Before too long every Elite player will encounter the Thargoids, and for the confused Mostly Harmless trader "Energy Low" warnings start, followed a few seconds later by the explosion of your Cobra. Experienced traders look upon Thargoids as a reasonably decent combat challenge with a (small) chance of being beaten by them.
Thargoids are usually associated with Witchspace (hyperspace), unless for some reason you are still playing the Beeb tape version. You can tell when you are dumped into the midst of some Thargoids in hyperspace when (on the Beeb) the tunnel appears twice, or on the Arc when the message "Hyperspace failed" flashes up (or some terrible joke with no punchline - see the manual for an explanation). Cowards will try to hyperspace straight back out (which is when Beeb pilots discover that they are possibly out of fuel), but most of us wade in with guns blazing. Shoot at the Thargoid ships, ignoring the Thargons. Once all the motherships are destroyed the Thargons are just sitting there and can be scooped up and sold as Alien Items (but you probably knew that already anyway).
If you are not up to facing them, carry an energy bomb around, and make sure you save your place regularly. If you are getting hit too much (the main difficulty with Thargoids is the number of guns firing at you, and the fact that missiles are next to useless unless you are lucky) try flying about all over the place in a completely random fashion.
In ArcElite Thargoids are never seen out of hyperspace, but are quite often on the Beeb tape version, and during Mission 2 on the disc game. They usually appear singly (one Thargoid with a couple of Thargons) and don't pose much of a threat unless you are short on energy, but if another one appears it will take control of any Thargons that may be floating around.
It should probably be added that there does not appear to be any way of entering Witchspace whenever you like in ArcElite. Anyone who still plays the BBC version (perhaps on an emulator) will probably recall that pressing pause, the CTRL-X, then unpausing, and finally holding CTRL-X as you enter hyperspace will stick you in a WitchSpace full of Thargoids, ready for an entertaining few minutes panic.
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