Part 19: Oct 02 2156 - The Utwig and the Supox
Welcome to a brand new region of space!
Time to poke around at random.
Zeta Librae has one decent metal world, but no intelligent life.
Next, I'll try the Hyades cluster.
On the way, I spot an alien fleet! I hook around to give my regards.
VIDEO: THE ULTRON
On behalf of the Utwig Proctors I truly hope, for your sake, that your day has been better than ours, although this really isn't saying that much.
What good would that do -- I mean, why should we? We agonized for hours wondering if it was a cruel twist of fate or simply a serious case of butterfingery. Ah, the lifetimes that have been spent in the pursuit of the elusive answer to this deceptively simple question has driven many of us down the dark road of self-destruction. Indeed, even as these words strike the ears of any who care to listen, the real question is, Does It Matter? I cannot say, I wallow in a quandary, unable to determine what better atones for my part of the Great Sin.
Should I engage in slow and painful self-termination? Should I commit myself to a long life of painful self-flagellation? Should I throw myself with enthusiastic verve at the problem of collective annihilation? I do not know. Even now my mind writhes in anguish of indecision, lest the outcome be inadequate.
*Sigh* All right, I'll try, but you know, it really doesn't matter. After all, we have a famous Utwig saying: when one loses the reason for existence, one tends to get less motivated. This goes hand-in-hand with the painfully appropriate credo, `We broke it so we are paying for it'.
Of course, this isn't really accurate; the situation is so much more hideous! Imagine, if you can, holding within your hands The Answer... only to have it taunt you with its former potential! Ah, cruel irony! The loss of the Ultron grieves us all!
Bah! It doesn't matter! Besides being of no concern to you I find discussion of this matter, well, distasteful.
*Sigh.* The Ultron was not only the thing which assures total and complete meaning of life for you and I. It is Universal; I'm sure that you too are aware of this thing if only in legend! It granted us all limitless power and knowledge. It has been since, well, rendered inoperative.
You are kind. If we could wield the Ultron to resurrect your Splib, we would. But I suddenly am overcome with waves of depression. I must retire now to perform rituals of anguish. Waves of trauma wash across my being even now. I must go.
Every new encouter is an adventure.
Alpha Hyades has some more Utwig fleets!
Let's see if we can learn a bit more about this Ultron thing.
...Look, this was way before the MCU was a thing. They didn't know that that name would make everything weird in the future.
We know nothing of this species that you mention. However, while we are on the subject of evil and powerful species, we have encountered a particularly gruesome race that seemed to come from the direction of Arcturus. When we hailed them, they responded with mighty weapons that sent our delegation to their deaths... lucky fools.
The alien's dark crusty battleships are capable of guiding spinning mines into almost any location, and should an enemy get too close, a fiery corona emerges to inflict fearsome damage. In our skirmishes with the race, who called themselves the Kohr-Ah, we found that by using our own shielding capability we could sweep through the mines, absorb the corona, and then get close enough to the dark ships to give a lick of our own. In truth, however, they are very powerful and ruthless. When the Kohr-Ah started to press toward our homeworld, we thought that our deserved punishment was being administered. But then, a mystery? They suddenly became disinterested and veered away. Bah! Confounding frustration! With the Ultron I could speak knowledgeably on this subject!
To have this quality torn from our grasp emphasizes how meaningless our existence really is. This lack of meaning is what drives my species to the serious contemplation of a quick end!
Aagghh! Your query once again painfully reminds me of the Ultron and what it was for the Universe! I could tell you all and correct ALL that is wrong in the Universe!
All I can tell you is that the Kohr-Ah live to kill. Their stated purpose is to seek out new life and new civilizations, and then annihilate them. We seemed to qualify as such and that is why it is puzzling that after pursuing us with some tenacity, they suddenly turned away and headed toward Crateris.
Aangh! All this speculation would be unnecessary if only we had saved the Ultron! It would not have taken much; a diving catch, a thrown pillow, even a fuzzy wumpus would have broken the fall satisfactorily! Indeed, a panel convened to analyze the possibilities concluded there were at least 623 ways that the Ultron could have been saved if we had been prepared! Aagghh!
Let us cease our discussion concerning these matters.
Hah, to say the least! Our past is one of a glorious and proud people coupled with a cataclysm that rocks the Universe to its very core!
It all began when the Chimt rose from the Murky Bog and the Utwig emerged as well. In these primitive times we cavorted about our world oblivious to any sort of higher purpose; we took everything at face value. Meanwhile, the tendrils of the Chimt infiltrated the vast sky canopies of Fahz and then the veils fell! Suddenly, the Utwig were stunned by a collective realization! All immediately and urgently donned veils of every description! Hides, leaves, shells, rocks even living drells were donned in the early days.
You see, the face is the mechanism that expresses many of the primitive qualities that hinder sentience. Now rid of constant reminders of greed, rage, hatred, and lust, the wisdom of the Utwig was no longer hampered by constant reminders of the primitive urge. Over many generations mask etiquette was refined to a rock-solid foundation of our society. Sure, the Morality Riots were expensive, both in lives and infrastructure, but the result was better mask regulation; specification from your basic Mask of Gruelling but Neccessary Activity to the most highly decorated Countenance of Stellar Representation. These were clearly defined. Recognizing the importance of flexibility, clear-cut and efficient procedures for revision and redesign dealt with the few anomalies. From that moment when we covered the source of our intellectual oppression we knew that it was a grand purpose that defined our destiny.
Are you still listening?! Our entire development as a sentient species was coordinated to coincide with the appearance of a remarkable device - the Ultron! We were oblivious to its tragic implication.
In order for you to truly understand the situation, you need to know more about the Ultron and its unique capabilities. You see, when the Druuge discovered the Ultron they knew that it was ours. The Druuge were compelled by intrinsic universal direction to take it to where it has always belonged. They brought it to us.
Oh, the Ultron! It assured total and complete meaning of life for All -- the Universal! With the Ultron in hand I could sense not only your motivations and desires, but your purpose. I could act upon these things in ways that would most likely seem mysterious if not, well, daft. Years later, you would herald our participation in your development as the turning point for your species. The Druuge were only one of the few to benefit in this way. Even now, they are puzzled by the way we rewarded them for the delivery of the Ultron to its correct place. In twenty four years, two months and three days they will all dance the dance of Jubilation. Indeed, the Ultron has allowed us to fundamentally change the Druuge forever!
The Supox too received many benefits from our use of the Ultron. They can testify to its power!
Yes, things were perfect. What happened is, well, I... it is difficult to talk about. But I saw it happen. I witnessed the Chinz-Rahl celebration. I felt the Ultron fill the empty place that I did not know was there. I saw the Grand Proctor pass it to... well, they say that the Chief Groo did not know that it was so heavy and slippery.
Perhaps it was a combination of factors. Some who have reviewed the records claim it was actually a conspiracy! The commission investigation officially stated that the Ultron was rendered inoperative by the fall to the ground, yet many feel that the whole story has not yet been told!
As it struck the ground, I saw its glow fade, and then the painful void incapacitated all. All Utwig immediately donned the mask of Ultimate Embarrassment and Shame with a vow to wear it forever! Bonfires all over Fahz consumed all but this mask; no other mask was spared! The Visage of Ceremonial Orations in all of its contexts and revisions, as I'm sure you understand, all of the courting masks from the clever and intriguing Veil of Flirtatious Prancing to the infamous Lewd Monacle... all consumed by the hungry flames. Even the most fundamental fixtures were committed to this irreversible fate. The Mask of Natural Bodily Excretions once hung in every lavatory! Most of the public facilities have removed the disposable mask dispensers but every once in a while I still see such a repository... always empty.
*Sigh*. At that time, many suggested that we use the Precursor relic as a form of self punishment. The proposal was that we collectively go to the second moon of the sixth planet of Zeta Hyades (at coordinates 850.3, 937.2) and use the ancient planeteering device to end our existence.
After much discussion, we decided that we deserved to suffer. We can use the Bomb if we ever decide the time is right; in the meantime, we atone for our grievous mistake with our collective misery.
I suddenly sink into a chasm of depression. I must go.
As do we. Go now with neither malice nor joy.
More mining, while I mull over that text dump.
The Supox have been added to our map. We've found almost every race now!
But first, let's take a look at that bomb.
We extend a subdued but civil greeting.
We are the stewards of the Bomb. We keep it from those who would use it unwisely. In addition, we are prepared to act under the direction of the Proctorate should we decide to make a final atonement for our most grievous blunder.
You are correct. It is a relic of Precursor origin. It has the power to destroy entire planetary objects, perhaps even galaxies. The Utwig have been entrusted by fate to watch over this device so that it will be used in the way that it was intended by destiny.
Yes, it IS a remarkable device. It is understandable that you would like to possess it yourselves. Our mandate, however, requires that we maintain full control of the Bomb.
No, we are sorry. You cannot have the Bomb. Besides being against our orders, imagine what would happen if for some reason our Proctors decide to use it to destroy our civilization. How would we explain its absence?
During standard exploration procedures we came across what appeared to be an ancient Precursor supply base. It had been dismantled and appeared to be empty. In the staging area there was a collection of what appeared to be refuse. During the cataloging of these various items, this device was discovered in a damaged container.
From what our scientists can tell, it appears to be a planeteering tool, capable of reducing moon-sized objects to particulate dust clouds. We believe that it was either accidentally forgotten, or simply left because of a lack of room on the departing vessel.
We cannot relinquish control of this instrument of power! You cannot have the Bomb. Any attempt on your part to change this current arrangement will be met with fearsome Utwig resistance!
Ha ha, don't worry. Hey! I laughed! How could I do that? Now I sink into a depression that leaves me speechless.
That bomb may be the key to destroying the Sa-Matra, if only I can convince the Utwig to part with it. For now, let's say hi to the Supox.
VIDEO: TENDER SHOOT
I am Captain Ala-la'la. We come in peace.
Our starship is called the Tender Shoot.
We are the Supox Utricularia from Earth.
Oh yes, we apologize for the confusion, our homeworld is also called 'Earth', or more properly 'Vlik', which means 'Perfectly Good and Nutritious Dirt'. 'Earth' is pretty close, is it not?
We learn and we adapt. We are symbionts. Our first step in making friends is always to copy them. This is our idiom.
Our kind evolved on a beautiful planet orbiting the wonderfully green-hued star, Root. From the canopy of the great jungles to the shores of the azure seas, our species has flowered and grown well. Early in our evolution, we adapted to exist in symbiosis with other, hardier life, both flora and fauna, who supplied us with nutrients while we supplied them with reproductive assistance.
Yes. This has been confirmed by our people as well. Strange, is it not? Many of our people regard this inconsistency as proof of our divine origin.
Oh yes, we have a strong cultural bond with the Utwig. They have been the foundation around which we have grown our starfaring culture. We are not only allies, but we are also friends. You should go meet with them. They could use some excitement. You see, they are a little depressed and morose right now. Usually they are most festive and fun.
They broke their Ultron.
The Druuge, the cruel, sallow trading race who sold the device to the Utwig called the device the `Ultron' and claimed that it would give the Utwig super-powers. Unfortunately, the Utwig believed the Druuge and bought the Ultron. However, the device DID make the Utwig very happy. Of course, we didn't tell them what we REALLY thought of the Ultron - that they were vapid fools to buy a piece of junk for a planet's ransom. We went along with the falsehood, and in doing so showed our own stupidity.
Then, one sad day a few years ago, the Utwig Proctor dropped the Ultron during a particularly energetic and festive ritual. Now the Utwig are morose and depressed. They feel they cannot ever achieve greatness because they lost the powers of the Ultron. They even gave the broken device to us, saying that they couldn't stand the sight of it anymore. We are worried that the Utwig are so depressed that they may use their Ultimate Weapon.
Here! You take the Ultron, maybe you can do something with it.
We thought that if we could get the Ultron working again, it would cheer them up. So we tried to figure out how to fix the darn thing, or at least get some of the flashing bits working again. But for all the Druuge's falsehoods, the Ultron IS some kind of artifact, and we could not synthesize the necessary replacement parts. Perhaps on your journeys you will find the elements necessary to repair the Ultron. Then you could give it to the Utwig and maybe they wouldn't be so depressed.
Why did the first ship I ran across actually have the Ultron on board? What are the odds of that?
I mean, their homeworld is right over here.
Perhaps a good place to start would be the Druuge, since they were the ones who sold it to the Utwig in the first place.
May Sunlight and Water always fall upon you.
Arcturus is over here - so, I guess the Kohr-Ah came into this galactic sector from the east. I'm not sure what that tells us.
By the way, the Pkunk are once again on the move. In a couple months, they'll reach Yehat space.
So, let's pick a new destination! My first destination will regardless be the Arilou homeworld to report to them about the Umgah, but after that...
- Portal A: Unknown region.
- Portal B: Unknown region.
- Portal D: Unknown region.
- Portal E: Ur-Quan space.
- Portal G: Unknown region.
- Portal I: Near Zoqfot space. Talk to the Syreen.
- Portal J: Near Sol. Keep the Pkunk from exploding again.
- Portal K: Ur-Quan space.
- Portal M: Near VUX space. Try to apologize.