What was your first experience with the Elite universe and what keeps you playing it today?
You may find this hard to believe but my story with Elite started some 1,323 years ago. I was a lonely, young boy back then. With dreams of becoming a CMDR. Armed with a Commodore 64 and a tape deck I set out to test my mettle. But alas, both I and the Elite training program were too young to truly begin exploring the galaxy.
“It’s not ready… I’m not ready.”
Vexed I made a decision. A drastic decision that I would not have undone. So, late that night, when everyone else slept, I descended into our dark and dusty basement. As I crept down the steep wooden planks, that served as stairs, the furnace hissed and crackled throwing a warm glow on my cheeks. I didn’t know it then but that would be the last bit of warmth I’d feel for more than a millennia. My eyes strained in the dark searching for our Regal deep freezer. There it was, in the corner, it’s hulking rectangular mass already stained yellow by the passage of time. I pushed a soap box up against the freezer’s side, stepped up, flipped the lid and climbed inside. One last look towards the light spilling from upstairs—then darkness and cold.
I can’t tell you what happened next. I can only tell you that I eventually awoke to the sound of water slapping up against the walls of my… chamber, prison, tomb? I had made a grave error.
“NO, not like this!”
I kicked out at the lid as it splashed down onto the wet sand. Cramped, I clawed my way free of the freezer and out onto the beach. My hands large, weathered, marked by time. But how? Where was I? What happened to me? Later the Federation doctors would tell me my aging processes had been slowed but just slowed. I now had the body of a 47-year old man (a mighty handsome body) but the mind and spirt of that little boy who crawled into a deep freezer so, so, so, long ago.
The year is now 3306 and my first experience with this new Elite was again plagued by my rash and impulsive young mind.
“CMDR kenzenichi! COMMANDER! You are leaving the tutorial zone! You’re not ready!”
I had waited long enough. Governments had risen and fallen, wars had been fought, species discovered, worlds explored, it was my turn. Tutorial be damned. I wanted to fly. My bow pointed towards the unknown. Full pips to engines. Dare I say it? “ENGAGE!” Pinpoints of light stretch out into lines leaving all my mistakes behind me. Unfettered I jump. I jump again. And again! AND AGAIN! AND AGAI… “Frame Shift Cancelled: Insufficient Fuel”. What the fudge? I had climbed into the proverbial deep freezer again—then darkness and cold.
But, like the sudden rush of fresh warm air that comes from kicking open the lid of a long sealed deep freezer, I once again was saved. This time it was not by my own foot, or my will to live but by… “Incoming Fuel Limpet”. It was a Fuel Rat. I matured a little that day. I learned the dangers of striving to be Elite, the importance of a fuel scoop and most importantly of the existence of the benevolence of strangers. It was then, in that moment, that I realized I was not alone out here. That I didn’t have to be that lonely, young boy from 1984. That I was amongst a unique community. That we are Elite together and that’s what keeps me in the game.
Tell the story of how you earned your callsign.
That story hasn’t been written yet. 😉
Tell us about your favorite ship in the game.
My Imperial Courier (S.S. Iridium Star) can land on a dime so it’s my go-to for planet side farming. My Phantom (S.S. Aluminum Star) has a max jump of 78LY with all the comforts one needs out in the black. My Conda (S.S. Bronze Star) get’s me around the bubble with it’s 80.08LY jump. And my Vette (S.S. Tin Star) has never let me or it’s shields down. For any one of these reasons each of these ships deserves to be my favourite. But they’re not.
From the age of five my mother had me on the road, hitchhiking and exploring all old Earth had to offer. Over the years I moved more than 40 times. Attended dozens of educational institutions, held numerous jobs, committed an unfair amount of offences, while still holding out a helping hand to any in need. But I’ve never had a place to call my own. For that reason the S.S.C. Morning Star (my fleet carrier) has become my favourite ship. Not only does it hold all those wonderful ships I mention above (and more) but out here in the black, it has become the home I’ve never had. The early morning light to which I point all other ships.
What drew you to join The Fatherhood?
To be honest I almost didn’t joined The Fatherhood. At first I thought the name was a little to patriarchal for my taste. I’ve never been one for locker talk, jokes targeting women/wives, cat calls, or even calling my fellow man, “bro”. (I found a little of that in ED but I recon those CMDRs will side step me now.) But upon closer examination it became clear that The Fatherhood was none of these things. I joined The Fatherhood for their stance on ganking, their willingness to help others and their love of all things nerdy, dorky, quirky, and fun. So here I am. Floating on the edge of space, by the seat of my pants, the skin of my teeth, while white knuckling it under the 7726 FOXTROT banner.
What’s your day job, and how do you balance your home, work and gaming life (or do you)? (What times and timezone are people likely to find you online so they can wing up with you?)
I’ve held a lot of jobs. I’ve been a chef, a security guard, an English teacher, a painter, a farm hand, a quality control officer, a human resource manager, a waiter, a writer, a karate instructor, a journalist, even a caretaker for a graveyard but my actual career of 20+ years is that of a professional photographer. These days all my clients are in NYC and San Fransisco but so since moving back to Canada I’ve been on hiatus. My wife is a model and is the one bringing-home-the-bacon, so outside of taking care of her and the pets, my time is my own. What times can you catch me in the black? Any really. I’m a bi-phasic sleeper that only sleeps for 3-5 hours in the morning with a 20-40 minute nap in the evening. So, I’m almost always around.
How did you come up with the name of your Commander?
I’ve been in various martial arts since I was 8-years old. I’ve even managed to win a few national title. So it should come as no surprise that I subscribe to quite a few martial art precepts. Ken Zen Ichinyo is a Japanese term loosely translated as: ken = of the fist/of the body, zen = of the mind, ichi = one/as one. Therefore, kenzenichi = mind and body as one. Also my irl name is Kenn, so, there’s that.
Invitation to wing up
I’m kenzenichi across the entire wired world. Some call me kzi for short or Kenn for ease.
Any fatherly advice for new CMDRs trying to make their way in Elite: Dangerous?
If you want to get the most out of Elite don’t hesitate to look to your squad while you’re reaching for the stars. o7 CMDRs!