Part 8: Jul 20 2155 - Ilwrath Territory
I depart the Pkunk homeworld to ride towards more violent pastures.
Gamma Lacaille is in both Pkunk and Ilwrath space, but...
It looks like it's effectively just an Ilwrath system.
I duck around over a dozen Ilwrath fleets to try and find a decent planet to plunder.
This looks like a good one!
The planet is coated in swarms of furious alien mice - fast, dangerous, and going down in a single shot.
It takes a lot of trips, but this is probably the most productive planet visit of the trip so far.
On the way out, I'm ambushed by the Ilwrath!
VIDEO: DIE, DIE, DIE
I Dance With Joy For Our Good Fortune. The Hu-Man Dies With Such Agony That It Cannot Help But Please Dogar And Kazon.
Hah! Puny Hu-Man! You Make Me Chitter With Amusement! By The Will Of The Mighty Dogar And Kazon, I Am Here To Make You Die, Die, DIE!
There was no way this wasn't ending in combat. Let's give our new ships a shot!
So, the last time we fought an Avenger, it was badly damaged. Now, we get to see what fighting these guys is really like:
The Avenger is slow, and only effective at short range, but it can turn invisible at will, at no energy cost.
The Punk Fury is another short-range attacker, but it's fast, maneuverable, and fires in three directionts at once with its main attack.
The Fury is powered by psychic energy, which doesn't regenerate on its own. The ship's secondary function hurls insults at the enemy, letting the Pkunk crew psyche themselves up for battle.
In a head-on confrontation, the Fury is obliterated in a flash. Looks like the Ilwrath win...
But wait! A miracle has occurred!
Every time a Fury is destroyed, it has a chance to randomly reincarnate with a full crew.
The standard attack pattern for the Fury is the Death Blossom. Cut the engines, spin and shoot while coasting, then jet back away. Allows a 360-degree strafing attack that's almost impossible to avoid.
Every reincarnation is an even 50% chance. Miraculously, Buzzard's crew come back to life three times in a row.
Victory is ours!
Except for one small detail: That fleet had two ships in it.
RIP Commander Buzzard.
Next: An ill-advised decision to send in my Earthling Cruiser.
The Cruiser is a long-range artillery ship, slow but capable of attacking with powerful tracking nuclear missiles from any distance.
Unfortunately, the Avenger's cloaking device leaves the Cruiser's missiles unable to track it, so I'm left firing and judging the ship's position based on the camera (you can also spot a hiding Avenger when it passes over the background starfield.)
Also unfortunately, the Avenger, slow as it is, is slightly faster than the Cruiser.
Once the Avenger gets in range, the fight is all but over. The Cruiser's secondary, a point defense laser system, isn't much help either.
RIP Commander Tuf, victim of my bad leadership.
Twitter covers for my dreadful mistake.
Anyway, I'd better get the hell out of here before I lose any more ships.
We Will Bet On How Many Parts We Can Remove Before It Stops Making Noise! Now, You Space-Ship Captain, Begin The Expedient Transfer Of All Hu-Man Crew So That We May Waste No Time.
It Is The Good Will Of Dogar And Kazon That Brings The Fodder Hu-Man To Us! Were It Not For The Dark Lords Of Deceptions' Mighty Directive, We Would Not Have The Good Fortune To Intercept You For A Festive Limb Wringing!
Your Fight For Life, Though Futile, Serves The Noble Purpose And Appeases Our Honored Deities. You Have Earned The Right To Hold Your Head High!
I've got fuel. I don't want to fight these guys.
I'm falling prey here to an annoying quirk of the game system. I got attacked while right on top of the planet, and then when I emerged from battle, it did a planet collision check - putting me right back in the planet area.
Then, when I leave, the Ilwrath are waiting for me again.
Why do these fleets keep getting larger?
We Grow Excited: The Hu-Man Makes Excellent Ceremony. When We Peel It, Urgent Bleating Comes From The Noisemaker. Then, The Green Eye Of Dogar Observes It Writhe Upon The Altar, And The Cilia Of Kazon Swell, Indicating Their Readiness For The Juices. It Squirms With Vigor Until We Pop The Crunchy Noisemaker.
Rejoice! The Duo Of Deception Shall Receive Their Supplication.
Incorrectness! We Come From The Eye Of Dogar. Such A Quasar Exists Nowhere Near This Location! Look In The Heavens At Location 022.9, 366.6 And Gaze Into The Depths Of Its All-Seeing Eye If You Dare! Only By The Sparing Caress Of Kazon's Anointed Cilia Will You Survive Such An Act. Else, You Will Bless The Altar Of Consumption With Your Ceremonial Blood!
Okay, I have a plan this time.
On the solar system map, I can outrun the Ilwrath. So, I go in circles while they all filter into this planetary system.
Then, once they're all bunched up, I make my escape!
I have to get out of here.
Now, what can we do for you today?
The 203 units of biological data we downloaded from your ship earn you 406 Credits.
The technology we are now offering includes specifications for constructing modifications to your planet landers which will double their speed.
Ah yes, speed! An excellent choice for the relentless hunter, and the craven coward as well. These modifications are simple enough to be put in place immediately. Your landers should be properly equipped in no time.
The technology we are now offering includes details on how to add 'point-defense' laser defense systems for your flagship.
These little babies are great for defense, but because of their limited range, they may not make a good offensive weapon. However, the more you build for your vessel, the more damage each laser strike will do.
The technology we are now offering includes plans for building improvements to your planet landers which make them resistant to hostile alien lifeforms.
It has been a pleasure dealing with you, Captain. We look forward to your next visit.
A fine job, Captain!
The analysis reads as follows:
SUBJECT: Clear Spindle Device.
DATA: The object in question has no clear use or means of activation, but does have super-conductive characteristics between 18 and 22 degrees C. We suspect that it is of Precursor manufacture, but we cannot be certain without extended study.
SUMMARY: In all likelihood, this object is a part of a larger device whose capabilities remain unknown.
The Mycons are hard to get a handle on. In fact, I'm not sure any human has ever had a real conversation with a Mycon. What we know of them we have learned from their corpses, which, I may add, have a nasty habit of coming back to life when thawed out from a decompression quick-freeze.
Mycon ships seem to expend a significant amount of energy on life support. This is probably because the Mycon only thrive in temperatures close to the melting point of lead. As far as we know, the Mycon are the only race to actively seek out the Ur-Quan in order to become combat slaves.
Imagine facing a cowardly, mobile clam armed with a howitzer, and you've got a good idea of what it's like dealing with a Spathi. Although they tend to avoid battles as much as their masters will allow, once in battle, a Spathi Eluder is one tough cookie.
I once heard a rumor, though I don't like to believe in it myself, that a rogue band of courageous Spathi broke away from the main starfleet, painted their ships black with bright red stripes, and formed the 'Black Spathi Squadron', dedicated to performing brave and hostile deeds. Like I said, I'd have to see it to believe it.
It's unfortunate that the Umgah fell to the Ur-Quan so early in the War, because I suspect we would have gotten along well with those big blob creatures; at the very least, it would have been entertaining. We known them a bit better than most races, because they were eager to talk with our ships, before, after, and during battle.
The Arilou intimated that they had a relationship with the Umgah before the Ur-Quan arrived, but I don't know any details.
When I was flying combat missions along the Coreward Front, there was nothing we feared more than the Androsynth Hit-And-Run Squadron. Their Blazer ships were more than a match for our Cruisers, so we stayed clear of Eta Vulcepulae, their home star. In addition, I think each of us aboard the ship knew deep down in our hearts that the Androsynth had a damn good reason for hating us.
Our grandparents had kept them as slaves for nearly 50 years.
I still have nightmares about those spiders taking me prisoner - using me as one of their sick sacrifices to Dogar and Kazon, their twin gods of destruction and torment. Those guys were almost as scary as the Androsynth to those of us in deep-space patrol. Their Avenger ships could appear out of nowhere and melt a Cruiser down to slag in seconds. Luckily for us, the bulk of the Ilwrath fleet was thrown against the Chenjesu and the Mmrnmhrm.
The Starship Far Voyager, under the command of Captain Jeffry L. Rand, encountered the VUX near Beta Mira. Although the details are hazy, it is generally accepted that Rand offended the VUX starship Commander with an inadvertent insult.
None that we had made formal contact with. The Chenjesu implied that they had met 2 other starfaring species, one near the Giclas constellation, and the other directly coreward from Procyon. The Ariloulaleelay once mentioned having 'some fun' with an alien race in Draconis, but like so much else with the Arilou, they never revealed the whole story.
I am sure there are hundreds more alien races in our galaxy, but beyond what I've told you, your guess is as good as mine.
Bring back lots of minerals, Captain.
A new module is available! The Point Defense System, for 4000 RUs, gives the Heart of Gold a secondary function that fires low-powered short-range lasers, ideal for shooting down enemy projectiles but ill-suited to attacking enemy ships.
New starmap intel!
Alpha Tauri appears to be the location of the Ilwrath's twin gods, Dogar and Kazon. We've also heard rumors from the Pkunk that said gods are a hoax, perpetrated by unknown tricksters for unknown reasons.
Eta Vulcepulae is the home star of the Androsynth, who we haven't heard from in some time. It might be good to see what they're up to, although they probably won't be too happy to see us, considering our shared history.
Not far from that same region of space, we have the VUX, who it sounds like aren't too fond of us either.
The Arilou said there was another race in the Draconis cluster, but that's still way too far out of our way to visit until we have a faster way to cross long distances.
"Coreward from Procyon" covers almost the entire galactic sector, so that hint isn't much use.
So, once again, we come to the usual two questions. There's a lot on our plate right now, and a lot of aliens we've yet to make contact with. Fuel supplies are fine, but we're going to need more Melnorme upgrades before planet investigation becomes any less of a crew sink.
Shopping recap (7791 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)
- Point Defense (4000 RUs
- 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)
- Pkunk Fury (Cannot be purchased, but can be SOLD for 2000 RUs, plus 3 per crew)
- Hit Vela, Eta Vulcepulae, and Beta Mira to visit our home colony and make contact with the Androsynth and VUX
- Visit Procyon to find out what became of the Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm
- Visit Delta Gorno to check on the Shofixti, and swing by Yehat space while we're in the area
- Visit Alpha Tucanae to forge an alliance with the Zoq-Fot-Pik
- Visit Alpha Tauri to witness the terror of the twin gods Dogar and Kazon(?)
EMPIRE MEMBERSHIP: HUMANS, SPATHI, PKUNK
CREW LOST: 258