The Let's Play Archive

Star Control 2

by GrandpaPants

Part 18

As per usual, we begin by making a Quasispace jump and heading towards a star. Our next victim: Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse! This is probably the longest sub-plot in the game, so as your loyal scribe, I hate it.


Syreen: Attention unidentified space vessel! Be Warned! This slave world and its inhabitants belong to the Ur-Quan. I am Starbase Commander Talana of the slave planet Gaia. Your ship is not responding to standard Hierarchy identification sequences. You are therefore classed as Independent and...WHAT?! Is my monitor display correct?! Is that a human commanding that vessel? Who are you?

Captain: I am Captain Stubing of the flagship LoveBoat.

S: Hello Captain, but you haven't answered my question fully. Why are you here? Where are you from? Has the slave shield been lifted from Earth? Are the Ur-Quan finally defeated? Simply put, Captain, what do you want from us?

C: We have come here to free you from slaver to the Ur-Quan!

S: Look, friend, I appreciate your offer, but we don't want your help. Why? I'll tell you why...because we're not going to antagonize the Ur-Quan. That's why. We may not like slavery, but it's a damn sight better than our alternatives. Below us we have a beautiful world, maybe it's not Syra, but at least it's a home. That's a lot more than we ever had before the war, before the Ur-Quan became our masters.

S: So, Commander Talana, what are you doing here?

C: When the Ur-Quan conquered us, over twenty years ago, I was only a young girl living in Habitat Thirty-One. My older sister, Diani, was a starship officer in the Space Patrol, she was part of the final defense at Raynet...she didn't make it back.

When the Ur-Quan caught us in open space, we all thought we were going to die, but then, instead of killing us, the Ur-Quan offered us a choice. We could join the ranks of their combat thralls, or we could be slave-shielded in our homeworld. Like the people of Earth, we choose peace. We became fallow slaves.

When the Ur-Quan told us to return to our homeworld, we explained that we had none. Ur-Quan Master Nine explained that they had encountered this situation before, and if we could provide them with a list of our requirements, they would use their extensive astronomical datastores to find a planet for us! So we told them about Syra, about the colors of its sky, about the abundant lifeforms, about the fertility of the soil and seas. Less than an hour later, we received a terse message from Master Nine. We were to proceed to these coordinates and disembark. This was to be our new home.

But our new world, Gaia, was everything we described. We've been searching for a home planet for seventy-five years, and in the end, it was our enemies who gave one to us. I grew up on a small island off the main continent, and like all of my people, we lived each day under the sick, red glow of the slave shield. When the Ur-Quan arrived seven years ago to refurbish and recrew this starbase, I was selected as the new commander.

C: So what happened to you at the end of the War?

S: When we first met your people, we'd been wandering through the stars for almost seventy-five years, ever since the death of Syra, our home planet. We joined your Alliance, and I use the word "joined" loosely, because we had no other choice. The VUX were raiding our slow Habitat columns, and we had nowhere else to go. We fought for survival, Captain. Nothing more.

When your people on Earth were defeated, the Alliance just plain fell apart. The Yehat and Shofixti retreated to their native stars and didn't want us to follow. The Arilou, those creepy little weasels, just plain bugged out - vanished - leaving us alone, with nowhere to go, smack in the path of the oncoming Ur-Quan Armada. What were we supposed to do? Fight? Two-thirds of our habitat fleet was unarmed! Many aren't even super-luminal. We were going to be annihilated if we resisted, and we knew it.

When the Ur-Quan surrounded us and started giving orders that all ended with, "Or Die!" we took them at face value. We obeyed. In exchange they gave us Gaia, the planet below. It's a beautiful world, Captain. I wish I could show it to you. So don't misunderstand me. We love our freedom as much as anybody else, but we've got a good life here, and we don't want to lose it.

C: If you love freedom and don't hate the Ur-Quan, why won't you help us?

S: Like I said before, Captain, we would like to help, but we are unwilling to risk losing Gaia. Unless you can find a much more compelling reason for us to get involved, you are on your own.

C: Would you tell me a bit about your people and your culture?

S: Our species are almost identical, almost too close a match to be just a coincidence. Our bodies are very similar, Captain. Ha! Ha! Except for...certain parts.

Our cultural development is also mostly parallel. Like you Earthlings, we evolved a society from primitive tribes, whose main function were to protect themselves from the large reptiles native to our old world. The main difference between our two sets of cultures, the split in the paths of our development, occurred in what would have been your prehistory, say 5000 BCE.

In your world, the agriculture communities were conquered by more primitive, but also more aggressive migratory herding peoples. This led to a particular kind of sexual and political dominance structure, which pervaded almost all of your Earth Cultures until the early Twenty First century. On Syra, our only primitive migratory tribes were confined to our mountainous regions. Their herd beasts, the Yma, did not do well in the agricultural basins and plains. The two cultures were isolated until much later, when the technological superiority of the farmers curtailed any major conflict.

C: What was Syra like?

S: It was our paradise, Captain, our Eden. Earth is the only world we know of whose variety and richness of life even comes close to Syra. Again, like so many other things about our two species, our worlds were very much the same, at least before you began encasing yours in concrete and plastic. Syra's gravity was a bit lighter than Earth's, and its day was fifty percent longer. Our diurnal cycle is therefore different from yours. We spend twenty hours awake, followed by ten hours...horizontal.

C: What happened to Syra?

S: This subject is very difficult for us, Captain, but I will try to recount those sad days. Like your solar system, ours had a large population of comets and asteroids. Large meteor impacts, though rare, were not unheard of on our planet. So it was not a total shock when an asteroid penetrated our atmosphere and hit the surface.

What was odd was that unlike most other meteors, this one was not pulverized on impact. It penetrated the crust, and indeed went all the way through to the mantle, causing a "super volcano." The earthquakes caused by the impact were severe. The magma pumped out of the caldera wreaked significant damage on the nearby terrain, but within a few weeks, it had cooled, forming a solid rock bandage over the wound.

Within a few months we had cleaned up the mess, the caldera was calming down nicely, and things were pretty much back to normal. Then, just over a year after the impact, all hell broke loose on the surface of Syra. Huge calderas were opening all over, not just around the meteor impact, but everywhere! The scope of the disaster is impossible to imagine. Entire cities sliding into oceans of molten lava, kilometer wide sections of land pulverized by a cataclysmic explosion, and clouds of poison gas and superheated steam created a death shroud around Syra.

C: What happened to the males of your species?

S: When Syra was destroyed, the only people who survived were in orbit, and most of them were members of our newly established, mostly female Space Patrol. From their ships, their orbital platforms and their lunar outposts they watched Syra die. Within three days after the cataclysm began, the surface temperature of Syra had risen by almost 75 degrees, to above the boiling point of water.

It became clear that Syra, our paradise, our Eden, was gone. The survivors spent years in orbit. They made a few missions to the surface and actually found a handful of survivors, but their main activity was preparations for departure. The Space Patrol fitted makeshift drive units to anything that could hold air: orbital factories, research pods, even hotels.

When the fleet was ready, they left orbit and never looked back. The final population of our species was less than ten thousand, with only five hundred males, but they were the best and the brightest. For the next seventy-five years, our people wandered at sub-light speed through the stars, looking for a new home.

C: Don't you ever get...lonely? Hmmm?

S: Ha! Ha! Ha! Don't worry about us, Captain! We make out all right.

C: Come on now, isn't that outfit, knife included, a bit absurd?

S: Maybe some other time, Captain, I can show you the hidden functionality of my uniform...knife included!

C: Talana, have you ever heard of "Deep Children"?

S: Yes, I think so. Aren't they part of the Mycon religion somehow? We have recordings of Mycon Hyperwave transmissions from the War, pretty weird stuff. The Mycons just kind of...rambled, never making much sense. They talked a lot about "Deep Children" and "Spears of Light," but we couldn't ever understand what they were talking about.

C: What if I told you that Mycon Deep Children shatter planet crusts, like your Syra?

S: What!? What did you say!? Human, you had better not be joking. Syra is not a subject for Earth humor. Now what do you mean, shatter planet crusts? How? That IS what happened to Syra, yes, but we presumed it was a natural cataclysm, a meteor. Do you have proof that it was something else...these Deep Children?

C: I don't have proof YET, but I am certain the Mycons destroyed your world.

S: Captain, if what you say is true, it would turn my world upside down. You have no sorrow to match what each of us Syreen feels every day of our lives, when we remember what we have lost...Syra...our Eden.

The very idea that the Mycons, or any alien race, may have been responsible for Syra's destruction filled me with BURNING RAGE! If it were true, none of us here would rest until we had avenged ourselves on the perpetrators. We would find some way to leave this starbase, locate our starships, and hunt down the evil monsters! Captain, if you ever gather proof of what you say, you MUST inform us immediately. But until then, do not mention the subject again. It is too painful.

So with that, we Quasispace again, this time heading towards Beta Copernicus, running into the locals on the way.


I'd like to point out that no matter what you say to the Mycon, they won't really "respond" to you, but rather go on their spiel. It's very...odd. So I've just cut out anything the Captain says, which basically amounts to various humorous insults and trying to find peace, and just transcribed what the Mycon say. When the Mycon is done talking, they say Juffo-Wup fills in my fibers and I grow turgid. Violent action ensues., which always leads to a fight. So in order to actually get these chats, you have to talk with/defeat about 10 or so different Mycons.

Mycon: We are part of the Juffo-Wup. Juffo-Wup is the hot light in the darkness. All else is unfulfilled Void. We are the Mycon.

A single spore lands, finds nourishment in decay and soon attains maturity. In turn it exhales a cloud of new life, a thousand spores, each lands, find nourishment in progress Juffo-Wup.

Our bodies seethe with the passion of our genes. A thousand of your species do not possess the richness in one of my cells.

I fill with my parents parents parents parents parents. I am they - they are us. Then, and now.

The Deep Children are part of Juffo-Wup - home builders. The dwellers in the Mohorivichic.

I am Dugee. I am the purity monitor. I choose what buds are permitted to mature, and which must be eradicated. I died of general misfunction 57,283 years ago.

A cold rock, spinning silently in the Void, a womb for the Children.

Pulsing hot liquid flows through my outstretched tendrils, sending thrills into my interior. The moment has come. I swell and burst. Above me a cloud of whispering life whirls through the air. I am content.

Your simple sexual process produces random mosaics of genetic instructions, yet with the simplicity of breath, I modify my own patterns. You humans improve a tool and double your capabilities. We Mycon improve ourselves and increase a thousand-fold.

The Deep Children! Spears of light in the darkness! Their discarded husks speak of joy to come.

I have chosen my offsprings' memories carefully from my set of remembrances, the sweet and warm times of my existence and those of my parents parents parents, the bits of a million lifetimes coalesced into a birth gift of complete awareness.

In the dark they grow, the deep fire feeds the Children. Their birth breathes warmth across a cold world.

"...the system requires more energy. A convenient source lies beneath the crust..."

We look to Juffo-Wup for direction, and it provides the pattern, endless expansion with purity of achievement and intolerance of error.

I am Shloosh, I was incinerated fourteen thousand Earth years ago. I live now, for but a moment, and then, I am gone.

"...incorporation of dense amphibole fibers ensure survival in environmental extremes..."

I yearn for magma, the flowing warm basalts, the red glow of the lava pools.

When we encounter the Non, we must absorb the Non or reject the Non so that it is no longer Non. "...entry of noise into the signal is unavoidable. We must include a filtering mechanism..."

Cessation of an individual is unavoidable, a consequence of existence, yet with the birth of life, individuality is transferred in part and may occasionally gain dominance for an interval, achieving a kind of shared immortality.

"...Survival is a priority. Expansion is a priority. Processing is a priority..."

Juffo-Wup acknowledges the existence of un-Voidable Non, when we are faced with such, we join, absorb, and wait for our opportunity, to learn the weakness that will allow us to Void the Non.

At times, I meet another, who shares with me the life of a parent inside the mind, and if we speak this fragment becomes predominant in the both of us. Self meets self with occasionally enlightening results.

The Podships thrum with the plasma containment field, whose offspring seek to transform the Non to Void, the fields grow tighter and tighter, the bass rumble of the generators rises gradually to a high burning scream, sudden silence and a flash of light announce release, the hot pulsing subsides slowly.

The Deep Children fall from the Void, gathering speed for the penetration. The tough casing warms as it passes through the atmosphere, glowing white as it hits the surface, solid rock flows like liquid, and the child slips in the warm, safe depths beneath the crust.


The implantation fleet has assembled in orbit above the green world, the patterns of weakness reveal the point of introduction. The Child is prepared for its birthing trip. Release!

I am Gussh...I attend the birthing nodes...I died 343 Earth years ago...I do not know how.

When Juffo-Wup is complete...when at last there is no Void, no Non...when the Creators return...then we can finally rest.

Darkness is Void, Juffo-Wup is light.

"...planetary transformer biot 94-18: take your place at the transporter dais..."

You are the Non. You must go now, and never return.

I'd like to note that all those conversations in quotes are done in a different voice, so if the context isn't clear, I believe it's a recording of whoever created the Mycons.

Eventually the Mycon start repeating themselves, so I land on the planet (finally), and find myself this:
Near an unusual volcanic fumarole, we have found a fragment of some kind of biological encasement or shell which is made of an incredibly tough, heat-resistant mat of fungal fibers. We can find no sign of any lifeform which may have "hatched" from this egg shell, but we will bring it back to the flagship for further study.

Speaking of further study:

SUBJECT: Mycon Egg Case.

DATA: We really didn't know Mycon came from eggs, but our analysis of this sheath shows that it has been subjected to phenomenal temperatures and pressures. The most unusual aspect of the egg case is its size. We know Mycons range in height from 0.5 to 3.5 meter, but our reconstruction of the whole egg case shows it to be over 25 meters high!

SUMMARY: If a Mycon came out of this, it's gotta be really big.

We make a brief detour to Beta Brahe, complete with a screenshot to show the Mycon presence there. One of the planets pops up a conversation:
Mycon: This is a special place, filled with Juffo-Wup. We must not allow it to be soiled by the Non. You must go. Now.

Captain: What makes this place special to you?

M: Juffo-Wup is the power of life, hot warmth in the cold Void. It flows through all things, binding them together, making them one. You are Non-Juffo-Wup, you cannot understand. Below is the pod of Juffo-Wup - there for a thousand centuries. When we are cold, the pod opens and warms us. When it is dark, the pod clenches and lo, there is light. You are the Non. The pod is not for you. You must leave.

Naturally, that means we must somehow get our hands on that pod.

But first, the Syreen!

Captain: Look at these fungal egg sacks. We found them near a crustal puncture on a shattered world.

Syreen: Great gods! These fragments...they are IDENTICAL to the debris we found near the punctures on Syra! We never guessed that the fragments might be organic! To have survived re-entry...nothing organic could remain...unless...


We will not sit here and do nothing while the Mycon fiends are free to roam the galaxy, perpetrating their evil. You wanted our cooperation in fighting the Ur-Quan. You've got it, provided you first help us seek our revenge against the Mycon race, help us destroy them!

C: Okay. So what do you want us to do?

S: Our first step is to get some mobility. We have some fine starship officers on board, and they are all eager to go after the Mycons, but without our Penetrator starships, we're totally ineffectual. So our first step HAS to be recovering our Space Patrol combat fleet. We know that the Ur-Quan didn't destroy them, they never waste anything, but we believe they have sealed them in some kind of deep vault in the surface of an alien planet.

C: Do you know where their ships are?

S: No, that's your job. But maybe we have some clues to help you find them. The starship officers who flew the Penetrators to the vault did so with total sensor black-out. The only thing they could use for navigation was the presence of the Dreadnought fleet surrounding them. When they arrived at their destination and lowered their ships into the immense vault, they were transported to the Dreadnoughts and only caught a split-second glimpse of the outside world. As far as they could tell, the sun was either red or orange. Based on their trip-time calculations, the farthest they could have traveled is about 200 Hyperspace distance units.

Captain! We have assembled a small team of our most skilled officers. We will send them to your ship on board with their own small shuttle. We feel that in the interests of efficiency, we keep our officers away from your crew, at least until the mission is over. As soon as you arrive at the Vault, our people will take over, figure out a way to open the Vault, and bring our Penetrators back here.

C: So what do I get for this, eh? Hmm? Eh?

S: You will receive more gratitude than you know what to do with, Captain.

So with amazing detective skills, the planet has been deduced to be Epsilon Camelopardalis.

We have opened the subterranean vault which contained the Syreen Space Patrol Penetrator starships. The Syreen captains have assumed command of their vessels and instructed us to rendezvous with them back at Betelgeuse.

I guess now's as good a time as any to talk about the Penetrator. Besides having a rather silly name, it's a very mediocre ship. The primary is a simple bullet type attack that's short-medium range, nothing special at all. The secondary is a siren's call, causing enemy crewman to jump ship and cause them to drift towards you in space, which you can go around and pick up if you want. The range on this is very short, though, so it's usually not worth the risk, doubly so since the enemy can just pick up their own crewman if they so choose.

Back to Betelgeuse.

Syreen: Good, now we can proceed with our plan for REVENGE against the Mycon! From our analysis of the Deep Child fragments you showed to us, and a review of the recorded Mycon transmissions from the War, we have established the kind of world the Mycons desired for their hideous Deep Children. They need a planet like your Earth or our Syra, one rich in water and oxygen and possessing a molten, active mantle.

Our plan is to lure the Mycons to such a planet, and then attack them when they least expect it. We know of such a world. When the Ur-Quan were analyzing their mass of planetary data to find a new home for my people, one of the close candidates, ranked just below Gaia, was a blue world orbiting close to the star, Organon.

Captain, we need your services again. Here is what you must do. You must go to the Mycon and tell them of this world. They will find that the world is suitable, and when they go to Organon, we shall be there, waiting for them. Then we shall destroy them!

What follows is a pretty...well I don't know how to describe it. It's an interesting sequence of events that loses quite a bit in transcription, so I'll just leave you with a video of the Syreen's farewell present.

We set our course to Epsilon Scorpii, the home world of the Mycon. No, the homeworld isn't Beta Brahe, that's just a place of interest.

Mycon: Juffo-Wup is All, omni-existent, spreading and changing the Non into Juffo-Wup. You are Non, who must become Juffo-Wup or Void. We are agents of Juffo-Wup. We are Mycon.

Captain: There is a world at the star Organon. I believe it is perfect for your Deep Children.

M: Your suggestion is appropriate. Acceptable new worlds are a priority for the rapid and complete spread of Juffo-Wup. We wish to know more for our suitability assessment. Tell us of this world.

C: Abundant life covers its surface.

M: This is good.

C: Its air is pure and sweet.

M: This is good.

C: The sun gently warms the surface.

M: This is good. If your words are true, we will gladly spread Juffo-Wup to a new world! We will assemble the Birthing Fleet and send them to this planet. We will send many ships to protect the Children as they grow. You have been of service to us. Your insight into the ineffable Juffo-Wup is encouraging. Perhaps, if we were to plant spore sacs in your brain organ and let its tendrils spread through your flesh, then you would truly understand Juffo-Wup, become part of Juffo-Wup. You WOULD be happier and more fulfilled. Consider our offer.

Now that the Mycon fleet heads "south" towards Organon, the completely unobvious name given to a life-supporting planet, they abandon their post at Beta Brahe. Most of them, anyway. There are still 5 Podships to guard their holiest of holies, so of course, we take them out. Without damage.

As you can see, the Mycon Podships are slow as hell, and don't fire rapidly. However, their weapons are very long range and home, and although its damage dissipates over time, it can do 10 points of damage if you get hit close enough. Luckily, because we can see the attacks coming, the Utwig can just absorb the damage, and then give it a nice constant stream of damage. The secondary, if you can't tell, allows it to trade in a full energy bar (not a small feat) for 4 crew members.

Also, let that video serve as a warning to always restock your crew members after melees, because not getting hit vs. 5 Podships sucks ass.

We drop down on the planet and pick up that weird thing.

S-sir-r we-e ar-re ex-per-ien-cing maj-or-r t-tecton-n-ic sh-sh-ocks we-re on-n the-e sur-r-face...

Wait a minute, they seem to have passed. Whew! That was awful! Captain, when we weren't bouncing off the ceiling or being bashed against the lander walls, we were looking for whatever it was that the Mycon were hiding down here. We think we've found it!

I don't know what to call it - it kind of looks like a cross between a spider and an antenna, but Jeevo, the engineer we brought along, says the device has the capacity to radiate incredible amounts of energy in the form of visible light. We have decided not to experiment with the artifact, and will bring it aboard right after we explore the immediate vicin-ity-ty.

...uh-oh, Cap-p-tain! Look-k-s lik-ke the-e shock-ks are-e st-start-t-ing up-p ag-gain! We-e can't-t tak-ke m-much m-mo-re of th-h-is! R-ret-urn-ning t-to ship-p!

And we return to base. The Commander finally tells us that the Shofixti have finally returned, and that crew costs are now only 1, which doesn't mean much because crew was cheap anyway. We also have him analyze our new artifact:

SUBJECT: Sun Device.

DATA: The unit contains a power generator whose output magnitude is simply mind-boggling. When activated, the device radiates energy equivalent to less than 1/100 of 1% of our sun. However, when placed close to a planet, perhaps in orbit, its output would rival Sol's.

SUMMARY: Another Precursor tool, the energy output of which can replace or augment a sun's radiance.