Part 6: Jun 02 2155 - Human-Spathi negotiations
I think it won't be hard to find the Spathi homeworld in this system.
I dodge all the Spathi ships on the way in - not because they're dangerous, but because I don't feel like wasting my time on extra talking encounters.
For now, let's take a look at Spathiwa's moon.
This kind of fleet is generally seen at a race's homeworld - it means that, if a fight starts, enemy ships will keep warping in endlessly, one after another, until I die or run away.
So what's it doing on the moon?
You get to live a bit longer.
You have given us the corrrect Cypher, and 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, never to reveal, even when threatened with considerable pain.
And just where is this Spathi 'friend' now? Never mind - the answer is all too obvious in your tiny, dry eyes.
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.
We are too afraid of the Ur-Quan to consider such an alliance. They would most certainly punish us with extreme tortures.
Hello! Hello! Awaken from your dreamy state, Hunam! Now is the time for realism, not wild fancy!
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.
Well, that would probably work, but I have a better idea - a test, one of those questy kind of things.
You must wipe the Evil Ones from the face of Spathiwa!
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 in a complex, agrarian society. We learned to write on clay tablets, and 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 again 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.
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 there were all devoured painfully.
We will await your return with great anticipation. Simultaneously, we will prepare a short, poignant eulogy to mourn your demise.
No longer curious about the alien ship in the system, the Spathi fleets return to their orbits.
I move from the moon to the planet.
Holy hell, there's a lot of them.
All right, I cut my teeth on the murder octopuses of Eta Illuminati. Time to stare death in the face!
I feel like I should have expected this.
The Evil Ones do damage the Lander if it touches them, but they also can be incapacitated with a single shot, and don't move at all.
So, I slowly, methodically clear the planet, losing zero crew members.
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 elderly first, as a special honor! Please come back later to receive your accolades.
Wait a minute.
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!
Why don't you just wait a while, until after we are resettled on our homeworld? We can discuss details at that time.
Ten, fifteen years tops.
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?
NO! ...er... no... please!
exactly what kind of relationship were you thinking of?
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.
Success! We have our first allied race!
Before we go home, though, I have one more stop to make.
Now, what can we do for you today?
The 77 units of biological data we downloaded from your ship earn you 154 Credits.
What trade items would you like to buy today?
Investment! Ah yes, you are so right. These technological breakthroughs don't cost you Credit, they EARN you Credit! Of course, there is an initial charge, but each technological system is GUARANTEED to be useful for something important, somewhere in the galaxy, at some point in the future.
All technologies cost 150 Credits. The technology we are now offering includes plans for building blaster weapons twice as powerful as your ion-bolt guns.
Please remember that these weapons consume energy from your combat batteries faster than your familiar ion-bolt guns. You may wish to compensate for this by building additional dynamo modules for your flagship.
The technology we are now offering includes specifications for constructing modiications to your planet landers which will double their speed.
As you know, in our many centuries of star-trading, we Melnorme have come to learn much about what happens in our galaxy, both now and in the ancient past. We have also kept records on the diverse alien races in your region of space. We will share this crucial knowledge with you for a fee of 75 credits per informative act. No refunds.
At some point, we'll need to decide on how to spend our Credits, but for now I'm going to railroad us towards technology. We need a few more technologies to make it easier to get more biodata.
Anyway, it's time to go home.
I know you're busy, but I've got some news.
Captain, a delegation of Spathi has just arrived here under orders from their High Council to form an alliance and assist you against the Hierarchy! They have provided fabricator blueprint data for their 'Eluder' spacecraft, and promise a steady supply of captains for as many ships as we build. Excellent work, Captain!
This will really help, Captain.
The Shofixti are a race of intelligent marsupials who had been 'civilized' for only a few decades when the War began. They were discovered in the Delta Gorno star system by the Yehat, who adopted and then 'uplifted' the Shofixti, giving them advanced technology and cultural definition. Shofixti are noble and fearless warriors, Captain. In addition, their incredible fecundity and rapid maturation rate kept Alliance ranks solid even at the worst parts of the war.
You know, I once flew as an observer aboard one of their ships on routine patrol. We never saw the enemy, but I could never stop thinking about the 'Glory Device' it had strapped to the bottom of its hull.
The Yehat are a race of ancient warrior clans that have been traveling the stars for many centuries. The clans are highly competitive and sometimes even wage war on each other, but the clans are all loyal to the Queen and her royal family, known as the Veep-Zeeps. The Veep-Zeeps have been in power for over 2,000 years, and it is said that during their rule, the Yehat never lost a battle.
I'd like to think I'm not a bigoted person, Captain, especially when it comes to allies, but there is just something about those Arilou that gives me the creeps. One thing I'll say for them, though - they possess some technique for moving REALLY fast through HyperSpace. They never let us know what it was, but it sure beats the pants off our fastest ships.
The Chenjesu were leaders of the Alliance, even though they refused to formally accept the title. I don't know if their silicon-based biology is just plain superior to our old carbon models, or if their fantastic intellects were the product of an ancient, peaceful culture. Whatever the reason, I'd rather be taking orders from a Chenjesu than any other lifeform, absolutely.
One of the more amazing things about them was that they never used HyperWave communicators. They could send messages naturally, and their natural HyperWave receptors were much more sensitive than even our best units.
We didn't really get much of a chance to learn about these mechanical beings, but I'll tell you what I know. They are the product of a distant, unknown culture who sent a giant Factory-Ark into our region of space many centuries ago. The Mother Ark (that's what the Earth press called it) churned out millions of robots, and finally broke down.
I don't know why the Mmrnmrhm didn't repair the Mother-Ark, maybe they can't. My personal guess as to why they were sent here is that they're on the leading edge of a colonization project, and once the Mmrnmhrm have tamed enough new worlds, the genuine colonists - whoever they are - will arrive and claim their due.
Most raw recruits saw the Syreen as nothing more than warm, breathing pin-ups. Warm they are, and yes, they do breathe most magnificently, but Captain, they are far more than simple joy units. Their history shows that the Syreen established and maintained a peaceful culture from their Bronze Age through their discovery of starflight. Before their planet was destroyed in a horrible cataclysm, their world was an Eden.
Try to avoid getting gruesomely killed, Captain.
Time for upgrades! We have two new things to buy now.
Fusion Blasters are weapons, twice as powerful as Ion-Bolt Guns, but consuming twice as much combat energy. They're our most expensive purchase at 4000 RUs, and will be difficult to use without more dynamo units.
The Spathi Eluder can now be built at the shipyard for 1800 RUs! We've already seen it in action.
New destinations! Delta Gorno is the home of the Shofixti - what fate befell them during the War?
Alpha Tucanae, the Zoqfot home system, is very far away, but just barely within range. It'd be a long, expensive trip, but on the other hand, they are under seige by evil aliens.
So, let's once again vote for a shopping list and a destination. For upgrading the ship, remember that all items that can be bought with RUs can be refunded for their full value - for example, I could replace an Ion-Bolt Gun with a Fusion Blaster for a total of 2000 RUs.
Shopping recap (5121 RUs):
- Crew Pod (2000 RUs, +50 crew capacity, plus 150 RUs for crew)
- Cargo Bay (750 RUs, +500 storage space)
- Fuel Tank (500 RUs, +50 max fuel, plus 1200 RUs for fuel)
- Dynamo Unit (2000 RUs, increased energy regeneration rate)
- Ion-Bolt Gun (2000 RUs, more shooty)
- Fusion Blaster (4000 RUs, double the shooty)
- Turning Jets (500 RUs, rotate faster)
- Antimatter Thrusters (500 RUs, move faster)
- Planet Lander (500 RUs, backup lander)
- Earthling Cruiser (1100 RUs, plus 51 RUs for crew)
- Spathi Eluder (1800 RUs, plus 87 RUs for crew)
- Visit the Giclas cluster to meet the Pkunk
- Head toward Vela to search for the Androsynth and talk to our home colony
- Visit Procyon to find out what became of the Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm
- Visit Delta Gorno to check on the Shofixti
- Visit Alpha Tucanae to forge an alliance with the Zoq-Fot-Pik
EMPIRE RACES: HUMANS, SPATHI
CREW LOST: 138