Part 7: New FriendsWarning:
Stop right there, pilot. You're going to have to get searched for weapons.
Sorry, regular protocol.
I'm Captain Kayto Shields of the assault carrier Sunrider. The mean lady beside me is Commander Ava Crescentia. And who are you?
Asaga Oakrun, pilot of the Black Jack.
Thanks for the help out there.
Eh-heh Don't worry, those guys were nothin'!
So, what exactly were you doing out there? I can't imagine a lone ryder operating out here for no reason.
Oh nothing, just keeping the space ways safe!
Dunnnndadada!! Coming to the rescue wherever the weak are oppressed! It's the hero of justice, the vanguard of the innocent! For love, freedom, and just a little bit of money on the side, it's Asaga of the Black Jack!
Oh good lord.
Let me guess. You're a freelancer?
The space around here's pretty dangerous, so the Mining Union's been paying me to bust up pirates. Easier said than done though! Those guys are harder to kill than cockroaches!
Tell me more about your freelancing.
Ah, I've been wandering around the neutral rim, looking around for any odd jobs here and there. I'd like to call myself an adventurer.
And you do this alone, in just a single ryder?
Ah, not really. I have Chigara to help me out. She's the one who built me my Black Jack here.
Chigara...? Is she an engineer?
Yeah, you can call her that. She's a genius when it comes to technology, and she can fix just about anything mechanical!
Tell me more about the pirates.
The pirates in this sector are led by a nasty girl named Cosette Cosmos. You've already met her.
What's a little girl like that doing committing piracy?
Cosette may look like a brat, but don't underestimate her. She's feared in this whole sector as a ruthless pirate. I even heard a rumor the other day that she slit her own pa's throat for not buying her candy on her 14th birthday.
I'm not sure if I really believe-
And there's this other one about her ship, the Havoc, being filled with rats, that she keeps as pets.
Anyways, I've had a couple run ins with her, and I can say, she's not to be trifled with. Be careful of the Havoc's anti-matter missiles. Those will definitely put more than a dent on any capital ship's hull. The Havoc's only weakness is that it's pretty slow and sluggish, so it can be picked off by other ryders.
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
Why don't we join forces for a while? From the look of things here, you seem to be an assault carrier without any ryders. Help me take care of these pirates, and I'll join you guys as the Sunrider's first ryder.
Captain, we don't know if we can trust this girl. We've only just met her!
She's already saved our necks. And she's right: a carrier without any ryders is useless. I say we work together for now.
Eh-heh... I'm glad we agree, capt'n!
Theres a choice to say no we dont need you but cmon, shes got a unique model and is on the main menu screen, you know thats a false choice.
For now, the Sunrider needs repairs and supplies. We'll make our way to Tydaria and dock there. Then we'll decide our next course of action.
Oh! Chigara has her workshop in Tydaria. She'll be able to fix your ship in no time!
Alright, if your friend can help us, we can head to her workshop. Ava and I are going to head up to the bridge now. You should stay here with your ship. We'll call you on the comm if anything comes up.
What's the matter, Ava?
Nothing! It's just ugh Anyways, what are you waiting for? The quicker we get to Tydaria, the less I need to worry about a fleet of pirate ships warping in around us.
Ah Welcome to the Stardust Bakery.
B-bakery...? Didn't Asaga say this was a workshop?
I knew we shouldn't have trusted her
Ummm We offer cupcakes, cream puffs, strawberry cakes, and various muffins Oh. And we might just do starship repairs as well.
This is getting weirder and weirder by the minute.
If I can just come on board, I'll be able to survey the extent of the repairs and give you a quote. How's that?
Uh, alright, sure. I think we have a friend of yours waiting in the hangar too.
*throws up hands in exasperation, probably*
Uh huh, this is Capt'n Kayto Shields of the starship Sunrider! And that lady's First Officer Ava Crescentia.
It's nice to meet you. You must be Chigara.
Umm Chigara Lynn Ashada's my full name.
So what's this about this place being a bakery?
Ah, the Stardust Bakery is the best place to get pastries in Tydaria.
The only place!
Cupcakes, cream puffs, sandwiches, we have it all.
Errr Do you get a lot of business here?
Uuuu No. Everyone seems much more interested in getting their ship fixed
So why don't you just open a dry dock instead of a bakery?
It's always been Chigara's dream to run a bakery! You can't just shut a girl's dreams down like that!
Uuu M-maybe I really should consider giving up. It feels so awkward selling cupcakes next to the starship fuel
This is a strange place for a girl to have a workshop.
Not at all. Tydaria is one of the Mining Union's primary worlds. I've been renting this dock from the Union and patching up ships with Asaga for a while now. As long as I service the Union's ships, they've been very supportive of my efforts here. Well aside from the bakery.
I was referring more to yourself.
Me? Mmm ... Well, I guess you can call me one of those people like Asaga.
Oh yes, that.
(Something tells me there's more to this pair than they're letting on These girls don't exactly fit my image of freelancers )
Let's get down to business. The Sunrider's in need of repairs. Not only that, but we still need to complete our tests and resupply.
I think you're understating things. The Sunrider's a top of the line military vessel. It's not going to be like scraping a meteoroid impact from a mining ship.
Ufufufu... Don't worry. Chigara's a crazy genius when it comes to technology. I've never seen a single machine that she couldn't fix.
Uh, well okay then. You can start repairs as soon as possible.
Uhh, I think I'll leave you in charge of that. I'll be in my quarters, trying to find a way to write about this in my logs.
Understood captain. I'll contact you once repairs are complete.
We're about to head out again. I'm still not sure what to do about our two guests. Even though Ava still doesn't trust them, they've been an invaluable help. I think they'd do well on board the Sunrider.
End captain's log. Well, I guess it's time to explore the ship.
Theres a rudimentary map of the ship that shows where you can have optional conversations and gives you the option to move on to the next part of the game. Were going to start down in the hanger, though.
Hows the Black Jack doing?
Uwah-hah! Thanks for askin', but nothing ever troubles mah Black Jack! It's always in tiptop form! By the way, if you happen to get your hands on any ryder upgrades, feel free to arm it on the Black Jack, or on any other ryder the Sunrider's carrying. Preferably on the Black Jack.
How do we get ryder upgrades?
Well, most of the time I just ask Chigara to research some upgrades for me. It takes some money, but it's a pretty reliable way of getting upgrades!
How did you meet Chigara?
Me and Chigara go back pretty far. I think we met about five years ago, back when she was just a girl. Mmm ... Well, I think she was a refugee from a planet that was destroyed in a natural disaster. Anyways, I saw a bunch of these dirty guys scaring her in the middle of the street, so I stepped in and tried to scare them away.
How'd that turn out?
Eh-heh ... Let's say that I kind of bit off more than I could chew. But I swear, I was gonna win in the end! Lucky for those guys though, Chigara pulled out a gadget that zapped them with electricity, so I didn't have to space them for good.
So you rescued Chigara.
Yup, totally! And ever since then, we've been comrades in arms!
So why do you want to join the Sunrider?
For the adventure, of course! And the excitement!
Really, is that all?
Well, you're headed after PACT, right?
PACT's conquered our home. Of course we're after them.
What's your grudge against PACT?
Mmm... Well, nothing as big as having my planet conquered by them. It's... Uhh... Something more personal. Anyways, let's just say I'm doing it for the heroics! So, are you willing to have me, capt'n? If you help me take out the pirates, I'll join you guys on board the Sunrider!
All right, youve got yourself a deal.
Okay then. Lets check in on the bridge.
What do you think our next move should be?
First things first. Like you said, the Sunrider's an assault carrier without any ryders. Our first priority should be to find pilots and ryders to fill up our empty hangar.
We already have one interested pilot.
You should be careful with that one. Asaga's the type of person that seeks out danger.
How do you even know that?
Huh, alright then. Whats the ships status?
The repairs are already complete. We're ready to depart on your command.
Carry on, Ava.
Finally, to Engineering:
Sorry for surprising you.
Was there something you needed?
I heard from Asaga you were a refugee.
Ah, that's right. I used to be a refugee from the planet Diode.
Diode ... I remember hearing about the Diode catastrophe about six years ago. Didn't a science experiment go terribly wrong and open a micro black hole on the planet?
It was a terrible event. Ever since that happened, I've been on my own. Well, at least until Asaga found me. I'm sorry. I don't really like talking about what happened that day.
Sorry, I didn't mean to pry.
My people were always experts with technology. I guess it's because I've been trained since I was really little. Unfortunately, there's not many of us left now, so it must seem really amazing to you. But back home, I wasn't even that amazing with science.
What did your parents do?
They were researching some incredible things. Technology to bring people back from the dead. To synthesize complicated machinery from thin air. To tell the truth, compared to what they were making, what I'm doing here is really only child's play.
So you made the Black Jack yourself?
That's correct. Asaga used to pilot around a military surplus fighter that she put together from a junk heap. I used to be worried sick that it'd fall apart, so I decided that I'd build a new ryder for her.
The Black Jack's unlike anything I've seen in my life. You know, if you worked for a engineering company, you could change the galaxy.
Ah ... But then I wouldn't be able to open my bakery
Rrrright. Do you also pilot a ryder, Chigara?
I do. The Liberty's a support ryder though, so I usually fly as Asaga's wingmate and provide her with support. That's only for really tough missions though. Usually, the Black Jack's strong enough to fly by itself.
The Liberty, huh... Did you also make that yourself?
Uh-huh. They're both my creations.
We could sure use more ryders ... I don't suppose we could also bring the Liberty on board?
Eh-heh... About that Asaga's been pumped up about attacking the pirates, so she's already arranged to bring the Liberty here.
Really? Shesh, nobody's told me about that, and I'm supposed to be the captain. Thanks Chigara. That'll be all for now.
All right, thats enough talk, lets get this show on the road.
Cosette's pirates are operating from an asteroid base near Tydaria's moon. Even with the help of our new pilots, the attack will not be easy. The base itself has been built into an asteroid which the pirates dug out then reinforced with armor and decked out with weapons. The asteroid base is impervious to most conventional weaponry as a result. Not only that, but the asteroids surrounding the base will make a natural environment for ambush.
Just one problem after another
Don't worry, captain! These pirates are cowards. They're only used to fighting unarmed civilians and ragtag freelancers. They'll be shakin' in their boots once they see the Sunrider barreling towards them!
Regardless, we should prepare the Sunrider's systems to the utmost before attempting any operation against the pirate's nest. This is where our new guest comes in.
I've been working on getting the Sunrider's Research and Development Lab operational. I'd say that we're just about ready to open our doors. From now, you'll be able to allocate funding to research new technologies, captain. Just speak with me in the Lab and I can get started.
Sounds good. But where are we going to get the money for that?
There're a lot of people out there in the galaxy who need a helping hand. If we sort their problems out, usually through judicious application of our main cannon, then we can be paid in return.
So we'll essentially be freelancing ourselves, huh? All right.
I've already prepared a potential mission for you, captain.
An ion storm delayed the arrival of the spire's guardian fleet during a switchover, and now the communication spire is undefended. If we were to warp in and destroy it, we could throw a wrench into all of PACT's war efforts in the Neutral Rim. Not only that, the leaders of at least three neutral worlds would pay us handsomely.
There's been a band of particularly nasty thugs who've been kidnapping girls from Tydaria and selling them into the slave trade.
More of Cosette's goons?
Nah, these guys are something else. At least Cosette sticks to just killing and smuggling weapons. Human traffickers, captain. Out here, the laws protecting human dignity don't amount to much. I just got a tip from a friend in the Tydarian government that their raiding party's been spotted in the Astral Expanse. If we get there in time, we might still be able to catch them and put an end to their operation for good!
Captain, as much as the trafficking of innocent girls aches our collective conscience, we have a war to win against PACT. That communication spire's clearly more important than getting rid of some low life perverts.
But they're kidnapping innocents and selling them into the slave trade! Come on, captain, we can't just forget about them!
Hmph. Whichever you choose captain, remember that time is of the essence for some missions. We only have a limited window of time to perform side missions, so be sure to choose wisely which mission to undertake.
All right. I'll think on it and see what I can do.
And think on it we shall! Theres only time for one mission, so do we:
A: Destroy the PACT communications spire
B: Stop the human traffickers
Episode 3: A New Purpose