Part 24: Vell-os - Part 05 - March 6th, 1178NC: Lagotto RomagnoloMarch 6th, 1178NC: Lagotto Romagnolo
Off we go to the Polaris. Luckily I still remember the way. A few years ago I managed to piss them off before starting the storyline and didn't know how to get to Mu'hari - and Vell-os ships die extremely fast to the Polaris.
Find Mu'Hari posted:
As soon as you land you can feel the buzz of an intelligence network swirling around you. You can sense more than a few T4's and T5's trying to read your intent, but you easily blunt their attempts to observe you.
You quickly cast your mind around, and you can sense that a large number of the people working here consider themselves to be members of the Mu'hari, and this confirms your suspicions. Without even dissolving your protective shell you take off again leaving the Polaris wondering as to your motives in landing.
As you start your long journey back to Sol, you catch flashes of awe coming from the Polaris on the planet, and you realize that Krane was correct that these people still feel indebted to the Vell-os for what they did for them. You cannot help but laugh quietly at the thought that an advanced civilization like the Polaris can still mistake you for a Vell-os.
I don't show off the little news blips that often, but every race has one. Unfortunately, they're repetitive and don't reflect in-game events at all. We return to Earth.
There's a forced-wait time between this mission and the next, so we day-trip to Jupiter. A bit more jumping around finds us meeting Krane on an obscure mining station.
You are met by a calm looking Commander Krane when you land, but you can sense that despite her unruffled exterior she is quite worried about the threat posed by these 'Mu'hari'.
"Did you find it?" she asks slightly impatiently as you make her way over.
You nod and inform her of the co-ordinates of the Mu'hari system and the Mu'ar Haro planet.
"That's too far away," she mutters in an annoyed tone. "We're going to have to deal with them from this end. Damn!"
You are slightly take aback at her display of emotion and say nothing as she thinks for a few moments.
"Alright, there's no use beating ourselves up about things we can't deal with," she sighs quietly. "Keep an eye out in the bar, we're going to have to do this the hard way."
Pyrogenesis I posted:
This sky mining station, owned by the independent weapons manufacturer Pyrogenesis, mines some rare gases from the upper reaches of Nesre Secundus IV which will be used in the production of their exotic weaponry. The chemicals used in the creation of blaster 'bolts' are easily produced from the upper atmosphere of the gas giant, and Pyrogenesis requires a constant supply of these gases.
Pyrogenesis I's Bar posted:
This bar is part of the complete service offered by Pyrogenesis to trader captains. The operation is heavily subsidized by the parent company so that the service, food and drink are excellent, while maintaining low prices.
Easy enough to find. To Earth we return.
Confirm Mu'Hari posted:
You can sense the deceitful mind of Commander Krane waiting for you so as soon as you enter the bar you make your way over to her.
"Remember the problem we've got with the Mu'hari?" she asks quietly once you sit down. You nod as the familiar feeling of depression settles over you when you realize you are about to start destroying another group of people for the Bureau. "Well, we need to know a little more about them before we can formulate any real plan of action.
"Now, we've located a lady we believe to be a Mu'hari," Krane explains as she passes over a datafile containing several pictures of a slim, young-looking brunette. "She is currently living on Earth and I want you to go and confirm whether or not she is a Mu'hari spy and then make a report to Bureau Headquarters on New England in the Wolf 359 system.
"And don't dally," she warns quietly, "we need this information as fast as possible."
So are we working directly against Ory'Hara right now?
It takes you mere moments to locate the woman you are sent to find, because her mind shows obvious signs of having telepathic ability. After a few moments of careful weaving you gently touch her mind and sense that while she has the ability to become a T4, she has yet to learn how to manipulate matter and so is still a T5. She is a fairly skilled one, and a couple of times you are forced to cleverly weave around your probe to stop her from detecting it.
You realize now how Llyrell must have felt when he first saw you. You have no choice but to report that this brave young woman has telepathic ability, despite the fact that you know what she will soon go through. As you put up your protective barrier, you find yourself hoping against hope that the Bureau will decide to kill her rather than risk trying to enslave her.
But as you point yourself in the direction of New England in the Wolf 359 system, you know that the Bureau will never allow such a tempting fish to slip through their fingers.
As you pilot your way down through the atmosphere you can sense the mind of the soldier who is your normal contact to Krane waiting for you at the edge of the spacedocks.
"Well?" he asks calmly after you dissolve your protective barrier, but despite his easy manner you can sense that he is more than a little worried by what you might say.
You nod, and confirm the Bureau's suspicions that the woman in question is Mu'hari, adding that she is a skilled telepath.
"Did she know she was getting probed?" asks the soldier, his eyes widening slightly. You shake your head, but add that it was a near thing in the hope that he might decide that it is a little too risky to try to capture the Mu'hari.
"This will complicate things a little," he grimaces, recovering quickly. He stands there for a few moments, and you can sense him trying to make a decision, and your hopes rise. You can sense him weighing up his options carefully. After a few seconds, he straightens. "I was going to bring you along with us to capture her, but if she is capable of giving you a hard time if you're just trying to probe, I think that it would be a little too risky. For now I'm going to leave you to your own devices, but don't go to far and keep an eye out in the Mission BBS', as we will probably be requiring your services again before too long."
As he walks away you cannot help but feel a moment of triumph knowing that you have spared the life of one brave young lady for at least a little while.
See that? Five missions, each one a fetch quest to a random system. The one that actually advances the plot has a low chance of appearing and is indistinguishable from the others, meaning that you are forced to take on dozens of no-danger fetch quests to advanced the plot. I end up doing about 15 or so before selecting the right one.
Once you show up, you have two possible outcomes:
TO: Mary Sue
FROM: Commander Krane
INFO: The above person, located on Serenity in the Lotus system is suspected to be a Mu'hari spy.
ORDERS: Go to Serenity in the Lotus system to confirm whether or not the above person is a Mu'hari spy before going to Bureau HQ on New England in the Wolf 359 system to report.
It takes you a lot longer to locate your suspect than you had anticipated, and when you finally do find him, you realize why. He is merely a rebel informant, and has none of the obvious indicators of having grown up in a totally foreign culture to mark his mind as being drastically different to those around him.
Your momentary jubilation is quickly tempered by the knowledge that this man will soon be going through the most terrifying ordeal of his life when the Bureau start trying to extract every last drop of information out of him.
You head back to the spaceport with a heavy heart to start your journey to New England to make your report as the now-familiar feelings of depression settle over you.
Serenity is a center for the expatriate Japanese peoples of the Federation. While most emigrants from Japan went to the galactic south and into the Colonial Council territories that now form the Auroran Empire, many stayed in the bounds of the core worlds. Serenity's cities are formed around the precepts of building contemplation gardens and Shinto temples, although the effect is different when modern building technology is thrown in as well. The overall effect is quite pleasing, if a little overdone. Many financial institutions have their main offices here, and Serenity is a rich planet because of them.
The target can also turn out to be a Mu'Hari proper:
Space Japan's Bar posted:
You leave your shoes at the door when you enter this bar, and you have to sit on the small cushions on the floor. Despite this, the service is courteous and elegant, and the food and drink is exquisite.
And upon return to New England...
Confirm Mu'Hari posted:
It only takes you moments to locate the person you are searching for because the Mu'hari's mind has been brought up in a social environment vastly different to what is experienced within the Federation, and to a telepath it stands out like a beacon.
With a heavy heart you weave into existence your protective barrier and head out into space to start your journey to New England to make your report.
In the midst of all this running about, I take the opportunity to pick up some extra money at the target planets. Passenger missions pay triple for Vell-os ships, which would be nice if there were things to spend money on.
You are greeted by the soldier who is your normal contact, and you quickly confirm to him the Bureau's suspicions. You add that it is easy to spot the Mu'hari because their minds are so different to anybody from the Federation in the hope that he might still think it too risky to try capturing a Mu'hari at this time.
"Another piece of the puzzle," he comments quietly. "The more we know about them the sooner we can come up with a workable plan. Keep looking in the BBS', it won't be long until we need you again."
After far too many missions, we finally ping the right one.
Deliver Passengers posted:
The passengers are left a little bug-eyed when you dissolve your protective shielding leaving them standing on the dock. They pay you the fee of 15,000 credits and walk away talking animatedly amongst themselves. You smile, sensing that they are heading to the local bar to spread stories of their time on a Vell-os 'ship'.
And that is code for "go to Earth." That Prodigal Son sign they told us about? I've only spotted it once through this entire runthrough.
You are greeted upon arrival by the soldier who is your normal contact, and you quickly confirm to him the Bureau's suspicions.
"This is becoming intolerable," he comments quietly. "We need a new plan of attack that can ferret out these Mu'hari faster than we have been doing so far. Keep an eye out, chances are we'll be needing you again soon."
More Training posted:
As soon as you glide down to land you cannot help but smile when you sense Fllyraen waiting for in the spaceport.
<i see you have grown since we last met you look like life as a slave is wearing you down perhaps i can offer you some temporary cheer have you yet learned about the javelin or the autumn petal>
You shake your head, smiling in eagerness. He laughs and pokes you in the shoulder with his telekinetic 'finger'.
"Well watch closely," he says aloud, "and I will show you how..."
You sit down, preparing to follow Fllyraen's mind when suddenly your mind is filled with images of him weaving a javelin into existence around himself. After a few moments of surprise, you adjust to the different method of teaching and begin following Fllyraen's steps weave by weave until you have created a javelin of your own.
As soon as he recognizes that you have picked up the lesson, he begins bombarding your mind with images of him weaving a 'flower of spring', quickly turning it into a 'summer bloom' and then weaving what appears to be falling petals around it to contain the enormous energies he is pouring into it. You spend several seconds recreating his weaves whilst getting commentary from Fllyraen until you are both satisfied. He ends the connection as quickly as he started it and you come away grinning, but a little puzzled as to why he taught you differently than Llyrell.
<llyrell is a t1 even though im a strong t2 his abilities far outstrip mine not to mention that as a t1 he can unify the energy of several telepaths at once into one wave of energy to use at his disposal anyway speaking of llyrell he has been talking to krane and she wants you to meet her on new england i hope that i have cheered you up at least a little you are going to need it if you have to deal with her>
The Autumn Petal is a turreted weapon that can sustain a decent amount of firing time and is hence the most useful Vell-os weapon you get. We can also create Dart escorts now, which are only actually useful against Federation ships. At least they're completely free.
Autumn Petal posted:
This instrument of destruction is an integral part of the makeup of a Vell-os Javelin. The color of early autumn kirastei petals on Vell-os worlds, the Autumn Petal has an excellent sustained fire rate, and long range. Only T1's have been known to be able to create the weave required for this weapon.
There is now a roughly one in two chance of spotting Mu'hari whenever we land on a random system. It's like wearing the sunglasses from They Live!
You can sense the plotting mind of Commander Krane waiting for you as you slide down through the atmosphere. As soon as you dissolve your protective barrier she comes over.
"We are going to start going about looking for the Mu'hari a little more cleverly," she begins without preamble. "Now you say that you can detect them easily?"
You nod, realizing that the Bureau may have found a way to exploit your attempts to save the Mu'hari.
"Excellent," she says in a satisfied tone. "Here's what I want you to do. Simply put, look around, keep your telepathic senses open. I want you to find these damn Mu'hari, and when you do, I want you to report back here. Understand?"
You nod, your heart sinking in your chest.
"Good," she replies quietly. "Now get to work."
The game really shows its age here - processing photos? At least we don't have to go gallivanting all about space this time.
As soon as you land you can sense the foreign thought patterns of a Mu'hari from across the globe. You take the trouble to go and get pictures of the Mu'hari in the local bar, so that the Bureau will be able to identify the man should they need to.
After getting the photos processed, you head back out into space with a heavy heart to report to Commander Krane.
To your surprise you can sense Commander Krane already waiting for you as you gently slide down through the atmosphere.
"I take it you have another Mu'hari to report?" she asks grimly and you nod. "Whereabouts?"
You tell her the exact location and hand over the photos.
"Okay," she nods, barely even glancing at the photos, and you can tell even without touching her mind that things are about to start rolling. "We've come up with a plan to deal with these Mu'hari, and we'll be needing your skills. Meet me in the bar in one hour."
You spend the hour sitting in a quiet corner of the bar keeping tabs on the location of Commander Krane as she flits from one corner of Bureau HQ to another. But as soon as the hour approaches she makes her way to the bar and you can sense in her a new focus.
"The Mu'hari threat is too large to deal with solely from this end," she informs you quietly. "We believe that we have located most of their network, but it would be too difficult for us to shut it down without them shutting down and going to ground. And given the skills we have seen displayed by these Mu'hari so far, we would be hard pressed to pull in more than about half of the ones we are aware of.
"So we need something else for them to focus on," she tells you seriously. "We need the Polaris to bring in as many of their resources as possible so that we can concentrate our efforts and nab as much of their network as possible in one single operation."
So an open, telegraphed attack into the most heavily-defended part of Polaris space with the least suitable warship imaginable. This will be fun. I prepare our course.
"Now, as you may or may not know," Krane explains with a smile, "the Auroran operation went forward without a hitch some months ago, and we now have a unified ally that shares a border with the Polaris.
"So I am ordering you to liaise with an Auroran task force," she continues forcefully, "that is currently forming in the Sender system. Once you have met the task force commander on the Cunjo station you are to proceed to the Polaris capital Kel'ar Iy in the Kel'ariy system doing as much damage along the way as possible. You are to act primarily as a guide but do not flinch from helping the Aurorans do their work.
"However," Krane cautions quietly, "the Auroran ships are largely irrelevant. If they do not survive to return to Auroran space I won't be shedding any tears. As it is it is going to be vexing enough to have to barter with the Moash to gain control over the Polaris.
"Any questions?" she asks, and you shake your head, despairing at the damage you are about to inflict. "No? Good."
Next time: Getting one-hit KO'd over and over!