You might remember the mysterious alien items that had Elite: Dangerous players stumped earlier this year. Well, they recently made a major discovery.

Here’s the gist: a handful of months ago, players began coming across “unknown artefacts” that made bizarre noises—some of which were morse code scans of nearby objects, others of which had players scratching their heads so hard that they developed premature bald spots.

After trying almost literally Everything Else, a player going by the name of Mike Juliett Kilo decided to feed a pre-recorded unknown artefact signal into an antique scanner item he had in his cargo. It spat out a vector image—specifically, one of the very ship he was flying.

“I was prepared to see an alien face or Thargoid warship,” he said to the official Elite community site. “I certainly didn’t expect to see a Vulture, especially as I was flying one at the time! It sent shivers down my spine.”

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This means, presumably, that these aliens—absent from Elite: Dangerous aside from unintelligible artefacts—are collecting information on players. When PCGamesN asked developer Frontier why, they only replied that the “[unknown artefact] mystery is just beginning.”

Spooooooooky. And enticing! Speculation says it’s the Thargoids, an insectoid alien race that some believe first hatched outside of known space. They’ve been present in other Elite games, but their true motivations remain hazy. Their technology is crazy weird, and they like war. We know that much for certain. But are they really intergalactic, non-planetary assholes? Maybe this time, we’ll finally find out.

(P.S. For some good reading, check out this thread where people describe their first interactions with Thargoids in other Elite games. There are some “...goddamn” moments in there.)

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Top image credit: Squid_Gibblets.

To contact the author of this post, write to nathan.grayson@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @vahn16.