Jumpgate Nearly Killed Me This Past Weekend…
So folks, I have to tell this story, because it’s crazy and kind of hilarious, to me anyway. Plus I need to write more so this is a perfect excuse. Aaaaanyway, this past Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the folks running the resurrected (and free, might I add) version of Jumpgate — one of my all-time favorite games, and basically the precursor to Elite: Dangerous — decided to run a Festival, as they called it. This included pure mining competitions, races and other competitions that would hopefully get more folks back into the game (since the server population is dang low). Well, it worked for me, as I logged back in for the first time in a while to do some pure asteroid mining (my favorite thing in Jumpgate).
To explain real quick, 99% of the asteroids in Jumpgate are static, both in position and type (and there are multiple types), and always vary in their yields of specific commodities like ice, precious metals and the like. Pure asteroids, however, pop up randomly within a certain radius of the gate at the center of the system (the o.o.o coordinates) and are finite, meaning they eventually pop, and another random asteroid takes their place on the map somewhere. For me, it’s a terribly fun little hunt that takes patience and skill, and it’s one of the most enjoyable things in the game for me.
However, I got sidetracked by a faction mission. These are faction-specific missions (Jumpgate has three factions) that help said faction build a facility or other improvement for a faction. The faction mission for mine was to haul beer, specifically Solrain Stout. Using a very handy tool, I found the place that had the most quantity of the stuff and headed over there, a trip which took a little while since I was kinda crossing from the right side of the galaxy to the left. As you can see in the shot below, I’m on the right in Hyperial, and I had to go to Amananth, on the other side of the map (the systems with white circles specify the route I’m about to take).
So I make my way to Amananth without any issues, load up on Solrain Stout and a few other things that will be profitable back at my final destination (Quantar Core, my home base, the system highlighted in red in the above screenshot) and take a different route back to avoid both an armor storm (which drains armor to 1%) and a Conflux swarm. Now, you might be asking, what are the Conflux? They’re the alien AI in the game that will kill you on sight if you let them. Most systems spawn them, and some spawn larger and larger variations of them (each one is ranked from C0 Jellyfish all the way to C19 Krakens, I believe). Thankfully, as a miner, I have a piece of equipment called an Antiflux that prevents me from spawning them (but doesn’t prevent spawns from other players, so sometimes you might have others dump beasties on you). Therefore, usually I don’t see them at all, again thankfully.
So I begin making my way back to Quantar Core using my alternate route, and upon jumping into the system The Dark, I see this:
I have never seen this before, and it freaks me out. I’m not sure why, but things like facehuggers from Alien and headcrabs from Half Life scare the living shit out of me. Something about some creepy fucking thing being stuck to my face is really one of my greatest irrational fears. Don’t know where it came from, but I sure as hell know I have it. Hell, just looking at that screenshot makes my heart jump. Anyway, when I first saw this, I had to fight the urge to leap from my chair and run away, which I accomplished with some breathing exercises. Since the jump drive in one’s ship takes a moment to spool back up, I couldn’t jump back right away, but as soon as I could, I jumped and flew away from the gate, slamming on the afterburner in a vain hope of reaching the gate ASAP. Imagine my dread when the C9 Kracken jumped back and began to follow me. I was in a mining ship, so while I had decent shields, I certainly couldn’t outrun it, so I figured I was toast.
Death in Jumpgate is a bit harsher than, say, Elite. While you survive and typically get a new ship of the same type, all the EQUIPMENT on the ship are the lowest level pieces of crap you can get, so you have to re-buy everything you lost at your station, if possible, or fly about finding the stuff you need. It’s a pain in the ass, and makes death something you want to really avoid. Since I not only had some specialized equipment, I had this special cargo for the faction mission as well, so I was dreading losing all the hard work I’d built up with this particular ship. Well, you can imagine my surprise when the Flux didn’t SHOOT me, rather, it SCANNED me…
Then, something happened that, in my roughly 2,000-3,000 hours in this game, I had never seen. The Flux…talked to me…
That tannish text is the Flux speaking on the local, system-specific channel. Green text is global chat. Now, in reality, this was one of the game’s GMs flying around a Conflux talking to me, but IN the game? SO FUCKING COOL. Like, terrifying and awesome and really, really freaking neat. Eventually, the Flux told me it wasn’t interested in beer…
If you’re wondering, those green streaks are my engine flairs, as I’m flying in “reverse” to try and align with the gate. Eventually, the Flux and I have a little chat, and it lets me move on, which is pretty damned amazing. I ended up completing my mission and finding a bunch of pure asteroids later that night. Overall, this was an amazing experience that I felt a video wouldn’t fully convey (though there is video, of course). It’s a shame Jumpgate never got the attention it deserved, because it’s still a fantastic game that deserves more love. I encourage y’all to check it out!
Thanks for reading my story, I hope you enjoyed it! If you want to see the video if just the encounter, you can do so here:
And if you want to check out the entire run (or various bits of it, you can do so here:
Enjoy, and thanks again for stopping by!