Elite Dangerous Unknown Ship HD

A Thargoid Interceptor in Elite: Dangerous

The Thargoids are an insectoid alien species who are said to originate outside of known space, perhaps existing in a parallel universe or spatial dimension. They are the one of two known living sapient species in the Milky Way galaxy (the other being humans), although ruins and artefacts of other species have been found and much of the galaxy remains unexplored.[1] Thargoids are reputed to be highly aggressive and seemingly rebuff all diplomatic overtures with unmitigated hostility.


First contact and conflict Edit

Thargoid ship

A Thargoid ship in Frontier: First Encounters

The name "Thargoid" was coined by humans shortly after the first reported encounters with the aliens, which are believed to have occurred in 2849.[2][3] In a blurred holo clip of one such encounter, some argued that the term "THARG" was visible on the hull of an alien ship, but this was never conclusively proven. Nevertheless, "Tharg" came to be associated with the aliens, and most commentators extended it to "Thargoid".[4]

The events surrounding first contact with the Thargoids were mostly suppressed and forgotten, and by the 3300's the Thargoids themselves were generally regarded as fiction. According to Alliance Prime Minister Edmund Mahon, who is one of the few individuals with access to surviving records, the Intergalactic Naval Reserve Arm, or INRA, fought a war against the Thargoids and eventually secured victory by deploying a bioweapon against the aliens. The Thargoids retreated, and for many years it was believed they had been driven to extinction or even never truly existed at all.[5]

In the course of the war, a number of Thargoid ships were captured by the Galactic Cooperative, and later fell into the possession of the Alliance in the years after Galcop collapsed. By the 3270's, the Alliance was able to reverse-engineer Thargoid technology to produce the single most consequential hyperdrive innovation in centuries: the Frame Shift Drive. FSDs reduced travel times in Hyperspace from hours to mere seconds, opening the floodgates for human exploration and expansion. Due to the machinations of The Club, however, the Alliance did not leverage FSD technology to gain superiority over the Federation and Empire; instead, the tech fell into the hands of Sirius Corporation, which monopolized it and distributed it to all the powers and factions, ensuring no one gained an advantage. Afterward, The Club suppressed information about the Thargoids so that it became a myth among the public.[5]

Renewed activity Edit

In early 3301, Unknown Artefacts were discovered among the cargoes of secret Federal convoys. Their discovery marked the first indication that Thargoids yet existed in the depths of space, though the Artefacts, as well as the similar Unknown Probes that would be found orbiting ammonia worlds in 3302, would not be conclusively linked to the Thargoids until later. Some CMDRs believed that the Artefacts and Probes originated from an entirely unknown alien race, while others asserted that they were examples of experimental human technology. Disputes and speculation over the objects continued for months. Alien Structures, or "Barnacles", were also discovered in 3302, but their even more pronounced organic appearance also stymied analysis.

On January 5, 3303, Commander DP Sayre reported the first known encounter with an Unknown Ship, which was later confirmed to be a type of Thargoid vessel and reclassified as a Thargoid Interceptor. The Unknown Ship interdicted the CMDR from hyperspace and apparently scanned him before departing to an untraceable destination. The acts of interdicting a target while in hyperspace and leaving an untraceable wake signature were both well beyond the capabilities of human technology. Previously, only the wreckage of these ships had been documented.

Beginning April 11, 3303, reports surfaced of Unknown Ships apparently attacking Federation convoys. Upon dropping out of supercruise at the source of certain distress calls, Commanders arrived in a green, gaseous cloud and their ship was disabled. Multiple Federal Corvette wrecks, bearing luminescent green residue where they were damaged and with their crews apparently dead, were adrift in the cloud, and a single Unknown Ship could be seen jumping away. Presumably, the Unknown Ship destroyed all of the Corvettes on its own in each incident.

On June 2, 3303, CMDR Mobiusetti documented the first known interaction between an Unknown Ship and an Alien Structure on Pleiades Sector OI-T C3-7 A 6 at coordinates -42.77, -21.7. This confirmed suspicions that they were related.[6]

Identification and escalationEdit


CMDR Edward Lewis' message

On June 12, 3303, Professor Palin issued a request for scan and wake signature data from Unknown Ships to be delivered to Orcus Crag in Pleiades Sector OI-T c3-7. Palin compared the collected data to older Thargoid samples and confirmed that Unknown Ships were Thargoid in origin. Shortly afterward, Federation military forces seized Palin's research for transport to a Federal research facility, but the fleet never arrived at its destination.[7]

On June 13, wreckage was found with a transmitter which contained a recorded message:

"This is an urgent message from Commander Edward Lewis. There are forces out there who do not want you to know the truth, but I have to make this public. I found a ship in HIP 17044. A Federal cap ship, shot to pieces. They were carrying the data the Feds stole from Professor Palin. The crew is dead, but they discovered something important about the Unknown Ships. There is a beacon in the wreckage broadcasting a message, over and over. It proves what we suspected. They are back. And the whole galaxy needs to know. The Thargoids have returned."

Thargoid Attack Aftermath

The destroyed Federal fleet

Two unnamed Farragut Battle Cruisers were located at an Unregistered Comms Beacon approximately 11,000 ls in the direction of the Asterope system from planet 2 in the HIP 17044 system. The capital ships and an accompanying fleet of smaller Federal ships were all heavily damaged, their crews presumably dead, and adrift in the same green, gaseous cloud noted to be a signature of previous Unknown Ship attacks. A transmitter satellite was found among the debris. One Farragut was also discovered to be broadcasting a recording in Morse code in a small, 30-meter zone around its antenna array: "UNKNOWN VESSELS DETECTED. SERVER PURGE FAILED. SHIP ASSETS LIQUIDATED. PAYLOAD DESTROYED. SHIP STATUS LOST."[8]

Following the incident, on June 19, the leaders of the Federation, Empire, and Alliance responded to the news that the aliens encountered in the Pleiades Nebula were Thargoids. President Zachary Hudson confirmed that the Federal military had been expanding in recent months in preparation for such a possibility. Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval urged calm and reminded the public that humanity had overcome seemingly insurmountable odds in the past. Prime Minister Edmund Mahon called for caution, arguing that it had not yet been proven that the destroyed Federal ships were the victims of Thargoid attacks, and that much could be learned from an advanced alien race like the Thargoids.[9]

Thargoid Surface Sites Edit

Thargoid Surface Site above

Thargoid Surface Site

Following the incident, CMDRs identified an unknown signal at a listening post in Maia this lead to heavily guarded relay posts. The final listening post had a Caesar Cypher encrypted location for the "nest". They traced it to planet B 1 C in HIP 19026. There, CMDR Lightningwing of The Canonn discovered the first known Thargoid Surface Site.[10][11]

Pleiades buildup and research efforts Edit

In the wake of the earlier discoveries concerning the Thargoids, numerous state-sponsored and independent initiatives were launched to expand humanity's presence in the Pleiades Nebula. The Indra, a Wells-class Carrier Megaship, was built and deployed by the Empire to HR 1185.[12] The Federation established Blackmount Orbital and Blackmount Habitation in HIP 17692 to monitor Thargoid activity.[13] The Ocellus station The Oracle was relocated to Pleiades Sector IR-W d1-55 to serve as an independent hub for scientific research on the Thargoids.[14] Abroin Universal Plc led a campaign to establish their own Thargoid research base in the Pleiades.[15] The Federation, Empire, and Alliance jointly funded the creation of Aegis, a research organization intended to pool the scientific expertise of the three superpowers to coordinate investigations of the Thargoids; Aegis deployed a station named Donar's Oak to Pleiades Sector IR-W d1-55.[16] Sirius Corporation established two outposts in the Merope system, the station Reed's Rest and the surface port Omega Prospect.[17]

On August 11, 3303, the Alliance launched a research initiative to build a range of state-of-the-art instruments to analyze various Thargoid materials, such as Unknown Ship Signatures and other objects recovered from Thargoid Surface Sites.[18] The campaign was a success, but due to the nature of the research it would take some time for any results to be achieved.[19]

With events unfolding at a rapid pace, the superpowers had until recently struggled to formulate appropriate responses to the Thargoid situation. While Aegis' establishment suggested that the galaxy's leaders were beginning to address the issue, journalist Kelvin Masters offered a more frank analysis in an Imperial Herald article on August 25, 3303: "The barnacles seem to indicate that the Thargoids were in Maia and Merope long before we were. For all we know, humanity has expanded into what the Thargoids see as their territory. I have no interest in scaremongering, but my belief is that a Thargoid attack could be imminent – their behaviour certainly seems to suggest they are probing us for weaknesses."[20]

Enemies of the Federation Edit

On September 15, 3303, Chief of Federal Security Admiral Aden Tanner announced that another Thargoid attack had recently occurred in Pleiades Sector IR-W D1-55 which resulted in the destruction of multiple Federal vessels, including one Farragut Battle Cruiser. While the motives for this attack were unknown, Admiral Tanner confirmed that the Thargoids were now officially considered enemies of the Federation. President Hudson gave Tanner full authority over the Federal Navy to deal with the Thargoid threat.[21] Amid speculation that Federal forces had provoked the attack, the Federation insisted that black box data from the wreckage indicated no provocation on their part; this was confirmed by Aegis, which had also analyzed data from the attack.[22]

The incident spurred all three superpowers to widen Aegis' remit to focus on both research and defence on September 21, 3303. The organization's budget was dramatically increased, and it recruited the Engineers Liz Ryder and Professor Palin to produce a new anti-Thargoid weapon and a scanner for Thargoid ships, respectively.[23][24]

The Return Edit

Thargoids will be the main focus of update 2.4, "The Return", of Elite Dangerous: Horizons.

Biology Edit

Thargoids are an insectoid species. Little is known about their physical appearance and biology. Their chemistry is carbon-based, but with ammonia as the solvent rather than water.[25] If the rumors are true that they come from Ammonia-based planets then their physiology is drastically different from humans. For example, ammonia boils at -33 degrees C. Thargoids may well be acclimatised to temperatures far lower than humans.[26] They are presumed to be highly intelligent, more than the average human due to their superior technological capabilities. Descriptions based on encounters centuries ago have yet to be verified.

According to The Club, what humans consider to be a singular Thargoid species actually consists of two distinct "dynasties": the Oresrians and the Klaxians. How Oresrians and Klaxians differ biologically, if at all, is unknown.[5]


Not much information has been obtained about Thargoid society or culture. The only known fact is that the society is hive based, with no sense of close family. It is thought that the society is divided into colonies, possibly along the lines of ant colonies. The Oresrian and Klaxian dynasties may be two such colonies.[5]

Thargoids are thought to have a natural affinity with space, and with Hyperspace in particular. This is due to the fact that Thargoid warriors seem to spend a large amount of time in space. Naval pilots and crews report that the warships in the war zones are encountered on repeated occasions over a period of months often without respite.

Following the initial conflict between humans and Thargoids, the Oresrians and Klaxians apparently became embroiled in a civil war. Sometime before 3303, the Klaxians gained the upper hand and forced the Oresrians into a slow, continuous retreat across the galaxy, a retreat which will take them directly through human space. The Club has learned that the Oresrians plan to use human civilization as a "bullet shield" to occupy the Klaxians' attention while they escape deeper into space. This poses a potentially apocalyptic threat to humanity's survival.[5]


Nothing is known about internal Thargoid politics or government, or why the Oresrians and Klaxians have come into conflict.

Thargoid relations with other species, as far as what is currently known, was frighteningly simple: war. The Thargoid invasions usually seemed to be prompted by the need for either agricultural or mineral resources, rather than a sociological or anthropological need to expand or colonise. In fact, the animal life on an invaded world was largely ignored unless it poses a threat to Thargoids.



Thargoid ship confronting a Diamondback Scout

Thargoid technology is vastly different from existing human technology. Not only are their ships seemingly invulnerable to conventional weapons, but they possess the ability to interdict human ships that are traveling through hyperspace, a feat previously believed to be impossible, as well as the ability to make untraceable hyperspace jumps and stymie any pursuers. Although Thargoid weaponry has yet to be seen in action, its end results in the form of numerous destroyed Federal vessels, including two capital ships, demonstrates that their ships wield formidable firepower.

Alien Structures, so-called "barnacles", are known to be related to the Thargoids and their ships. As the structures produce Meta-Alloys, it is possible that Meta-Alloys are an important resource used by Unknown Ships.

Thargoid Surface Sites demonstrate the Thargoids construct and utilize vast surface installations. Passive drone-like devices called Scavengers are present at these locations.

Unknown Artefacts and Unknown Probes were also confirmed to be related to Thargoids after it was discovered that carrying them allowed doors at Thargoid Surface Sites to open. The other functions of these objects remain an enigma, however.

It's unclear whether Thargoids are a Type II or Type III civilization based on the Kardashev scale. Their lack of control over the Milky Way galaxy indicates they're Type II. However, since Thargoids may originate from another galaxy, parallel universe, or spatial dimension they could be Type III.


  • Initially, it was only confirmed that Thargoids would eventually make an appearance in Elite Dangerous, and the specifics of that encounter were unknown.[27][28][29]
  • Frontier Development staff have previously commented that all Thargoids are female.[30]
  • David Braben hinted that should peace have ever been found with Thargoids, it would be a temporary measure.[31]
  • It has been rumoured that Thargoids could be capable of building large artificial structures which could possibly be on a scale with planets, and certainly large enough to negate a ship's warp ability.[32]


  • The name "Thargoid" is believed to have come from the regular skit Captain Kremmen performed by radio and TV personality Kenny Everett on both his radio shows and, in animated form, on TV.[33] The animated skits show the Thargoids as a species of tall, transparent creatures who are part of a highly-wealthy monarchical society.[34] It is assumed that their main source of income is profiting from the sale of natural resources taken from planets they have colonised stretching thousands of light years.



  2. Data taken from Tourist Spot Beacon 0184, Lave system
  3. Elite Dangerous Lore: The Thargoids
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Elite Dangerous: Premonition
  7. Galactic News: The Thargoids have Returned
  8. Frontier Forums: Alien archeology and other mysteries: Thread 10 - The Canonn
  9. Galactic News: Galactic Leaders Address Thargoid Discovery
  10. /r/EliteDangerous: A mystery is afoot
  11. /r/EliteDangerous: (SPOILERS) Mysterious Structures Found By Cannon group
  12. Galactic News: New Superpower Bases in the Pleiades
  13. Community Goal: New Federal Outpost
  14. Galactic News: New Research Centre at Thargoid Site
  15. Community Goal: Pleiades Research Outpost
  16. Galactic News: Joint Superpower Initiative Announced
  17. Galactic News: Sirius Corporation Enters Merope
  18. Community Goal: Alliance Research Initiative
  19. Galactic News: Alliance Campaign Concludes
  20. Galactic News: The Thargoid Situation
  21. Galactic News: Federal Capital Ship Destroyed by Thargoids
  22. Galactic News: Federation Addresses Rumours
  23. Galactic News: Aegis to Widen Remit
  24. Community Goal: Engineers Appeal for Thargoid Material

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