Spathi: What is the Secret Cypher?
Captain Stubing: Huffi-Muffi-Guffi
S: We are the safe ones - the Spathi High Council. You have given us the correct Cypher so you will not be destroyed immediately. Now, if you please, tell us how you acquired our most Secret Spathi Cypher, which every Spathi swears never, ever to reveal, even when threatened with considerable pain.
C: We met a Spathi on Pluto...uh, we became good friends!
S: And just where is this Spathi "friend" now? Never mind, the answer is all too obvious in your tiny, dry eyes.
C: We have Fwiffo on board. He can vouch for our good intentions!
S: If you held a weapon to Fwiffo's head, he would say anything you wanted him to say. In fact, if you held a vegetable to his head, he would probably say anything you wanted him to say.
C: We come in peace, and with good will.
S: No doubt.
C: We offer our hand in friendship. Join us and our many allies.
S: We are too afraid of the Ur-Quan to consider such an alliance. They would most certainly punish us with extreme tortures.
C: We're stronger than the Ur-Quan. You're better off with us.
S: Hello! Hello! Awaken from your dreamy state Hunam! Now is the time for realism, not wild fancy!
C: Yes, we ARE strong enough! Look at our Precursor vessel. Is it not unique?
S: Yes, your vessel is unique, and here is the crux of the problem. A "Unique," meaning singular, starship is not equal to the task of destroying the entire Ur-Quan armada. If you had, say, ten thousand similar starships, we could take your boasts more seriously.
C: Look, what do I have to do to prove this to you - destroy your entire star fleet?
S: Well, that would probably work, but I have a better idea - a test, one of those questy kind of things.
C: Well, what kind of test do you have in mind?
S: You must wipe the Evil Ones from the face of Spathiwa!
C: Tell us more about these Evil Ones.
S: Let us explain the sad history of our species. Once upon a time, many thousands of years ago, we inhabited the warm, safe surface of our home planet, Spathiwa. We were happy and content. During those golden centuries, we evolved from a primitive nomadic culture into a complex, agrarian society. We learned to write on clay tablets, and we were well on to being able to read those tablets when the Darkness fell upon us, when the Evil Ones came!
Creatures from the darkest pits of hell they were. They hunted our people - devoured them like tasty nodules, and we had no defense against them. Suddenly our culture became once more nomadic. We fled across the oceans, from continent to continent, but the evil ones always followed. Spurred by our great need, we advanced from bronze to atomic technology in less than one of your centuries, but none of our innovations was a match for the Evil Ones' natural cunning and ferocity.
Finally, with no other option available, we fled our world and took up residence here on our own moon, where we have resided, most uncomfortably, for the last three hundred years.
C: Why don't you do it?
S: Two reasons. Firstly, we have an unreasoning fear that the Evil Ones will devour us all painfully. Secondly, in the rare cases where we have overcome our fear, and ventured to Spathiwa's surface, the Spathi who landed were all devoured painfully.
C: Okay, I accept! Start packing your bags, eyeball dudes, you'll be home in no time.
S: We will await your return with great anticipation. Simultaneously, we will prepare a short, poignant eulogy to mourn your demise.
Well, that's a lot of green. If this were a JRPG, I'm sure all my allies would give rousing, life-affirming speeches about how evil these things are and how precious life is, all in some unskippable 20 minute cutscene that you wish you could just end. Luckily, this is an American game, and we like our kicking of asses without any ridiculous pretenses.
You can't really tell from this picture, but all they do is sit there and look kinda owns: while I shoot them with my flaming death lasers and harvest their organs for profit.
Heading back to the planet:
Spathi: How go your foolishly courageous and noble efforts to rid the Evil Ones from our beloved Spathiwa?
Captain: Although we lost many crew, we have eliminated the scourge.
S: This is wonderful - too good to be true! We will immediately begin transporting Spathi from this unpleasant moon down to the safe surface. We shall send encrustlings and the infirm first, as a special honor! Please come back later to receive your accolades.
They kick us out, we do a U-turn in space, and come back.
Spathi: Oh joy! Oh happiness! We rejoice and make merry in celebration of our imminent return to our homeworld. You are most heroic and helpful - thank you, thank you, thank you! But now I must return to our festivities. Please feel free to come back any time!
Captain: Hey! A deal's a deal! What about our alliance?
S: Why don't you just wait a while, until after we are settled on our homeworld? We can discuss details at that time.
C: How long do you expect this to take?
S: Ten, fifteen years tops.
C: Am I correct in understanding that you refuse to live up to your end of the bargain?
S: No, no, no! We are simply taking a more adult "Welcome to the real world" view of the situation. We cannot simply say "Hurrah!" and form an alliance with you this very moment. Surely you see that?
C: You know, those creatures aren't dead. We have them in suspended animation. How would you like us to return them to the surface?
S: NO!...er...no...please! (sigh) Exactly what kind of relationship were you thinking of?
C: A mutually beneficial alliance of minds and might.
C: The kind where you do EXACTLY as we say.
S: Oh, ok...we're quite familiar with that arrangement. Very well, I'll bet we will regret this decision later on, but you leave me with no choice. We will comply with your needs. A Spathi delegation will depart immediately for the planet Earth.
I had actually Game Over'ed at this point in the game because I did not have enough fuel to return to Earth. Apparently, there's some sort of frictional drag in Hyperspace. Go figure.
Luckily, there was a giant star cluster nearby, and I remember what that meant...
Melnorme: I am Trade Master Greenish in command of the Melnorme starship "Inevitably Successful in All Circumstances." I bid you a formal welcome, Captain. Though we Melnorme have just recently arrived in this region of space, we have long desired to make contact with your species and look forward to an extended profitable relationship.
Captain: We come in peace, representing The New Alliance of Free Stars!
M: Even before our first meeting, we knew of you, Captain. Though your struggle to free Earth shall be a long and difficult challenge, fraught with great danger and mystery, we have great confidence in you and your abilities.
C: How did you know about us before meeting us?
M: We gather information from a thousand secret sources in time and space. Our charge for revealing even one of these sources would be so high that you species would be in debt to us for centuries.
C: What can you tell us about yourselves?
M: Our origins and purposes are, frankly, mysterious and due to several unavoidable factors, we are unable to discuss ourselves in any great detail.
C: What are these "unavoidable factors"?
M: First and foremost among these factors is our unwillingness to GIVE away information about our history, psychology, and mental powers, our unique physiology, the exact locations of homeworlds, or our potentially ominous, long-range plans. However, these important and relevant pieces of information ARE available, for a nominal sum of Credits.
C: Do you have any information which might be useful to us?
M: Absolutely. Our primary trade IS information. Why, right here on my display screen, I have something which I am certain would be of incalculable value to you! We can discuss the details of this VERY significant information later, when we have established normal trading procedures, at which time we shall also discuss the nature of our fees.
C: Fees! Surely your culture is far beyond such pettiness as money?
M: You are of course correct. We long ago abandoned currency, and now deal with commodities that have intrinsic value, such as valuable information .
C: But our cause is just! Isn't altruism the highest pinnacle of morality?
M: No, it is not. In fact, in our culture, "giving" with no fair exchange of goods or services, is considered vulgar and inappropriate. Please do not mention this subject again.
At this point, the bridge's color changes to purple, and he discusses how to trade and what he can trade. Remember all those things we shot, including the Ultimate Evil? Well, we can trade their bio capsules in for credits, as well as locations of Rainbow Worlds, which I have not found. So I buy the 5 fuel units I need to actually complete the journey back to Earth, as well as a new gun for the ship that I will never use. Why? Melnorme technology trees are a linear thing, and I need to go up it to get to the good stuff, like lander upgrades.
If anyone was wondering what the Melnorme ships do, their primary is a charge gun that does, I believe, anywhere from 1-6 points of damage. To give you a sense of scale, the Ur-Quan's primary "only" does 4 (it is technically more powerful/efficient, obviously), and I believe the maximum crew size is 40. The Melnorme ships are big, so obviously they're slow and unwieldy, which is where its secondary comes into effect, some sort of "confusion" shot that constantly rotates your ship and disables your secondary. This really sucks for those ships that really rely on their secondary, such as the Pkunk, Shofixti, and Slylandro.
Speaking of Slylandro...
So I finally make my way back to Sol...
These guys are the equivalent of random encounters in an RPG. You can almost hear your screen go FWOOSH and then load with 15-30 seconds of random battle stancery. Seriously, though, these guys will pester the shit out of you in Hyperspace, and it takes some work to shut them down, and it won't be until later until you can effectively run away from them.
Slylandro: We come in peace.
Captain: We are from Earth, on a mission of peace.
S: This is probe 2418-B. We are on a peaceful mission of exploration. Priority over-ride. New behavior detected. Must break target into component materials
No matter what you say, that will always be the end result.
And so will this.
Despite what most people say, the Slylandro are actually pretty easy, excepting a free technical slip ups that made me lose a few of Fwiffo's crew. How do I do it?
First, pick a Spathi. Then , orient your ship so that your back is towards the probe, like any good Spathi ship. Then accelerate away, then let the wonderfully frictionless environment known as space sustain your inertia. You want the Slylandro to be just slightly faster than you, but not overwhelmingly so. I don't think the Eluder can ever outrun a Probe, excepting a gravity sling. Anyway, after you have the AI on your tail, orient your Eluder 45 degrees away. This is important, because otherwise the Probe will just do a 180 and come back from the other side.
Then, obviously, let loose those butt missiles and ping the Probe to death.
Here's an example video.
If you REALLY have trouble with Probes, just pick your capital ship and use your escape thingamajigger, but you'll be branded a coward for doing so. The game won't explicitly say it, but it'll know, and so will we.
And this will be our main source of RUs for a while. Or at least provide a nice supplement to the usual planetary harvesting.
I upgrade the ship with more thrusters and another fuel bay so that I don't have to sell the souls of orphaned aliens to the Melnorme for fuel. I need them for more diabolical things, like guns.
Welp, might as well help those cute little Zoq Fot Pik dudes.
Also, Eluders are 1800 RUs each, and we're poor. I'd like to get one soon, but at least we'll always have Fwiffo.