Part 12: Episode 11: God Save the Queen
Episode 11: God Save the Queen
To The Hive! / Backup
The team gets into the ship and flies off into space toward the hive while the Democratans give vague advice on what to do.
Hive Infiltration! / Backup
This is just me playing the hive minigame. It's kinda fun…basically it's just a shooting sequence. Stuff pops up and you shoot it. I'm not very good at this game.
We landed inside the Hive. I guess we got lucky that robot insects need air to breathe. We were in a giant dome carved out of the asteroid with one pathway spiraling to the top. For robots, their building style was fairly erratic…and sticky.
On the platform where we landed, we found a slag of Firespire Mystech. It was significantly more powerful than the Fireslag that Dr. Bowman had used on Democratus. Bowman pocketed her new MysTech, and we began walking up the winding path.
At the top of the dome, the pathway split in two. The path directly ahead was covered with giant bugs. The smaller path to the right was bug-free. Naturally, the party nudged me in the direction of the bug-covered path.
"Whoa. Hold on a second. Maybe Grumpos should lead the way and swat those bugs away with his staff," I protested. Grumpos would have none of it.
Bowman turned around and went toward the other path.
We walked through the door and found ourselves in a long, blue, hallway, equally as sticky as the one before. The main difference between this room and the previous one was the cocooned prisoners sticking out from the wall. Most of them had been completely paralyzed, but others, like the one in front of us, were still completely conscious.
"I though you were one of the bugs uh-coming back to finish the cocoon," He said.
Her doctor's instinct took over as Bowman began analyzing the half-finished cocoon, looking for ways to free him.
"No no…" he waved her away, "don't try getting me outta here. I'm quite satisfied with my experience. They puke this weird syrup in my mouth for food, and there's a tube up my… well, you know."
Bowman was content to let him rot in the cocoon.
The alien soldier continued. "They shot a barrage of missiles at our planet. We were sent to infiltrate the hive… to find some way to stop them. But they made wine out of Haskins. They ate Raphael for supper. I think I'm the leftovers. There's no way to stop the hive. At this point, I don't care anymore. At least the rent's cheap….C'mon people…laugh with me here."
I managed to squeeze out a chuckle, imagining the Democratans that would possibly soon be cocooned in these very halls. As entertaining as that would be, it would also require us to die…it wasn't that funny.
We came out the other end of the hallway to be greeted by our first Verilents! To be honest, I really expected gun-toting, cybernetic insects to be a bit tougher. I was thinking Insecticons. Bombshell. Shrapnel. Kickback. But no, we just got these losers.
The fight wasn't too spectacular. The Verilents were hardly tougher than the security robodes back on Democratus. The only danger was that they came in swarms.
Luckilly, Bowman's Plasmawall could hit them all at the same time. We made short work of the pests and went on to investigate the glowing purple structure at the center of the room.
As we drew closer we could see that it was in fact a computer, not exactly my forte. Bowman was already analyzing the device. "This appears to control a section of door and security subsystems. It looks like we could access the inner sanctum through this computer, but we need the component pieces to activate it. We should search these drones for anything that might give us access to the central computer or whatever controls this whole place," she said. "Oh, and I think I can open the door up there."
Around the terminal were six colored flames with small indentations beside them. My APE-playing days told me that we would find keys to put in these holes.
A door on the upper level flew while another swarm of Verilents flew out. These too were swiftly dispatched.
The upstairs door led to another blue cocoon hallway, complete with its own half-cocooned alien soldier.
As soon as he saw us approach he began to speak. "When I was a school child," he said, "one of our classroom activities… I'll never forget this… was raising caterpillars. We each got one in a little plastic container. After a week or two, the caterpillars were hanging upside down, spinning cocoons. The whole class was so excited. It was hard to concentrate on schoolwork. I was careful not to move it around too much. I didn't want anything to happen to it. But one morning, I got to class and my cocoon had fallen to the bottom of the container. I was in shock. Before I knew it, I had switched my cocoon with that of the girl sitting next to me. No one saw me do it."
He sighed. "She started crying when she saw what happened. Mine hatched a butterfly. Hers didn't. It just sat on the bottom of the container. I can't stop thinking about it. I'm just saying is all."
Karma's a bitch.
Out the other end of the hallway we found a smaller computer terminal. Bowman went to work. In the distance we could hear a door open. We figured it was the door that used to have bugs crawling on it.
We backtracked to that door and found that it was indeed open. It led into another blue cocoon hallway with yet another longwinded lunch to-be.
We asked if there was anything we could do for him, but he was resigned to his fate. Like the others, he also wanted to bore us with his last words.
"You know that poem about whether you're a man dreaming about being a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming you're a man? I figure somewhere there's a caterpillar dreaming he's crawling inside my mother. Forgive me mother…"
Continuing through the hallway led to a series of tunnels. Inside the first of these tunnels was a pedestal with a blue crystal floating above it. The color exactly matched one of flames surrounding the large computer. This crystal was almost certainly one of the keys.
Once we touched the crystal, we were assaulted by a swarm of Verilents. These too were destroyed.
We went through the tunnels searching for the other colored crystals, and sure enough we found them. And every time we found them, we got to fight a huge swarm of bugs. Fun.
While we ran through the tunnels, we found a few random slags of MysTech, some Hive Moss, and a Static Pulse Injector that Rho could use as a weapon. It was short ranged but packed a huge punch.
We also found another chatty cocoon. Unlike the others, this one actually had something useful to say.
"I was paralyzed in the brood chamber when several of my guys attacked the hive queen. They hit her with everything they had. Guns… knives…lasers. Nothing hurt her. Unless you got some magic tricks in that coat, you better just crawl into one of these cocoons and get some sleep. Taking out the queen is the only way to disable the colony."
We couldn't help but stare at the guy in the cocoon.
He laughed. "Hey, don't knock it till you try it. It feels like I'm wearing something soft and silky…like I've got a secret. It's roomier than it looks. The acoustics are fantastic. Hey, cut me some slack. Your sense of humor takes a nosedive when you've only got a few hours to live. I figure your sense of humor would be scraping knuckles in about half an hour. Happy Holidays, fellow foodstuffs."
Apparently the queen was immune to beat weapons. We'd have to blast her with MysTech. How convenient for them to leave slags of Mystech around the hive!
At the other end of that hallway was another large room in which we were assaulted by a platoon of Verilents. In this room, there was a door guarded by multi-colored bugs. They wouldn't budge.
We backtracked to the giant computer and placed all of the shards in their proper locations. We got a free laser show and the giant machine activated. Bowman punched a few buttons, and then she informed us that she had opened up the door with the multicolored bugs.
More backtracking. Thankfully there were no more Verilents to kill on these paths. We entered the door that was previously guarded by bugs
The door opened into another blue hallway. This one had no cocoons, however. Instead, it split into two paths.
Inside one path was a machine that asked for crystal shards. More backtracking. More Verilent smashing. More…fun? We gathered a second set of crystals and returned.
This MysTech was jet black, unlike any we had seen before. It reacted the most strongly to Grumpos, but his healing with BaneWave was too important to neglect. Dr. Bowman chose to experiment with it.
We took the other fork in the blue hallway.
Fatima popped up. "This is it, folks. Equip your Mystech if you have it. And pet that TimeMinder behind me. It's been nice knowing you all."
Thanks for the confidence, babe. We bravely ventured through the door.
What the hell…
The queen would probably describe herself as curvy.
We faced the queen in a roughly diagonal throne room. At each corner of the room were hovering crystals.
The queen's first move was to destroy the crystals. Smashing the crystals summoned a Verilent to assist her in battle.
A combination of Grumpos' staff sweep and Bowman's Plasma wall destroyed the reinforcements.
Lacking an attack that could damage the crowd of enemies, I squeezed off a few rounds of the octogun right in her eggsack even though the cocoon man had told me it was worthless. Turns out the guy was wrong and my octogun did full damage. Hit the "1" button, the hotkey for normal attack and it still lets you attack even though it's supposed to be disabled…nice programming! .
Worker bugs from the honeycomb patterns to our sides came out and set the crystals upright again.
Grumpos and I smashed the crystals before the queen had a chance to. No reinforcements came. Instead, our shieldbelts were charged full with NRG.
Using the restored NRG we kept hammering away at the queen with our most potent Mystech, being sure to keep recharging with the crystals.
Keeping up this pattern it was not long before the queen had fallen.
Or if you want to see the battle for yourself….
Epic Queen Battle(video) / Backup
Escape from the Hive / Backup
And so we were finally free from Democratus. I'd be content to never deal with those guys again. We went back to The Lounge of Commerce on Sender Station to regroup and get hammered.