The Let's Play Archive

Escape Velocity: Nova

by Decoy Badger

Part 22: Vell-os - Part 03 - October 10th, 1177NC: Moashmallow

October 10th, 1177NC: Moashmallow

As ordered, we head to Earth to find Krane.

Learn the Rules... posted:

You can sense Llyrell waiting for you long before you dock with the Kane Band. As soon as you exit the ship you watch him weave his mind power into physical existence and feel him poke you on the shoulder. After taking a moment to think about it you clumsily mimic his actions and poke him back.

<good now you are a t4 you are a small step closer to feeling your way out of bondage but right now we have something important to discuss fllyraen has been ordered to tell you the rules so i am telling you to go and see him on wolf 359>

You move to the sidewalk bench where Lyrell is sitting and sit down next to him before responding that you have received no such orders. Suddenly you feel an enormous pressure on your mind that freezes you into your seat.

<you may be powerful one day but i have my orders and you will obey them because you have no choice>

<now GO>
Vell-os training is ridiculously straightforward, apparently. No wonder they lost the war.


As you walk away shaken, you realize that Llyrell was only responding according to his orders, and that if he had wanted to hurt you there would have been precious little you could have done about it. He just wants you to do what has to be done to preserve the status quo for the time being. You sense that he has hopes that you might somehow help him and his people to overcome the bonds of slavery, but that for the moment survival is the key.

Still, feeling the awesome power of the full force of his mind is an experience you would not be willing to endure again. You vow to one day free yourself from the bonds that hold you and the Vell-os in thrall to your Bureau masters.
And now we have a T4 strength level. All it means is a bit more shielding, a bit more armour, and a bit more energy. I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but Vell-os don't have to recharge any ships - you automatically regain all energy upon landing, even if in a conventional craft. We fly back to New England.


You find Fllyraen waiting for you alongside an officious-looking Bureau agent.

<come he wishes to talk more privately>

You follow Fllyraen and he leads you and the Bureau agent into a private room.

"Mary Sue," begins the agent formally, "these are the standing orders given to all telepaths under our control, and you will obey them all, without fail. Understand?"

You nod, and the agent nods at Fllyraen.

"The first rule," Fllyraen verbalizes impassively, "is that you must obey orders only from Bureau personnel, and those orders must be weighed according to the rank of the person giving the order, ie if you get two conflicting sets of orders, you will follow the orders of the person with the highest rank within the Bureau.

"The second rule," he continues quietly, "is that you must report any person or persons who harbor ill-intent towards the Bureau of Internal Investigation immediately to the nearest Bureau agent."


"The third rule," explains Fllyraen soberly, "is that you must resist all attempts to free you from your bondage with all your strength and to the best of your ability.

"And the last rule," he concludes gravely, "is that you must report all unenslaved telepaths to the nearest Bureau agent as soon as possible."

<that is why you were enslaved but you can thank llyrell that he said you could be captured otherwise they would have destroyed you without thought but you might be able to grow out of your bondage unlike us vell-os we need to attain a higher level than you to gain our freedom>

With a nod of your head you indicate that you have understood all the standing orders that you must follow, and to let Fllyraen know that you have accepted what he has told you.

"Good," states the Bureau agent brusquely. "Make sure you keep an eye out in both bars and mission BBS's around the place. Now return to your business."

As he walks out the door, you and Fllyraen stare at each other for a long moment before Fllyraen drops his eyes in sorrow and follows him out.
And not, through inaction, allow a Bureau agent to come to harm.


As you step off your ship you see a well-presented blonde waving you over towards her.

"Good to see you again," she says and you realize you are talking to Commander Krane in person. "Now that you have been made aware of the rules, I don't think that there is any need for me to hide my identity from you any longer."

She indicates that you should sit on the park-bench next to her and you comply. She pulls out a datapad and calls up a display of what appears to be a very detailed map of Auroran space.

"We have been working out the details of a long-range plan," she explains, "that involves the Aurorans. Our preparations are nearing completion and we want to confirm that our intel on the political situation amongst our neighbors is correct. Of course, the other reason I want you to go is because I am going to be sending you on a number of missions amongst the Aurorans, and this is an easy way for you to familiarize yourself.

"You're going to be taking a short jaunt into the Auroran Empire."
If you're male, "well-presented" is changed to "stunning."

Scout Moash Space posted:

"Okay," she nods, continuing in a business-like tone.

"Obviously," she tells you with a casual wave, "I can't reveal to you any details of the coming operation for reasons of operational security, so you'll be going into this a little blind. However, I'm sure that with your telepathic abilities you will manage to get by."

You nod and indicate that she should continue.

"I want you to head down to Moash in the Moash system," she informs you after referring to a report on her desk. "Land somewhere and have a quick look around, find out what you can about their current status politically, economically and militarily. When you've given the place the once over, head back here and report to me.

"Any questions?" she asks. "No? Good. I look forward to hearing your report soon."
This can only end well. Llyrell has something to say to us before we leave, though...

Learn about Vell-os posted:

As soon as you land you can sense Llyrell waiting for you and quickly go through your post-flight routine before disembarking from your ship and making your way over to meet him.

<it is time to show you how to travel follow me>

You cannot help but feel a little excitement as he leads you to the spacedock and out onto a vacant pad where he immediately forms a protective barrier around himself, and you recognize the familiar shape of the Vell-os Dart. As you continue to observe he shows you how to focus your mental energy into an elegant beam of pure physical power.

After allowing his newly created ship to dissolve around him he guides your mind into new ways of manipulating the universe around you. Within a few minutes you learn the basics behind twisting missile guidance systems against themselves, how to sense the physical size of ships around you as well as their intent towards you and how to reach out with your mind to learn more about the general nature about nearby systems.

Finally he teaches you how to twist the space around you to create a hole through which you can enter hyperspace and travel the spaceways.


<now you will not need a pile of metal any longer nor will you need any of those computer systems these humans need to see the space around them you can fly as free as your mind can visualize>

<go now to see fllyraen he will share with you our history and our dreams listen for you may be the one who lead us out of slavery you have it in you>

With that Llyrell turns and walks away, and you are left trying to take in the enormous number of things he has shown you. Your mind almost feels tipsy with the overload. You walk away, unsure whether you feel ready to give away your faithful vessel and begin living your life as a purely mental being...
And we're forced into a Vell-os dart, we don't even get the trade-in credits on our shuttle. The Vell-os instrument panel is pretty snazzy, even if the Dart isn't that great a fighter:

We tool around a bit in Sol, but I don't feel ready quite yet to give up our Worthless Piece of Shit, and buy another shuttle. This will prove to be a mistake - you indeed are forced to fly the Dart, as someone posted. So a different challenge is at hand - take out a Polaris Raven only using a Viper, maybe?

Flower of Spring posted:

The Vell-os name their weapons after the telepathic weaves used to turn their telepathic abilities into physical energy. Thus this weapon is called the Flower Of Spring because the weave works from the ground up and includes patterns much like that of a flower.
The Flower of Spring is a terrible weapon to mount on an inertialess fighter like the Dart. It has short range, high power consumption, and the lack of inertia makes it very difficult to keep the beam on target. It also has a tractor beam effect, which pulls your ship closer in towards anti-fighter systems as it lases the target. At least it has enough power to melt most ships, assuming you have enough energy at the beginning of the fight. Ah well, at least we're a T3 now, having been a T4 for all of one day.

Learn More about the Vell-os posted:

As you pilot your way down through New England's atmosphere you can sense Fllyraen waiting for you. When you land he looks into your eyes for a long moment, and you can feel him observing your mind.

<it is time you learned of our history>

With that he bombards you with images of the Vell-os race from its humble beginnings when all the telepaths left Earth nearly 3000 years ago, when something known as the 'Spanish Inquisition' threatened to destroy them all. They left under the Indian Prince Vell-os and they travelled the galaxy for many centuries before finally settling on the planet Vellos.

You see them develop their abilities and watch their civilization grow. You see their biotechnology evolve until the day when they begin growing nanite producing organs to help protect them against disease and the effects of aging. To this day, other than the mental powers, this is the single biggest difference between the Vell-os and their human cousins. You find yourself trying to remember how to duplicate some of their skills, but the array thrown at you in so short a time dazzles you, and only a couple stick in your mind.


You watch them greet the first human explorers, and you see the golden days of their involvement with the Colonial Council. You see the events leading to the Vell-os leaving the Council and then opposing them by standing with the Polaris. Finally you see the events of the Vell-os War and the madness of the Colonial Council in enslaving the entire Vell-os race.

The final few moments are filled with observations of the universe during the awful days of isolation following the collapse of the Colonial Council and the rise of the Auroran Empire and the Federation. Finally you see the creation of the Bureau and how its leaders quickly moved to take control of the Federation and are now looking to take control of the surrounding space as well.

As suddenly as the mental visions began, they stop, leaving you blinking back in the real world.

<now you know>

Tears spark your eyes as you watch a somber Fllyraen walk away, and you know he is remembering the sights and sounds of the ancient Vell-os civilization.
Let's get moving, we have a planet to spy on. Moash isn't very far, though to be fair the last time we visited we were in quite a hurry...

Moash posted:

This is the homeworld of the Moash House, but the Moash Ruling Council does not make its home here. Instead, because the Moash are also the First Family, their leaders reside in the Aurora system. The population here has declined since the induction of the Moash House as the First Family; it is now only the second-most populated world in Known Space, with some two hundred billion inhabitants. This planet was where the local government representative for the Colonial Council was located, in what was then titled the Moash region of known space. This planet, like all the homeworlds for the Five Families and Aurora itself, has been settled for nearly a millennium.

Moash's Bar posted:

This bar looks like it is many centuries old, and this is exactly what the bartender claims. He reckons that this bar is the oldest pub in known space and that it has been in operation for over 1200 years. Despite this you note that obviously they are yet to figure out how to brew a decent beer.

Scout Moash Space posted:

This planet is a little different from the average Auroran planet you hear about in the Federation. Yes it is polluted, and yes there are an enormous number of poor people being oppressed by the warrior class, but the gaudiness, intricacy and sheer amount of adornment of the arcologies on this world surprises you. You guess that the Moash House, who seem to be running this place, are fairly well off financially.

You also notice that there are an enormous number of the infamous Auroran warriors, wearing their colorfully savage tattoos, wandering about, many of them giving you menacing looks. In the few hours you spend wandering the arcology, you estimate that you have seen several thousand warriors doing little or nothing. This Moash House must have a fair sized military if it can afford to have so many warriors just sitting around.

After several hours of exploring the arcology you decide that it is time to start your journey back to New England to make your report to Krane.
All this distance and effort to just perform the equivalent of a Google search for "Moash." Back to New England we go.


Surprisingly you see the blonde hair of Commander Krane waiting for you as you exit your ship.

"Things went well?" she asks by way of greeting and you nod, saying that it would probably be best if you and her could talk in private.

"This had better be important," she mutters. "Follow me."

She takes you to the familiar empty-looking office.

"So tell me what you saw," she casually commands. In response you quickly run over what you saw from beginning to end leaving nothing out. As you finish she looks both impressed and satisfied.

"Good work!" she praises you sincerely. "You are more observant than I gave you credit for. We will have to make a couple of minor adjustments to our intel picture, but we should be able to keep to our timetable.

"I have to pass on your intel to the proper people," she tells seriously, "but I don't want you wandering to far. Once I've gotten confirmation on a few things, I will need your services again. Keep an eye out in the bar."
If you're male, you get Krane saying this: '"I didn't know you telepaths felt that way," she laughs, fluttering her eyelashes.' How heteronormative.


You see the Federation soldier who is your normal contact to Krane motion you over to his table. He points towards the rear door, telling you to go straight through. Mystified, you comply, and after a long gray corridor you go through a second door and you are greeted by the disgustingly attractive Commander Krane.

"Glad you came by," she grins as you walk in. "We need someone to go down to Moash space and cause a bit of a ruckus. You won't be on your own, but seeing as you've been down to the area you are the ideal scout for such a mission. So you'll be leading a force of men into the area."
"Disgustingly attractive" is the same as "stunning" if you're male.


"It's fairly simple really," she explains with a casual wave, "all you have to do is head down to the station 'Courageous' in the Moash Rep system and take a task-force with you. While you're there cause as much damage as possible. The ships going with you will be carrying a sizeable force of ground troops who will cause as much havoc as possible once you are onboard the station.

"When the land commander, General Sutton, is satisfied that he has completed his mission," she continues cheerfully, "return here and we'll take things from there. If things go as planned, I might need you to head back down there again almost immediately."

As she walks away you can sense that the complexity of her overall plan belies the simplicity of what she has told you. Without a doubt there is more going on here than initially meets the eye.
We get a pretty bad-ass escort:

And they respond to our commands. A good thing too, because they'd get torn apart without us to focus fire. We hit Moash Rep and immediately wade into a sea of red. Well, the Carriers do and I run as far from the fighters as possible in our beloved Worthless Piece of Shit II.

Fighters suddenly explode out from their launching bays, and bent on trying to kill me, the Aurorans slowly fall to their harassment. We got lucky here - often the defending garrison can wipe out the carriers, leaving you to attempt a landing on a station defended by 5+ carriers and cruisers in a dinky little ship.

Courageous posted:

This station was built to protect the pastoral jewel of a planet below. The fleets here know that if Stlap were to fall to any of their rivals, the main source of income for the Moash House would be gone. They also know that the Vella battle-fleets are aware of this, and that more than once they have probed this system to see how strong its defenses are. Consequently, only the most desperate and deadly defenders are posted here.

Courageous Bar posted:

While most Houses do not allow the consumption of alcohol on active bases, the House of Moash seems to have little problem with it. The warriors stationed here obviously agree wholeheartedly with this policy.

Wreck their shit posted:

Without leaving your ship you can sense the enormous amount of damage being done by the Federation soldiers all over the station. You estimate that in a few hours this station will be virtually depopulated and practically uninhabitable.

Despite the large number of men committed to this mission, you sense from General Sutton that this mission is more for show than anything else, and you guess that this must be a diversion for a much larger main push elsewhere. Not that this mission is proceeding perfectly; you can sense the spirited resistance of the Moash warriors and by the sound of the reports coming through your comm unit these disorganized pockets of men are acquitting themselves admirably.

Despite this, they are overwhelmed by sheer numbers and by the enormous amounts of firepower brought to bear upon them. A little over four hours after landing you see the short blonde hair and tall broad figure of General Sutton coming aboard.

"That's it for us," he informs you casually. "We're finished here."
And so we head back to Krane, Carriers in tow.


As soon as you land you head off to find Krane's office.

"Things went well?" asks Krane politely when you enter. You nod with a shrug. "Well, your little diversion worked. The Moash warriors were drawn to the site of your raid which allowed the amassed Federation fleet to launch an attack on the skeletal defenses which broke through their line almost immediately."

You nod at her confirmation of your suspicions.

"By all accounts," she explains with a smile, "most of the Moash fleet has either been defeated or captured, and we are in possession of their homeworld. More than that, we managed to grab the house elders before they managed to escape.

"Now that you're back," she informs you dismissively, "I'll be needing you for a diplomatic mission of sorts. Keep an eye out in the bar, I'll have everything ready for you soon."
Conquer 120,000,000,000 people? Yeah, no big deal. Then again, maybe none of the serfs really care about who's in charge.

As Krane says, soon there will be diplomatic intrigue! Next time!