Part 23: Mar 11 2157 - Talking Pet
Beta Orionis! As expected, it's crawling with ships.
I make my way past all of them, to pay my regards to their homeworld.
VIDEO: TALKING PET
I am, uh, a peaceful creature, a friendly alien life form. The Ur-Quan call us 'talking pets'. Until recently, I was employed on a Dreadnought starship as a translator. Then, after the ship suffered severe damage in combat, we crashed at Alpha Pavonis. Miraculously, I survived, and was rescued by an Ariloulaleelay exploration vessel. The Arilou, they could not heal my most severe injuries, so they brought me to the Umgah, who possess superior bio-engineering skills.
Oh... you know about that, do you? Oh well, I guess that means I will have to kill you now. I can't permit you to reveal my transformation - the Ur-Quan might find out, and then my plans for revenge will be ruined.
Well, I tried to spare your life, Captain, but you were just too curious, so now: -<SEEK DEATH AT THE HANDS OF YOUR ENEMY!>-
Your mind is closed to me -- how can this be?! I am forced to resort to... more primitive measures. Umgah commander, summon your ten combat ships and attack this intruder instantly!
This is going about how I thought it would.
In the interest of pretending to be sporting, I'll try to do this the hard way a few times.
The Stinger proves a bad matchup against the Drone - its too fragile, falling the moment an ambush lands in the right place. Also, the Drone's antimatter cone can totally block its primary gun.
Only able to attack from close range, the Fury doesn't fare much better.
The Nemesis does a bit better - it's fast enough to escape an antimatter ambush, and sturdy enough to take a bit of damage if it messes that up. The only real problem is how hard the Drone is to hit.
With a bit of creative positioning, it can even slip marines past the Drone's defenses. One down, nine to go!
All right, that's enough.
Time to do this the unfair way.
You will never believe this, but somewhow, the injuries I suffered when the Ur-Quan crashed triggered some kind of, uh... personality transformation? I became evil and spiteful! Cruel and nasty! Whimsically unpleasant! You may also have noticed that I gained some kind of 'temporary psychic powers'. Well I just wanted to let you know... I AM CURED!
Captain, I don't know exactly how, but when you were fighting those Umgah ships, a chunk of the ceiling fell upon my head and gave me quite a whack! Ouchy-oochy.. it still hurts! When I awoke, the universe had ceased to be the dark and hostile place I previously thought it to be. Instead, I was overwhelmed, yes, even awed by the beauty and perfection of it all! I also discovered that I had completely lost those wicked mental powers, and could now look forward to a NEW LIFE, filled with happiness, butterflies, and goodwill for all! Your job is done, Captain! You have saved me! Now you can safely remove your psychic protection device, and leave. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THAN... Why are you looking at me like that, Captain? Don't you believe me? You question my word?
Okay, okay... so I was lying. Big deal! So what. Boy, are you A PAIN, do you know that? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, MY LIFE!?
Oh, you do? Hmph. Well, as an alternative, let me make this little suggestion: If you don't kill me, I'll help you do whatever you wish. Is it a deal, Captain? Hmmm? Hmmm?
I will gladly tell you my story, Captain. Gladly!
I was indeed a Talking Pet aboard an Ur-Quan Dreadnought. Those years are like a forgotten dream to me, because I was not sentient. I was a dumb beast -- an unthinking slave to the heinous Ur-Quan! Then there was a great battle... the ship was hit and severely damaged. Slaves running down the corridors! Commands, counter-commands! Then there was the scream of atmosphere ouside the hull. There was a big explosion of light and thunder! We hit the surface of a planet, I'm pretty sure. The next thing I can remember was the face of a creature you call the Arilou. I was in great pain, but the creature was kind. It did what it could for me by applying its own medicines to my alien form. I was transported off-planet. I remember an all-pervading green light -- then we were at the homeworld of the Arilou.
Again, Captain, forgive me if I am not more clear, but I was not intelligent yet. Give me a chance. I presume my injuries were too severe for the Arilou to repair or perhaps I reacted badly to their medicines or something, because the next thing I remember was being moved back into a ship. Things grow dim, my next memory was being on board an Umgah starship. Wet flesh throbbing all around me, the Umgah laughing as they worked on my body. It was kind of unnerving.
Suddenly, like the explosion of a bomb, thought -- I mean REAL thought -- flooded my brain! I don't know how or why, but the Umgah had discovered that my brain could be easily changed, improved to give me true intelligence! What they didn't realize is that it also brought back a flood of memories. Memories of my species' ancient past! From before the time the Ur-Quan castrated our thinking minds and transformed my people into crude beasts.
I am the only intelligent Dnyarri left in this galaxy, Captain. Now do you understand my lust for vengeance?
It's all true, Captain! Every word!
Now listen!... and I shall tell you why the Ur-Quan did this to us. It was over twenty thousand of your years ago, Captain, when an Ur-Quan slave raider landed on the surface of my world, and began capturing my people -- killing those that would not submit! How can I know this, you ask? These memories are embedded deep in my genetic structure, they cannot be forgotten.
How we fought the Ur-Quan! Even then, they had a Hierarchy of combat thralls - though then, they called themselves by the absurd name, the Sentient Milieu! Ha! They were nothing more than thugs, especially those hideous Taalo. Those evil rocklike creatures were the worst of all! For fun, they would take one of our children... and then... roll over it!... again and again, oh!
The war against the Ur-Quan and their Milieu lasted decades... millions of our people died, but with the forces of truth and justice at our side, we were prevailing. Then the Taalo made their fateful discovery... a shield against our only weapon, our weak psychic powers. With that shield, they were unstoppable... we had lost. But the Ur-Quan, they were not satisfied merely with our defeat, our slavery they wanted MORE! They wanted to punish us for our insolence at fighting back against them, so they devised the sickest, most cruel and perverse punishment ever imagined! They invaded our very genetic structure and hacked out enough of our minds to lobotomize us for all eternity. And then we were made their closest servants... their `Talking Pets'. This was our punishment.
I get the basic idea: you want to overthrow the Ur-Quan. Bravo! Good idea! Way to go! I too wish to see the Ur-Quan beaten -- humiliated, destroyed -- and I alone possess the unique ability that will help you achieve your goal. I can use my psychic powers to temporarily distract the Ur-Quan... confuse them for a few seconds. Presumably you will use this moment to strike a lethal blow against the Ur-Quan. Such a plan cannot fail, Captain. We must see to that.
Captain, Captain... calm down. Be reasonable. Listen to me. I am nothing more than a single being, hardly larger than one of your Earth dogs. Woof woof!
My only weapon -- my weak psychic abilities -- have been nullified by your protective device. I am harmless. But perhaps, I can be of some small service to you. Consider this my hopeful attempt to compensate you for all the trouble I have caused you in the past. In the Past, Captain... and now we look to the future! To victory over the evil Ur-Quan! I am your secret weapon against these tyrants, Captain. Do not leave me here.
Yes, Captain. I am a lying, boneless, toady dweeb, but I am YOUR lying, boneless, toady dweeb!
No tricks, Captain. No tricks. I fear you cruelly misjudge me. I am on YOUR side now. Together we will make a great team, Captain. This day, this MOMENT shall go down forever in the history of our galaxy.
I am coming aboard your ship now. I will make a nest in the pressurized section of your ship's hold. When you wish to talk with me, I will be there.
This seems like a good idea.
Maybe the Umgah appreciate me a little more now!
Oh hurry, human Earthling, HURRY! Your reward awaits at our homeworld! In case you have forgotten, that at Beta Orionis! Hurry, human Earthling, HURRY!
VIDEO: GREAT HERO
Oh, my lipids quivering just looking at him on monitor! What smile! What sparkling eyes! What nice bony structure! He one who has saved us from mental compulsion of evil Talking Pet! HAIL! HAIL! HAIL! Oh Great Hero! We grateful species! Speak to us! How we reward you?!
HAIL! HAIL! HAIL! You right! We do owe you! We MUST reward you!... but what do we have to give? Protoplasm?... no, no, not easily appreciated. Vigorous esters?... no, too common. HAVE IT! HAVE IT! GENETIC MODIFICATION!! YES! IT PERFECT GIFT!! Listen human Earthling! We add some extra eyes! A few tentacles! Other organs of whatever size and shape you desire!!
What?! You not want more organs?... You sure?... How strange... how sad. This was best gift. We Umgah have nothing but vast supply of biological skills and data.
Huh? What you say? You want Biological Data?! Just plain raw Biological Data? What you do with it? Oh, well, you Hero. Whatever you want, you get.
Ah, well Arilou Lalee'lay, who kind of our neighbors, gave us Talking Pet, hoping we could heal it more severe injuries, which we did. While we working on it, we do routine brain structure scan, and discovered that creature have extremely sophisticated set of neural pathways even more complex than own! Further analysis showed that with minor genetic manipulations Talking Pet intelligence greatly expanded, perhaps even to sentience! Little did know what monster we creating.
Only few hours after injected nanots with modification program, creature wakes up. Almost immediately, took control of Hospital... then city... then whole planet. We try to resist, but creature, even in drugged, weakened state, too strong. From that day on, we just mindless slaves who live only serve Talking Pet, and 'Big Plan'. What 'Big Plan'? We never quite sure about details of 'Big Plan', except it involved getting revenge and mean LOTS of revenge against Ur-Quan masters.
We don't know, but whatever it was, must been pretty bad because Talking Pet mad... REAL mad! How mad, you ask? Blowing up planets and eating juveniles mad! That how mad. We got impression Ur-Quan did something awful to Talking Pet or maybe even whole species. Whatever it was, it worse than slavery, maybe even worse than death.
Secrets, huh? You want secrets? OUR SECRETS!? YOU MADE FATAL MISTAKE, HUMAN!! ... Har! Har! Har! Good joke, eh? Scared you!
Sure! We'll tell our secrets. Now let me see... what ARE secrets? Oh, yes!... remember! It about Mycons! You see, Mycons only other race we know of that have same kind of biotechincal skills as Umgah.But amazing thing, they do all with their own bodies, don't need tools. They just THINK genetic modification, and it happen!
We found that pretty hard understand, so when nobody looking, we clonk one on head, bring it back here to homeworld and slice it up for detailed study. Those guys not product of ANY natural evolutionary process, they constructs! Some kind of multi-purpose biological tool. We don't know who made them or for what purpose, but they WAY beyond anything we ever heard of.
We not figure out much more before tissue samples all gross, so guess that pretty much all of big secret. Oh... do us favor? Please not tell anybody about clonking Mycon. It kind of against Ur-Quan Laws, and not want get Mycons mad at us.
You know, Great Hero... I getting this funny feeling. Would like to know what feeling is? Good, I tell you. My feeling that Great Hero stuff... well, boring... not funny at all. You only say HAIL! HAIL! HAIL! so many times before starts to lose appeal, so... instituting slight deviation in course of our relationship. Specifically, instead of being dull and lifeless Great Hero, you now glamorous and exciting... Great Enemy!
We give you some our Drone ships to make even more interesting! Yes! This going to be LOTS more fun! Here... let me show you.
This is pretty typical of the Umgah sense of humor.
This is their homeworld, so I'm out.
Once again, I need to round up every fleet in the system to escape the planet.
The analysis reads as follows:
SUBJECT: Talking Pet Lifeform.
DATA: This creature is physiologically identical to the so-called Ur-Quan `Talking Pet', with one notable exception: It is highly intelligent, and evidences strong psychic capabilities. Initial AIQR tests rated it well above human super-genius though immediately after we made this shocking assessment its scores dropped to the normal-sub-normal range. Interviews with the subject have shown it to be cooperative though a class-IV pan-species psychological profile places the creature far into the 'Furtive-Hateful' domain. There were also some disturbing incidents where we talked about roses, daisies, and other pretty flowers!
SUMMARY: Everything's okay! Nothing to worry about with this cuddly little guy. Not one thing!
That's the end of our scientists' report.
Upgrades: Second Hellbore cannon.
Where to next?
- Hands-on Mycon research
- Apologize to the VUX
- Sell my crew to the Druuge
- Cheat with the Melnorme