An explorer in Elite Dangerous who was stranded outside our galaxy has been rescued thanks to a trio of pilots who flew out to refuel her. The rescue mission took days to plan and execute because of the long distances involved. But eventually the explorer, Commander Persera, was returned to the milky way after setting a new record for travelling further from Sol than any other player. Not to mention spending a full week in the void between galaxies.
“It feels like both one of the shortest and longest weeks of my life,” she said.
The explorer had ventured out into the black in the hopes of breaking a previous record but became stranded after a fuel miscalculation. Basically, she didn’t have enough space petrol to make the return journey.
But a group of Elite players known as the Fuel Rats – pilots who rescue other players by refilling their tanks with fuel limpet drones or fixing broken systems with repair drones – scrambled to rescue Persera. From the point of departure at a remote system called Semotus Beacon, it would take two full days of real time flying to reach her. But on December 23, they finally did.
“I can hardly describe the sound of a ship dropping out nearby,” she said in a forum post, “despite having probably heard it a thousand times by now. Sometimes it’s just background, sometimes it’s the sound of imminent danger, but this time it was the most glorious sound I’d ever heard - and I got to hear it three times in rapid succession.
"CMDRs Abish, Highwaywarrior and theUnkn0wn1 had arrived!”
That post is a long and roleplaying-heavy account of the rescue. There’s colour in there that isn’t part of the game proper (mention of a Faulcon deLacy representative, for example) but it might be fun to read if you’re a Cobra head.
For those who want to see what the rescue looks like in reality, one of the Fuel Rats was taking a video of the mission. Here’s their final approach to Persera’s location, the moment she mentioned when the three kings arrived, like in some weird space nativity.
My favourite part is when one of the rescue team says: “Okay, time for a photoshoot”. For the explorer, however, her adventure was not over. You might remember that her reason for travelling so far out was to drop a cannister of mugs as far as possible from our own solar system – a jokey, in-character task she took from the “Hutton Orbital Tourism Bureau”. Well, she finished the job. Here’s the moment Commander Persera went a further 20km to drop the mugs in the darkest void.
And here’s the moment everyone jumped safely back to a scoopable star, putting all four pilots back in the smothering arms of our milky way.
Although Commander Persera technically still holds the record for furthest distance travelled from Sol by 20 kilometers, the fuel rats went more or less an equal distance to refuel her. It isn’t something she begrudges.
“As far as I’m concerned,” she said, “they deserve that record more than I do.”