Part 2: Feb 17 2155 - Return to EarthBy thread decree, I am Captain Beeblebrox, piloting the Precursor vessel Heart of Gold.
February 17th, 2155. At long last, we have returned to our home system.
I slowly, slowly make my way towards Earth. Depicted above: The Heart of Gold's maximum velocity and turn speed.
Full space physics are about halfway in effect in this game - if I stop thrusting, the ship will continue to drift through space, but I still somehow have a max speed.
The closer I get to the center of the solar system, the more the view zooms in. If I touch a planet, I'll zoom in even further.
Time to come home!
Why is Earth red?
What the hell is that thing coming my way?
VIDEO: RECORDED MESSAGE
(I'll be including at least one video for each alien species encountered. For a game voiced entirely by devs and no-name local actors in 1992, the acting is surprisingly non-terrible.)
This drone-vessel speaks with the voice and authority of the Ur-Quan. You are tresspassing within Ur-Quan space. This world, Earth, may not be approached for any reason, nor will hostilities against our orbital platform be tolerated.
In addition, your ship does not respond to standard Hierarchy identification transmissions, and is therefore deemed to be... independent. This is not permissible - only subservience shall be tolerated.
This drone now leaves to inform the Ur-Quan of your transgressions. You are commanded to remain here and await the arrival of the Ur-Quan. Disobedience will be punished.
Sounds like the war went pretty well.
I can't land on or communicate with Earth - there's some kind of glowing barrier surrounding the entire planet.
OK, how about that space station?
I am Starbase Commander Hayes of the slave planet Earth. Our HyperWave broadcasts - extremely weak... situation critical - energy cores exhausted... scanners and deep radar are non-functional... we cannot identify your vessel...
Are you the scheduled Hierarchy resupply ship? Repeat, are you the resupply vessel?
Conversations use a typical branching dialogue system - whichever one is lit up is what Beeblebrox is saying.
Look, I don't know who you are or why you're here, but right now the only thing I'm worried about is saving the lives of the 1900 men and women aboard this starbase, and right now you're our only hope. I can't keep the transmitter on too much longer - we need the power for heat and air, so if you don't have any radioactives on board your vessel, please get some and bring them back here before it's too late.
The fastest way to get radioactives in this system would be to land on Mercury and scour the surface for deposits of radioactive elements. But be careful. Mercury is a pretty inhospitable place! Watch out for earthquakes and high-temperature areas!
Thanks! I'll make sure to mention this the next time I talk with our masters... I'm sure they will reward you.
Well. I guess we lost the war pretty badly.
Off to Mercury!
I can't believe how slow this ship is!
Mineral scan shows scourable resources. Energy scan shows points of unusual activity on the planet. Biological scan shows anything that's moving around of its own will.
The orange dots on the mineral scan map are the radioactives we're after. I load 12 of my crew into a lander, and send it to the surface.
Mercury is a pretty nasty place, between the hotspots moving around the surface and the earthquakes. I'll talk more about the details when I get to doing more in-depth harvesting - for now, the away team grabs some Uranium and heads back to the Heart of Gold ASAP.
Long, slow crawl back to the starbase.
VIDEO: STARBASE ONLINE
We are initiating transfer of radioactives, Captain. Now, as soon as our engineers can refit the energy cores...
...there, that's much better. Power ratings are climbing, life support is coming back into the green. Deep radar systems and sensors are online and I can scan your vessel.
Just who ARE you, Captain?
Star Control science mission, eh? Captain, I served as a Star Control officer during the war, aboard several cruisers in the Coreward Front, and if there had been any 'scientific mission' to Vela, I would have heard about it.
Hmm... you know, come to think of it... there were some rumors that Corridor Nine, the special operations division of Star Control, was directing some hush-hush operation near Androsynth space. The Vela star system... yes, that would be in the right direction...
...So, Captain... if you say it's true... how do you explain that huge, alien starship you're flying, and why are you here? What do you want from us?
Ahh... fight the Ur-Quan! Win back our freedom! I remember having such thoughts myself... once, a long time ago. But that was in the first years after the defeat, when it was still terrifying to look up and see the bloody glow of the pulsating slave shield overhead. Through day and night we gazed up at the impenetrable wall, as through the sheer power of our hatred would pull it down.
But over the years, I spent so much of my time struggling, down on the surface under the shield and then later up here, trying to keep this station alive, that I'd forgotten what it means to be free... to hate our Ur-Quan Masters! And now, here you are, in an alien ship of unknown power, offering me your assistance to fight against the Hierarchy again, after all these years.
Captain, your offer is intriguing. It's tempting to think that with your advanced Precursor technology, we can somehow crack Earth's slave shield and reassemble the Alliance to attack the Hierarchy, and THIS time win the damn war!
But... consider the consequences if we should fail. The Ur-Quan won't just punish us here on the station. They will exact a gruesome retribution on the surface below as well. Before I commit this station to helping you attack the Ur-Quan and accepting the risk of annihilation if we are defeated, I have to make sure that you and your ship have what it takes to oppose the Hierarchy.
If you can eliminate the alien base on the moon, and get rid of that threat, at least... I will seriously consider your offer.
After the Ur-Quan erected the slave shield around Earth and established this space station, they decided to leave a contingent of combat ships close to the Earth, to keep watch on our planet and confirm that we were obeying the Ur-Quan slave laws. I'm certain they're still out there on the surface of the moon, because we can pick up a constant stream of alien broadcasts.
Be careful, Captain. There are probably a dozen Spathi Eluders and Ilwrath Avengers down there on the lunar surface. I don't know why they haven't come after you yet, but when they do, you'd better have your weapons armed, and your thrusters burning hot.
Very well. Time to face certain destruction.
That energy signature must be the Ur-Quan base. Are the bio readings the enemy soldiers?
I send an away team to a nice open area of the planetary surface.
They appear to just be... little robots, wandering the surface at random.
One shot of the Lander's main cannon takes them out, but they're no threat, so I mostly just leave them alone.
After landing, the away team are free to explore the planet surface. While I'm here, I collect some base metals that will come in handy later.
The map scrolls around the edges horizontally, but not vertically.
There's the base! Time to figure out what's going on down here.
...BEEN PROGRAMMED TO ROAM THE LUNAR SURFACE, BULLDOZING MOONDUST INTO RANDOM PILES.
IN ADDITION, WE HAVE FOUND THE INSTALLATION'S HYPERWAVE LOCKED IN TRANSMIT MODE, ENDLESSLY PLAYING THE SAME ALIEN RECORDING. ALTHOUGH WE CANNOT TRANSLATE THE MESSAGE, OUR XENOTECH, ENSIGN RIGBY, BELIEVES THE MESSAGE IS SOME KIND OF ALERT OR MAYDAY BROADCAST.
THE BASE IS FITTED WITH USEFUL MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT. WE WILL SCAVENGE AS MUCH AS WE CAN, AND BRING IT ABOARD IMMEDIATELY.
---- END OF REPORT ----
There's no reason Hayes has to know about this.
You fought them, Captain!? I hope you didn't suffer serious casualties?
I'm delighted to hear it, Captain. I wish I could have been there.
Captain, listen closely! Long range sensors show a ship closing on this station, fast! Our computer identifies it as Ilwrath, Avenger-class. I think you've got a fight on your hands, Captain.
Your best bet is to wait until you have point bl-nk r-nge...
C-pt-in! It's ja-min- ou- s-gn-l!...
VIDEO: FIRST BLOOD
A Hu-Man In An Alien Starship... How Fascinating! When I Intercepted That Ur-Quan Drone, And Learned That An Unidentified Starship Had Approached Earth, I Never Expected To Find Such A Remarkable Vehicle In The Hands Of A Hu-Man.
Hu-Mans Are Prey Animals - Weak And Helpless - But Here Is A Hu-Man In An Armed Starship! And Therefore In Direct Violation Of The Oath Of Fealty. I Am Sure Our Masters, The Ur-Quan, Will Punish Earth Most Severely For This Treachery When I Present Them With The Twisted Wreckage Of Your Ship And Your Many Charred Corpses.
Since You Will Soon Be Dead, I Will Gladly Explain. We Have Spent Many Years Gleefully Preying On The Pkunk. They Are A Pitiful, Easily-killed Species, And We Would Have Continued In This Divine Worship Of Dogar And Kazon, But We Required Additional Crew Members And Repairs To Our Cloaking Device.
So We Departed The Giclas Constellation And Set Course For Home. But Before We Had Reached Our Region Of Space, We Detected The Passage Of A Nearby Vessel - The Ur-Quan Drone. It Informed Us About You... So Here We Are.
And Now, YOU DIE!
It's time for a real battle!
My fleet so far consists of two ships - the Heart of Gold, and a solitary Earthling Cruiser, piloted by Captain Tuf.
The Heart of Gold is still incomplete, so I can't risk it in combat against hostile aliens. Tuf, do your best!
So, how combat works in this game--
Oh. It's already over.
I guess I'll explain it when we get in a more substantial fight than this one.
I haven't seen an Avenger blown away like that since the Battle in Draco. I guess you've shown that you can handle yourself in battle, Captain, so my last reservation about helping you has been dissolved. I will commit this station to helping free Earth and defeat the Ur-Quan. We may get our atoms rearranged in the process, but by God, Captain, we're going to try!
So, the obvious first step is to get your Precursor equipment and software over here, so that we can make it work with our ship repair fabricators. But then what, Captain?
If you feel it's necessary, Captain, I understand.
By the way, Captain, I think we need a name for this new alliance we're going to forge. And since it was your idea, it's only fair that you get the honor of naming it. So, what'll it be?
Voting will last for 24 hours.