The Let's Play Archive

Escape Velocity: Nova

by Decoy Badger

Part 14: Polaris - Part 14 - December 27th, 1180NC: Cutscene Superman

December 27th, 1180NC: Cutscene Superman

Oh yes. The Scarab is pretty damn powerful. The Polaron torpedoes will shred any ship at a distance, and the capacitor pulse lasers keep the screen clear - it takes only 3-4 seconds of firing to take down enemy capital ships. It suffers from low capacity, however - only 20 torpedoes can be bought, and firing the main gun drains energy at a ridiculous rate despite the antimatter reactor. I buy the upgraded cloaking organ, tunneling organ and multi-jump organ, and will need to raise money to buy more Mantas and more goodies.

Capacitor Pulse Laser posted:

Perhaps the only weapon to require a ship to be built around it, the Capacitor Pulse Laser stores the energy created in Polaris fusion reactors to be discharged in a single beam lasting only a few short seconds. For that short time, armor and shields may as well be wisps of smoke for all the good they will do against the fury of the most violent energy discharge mankind has yet created. Arachnids and Scarabs are both built around CPL systems.

Matter/Anti-Matter Reactor posted:

Humanity has been trying to figure out ways of controlling a matter/anti-matter reaction so as to gain access to an enormous, virtually undepletable energy source for nearly two millennia. When P'Ardandt discovered that particular high energy frequency EM fields could be used to 'resonate' with varying sized particles of matter and anti-matter, the matter/anti-matter reactor became a reality, ensuring near-limitless power to any machine connected to it.

Polaron Torpedo posted:

Having no mass, the Polaron Torpedo is a masterpiece of non-corporeal engineering. The charge and spin of the huge polaron virtual structure is set by the launcher at firing time. The chaos mathematics of the field interaction is calculated by the neural net of the Polaris vessel, which makes sure that the field will collapse in such a way that it will steer toward the target from the tube. A tiny field generator hovering in the middle of the torpedo modifies the field strengths to correct for mid-flight target variations, and provides the only part of the weapon system that has any mass whatsoever.

Polaron Torpedo Tube posted:

This launcher ties into a ship's main computer core (or neural network, in the case of Polaris ships). It tracks a target ship, and then calculates the complex field generation parameters for the Polaron Flux Coils in the tube. By varying the quantity, spin and charge of the newly generated polarons, the tube can give the polaron 'virtual structure' a good bead on a target before the preprogrammed field generator in the heart of the energy burst takes over.
Piracy can wait, however. There's a battle to get to! A quick jump and cloaked scout later and we're tearing up the main fleet. The Manta escorts we carry perform admirably, taking out two cruisers on their own and distracting many of them. Torpedoes and laser fire take out the rest. I work my way to the edge of the system to ensure that not a single Auroran escapes.

We return to P'ar Aed. Why? Wouldn't meeting back up with Arando be more suited for the Nil'kemorya homeworld?

Defend Polaris Space posted:

This time during the battle you became more involved in the ebb and flow of the battle than you ever have before, but somehow you retained control. Whereas before you seemed to lose all sense of self and started to become one with the fabric of the universe, this time it almost seemed like the fabric of the universe became one with you.

In fact, just once, towards the end of the battle, you were able to see the link between the weaves of life and the universe itself. Only your cautious nature stopped you from using that link, as the power available to you at that moment was truly terrible. You almost frighten yourself with the thought that the universe could have been one with your will, but somehow the idea feels right and natural.

You shake yourself out of your reverie as you guide your ship into the docking bay. You smile a small empty smile when you sense the familiar presence of Master Arando awaiting you.


You see the solemn figure of Master Arando awaiting you as you exit your ship.

"For a moment, as I was observing the universe it almost felt like I was observing you," he informs you quietly, after you shake hands in the warrior fashion. "The legend of Ory'hara says that you will become the spirit behind the creation of the universe. After what I felt, I can no longer doubt you. You will become Ory'hara."

He shakes his head before quietly smiling, his face somehow full of sorrow. Looking at him, you suddenly notice that his weaves no longer seem so opaque. After a moment of wonder, you realize that you could defeat Master Arando if you chose.

"I wish you well," he continues gravely, "and I honor you not only for what you have done, but for what you will do. I am no longer your master, as you have outstripped my ability to teach you. I will continue to watch your life as it progresses. I have no doubt that your deeds will resound throughout the galaxy."
Happy New Year! Our Scarab takes three days to complete a jump, so we spent yet another new year in hyperspace. We are once again left aimless, so I start to collect funds to fully upgrade the ship.

After a few abortive attempts to steal credits from Auroran capital ships, I turn to more lucrative measures and go pirate around the Pirate space station.

With a few Marine Platoons on board, as our superpowers don't extend to defeating ship crews, we quickly capture a full complement of Pirate Enterprises and steal all sorts of credits and cargo to resell to the Rebels. Our ship and our combat rating is sufficiently terrifying that not a single ship dares challenge us to our spoils - Manticores run away at the sight of us, and even Pirate Carriers try to act nonchalant around us.

Interestingly, pirates seem to universally carry medical supplies, while Marauders carry luxury goods. We deprive some poor kitten space-orphanage of several thousand tons of medicine. Whoops. The cash flowing in lets us buy up our fill of Manta escorts, which makes further raiding even easier.

Manta Bay posted:

Mantas require food and water, as well as sunlight. This bay provides for up to six of them with all of that, plus the required power taps for recharging all their BioRelay lasers.
I even start raiding into Scheall proper, using cloak to make hit-and-plunder attacks on ships too close to the system centre to run away.

The cargo fleet can bring in about a million credits a run, in addition to the credits plundered. Pretty quickly we have all the money we need, and after quickly dropping off some stranded crew-members I complete the upgrades. A turreted bio-relay laser to deal with fighters and a fast-repairing organic shield renders us untouchable, while solar panels and fusion reactors help power the main guns that much longer.

Turreted BioRelay Laser posted:

The TBRL is a special variant of the Polaris BioRelay Laser. It is mounted on the Polaris Dragon as a primary weapon. This weapon is used rather than the more powerful pulse laser, so as to limit the potential damage were a Dragon to fall into unfriendly hands; a good scientist can unravel much from a working sample of an enemy weapon.

Organic Shield posted:

"We strive always to ensure that we achieve the balance of a true warrior," explains a gray-cloaked Nil'kemorya warrior. "And our ships, when we fly into battle with them, must become extensions of ourselves, and must therefore be balanced also. If we wield great weapons of destruction, they must also have excellent protection, as they will become a target by the enemy. The organic shield increases the restorative power of our shields, allowing us to maintain our balance.
Though dropping off the stranded captain was inconsequential, the planet they chose is so ridiculously themed that I have to show it off.

Notas posted:

Inhabited by the descendants of the first Polynesian spacefarers, Notas is a young world that is still somewhat volcanic. The rich soil and long growing season provide the people of Notas with a bounty of food and other produce throughout the year. As quakes are still common on this planet, tremor-proof buildings have appeared, in most places echoing the designs of Peruvian Indians with their seemingly random interlocking blocks. Many young men and women here become members of the Federation Defense Forces, and are renowned for being fierce warriors.

Notas' Bar posted:

This bar is filled with beautiful willowy Polynesian-looking women and their scowlingly protective large and heavily muscled men.
While testing out our new outfits, I pass by the gas giant stripped to make the Polaris' homeworld. It's not a common sight.

We meet Mu'Randa on some unpronouncable Polaris planet.

Tre'ar Teschesch posted:

Tre'ar Teschesch is a small planet without an atmosphere to speak of. If it were not for its huge deposits of minerals and ores, it would remain completely undisturbed. The Tre'pira work on this planet to mine and refine these resources. The low gravity of this planet enables the Tre'pira to sling the refined ore into orbit with relative ease, where it is picked up by Polaris freighters to be taken to various parts of Polaris space.

Tre'ar Teschesch's Bar posted:

This bar is cleverly hidden in the foliage of one of the enormous trees covering large portions of the surface of this planet. You cannot help admiring the ingenuity of the Tre'pira in building this absolutely ecologically friendly establishment.
Space trees!

I bet one of the dev's wifes is named Miranda posted:

Before you even enter the bar you can sense the tightly controlled weaves of a slightly worried Mu'Randa. You observe her without disturbing the ebbs and flows around her, and when you sit down at her table, she looks up with surprise.

"How did you get so close without disturbing the weaves?" she asks, slightly startled. You smile quietly and jump between her weaves and twist them around her.

"You really are Ory'hara..." she whispers in awe. "I had heard that Master Arando had said that you had moved beyond his capability to teach, but I could hardly believe such a thing in so little time. He is possibly the greatest warrior in our history, and for him to admit that you could master him if you chose is almost unbelievable, but now I see that he was only speaking the truth."

She shakes herself for a moment, recovering.

"The actual reason I'm here is to ask for your help again," she tells you sheepishly. "We need someone to help scout out Auroran space. Interested?"


"I knew I could count on you," she gushes, happy again. She waves over a black-garbed Mu'hari and a gray-cloaked warrior whom you instantly recognize. "Allow me to introduce Mu'Sentan, and I believe you and Drengar were both students under Arando."

You nod respectfully to Mu'Sentan and greet Drengar with a warm smile and a strong warrior's handshake.

"As you all know," Mu'Randa continues quietly, "the Aurorans have been very active of late, and we are getting a little suspicious of what is going on. I went and had a chat with my old friend Eamon Flannigan, and he told me that similar incidents have been happening along the Federation border as well. He also suggested that we make contact with the Dechtakars, whom he also called the Rimertans, and the Heraan House.

"Now, we have no idea where to go to make contact with either of these groups," she explains carefully, "so it is up to you to find them and then open talks with them. I suggest that you start by heading South, perhaps to Cunjo in the Sender system, and ask for further directions from there."
Right, let's go hunt some Cunjo. A few cruisers challenge us on the way in, and do not last long.

Cunjo posted:

Named for the predators from Cunja Loff in the Tocc system, this station was built to keep an eye on the mysterious Polaris. Many young warriors set off from here to earn battle honors, and also to seek the coveted purple battle tattoo; it can only be earned in battle against the Polaris, as there is no more formidable opponent. Even surviving such an encounter shows skill, if not necessarily courage.

This system falls under the control of the Auroran central government, as opposed to one of the Five Houses. Throughout all of 'Auroran Space', there are remarkably few systems that are governed by the central seat. The Five Houses do not allow it, for the seat is always held by one of them. They all know that if the First House became too strong, then they would be incapable of wresting power from it at some later stage.

Cunjo's Bar posted:

Every warrior you see is covered in the purple battle tattoos given to survivors of engagements with the mysterious Polaris. Unlike warriors elsewhere, these men and women do not seem to be overly arrogant or confident. Perhaps it is because they have met and survived against an enemy far stronger than themselves.
Cutscene god-mode: ON

Scout Auroran Space posted:

You spend the days in hyperspace training with both Drengar and Mu'Sentan, who both seem eager to learn from you. You begin to realize that you are becoming something of a role-model to most Polarans, and that quite a number of them have begun to emulate you.

As you pilot your beloved Weave Got Company into dock, you cannot help but shake your head at the idea that you should be the object of such reverence.

Your reverie is interrupted when you sense the weaves of ten very hostile men waiting for you outside your ship. Both you and Drengar exchange glances and immediately head for the hatch.

You both step out to see ten fiercely tattooed Auroran warriors who immediately spring to attack. You are almost surprised at how little effort you have to spend in stepping between their weaves and upsetting their attack plan. In a few short graceful seconds you remain standing in a pool of blood with eight dead bodies lying around you.


Drengar bows in awe of your abilities and the watching Aurorans all look momentarily stunned at the speed with which you dealt with your challengers. Eventually one of the onlookers steps forward and addresses you in Auroran, which you do not understand.

"Don't worry," Mu'Sentan mutters as he brushes past you, "this is where I begin to make myself useful."

He begins talking with the Auroran warrior who spoke to you, and as he does so you find yourself falling into an almost hypnotic trance as you observe the weaves around them and listen to their conversation. Almost immediately you begin to pick up on the general meanings of the words being spoken. You shake yourself out of it when Mu'Sentan turns back to you.

"They have offered to show me the exact location of the planet Rimerta on a map they have in the library," he tells you quietly. "Meet me in the bar in an hour and I should be able to tell you where our next stop is."


You twist a weave around Drengar to get his attention when you sense the approach of Mu'Sentan and a couple of Auroran warriors. They enter the bar and make their way over to you. Both the warriors have eagerness written into the weaves around them.

"They have graciously given us the location of the planet Rimerta to help guide us on our way," announces Mu'Sentan after he sits down. "They have also given us a map of the local area to help speed our way over the initial journey."

You nod wondering why Mu'Sentan needed a warrior escort to tell you this.

"They wanted to see the man who honored their battle brothers by using them to prove his worth as a warrior," Mu'Sentan explains after you raise a subtle weaving questioning their presence. "They have fought the Nil'kemorya before, and they acknowledge them as perhaps the strongest warriors in the universe, but they have never seen your like, Ory'hara."


"I wanted to meet the man who did my battle-brothers the honor of showing them his full strength," announces the larger of the two heavily-muscled warriors. "I am Drekhma, and I greet you in peace."

"I am Hakhic," begins the other warrior, "and I too wanted to show my respect."

They both nod their heads in a respectful motion before taking their leave and walking away.

"You seem to have made something of an impression," Drengar comments wryly. "It's a good thing we're trying to keep this low-key, otherwise we might have had to go around begging to get some attention."

You chuckle at his humor before downing the rest of your drink and getting up. Taking their cue from you, both of the Polaris also stand and the three of you make your way back to your beloved Weave Got Company to begin another long journey across the galaxy.

A hostile carrier gets swarmed fairly quickly on the way out. Since our combat rating changed to Deadly sometime during our piracy run, one of the newer Mantas now has afterburners built in and flies much faster than the others. I'd replace them all, but at half a million credits each they're not cheap. It's a short trip to Rimerta thanks to the Hypergates.

Rimerta posted:

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.
Cutscene superpowers remain enabled.

Meet with Rimertans posted:

Once again you spend your time in hyperspace teaching both Drengar and Mu'Sentan more about their warrior arts. You find that the more you work with them, the easier it is for you to merge the universe with your mind and make it work to your will. Both of your students are awestruck when your reveal to them that the 'lucky' weaves that seem to spring up of their own accord around you were really of your creation.

Once again you sense a hostile reception awaiting for you when you land, and both you and Drengar head to the hatch to once again prove yourselves to the Aurorans.

Outside you are met with ten young warriors who immediately launch themselves at you, revealing their mastery of combat by throwing extremely complex weaves at you in an almost incomprehensible pattern. Without thinking, you immediately merge with the universe, and after a few moments of graceful violence, nine of these men lay dead at your feet, with Drengar standing over the tenth, shaking his head in awe.


An elderly warrior steps forward, and you sense his keen intelligence through the tight control he maintains over the weaves around him. He bows deeply in acknowledgment of your skill.

"We had heard that one whose strength was immeasurable had entered the Empire," he begins solemnly. "Now we see that the stories of your skill were, if anything, understated rather than the reverse. I am Du'Nakh, eldest living Dechtakar, and I am honored to have met you.

"I understand that you are here representing the Polaris?" he asks, looking inquiringly at you. Both you and Drengar indicate Mu'Sentan with subtle weaves, and Du'Nakh turns his attention to the Mu'hari.

"We were told by a man named Eamon Flannigan that you might be the people to see regarding a few matters," shrugs Mu'Sentan quietly. "Perhaps we could sit down and talk?"

"Archindar's honor is impeccable," nods Du'Nakh. He waves Mu'Sentan over. "Come, we will talk."

"I guess we wait in the bar," comments Drengar wryly, and you laugh.


You sense that every warrior in this room is trying to observe you without making it obvious. You decide to merge with the universe and cause an enormous hurricane of weaves centered on you to appear as if by chance. You cannot help but smile at the astounded expressions all over the room.

After recovering his composure Drengar shakes his head, smiling, "Stop showing off, Ory'hara," he chuckles. You sense that every warrior in the room is rocked to their very core with your display of mastery over the universe.

Not long after you sense the approach of Mu'Sentan.

"Well, things are getting interesting," he tells you after he sits down. "I have learned that these 'Dechtakars' are a group of warriors that have no loyalty to any house, only to the Empire as a whole. From what I have been able to gather from the other warriors I have talked with, they are thought of very highly by the warriors of the five houses, which surprises me given that they don't have much respect for each other."
Heraan is pretty close as well. Surprisingly, we aren't attacked upon arrival despite the presence of many, many "duellists." I suppose Temmin Shard helped us out there.

Heraan posted:

Heraan is the most heavily populated world in Known Space, with some 220 billion inhabitants. This includes the largest concentration of warriors in Heraan space, because it is just one jump away from the border of Heraan space in four different directions. The warriors posted here are ready to hyper out at a moment's notice to help with any border conflicts as necessary, but they are also ready to defend their homeworld if the borders of Heraan space crumble. The leaders of the Heraan House make their homes here, and oversee not just the military action, but also the management of food resources for the enormous population of this world.

Heraan's Bar posted:

Surprisingly in this bar, the Heraan House warriors, as they drink their non-alcoholic drinks, seem to give way to members of the working and merchant classes as a matter of course.


Once again, after many long days of training in hyperspace, you sense a hostile reception as you maneuver your way into dock. As you and Drengar make your way out of the hatch you are slightly surprised to see a single man, bare to the waist, with a stylized bird tattooed on his face and hundreds of other small tattoos covering his body waiting for you. Your surprise evaporates when you sense the complexity of his weaves. The only time you have seen weaves like it were when you were in the presence of Master Arando.

"I cannot defeat this man," states Drengar quietly, and you nod, indicating that he should remain onboard the ship.

You step out of the hatch and merge with the universe, sensing the patterns of your opponent's weaves around you. In a surprise move he attacks with deadly skill. You are forced to draw upon all of your abilities to twist his weaves back on him again and again, slowly forcing him to lose ground until with a single movement of almost poetic power, you knock him unconscious.


After a moment of stunned silence someone calls for a bucket of water. A young warrior runs forward and splashes the unconscious warrior who immediately awakens. He slowly stands and turns to face you.

"I am Techerakh, Thurokiir of the Heraan House," he introduces himself, "and, until today I had not been beaten for over forty years. You are truly a warrior among warriors."

You nod, accepting his compliment before introducing yourself and your two companions, adding that Mu'Sentan has a number of questions that he wants to ask the elders of the Heraan House.

"Come this way," Techerakh tells Mu'Sentan quietly. "I will present you to the Council of Elders myself."

After the two of them disappear into the crowd, you sense Drengar walk over.

"You are more than a warrior among warriors, Ory'hara," he says reverently, "you are a master amongst masters. Not even Arando could have defeated that man so easily."

You shake your head and say that you are going to wait in the bar for the return of Mu'Sentan.
Fact: Aurorans are 5 times more likely to possess buckets at hand than any other people in the game.


As you sit sipping your drink and chatting with Drengar, you sense the imminent arrival of Mu'Sentan.

"I have a message for Mu'Randa," he tells you after he sits down. "Firstly, I will be staying here for a while to learn as much as I can from the Elders of the Heraan House. Secondly, it appears the Aurorans are launching battle-group level attacks in an attempt to distract Federation intelligence from a major attack to come soon, although the Heraan Elders are more than a little suspicious of the motives behind the Moash House setting this in motion. They believe that the Moash Elders have some ulterior motive for it all, but, as yet, they have been able to prove nothing."

He turns to Drengar, "Are you willing to stay also? I ask because Auroran politics is something of a violent business, and I may not have the skills I need to defend myself. Plus, of course, Techerakh noticed you earlier today and commented that you are a very talented student, and he would be honored to train with you."

Return to Mu'ar Haro posted:

Drengar nods impassively, but you can sense the excitement beneath his calm exterior.

"I would be honored to stay here with you," he replies softly.

They both turn to you, and, after an awkward moment, you realize that they are trying to say goodbye. You shake your head and smile at their reverence, remembering when you were just a struggling freighter captain working out of Port Kane.

You stand and wordlessly shake the hands of both Polarans before heading back to the docking bay to prepare your beloved Weave Got Company for another long journey, this time back to Mu'ar Haro in Polaris space. As you walk along you cannot help but feel the sense of awe emanating from the people you see. You are more than a little grateful when you finally make it back to your ship. Heading out into space you breath a sigh of relief, glad to be away from such worship.

You point your ship in the direction of Mu'ar Haro, and begin your long lonely journey back.
If everyone believes that we are this great, why can't we meet with the ruling council without going through Mu'Randa first?

Return to Mu'ar Haro posted:

You sense the bubbly spirit of Mu'Randa even before you land, and she greets you with her vivacious smile when you exit your ship.

"It is good to see you again, Ory'hara," she exclaims, smiling. "How did things go in Auroran space?"

As the two of you walk along you give her a rough outline of the events of the journey, skipping over the details of the various fights you had a part in before concluding with the message from Mu'Sentan. After you finish, she stops and looks at you thoughtfully.

"Modesty definitely becomes you, Ory'hara, but don't think I haven't heard reports of your deeds," she tells you after a long pause. "It seems that you have reached a level that only the Vell-os of old could have even dreamed of. Arando openly acknowledges you as a Master now, and he doesn't do that lightly. Both he and some of his fellow masters have all reported feeling the fabric of the universe change every time you do whatever it is you are able to do."


You cannot help but sense the beginnings of the now familiar feelings of awe emanating from Mu'Randa and you smile a lonely, empty smile. In that moment you realize that you have become a person apart, a figure of legend. Never before have you felt so alone.

You tell Mu'Randa that you need some time alone to clear your head, so that you can better appreciate everything that has happened to you in recent months.

"Of course," she agrees quietly. "You have become so much larger than life, that sometimes even I forget that you are just a man who has been give extraordinary abilities and been thrust into an extraordinary situation. Take all the time you need. If I have anything for you I will try to make contact with you wherever you are."

You thank her and take your leave, wishing that, if only for a short while, your life could go back to the way it was before you became Ory'hara.

Next time: We defeat a god.