The Let's Play Archive

Escape Velocity: Nova

by Decoy Badger

Part 13: Polaris - Part 13 - April 29th, 1180NC: Mary Sue-jitsu

April 29th, 1180NC: Mary Sue-jitsu

We depart New England and head back for Polaris space. After a fairly uneventful trip, I stop by a Nil'Kemorya outpost to be greeted with this:

Multi-jump Organ posted:

The Ver'ash and the P'aedt, working together on Ver'a Se, have grown an organ that combines the tunnelling capabilities of the Wraith with more traditional hyperspace manipulation techniques. It enables a ship to change direction in hyperspace, allowing for multiple jumps to be performed as if performing a single jump.

As yet, only a maximum of ten jumps are possible due to organ fatigue, but it is a major leap forward for Polaris hyperspatial technology.

Oh hell yes. This means much, much less time spent traipsing around empty systems and more time spent at your destination - and that you arrive with almost all your energy. It's the most convenient outfit in the entire game, and comes about 2 hours too late to avoid the 10-jump routes needed for almost every single Polaris mission. Atmos I snap it up regardless, selling off a Marine Platoon to free up the necessary space.

Setting back down on Tre'ar Zalom to enjoy a nice steak, we're bothered once more.

Damn it, Miranda posted:

As you slowly walk down the ramp, practicing your weaves as you go, you sense a familiar flow coming towards you. You look up to see the deep auburn hair and happy smile of Mu'Randa as she enters the bar.

"I see you've been working hard," she compliments you regarding your new abilities. "Every time I meet you, you seem to have noticeably improved!

"But that's not why I'm here," she shakes her head, losing her smile. "We have discovered that New England is the secret headquarters for the Bureau, and, with a little digging, we have managed to verify quite a number of the claims made by the Rebels regarding the actions of the Bureau. I will spare you the details, but it isn't pretty. Many of the things done by the Bureau can best be described as sickening.

"Anyway," Mu'Randa continues, shaking off her grim mood, "we need someone to head over to the Rebels and inform them that we are prepared to open diplomatic ties with them.

Ah well. What can we do?

Open Rebel Talks posted:

"I knew I could count on you," smiles Mu'Randa happily, "you are always prepared to help out.

"Getting back to the point," she grins, "tell the Rebels that we are prepared to allow them to send a single diplomat to stay on Kel'ar Iy along with whatever staff he or she needs. All the normal diplomatic rules apply; diplomatic immunity and the like.

"While you are there," she laughs quietly, "you can tell them to stop trying to hide their copies of our Dragon. We don't mind that they have started producing them, as they are probably the least combat capable of all our craft, and we have no problems with helping out our new friends by allowing them access to the original schematics. We are, however, very interested in finding out how they managed to get the plans in the first place.

"Another thing," Mu'Randa continues more seriously. "Avoid all Federation vessels as much as possible. Now that we know more about the Bureau, we know that they have access to the sensor logs of all Federation vessels."
Ah. So the plans were indeed stolen. Well, off we go! On the way out, we spot the saddest sight of all, a marauding Pegasus. I'm tempted to leave it alone out of pity, but it dies under my guns before I can move off. A Pirate Enterprise provides more entertaining prey.

We hypergate to Koria and land to minimal fanfare.

Open Rebel Talks posted:

Upon landing you are given a semi-official welcome by Dr. Pentecost and General Smart.

"Welcome back, Ory'hara," begins Dr. Pentecost formally. "We apologize for the lack of ceremony, but we were only made aware of your approach when our sensors picked you up entering this system."

You wave away his apology, telling him that it does not matter.

"Would you care to accompany us to a more private place to talk?" asks General Smart, taking over, and you nod and ask him to lead on. The three of you make your way to an empty office above that of the dockmaster.

"So how can we help you?" asks Dr. Pentecost after you all sit down.

You quickly explain that the Polaris have managed to verify many of the claims that they had made against the Bureau, after a great deal of searching inside Federation space.

"The Bureau certainly knows how to go about hiding its dirty laundry," General Smart nods in acknowledgment of the difficulty in investigating the Bureau. "But that still doesn't explain why you're here."

Open Rebel Talks posted:

With a slight grin you tell them that you have been authorized by the Polaris government to make an offer of open diplomatic ties with the Rebellion. After summarizing the terms of the offer, you add that the Polaris are more than prepared to allow the Rebels to continue producing the Dragon ships, and that they are willing to release the original plans to them to help in making them more combat capable. Both Rebel leaders have the good grace to look a little sheepish.

"Well, this is good news!" exclaims Dr. Pentecost with a genuine smile, after recovering from his momentary embarrassment. "We would definitely like to open diplomatic ties with the Polaris, and the terms don't seem to be unreasonable. However, we cannot make this decision without talking to our fellow leaders, and we will need a couple of hours to talk to all of them. If you could wait for us in the bar, we will have our answer for you in, say, two hours?"

You nod your head in agreement and take your leave of them.
In the grim darkness of the far future, there are only bars.

Open Rebel Talks posted:

As you sit quietly sipping your second drink, with your new powers of observation you sense the imminent arrival of Dr. Pentecost and General Smart. When they enter the room together, you can tell by the weaves around them that they are both very happy. You guess that the Rebels are excited that someone has not only independently corroborated their findings, but is prepared to help them in their struggle against the Bureau. As the two of them walk over you sense that everybody in the bar has turned their attention to you.

"We have spoken to the rest of the Rebel leaders," Dr. Pentecost begins formally, "and we have decided by unanimous vote to accept the Polaris offer to open diplomatic talks."

"The first ambassador will be Dr. Pentecost himself," General Smart takes over, "but once he has set up our embassy, he will be replaced as he is far too valuable to our cause to be away for too long."

"Well, I'm ready to leave as soon as we can. Shall we launch?" Dr. Pentecost asks you seriously.

Return with Rebel Ambassador posted:

Without batting an eyelid, you answer that the Polaris are prepared to begin whenever the Rebels are ready.

"Then can you pass a message on to them that we will need a few guides," he replies quietly, "to show us the way to and from the Polaris capital."

You smile and ask if it would be possible for the lead elements of the embassy be loaded aboard your ship, and that a Rebel ship follow you from here to Kel'ar Iy in the Kel'ariy system.

"Good idea," agrees General Smart, before turning to Dr. Pentecost. "How long until you can be ready to leave with what you need to start putting together the embassy?"

"A few hours," Dr. Pentecost replies, "no more."

You stand up and say that you will be waiting on board your ship to help with the loading of his equipment. With a nod to the two Rebel leaders and a quick look around the rest of the patrons you head out of the bar, aware from the weaves emanating from everyone in the room that they are all very happy with the outcome of the impromptu meeting.
Woo, an escort mission! The Rebel Dragon seems quite capable though, managing to take out a raiding Pirate Manticore without any assistance.

Unfortunately, it's high mass slows us down despite our multi-jump organ. We return to Kel'ar Iy from Rebel space within 2 days.

Return with Rebel Ambassador posted:

You are met by Bis Andreya, and the heads of the five castes as you escort Dr. Pentecost off your ship.

"We have been sickened upon discovering some of the actions undertaken in the name of the Bureau," announces Bis Andreya in an official tone after you make the initial introductions, "and we make a pledge to support you in your fight against this evil organization."

"I can only express the overwhelming gratitude of everybody in the Rebel cause," Dr. Pentecost answers with humility, "that the mighty and somewhat mysterious Polaris have, of their own accord, decided to aid us. We will strive to be worthy of your support."

After a few more official (yet short) speeches of welcome, Bis Andreya turns to you.

"It seems day by day that we are coming to depend on you more," she says shrewdly. "The longer you wear the name 'Ory'hara', the more it suits you.

"Regardless," she continues quietly, "we thank you for your services to the Polaris people."
With that done, I wander around a bit more. I spot one of the devs flying a Raven.
(This is mostly to show off just how massive Ravens are). He also calls the player a warrior-poet. Not much to say to that.

Landing on a random Polaris world, we are offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Head to Nil'ar Kemorya posted:

As you go through your post-flight routine, with your new powers of observation you expand your awareness out into the space around your ship and you immediately sense the familiar echoes that indicate that Mu'Randa is waiting for you outside. When you finally finish, you head out to talk with her.

"I see that you are still practicing," she smiles, but you sense a cautionary note beneath her facade and you bring into being a weave indicating your curiosity. "Those of us who have learned to at least guide our own weaves, after a period of learning, choose to control our weaves so as not to overly influence those around us."

You suddenly understand that she is not here to send you on another mission, but that she is concerned about your training, and your well-being.

"That's right," she answers gently, "but I'm not the only one. Many Polarans are worried that you cannot continue learning at the rate you are without at least a little guidance and help.

"Are you prepared to listen to some advice?"
Do I have a choice?

Listen to some advice posted:

"Nobody knows more about all aspects of martial arts, and the spirituality behind them, than the Nil'kemorya," Mu'Randa explains. "Your talents are so great that nobody else could hope to keep up with you. The head of the warrior's physical combat school has asked if he could have the honor of training you. His name is Arando, and if ever anyone could train you to your maximum potential, it would be him. The warriors have a tradition of physical challenges, and in seventy years, nobody has ever bested him in any form of physical combat.

"He lives in a mountain range on the warrior-caste homeworld," she continues, "where he trains his students, who are those who have been chosen to be the next generation of masters on the three warrior-caste training worlds. He will be waiting for your arrival.

"Your time with him will be hard," Mu'Randa breathes quietly, and you sense her thoughts are far away from the present, "but you will not learn more from anyone else."
Aha! It's a lonely little world that we're heading to.

Nil'ar Kemorya has the "Floating Leaf", a super-deadly Raven, parked in orbit, much like how the Wild Geese have Eamon Flannigan's ship gallivanting about. That's how you know the place is special.

Nil'ar Kemorya posted:

Nil'kemorya, the name given to the warrior caste, is a difficult word to translate into Basic. When used while referring to weather or season, it conveys a sense of autumn, of a slight chill in the air, of gloriously blazing trees, and of falling leaves. When talking of members of the warrior caste, Nil'kemorya symbolizes those beautifully colored autumn leaves that have left the tree but have yet to reach the ground. The Nil'kemorya are considered to have already lost their lives, as their lives are given to the protection of the Polaris people. They are waiting for this reality of death, much like the way the autumn leaves fall, riding the chill autumn breeze, so that the tree might survive the coming winter. Because of this, the Nil'kemorya have no fear of falling in battle, and sortie out again and again, knowing that by doing so, they are giving their loss of life increasing value. This is their homeworld.
We shall become the perfect cherry blossom, falling gracefully and all that. It's June 8th.

Head to Nil'ar Kemorya posted:

As soon as you land you are met by a gray-cloaked Nil'kemorya named Drengar, who takes you to the Arando's mountain retreat. You learn that he is one of Arando's students, and you are soon introduced to Arando himself.

"I have heard much about you, Ory'hara," rumbles the surprisingly small Arando, looking you over with his faded brown-gray eyes. "I am greatly honored that you have thought me worthy to teach you. I will work hard to live up to that honor."

Over the following months, you learn that this man is a master among masters. All of his students are all well on their way to becoming masters in their own right, and at the start you are hopelessly outclassed by all of them.

As the days turn into weeks, and the weeks into months, you can see the constant effects of the physical and mental training start to pay off. Soon you are picking up on the weaves of some of Arando's students before they themselves do, and in no time you are beginning to hold your own.

Is it Arando or The Arando? posted:

However, you soon realize that your abilities differ from everyone here. They fight by weaving increasingly complex patterns around each other until a mistake is made, and while you become highly proficient at this you soon learn that your talents go beyond theirs. Almost intuitively you start dancing into the unaffected spaces between their weaves, and before long only Arando himself, whose weaves are so complex that the space around him is nearly filled with his spirit, can best you.

"Your view of the universe is different from mine," he muses to you after training one day. "I create my weaves out around me, extending my awareness, and so bending the universe to my will. But your awareness seems to lend itself to blending with the universe, so that it becomes an extension of you, or you of it.

"I think perhaps you should leave here," he tells you thoughtfully. "I cannot guide you towards the questions you must ask so you must search for them yourself, and I need some time to discover their answers."
Kicked out for being just too good! 6 months have passed in training, and now it's December 8th. The Outfitter here has a new toy, a Wraith Cannon that can fire while cloaked. I replace our current cannon with this, because it's exactly as fun as it sounds. Wandering about to find ourself, once again we receive the call to adventure.

What now? posted:

As you almost absentmindedly go through your post-flight routine, you find yourself concentrating on observing the ebbs and flows of the universe when you sense a familiar presence approaching. You turn around to see a grinning P'Jeena coming towards you.

"Ory'hara! It is good to see you again," he says, happy in his bookish way. "I've been trying to find you for some time now."

You shake his hand and invite him to sit down, asking him what was so important he has been trying to chase you down.

"Well," he begins quietly, "we have been going over the sensor logs from your missions to the Rebels, and we have found something that we believe needs more attention. I was wondering if you could help us out again?"
Wait, doesn't P'Jeena know our real name, having met us before we were turned into Space Jesus?

Cryptosporidium posted:

"We noticed an odd-looking ship that appeared in the Koria system," P'Jeena explains in his quiet voice. "You may remember it as being identified as a 'Krypt Pod'.

"Anyway, we've been trying to identify it ever since we learned about it," he continues thoughtfully. "Unfortunately the only reference to Krypt we have found comes from some of our most ancient archives referring to a group of Vell-os that we dealt with when they rescued us from the Colonial Council nearly seven centuries ago.

"So we want you to go and see the Vell-os who is posted to the Kane University on Earth," P'Jeena concludes slowly, "I believe his name is Llyrell, and ask him if he can help us with our enquiries. Once you have done that, meet me on P'ar Aed and we will talk further."

You tell him that you would be glad to help him try to uncover the mystery, shake his hand and head back to your ship to begin preparing her for the long trip to Earth.
If you got into the Polaris storyline via escaping the Vell-os one, you recognize the name as familiar.

It's a long haul, but we'll make it in a single day thanks to the multi-jump organ.

There's a fleet there to meet us. I wonder why they insist on sending gunboats, when they barely survive 5 seconds of weapons fire.

Consult Vell-os posted:

After going through you post-flight routine you head off to find the campus of the Kane University. After a little over an hour of searching you find it. Another hour and you are standing in the Center for Vell-os Studies wondering what to do next.

As you look around, you sense the currents move around you in a strange way, somehow indicating a mind more in touch with the weaves of life than your own and you turn to see the traditional long hair and fair limbs of a Vell-os striding down the corridor towards you. He suddenly looks at you curiously.

"Welcome, Ory'hara," he greets you almost reverently, "we have been waiting for your arrival for many years."

You nod your head in recognition of your greeting, trying to mask the slightly confusing whirl of questions going through your mind.
If you ran from the Vell-os, this is what you get in addition to the rest of the text:

Hi Llyrell posted:

"It is good to see you again, Ory'hara," he greets you almost reverently. "When I first met you, I thought you might be the one, but now that I have seen you again I am certain..."

too many L's posted:

"It is good to learn that the Polaris still remember the legend we gave them all those centuries ago," he smiles knowingly at your confusion. "As you already know, Ory'hara is a Polaris adaptation of a Vell-os concept. To us the word translates roughly as 'the guardian spirit that lies beneath the currents of life', but of course it is very difficult to put words to our telepathic thoughts with any accuracy. To the Polaris you are going to become some mythical figure who will reunite humanity. We know that both are true, but we are unsure of exactly how."

You open your mouth to tell him of your purpose but he holds up a hand stopping you in your tracks.

"I know why you're here," he tells you quietly. "Meet me in the bar in two hours and we shall talk further."

Consult Vell-os posted:

You sense rather than see the long-haired Vell-os walk into the bar. He indicates that you should follow him and you quickly get up and rush out the front door after him. You sense someone starting a battleflow and you duck aside at the last instant and try to dance between the weaves suddenly being weaved around you. You and your opponent dance around each other in what appears to bystanders to be a dervish of destruction and you seem to be gaining the upper hand, sliding comfortably between his weaves. Suddenly your opponent slides in between his own weaves and you find yourself lying flat on the ground unable to breathe.

You look up to see the Vell-os looking down at you smiling.

"You have a great deal of skill," he compliments you. "I was forced to use my telepathic abilities to merge with the spirit of the universe for a moment. You have learned much. I think that you might be the one who will do what is necessary to help us into the veil. Come, we will talk more in my private rooms."
The only thing that can overpower us is the entire universe!


After a short walk he leads you into his private apartment and you both sit down.

"We are aware of the Krypt-mind that overwhelms much of the galactic north-west," he begins quietly. "Unfortunately, it is a mind of enormous intelligence and curiosity, but little moral compunction. Every Vell-os who has attempted to make contact with it has been attacked and overwhelmed by the nanite-pods that are its physical form. To this day we do not know why."

You tell Llyrell that the P'aedt were wondering if the Krypt had something to do with some Vell-os the Polaris dealt with centuries ago.

"They mean the 'Krypt-tokh'," he mutters, nodding thoughtfully. "It is possible. They were the focus of our entire race, in a way you could say that they were our leaders. They disappeared from our memory just before the end of the war. What happened to them, we do not know.

"Anyway, I hope that helps," he tells you quietly. "Perhaps it will lead you to further understanding. I wish you well, Ory'hara."
Right, back to P'Jeena! We get a very nice send-off:

And of course leave some parting gifts of our own.

It's a short trip back to P'ar Aed.

Return to P'ar Aed posted:

You find P'Jeena and a small group of his colleagues waiting for you when you step off your ship. You are introduced and you exchange greetings with them all.

"So what did Llyrell say?" asks P'Jeena, clearly excited in his bookish way. "Could he shed any light on the subject of the Krypt Pods?"

You reply that he may have. To allay their confusion you go into more detail regarding your conversation with the Vell-os, telling them of the Krypt-tokh and how they disappeared just before the end of the Vell-os War, and of how the Krypt attacks and overwhelms every Vell-os who attempts contact.

"This is very interesting," comments P'Jeena when you finish. "We will need some time to run an analysis of some of the most likely scenarios, but I doubt we have enough information to reach any kind of conclusion. Keep an eye out in the bar here - I don't doubt that we will be needing your services again, Ory'hara."
There's a queue to see us at this point.

The Arando posted:

You are surprised to sense Master Arando waiting for you as you bring your ship into dock. The weaves around him suggest a deliberate sense of urgency. You quickly go through your post-flight routine and head out to speak with him.

"It appears that a large fleet of Auroran ships is attempting to smash though our borders," he informs you quietly. "I think that it may be beneficial for your training if you participated in the defense of our nation.

"Are you willing to risk your life for our people?" he asks seriously, his weaves showing his desire for you to do so.
What, we weren't before this? Yes, of course!

Defend Polaris Space posted:

"Once again you have lived up to your name, Ory'hara," he comments shrewdly, "proving your worth to the Polaris people.

"Our long-range sensor readings show that this fleet will reach the Nil'ikro system soon," he informs you solemnly. "And while in many ways we admire the Auroran warrior ethic, we know that they respect strength above all else. If we do not drive them off decisively, it would only make them try harder.

"So make sure that none of their ships escape from the field of battle," he concludes plainly, "and when you're finished return here."
This is what happens: We jump there. Aurorans jump in, we cloak. Torpedoes start flying and half of the Aurorans die instantly. The other half run away. I don't even have any good screenshots of the battle, it was so fast. This is actually unintentionally gaming the AI - the Aurorans aren't attacking the Polaris, they're actually attacking you. When I cloak, they suddenly have no reason to be in the system as I cannot be detected, and run away. Whoops. We return to The Arando.

NEW TOYS posted:

You find yourself almost waking up as you fly in to dock. You became so involved in the ebb and flow of the battle that you lost all sense of self and started to become one with the fabric of the universe. The weaves being created by both sides had almost no meaning for you as you casually slipped between them all, somehow fading into the universe.

Master Arando looks deep into your eyes as you exit your ship.

"I see that you are learning some of the answers I could not give you," he nods thoughtfully. "This is what I had hoped."

He shakes his head before quietly smiling, his face full of his solemn pride in you.

"Now that you have showed that you are willing to risk death for the Polaris people," he informs you with quiet happiness, "the Nil'kemorya have accepted you as being Ory'hara, and are willing to allow you access to all their technology and ships, even the Scarab. Well done. I look forward to meeting you again when the next opportunity to continue your training arrives."
TOYS TOYS TOYS. We have access to some ridiculous technology now - Anti-Matter reactors, Diamond Armour, Self-repairing biological armour and shielding, and the mighty mighty Polaron Torpedoes. Combined, any ship can be turned into a nigh-invulnerable killdozer. Unfortunately, our ship can't fit any of these outfits. Arando interrupts our shopping spree before it can start, however.

Defend once more posted:

Only by a sudden whiff of stillness do you sense Master Arando before you spot him as you exit your ship. Once again you are amazed at his mastery of the space around him, as only your ability to slip between the weaves of life around you enabled you to detect his presence nearby.

"It appears that another large fleet of Auroran ships is attempting to prove themselves against us," he informs you quietly. "I think that it is another good opportunity to continue your training.

"Are you willing once again to risk your life for our people?" he asks seriously, his weaves exactly matching those of the universe around him so as to completely mask his feelings.
Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the Polaris' planet?

Defend Polaris Space posted:

"You are a true warrior, Ory'hara," he tells you with quiet admiration, "you have shown that your life is worth less than the safety of the Polaris people.

"We believe that this fleet will reach the Nil'kemorya system within the next several days," he informs you solemnly. "We can but admire the Auroran warriors in their efforts to prove themselves as worthy adversaries, but we cannot allow them to cross our borders. If we do not drive them off decisively, it would only make them try harder.

"So once again make sure that none of their ships escape from the field of battle," he concludes plainly, "and when you're finished return here."
This time, we won't let any ships escape. We'll need some serious firepower to do so.
This will probably be the last ship choice for this storyline, as I'll either be showing off the Raven in a post-game video, or grabbing it ASAP without consultation. Arachnid, Scarab or Other? If we vote to fly a non-Polaris ship, I will do so (decked out with the best tech available). Also, names.