We always knew they would come back some day. The race of aliens known as the Thargoids have been slotted to appear in Elite Dangerous [official site] for a while, according to the developer's plans. And David Braben has said in interviews that he wants them to be just as scary as encounters in the previous games. But we've seen little in the way of actual evidence so far. While players have discovered alien life in the form of "space barnacles" and often come across ancient artifacts floating around, nothing that suggested a hostile race from beyond the stars had ever been found. Until now.
This week Commander Mboogy and others received a distress call from a crashed Type 9 - a large freighter ship - on the surface of a planet. The pilot had found an "unknown anomaly" and was eager to get his data back to a station. But hostile ships appeared from nowhere and fired on him, sending him crashing to the surface and (presumably) his death.
By itself this message might have meant nothing, just another small piece of Elite Dangerous' meagre storytelling. But then other Commanders began to find more "tip off" messages and distress beacons, all hinting towards some larger threat.
A community ambassador for Frontier has also boldly claimed to have found a crashed alien vessel, and is encouraging others to get out there and find it themselves. But since he is offering no pictures of his claim, there is some skepticism.
However, the Elite community has largely taken all this to mean that the Thargoids are due for an imminent return, and they are divided over how to deal with the threat. Some groups want "first contact" to be peaceful so they can prove to Frontier that introducing non-hostile alien races could be interesting. They are even preparing to form a brigade of fighters called the "Myrmidons" to protect the upcoming computer-controlled ships from hostile human players, even at the risk of being shot themselves.
"As a Myrmidon you must be prepared to fire on human instigators while taking fire from Thargoid vessels," says a Commander from the group. "This is a 'turn the other cheek' style of 'see frontier? we're good people' tactics."
Many are intent on war, however, as the replies to that thread show. They probably remember the Thargoids from the original Elite, which were tough to kill. They had deadly weapons and were able to snatch your ship out of warp. Some colourful memories of that dark time can be read in this Reddit thread. But what about you? Do you remember the Thargoid menace? And if so, which way do you swing on the issue of their return: should the humans broker peace or get ready for WAR?