Elite: Dangerous Fuel Rats rescue goes horribly wrong because of a cat

The Fuel Rats is the kind of gaming group that, if I was social enough to get involved in such things, I'd like to be a part of. They're an organization of Elite: Dangerous pilots who cruise the cold void of space, delivering emergency fuel and repairs to pilots who have run dry. Need a hand? Give them a call

It's a legitimate group that's known for being reliable and trustworthy: Commander Malibu, who drew the Elite: Dangerous logo across the entire Milky Way galaxy, called on them for at least one save during his month-long voyage. But space is a dangerous place, and sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes, such as on October 9, 3304, they go very wrong. 

"After a successful rescue in Col 285 Sector KB-X A17-3 a feline co-pawlot aboard the responding Fuel Rat's ship activated the ship's boost. The resulting collision caused the loss of both the client and the Fuel Rat's ships," Fuel Rats Captain Shinobi wrote in an after-action report/apology on Reddit. "Our deepest apologies go out to the client whom left chat and unfriended the Fuel Rat before explanations could be given." 

"TLDR: an irl cat jumped on a keyboard that caused a Fuel Rat to ram a client. Destroying them both." 

Shinobi—a Fuel Rats rep, but not actually the pilot involved in the crash—acknowledged that the accidental ramming alone likely wouldn't account for the loss of both ships. But the client ship was probably much smaller than the Fuel Rat vessel and powered down, they said, while "Black box recordings indicate some sort of module malfunction aboard the Rat ship." 

"It was not directly destroyed by the impact. However I cannot confirm or deny whether there was further sabotage on the part of the Cat at this time." 

The Fuel Rats have implemented operating policies that will reduce the chance of this sort of thing happening again, including lowering landing gear (which prevents accidental boosting) and positioning ships so that they're not facing each other during the fueling process. But Shinobi also pointed out that cats on keyboards inevitably leave chaos in their wake, adding, "Don't rule out that the cat might have stowed the landing gear, turned on the windshield wipers, ejected all cargo, turned off flight-assist, left paw prints on the desk and likely activated Silent Running." 

It probably seems funnier to those of us who didn't lose a ship in the kitty-driven conflagration than to those who did, but I'm sure that everyone who's ever spent time with a cat will understand that these things do happen sometimes. Dogs can sense fear; cats can sense opportunities to inflict maximum inconvenience. And though Shinobi admitted that it's pretty funny "that a Cat killed a Rat," they also seemed sincerely regretful about the incident and has been trying to contact the client to offer compensation. 

"It's always tough losing a client. Even more so in this case," they wrote. "I also feel bad for both of them." 

Cats, man. 

 Thanks, Kotaku.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.