Part 19: Polaris - Part 19 - ???: Alternate Polaris Storyline and Epilogue???: Alternate Polaris Storyline and Epilogue
First, some post-game content. We're immediately dumped off at the S7evyn system, which has no jumps leading out. There's a planet there named Our Spiel and the dev-ships are scattered all about.
Our Spiel posted:
After more than 40 months, some 1000-odd pages of notes and background information, 12 short stories, some 1000-odd images, about 75000 man-hours, more than 10,000 email messages that take up more than 24 Mb of hard drive space, more than 10 Gb of development files, over thirty meetings and more than one strained friendship (some of which have remained a little cool), here is Nova. We hope you enjoy it. Oh, and congratulations on completing one of the major storylines. That's one of the six, try again, and see what else you can find.
Good luck, and thanks for playing Nova...
Our Spiel's Bar posted:
Welcome to the New Sydney Hotel, the best little pub in town. You walk into a happy atmosphere where everyone seems to be enjoying themselves immensely. You notice a group of six people toasting each other over a few beers (and one coke) on one of the high tables near the window. You wonder what they are celebrating.
The system pays well for opals and metal, of which there are plenty in the asteroids circling around. You'll need them to afford the one ship they sell here...
Atinoda Kestrel Escort Frigate posted:
Only two examples of this dark and menacing ship are known to exist. This one was discovered floating near a wormhole at the farthest end of known space, and was subsequently salvaged and reconditioned by a collector of exotic starships before being put up for sale. The only other known Kestrel is privately owned. Leading scientists theorize that these mystery ships somehow entered our galaxy from a parallel dimension.
We don't have enough, so I go pirate the Devs. Stephen Chick carries 5-10 million credits a pop and is probably one of the toughest devs to kill. But we manage. The Kestrel doesn't compare well at all to Polaris capital ships, given its tiny weapons space. However, if you're coming from other storylines it is most likely more powerful than your ship. The Kestrel is the heaviest-armoured ship in the game, with relatively weak shields. However, it can still absord ridiculous amounts of punishment.
It can be hard to spot. The only way to get out of S7evyn is via wormhole. Scattered around the galaxy, these will transport you to another random wormhole without any energy use. There's no way to get back via wormholes or anything else.
And we're back in the galaxy proper. It's how we left it - we're still hated by the Aurorans, loved by the Polaris and Feds, and dominant over the Pirates. You can do anything you want now, but no more missions will present themselves. Typically I go and take over a few planets I dislike at this point.
And in a parallel universe...
The Polaris story branches early on with the introduction of the Wraith, rejoining back up when the spy insertion missions begin. We got the high-technology path - there is a 50% chance of getting this one.
Collect Wraith Sample posted:
As you sit sipping your drink you see the slim, somehow bookish figure and brown hair of P'Jeena enter the bar. You have to wave to attract his attention before he makes his way over to you.
"You are all freshened up?" he asks in his polite manner and you nod. "Good. Well then, to explain your mission, many P'aedt are searching specifically to find ways to cleanse biospheres of unwanted agents. Seeing as we have virtually destroyed the environment of P'ar Aed in our early days, many of us feel quite passionate about it.
"We have recently discovered that certain compounds," he continues explaining, "which are given off by dead and dying Wraith corpses can actually absorb vast amounts of noxious chemicals, but the amounts we have are relatively small.
"That's where you come in," he nods in your direction. "We need someone to go and pick up a sample so that we can continue our work while we look at ways and methods of synthesizing the material in question.
"Are you prepared to help us out?"
"Excellent!" he exclaims with a smile in his first break of decorum. He continues more seriously. "At the furthest limit of our exploration to the North-West into Wraith space we have located a gas giant which we believe that they use as some sort of 'home base', although we have no idea why. It is one of the busiest systems in the region, and so it is the most likely place to find a Wraith corpse.
"When you have picked up the sample we want," P'Jeena informs you seriously, "return here and we will ensure that you are financially recompensed for your troubles.
"Also," he tells you formally, "we have come to an arrangement with the Nil'kemorya so that you can purchase some of our ships which have a much longer range than your Federation technology vessel, which will be more than a little handy on this mission. I suggest that you get one.
"Finally," he warns quietly, "the Wraith have a history of attacking ships without warning or provocation, so keep your wits about you."
Nice place. We return and get the usual "you survived?" spiel. Next, we have to find another gas giant.
Explore Wraith Space 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.
"More than that," he goes on with quiet excitement, "we now have concrete proof of Nil'kemorya claims that the Wraith have been folding space around their ships, in effect 'cloaking' them from sight. We will have to take this data and examine it much more closely.
"Anyway," he sighs after his slightly excited outburst, "we want you to conduct a more thorough exploration of Wraith Space. Specifically we want you to see if there are any other systems in their space that have planets in them, especially gas giants.
"Are you interested in helping us?"
Found it! The Wraith turn very hostile towards us after this, and we have to run another mission right into the jaws of the beast.
Lo and behold, the Wraith respond. Mu'Randa lets us know as much.
Broadcast Message posted:
"Oh, thank you!" he gushes, suddenly all smiles. "Go to the Hot'A'Tanius system and fly around to let the modified holo-scanner emit its message for a while before returning here.
"When you return we will read over the data the holo-scanner will be recording," P'Jeena explains, "to see if any of the Wraith replied to our message. Hopefully, at least one will agree to meet with us and we will be able to actually talk with it! The possibilities are enormous! We could learn so much!"
You casually point out that you could also try to find out why the Wraith keep attacking the Polaris, and perhaps sort out the problem.
"I didn't even think of that," says P'Jeena, taken aback. "We will have to get the Mu'hari and the Nil'kemorya in on this, won't we?"
You shake your head at the scientist's naivete, and leave him muttering to himself as he tries to figure out all the possible ramifications of the hoped-for meeting.
Watch Wraith Talks posted:
As you step out of your beloved Toaster you spot a smiling and waving Mu'Randa standing about forty meters away. You make your way over, wondering if she will have news about the Wraith.
"I'm glad you dropped in," she begins with a smile, "I was hoping you would check in soon, as we wanted you to do something for us.
"A single Wraith recently dropped into the J'fhor system," she explains, "and passed on a message to the A'j Do listening post there. The general gist of the message was that our offer to talk was accepted, and contained a query concerning directions. We replied, giving directions to here, and then saying that he would then be escorted by a slightly familiar vessel to Kel'ar Iy.
"Seeing as you are the only person with whom the Wraith have had any non-violent contact in our history," Mu'Randa continues with a grin, "we would like to know if you would be willing to help us out by escorting the Wraith from here?"
The Wraith out-punctuate us all, that's why they're so powerful. The escort mission is simple, and we reach Kel'ar Iy without any hassles.
Escort Wraith posted:
"Thank you," she tells you gratefully, "we really appreciate it. The Wraith's name is 'A'Chek, and from what we can gather from his limited transmissions on his way here, he is by far the oldest Wraith alive, at 206 cycles. Now, if these cycles are based upon the orbit of the gas giant in the Hot'A'Tanius system, that would make him a little under 1100 years old. He should be arriving in this system in an hour or so, and then he will follow you to Kel'ar Iy. All five of the caste-leaders and the Polaris Ruling Council will meet him there.
"And, if possible," she adds with her usual grin, "I wouldn't mind a lift back to Kel'ar Iy myself."
You nod, waving it away, telling her that it would be no problem.
"One last thing," she warns seriously, "not that anything should happen in Polaris space along the way, but if this Wraith should die while in our custody, our relationship with the Wraith would go downhill rapidly, so try to keep him from harm if possible.
"How long until we are ready to leave?"
Does anyone else think the Wraith look like Cylons?
As soon as she is allowed, Mu'Randa hurries off your ship to meet the leaders of the Polaris people. When you notice that there only seem to be four non-brown garbed people present, with Mu'Randa being the fifth, you start to get suspicious about her position within the Mu'hari. When 'A'Chek is introduced to everybody present and Mu'Randa is introduced as the Mu'hari caste-leader your suspicions are confirmed.
In person the Wraith is an awesome being to look at. Standing taller than many ships, and speaking in its clipped Polaran from the imperfect translator gives it a mysterious and powerful aura.
The actual talks begin when 'A'Chek refers to the Polaris, and the translator translates it as 'the aggressive ones'.
"Why do you refer to us as aggressive?" asks a member of the Ruling Council. "We have no wish to make war upon you or your kind."
The Wraith replies that nearly 100 cycles ago, two young Wraith tried to feed off a Polaris ship, and were destroyed for no reason.
Yes, it was such a difficult thing to intuit. The Polaris and Wraith agree to a cease-fire, and resolve to ignore Wraith children attacking Polaris ships. We escort the Wraith back home.
You laugh quietly at this, realizing that the whole 'Wraith vs Polaris' story began over a misunderstanding. When both the Polaris and 'A'Chek demand an explanation for your laughter, you tell the Wraith that the Polaris would have viewed this attempt to drain energy from their ships as an attack, and would have acted accordingly. Then you explain that you were laughing at the irony of the whole situation.
"There have been incidents of young Wraith exhibiting this sort of behavior," confirms Iuso wryly. "We always thought that it was some type of Wraith attack, and responded with what we thought was appropriate force."
"I think that's enough for today," announces Bis Andreya after a long silence. "We will reconvene tomorrow. In the meantime we have a great deal to think about," she turns to you. "If you could wait around for a day or two, we will get you to escort 'A'Chek back when we have finished here. You have done us all a great service with your insight."
Many missions later, this bears fruit in the form of an enhanced cloaking organ that does not drain shields. It's basically the shittier path with regards to toys, but at least you get to ensure a lasting peace, right?
'A'Chek follows you down through the atmosphere and greets you when you leave your ship.
<you have shown good face to us and taught us many details about 'all-time and all-space'>
You take a few seconds to realize that he is thanking you for doing the right thing by them and for explaining to them a little about how the universe outside of their perceptions works. You reply that you did little but point out how differing peoples might view a single incident differently. You explain that everything else came from the intelligence and goodwill of others.
<you say too small of your act>
<we treat you like us for your act to us>
You bow deeply after realizing that he has just accused you of too much humility before informing you that his people will think highly of you because of what you have done for them. Without waiting for a response, 'A'Chek slowly heads for open space and back to his people.
And that is it for the Polaris! By decree, I will be setting the next pilot's gender to be female.
What will be her name?
What will be her nickname?
What will we name her shuttle?
How shall we make our way in the universe?