The Let's Play Archive

Escape Velocity: Nova

by Decoy Badger

Part 9: Polaris - Part 09 - August 22, 1178NC: Plain Polarized

August 22, 1178NC: Plain Polarized

I defer the ship-buying for later, both because we won't be encountering appropriate shipyards on our way to Polaris space and because I played this segment before writing the previous update. We leave P'ar Aed and head out for Wraith space. Our target planet is in the trackless galactic North, where even Pirates fear to tread.

It's a long trip far away from civilization, so I take every chance to refuel.

Ver'Ar Plas posted:

The Ver'ash on this planet work in tandem with the warriors from the Nil'nesa system to heal injured warriors and help repair their damaged ships. They receive a steady stream of work as the Nil'kemorya continually fend off incursions by Wraith herds into Polaris-controlled space.

Ver'Ar Plas's Bar posted:

You see a number of Ver'ash in their dark green uniforms talking with a number of gray-cloaked members of the warrior caste. The difference between the two groups is subtle yet obvious. The Ver'ash are happy, if tired, and the Nil'kemorya all seem to be preternaturally relaxed and alert.

We almost immediately see the Wraith presence. They don't respond to hails, falling in and out of cloak as they weave around us.

We reach the target system, dominated by a gas giant, and the sensors deem us to have collected enough data.

We turn around for home - the concentrations of Wraith have gotten to truly unnerving levels, especially considering how they could kill us within a second using their ridiculous beam attack.

Heading back, there's an interesting little station - A'j Do. The "station's hull integrity is too unstable" to dock, but it's still functional, serving as an early warning station for Wraith incursions. These only really occur in Polaris space, though there may be a handful of deprecated stations in Auroran territory.

We stop by the first stable station we see to refuel.

Tre'A Vi posted:

This station, in orbit around Tre'ar Erma, uses the methane gathered on the planet's surface to create organic compounds which are then used to outfit the interior of Polaris ships. Many of the objects created here in the most recent of Polaris stations have started to decorate the interiors of ships throughout Polaris space.

This is the Chinese Cheap Crappy Plastic Factory of Polaris space.

Tre'A Vi's bar posted:

The Tre'pira in this homely bar are all quietly relaxing having a few drinks in small groups. In the background you hear some sort of quiet, yet lively music.

Another week spent in Hyperspace and we make it back to P'ar Aed. The scientists are there to greet us.

Take Sample posted:

Upon landing you are greeted by several blue-robed Polaris scientists who begin poring over the sample you took.

"Well done," P'Jeena congratulates you. "Very few have ventured into Wraith space and survived. They are possibly the most aggressive life-form we have ever heard of."

You raise your eyebrows and tell him that you had absolutely no trouble with them at all, and that they basically left you alone.

"What!?" he exclaims, drawing the stares of several of his colleagues. "Are you sure?"

You tell him to check your sensor logs if he has any doubts. Which he does, looking very surprised.

"This is most unusual," he tells you, looking slightly shocked. "We will have to explore this phenomenon further. Meet me in the bar in a few hours, and I will have something more for you."

Yes, they sent us on a suicide mission, intending to pick through what's left of our corpse later for retrieval. The entire main Polaris plot starts because they tried to kill you off and failed. Think about it - your reputation is that of a greedy outsider, so they offer you a large reward to send you, in a dinky ship, to the most dangerous place in the galaxy. How many others have the Polaris kept quiet this way?

Take P'Jeena to Ver'a Se posted:

You are sipping your second drink when you see the slim frame of P'Jeena enter the bar.

"Your sensor logs have caused quite a stir," he informs you after making his way over and sitting down. "Always before the Wraith attacked every ship that they saw, and the only difference that we can see as being definitive is that you are not a Polaris pilot.

"Anyway," he sighs, returning to relative normalcy after his slightly excited outburst, "we have already discovered a way of reproducing the 'cloaking' effect of the Wraith, and we believe that it would be of enormous use for both the Nil'kemorya and the Mu'hari.

"I have all the data necessary to reproduce the effect," P'Jeena tells you in his quiet way, "but I still require transportation to pass this information on to those who can turn a laboratory experiment into a practical application.

"Can you help me?"

What is it now? Carry a tube of antimatter over?


"Thank you," he accepts gratefully. "This may well prove to be one of the biggest advances in technology in decades in terms of how it could affect the political landscape of all Known Space. If this information falls into the wrong hands somehow, and these people have the scientific know-how to understand the information I now have, it could mean serious changes to the balance of power throughout the galaxy.

"Still," he shrugs, "it cannot hurt if we develop the technology and use it to defend our borders against incursions by outside influences, and to do that I need to get to Ver'a Se in the Ver'roqi system. All the brightest scientists and engineers dream of being asked to serve there. Nearly all the greatest advances in ship design and technology over the last few centuries have come out of there.

"Hopefully," he concludes in his bookish manner, "this will prove to be another successful experimentation."

It's quite a ways away. You can see that we've gotten the overall layout of Polaris space - it's organized like a web, with the most important capital worlds in the currently unexplored centre. After another week in space we arrive at Ver'a Se.

Ver'a Se posted:

Ver'a Se is the most prestigious research facility run by the Ver'ash anywhere in Polaris space. Over half of all advances in medicine, ship 'growth', ship repair and design in the two centuries since the station was built have come from here. Only the best and the brightest of the Ver'ash are invited to work here. Other than Ver'ash members, the station also houses a handful of P'aedt, the scientist caste, and one or two Mu'hari, the 'casteless' caste.

Ver'a Se's Bar posted:

The engineers and scientists who are in this bar give you a quick glance when you walk in and then continue their discussion about some new technique of growing some ship parts to give them more strength. Only the two black-cloaked Mu'Hari pay any attention to you whatsoever.
P'Jeena (An Jeep) is desperate to improve his Impact Factor.

Take P'Jeena to Ver'a Se posted:

Upon landing you are greeted by a small crowd of people, most of whom are wearing the green flowing robes that you have learned belong to the engineer/healer caste, called the Ver'ash, but there are a sprinkling of blue robes belonging to the scientists like P'Jeena and even one utilitarian black jumpsuit that belongs to a member of the Mu'hari.

"So how does it work?" asks one of the Ver'ash in an excited tone.

"The Wraith have learned to fold space around them so that they are physically impervious to harm," replies P'Jeena quietly.

"So it is as though they 'cloak' themselves in space/time?" asks one of the scientists.

P'Jeena nods before turning to you.

"We have a fair amount of work ahead of us to take this knowledge out of the laboratory and into the real world," he tells you quietly. "But if you could keep checking back here, we will probably have need of your services before too long."

With that he disappears into the station talking rapidly to his colleagues.
This is a "wait and see" type of mission availability, which either has a forced delay or a 50% chance to receive the mission. I spend the day planetside instead.

Ver'ar Roqu posted:

The main college of Ver'ash is located on the surface of Ver'ar Roqu. When any young Polarans are thought to be suitable for entry into the Ver'ash, they are brought here at the age of four and stay until the age of twelve. In that time they are taught all the basics of human biology and medicine, and also the system by which the biological components of their ships are grown. The planet itself remains virtually undisturbed by the college, except for the occasional prank by some of the older students, which is usually laughed at by all, but quickly cleaned up to return Ver'ar Roqu to its pristine state.

Ver'ar Roqu's Bar posted:

The students and staff of this establishment mix freely after hours laughing and chatting in this room. The jovial atmosphere is infectious and you soon find yourself laughing and joking right along with them.
We return to the station to be greeted by P'Jeena.

Observe Cloak-Ship posted:

As soon as you step off your ship you are met by P'Jeena and a woman in flowing green robes who introduces herself as Ver'Lliana.

"Ver'Lliana has come up with a design," P'Jeena informs you in his quiet, somehow formal manner, "that should allow us to duplicate the capabilities of the Wraith.

"The trouble is," he continues seriously, "with something this sensitive we need to ensure that we have absolute control over as much of the experiment as possible so that we can ensure that the results are tainted by as little outside influences as possible. So, seeing as it was your ship that we took the original readings of the Wraith from, we were wondering if we could use your ship as the observation platform for the proceedings?"

If you bought a new ship between this mission and the previous one, either nobody noticed or nobody cared.

Observe Cloak-Ship posted:

"Thank you," murmurs P'Jeena gratefully at your acceptance of the mission. "I'll let Ver'Lliana explain the nature of the experiment."

"We have built a ship designed specifically for being under cloak," she informs you after you turn your head slightly to face her. "We have named it the Zephyr, and as we speak it is currently undergoing space testing of its flight systems.

"When you are ready," she continues pleasantly, "if you could take off from the station and try to observe it as it flies around the system cloaking and un-cloaking. When you have observed it for a while, return to the station.

"We will be loading the very same holo-scanning technology on board your ship," she finishes quietly, "that you were carrying during your voyage into Wraith space.

"Anyway, we will be ready when you are."
We take off, and true to their word the Zephyr shows up. Attacking it with our weapons can force it to drop cloak, but mostly it behaves like a Wraith, until it gets bored and starts destroying asteroids.

This is probably the easiest mission in the game.

Observe Cloak-Ship posted:

As soon as you land your ship is overrun by the blue-robed scientists who pay you and your ship scant regard. In irritation you throw them all off your ship, telling them that the ship comes first, and that their data can wait a few more minutes. Many of them look very ashamed as you pointedly upbraid them about their poor manners. Out of the corner of your eye you think you catch a gray-cloaked warrior smile slightly, but when you turn in her direction her face is without expression.

"Please accept my sincerest apology," says P'Jeena, stepping forward. "We meant no disrespect, our only excuse is an eagerness to view the data held in the holo-scanner. We are sorry for any inconvenience we caused."

You nod and tell him that when you have finished your post-flight routine you will allow them full access to your ship, but not before.

Observe Cloak-Ship posted:

You take your time as you shut your ship's computers down, as you want the P'aedt waiting outside to know just how much they offended you. As soon as you finish you step out of your beloved Limozeen, and indicate with a wave of your hand that they may begin.

"Thank you for doing this, Captain Jack Burton," says P'Jeena contritely, "and thank you for pointing out our poor manners and etiquette. We are all truly sorry for the irritation we caused, and are grateful that you brought it to our attention, so that we might learn to conduct ourselves better.

"I have made sure that your account has been suitably recompensed," he continues quietly, "and I will make sure that we do not harm your ship in any way. Keep looking in the bar from time to time, because once we have analyzed this data, we will be needing someone to gather more data for us. Also, keep an eye out in the mission BBS's around the place as I have heard that Mu'Randa may have something for you before too long."
Ah, another wait-and-see mission delay. Guess I'll take this as an excuse to get a tricked out ship. Next time: We show off ridiculously overpowered Polaris technology for fun and profit.