Part 7: Jun 24 2155 - Psychic Space Birds
Fuel capacity: +91%. Crew capacity: +50%. Storage capacity: +33%.
Damage output: -100%. We are now relying completely on Fwiffo and Tuf to to the fighting for us.
With 210 fuel, I can theoretically reach anywhere in the galaxy. To the Giclas cluster!
First foray into this region of space is an uneventful one. Time for resource gathering!
Epsilon Giclas has only one planet, but it's pretty mineral rich. Next stop: Delta Giclas.
This system has a lot going on! Still no Pkunk, though.
Delta Giclas VIII has some alien life for us to plunder! It's hostile, but there's no other planet hazards, so mopping them up is pretty easy.
Gotta be careful with the stunner on mineral-rich planets - I almost blew up some Uranium while capturing the alien lifeforms.
Another Metal World and a few other decent planets. On to Alpha Giclas!
An alien fleet has appeared in HyperSpace - it'll be waiting for me when I leave the system.
Another big system, this one full of planets that are optimally placed for alien life!
Alien ships detected!
VIDEO: HOBGOBLINS OF JOY
Seekers of the deepest truths, askers of interesting and significant questions. Even now a question of great transcendental significance comes unbidden to our minds: 'Who are you and what do you want?'
Ah, an insult... a sometimes necessary and constructive release of tension. Now perhaps you can feel better, and we can deal with your real problems.
Although we Pkunk have no rank, no pecking order, no arbitrary scheme of dominance, we do recognize that some of the souls in this universe have lived many lives, while others are but spiritual chickadees. I, Captain, have lived thirty-eight lives, a paltry number compared to those wise and ancient souls who guide our race.
You must consult them, Captain. They will help you to understand yourself, and in doing so, understand others... who in turn may or may not understand other things. Seek those wise birds at our homeworld, at Gamma Krueger I. They have all the answers.
Ahh, vague omens and mysterious portents. Tangled webs of fate intertwined with the branches of destiny, blown by the capricious winds of happenstance. News, news... uh, actually there is some news!
It just so happens that it has come to our attention that Dogar and Kazon, the two gods of the Ilwrath, may actually be a hoax. We don't know who this hoax would have been perpetrated by, but it seems someone has used these fictitious gods to send the Ilwrath down on us.
See the wise ones at our homeworld, Captain. Go to Gamma Krueger for your answers.
Yes, by all means, if duty is calling. I'm sure we'll see each other again. Perhaps when the stars are aligned in an appropriate configuration. Yes, my inner voice is telling me that is correct. When the stars align, Captain...
Done chatting with the Pkunk, I decide against trying to harvest any alien life from a planet with Class 4 Weather and Class 7 Tectonics.
While trying to reach the other moons in this system, I accidentally bump into another Pkunk fleet.
But we could not hurt you any more than we could squish the helpless Pootworm. We love the Pootworm. We are one with the Pootworm. We are one with you. Of course you realize this means you are one with the Pootworm. Rejoice!! To be one with the Pootworm is to be alive, and why not be alive? Is that not what living is for?
Well, we are quite sure now that Dogar and Kazon are a hoax. Aside from never having seen them on the 4th astral plane where most gods like to hang out, we also recently went back and listened carefully to a recording of one of their broadcasts, which was sent to the Ilwrath of HyperWave channel 44. We were able to detect some giggling at the end of the message.
Someone out there is playing some kind of joke on the Ilwrath. Or is it a joke on us? We're not quite sure, but what with all the vaporized planets and total carnage, it may be a while before we can look back and fully appreciate the humor.
Back to exploring the system. I decide against tempting the dark octopus gods on this planet.
The next moon over, however, gives a modest pile of biodata and a million radioactives.
Alpha Giclas IV is a fearsome planet, swarming with sturdy, slow, hostile life and covered in earthquakes. At great risk and substantial loss, I harvest a big pile of biodata.
Our map has been updated with the Pkunk sphere of influence! Time to visit their home system.
As I leave the system, I'm flagged down by the alien fleet! Time to learn more about the Pkunk's mystical secrets?
God damn it.
REPLICATION STATUS: EIGHT REPLICATIONS. NEXT REPLICATION 85 PERCENT COMPLETE.
ESTIMATED REPLICATIONS SINCE DEPARTURE FROM POINT OF ORIGIN: 583 REPLICATIONS.
ESTIMATED REPLICATIONS PROJECTED ONE YEAR FROM THIS DATE: 14,784 REPLICATIONS.
ESTIMATED REPLICATIONS PROJECTED FIVE YEARS FROM THIS DATE: 45,786,412 REPLICATIONS.
PRIORITY OVER-RIDE. NEW BEHAVIOR DICTATED. MUST BREAK TARGET INTO COMPONENT MATERIALS.
Here we go again... nah, forget it.
Rather than do this long, annoying fight again, I use my Escape Unit. After a few seconds of charging (during which the Probe zaps me a few times), I depart from the battle, at a cost of 5 fuel units.
Gamma Krueger! Positively crawling with psychic space dorks.
Hatchlings of light, spiritual soul beings of the vast cosmic oneness, wayfarers on the river of destiny, students of the mystical dimensions, purveyors of blissful love, birdlike manifestations of glorious light energies from the astral plane. How about yourselves?
Yes. We have good news! Well, that is to say, we have no news. But it is good news. Hmmmmm. This is your expression, human Captain. We Pkunk do not pretend to understand it.
Easy radioactives on the outer planet of the system.
Gamma Krueger II has some non-hostile but speedy life for the data folder.
Finally, the Pkunk homeworld!
It tells me that I must give you something... something to aid you on your noble quest! What, spirit? What must we give this young human?
Mineral resources? No. Important secrets? No. Starships? No. Then what IS it, spirit, spit it out! What?! That thing? Are you sure? Okay. Here you go, Captain. Take this Clear Spindle. It is an ancient and powerful device built by the Precursors hundreds of thousans of years ago. What does it do, you ask? I haven't the slightest idea.
Auspicious portents and serendipitous omens have foretold your arrival. Welcome, alien guest, to the home of the gentle and playful Pkunk... Children of the Cosmic Light... Hobgoblins of Joy... Seekers of Spiritual Truth... and other neat stuff like that.
Yes, yes. We know all that. We are not known throughout the galactic sector as powerful psychics for nothing! Of course we already known the asnwer to this next question too, but we enjoy conversation.
Why have you come here?
My telepathic sensors are telling me that you are repressing something. Repress, repress, repress. What is it? Come on. What is it? I see a smile. You're smiling. Tell Pkunky the secret. Come on, nasty alien gonna tell Birdy Pkunky big secret?
I sense a deeper reason, a deeper conflict. A conflict of immense proportion, a proportion of... deeper reason. A deeper thing that is... not too terribly deep. A conflicting deeper thing... uh, I'm not really sure what I sense. Are you sure there isn't something you want to say to me?
I am forming a psychic link with you. I sense that you refer to our conflict with the Ilwrath. I sense that you are offering to venture singlehandedly deep into Ilwrath space, and do battle with their vast numbers, and I can see that you give not even a thought to the danger you would be in. You are noble indeed, and I accept your offer of aid, but in spirit alone. The karmic burden of your gruesome death would be too great. Still, I say thank you, Captain. Let us unite and form an alliance!!
We will provide you with all of the crew, ships, and resources you desire. We will give you... wait! I sense that you are offended by our crass material offer. Yes, I am ashamed. Any war-mongering species could offer this... we are Pkunk! Children of the Stellar Breeze! We shall give you what all others could not! The greatest of gifts! We shall give you our love. Ah, you are speechless. Do not talk now. I can feel the energy connecting us. Let us part while the silence remains. Farewell...
But wait! Before we go, as a small token of our love, not as a material gift, mind you, we give you 4 of our meager ships, fully crewed. Good luck!
Well, that was something. We got new ships out of it!
However, I wasn't done talking to the Pkunk yet.
In fact, you are here because we wished you to be here. By channeling our psychic energies through a transdimensional flux inducer, we are able to affect the low frequency stream of a soul particle such as yourself, and direct its course. The only thing is, we can't remember why we brought you here.
Not at all, we are after all a fascinating species. Of course, modesty prevents me from talking at length, although perhaps if you were to ask me specific questions, propriety might be better served.
Ah. An intelligent question. But where to begin?
Surely you know that we Pkunk were once one and the same species as the Yehat. Yes, it's true. We were once brutal birds of prey, oblivious to the mysteries of crystal magic or the 7 dimensions of psychic beings. It was not until Weeny Wikki Beeki Birdi sat on the mystical egg of Icelike Temperature, and gave the Original Squawk - 'Rup-Rup-Rup-BGAK!' - that our transformation began. It was the squawk - 'Rup-Rup-Rup-BGAK!' that triggered the Harmonic Oscillations that would lead us to become the enlightened avians that we are.
That depends on how you define friendly. We love our Yehat brethren, whereas they open fire on our vessels on sight. Fortunately, our psychic abilities allow us to sense the deep, abiding love, and yes, even shyness in our Yehat brothers and sisters. How we must have hurt them when we left so long ago. Soon, though, it will be time for the loving reunion, as our destiny is fulfilled and we are once again reunited as one people.
Just off the top of my beak, I suppose I would say that our culture could be defined as the ultimate unification of Oneness, if you will, of the extradimensional convergent-chakra being-energies, to form a togetherness self which both is and is not a culmination of the now essence.
An excellent question. The answer is itself, an answer, containing the explanation you seek. And more! Let me say the revelation includes the mysteries of Pyramid Power, which is merely a subset of the greater and more general Pointy Power. UFO's and FO's are significant, but their role should not be overplayed. I'm sorry, but I can be no more specific than that.
Yes it's... uh... wait... a vision comes to me! A shining light - a crack in the egg! A swirling vortex... a tunnel. I see my past lives! Your past lives! More shining light! Ah, there it is now, the future!
It's coming in clearer. Yes. I see tears. Tears of joy! They are coming from our Yehat brothers and sisters, who welcome us back to the next, wings outstretched, beaks stuffed with grubs! Soon we shall return. Soon.
Yes, you are right. I should be careful not to overwhelm you with my psychic intensities, perhaps we could talk about something less overwhelming, albeit less interesting.
Why should we mind? We bear the spidery creatures no ill will. Without darkness there is no light. Without death there is no birth. And thanks to the Ilwrath, there's lots of birth.
We have delved most deeply into the dark and greasy heart of the Ilwrath. And what do you suppose we found there? Well, we found a torpid, vile, malign, odious, spiteful spirit. Right, no surprises there. What did surprise us, though, was what we saw when we regressed into their past lives! It turns out that in their last lives, the Ilwrath were all shining beings of pure light and blissful love. They had reached the pinnacle of spiritual evolution, and could go no further. They were perfection.
And then, somehow, they got just a little bit better, and WHAM, they were all of a sudden totally evil. Wouldn't you know it, get too perfect and you wrap right around to evil. That is why we Pkunk strive to be perfect, but always do little bad and annoying things to keep from ending up like the Ilwrath.
When? That's easy. It was exactly 27 thousand rotations of the 7th planet in the hosue of Plarty Fum, BEFORE the first alignment of the auspicious constellation of Bis Bis with the heavenly body of Shamla Sool, which was really only a partial alignment. I guess you would say 8 years ago.
We have calculated that at our present rate of attrition, we will exist only on the spiritual plane in a matter of a year or so. Of course, the physical realm does hold a certain coarse attraction, a material quaintness, if you will... we will be somewhat disappointed to have to leave it.
Hmmm. An interesting question. The answer would be... YES! If some benign and loving, yet incredibly destructive and powerful force were to simultaneously rip off all of their legs and drop their putrid egg sacs into steaming pools of molten metal, that would have the desired result of ending the conflict.
Ah, but I just. Of course I bear the Ilwrath no ill will... how could I, when I am filled only with love.
Yes, you're right. Why dwell on the heinous Ilwrath, when we could speak of flowers, rainbows, fairies, and crystal magic. Did you know, for example, that there is an invisible fairy spirit at this moment sitting on your head, and making humorous faces at me? Ah, the mysteries of the Universe. Try to understand 'em, but can you? Nope, they're mysteries!
Farewell, kind human. Return soon.
Next: Resource and data gathering continues... in the fringes of Ilwrath space!