The Let's Play Archive

Escape Velocity: Nova

by Decoy Badger

Part 20: Vell-os - Part 01 - June 23rd, 1177NC: Vellos shots

June 23rd, 1177NC: Vellos shots

OP updated with the Vell-os preamble! Hot hot meeting-minutes-taking action!

Our new pilot!

And our new ship! Even though the challenge I proposed is apparently impossible, I'm just going to keep buying new shuttles to finish the plotline because I can, and the name makes me giggle.

We start off from Port Kane. Landing, some old creep offers to give us some advice. We tell him to take a hike.

Barry posted:

"I guess that some things are best learned first hand," he grins knowingly before reaching out and shaking your hand again. "Well, regardless m'dear, I wish you all the best in your travels. Somehow I get the feeling that you will do something that will shake the universe."

With a wink he heads off to find another ship.
Damn space-hobos. We need some money, so I check out the mission BBS. An easy delivery to Earth awaits us, and I snag it (this mission has a 8% chance of appearing, we got lucky).

We make it to Earth. Easiest 15,000 credits ever made.

Make Delivery to Earth posted:

As a group of dockworkers unloads the shipment of industrial goods from your cargo bay you are a little surprised to see the traditional long hair and utilitarian jumpsuit of a Vell-os coming towards you. The nameless Vell-os looks at you oddly for a moment before smiling softly and walking away.
A bit odd, but the credits are still good. A trip to the outfitters strips away our all but worthless light blaster in exchange for some solar panels and batteries, in addition to the requisite IFF detector and grav sensors.

Light Blaster posted:

The various versions of the Pyrogenesis Compound Blaster have been the standard defense armament for Federation ships for the past 300 years. Utilizing a magnetic containment bottle to collect photon packets before release, the Compound Blaster is capable of generating a kinetic impulse disproportionately large for a weapon of its meager power requirements. The version designed for small ships, the Light Compound Blaster is easily held by the smallest of fighters.
We celebrate our first successful delivery in the Lubritorium on the Kane Band. Some guy named Charengo offers to take us hunting Cunjo, but I wasn't too sure who was hunting who and decided better of it.

Refuse Cunjo Hunt posted:

"No thanks," you say "I'm not keen on having parts of my body ripped off."

Charengo laughs, says that he doesn't blame you, and politely tells you goodnight. He has to find a pilot, and without another word heads off to another table, and begins talking to another ship captain. Silently, you wish him luck - you have a feeling that he's going to need it.

With nothing to do and enough credits to last out a few weeks, we take a day trip to Mars.

Mars posted:

Mars was the first attempt by mankind to terraform a planet. Scientists sent by the Earth Government (the predecessor to the Colonial Council) tried to make Mars more habitable. They failed. In the past 850 years there have been countless attempts to rectify the damage caused by the toxin-producing algae introduced by those original scientists, but even now Mars is only mildly habitable, and breathmasks are still required in most areas as most of the planet is still covered by this organism.

Mars Bar posted:

The walls of this bar are covered by pictures of Mars in the various stages of ecological transformation, along with the explanations for why it was done and the effects it had.

Returning to Earth, we've got... another chance to earn another 15,000 easy credits?


As you wander around the spaceport after landing you are slightly surprised to see the same Vell-os who walked past you as you were unloading a delivery you made to Earth not so long ago.

"Greetings, Mary Sue," he begins in an almost lyrical accent. "We have been keeping an eye on you, and it has now reached the point where I have been given no choice but to approach you. Are you prepared to help us out?"

Something in his voice, and in the way the whole area seems to stand still, tells you that this is no simple request, and you get a deep feeling of foreboding about the choices in front of you, and you hesitate for several moments before making a decision...

Do you agree to help him?
(Refusing leads you straight to the Polaris storyline)


"Thank you," he responds sincerely after you give a nod of acquiescence. "You see, it has been nearly seven centuries since anyone has set foot on our homeworld, and I was wondering if you could find it for me? We Vell-os can remember its exact location, but not the route to or from it.

"It would mean a great deal to all of us if you could bring us news about its final fate," he tells you quietly. "I cannot join you as I have business here, but I will be waiting for your return with great anticipation."

With that he turns around and walks away leaving you wondering at the odd encounter.
Seriously? It's on the hypergate network! Thanks to the solar panels, we don't have to land to refuel. I naturally take the scenic route, not because I made a wrong turn but because I love seeing blasted planetary ruins.

Vell-os looms ahead. The landing is much more warmly received than the last time we came around.

Vellos posted:

You are filled with sorrow at the sight of this destroyed world. You remember hearing the stories of the glorious Vell-os homeworld and its amazing beauty. Looking around, you cannot help but feel remorse at the actions of your predecessors. You wander around for as long as your bio-suit will allow.

As you get back into your beloved Worthless Piece of Shit, you slowly dry your eyes as your airlock cycles, and you remember the odd 'Krypt Pods' you kept seeing on your way here. You resolve to ask your Vell-os friend about them when you return, if he is prepared to talk further after hearing the news of the devastation of his homeworld.
It's been destroyed for 700 years, I'm sure they've gotten the memo by now. The return trip is much shorter now that I know the direct route.

Visit Vell-os homeworld posted:

You are not terribly surprised to see your Vell-os friend waiting for you when you land.

"I can see the devastation in your mind," he tells you sadly, and you are reminded that all Vell-os are powerful telepaths. "We knew that the Colonial Council had destroyed it, but we had hoped that it might have recovered a little in the intervening years.

"I'm glad the Krypt-mind left you alone," he says with a mysterious smile. "It always attacks every Vell-os that approaches it. For some reason it leaves you humans alone.

"Anyway," he explains, after shaking himself out of his reverie, "it is imperative that you learn more about yourself. You must go and see my friend Fllyraen who lives on New England in the Wolf 359 system. He isn't always around, but if you keep stopping by occasionally you'll catch him eventually."

After he walks off, you are left with more questions than answers. What is this Krypt-mind? What is it you need to learn about yourself? What exactly is going on? You resolve to find this Fllyraen and ask him as soon as possible.
And we do so. New England is a single jump away.

Visit Fllyraen posted:

You are surprised to feel a tap on your shoulder as you exit your ship, and you turn to see the traditional long hair of a Vell-os standing some meters away off to your right beckoning you over.

"Sorry to have startled you," he apologizes hurriedly, "but I do not have much time. I am Fllyraen, and I have felt you in Llyrell's thought-forms. You are the first non-Polaris human who has the potential to be a very powerful telepath, perhaps even a T0.

"Let me explain," he says, obviously aware of your confusion. "Most humans are T6's, only peripherally aware of the power of the mind. T5's are capable of observing and influencing the thoughts of others, T4's have the ability to produce physical force using their minds alone, such as poking someone on the shoulder to get their attention."

He waggles his finger at you, and he is about to continue when out from around the side of your ship burst a group of four men and one woman, all clothed in black, carrying deadly looking blasters.


"Is this her?" asks the woman of Fllyraen, who nods sadly. "Grab her."

The four men jump on you, overpowering you in an instant, and you are led into the depths of a secure area of the spaceport while everybody around pointedly looks the other way. Within minutes you are anaesthetized and put under the knife. When you wake up you can feel a cold metallic lump attached to the back of your neck, and you know without moving that something has been attached to your central nervous system.

"Just so you know, you now work for us," comes the commanding voice of the female leader of the team who captured you. "The device attached to the back of your neck was devised during the Vell-os War to enslave telepaths, and one has been attached to every Vell-os since then.

"Now that you have been pacified," she continues dismissively, "I am ordering you back to Earth to be trained by Llyrell. Secondly, don't cut your hair ever again. Finally, you are not to buy any outfits or ships that are not Federation technology, and even then, only those that would not require a license. At this stage we don't want you to stand out in any way, so you will have to make do with that. You can buy the licenses if you want, but they will be worthless to you. While I have you here, we will be temporarily disabling your access key to the public Mission BBS, at least until you are more obviously a Vell-os."

You find yourself nodding helplessly and complying with her wishes without thought.
How do you pronounce Fllyraen? Regardless, we were ordered, and we obey, heading to Earth. All the outfitters now give us a bit of extra text:


You are met by a solemn Llyrell when you land.

"I am truly sorry, Mary Sue," he tells you in the face of your anger. "But I too am a slave, and one of the many rules we must abide by is to report all potential telepaths. But for you there is some hope. You aren't Vell-os; there is a small chance that one day you may earn your freedom. In the meantime we must endure our servitude together.

"Now," he says, "if you are to be enslaved, you may as well learn a little about your capabilities."

Suddenly you feel a warm pressure in the back of your mind.

"Can you feel that?" asks Llyrell, and you nod.


You look around, trying to find out who spoke. You turn to see Llyrell looking at you intently. You realize that he is speaking directly into your head.

<not quite i am manipulating your surface thoughts so that you think the words i want to say to you>


You feel a sudden pressure inside your head and your mind is forced open. In one awful instant you can sense Llyrell's mighty awareness, and the dark bands of the constraint on his mind before realizing that you can feel the very same bands on your own mind. In a sudden whirlwind of discovery you can feel the intelligences of the people throughout the spaceport and beyond, their emanations becoming less distinct the further away they are. You can even sense some of the physical attributes of the surrounding space, even as far away as a couple of systems away.

Looking back at Llyrell you can almost feel a network of gossamer thin filaments radiating out from him to thousands of other glowing, telepathically-aware intelligences spread throughout the galaxy. In a sudden whiff of insight you realize that the Vell-os have achieved a form of hive mind, where they can share each other's experiences and memories.

<good now you can see the universe of the mind use it wisely or you will spend all your life twisting the hate out of their minds>

You spend a moment casting your awareness around the universe before Llyrell intrudes into your thoughts again.

<the bureau wants you to keep checking in at the bar here as this is one of the places they hand out assignments like it or not for now you are their property>
<oh yes now it really starts>

We get ourselves a snazzy T5 strength level. The Vell-os are basically Space Scientologists with respect to power levels - the lower your number, the more powerful you are.


When you walk into the bar a young soldier stands up and indicates that you should follow him. You can sense that he works with the Bureau, and without thinking you obey his non-verbal command. You are shepherded into a room that has a single spotlight facing the door.

"I'm sure you can appreciate the reasons behind our security precautions," begins a lovely female voice. "It just wouldn't do for anyone to find out any more about the Bureau than they already have."

As you sit, listening to her chair creak as she shifts her weight, your mind strains to make sense of the jumble of sensations in front of you. In a sudden flash of recognition you realize that there is another, more experienced, telepath in the room confusing your senses.

"As far as you are concerned, I am Commander Krane," she continues. "I want you to do something for us."


"What I'm ordering you to do," Krane continues, "is to infiltrate the organization that calls themselves 'the Rebellion'. We'll spread the rumor that you are on the run from us after narrowly escaping capture at the hands of a counter-terrorism team. That should be enough to get you started.

"If, during your travels," she shifts again, "you see a ship called the 'Prodigal Son', it'll be because we want to contact you. Finish your current mission then come to the bar here and we'll go through the normal procedure. Perhaps it would be best if you continually checked the Earth bar, in case you miss the 'Prodigal Son', or if we can't put it in your path.

"Go now to Rebel II in the Koria system," she orders with quiet authority, "and tell the rebels you want to aid them somehow, as the Bureau is not what you thought it was. They will take it from there.

"Be careful, Mary Sue," she warns sincerely. "I only just recently gained your services, I don't want you dying on me just yet."

Notice all the unexplored systems? Being Vell-os gets us an automatically updating area map. It's pretty handy and at the least saves you money.

Infiltrate the Rebels posted:

You are met by a slightly suspicious Rebel dockmaster who inquires as to your motives in seeking him out. You explain that you feel obligated to do something for the Rebellion seeing as they are fighting the Bureau. You tell him that what you have learned of the Bureau does not fit with your ideals for the Federation, and you are a woman of action and cannot just sit by and let them continue on their merry way.

The dockmaster remains suspicious but decides against questioning you further.

"We always have a need for freighter captains," he explains, "and you can do that without actually gaining a lot of our secrets. If you were planning on doing something more dangerous, you are going to have to prove yourself first.

"Go and see the dockmaster on Merrol in the Aldebaran system while he is off-duty in the bar and give him this," he hands you a data crystal. "He should be able to find something for you."
If you paid attention to the earlier fluff text, this station is supposed to be top secret and entirely hidden from the Bureau. We set off for Merrol, which is under heavy Federation blockade. We head for the bar immediately upon landing.

Merrol posted:

Merrol is the only planet in Federation space to be in open rebellion. The Federation describes this planet as a breakaway being held by 'pirates,' and has instituted a blockade for 'the duration of the current emergency.' Meanwhile, Merrol is quite self-sufficient. It's also the central shipyards for the Rebellion, where purchased, stolen and captured ships are taken to be refitted for active duty. Many of the ships sustain their heaviest damage coming through the blockade above the planet.

Merrol's Bar posted:

The mostly young people in this bar proclaim themselves to be in Rebellion. They say that they are not rebelling against the Federation, but that they are rebelling against the Bureau of Internal Investigation and, sadly, against the tools it uses.


You ask the barmaid to point out the off-duty dockmaster, and she points out a stocky fellow enjoying a quiet drink.

He looks up as your shadow falls across his table. "What can I do for you?" he asks politely.

You explain your situation, saying that you were directed here to do something useful for the Rebellion that doesn't require you to have an enormous security clearance. He looks at you and runs his hand through his graying hair. You can sense his shrewd mind calculating the risks you pose to the security of his operation.

"Well, we could use some help getting foodstuffs onto the planet," he muses. He goes on to explain, "The Bureau is trying to starve us out of the Federation, and people's belts are starting to look a little tighter.

"Are you willing to become a freight courier?"

You realize you have no choice but to accept.


"All right then," he says squaring his shoulders, "if you could go to Las Vegas in the Vega system and pick up 10 tons of food and bring it back here, it would be much appreciated. Ask for Jay when you return, and I'll make sure it gets distributed to the right people.

"When you're on Las Vegas," Jay continues, "make sure you get your produce from a guy named Burton. He's willing to sell his food to people he hasn't seen before so he's your man."

You thank him sincerely but he merely eyes you askance, and after observing his mind for a moment you sense that he doesn't like having his off-duty hours interrupted.

"Next time," he warns picking up his drink, "don't bring everyday business to the bar. I like my time off."

You nod your head and start heading back to your beloved Worthless Piece of Shit leaving Jay to savor the rest of his drink in peace.
The first time I played this, I was surprised that my character wasn't immediately thrown into a detention cell and tortured for being such an obvious infiltrator. We even admitted to coming from the Bureau!