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News: Paul & Fred have reached a settlement with Stardock!

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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Thraddash vs. Pkunk = futile on: May 08, 2010, 10:47:41 pm
Ok, I tested this, and I'm astounded to say that it appears the Pkunk dodges fire trails! I thought no UQM ship did this? I could only get him to run into fire puffs if I held down the boost button and created a grid of fire close to him continuously, in which case it looked like the attack pattern interfered with the dodging. That's amazing!

You can easily kill him of course by using the boost as a boost instead of a weapon and shooting him with the main gun...
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Thraddash vs. Pkunk = futile on: April 22, 2010, 07:05:44 pm
I'm pretty sure that if you keep your tail pointed at the Pkunk, it won't dodge, and will just fly through your fire trail until dead.
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: What was the issue behind the 3DO Intro/Ending videos again? on: April 04, 2010, 04:19:54 am
That part where the ship blows up is really good for when this was made.
4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: There was a map on: February 12, 2010, 07:12:27 am
http://www.star-control.com/sc2/images/sc2_color_map.jpg

From http://www.star-control.com/faq.php I just searched "star control map" and it came up under google image search. And that Is a nice map.

I don't see rainbow worlds, though. Well there's a map to them here: http://wiki.uqm.stack.nl/Rainbow_World

You sure it had the Quasi-space coords on it?

Quasi-Space map here: http://wiki.uqm.stack.nl/QuasiSpace
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: The Fall of the Androsynth -- Part 1. Fan fiction (spoilers). on: February 10, 2010, 09:29:50 pm
Thanks, and thanks for the feedback. I was beginning to worry I'd worded the disclaimer too strongly and no one was taking their time to read it after.

I mostly changed the weapons because I couldn't bring myself to try to describe a ship to ship weapon system based on acid bubbles. Of course, scientifically speaking, I understand plasma doesn't make that much more sense, but, really, acid? At least it should be explosive or something.
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Melee graphic omission in UQM vs Star Control 2 on: February 10, 2010, 09:25:32 pm
I "acquired" SC 1 a while ago and played it in dosbox, and I noticed something odd.
In the captain portraits in SC 1 melee there are multiple frames of animation for each action, but in UQM there is just 2 frames, an on frame and the default frame. That is, in UQM it just flips the image from one to the other, whereas in SC 1 there is animation in between, so, say in the Androsynth portrait where they pull on a lever you can see them pulling the lever, while in UQM it just goes from not pulled to pulled.

Now I've never played SC 2 in dosbox, so I don't know if this is also missing from it, but I wouldn't imagine the graphics were downgraded from SC 1 to SC 2.
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: AI and difficulty mod suggestions. on: February 08, 2010, 10:15:46 pm
I don't think I'm suggesting a rubber band AI. Also, those options could be made so one could disable them. But it seems to me it makes sense in the game. If the Quans notice you've got a ship powerful enough to blow up a hundred in a row without a scratch, they would try massed attacks. And if they notice they can't ever catch up, one might try redlining his engines occasionally.

I think my suggesting of randomization is much better than some kind of adaptive AI. As far as I've seen those never work, and are hell to try to code. Whereas randomizing gives the impression of intelligence, without the difficulty of creating it. As in XCOM.
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: #uqm-arena on: February 03, 2010, 11:57:48 pm
Disclaimer -- I've never done this.

Detailed info on how to get on the chat channel and start a game and the "Net Balance Mod" can be found at http://gekko.frud.biz/uqmtutorial/

You need the Ur Quan Masters program; your old copy in Dosbox won't work, but it's an improvement on the original anyway (bug fixes etc.) and only about 10 megabytes.
9  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / AI and difficulty mod suggestions. on: February 02, 2010, 12:04:08 am
I was starting to play UQM again, and got to thinking about what would make it much better and more interesting: an AI improvement mod. I should state that I know nothing of programing, so I'm saying sorry in advance if these ideas are impossible to do easily.

(1) The Melee AI could use some basic fixes. The Thradish Torch flame problem is the most obvious. I'm not talking about with just the Thradish, though. The AI doesn't seem to avoid Orz marines, Kor Ah blades, Androsynth bubbles, possibly DOGIs, Earthling missiles, and various other things. Also, the AI has an oddity when you get close to the screen warp around point. It reverses course, and you can use this to hold, say, a Dreadnought across the screen forever while you plink at it risk free with an Earthling cruiser.

(2) AI improvement. An interesting concept from XCOM, which some of you have probably played: Randomness. As I understand it XCOM doesn't have particularly wonderful AI, but it uses a high level of random behavior to fake it. Now in UQM random movement wouldn’t work so well, but if AI modules could be randomly loaded from a small situation specific subset it could make a really nice AI.
For instance, at the moment the AI pursues in most cases. One could make it so if it has pursued for so long without getting in weapon’s range or landing a hit it has a random chance of selecting from a module subselection, say, Pillbox and Grav Warp. In the Pillbox module the AI ship comes to a stop and waits for, say, up to 1.5 minutes for the player ship to come to it. In Grav Warp it breaks off pursuit and heads for the planet, getting a sling shot in a random direction and staying at sling shot speed for a random time while it waits for the player to get in range.

With enough modules and clever randomizing programing it seems to me one could make it much better than it is now.

Also some neat difficulty mods could be added to the main game.

(1) When the flagship speed exceeds the speed of Ur Quan fleets, a random Ur Quan fleet could get superspeed enough to catch up without dragging the flagship down into the mass of others. Not all the time. Just occasionally.

(2) When the flagship weapons get too overpowered if you take it into battle the enemy should spawn with multiple ships in melee -- I'd say from 2 to 10 randomly.

What do you think?
10  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: UQM and Sci-Fi on: January 30, 2010, 12:21:38 am
Very funny.  Grin I meant the Dnyarri, which closely resemble Niven's Slaver Empire.
11  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: The Fall of the Androsynth -- Part 1. Fan fiction (spoilers). on: January 29, 2010, 07:25:22 pm
Admiral TSK-007 shifted nervously in his chair.
“What’s happening? Squad one requested a bombardment over a minute ago. Why haven’t they fired? Get me the captain of the KIA-004!”
“Aye, aye, sir”
The was a moments pause, then the screen switched to a view the bridge of a battleship very similar to the one he was sitting in. Framed in the screen was a nervous looking young Androsynth.
“Science officer NA-16 here, cap er admiral. We're havin....”
The admiral interrupted.
“Where’s the captain? Where’s the first officer? Squad one requested orbital strike over a minute ago. What the hell’s going on over there?”
NA-16 seemed to wilt.
“Bombardment? I didn’t know. Sir! Captain DOS-1.0 is dead. So is the first officer.”
“What!? What happened??”
“I don’t know sir. I was talking with the captain when it happened. He just started screaming like I don’t know what. And... cuts started appearing all over him. A moment later it started on the first officer. We took them to sickbay, but they were already dead.”
“What killed them?”
“Er... I don’t know sir. We’ve also lost contact with sickbay. I’ve been trying to find out what’s going on.”
The admiral seemed to freeze for a moment, his eyes hooded and his thoughts turned inward. A second latter it passed and he was speaking.
“Alright. Tell you gunnery crew to open fire on Sector 18, coordinates 193 by 87 with the medium plasma lances. Then send a security squad to sickbay and place the ship on level two quarantine procedures.”
“Yes sir.”
NA-16 scuttled off camera, and a moment later an image of the outside of the KIA-004 appeared on the view screen.
“Sir.”
TSK-007 turned. The science officer was speaking.
“Sir. I scanned the KIA-004 while you were talking. I detected a strong dimensional fatigue signature.”
“Which signature? The Orz one?”
“No sir. The unknown signature.”
“What about now? Is it changing?”
“One moment sir. Yes. I’m detecting a new signature. It’s Orz. It doesn’t appear to be actually centered on the battleship but on a point approximately two miles behind it. The strength is growing rapidly. The other signature is unchanged.”
The science officer was silent a moment, manipulating the controls on his consol. The voice of the com officer sounded in the silence.
“The KIA-004 report weapon readiness. They will open fire in ten seconds.”
“Sir! Something is happening. The Orz DF signature is increasing geometrically. I’m detecting spacial distortion!”
The home defense fleet, thought the admiral. Vanishing like shadows in darkness. A knot of cold fear coalesced in his belly. He spoke.
“Tell them to get out of there. Full thrust. Right now!”
“Yes sir!”
With painful slowness the battleship began to move. Behind it, the emptiness rippled and seemed to bulge. A glowing blue sphere half a mile across expanded into existence. The sphere shimmered and rippled with iridescence against the dull grey of the planet. The battleship was starting to move faster. There was a moments pause, then a thick tendril of glowing blue emerged from the sphere and reached towards the ship. Tiny beads of blue fire, like trapped stars, coursed through the tendril. It touched the ship, wrapped around it, sank into it. The ship rippled like a reflection on disturbed water. The tendril began to withdraw into the sphere, and as it retracted the battleship came with it. It entered the sphere, the battleship held trapped and helpless on it’s end. The sphere grew to envelop the battleship completely, then there was a flash of light and the sphere shrank, dwindled, finally vanished into nothingness. The admiral could see a ghost outline of the battleship still lingering, and as he watched that too faded.
“It’s gone.”
The science officer’s voice sounded chocked.
“The Orz dimensional fatigue signature is much reduced on the planetary surface. The other signature is correspondingly stronger, and it isn’t mostly confined to the surface anymore. I’m detecting strong concentrations of it throughout the fleet. Indeed there is a strong signal emanating from this room.”   
He turned from his console.
“Sir, I think we are seeing a contest between two super dimensional ent....”
He stopped suddenly. A look of stark fear came over his face. Beads of sweat rolled down his forehead. His eyes rolled. He muttered faintly “No!”
“What’s wrong?” asked AK-47.
The science officer screamed piercingly, continuously. A faint scratch appeared across his cheek. A moment latter anther, deeper one sliced up his forehead and vanished above the hairline. A thin trickle of blood seeped out. TSK-007 could see other lines of blood soaking through his uniform. His arm hammered into a monitor, smashing through the super strong plastic and bringing a shower of sparks.  He fell to the floor and lay twisting and writhing, his arm a twisted ruin of broken bone and ripped flesh.
“Get a medical team up here now!” shouted the captain. TSK-007 reached down to his waist and withdrew his sidearm.
“You!” he yelled, gesturing at the sensor technician. “Can you scan for the dimensional fatigue signature?”
“Ye yes sir!”
“Do it! Scan the room. Scan the body. What do you read?”
The technician turned quickly to his station and brought up the scans, his hands fairly flying over the controls. Behind him the science officer had ceased thrashing and lay still.
“Sir, I’m getting a very strong reading from the body.”
“Is it...”
The admiral stopped. The body of the science officer twitched again. Then, as though pulled by an outside force the body rose to it’s feet. The feet left the floor for a moment, the settled back down with a gentle thump. Around the body pieces of the broken monitor floated in the air. The blood filled eyes, the left one marred by a deep cut, glowed a soft red.
The admiral didn’t hesitate. He brought up the sidearm in one fluid motion and pressed the trigger. The sidearm was based on the railgun design, but modified for use by an androsynth not wearing powered armor. The low velocity of the slugs was compensated for by a very high rate of fire. The body of the science officer seemed to disintegrate under the stream of projectiles. Blood and fragments of flesh flew in all directions. When the admiral finished firing, nothing remained of the body but a smashed paste.
The admiral took a deep breath, raised his hand and wiped splatters of blood from his eyes. His voice shook when he spoke.
“Com, signal the fleet. General retreat. We’re pulling back to Gamma Vulpeculae . Also tell them, lever six quarantine protocol. All personnel are to be issued sidearms, all vital areas are to be protected by no less than three armed guards. Any, ah, body showing those symptoms,” he gestured to the ruined mass of the science officer with his gun, “is to be immediately destroyed. Completely destroyed.”

               *************** **************** ************
MIA-1 cursed and brought his suit jets to full thrust as a shockwave rolled over him. Around him his squad was in full flight from the Orz marines. Struck beside him less than ten yards away and the blast slammed him into the cliff like outer wall of a burnt out sky scrapper.
He heard MIA-4 ask, “Are you all right?” and winced as MIA-9's indicator abruptly went dark.
“Yes,” he gasped. He pulled himself to his feet. A warning indicator flashed on the suit readout and he saw the impact had damaged the servos in his left leg. The leg moved jerkily, sluggishly. MIA-4 spoke again.
“Do you need help?”
“No!” he barked. “Keep going!”
He brought the jets online and soared over the wall of rubble in front of him. There was a flash of blue white behind him as an Orz cutting beam played over the face of the building. He came down in the same hole where he had examined the suit of empty armor. The enemy warning went off and he turned. An Orz marine was coming down nearly on top of him. A burst of red fire and the ground in front of him exploded, driving him backwards. He triggered the jets again and rode the explosion upwards, firing his plasma lance as he rose. He couldn’t tell whether the shot had gone home, but the Orz did not pursue. As he reached the apex of the jump, he felt a low vibration through his suit. In the distance, visible through the shifting veils of smoke, the Blazer was rising heavenward. It shown silver and blue in the half light as it climbed. Then the ground was rushing up, towards him. He landed heavily on the suits injured leg. Above, the Blazer vanished into the murky sky.
“There it is! One of em looks intact!”
He turned towards the dropship. The landing site was visible. One of the dropships was still where it had set down. All that was left of the other was a smoking crater in the face of a nearby building.
He lowered his eyes - and saw what had overwhelmed the dropships. More than three hundred corpses were between him and the dropship. A few of them were walking along the ground, however the majority floated in midair, making orderly grids as they advanced. A softly pulsating red glow hovered around them.
“Oh shit,” he said.
Orz marines appeared above him. Ignoring the squad they advanced upon the grids of flying corpses. Blue white cutting beams and brilliant red stars slammed into the grids, cutting gaping holes. The dull red glow seemed to flair brighter. Tendrils of it reached out and grabbed the impaled Orz combat suits. The suits shimmered, glowed blue, and then guttered out. More Orz came flying from the direction of the research institute, firing as they came.
“They seem to be ignoring us, sir. Do you think we can make it?”
“I don’t know. We have to try. There was no bombardment, so the fleet must be under attack. They may be forced to retreat. We probably don’t have much time. Keep low to the ground, avoid the ones that are walking, and try to get by unnoticed. If we’re found, we cut loose with everything you have and make a dash for it. Got it?”
“Yes, sir!”
“Alright. Lets move!”
The squad advanced in low long bounds, taking cover whenever possible in the hulks of buildings. MIA-1 was nearly half way to the dropship, when tentacles of murky red descended from the pulsing mass overhead. The screams of his squad filled his ears. He abandoned his cover and raced forward. Above him a tendril of dull red reached down towards him. He tried to dodge to one side, with no success. It touched him. For a moment a feeling of deja vu came over him. He saw sensed monstrous things reaching, clawing towards him. His last sane thought was of the sensor interference he had seen. Those were no illusions, he realized. Those were real. Pain surged over his body and all he screamed for release. It came, a moment later, in the form of an Orz cutting beam.   
12  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: The Fall of the Androsynth -- Part 1. Fan fiction (spoilers). on: January 29, 2010, 07:24:43 pm
“Go!” yelled MIA-1.
Outside the city was a scene of destruction. The sky was a dark greenish gray under the noonday sun, thick clouds of smoke obscured all vestige of it’s location.  The shattered, burning hulks of great buildings lined streets, which were buried under tons of debris. Fire burned everywhere, throwing flickering, shifting light across the small park where the dropship had landed. The air was filled with burning cinders and thick clouds of them rose from the ground under MIA-1's feet. Without the suit air supply he would likely die from the airborne contaminants within minutes. One end of the park was filled with the collapsed rubble of a sky scraper that had toppled over on it’s side. Twenty feet to the left, MIA-1 saw the second dropship settle to the ground, the engine backwash violently admitting the drifting pall of smoke.
“Squad two!” he yelled as the marines streamed out of the dropship. “Secure the area and protect the dropships!”
“Yes sir!” came the reply.
“No hostiles in sight sir. Scanners are crap though. I can’t read anything through this interference. It’s fuckin creepy!”
MIA-1 switched to sensors. Strange, monstrous shapes writhed through the air, contorting and shifting fantastically. Tentacles reached for him as he watched, becoming, grasping. A feeling of being seen, noticed, hunted, came over him. He seemed to feel a brush of something monstrous through the safe barrier of his suit. He shivered, and switched out of sensor mode.
“I see what you mean,” he said. “Sensors are throwing up nothing but crap. Whatever it is does weird things with ones mind.”
He took a moment as he got his bearings, bringing up the map on his heads up display and comparing it to the shattered landscape around him.
“Alright. First squad, move out! The research center is four miles that way. Lets hope it’s in better shape than this, or we’re not going to be getting anything out of the computer but sparks.”
The ten man squad began moving, using their jump jets to negotiate the mounds of rubble that clogged the streets. MIA-1 saw the twisted hulks of several vehicles buried under the rubble and quickly scanned the inside of the nearest one. No body, thankfully. The driver must have been else where when this area had been destroyed. He shifted his plasma lance, watching the cross hairs of the targeting system move over his heads up display. Suddenly it hit him what was wrong with the scene. Despite the destruction, there were no bodies. Had the area been evacuated before the attack started? Considering how fast this had happened, it seemed unlikely.
“Hold up!” he said. “Has anyone seen any bodies?”
There was a chorus of no’s, then MIA-6's voice, “I saw a combat suit back there. Had a hole blown in it, so I imagine there was a body inside.”
“How far back?”
“Just there.”
He pointed down into depression where the street showed through the mounded rubble.
“Show me.”
MIA-1 followed MIA-6 down into the cavity. Walls of shattered concrete and twisted steel were piled high on all sides. At the bottom MIA-1 saw the combat suit. The exposed pavement around it was pockmarked with craters, several of respectable size. The suit itself had a hole through it’s chest. MIA-1 approached and leant down over the suit. Through the hole he could see the inside of the back of the suit. Blood coated the interior cushioning. There was no sign of a body.
“It’s empty,” he said. “Pilot, relay to command.”
“Standing by,” came the reply. It was tinged with a background hiss of static, like the murmur of distant waves.
“Message follows; no sign of bodies. No civilians trapped under fallen buildings, and we’ve found a combat suite with a big hole blown in it, blood all over the inside. It’s empty, though. No body. Message ends.”
“Got it. Relaying.”
“That’s all. MIA-1 out.”
He stood up, looked around. The squad had taken up positions ringing the depression, weapons ready.
“Ok,” he said. “Let’s get back to it.”
“What do you think happened to the bodies, sir?” said MIA-3.
“I don’t know. Maybe the fish like trophies.”
He activated his jets, and leaped over the wall of rubble, landing lightly atop the stump of a fallen building. Around him his squad began bounding forward. The horizon lit up for a moment as a raged green beam clawed at the sky.
“Did you see that?” he asked. “Plasma lance. Big one. So there are survivors fighting around here.”
He leaped again, avoided a think cloud of smoke from a smoldering fire, and landed beside a crashed flyer. Suddenly his eyes widened and his weapon came up.
“Sir!”
“I see em.”
Ahead there was a bowl shaped depression with a high ridge of rubble on the far side where some enormous building had collapsed.   Clambering over a low mound of debris in the middle of the depression, heading away from him, were four Androsynth civilians. He leapt forwards, landing about twenty feet from them. MIA-4 and MIA-6 joined him while the rest of the squad took up positions atop the nearby hills. He switched on external speakers, and shouted, “Hey! Are you all right? Do you need....”
He stopped. The Androsynth’s tattered clothing was soaked in blood. A network of deep scratches covered all the exposed areas of his skin. Through gashes on his neck and head MIA-1 thought he could see white glints of bone. The civilian turned. MIA-1 gasped and took a step backwards. The civilians eyes glowed a soft red. MIA-1 could see his teeth and jaw bone through holes in his cheek.
MIA-6 started to yell, “What the he....”
The civilian raised his hand. A weird reddish shimmer, like heat waves over hot pavement in air filled with red dye, emerged from the hand and surrounded MIA-6. Fragments of metal. floated off the ground and hovered in the air. MIA-6 screamed piercingly. He fell to the ground and began thrashing wildly. MIA-1 raised his hand, started to trigger his railguns. In his haste the plasma lance dangled at his side, forgotten. The nearest civilian’s head swivelled. One of the other lacerated corpses reached towards MIA-4. Suddenly MIA-1 felt his weight was crushing him. He tried to breath, couldn’t. He heard the suit servo’s moan as they struggled to keep him upright. A second later they failed and he fell heavily to his knees. Dimly, he heard MIA-6 screaming piercingly. A thought flashed through his mind. Mosquito mange. He had looked up the seemingly meaningless phrase from the distress call before they had entered the Eta Vulpeculae system. To his surprise, it was not meaningless. The computer had said that the term “Mosquito mange” derived from an ancient earth text, where it was used to describe a fictional state in which gravity was massively increased within a small area of a planetary surface. Now he knew that the sender of that distress call had not been insane, as he had thought. His vision was like looking through a tunnel, rimmed with black. He struggled to raise his arm. The servo’s whined in protest.
“Help!” he croaked. Why hadn’t’s his squad blasted the things already?
There was a flash of brilliant blue white light and suddenly the terrible pressure was gone. He raised his head. The civilians had turned away from him. The nearest was lying on the ground in two pieces. As he watched the pieces flared a hazy red and vanished into thin air.
Coming over the top of the nearby hills were giant combat suits. Behind clear windows in their bellies, MIA-1 could see vague round fish shapes. He heard MIA-7 yell, and the scream of a plasma lance filled the air. The green beam struck the nearest Orz, and there was a brilliant glow as the Orz shields rippled around the impact point. Then, suddenly, the shield vanished and the suit ruptured. Ethanol and pieces of Orz exploded out of a gash across the front of the armor.
MIA-1 saw one of the pseudo civilians raise a hand. The air between the civilian and an Orz combat suit shimmered with a weird reddish glow and the Orz combat suit suddenly stopped midair as though pinned. The Orz suit seemed to shimmer, become insubstantial. MIA-1 could faintly see the heap of rubble through it.
Three more Orz vac suits soared over the hill. Red stars shot from their outstretched arms and the civilians exploded in gory sprays of flesh. At his side MIA-6 rose to his feet.
“You ok?” asked MIA-1.
There was no answer. He saw one of the Orz turn towards him, and rising to his feet scrambled to side. There was a burst of red and an explosion behind him. He turned. The Orz was only about thirty feet away. He brought up his plasma lance and pulled the trigger. The beam skittered across the Orz shields for a moment, then the Orz ducked behind an outcropping of rubble. He looked downwards. MIA-6 was still in the same spot, and had a clear shot behind the rubble pile.
“Shoot it,” he yelled.
For a moment there was no response, then he saw MIA-6 raise his plasma lance. Is he all right, wondered MIA-1. He remembered MIA-6's screaming. He glanced at the trooper health telltale, and froze. The indicator showed MIA-6 as dead. But, but... While his mind stuttered, MIA-6 fired the plasma lance at the Orz. It leapt from behind it’s rubble pile and rapidly accelerated upward.
MIA-1 yelled, “MIA-6, answer me! Your suit shows you as... dead.”
Silence.
MIA-6 turned towards him. The plasma  lance came up.
“What are you doing!”
The beam struck beside him, rapidly swung toward him. There was no time to think. He raised his right arm and fired the railguns. MIA-6 jerked backwards, the plasma beam flickering up into the sky. The back of his suit exploded outwards as the railgun slugs slammed into him, and he fell backwards and lay still. MIA-1 walked over to him, heedless of a near miss by an Orz beam weapon. Through the faceplate of MIA-6's suit he could see the face. It was covered by a network of deep scratches. As he watched, the face glowed a dull red and vanished, leaving the suit empty.
MIA-1 quickly scanned the rest of the suit telltales. What about MIA-4? Relief washed over him as he saw the indicator was green. The other Orz had retreated back towards over the hill towards the research institute and he saw that his squad had taken up positions and were firing over the ridge top.
He climbed to the top of the ridge, crouched, and looked over. In the distance he could see the research institute, looking strangely untouched. Closer, perhaps five hundred yards away, a large mass of silvery blue and red gleamed in the faint light. A Blazer, he thought. What’s a Blazer doing here? Surrounding the spacecraft were perhaps eighty Orz in combat suits. At least thirty were advancing on the ridge. MIA-1 ducked as red stars slammed into the barrier, taking large bites out of it. Plumes of debris exploded into the air around him.
“Command!” he shouted. “I need bombardment! Sector 18, coords 193 by 87.”
“I read you,” said the pilot. “Relaying.”
He brought his head up, and cradling his plasma lance, aimed it over the hill. He found a target, squeezed the trigger. The beam struck the Orz in the midsection, and a moment later the suit went down, spewing Ethanol and the intact Orz.
“Sir!” he heard. “They’ve stopped advancing!”
He looked around ad saw that the trooper was right. The Orz had stopped in midstride, and were standing stock still. He looked at the Orz he had shot. The round yellow shape was flopping feebly in a rapidly evaporating pool of Ethanol. As he watched, it stopped struggling on it’s back. The eye stalks strained upwards, as though reaching for the sky. The shape shimmered, glowed a soft blue, and faded. A moment latter the shattered suit also vanished. He heard MIA-3 speaking.
“This is creepy! It’s like they know about the bombardment!”
“Command! Command! Where the hell is that strike? It should have come down by now!”
There was a long pause, then the pilot’s voice replied, the words full of strain.
“Can’t talk! We’re under attack!” The sound of weapons fire was audible in the background, the thrum of railguns, then the scream of a plasma lance.
 “Under attack? What’s happening? Are they Orz?”
“No! Looked like civilians... all cut up. They got... half the squads down. I’m lifting!”
“Listen to me! Tell the squad they have to burn their dead. Whatever those things are they somehow take over dead bodies! Tell them! Do you read?”
“Read. We’re being overwhelmed.... airborne.... somethings happened the the engines. I can’t maneuver! I’m going down!”
There was a loud crackle, then silence except for the background noise of the jamming.
“Command, do you read? Answer me! Dropship two, I can’t raise dropship one. Do you read?”
Silence. MIA-1 switched his suit readout to squad two, and swore. The indicators showed all but one of the squad as dead. Even as he watched, the final indicator went dark.
“Oh shit! It looks like the dropships are finished. We’re cut off from the fleet.”
There was a moment of silence, then a series of explosions rippled across the ridge. MIA-1 popped his head up, and immediately ducked it back down as a blue white beam sliced through the space it had occupied a moment before.
“What do we do, sir?”
I do know, he thought. We’re dead. No extraction, no bombardment. We’re dead.
He said; “Retreat. It’s the only option. We will be overwhelmed here in minutes. We’ll head back to the landing site and hope that there’s enough of a transmitter left to salvage.”
“What about squad two, sir? Something did them in. If we go back that way we’re going to meet whatever it was.”
He took a deep breath.
“I know. But it’s our only chance. Let’s go!”

                  *************                    ****************
13  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: The Fall of the Androsynth -- Part 1. Fan fiction (spoilers). on: January 29, 2010, 07:24:00 pm
                                      Chapter 4
The Androsynth home world shown with a sickly greyish muddy sheen as the fleet decelerated into orbit. On the nightside, instead of the normal grids and knots of light from factories and cities, brief sparks flared as ground forces exchanged weapons fire. More steady light shown from fires where building and vehicles blazed in the throws of destruction. Great clouds of smoke hung in the atmosphere, obscuring the dart and flash of weaponry.
TSK-007 was on the bridge again, and around him a hush had fallen as the crew stared at the home world. Officers seemed to whisper or fall silent as they worked, their eyes wide with shock. AK-47 glanced around at his men and then said loudly, “Com, can you get anything from the surface now?”
There was a pause, and then the trance seemed to break. Voices returned to normal levels, and the steady drone of the bridge reasserted itself.
“I’m getting some transmissions sir, but it’s difficult to make sense of any of it. It looks like only the most powerful transmissions are cutting through the jamming.”
“Can you identify any of the jammer transmitters? We could take them out.”
“I can’t find where it’s coming from. I’m not even able to read life signs through it. I’m detecting two really odd energy reading, similar to what I saw when the troop pods vanished. They seem to be distributed in a complex pattern over the entire planetary surface and even out into near space. There appear to be two main frequencies of signal. One is the same as from the troop pods, and the other is different from what I’ve seen before. They appear to be interacting oddly, almost interfering with each other.”
“Hmm.”
AK-47 rubbed his chin.
“Can you...”
“Sir! I getting an energy signal from orbit. It could be a ship sir. It’s coming around the limb now.”
“Why didn’t we detect it on approach?”
“I don’t know, sir. It just wasn’t there. Wait. It’s vanished again.”
“Put the area on screen.”
The view screen switched to a view of empty space above the planetary limb. Stars shown against the cool black of space. The edge of the planet glowed muddy grey. The was a shimmer, the stars seemed to blur, and several vague shapes appeared, slowly resolving into large cylinders. Two of them had disks projecting from the fronts, and with a start TSK-007 recognized the shapes of Androsynth battlecruisers. They remained shadowy, and the admiral could see a bright star shining through the bulk of the nearer ship.
“What the hell? What happened to them?”
“Sir, I’m getting the energy reading again. It’s the same as from the Orz troop pod, but much stronger.”
“Stronger?”
“Yes, by orders of magnitude. I think I know what the energy signature is. It’s created by a dimensional fatigue drive in operation. There are no readings from an active drive in the computer, but if I run a simulation from the drive principles, the energy signature created is very similar.”
“You’re saying they’re using a DF drive?”
“I don’t know, sir. As far as I know, the drive wasn’t advanced enough to mount on a battle cruser. It looks like they’re caught in some sort of flux.”
“And this is the same energy reading you’re detecting from the planet?”
“Yes sir. That and the other signature.”
“So, is the planet going to vanish?”
“Um... I don’t think so, sir. It doesn’t seem to be affecting the planet. Rather it seems to be interacting with the other energy signature. The other signature also appears telltale of DF activity, but it’s... different. The two signatures seem to cancel each other out when they meet. I don’t know why or how.”
As the admiral watched the shadowy shapes of the battlecruisers slowly faded. A minute latter they reappeared, but only two of them. The third, which had never resolved enough to be recognizable, was gone. The admiral wasn’t sure, but it looked like to two remaining shapes were less defined, less substantial. More stars were visible through them, and the edges seemed to waver.
“Well,” he said. “I guess we know where the home defense fleet went...”
The admiral was silent for several minutes. As he thought, the planet slowly turned on the view screen. A tiny blue white bubble appeared on the limb, and faded to yellow, then red, leaving a scorched crater behind. Plasma warhead, thought the admiral. Big one too. Maybe a battleship missile warhead. Probably a twenty mile blast radius.
Finally he said, “Is the DF research compound still intact?”
“One moment sir. Checking. It looks like it sir. I can’t read any life signs in it, but then I can’t read life signs on the planet period.”
“Is there any way to punch through the interference?”
“A powerful enough transmitter, with a high error redundancy protocol out to work, sir.”
“Could such a transmitter be made portable?”
“I don’t know, sir. I’ll contact engineering and see if they can come up with anything.”
The admiral nodded.
After several minutes of conversation with engineering, the com officer finally said, “Yes, sir. It will be bulky, but it looks like a drop ship could mount one in the equipment compartment.”
The admiral nodded again.
“Very well. Tell the carrier C-10 to get one ready, and load up two drop ships with marines. I want them to come down as close to the research center as possible. Their objectives will be to get a situation report from the surface, and to retrieve the DF files from the research center. Maybe they can shed some light on what’s going on here. You better also signal the battleship KIA-004 to move into position to provide orbit to surface support. They’ve got the best fire control.”
“Yes sir.”

                  **********************************************
MIA-1 steadied himself against his harness as the dropship bucked. Outside the dropship superheated atmosphere screamed past the hull. He switched on his squad comlink and addressed the other troopers.
“Were going to be coming down in a combat zone, so keep sharp. I don’t know what these Orz things use for powered armor but they must be good. As you know, three of them took out a squad on board the BCRH-11 with no casualties.”
There were grunted responses from the other troopers.
“They may have some sorta defense agienst standard suit weapons, so you’ve all been issued portable plasma lances. They’re bulky, but they should be powerful enough to burn through anything.”
He paused as the dropship gave a violent lurch, then righted itself.
“Our objectives are: one - to keep an eye out for anything unusual, and two: get into this research center.”
He highlighted the structure in the map displayed on the troopers HUD displays.
“We're to link up to the computer system and get as much data as we can, then get out. Any questions?”
MIA-3 grunted.
“Yes, trooper?”
“Well, I was just thinking it’s funny about looking for something unusual. Our freaking planet’s being invaded by fish in suits. What else are we looking for.”
MIA-1 glared at him for a moment then went on.
“One other thing. The enemy’s jamming our long range coms, so we’re dependant on the dropships for a link to command. If they go, we’re in deep shit. Finally the KIA-004 is standing by to provide fire support. Lets hope we don’t have to use it. Ok. Brace yourselves. Were about to set down.”
The dropship shuddered as the engines rapidly cut speed. Then, suddenly there was a ringing shock and the ship rapidly lurched to the side. The pilots voice came over the com.
“Hold on. There are Orz around the research center. I’m trying to find somewhere away from it to set down.”
The ship lurched again, there was a scream as the engines were pushed to full power, then it steadied.
“Found it,” said the pilot. “Setting down - now.”
The ship shuddered again and then set down with a hard jolt. A moment latter the rear doors opened.
14  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: The Fall of the Androsynth -- Part 1. Fan fiction (spoilers). on: January 29, 2010, 07:22:55 pm
                                                                                  Chapter 3
TSK-007 watched the viewscreen with anticipation. Around him the bridge hummed with busy activity as the crew coordinated the fleet for the jump out of hyperspace. A blazing, faintly greenish tinged star shown on the viewscreen, surrounded by a complex geometric pattern of green and blue strands - the visual distortion where hyperspace was bent into normal space by the solar system’s gravity well. Beyond that was the uniform red haze of hyperspace, occasionally broken by a sparkling burst or arc of energy.
“Ten seconds to system perimeter. Five. Coming out of hyperspace... now.”
“Sensors, report,” said AK-47.
“Nothing yet... Wait. I’m getting something on long range... Scanning. Sir it looks like a small fleet, range two point three million miles. The are closing on our position at high speed. Intercept in nine minutes.”
“Ship configuration? Are they Ur-Quan?”
“I’m not getting much on long range, sir. I’m not even sure how many ships it is. Fairly low mass readings though. If it is the Ur-Quan, there are only a few ships. I should have a better read in another three minutes.”
“Very well. Com, try to raise the home world on hyperwave. Admiral?”
TSK-007 cleared his throat.
“Deploy fighters in tight screening formation. Ready the sixth cruiser battlecruisers squadron for intercept, once we have scan data. Detach ten fighters to accompany them.”
“Aye aye, sir.”
“Sir, I’m getting nothing on com from the home world except a few garbled military transmissions and some sort of generalized interference or jamming.”
AK-47 nodded.
“Very well. Continue signaling. Anything from our sensor contact?”
“No sir. I... Wait. I’m getting a transmission from the enemy fleet. It’s in an unknown encoding, unknown language. Running it through the translator. One moment, sir. This is odd... Sir, the translator is having some trouble with it. This will take a few minutes.”
AK-47 nodded again.
“Let me know when you have something.”
“Yes sir.”
The viewscreen changed to a tactical plot showing the fighters deploying and the other ships taking up formation Around the carriers. An inset showed the long range sensor information on the enemy fleet, nothing at the moment except a fuzzy blob.
“Sir, I’ve got something from the translator.”
“Play it.”
The screen flickered, switched to a view of the inside of an alien spacecraft. Visible in the background was an englobing wall, ridged and mottled, with an organic texture and colored a deep blue. The alien atmosphere was apparently liquid; small bubbles could be seen intermittently rising upwards. Floating in the foreground was a bizarre instrument console, and manipulating it, was what resembled a large smooth grapefruit with two eyes on short stalks, a pointed beak, gills, and two stubby tentacles each of which branched once more into two longer tentacles. Blue tinted light filtered from some unseen source above.
The computer’s voice sounded.
“Reliability of translation uncertain due to unusual characteristics of alien language. Many words are best fit approximations. Best fits will be denoted on screen. Translation follows: We are Orz. We *smelled* you *sliding* from *above* and came to *smell* the bright colors. We found  the *Nngghh* had smelled your *juice* and we *pulled* the Nngghh. Are you *sad cows*? If so we will *dance* and there will be much *dissolving*.”
We are Orz, thought the admiral. The distress message had mentioned the word Orz. So it was not the Ur-Quan but some new species with ambitions of conquest.
“I am admiral TSK-007 of the” - he paused, no need to mention the fleet base. “Of the first fleet. Why have you attacked our world?”
There was a momentary delay as the translator attempted to render his speech into Orz, then the alien replied.
“No wonder the Nngghh *smelled* you so well. Your *juice* is all alike .It is *frumple*. Leave this house or we will *pull* you.”
That’s not a big enough fleet for a withdraw or be destroyed threat, thought the admiral. Either these aliens are over confident or we aren’t seeing all their forces.
Aloud he said, “We will not withdraw. This is our home world and we will fight to the last to defend it. You will withdraw. Remove your troops from our planet and leave the system immediately, or we will destroy you.”
The viewscreen suddenly flashed bright red, alien and console outlined in scarlet.
“NNNNGGGGHHHH. It is *dancing*!”
The screen blinked and the tactical plot reappeared.
“Communication terminated, sir.”
“Send the squadron to intercept. I want to know what we’re dealing with before I commit the fleet.”
“Aye aye, sir.”
“Sir, I have the enemy fleet on short range. They are closing at incredible speed.”
“Onscreen.”
The screen switched to a view of the enemy fleet. Eight blue grey vessels shaped like broad arrowheads or manta rays were visible. Each of the vessels was topped by a large gun turret nearly a quarter the size of the alien ships. Rapidly approaching from the bottom of the screen was a wave of Blazer fighters, followed by the Battlecruisers squadron.
“Sensors read them as fighter sized, sir. Ten seconds to intercept.”
Softly glowing green spheres emerged from the Blazer fighters as they fired plasma bubbles. The Blazer fighters were shaped like cones. The back section of the fighter was a half sphere of silvery blue metal. Projecting forward was a thick pinkish red rod, encircled by nine crystalline disks. The nose was the pinkish red half sphere of the blazer plasma sheath ramming system, then a series of blue crystalline vanes, then the fighter broadened into a rounded lump before narrowing to the engines. Mounted in the lump was the plasma bubble launch tubes. Each plasma bubble was actually a powerful missile, surrounded by a weak plasma sheath similar to the blazer system. The bubbles moved with an erratic jerky motion designed to confuse enemy tracking systems. As much a shield as an offensive weapon the plasma bubbles would intercept enemy weapons fire which passed close, protecting the parent fighter. A common tactic, referred to by Blazer pilots as the spittlebug, was for a fighter to launch a cloud of plasma bubbles then follow closely, shielded by the cloud until it could activate it’s plasma sheath at close range and ram.
This was what the fighters were doing now, creating an enormous screen of bubbles as they approached the Orz ships. The battle cruiser squadron had circled and was approaching from below. Abruptly the Orz fleet altered course, turning upward and away from the Androsynth squadrons. Turrets swivelled and spat small slivers of metal towards the plasma bubble cloud.
“Sir, I’m detecting antimatter in the alien projectiles!”
There were bright flashes as the antimatter shells hit the plasma bubbles and when the screen cleared gapping holes were visible in the plasma cloud.
“Battlecruisers squadron opening fire, sir.”
Glowing sparks leapt from the two cruisers and Battlecruisers as gravity drivers accelerated tiny slugs of degenerate matter to extreme velocity. Shields flared around one of the manta shapes as the shots hit home.
“Sir, I’m detecting launches from the Orz ships. They look like some sort of missiles.” Small dots emerged hatches in the rear of the Orz ships and arrowed towards the Battlecruisers squadron, trailing glowing white streaks, telltale of sublight engines under heavy thrust. More sparks shot from the capitol ships as they attempted to intercept the Orz projectiles before impact, than glowing green beams as they entered plasma lance range. One of them intersected a plasma lance and disintegrated in a puff of glowing gas, however the rest nimbly avoided the defensive fire and reached the Androsynth ships. The was a flair of shielding and then - nothing. The Battlecruisers squadron continued, unaffected, to fire on the retreating Orz fleet and as TSK-007 released the breath he had involuntarily held, the Blazer fighters activated their plasma sheaths and charged through the shredded plasma cloud towards the Orz ships. When a Blazer activates it’s plasma sheath, power is dumped directly from the main reactors and an extensive battery system into the sheath system and the engines, giving the fighter a temporary burst of high acceleration. The plasma sheath deactivates when the power reserves run out, leaving the ship nearly helpless for several seconds as the engines recharge. Now the fighters charged forwards, blazing like pink comets within their sheaths. Concentrated antimatter shell fire from the Orz vessels destroyed two of the fighters before impact, and then there were brilliant flashes as shield systems overloaded and Orz vessels exploded, vomiting streams of fluid that rapidly puffed into vapor in the vacuum. Six of the Orz vessels disintegrated before the Blazers, then the comets turned and accelerated away from the two remaining Orz ships as their power depleted.
A liquid atmosphere. Are we going to have to fight them in the oceans, TSK-007 wondered.
“What is their atmosphere?”he said aloud. “ Is it water?”
“No, sir,” answered the sensor technician. “It looks like it’s mostly liquid ethanol with some unusual long chain organic impurities.”
There was another, larger flash on the screen, and one of the Androsynth cruisers disintegrated in a flaming ball of debris.
“What the hell? What’s going on?”
“I don’t know, sir. I’m - wait, I’m getting a transmission from the BCRH-11. It’s garbled sir, but it sounds as if they’ve been boarded and are under attack.”
The BCRH-11, he thought. The battle cruiser. Those things weren’t missiles. They were something else. Some sort of troop pod. If they could penetrate the shields that easily, why would they send troops and not a bomb?
“Sir, two objects apparently escaped from the cruiser before it blew. They’re heading back to the remaining Orz ships.”
                                         *******************
REM-357 shifted uneasily as the Battlecruisers lurched under him, the ship accelerating faster than the artificial gravity could compensate. His powered armor easily absorbed the shock. After the courier, he and his squad had been assigned to guard duty aboard the BCRH-11. Regulations required that all combat ships carry a full troop squad in case of “unforseen circumstances.” What “unforseen circumstance” would require troops aboard a space combat vessel he didn’t know, but standing in a corridor while god only knew what kind of aliens shot at him was making him distinctly nervous. Wariness was a survival trait built into all Androsynth combat troops, but there were times that REM-357 wished that he had gotten a little less while he was in the cloning vats.
There was a loud BANG, and the ship vibrated around him. Instantly he was aware that there was a hull breach nearby as the air whistled past him down the hallway. It continued for a moment longer, than stopped as emergency force fields sealed the breach.
The computer’s voice blared through the speakers.
“Intruders! Section 6, corridor 5, subsection 12. Intruders!”
Ah shit, he thought. I guess this is one of the unforseen circumstances. Lets see... That’s just down the hallway to the first intersection and around the corner to the right. Must have been a sloppy breacher ship pilot to make a hull breach like that...
“Go!” he barked at his squad. A moment later they were in motion, charging down the corridor,
the squad falling into formation, with REM-357 in the center position. They reached the intersection and halted. No sign of the enemy yet. He started to speak.
“We’ll...”
REM-45 stepped out into the intersection, took aim and began firing the twin railguns mounted on his suits left arm.
Damn fool, thought REM-357. In his experience REM-45 was an example of someone who to some degree lacked the wariness trait. This made him a good scout and someone to have watching your back, however it also made him susceptible to moments of idiotic bravery. Someday the problem was going to get him...
There was a hum and a glowing red star the size of a man’s head shot out of the corridor and struck REM-45. Tendrils of energy radiated from the star, searing burnt lines across the walls. There was a CRACK, and REM-45 exploded. The shockwave slammed REM-357 backwards into the side of the corridor.
Oh shit, he had time to think. He yelled, “Hit the deck,” and dropped. Something about eight feel tall with two arms and two legs emerged into the intersection. There was another sharp hum and a red star slammed into the wall across from him. The wall exploded, vomiting shards of broken metal and wildly sparking cables into the corridor. He yelled, “Crouch and fire,” and rolled onto his knees. He had a glimpse of a clear window in the monsters belly. Inside what looked like a round yellow ball about two feet across with two stalked eyes and a beak was rapidly manipulating controls with it’s tentacles. He squeezed the trigger. His suit stiffened and the back jets came on as it absorbed the enormous recoil of the railguns. Around him the other troopers were also crouched in various positions and had opened fire. The air around the enemy vac suite seemed to shimmer and there was a high whine audible over the thrum of the railguns. Railgun round ricocheted away from the alien in all directions, hitting the walls and ceiling. He saw REM-3006 suddenly fly backwards as though hit with a sledgehammer and realized what was happening.
“Cease fire!” he screamed.
A shield, he thought wildly. That’s impossible. There’s no way to mount a shield powerful enough to stop railgun slugs on vac suit. He saw the alien raise it’s right arm. There was a flash, and a blazing blue white beam lanced out, slicing cleanly through REM-22, REM-38 and REM-245 as though they were made of paper. As the beam swung towards him, REM-357 leaped upwards. The beam passed inches beneath him, and there was a jolt as he collided with the ceiling, then he landed upright, his suit easily absorbing the fall. He activated his concussion missile launcher, raised his left arm and pulled the trigger. There was a blast as the missile struck the alien and REM-357 was blown backwards down the corridor ten feet before his suit jets could bring him to a halt. He shook his head, trying to clear his vision. In front of him, about fifteen feet away he saw the alien. It was undamaged. It stepped forward, pulling out of a form fitting concavity in the wall. Oh my god! He thought. It’s still alive! He raised his arm again, started to squeeze off another missile, but the alien was faster. It pointed it’s left arm strait up at the ceiling, and there was a hum and a flash of red. The ceiling exploded outwards, opening on the vacuum of space, and the alien leaped through the hole. The rush of air threw REM-357's aim off, and the concussion missile impacted harmlessly beside the hole in the ceiling. Shit! He thought. Shit, shit shit! A flicker of movement at the end of the corridor caught his eye. The suits friend or foe recognition system immediately highlighted the alien combat suite. Too late, he started to throw him self to the side. The last thing REM-357 saw was a burst of blazing blue white fire.
                                          ********                 *******

“Report!” snapped TSK-007. “What’s going on over there? Do they need assistance? We can send a breacher ship with reinforcements...”
“Sir!”
The sensor officer sounded frantic.
“Three objects just ejected from the battlecruiser. They are on a trajectory for the Orz vessels. I’m detecting an energy buildup on the battlecruiser. I think it’s going to.....”
The BCRH-11 began to glow red, rapidly shading into white. There was an enormous flash, and when the screen cleared, nothing remained of the battle cruser except for a rapidly expanding cloud of twisted metal fragments and glowing gas.
“Sir, the Blazers are coming around again.”
The fighters accelerated towards the two Orz ships, blazing comets of red plasma. The Orz turrets swivelled and antimatter shells exploded around the Blazers, then both Orz ships were destroyed by fighter’s plasma sheathes.
“Sir, the three objects that ejected from the battle cruser, they’ve vanished.”
“Vanished? What do you mean?”
“There was an unusual energy reading, and then they just vanished!”
TSK-007 leaned back and closed his eyes. His nerves were screaming. Two capital ships and two fighters lost to a fleet of ten small enemy vessels. Still it could have been worse. If he hadn’t sent a probe force, more could have been lost. Much more.
He opened his eyes.
“What sort of energy reading?”
“I don’t know, sir. I’ve been trying to identify it, but there’s nothing in the computer that matches.”
“Very well. Can you detect any more ships in the system?”
“No sir. No Orz vessels, and also no sign of the home defense fleet.”
“All right. Captain AK-47, take the fleet to Eta Vulpeculae prime. Coordinate with gunnery control and try to find some way of blowing up those Orz boarding pods before they get any more of our ships. I’ll be in my cabin going over the engagement.”
“Aye, aye, sir.”
15  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / The Fall of the Androsynth -- Part 1. Fan fiction (spoilers). on: January 29, 2010, 07:21:34 pm
This is a fan fic I started working on a long time ago. I got it mostly completed and realized it needed a major rewrite. The Star Trek/Military force talk totally didn't make sense for how the Androsynth should sound. I planned on rewriting that as a hive mind kind of thing based on technological telepathy... Sorta mind email.
However I'm having time issues and may never get the chance to rewrite it, so I decided to post it here for your curiosity. Large sections haven't even been edited and suffer from major problems (although compared to most fan fic I think it's ok). I have another section which is even rougher in a notebook I can post later if anyone's interested.
Note I made some large changes to tech/ships to make it make more sense to me. I have followed the idea that we only see one ship out of a races fleet in Star Control -- in the case of the Androsynth and the Orz a heavy fighter.
I wrote this when I didn't have much of a net connection so for various things like dates names which can be looked up I used placeholders.



                                                Prologue

In 2053, Dr Chaner, working in the field of genetic modification and cloning, created the Androsynth. A perfect slave race, the Androsynth were rapidly incorporated into the manufacturing, entertainment and scientific establishments. A variety of gene lines, optimized for intelligence, strength, and endurance were created to fill labor rolls throughout society. The majority of Androsynth, excepting certain special purpose gean lines in the entertainment industry, had no sexual organs, and even in the case of those equipped with such appendages, were infertile, reproducing only through cloning.
    The era of the Androsynth slaves came to an abrupt end 44 years later, in 2097, when, in a unified and nearly bloodless revolt, aided by sympathetic humans, the Androsynth escaped to and occupied the earth orbiting space habitats. Several attempts were made by the UN to recapture the habitats, however all ships which approached were vaporized by high powered maser beams. Just two weeks after they captured the habitats, the Androsynth moved them out of orbit using an unknown propulsion technology and vanished from the solar system.
    In 2112 earth was contacted by an alien race called the Chenjitsu who provided the humans with the hyperspace drive and asked their help in fighting the Ur-Quan. Humans soon reencountered the Androsynth, who had used a primitive form of the hyperspace drive to travel to Eta Vulpeculae, where they selected the life bearing second planet as their new home world.
    The Androsynth entered the war on the side of the Ur-Quan, and it soon became apparent that they had made major scientific advances in the time since they left earth. Their Blazer fighters were far advanced beyond any human technology, and inflicted massive losses over the course of the war.
    Earth and it’s alien allies eventually lost the war when the Ur-Quan deployed the Sa-Mantra, a gigantic battle platform left behind by the vanished, technologically advanced race known as the precursors, and earth was confined under an impenetrable slave shield as a fallow world, to be forever denied space flight. However, the Ur-Quan missed a research colony on a remote planet, which had been left without ships and with limited equipment in the final effort to repel the Ur-Quan forces. This research colony was excavating a precursor robotic construction facility. When activated, this construction facility followed it’s last program and built a precursor spacecraft -apparently a modular repair tug.
    The colony christened this ship the Vindicator and set out to discover the eventual fate of earth. In 2155, while attempting to build an alliance capable of resisting the Ur-Quan, the Vindicator visited Eta Vulpeculae.
    The Androsynth had been wiped out within the last five years, their cities reduced to ruins, their ships vanished without a trace. Reconstruction of damaged computer records found on Eta Vulpeculae revealed that the Androsynth were researching what was referred to as “dimensional fatigue phenomena” after the discovery of some unusual precursor artifacts ten years earlier. They hoped to discover a faster method of hyperspace travel using the technology, but instead they found something else, something deadly.               



                                           Chapter 1
The courier ship exited hyperspace on the edge of the Gamma Vulpeculae star system and costed inwards, unpowered. Within minutes the sensor net surrounding the fleet base on the third planet detected it and the ship was bathed in hyperwave transmissions requesting identification and authorization. No response beyond the automatic computer beacon and identification code was returned, however, and so a breacher ship and two battlecruisers were sent intercepted it. They approached with shields activated and weapons warily targeting the slowly tumbling courier ship. It remained quiescent as the breacher ship approached the airlock and maneuvered to clamp on.
    As the pilot jockeyed the airlock into alignment, REM-357 occupied himself with a final check of the weapons systems on his vac combat suite. A small display window in the heads up display showed the outside of the approaching courier ship. It was a grey metal cylinder about 120 feet long. At the nose, a series of three blue crystalline vanes encircled the cylinder, and beyond that was the pinkish red glassy bubble of the plasma sheath generator. A lesser version of the system from which the Blazer fighter took it’s name, it could still punch a hole through an enemy vessel with alarming ease. REM-357 knew that if there was someone, or something, on board the courier with an itchy trigger finger, the breacher ship would be vaporized before the battlecruisers had a chance to fire. Half way back to the sublight thrusters, a thick tower projected like the conning tower on a submarine, and flanking this projection on either side were the stubby hyperspace drive pods. REM357 shifted his gaze away from the display window to the diagnostic readout on his HUD, where status reports on his powered armor scrolled rapidly past. He scanned his suite’s weapon systems. Railguns, operational. Concussion missile launcher, loaded.
    There was a jar as the airlock mated. Heart beating rapidly, REM357 joined his squad mates in filing into the airlock chamber. The door sealed behind him and the pilots voice sounded through the suite com.
“Sensors read life support offline. Temp close to zero. The air will be frozen solid. No life signs detected. I’m opening the airlock - now.”
     Soundlessly, the exit hatch irised open to reveal the grey metal of the courier’s outer airlock door. There was a pause, then the courier’s inner and outer airlock doors opened simultaneously, disclosing a darkened interior. Water and oxygen ice gleamed white under the lights of the troopers. REM-357 switched to infrared and scanned the corridor in both directions. Except for the glow of his squad mate’s combat suites it was an almost uniform dead black, broken by a few localized heat spikes around power conduits. He switched back to normal light and spoke to the pilot.
“Entrance corridor clear. Heading to the crew quarters.”
“Understood,” replied the pilot.
    The crew quarters was a mess. Furnishings had cracked and shattered in the extreme cold and vacuum, but that only accounted for part of the destruction. Everything that could be broken was broken, chairs and tables lay in fragments against the walls, computer monitors smashed in, keyboards ripped apart. Light stuttered fitfully from the unbreakable lighting strips and sections of them were blackened as though seared by a tremendous surge of power. REM-357 took a deep breath as he realized what was missing - there were no bodies. Even when the ship was at battle stations there should some people down here. He spoke.
“REM-45, take REM-22 and REM-38 down to engineering. Keep an eye out for bodies. Stay sharp. There’s something strange going on here.”
    What could have happened to the crew? Could they have been taken out of the airlock by boarders of some sort and the ship left on autopilot?
“We’re headed for the bridge,” he said
“Understood,” came the pilots voice.
    The bridge was relatively undamaged. Something had smashed most of the instrumentation along the port wall, but whatever it was had missed the main readouts and controls. Screens showed failure reports and warnings and the autopilot flashed insistently, demanding additional course input. Most of the light strips were operational. REM-357 leaned close to look at one of the smashed monitors and felt a thrill of fear run through him. Black patches of what looked like blood were frozen to the glass and the panels around it.
    REM-45's voice sounded in his ear.
“We’re in engineering. Half of the equipment’s shot. It’s a wonder this thing made it out of hyperspace. Life support’s totally fried. No sign of the crew.”
“Understood,” he replied.
    He leaned down over the communications console - and jumped. It felt like something had brushed up against him. That was impossible through the suite. Even if someone ran into him he wouldn’t feel it. Not like that. He turned, surveyed the bridge, then switched to sensor imaging. Nothing.
“You alright?” asked REM-3006.
“Yea.”
    He leaned over the communications console again and brought up the message log. The heavy fingers of the suite gloves made typing difficult, and it was nearly a minute before he was able to access it. One of the messages was outlined in the red of code alpha - commander’s eyes only. He spoke.
“There’s a code alpha message in the computer. No sign of the crew. No sign of weapons fire. Major damage caused by an unknown force - possibly a near miss with some sort of EMP based weapon.”
“Message received,” replied the pilot. “Relaying to command.”


                                   Chapter 2
    The glowing red panorama of hyperspace streamed past the window outside the battleship KIA-301 as fleet admiral TSK-007 leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes. Arrayed around the battleship was the rest of the Gamma Vulpeculae fleet; two carriers, four battleships, eight battlecruiser, sixteen cruisers, and - on board the carriers - forty of the Blazer class fighters.
    The code alpha message had been unsettling. It had seemed disjointed, as though the writer had been in a hurry and suffering from forgetfulness. It had mentioned an emergency, given orders to recall the fleet, stated that the message was being sent by courier to avoid “interception,” and then had jumped to talking about the dimensional fatigue project as though it were connected.
    Admiral TSK-007 was familiar with the dimensional fatigue project. The scientists believed that by traveling in another dimension, distance could be covered even faster than via hyperspace. Not only that, but the DF drive would be capable of operating within a solar system. A major weakness of the hyper drive was that it could not be used within the solar system due to the strong gravity well. Conceptually the DF drive operated very similarly to the hyperdrive. Hyperspace was a subdimension with concurrency to all points of the regular universe. The DF drive also accessed another dimension, but a “deeper” one than hyperspace with less congruency to the regular universe. He had heard that the prototype DF drive had been completed a month ago. The drive was now supposed to be undergoing testing. A chill ran down the admirals spine. Could that be the emergency? Could someone have captured the prototype ship? Still that didn’t explain the courier and it’s missing crew.
    The com tone sounded.
“TSK-007 here. What is it?”
“Sir, we are receiving a general distress call from the home world.”
    The admiral stiffened.
“Play it.”
“One moment, sir.”
    There was a crackle, than the sound of a frantic voice sifting through heavy static.
“repeat under attack crrrrkkk Orz crackle massive causalities in crkkkkkkk fleet destroyed crrrrrkkkkkk reality aberrations crkkkkk mosquito mange crkle lost much of the southern continent.”
    The admiral’s hands tightened on his armrests.
“Crackle szzzztt repeat we’re stzzzz oh my god crackle help I’m being pullllllll STZZZZZZZ POP!”
“Message ends, sir”
My god, thought the admiral. Oh my god, much of the southern continent lost? A fleet destroyed? That can only be the home defense fleet. And reality aberrations? Is the transmitter hysterical or is the attacker using some sort weaponry we’ve never seen before? Could it be the Ur-Quan, returning as promised from their unexplained absence to destroy any of their thralls who dared oppose them? Not for the first time, admiral TSK-007 thought that the council had been insane to submit to the Ur-Quan. Their hatred for the humans had blinded them, and they had escaped one master only to willingly submit to another.
He brought his thoughts back to the present.
“Captain AK-47, signal the fleet. Go to emergency speed. Repeat emergency speed. All hands, battle stations. We are likely to be coming out of hyperspace into a combat situation, facing an unknown number of opponents.”
There was a pause, then captain AK47's voice, colored with worry.
“Yes sir.”
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