Frontier : Elite II : A Survivor’s Guide
8th November, 3201
I am hovering a couple of hundred metres above the moon Hyperion, waiting for the event. I sip a little bit of Lucozade and nibble a cheese sandwich as I plan my next move, scanning a star map for a system I can legally sell my ill-gotten cargo of slaves, a system that has to be near enough to stop the fuel costs from preventing a profit on the trip.
The first of the rings of Saturn begins to creep over the crest of the horizon of Hyperion, gliding upwards at an angle that doesn’t fit in with how I imagine Saturn should look, but then space has a tendency to do that with perceptions of angles.
I grow bored of waiting for the planet to rise, and speed up time, marvelling as the full, actual sized Saturn emerges before me, filling the screen. I can’t find a way of making the slaves in the hold profitable, so on a whim, I jettison them into the unforgiving environment of space, and then scoop them back into my hold after they have died. After all, fertiliser can be sold anywhere. I take another bite of my cheese sandwich; I’m going to make a loss on this trip.
Suddenly, the alarms in my ship start to wail. I had forgotten where I am. Sol system is not a place to bring slaves, but it is probably the fact that I have jettisoned them too close to settlements that I have been caught. I decide to flee, and set course for independent space, as I have now got a permanent blot on my previously clean criminal record; life as a smuggler just got that little bit tougher. I think a spell in independent space to build my skills in good old-fashioned piracy would be just the ticket.
It is a shame, I realise, that I let those slaves go. If I am heading for lawless space, I could have easily sold them. Then again, I ponder as I finish the last of my sandwich, it was only two tonnes.
Hardly worth thinking about.
To players, the game always looks like this
5th April, 3202
I am skulking around Dobson Terminal, in the Fomalhaut system. I say ‘skulking’, but to the observer I would appear to be, as Han Solo would put it, ‘flying casual’. I am waiting for my prey to leave the starport, but I don’t have long. Not long at all.
Time is starting to run really short. I start to think that I have sat here for too long, and my victim has got wind of my presence. I have two choices. Give up, and lose the contract, or take a risk. I decide on the latter.
I position my craft directly behind the space station, and open fire. All hell breaks loose as dozens of police craft are launched, desperate to destroy the interloper, but crucially, all the landing bays are also cleared, forcing my victim to flee. My tactic pays off, as the police are as idiotic as ever, and crash into the space station, and each other, in their bid to reach me. I fly in between the spinning arms of the station, above the chaos, and towards the fleeing Eagle craft. Too late. He manages to activate his hyperspace drive and leaves the system.
I quickly analyse the hyperspace cloud he has left behind. Barnard’s Star. The police lasers begin to scythe my ship as I head into hyperspace, following my target.
Time is running out as I enter the Barnard’s Star system and bring up a hologram of the system, looking for the telltale signs of a ship accelerating. I begin to wonder if he has already left when a new cloud appears on the map, followed shortly by the engine flare of a small ship accelerating hard. It seems my engine far outclasses his. I set course for intercept.
A few days into the pursuit, and the time runs out. A voice drifts upstairs. It is time for dinner.
A ship in port
20th September, 3202
I knew I should have got that damn drive serviced. This has got to be the worst mis-jump I have ever experienced, and it had to be when I was taking a bit of a risk with the fuel. I should be in the Zeessda system, ready to invest in a new mining laser but instead I am ‘between’ systems, somewhere near absolutely nowhere. What to do.
There is a system with a starport, but it is just that little bit too far away to hyperjump to, as I just don’t have the fuel. I only have one course of action.
I immediately dump all my cargo, and set course to jump to the nearest system, a big star with a few chunks of asteroids and a solitary planet for company. Luckily, the planet is a gas giant. I use up half my fuel to jump there, and set course for the planet itself. Checking the fuel, I set a slow speed and turn the engines off, and drift toward the massive gas giant.
When the planet is looming before me, I reduce my speed to 15,000 km/h and aim for the horizon until I can see the atmosphere around me. I then slow down further to around 4000 km/h, head for the middle and begin to scoop. As I had planned, my cargo hold and fuel tanks are now full to the brim.
I accelerate away from the planet and go into hyperspace, jumping to that nearby system that has a starport. Thankfully, there is no misjump this time, and I head for the starport, ready to get my engine serviced or replaced, time sped up as fast as it can go; I want out of this little adventure.
The alarms start wailing, and time returns to normal with a thud. Pirates.
I decide the pirates can wait. I save my game and decide to boot up Sensible Soccer. Everyone needs a break.
For more Frontier: Elite II love, check out our thoughts on the intro.
All the beautiful images in this article are taken from this thread here, by rgmarett.
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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.