On February the 4th 2018, the expedition to Colonia to support CMDR DoveEnigma13 reached its goal.
It was an amazing event including over 600 commanders, who left the comforts of the bubble behind to help a fellow player achieve a dream.
A truly wonderful trip covering the trip from Jackson's Lighthouse to Colonia via 16 way-points, each of which had something spectacular to give.
It ended with a grand welcoming committee waiting for Dove to arrive at his namesake megaship with an honour guard of Anacondas. An impressively choreographed laser show with fireworks accompanied Dove as he made his way toward the ship placed into the game especially for him.
It was a beautiful moment, one brilliantly captured by the wonderfully talented and completely under appreciated Cmdr Mach1ne (Seriously, go see his stuff)
His "in universe" video using footage of the actual event including conversations between Dove and the team along with a little character animation to bring a Plater News report to life and really capture the essence of the expedition.
So why all the fuss? Why all of this for a single commander?
Well, CMDR Dove Enigma 13 has terminal cancer - and while he is currently still with us at the time of writing this, he continues his daily fight with this relentless disease. It warms my heart to know that his family gets to spend more time with him and that he continues to tenaciously defying the odds.
When the community found out about his plight, they rallied around him to help him with his wish to fly to Colonia, something he feared he would not have the strength to achieve without help.
The Enigma Expedition was organised, waypoints were chosen and the word was sent out.
The forums erupted and a lot of commanders took part. It was an unprecedented trip, one which brought a lot of people in the community together.
A lot of friendships were made, shenanigans were had and many people saw parts of the game they'd never seen before - this includes yours truly.
It had its detractors naturally, there's always someone who wants to spoil it for others and attempted to sabotage the station which Frontier had placed in Colonia especially for Dove by selling Unknown Artefacts (now known as Thargoid Sensors) to the black market there. This was with the intention of causing disruption to critical systems on board; A process known as "UA Bombing".
The community did not take this lying down and immediately raced to Colonia with ships filled with Meta Alloys to repair the damage before Dove arrived. Entire fleets of high jump range Anacondas - filled to the brim with the only material in the game which can counter the effects of the Unknown Artefact - tore across 26,000ly to make the repairs.
This event was so impressive, that it was even covered by the games media.
Greeting CMDR Dove was CMDR Plater who is himself a cancer sufferer, and CMDR Greytest - one of the organisers and mainstay on the Brocast.
There they welcomed Dove to his ship, through the honour guard which would officially bring this wonderful expedition to its conclusion. There may have been some tears, I'm not crying, you are.. this room is dusty.
Several of us content creators Live Streamed the event which included a charity drive, raising money for St Jude's children's research hospital, who specialise in treating and saving the lives of children with cancer. This was Dove's chosen charity, a very noble cause.
The drive raised over £5700, passing the target by over £2000.
So here I sit now, looking back on everything which has happened since that moment.
In the following year Colonia has seen a tremendous amount of activity. There are engineers out there now for people to interact with. There are more stations, megaships and even notable stellar phenomenon which have been detected following an update to the sensor systems across the entire fleet of starships.
In the time since, We on our humble platform have raised over £2000 for Cancer Research UK through various ridiculous activities - one of which being a Type-9 canyon race.
Cmdr Plater also raised an incredible £8197 for the British Thyroid Foundation to fight against Cancer as part of his 24hr livestream, smashing his previous year's total.
Cancer got a kicking last year with almost £16,000 being raised.
It was not all good news however, Plater's fight against Cancer took an unexpected turn in the autumn and the prognosis given by his doctors was not good. He continues his fight against the cruellest of diseases with staggering bravery and valour and remains an active beacon of the community with regular livestreams and videos. Even while undergoing intense chemotherapy, he does not relent.
Frontier Developments stepped up for Plater too and have placed a station in Plater's faction home system called Plater's Tyranny - a station so named because of his dictatorial role-play in game, outside of the game, he couldn't be a nicer bloke.
So why am I talking about all of this?
Well, it's been one hell of a year since the Dove Enigma Expedition. A year which has been may have been punctuated by cancer, but a year that brought the community together in ways I've never seen before.
I like to think that the events actually brought some light to some who needed it and maybe helped us to rid the world of this disease, even if by only a small amount.
I'll end this post with my thanks to everyone who took part, everyone who helped to make another commanders day just a little brighter, my wholehearted best wishes to both Dove and Plater and with links to the charity drives,
They'll still accept money if you're willing to donate and every little helps.
With this I'll say have fun, and fly aimless.