Part 11: Oct 20 2155 - Negotiations with the Zoq-Fot-Pik
No modifications to the Heart of Gold today! Instead, I build two new ships for my fleet.
Next order of business: Making my way towards Zoq-Fot-Pik space!
As usual, making a few pit stops along the way to do some mining.
Along the way, I run into some old friends.
...just like you - how wonderful.
Very little, I'm afraid. We've just been watching the stars. You know, actually there was something that happened last month on the 17th; we saw a new star appear between the Circini and Chandrasekhar star clusters. We watched it and watched it - for three days, we just watched it, then it went away, vanished, just like that. I hope it comes back.
Stuck as we are, here out in deep space, we learn little of interest. I suggest you consult the more interesting folk at Spathiwa.
As you wish. Our waste recycling unit is at your disposal. There you will find quantities of methan, sulfurous gas, and some interesting organic compounds. Feel free, take all you want.
We used to be bored, but then we bought this cool entertainment product. It simulated a grand adventure through a thousand parsecs of hostile space, where we met interesting aliens, uncovered the secrets of a long-lost superior race, and eventually to save our world from destruction, we had to face the dread... never mind, I can tell you aren't really interested.
Same to you.
The Circini and Chandrasekhar clusters are consistent with where we detected that hyperspace anomaly. Sounds like it was only present for a three-day window, starting on the 17th of the month.
Thanks to Lander upgrades, I'm mostly immune to alien lifeform attacks. The defense isn't perfect - every now and then a bite gets through - but combined with the speed upgrade, we can easily take on octopus aliens now. Harvesting biodata is much easier than it used to be.
My next leg of the journey is interrupted!
One of these things.
THIS IS PROBE 2418-B. WE ARE ON A PEACEFL MISSION OF EXPLORATION.
PRIORITY OVER-RIDE. NEW BEHAVIOR DICTATED. MUST BREAK TARGET INTO COMPONENT MATERIALS.
I send one of my new Nemesis ships to try it out...
...but this turns out to be a terrible mistake. The Nemesis is a bit on the fragile side, and not fast enough to outrun the Probe. It's broken down into component materials in seconds.
I decide to let this one live.
Alpha Ceti has a lot of resources, but it's just too hot for practical mining at this point. I need more Lander upgrades.
So, out of Spathi space. Into Zoqfot space!
A lot of biodata, but no big surprises.
Enough stalling. On to their homeworld!
I think they're getting more common.
THIS IS PROBE 2418-B. WE SEEK TO MAKE FRIENDLY CONTACT WITH ALIEN LIFEFORMS.
PRIORITY OVER-RIDE. NEW BEHAVIOR DICTATED. MUST BREAK TARGET INTO COMPONENT MATERIALS.
I send Captain Pkunky (strangely, not a Pkunk) to deal with this one.
Multiple energy signatures heading my way in hyperspace as I reach Alpha Tucanae.
This must be the place!
Before hitting the first planet, mining.
Just look at those weapon pods on his ship.
We hope that during this visit, we can make clear to your species the benefits of a mutual-assistance pact.
But we're also armed to the teeth, so don't try stealing our atmosphere or anything sneaky like that!
How wonderful! We accept.
Captain, we are delighted that our people have made this choice!
Now WE won't get slaughtered!
In exchange for our cooperation helping you with captains and ship designs, all we ask for is your protection.
So we don't get slaughtered!
We shall begin fulfilling our commitment at once! We will transport officers and our Stinger design to your base immediately!
Why, heck! Maybe I'll even make the trip to your planet! I'd make a good starship captain, Captain! I'm pretty darn mean in a fight, and there ain't nobody better than me with a thrusting stinger tongue attack!
We had a close call last week.
One of those black ships was snooping around the system.
But before it got to our world, some of the green ships warped in, destroyed the black vessel, and then left immediately.
We got lucky.
No. We have nothing new to report.
Nope! Not a thing.
Sure. What do you want to know?
Just ask away!
Ah! Cultural exchange. A good idea.
Yeah! Let's tell him about Frungy!
Be quiet, you fool! He asked a serious question! He doesn't want to know about Frungy.
How do you know? What makes you so smart? You never even asked him if he wants to know about Frungy. Why, I'll bet right now he's wondering, 'What is this wonderful sport, Frungy?', 'How is it played?', 'What kind of equipment do you need to play Frungy?', and 'I wonder who's ahead in the Frungy Championships?
AUGH! Will you SHUT UP ABOUT FRUNGY?! If you say another word about that STUPID GAME, I'm going to lose control and blow a cloud of spores at you!
Yech! Okay, okay. Don't blow your sac. I won't mention Frungy again, I promise.
Well, Captain, as you can probably see, our culture's predominant trait, its greatest strength AND weakness, is the diverse interactions between Zoq, Fot, and Pik.
FRUNGY! FRUNGY! FRUNGY!
The Stinger is the peak of our technological prowess.
It's totally awesome!
These vessels are cheap to build, and can be quite effective in short range combat.
They turn on a... on a... well, a small round thing that's REAL small!
Remember though, against most ships, the Stinger must close distance immediately and give unrelenting tongue attacks until either the enemy or the Stinger are destroyed.
Yeah! The tonguing is the best part!
Our past? Quite a broad topic for this short conversation, but we'll share a key piece of our history with you.
After we killed off the last Zebranky, we faced an interesting question.
Should we proceed, and establish a culture which would advance in art, technology, and social sophistication?
Or should we just go back into the forest and kick back and enjoy ourselves, knowing that a Zebranky wasn't gonna jump out of the bush and eat us?
Well, we DID go back into the forest. We stayed there for about five thousand years and had a great time...
Then, one stormy day, a Zoq, a Fot, and a Pik were walking up a steep path, looking for something good to eat, when a bolt of lightning struck nearby. With a huge flash of light, the bolt of energy carved a strangely-shaped chunk of granite out of a cliff.
It was a disk, with a hole in the middle! As the rock began to roll down the hill, toward the three terrified beings, some dry grass got caught in its hole, and since the rock was still hot, the grass caught on fire.
When the rock finally got to the Zoq, the Fot, and the Pik, they simultaneously discovered the Wheel, Fire, and Religion, thus catapulting them on to the road of progress.
Which has led us to this day, Captain. Oh! How did the flaming wheel give religion to our culture, you ask?
I will explain. You see, when it got to the threesome, the flaming wheel was going at a pretty good clip, and it ran smack into the Zoq, killing him.
The Fot and the Pik felt so bad - they really liked that Zoq! - that they decided the Zoq hadn't really died when the wheel flattened him, he had just gone to 'a better place'.
Presumably one without lethal flaming wheels.
Not much, to tell the truth.
This space exploration stuff is kinda new to us.
Besides the green alien ships...
Which have only tried to kill us.
...and the black alien ships...
Which have actually been QUITE SUCCESSFUL as killing us.
The only other starships we have encountered are strange tumbling red probes, which profess to be on a peaceful mission...
...but then attack like slavering Zebrankys.
We believe that the probes are actually robotic scouts, which have suffered some kind of malfunction, resulting in their aberrant behavior.
And what's worse, they are multiplying.
Yes, that's true. The probes seem to be replicating at a geometric rate.
AIEE! That means if there was only one last week, then next month... ah... wait a minute... let me calculate... uh... That means, next month there will be... A WHOLE MESS OF THOSE THINGS!
By back-tracing the probes' course paths, we have been able to calculate that the source of the probes is somewhere on a direct line that includes our star and Epsilon Muscae.
Go get 'em, Captain!
Not a word.
New allies, get!
This is the line described by the Zoqfot. If we assume that the Probes are coming from the direction of Epsilon Muscae...
The most probable culprits are Vega, Beta Mira, and the Mersenne cluster.
Sadly, too far away to investigate for now.
Now, let's do a bit more exploring on the way back. I think I know a guy from this star system.
On the way there, I'm accosted by an alien fleet! Is it another damn probe?
VIDEO: ETERNAL DOCTRINE
We cleanse our destiny. You will soon die. Make whatever rituals are necessary for your species.
In the twenty thousand years of our Mission, we have heard more please for mercy than you can possibly imagine. Civilizations which saw their doom before them called upon their geniuses to calm us, to no avail.
Call me crazy, but I think these are the Black Ships that the Zoqfot are so worried about.
The Kohr-Ah Marauder is one of the sturdiest ships in the known galaxy. Crew and energy both cap out at 42.
Its primary weapon fires a super long-range spinning blade - as long as you hold down the fire button, it keeps flying outwards, stopping when the button is released. Once placed, it persists for a long time, slowly homing towards the enemy ship.
Its secondary function is the short-range but horrifyingly powerful Fiery Ring of Inevitable and Eternal Devestation. The F.R.I.E.D can be used to block incoming projectiles, or also to destroy ships that come in close.
The Marauder bounces off the planet a few times and I manage a few lucky Death Blossoms by striking when its weapon energy is low from throwing blades.
But, well, that could only go on for so long. Captain Twitter perishes in flames.
Since the enemy has already taken a lot of damage, I send in Captain Hooter to finish it off...
To no avail.
Help me, Spathi! You're our only hope!
Fast enough to dodge the blades and capable of attacking from outside the range of the Marauder's F.R.I.E.D system, the Eluder is a pretty strong pick against this monster of a ship.
Two to go.
Kwimp manages to take out two Marauders by the skin of his teeth.
The AI is an uncanny good shot with those things. Kwimp perishes.
Next, Captain *Wet*!
The Nemesis is a powerful ship in the right hands, but it's also difficult to use, as one of the game's more complex starships.
The special function button does nothing by itself - however, holding it and pressing left or right rotates the primary howitzer cannon, allowing attacks from any angle.
And by holding special and pressing fire, it can launch one of its crew out as a space marine! The marine will home towards the enemy, and start killing off its crew over time from the inside, until it eventually dies.
Unfortunately, I was a terrible shot for the majority of this engagement, partially due to the cannon being slightly off from straight backwards. *Wet* perishes.
Save us all, Fwiffo!
Fwiffo saves us all.
Well that sure was a nightmare.
Hopefully their sphere of influence isn't too much of a problem, right?