Part 7: Polaris - Part 07 - April 30, 1178NC: Plot Spotted!April 30, 1178NC: Plot Spotted!
We make our way towards Auroran space. Caught in a clash between Pirates and a Fed patrol, I manage to capture a disabled Anaconda as an escort! The Pirates run away rather than contest me for the prize. I decide to not sell it off.
Escorts are an interesting part of the game - they have special sound effects that respond to commands and are in general pretty powerful allies. You can only give them 4 commands, however: Hold position (good if you're escorting trading ships or long-range artillery boats), Attack Target, Defend Me (attack hostile ships), and Return to Formation. You can have a maximum of six escorts, though fighters carried in bays and any fighters carried by your escorts do not count. This lends itself to some terrifying carrier-based doomfleets flying about with you.
You can select your escorts by class. In reality, players tend to only have one type of escort, so this functionality isn't often used.
Going into Auroran territory proper, we manage to stumble upon a disabled Fed Destroyer, a casualty of a border raid.
Sidling up alongside, we pirate 200,000 credits and a full load of energy! It's a great haul. The ship self-destructs when we attempt to capture it, however. The additional energy means we won't have to stop to refuel, and we power on towards Rimerta. The radar shows quite the welcoming committee greeting us:
So much for the friendly welcome Temmin Shard promised us, eh? I evade them and land our Wild Geese representative on the planet Rimerta.
This planet was colonized by members of the vast underclass of Aurorans who are poor and have no aptitude towards becoming warriors. No house claims these people, and, for the 160 billion inhabitants of this planet, the management of the First Family is all that stands between them and starvation. Because of this, young men and women from this planet who become warriors are absolutely loyal to the Empire, not to any house. They call themselves 'Dechtakars', which means 'we who sacrifice ourselves for the highest cause'. They are the only warriors who have an image of themselves on their chests as their death tattoos, for they believe that by dying in service to the Empire they will finally have lived up to their own expectations.
Rimerta's Bar posted:
This bar is filled with quite a few young Rimertan warriors all drinking non-alcoholic drinks, a habit they picked up from their Heraan colleagues, with whom the normally aloof Dechtakars share a mutual respect.
We move on to Aurora, where we get an even harsher welcoming committee: Two Auroran Carriers launching full fighter complements and two space stations lobbing 300mm railgun shots at us. Argh. The fighters and carriers are evaded and jump away, while we dodge the space station's shots and land on the planet they straddle.
Wild Geese Rep posted:
"Another day, another call for the Wild Geese," your passenger sighs in his musical accent. "Oh well, can't complain, it pays the bills."
After paying you the agreed-upon fee, he wanders off in search of his contact.
This planet houses the Auroran Council, which consists of three councilors from all the Five Families -- Moash, Vella, Tekel, Dani and Heraan. An additional three representatives come from the First Family, which is currently the Moash House. The Auroran Emperor is the leader of the First Family, and he sits at the head of the council and maintains order and has the only veto. The Auroran Council decides on all matters that affect the Empire as a whole, but is not allowed to interfere in the affairs of the Five Houses. However, the First Family, being one of the five, has been known to use the resources available to it as the First House to further its own ends.
Aurora's Bar posted:
Moash House warriors dominate this bar as they lord it over the many young warriors wearing the colors of the First Family. Obviously the First Family, being the Moash House, support their own warriors over the warriors who come from all the other Houses to serve the regulation two years under the First Family.
The tone of this dialogue changes quite a bit depending on which missions you've completed! I'm sure we'll revisit this when we get into the Auroran storyline. I hit the bar when someone, not Samantha, notices us:
Ferry US Negotiator posted:
Upon arrival you are met by a group of Aurorans, a couple of whom are covered with savage tattoos and who eye everybody around them with disdain.
"I've already transferred the money into your account," Samantha tells you as she leaves your ship, "but don't go too far away. If I need your services again in the near future, and I may well need to, I'll look for you in the bar, but I'm not sure how long I'll be."
To see ol' Eamon? O'course!
You are quietly sipping your drink when you feel a tap on your shoulder. You turn to see a pretty young lady with deep auburn hair smiling at you a little uncertainly.
"You are Jack Burton, Captain of the Limozeen?" she asks and you nod. "Oh good! I have heard that you are a very capable pilot. Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Mu'Randa, and I need to get to New Ireland in the Tuatha system so that I can conduct a business transaction with the Wild Geese. I am prepared to pay you 20,000 credits for passage.
"Can you help me?"
Another piece of dialogue that changes entirely with your mission history. This is what you get if you haven't done the Wild Geese storyline:
You agree rapidly, more than happy to help out someone seeking a contract with Eamon. You abbreviate your normal pre-flight routine in order to get going as quickly as you can.
We head back to New Ireland, exploring along the way.
After agreeing to help her you ask about these 'Wild Geese'.
"They are very highly-trained mercenaries based on New Ireland," she tells you in a hushed tone leaning forward. "I can't talk about the nature of my business with them, but I can tell you that their skills and capabilities are impressive.
"Now," she continues brightly, "when do we leave?"
We see a few Federation-Auroran clashes, and as always try to pirate the dregs. We're not too successful in this regard, as the Aurorans turn hostile immediately upon defeating the Federation.
We stop by Spacedock III to refuel, picking up a bounty hunter contract on the "Ball and Chain".
Spacedock III posted:
Spacedock III is smack-bang in the middle of one of the largest areas of ionic interference in the known galaxy. To make matters worse, it's on the vital southern border that the Federation shares with the Auroran Empire. Spacedock III has seen an enormous amount of action in the years since it was commissioned, and has recently been upgraded to hold the latest station-class blaster cannons. Ingress and egress from the station are much more difficult than is normal for this model of Federation Battlestation, due to the ion storms that regularly sweep this area of space, and also because of security procedures designed to weed out Auroran infiltrators.
The Ball and Chain takes longer to pronounce than it does to kill. We collect our fee on Earth and finish flying to New Ireland.
Spacedock III's Bar posted:
Spacedock III, due to its constant action, has an informal casualties average per day count. If this quota is not reached on any one day, all serving personnel feel a responsibility to make it up by coming here and getting 'slaughtered'.
Yet another mission with different dialogue. This is what you get without the Wild Geese background:
Drop off Mu'Randa posted:
Mu'Randa is met by upon landing by Flannigan. They greet each other in a lyrical language you cannot understand and shake hands in the fashion of warriors. Flannigan then turns to you and, with a huge smile on his face, grabs you in a crushing bear-hug before both of you catch up on each others news.
"You've managed to hire yourself a fine pilot here," Flannigan beams, "and a fine warrior to boot."
"Look for me in the bar here," she says, in a very respectful tone, obviously impressed by Flannigans' praise. "My business may take some time, but I will be needing further transport when I am finished."\
You nod in acknowledgment and watch the young lady walk off with Flannigan.
We head to the bar to meet up with Mu'Randa. What a strange name.
Mu'Randa is met by an enormously muscular man with almost horrific tattooing all over the exposed areas of his face and arms. They greet each other in a lyrical language you cannot understand and shake hands in the fashion of warriors.
"Look for me in the bar here," she says after turning back to you. "My business may take some time, but I will be needing further transport when I am finished."
You nod in acknowledgment and watch the young lady walk off with the savagely tattooed giant of a man.
Take Mu'Randa to Sol posted:
You spot Mu'Randa's deep auburn hair almost immediately when you step into the bar. Like most of the rest of the patrons, she looks up to check out the newcomer to the bar and she waves you over with a smile.
"I'm glad you showed up, Captain Jack Burton," she smiles happily, "as I have finished my business here and I need someone to take me to Sol, as I want to tie up a few loose ends there. The payment will be the same as for when you brought me here. Are you and your ship available for hire?"
I head to Earth, landing on a deserted planet to avoid a Fed scan.
Take Mu'Randa to Sol posted:
If you can just get me to Earth in the Sol system in one piece," she tells you freely, "and preferably without being scanned by anyone, that would be great. I'm sure you can understand that, as I am making dealings with forces that are not particularly well-liked within the Federation, I need to be a little circumspect.
"Still," she continues with a smile, "it shouldn't be too difficult, especially for a talented pilot such as yourself.
"So," she asks cheerfully, "how long until you are ready to leave?"
We reach Sol unscanned.
UHP-0474 was used to test the first generation of biogenic weapons that the Federation produced. The planet was then sterilized by the use of super-high-yield protonic weapons. The background radiation will make this planet uninhabitable for tens of thousands of years.
Take Mu'Randa to Sol posted:
You quickly run through your post-flight routine before cycling your hatch open and letting Mu'Randa off your ship.
"Thanks for the lift," she tells you sincerely. "You have been of greater help to me than you know.
"I've made sure that the money has been transferred into your account," she informs you with a mischievous smile, "so don't go spending it all at once.
"Keep dropping by the spaceport bar here," she finishes quietly. "I'm not sure exactly how long it will take me to complete my business here, but as soon as I am done, I will be requiring another ride, and I would rather deal with a familiar face than a complete stranger."
If you're playing along, you may have noticed that we've finally started a major storyline. There's only two ways to enter it: Refuse one of the first Vell-os missions, or kill a lot of things then fly around in Auroran space. We ended up with the latter. It's definitely one of the nicer storylines with regards to the toys you get to play with, so I'll try to (ab)use that to its fullest potential.