The Let's Play Archive

Escape Velocity: Nova

by Decoy Badger

Part 12: Polaris - Part 12 - February 7, 1180NC: I Know Kung Fu

February 7, 1180NC: I Know Kung Fu

Once again, we return to New Ireland. Despite killing several dozen hostile Federation ships on previous discreet insertions, the Feds don't give me any trouble flying in. The Space Irish are of course more than accomodating.

Meet Eamon posted:

As soon as you land you head over to Eamon's office and enter to see him stripped to the waist, showing off all his tattoos, dealing out a beating to four young men in Wild Geese uniforms on a large square padded mat. The ease with which he is humbling highly-trained soldiers speaks volumes for his skills.

As soon as you enter he calls a stop to the proceedings and tells his young students to take a fifteen minute break before coming over and shaking your hand.

"Greetings, Knight of the Red Branch," he says warmly in his impossibly deep voice. "I had a suspicion that you were this 'Ory'hara' Mu'Randa keeps telling me about. Care to join me on the mat?"

You get quite a chunk of extra description here if you haven't done the Wild Geese storyline:

Alternative Description posted:

As soon as you land you head straight to the dockmaster's office to ask about where you might find Flannigan. You are surprised to be told detailed instructions on how to find his office without even being asked why. As you head off to follow the directions given, you cannot help wondering about such lax security surrounding the leader of a military force.

Your questions are answered when you reach his office and enter to see a man wearing the savage tattoos of an Auroran warrior dealing out a beating to four young men in Wild Geese uniforms on a large square padded mat. The ease with which he is humbling highly-trained soldiers speaks volumes for his personal level of security.
Considering that this is the second time he's introduced to you in the alternate plot, hearing "savage tattoos" over and over again gets annoying.

Matt Eamon posted:

Time after time he makes you submit or collapse in pain. Never before have you felt so inadequate. After what seems like hours you start to discern at the edges of your awareness a series of swirling patterns. Whenever you concentrate on them they seem to slip your grasp, but the longer you spar, the more certain that somehow Eamon is deliberately guiding this somehow spiritual pattern to help him maintain his dominance.

Not long after you make this realization Eamon stops.

"I think you have been named well," he informs you in a slow, thoughtful manner. "Nobody has ever become aware of the weave so quickly."

"I will train with you for the rest of today," he tells you, in a voice loud enough to reach the four students that had filed back into the room at some stage while you were sparring. "And tomorrow morning I will meet you in the bar, and I will try to answer the question Mu'Randa wants you to ask.

"In the mean time," he switches back into training, "I want to show you a few techniques..."
We're special!

Eamon's Answer posted:

When you wake up the following morning you decide that you have never felt worse in your life. It seems as if every muscle, sinew and bone in your body is in excruciating pain. You decide that you have nothing to lose so you go through a series of limbering-up exercises Eamon taught you yesterday, and surprisingly enough in about a half-hour, you feel relatively okay.

You walk down to the bar, where you recognize Eamon sitting at a dark table at the rear of the bar because of the intense stillness around him. You still cannot 'read the weaves' as he calls the way he views the universe, but you know that nobody else around has the ability to control the space around them as utterly as he does.

"I wasn't expecting you to pick me out quite so easily," he congratulates you as you sit down. "The speed with which you have picked up what you have is almost alarming. I have never even heard of someone learning to discern the weaves so quickly."

Eamon's Answer posted:

"But, tell me, why are you here?" he goes on to ask. "What does Mu'Randa want now?"

You quickly outline the reasons behind the Polaris investigation of the Bureau. After giving him some of the details of the operation you finish by telling him of Mu'Randa's comments, and asking him if he can be of any help.

When you finish Eamon leans back, and looks down at the table. "She certainly can pick them," he mutters quietly, shaking his head smiling. "I take it the Mu'hari have been concentrating on the major centers of Federation space?" You nod, to which he shakes his head before continuing, "The Bureau doesn't operate out in the open, they'll never find out much doing that. When you get back to Mu'Randa tell her to put somebody on New England. From there they should be able to get onto the right track.

"In the meantime," he tells you, rising, "I suggest that you keep practicing your new skills, and I would look at training with the Nil'kemorya as they could definitely teach you a thing or two."
Welp, time to head back to Mu'ar Haro. Just two jumps into the trip, we spot an Auroran Cruiser raiding Nesre Secundus and getting tied up on an unusually heavily-armed Fed patrol boat. Spotting a chance for some piracy, I strike!

Attacking from the less dangerous end, I quickly disable it. From then on it's a race against time as Federation reinforcements are trying to finish it off while I board the vessel.

Nothing. I hit the capture button for laughs, and lo and behold...

I caught me a cruiser! I high-tail it out of Federation space before anyone finds out. Cruisers are ideal escort ships for close-range ships like ours, able to dish out long-range pain while we keep the enemy occupied.

Unfortunately, due to their sheer mass, cruisers require 3 days per jump compared to the one day our sleek Striker takes. Although this isn't much of a complaint given that the date has literally no impact on the game at this point, I really hate the idea of getting slowed down by a lumbering artillery battery and sell it off after it has cost us over a month of time spent in hyperspace. We finally arrive in Mu'ar Haro after a very long but mostly uneventful trip.

Eamon's Answer posted:

During the long journey from New Ireland to Mu'ar Haro you while away the hours doing the exercises and practicing the techniques taught to you by Eamon. Within a week you notice a definite improvement in your power and your speed. Day by day you find it easier to focus on the patterns that surround everything around you. By the end of your journey you can open your mind to the spiritual realm at will with only a few seconds of concentration. Never in your life have you felt more alive.

As you pilot your way down to the surface as you have done on thousands of worlds before, you decide that if you ever get the chance, you will follow Eamon's advice and train with the Nil'kemorya. If anyone can teach you more about the skills you have only just begun to learn, it would be them. Now that your mind has been opened you want to explore much further into this new universe that has been shown to you.

Eamon's Answer posted:

When you land you are met by Mu'Randa's dark hair and pretty face. Before you can even begin to ask her about the 'Ory'hara' business she holds up her hand and stops you short.

"I can't explain right now," she explains in answer to your unspoken questions, which startles you until you remember that Mu'Dren said she was a telepath. "I haven't slept for over a month now, and if I didn't need to hear Eamon's answer in person so that I could act upon it immediately, I would be off trying to tie up about a dozen or so other loose ends. Now what did he say?"

You keep your peace long enough to tell her of his suggestion that she place somebody on New England. While she contemplates his answer you open up your mind to become aware of the weaves around her. Without warning she stops talking, and you sense from the patterns around her that she is aware of what you are doing.

"I see you got more than just an answer," she says shrewdly. "Keep checking the Mission BBS's - if I need you that's how I'll reach you."
And indeed, there's a message waiting for us in the Mission BBS. Couldn't she have told us directly?

ATTN: Ory'hara posted:

Message to: Ory'hara
Message from: Mu'Randa

While I am looking into the info given to us by Flannigan, the Nil'kemorya have sent word that a number of Auroran ships have begun gathering in the Fallen system. Are you prepared to go and have a look?


Message to: Ory'hara
Message from: Mu'Randa

Apparently our long range scanning has detected a sustained build-up of activity in the Fallen system, and the Nil'kemorya, having learned to trust you after your efforts defending the border against the Federation, would like you to land on the Fallen station in that system. They just want you to have a look around, but stay on your toes - the Aurorans are a tough bunch, and they like to test themselves against us, for they deem us to be 'worthy opponents'.
I get the feeling that the story was written first, and missions made up afterwards in order to fit the exposition in. Regardless, we make our way to Fallen. There is indeed a military build-up. I have to go in under cloak, wary of ambushes.

We barely get to take more than 5 steps from the ship. No description this time!

Oh shit posted:

As soon as you land you are met by a single, elderly Auroran warrior, who appears to be covered in tattoos from head to toe.

"So, the Polaris have discovered us here again," he rumbles quietly. "Your people are indeed resourceful."

As he talks, a steady and orderly stream of warriors exit surrounding buildings until you are facing exactly one hundred Auroran warriors.

"Still," the original warrior ruminates slowly, "it will be interesting to see if they have as much warning this time if we launch immediately and destroy their spy."

He looks at you and smiles almost wickedly.

"Don't worry," he intones arrogantly, "we won't cut you down here, it isn't really a fair fight. But you will leave this place immediately, and we will pursue you. With your fancy ship, that's fair enough for my standards. We will see just how capable you Polaris are."

With that, he nods to a couple of his warriors who walk you back into your ship and close the hatch behind you. As soon as you get back to the bridge you resolve to try to head back to Nil'a Ya in the Nil'ikro system, simply because it is the closest Polaris system. As soon as you begin warming up your engines you hear the radio buzzing with an alert call from the Aurorans informing all ships that you are to be destroyed.
Well, shit. This is a "DIVE DIVE DIVE" mission and would be hilariously difficult were we not in a shit-hot cloaking powerhouse. As it stands, running away wouldn't be difficult, running away without cloak wouldn't be much more difficult, but I'd rather stand and fight.

Using the ridiculously gamey, yet slow tactic of hit-and-run cloaking attacks, I manage to whittle the 12+ cruisers down to about 9 before two Scarabs run in with a full fighter complement and start wrecking EVERYTHING. A handful of Polaris torpedoes and a whole lot of explosions later, the system is clear of all hostiles.

We helped out where we could, of course.

Revenge exacted on quite a few Aurorans, we head for the closest Polaris system as for some reason the Aurorans won't allow me to dock.

Nil'a Ya posted:

The Nil'kemorya, as the warrior caste is named, have built a station here as a bulwark against any incursions from the Auroran Empire. The Nil'kemorya have gained a great deal of respect for the warrior ethic of the Aurorans, and more than once they have been surprised by the level of skill achieved by a civilization as low in technology as the Aurorans.
No bar here, but we've got more pressing matters at hand.

Safety! posted:

As soon as you land your ship is surrounded by groups of Nil'kemorya warriors who are all awestruck at the damage to the various parts of your ship.

"You really are Ory'hara," says one old warrior, as he looks over your ship. "Who else could survive that with his level of training. Perhaps Master Arando should hear of this."

He turns to you and looks you up and down.

"Not only do you have a good heart," he comments quietly, "but you have good skill, and more than a touch of luck about you. It appears that you are capable of putting the rudimentary weave-skills you have to good use.

"Now, while your mission was technically a failure," he smiles gently, "a donation of 100,000 credits has been transferred into your account for your efforts on behalf of the Polaris. Very few people have the heart to do what you did, and even fewer have survived to return to us, so you will find that we will do what we can to look after you.

"Hopefully," he grimaces, "the money should cover the expenses to nurse your poor ship back to health. How she survived that beating, I have no idea.

"One final note," he finishes seriously, "apparently Mu'Randa wants you to continue keeping an eye on the mission BBS's around the place, in case she needs to contact you."
We fly to P'a He to see if any progress has been made on some new toys. There's no news, but Mu'Randa has something new for us:

ATTN:Ory'Hara posted:

Message to: Ory'hara
Message from: Mu'Randa

I have set a few things in motion and I am now ready to act upon Eamon's suggestion. Interested in helping out?


Message to: Ory'hara
Message from: Mu'Randa

I have been in contact with Mu'Evlin and he has managed to uncover some disturbing information about the Bureau that backs up Eamon's suggestion to place an agent on New England in the Wolf 359 system. Mu'Feren will be waiting for you to pick her up on Tre'a Do in the Tre'olepia system. If anything comes up between now and then she will be provided with the details so that she can pass it on to you when you see her.

Good luck!
Run from one edge of the galaxy back towards the core, got it.

Bring Mu'Feren to New England posted:

Upon landing you are greeted by a stunning woman with ash-blonde hair and big blue eyes.

"Hi, I'm Mu'Feren," she introduces herself delicately, "and if I'm not mistaken, you are Ory'hara?"

You nod, wondering if she too is somehow testing you as well. As you think this you almost reflexively open your mind and begin observing the way she moves the weaves around herself. Almost at once you sense that she can detect you observing her in this deeper fashion and you surmise that she is a telepath.

"Oh no," she shakes her head at your unspoken question, "I have heard of a great many of your deeds, and have heard even more about the way you are developing. I guess that you could call me a believer of sorts. I think that you will become the Ory'hara the legends speak of.

"In the meantime," she continues quietly with a slight smile, "I believe we need to get to New England in the Wolf 359 system?"
Off we go! We're met by a formidable force on the way in, no less than 6 RAGE gunboats and a handful of patrol boats. Against those odds our ship would not last long, as the gunboats are designed specifically to kill Strikers. I land under cloak after killing some isolated ones off.

New England posted:

A paradise world, this is where all retirees from the Federation's military and intelligence communities reside. While New Babylon in the Nesre Primus system is the planet that every civilian aspires to live on, New England is where all those who strive to protect the Federation from all enemies, inside and out, hope to end their days. Its closeness to Sol enables these former service-men and women, who have made their home here, to keep up to date with all the news and events affecting the Federation they love and its surroundings. It also enables the Federation to call upon their many years of wisdom and experience in times of emergency.

New England's Bar posted:

As you walk into this bar, you are vaguely surprised to see that the average age of the patrons is around seventy. Despite this, they all seem to have retained their alertness and acuity because you notice that every single eye in the room gives you the once over as you sit down.

Welcome to New England posted:

It turns out that Mu'Feren spent the early years of her life training as a Nil'kemorya, and that therefore she is one of the most accomplished warriors within the Mu'hari. So early on in the voyage you ask her if she could continue the training started by Eamon Flannigan.

Day after day in hyperspace she pushes your body and your mind to new limits, revelling at how quickly you learn. Within days you learn to fall into observing the 'weaves of life', as she calls it, without any effort at all. A few days more, and you realize that you find the more 'normal' forms of observation (sight, sound, etc) more taxing to use than this level of spiritual awareness, which has become very relaxing. By the end of your voyage, you have even crudely affected the weaves around you to create, in effect, your own weaves.

Not once in the time you spent with her did you even come close to even matching Mu'Feren's skill, but in the few weeks you have spent under her tuition you know that you made enormous leaps forward.


"You truly must be Ory'hara," she informs you in her quiet delicate manner as she helps you with your post-flight routine, "nobody else could learn what you have this fast. Young Nil'kemorya take years to learn what you have, and Mu'hari with no prior warrior training take even longer."

After a short pause, you turn to her and ask if she can tell you anything about why Mu'Randa began calling you 'Ory'hara'. She looks at you for a long moment before replying.

"Ory'hara is a legend passed down to us by the Vell-os," she says sadly. "After they saved us from the Colonial Council, they said that the time of disunity we had begun would finally be ended by one who would become known as 'Ory'hara'. Over the past six centuries we have been waiting for you, so that we can finally be rejoined with the rest of humanity.

"To learn any more than that," she continues after a sad sigh, "you will have to talk to one of the remaining Vell-os. Only they know more."

You watch on, bemused as she casually walks away.
It took us 7 taxi missions to get an explanation! This is the Ory'hara legend, one that will be very common throughout several storylines - essentially some sort of saviour myth. It's not exactly a ground-breaking concept here, but it's well-tested and works well in a game. I wonder how much the storyline was influenced by The Matrix? Certainly the whole idea of weaves reflects some of Neo's powers, and the game did start development during/shortly after the movie was released...