutes.
Luckily, spikes of titanium were pretty common amid the huge, smoke-spewing plants and jagged rocks. I scanned the environment to see if anything worth farming could be found here, and my HUD was swamped with green exclamation marks. They turned out to be stones containing radnox, an element I knew was worth a lot of money, and it was literally everywhere. Interestingly, the sentinels didn't care how much I collected. Perhaps they assumed the heat would kill me first? Either way, I had a suit full of radnox, and one space station visit later, I was about a million units richer.
Whilst heading towards a third planet in this system – let's call it Armchair – I accidentally hit the galactic map button. A new path washighlighted, this time to a black hole. The idea of heading towards a black hole seemed like such a bad one, but if it's a shortcut towards the centre, I should probably do it. What's the worst that could happen?