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Author Topic: Star Control Story  (Read 27482 times)
Heegu
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #30 on: December 26, 2006, 03:06:24 pm »

Do these lines come from the PC version of SC2, or from UQM?

On the top of the page it says "Welcome to the original Star Control 2 Quotes page!"
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #31 on: December 26, 2006, 04:21:46 pm »

I didn't even know that another quote page existed besides the one on the Pages of Now and Forever! Woo! This'll be a little bit easier for me, not to mention Grakelin.

But are these collections complete? Do these lines come from the PC version of SC2, or from UQM?
One could always just look at the dialog files from UQM.

Well, it has the MetaChron dialogue, so it's from the PC version. It also looks complete to me so far.
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Grakelin
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #32 on: December 26, 2006, 06:29:18 pm »

Thanks for all the feedback, guys. Cheesy

I already have a special folder where I keep the manual (I found it on Underdogs a long, long time before I ever had this idea. Tongue ), and often read through it just to make sure I get my facts straight. I'll be looking into these links you provided, as well. Smiley

The quotes page will be a HUGE help. At the begginning the game NPCs don't have much original dialogue, as the story won't allow it (probes don't have real conversations, and Hayes has to be to-the-point due to the power shortage), and I'd been tediously copying down their subtitles as they spoke. Tongue

Thanks for the spelling correction, I had been so sure it was Unzervault. Tongue

As to the Arilou thing, that's what I figured. I had a feeling that there was something keeping humans off the Arilou planet, it had just been so long since then that I didn't remember. Tongue There's plenty of planetary stuff throughout, though, so don't think you'll be staring off into space (literally) the whole time. Tongue
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2006, 07:39:03 pm »

But are these collections complete? Do these lines come from the PC version of SC2, or from UQM?
One could always just look at the dialog files from UQM.


The Sa-Matra.net quotes all came from the PC version of the game, back from when Mudry was hacking out all the contents of the PKG files several years ago, except for the Yehat Rebel quotes, which were added much later and came from the 3DO version. Smiley
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #34 on: December 27, 2006, 12:05:07 pm »

So it's mechanically copied. Good.
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2006, 01:02:43 pm »

I like the idea of a Star Control II novel, I've beaten the game on many occasions, a few suggestions is to look at all the dialogue even what happens if you do bad things to good species to see reactions....

A good story, I'd like to have is the trip to Eta Vulpeculae II (Androsynth homeworld), when Burkowski finds info on what happened to the Androsynth, and reasearch into IDF, also the screaming and things that come after him... perhaps some mention with what the Arilou have been protecting humanity through their modifications on us, to make us invisible, and Burkowski looked, and when you look you can and will be seen, you do not want to be seen... I think it is Hawthorne that reports for Burkowski.... though not sure, would have to play that part again, but it would be an interesting part to put in... also get some Orz input on how they do not like talking about Androsynth (they will attack you if you mention it too much) also stories about how there are no more Androsynth, only Orz...

For names, try for ship captains to use names that you see in melee combats, like Bob for Umgah, perhaps Bob is in your fleet when you get those 3 Umgah ships, I always found Umgah names weird, all those names you cannot pronounce, then comes Bob...

For Earthling captains, there is Kirk... hehe Star Trek, lol... you could also take other names which are other species like this, from names which they use when they fight, it is captain names, but would give you good ideas for name genres for the different alien races...

That is my suggestions hope you like some of that...
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #36 on: January 01, 2007, 06:50:32 am »

Sorry for the few days of absence, team, it IS the holidays after all. Wink

I like most of the ideas put forward so far. Please note, however, that my E-mail is NOT an applicable ways of reaching me. It is VERY strongly filtered into the Junk Mail folder, and I hardly ever notice it unless I'm looking for one of those automated e-mails. So for the fella who DID send me an e-mail, you're lucky I found it. Cheesy

Try stickin' to PMs or posts at first, please, and then I can add you to my E-mail contacts list afterwards. Smiley
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2007, 05:30:02 pm »

I dont think ur story should feature the black spathi squadron but a rumour would be nice  Wink
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2007, 12:54:58 am »

Hello to all, I'm new here - saw this topic and decided to register Cheesy
Here's my two cents on the story, hope that helps...

I passed Star Control II several times, but I can't remember one thing - how Arilou reacted if you came to Falayalaralfali with Orz ships in your force?

Zelnick seems to be an Eastern European surname - either Czech, or Hungarian, so the Captain's full name may be something like Jiri Zelnick, or Ferenc Zelnick, or stuff Smiley
For some reason I want Zelnick himself to head the landing party on Mercury (the very first one, to acquire radioactives for the Earth space station).

I liked Fwiffo a lot; once his trusty Eluder was with me for the entire game, and I wiped out the Ur-Quan/Kohr-Ah joint defence of Sa-Matra with his ship. Maybe, it's worth to try and do something like that in the story?

A scene of first meeting with the Melnorme came to mind... Zelnick miscalculates the fuel consumption (for example, using too much fuel on landing expedition), and the Vindicator floats helplessly in space somewhere near Sol system. There may be a big argument between Zelnick and his exec, then there's Red Alert and a Slylandro Probe arrives; they hastily prepare to fight, but an unknown ship (Greenish) comes by, wipes out the Probe (possibly - with the self-destruct code) and then contacts the Vindicator.

The Glowing Rod and the Wimbli's Trident definitely have to have some use, rather than being just the pieces of junk Cheesy

Maybe - a small humorous moment when some human tries to smoke a Thraddash cigar...

Heh, that's a lot Smiley
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2007, 01:49:54 am »

This isn't dead. Just coming along slowly. Many other things I am working on at present. Stay Tuned.
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #40 on: January 29, 2007, 09:18:50 pm »

Some things I'd like to see in a Star Control story:

Right from the get go, Fwiffo is leading a dangerous life.  In the early game he's often the ship's only defense against Sylandro probes, Ilwrath, etc...  That's a lot of pressure for a guy who, even by Spathi standards, is a coward.  I'd imagine Zelnick would have to practically threaten him with death to get him to captain his vessel at times.  But if he lasts, it's because he's also good.  Damn good.  He should be there in the final battle against the Sa-Matra, and I wouldn't mind seeing him save the day, and learning what it takes to be a hero.

Every human crewmember has dedicated their lives to beating the Ur-Quan and freeing Earth, but that doesn't mean tensions won't be there if lives are lost needlessly.   Hayes will lambast you some if you go through too many of his men, and I can imagine a VERY uncomfortable discussion between the Earth fleet veteran and a smart, but young and inexperienced, captain.  Furthermore, how many lander mission deaths will the crew take before they start to wonder, openly, if Zelnick's the right man for the job?  A definite character moment for your first officer.

Diplomacy is an important aspect of the game, and a mistake can be lethal.  Particularly when you have a certain talking pet on board with a bint for practical jokes ("Hey bird brain, got any fruit loops?  I mean, um...CRAP!")  So, definitly should have a mis-step here and there, to show if nothing else how different alien cultures can take different things badly.

And finally, definitly emphasize the clue gathering.  If you haven't played before, and weren't always paying attention to the dialogue, there were more than a few "Now what the hell do I do?" moments.   Would Zelnick confer with his senior officers, like Picard, or with one or two confidants, like Kirk and Spock and McCoy, or just brood alone in his quarters till he thought of something?
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2007, 10:39:18 pm »

The wait is over! Here is Chapter 1!

---

Star Control II – The Ur-Quan Masters

Prologue

“There were many great battles. Earth and her partners in the Alliance of Free Stars against the evil Ur-Quan and its Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. And the Ur-Quan were winning. Meanwhile, on the edge of the known frontier, an amazing discovery was made far beneath the surface of an alien world. A huge underground city, filled with the technological wonders of an advanced alien race, the Precursors, who vanished a thousand centuries ago. But then the main Ur-Quan fleet broke through the Alliance’s defensive line, isolating the planet, stranding the scientists a hundred light years from earth. They waited hopefully for a rescue vessel, which never came.

“20 years have passed. We, the survivors of the research mission have colonized this world. We continued our investigation of the underground city, and we have discovered its purpose. It is a factory. A factory for building starships! But there aren’t enough materials to make a complete vessel. We can finish only the skeleton of one starship. But that must be enough...”


--Professor Jules Farnsworth, A Personalized Autobiography


Chapter 1
Sol


“In-bred, foolish, filthy, wallowing insects!”

   The Pkunk pilot’s voice was tinny, muffled slightly by the sound of weapons fire as it came over the Avenger’s intercom. The Ilwrath captain, prone to such rages, smashed his claws into the control panel. Sparks flew around him, burning his legs. The spider-like creature shouted in relief. Dogar and Kazon were still with him, punishing him for not killing those bastard birds sooner!

   The Pkunk Fury flew in close to the Avenger, its wings fluttering as it zipped around and around the Ilwrath ship. The Fury would be better suited to being called a shuttle than a ship, very closely resembling a dragonfly. Not that the Pkunk, or the Ilwrath, had ever heard of a dragonfly of course. At the moment, dozens of these Furies were zooming around, and a single Avenger, sleek, pink, like a bird of prey swooping in for the kill, soared through the middle of them. Some of the less skilled pilots found themselves crashed up against the Avenger’s hull, many still yelling wildly at the Ilwrath as they died.

   A burst of flame burst forth from the Avenger’s front end, setting several of the Pkunk ships ablaze. The rest of the tiny vessels zoomed in, firing their weapons at their foe. The searing hot metal pellets crashed into the battleship, chunks of metal flaking off. As the Furies spread away, recharging their machine guns, the Avenger began to flicker, seemingly dematerializing. The Ilwrath were activating a cloaking shield. One lonesome Pkunk took this opportunity to charge in.

   There was a burst of machine gun fire, an explosion, and the Avenger popped back into view almost immediately. The Pkunk let out a scream of joy.

“I got him, I got him!” he yelled, pumping his feathery fists into the air. “The spirits are on our side today, brothers!”

A burst of flame, and the cheering stopped. It would only be a matter of time before the rest of the Furies followed.


***



   Zelnick’s eyes flicked open as his alarm bleeped over and over. The ceiling was quite some distance above him. Whoever these Precursors were, they were a lot bigger than humans were. Zelnick felt tiny in the halls of the Vindicator. Clicking off the button on his alarm, he stretched, pulled himself out of bed, and got himself dressed. Six in the morning, ship time. He wasn’t used to the twenty four hour clock. On Unzervault, the days seemed so much different. But, if the others could do it, so could he. Burton often said the same thing about the Unzervault time!

   Burton didn’t say anything now. She was dead, fried like an egg, her coffin now floating around somewhere in space. All because of that goddamned probe. It had come out of hyperspace, two red spheres connected by a thin strip of blue metal, electricity crackling all around it. That electricity had promptly zapped the Earthling Cruiser, the Tobermoon, and proceeded to hyperspace away. Before Burton had died, she had given command of the Vindicator, the giant Precursor ship, to Zelnick.

   Only nineteen years old, and promoted from pilot to Captain in a matter of hours. Of course, with his leadership responsibilities, he needed to train other pilots to fly the ship for him. If he was going to keep that tug flying through the thick of things, he didn’t want to have to be multi-tasking.

   Of the several candidates he had sifted through during the travel to Earth, the one most suited for the job was Erika Graves. Like Zelnick, Graves had been born on Unzervault, within a few months of the Captain. She wasn’t perfect, but she was pretty damned good at flying the Vindicator, considering that she had never had any opportunity in her life to practice. Within the past few weeks, he had helped her better her ability. Granted, the extra maneuvering the ship was doing had knocked several days off their travel time, but in the end, Zelnick figured, it didn’t really matter.
   Zelnick walked down the huge corridors of the ship, his eyes still red from sleep. Other crew members were already running around. Everything was working just fine, but people were always on alert, just in case. It wasn’t a human-built vessel, and there was always the chance that some little peculiarity could cause the deaths of everybody on board. Finally, he walked through the doors at the end of the hall. These doors were normal sized, the bridge on the other side being the only part of the ship that the Unzervaultians had modified. And for good reason. A dozen crewmen and women were working in here, seated in front of control panels on the walls, and in front of the wide view-screen at the head of the room. Erika was already here, seated right in front of the screen, her hands sliding over the panel. In the middle of the room, on a slightly elevated platform, were two leather seats. In front of those seats was a thin table, slanted slightly upwards. On this table lay buttons for communication systems, several blank screens, anything one would ever need. It was like the Swiss Army Knife of control panels. Zelnick sat down on the seat to the left of him.

“Graves,” he called, leaning forward over the table. “Any closer to Sol this morning?” Sol. He hardly believed it was real. The place where his ancestors had lived. One shining jewel of a planet, in a nearly barren solar system. And for millennia, humanity had gone without ever making contact with the people outside the confines of that solar system. Now, he was the outsider.

“Almost there, sir,” Erika replied, keeping her eyes transfixed on the screen ahead of her. The yellow orb, the Sun, shone brightly, its intensity toned down to a viewable range by the ship’s scanners. In front of it, several tiny planets, one of which was bright red. The starmap on Zelnick’s console said it was Earth. But Earth was supposed to be blue, wasn’t it? “If you look closely, you can see something orbiting around that planet. I think it’s a space station. Somebody said there was energy sources coming off of it.”

“So, this is what has become of my beloved homeworld,” came the voice of an elderly man, as he limped across the bridge. John Sparks was one of the scientists who had traveled to Unzervault from Earth, over twenty years ago. He had been forty-five then. Now, at the old age of sixty-five, he tapped his cane here and there as he slowly made his way to the seat next to Zelnick.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

   His leg had gotten the best of him over the years. He rarely walked around when he could help it, spending most of the time on the bridge staring out into the far reaches of space. Carefully resting himself into the chair, he placed the cane beside him, and looked out towards Earth.

“I remember when I first looked upon Earth from space,” he said, with a groan. “It was so beautiful. I remember I could see Australia from where I stood. Now, all I see is a red ball.” His eyes glazed over and he stared at the command console for a long moment.

“We’ll get it back to normal soon, Sparks,” Zelnick said cheerily. “After all, we have the strongest ship in the galaxy, right?” John Sparks gave him a look so strong that the hairs on the back of his head stood up straight. Sparks’ gray hair never stood up straight. Somehow, the old man managed to comb it down every morning before he got to the bridge. Just another reason why so many people respected him, though proper grooming was the least of his abilities.

“If we’ve found something like this, then the Ur-Quan have too,” Sparks replied, his steely blue eyes leaving an imprint on Zelnick’s own. “We’re on an information gathering mission, not a warpath, and you’d do well to remember that.”

Considering that Sparks was only the first officer, he sure liked to boss people around. He looked forward to see a tiny red light flit past the view-screen. A deep, raspy voice filled the room over the loudspeakers.

“Attention, interloper,” it bellowed, a sinister undertone on each word. “Heed this recorded message! This drone-vessel speaks with the voice and authority of the Ur-Quan.”

“So it is the Ur-Quan,” Sparks sighed, slumping in his chair. The voice continued.

“You are trespassing within Ur-Quan space. This world, Earth, may not be approached for any reason.” There was a brief pause. “Nor will hostilities against our orbital platform be tolerated.” Erika squinted at the large, grey anomaly orbiting the Earth.

“I guess I was right,” she mumbled. “I don’t know how happy I am about it, though.”

“In addition, your ship does not respond to standard Hierarchy identification transmissions, and is therefore deemed to be… independent.” The last word dripped with venom, as though the thought of such a thing disgusted the voice.

“This is not permissible,” it went on. “Only subservience shall be tolerated. This drone now leaves to inform the Ur-Quan of your transgressions. You are commanded to remain here and await the arrival of the Ur-Quan. Disobedience will be punished.” The transmission cut out, and the red light

“So guys,” Zelnick said, with a small laugh. “You think we should stay here? We might be in trouble if we don’t!” Sparks glared at him.

“Don’t mock these Ur-Quan so quickly, Zelnick,” he grunted. “They’ll cut you to bits in seconds. And they love to make it slow and tedious.” Zelnick frowned, and turned his attention back to the screen.

“Head for that station, Graves,” he said, a disappointed undertone to his voice. “I want to know exactly what’s inside.”
***
“How long do we have left, DeYoung?” Hayes asked, staring down at the Earth through his office window. That window had been his only source of light for the past six months, the rest of the station almost pitch black. It wasn’t out of choice; they simply couldn’t afford to keep power going all the time.

“Two months, sir,” DeYoung responded, nervously adjusting his uniform. He was a small man, thick round glasses covering half his face. “After that, we can’t hold on to life support any longer.”

“I guess that’s it then,” Hayes sighed, waving DeYoung away with one hand. “Go ahead and tell the crew. I don’t want anymore of them to sit and wonder.” DeYoung nodded solemnly and shuffled out of the room. It was all over. The Ur-Quan had forgotten about them. They were all going to die, and there was nothing they could do. Nobody ever thought they could die this way. He pressed his forehead against one of the large, ironglass windows lined up along the wall, and his eyes suddenly widened.

“Commander Hayes!” He yelled. “Come see this!”


***





One of the crewmen lining the walls tapped a few buttons, and gave the Captain the go ahead. Zelnick nodded and flicked a switch on his command console, a screen instantly blaring up in a static of colour, before settling into the face of a man. Through the screen, he looked to be tall, muscular, more of a soldier than a diplomat. He certainly wasn’t an Ur-Quan, either. He wore a grey uniform, a green badge pinned over his chest. The picture went into static again.

“What’s going on?” Sparks grunted, whacking the console with one solid fist. “Why is the picture so blurry?”

“It’s them, sir,” the crewman responded, shaking slightly. “There’s something wrong with their signal.”

The man came back into view, and he began to speak.

“Attention unidentified space vessel,” he said, his voice distorted. “I am Starbase Commander Hayes of the slave planet Earth. Our Hyperwave broadcasts-”

More static. Zelnick could make out the words “extremely weak, situation critical, energy cores exhausted, scanners and deep radar, not functional.”

“Looks like they’re having some trouble down there,” Zelnick murmured, glancing up at Sparks for a brief moment. Once more, the quality came back into focus, and Commander Hayes spoke clearly.

“We cannot identify your vessel,” came the tinny sound. “Are you the scheduled Hierarchy resupply ship? Repeat, are you the resupply vessel?” Zelnick waited for the static to clear out a bit before responding.

“No,” he said, clearly and loudly into thin air, half expecting someone to hand him a microphone. How could he be heard just through this little screen? “This is the starship Vindicator. We stand ready to assist you.” That was a nice way to finish it off, like in a book. He couldn’t help but smile. Luckily, Hayes didn’t see it through the static.

“The starship what?” He retorted, a look of utter confusion on his face.

“The starship Vin-”

“Nevermind,” Hayes continued, cutting him off. “Look, we won’t last much longer, here’s our situation. According to our oath of fealty to the Ur-Quan, we must maintain this starbase. But we have no space vessels of our own, and the shield prevents us from contacting Earth, so we are totally dependent Ur-Quan supply vessels for everything we need up here. We know there’s a Hierarchy base on the surface of the moon, but we can’t contact them.”

Erika’s eyes shifted from the starbase, over to the grey rock orbiting the planet below. Somewhere down there, there were Ur-Quan just waiting to strike?

“The Ur-Quan were supposed to resupply the base at regular five year intervals,” Commander Hayes continued, after a moment of static. “But we haven’t received anything in almost eight years! What we don’t recycle we can usually synthesize, but we replacement radioactives for our generator energy core. If you can bring us those, we can fabricate the cores ourselves. Are you willing to help us?”

As Zelnick opened his mouth to say yes, Sparks pressed a button the console, muting out the sounds from the starbase.

“It’s an Ur-Quan trap,” he said, his gaze focused on the slave-shielded Earth. “We’ll give them what they need, and they’ll send so many Ur-Quan at us, we won’t know what hit us. They’re just trying to make us do the work for them.”

“There are Humans down there,” Zelnick frowned, shaking his head. “We’re going to help them. I can’t believe you’d even think otherwise.” Before Sparks could reply, he restored sound to the transmission and began his reply.

“We just so happen to have something with us that could help us,” Zelnick said, a slight hint of anger in his voice. He just couldn’t get over Sparks distrust of these people. Who did that stupid old man think he was? “Where can we get these radioactives?”


“The fastest place in this system is Mercury,” Hayes responded, his face positively beaming with relief. “I’m sure you know that it’s the closest to the sun. Be careful, it’s a pretty inhospitable place.”

“I’ll be back in a few days,” Zelnick replied, and switched off his console. Turning to another crewman, he grinned.

“Have Lieutenant Robinson meet with me in two hours.”


***
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Grakelin
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2007, 10:40:25 pm »

Lieutenant Robinson was one of the Vindicator’s finest men. That was what Burton had said in her report, before her unfortunate demise. Only a twenty year old Ensign when he had gone to Unzervault, he had quickly made a name for himself as the bravest, strongest, most clever man around. Of course, there were stronger people on Unzervault, and plenty of smarter ones, Robinson made himself noteworthy by becoming something of a detective in the colony. Plenty of people had often gotten miffed at him over his habit of preventing crimes against Farnsworth. But they soon found themselves liking him more and more as he protected everyone from similar crimes.

It was in this way that Unzervault had gone for twenty years without degrading into a barbaric state. It was for this reason that Burton had chosen him to ride along in the Vindicator. And it was for all this that Zelnick decided that he would be in charge of the mining rig.

It was nothing fancy, just a shuttle, but the back opened up to reveal some of the best mining equipment available. Granted, it was the only mining equipment available, but it was still pretty nice to have.

The mining crew hopped inside, Robinson taking up the rear. Twelve of them in total. Two to fly the shuttle, two to run the drill, and the rest to monitor the mineral levels, and keep everything running smoothly. All twelve of them wore space suits, breathing heavily into their helmets. It was boiling hot down on Mercury, and all that lay between them and a burning, melting death were these suits. Marshmallow sat at the controls, Jenkins at his side. Marshmallow was young, but skilled, and determined. If anyone could get them through this, it was him. Robinson closed the door behind him.

“Rightio, Marshmallow,” he said, his voice going through the microphone in his helmet, and into the earpieces of the other miners. “Let’s get this show on the road. We don’t have much cargo space, so we’ll need to take a couple trips.”

The shuttle ejected itself from the Vindicator’s cargo pod, and zipped down to the red planet below. After a few minutes, Marshmallow guided the vessel along, zipping towards the hotspots on his starmap. The Precursor ship had done scans of the planet before hand, identifying the minerals they were looking for. Now all Robinson’s men had to do was stop at these minerals, drill underground, and suck them into the ship in liquid form. It was a terribly complicated process, one that only Rigby fully understood. Nobody wanted Rigby to explain it to them, it gave them all headaches.

Rigby was the crew’s Xenotech. He and Leopold were the ones in charge of manning the drill. Twenty years old, and the first baby born on Unzervault, Robinson often wondered how this shmuck had gotten to be so smart. At the moment, Rigby had his eyes tightly shut, silently whispering for God to get him out of this.

“We’re here,” Marshmallow said, flicking open a switch that popped open the back door and stretched out the drill. “Its up to you now.”

Robinson and company piled out of the shuttle, their boots crunching against the searing ground. They wouldn’t need to worry about the low gravity here, these very same boots held a strong magnetic pull towards the surface. Another thing Rigby knew a lot about. Already, their cooling jets were buzzing away. He motioned for Leopold and Rigby to start drilling, while Rushmore and Hendryx checked the perimeter. The rest of them would ensure that the drill wasn’t going to cause any earthquakes. Everything was looking good. And in fact, everything WAS good. Soon, the minerals had been pulled into the drills storage compartment, and the shuttle was on its way again. Every so often, they would have to head back to the ship to drop the minerals off, before returning again, but it got easier to handle each time.

Finally, the team was on its last mineral. It was the same deal. Rigby and Leopold would man the drill, Rushmore and Hendryx would check the perimeter. Robinson smiled a smile of relief. He’d been worried something was going to go wrong! As the drill finished its work, he started back to the shuttle. Behind him, he could here Baxter yelling. Probably in joy.

“Oh God!” came Baxter’s scream, and Robinson could feel the hot air push behind him. It was unbearably bright, even through the helmet’s tinted visor. The ground began to crack underneath him. Hendryx grabbed him as he ran past, and led him to the shuttle.

“What’s going on?” the lieutenant yelled, barely able to hear anything over his cooling jets working in full motion. “Did we start an earthquake?”

“I only wish,” came Marshmallow’s voice through his ear piece. “Some sort of volcanic eruption under the ground. We’re all gonna be melted alive if we don’t get outta here!”

The shuttle seemed a mile away, though it was really only a few feet, as Robinson, Hendryx, and Rushmore sped closer and closer to it. The ground beneath their feet split open, steam gushing out. Rushmore was nearly blown in the air by one, falling flat on his face. Robinson and Hendryx could only watch as the ground around him collapsed, and he disappeared below. They hopped aboard the shuttle, their faces damp with sweat. Leopold was ensuring that the mining gear was locked in place. He gave the thumbs up. Marshmallow set the craft to full speed, gliding several dozen meters above the ground.

The craft shuddered violently as a burst of hot magma issued forth and splashed against the hull of the shuttle. Bits of the hull were seared right off, the metal glowing white. Marshmallow could barely see ahead of them. He couldn’t lift off. The damn thing wasn’t lifting!

The back door popped open, the drill popping out, and hanging precariously out the back. Leopold went with it, barely avoiding a plummet into the magma below, as he gripped the end of the drill with all his might. Robinson ran for him, reaching his hand out the back door. It wouldn’t work, he was too far away.

“Damnit Marshmallow,” he yelled. “Fly this thing, out into space! We’re about to get fried!”

“I can’t,” Marshmallow shouted back. “The damn thing is stalling on me. I’m trying my best here!”

 Robinson crawled out over the drill’s mechanisms, reaching out to Leopold, as he swung in the air wildly. Leopold tried to take his hand, but he was still too far away. The clock on his wrist, clearly blaring out the words FEBRUARY 19, 18:54, began to melt away. Robinson crawled out ever closer to him, desperately trying to save Leopold before he could fall, and be surely turned to ash by the ever nearing magma.

“Damn thing,” Marshmallow yelled, bashing the control panel. “Why won’t you WORK?” He pulled the control stick towards him, nearly snapping it off, Jenkins flicking switches and pulling levers beside him. Nothing seemed to be able to get this thing up in the air.

Robinson’s hand brushed up against Leopold’s. Almost there. Just one more inch, and he would pull him up and onto the shuttle. Leopold’s watch bubbled away, and he could feel the heat burning his arm, even with the meticulous work of the cooling jets. Robinson’s hand was in reach. He lifted his hand out to it.

There was a snap, and Leopold fell, a piece of the drill still in his hand. Another burst of magma, and he was gone. Robinson felt a pit grow in his stomach. He had been so close. Now, Leopold was gone. How many more would die this way?

Suddenly, the shuttle shot up into the air. Marshmallow was thrown back in his seat. Whatever had gone wrong, it was fine now. Later, they’d guess that something had clogged the engines, and melted away. For now, they just zipped up into the sky, landing gently in the Vindicator’s cargo bay.

On the way back to Earth the next day, there was a funeral service for Baxter, Rushmore, and Leopold. Nobody spoke a word.


***


   It took two days to get back to the starbase at Earth. If Zelnick only knew how long his journies would be after this day, he might not have been so impatient. The crew was still in bad spirits after the events on Mercury. Zelnick was hit the hardest. He had sent those men to the planet, knowing the danger. Most of these people were much older and wiser than he, what right did he have to put them in harm’s way?

   Erika was upset too. She had spent the last few hours circling round and round the starbase, trying to get close. It was nearly midnight of February 21 when they finally docked.

“Did you find any radioactive elements for our power cores?” came Hayes’ voice over the speakers.

“We are ready to transfer the radioactives, Commander,” Zelnick replied, his voice more sorrowful than business-like. “Stand by.”


               ***


“Power ratings are climbing, life support is coming back into the green,” DeYoung cried, his joy radiating through the central station of the Starbase. There were cheers from every man and woman in the station as the lights flickered back on. Hayes himself was positively glowing with relief. Thank God this ship had arrived when it did. He flicked on his view panel.

“Deep radar systems and sensors are now online, and I can scan your vessel,” Hayes exclaimed, his eyes darting to a separate screen on his panel. What he saw made him gasp. That thing was a lot bigger than it looked from in here. “What the hell kind of ship is that? Just who are you, Captain?” What came back was the most surprising thing he’d heard all day.

“I am Captain Zelnick, of the starship Vindicator,” the Captain replied. “We are the survivors of a Star Control science research team to Vela.”

“Star Control science mission, eh?” Hayes said, his confidence sinking fast. “Captain, I served as a Star Control Officer during the war, aboard several cruisers in the Coreward Front, and if there had been any scientific mission to Vela, I would’ve heard about it.” For all the Commander knew, these people could be Ilwrath trying to play with them before slaughtering everyone in the base. Not what he had been hoping for this morning.

“The mission was highly secret,” came the reply. At first, Hayes didn’t buy it. But he could sense the annoyed tone of Zelnick’s voice, and decided to play along.

“Hmmm, you know come to think of it Captain,” the Commander said slowly, there were some rumors that Corridor Nine, the special operations division of Star Control, was directing some hush-hush operation near Androsynth space.” Even as he said it, Hayes realized that the words came so easily because they were true. By god, these people were from Star Control! “The Vela Star System… yes, that would be in the right direction. So Captain, if you say it’s true, how do you explain that huge alien starship you’re flying. And why are you here?”

“We have returned to Earth to give you the technological secrets of the Precursors, and to help you fight the Hierarchy.”

For a long time, there was silence. Nobody quite believed what Zelnick had just said. Hayes composed himself and spoke again.

“Ahh, fight the Ur-Quan! Win back our freedom,” he said. “I remember having thoughts like those once, a long time ago. But that was in the first years after the defeat, when it was still terrifying to look up and see the bloody glow of the pulsating slave shield overhead. Through day and night we gazed up at the impenetrable wall, as though the sheer power of our hatred would pull it down. But over the years I spent so much time struggling, that I’d forgotten what it means to be free. To hate our Ur-Quan Masters. And now, here you are, in an alien ship of unknown power. Offering your assistance to fight the Ur-Quan again after all these years.”

   His little speech had an effect on his crew, and Hayes knew that if he turned them down he’d be space debris in seconds. He had no intention of doing no such thing. He longed to see a blue sky, and damned if he didn’t! But still, would it work?

“Captain, your offer is intriguing,” he continued. “It’s tempting to think that with your Precursor technology, we can somehow crack the slave shield, and reassemble the Alliance to attack the Hierarchy, and this time WIN the damn war!”

   The crew was ecstatic now, each and every one of them waiting for a chance to go on board the Precursor ship and feast on Ur-Quan blood. They wouldn’t be happy about what he had to say next.

“But, consider the consequences. The Ur-Quan won’t just punish us here on the station. They will exact a gruesome retribution on the surface below, as well. Before I commit this station to helping you attack the Ur-Quan, and accepting the risk of annihilation if we are defeated, I have to make sure you and your ship have what it takes to oppose the Hierarchy. I’ll make you a deal. If you can eliminate the alien base on the moon, and get rid of that threat at least, I will seriously consider your offer.”

Again, an uneasy silence. And then, the Vindicator undocked and droned in the direction of the moon. For the second time in the past ten minutes, every man and woman in the station cheered.


               ***


“I hope you all had a good night’s rest,” Robinson said on the morning of February 22. “Because this might be the last day of all our lives.” Behind him, the Earth’s moon leered at the crew with a menacing face. The men before them were geared up with the best armament that had left Vela. There was no joking around. There were probably a dozen Spathi Eluders and Ilwrath Avengers waiting on the surface.

“If we screw this up, everyone on the Vindicator will be crispy within the hour,” Robinson finished, climbing into the shuttle. It was still damaged from the ordeal on Mercury. The Captain had decided that sneaking in would be the best option, so they had hastily rigged up some explosives, in the hopes that they could blow the place sky-high. The chances were at one in a million. It was a damned suicide mission.

The shuttle stopped about a half mile away from the small base ahead. The team piled out, guns in hand, and began on foot. Hendryx, being the strongest, carried the explosives on his back. It was a job that made him nervous. They went through a small valley, getting closer to that base every second. Robinson took up the front, Marshmallow was in the rear.

“You hear that?” Rigby trembled. It wasn’t his imagination, Robinson heard it too. Something was above them. He motioned for them to press themselves against the valley wall. Hendryx unlatched the explosives, digging both him and it as far into the side of cliff as he could. Whatever was above them kicked up a spray of dust and rocks. The gravity slowed the fall, but it was enough for Rigby to panic. He clicked off the gravity plates in his boots, jumped up in the air, and fired wildly with his rifle. Several seconds later, he hit the ground on his back. Their assailant came after him, nearly trapping him underneath. It was a spy drone of some sort, with a large plow on the front.

“Great,” Marshmallow sighed. “Now they know we’re here.”

But as the team got to the base, they found nobody. Even once inside, it became clear there were no Ilwrath or Spathi to deal with. The power was running, all systems were clear, and the place was totally abandoned. Rigby set to work on the HyperWave Broadcast system. After an hour or two, he decided it was a mayday signal. Everybody who had once been on the moon was dead, leaving a collection of construction robots behind.

“How anti-climactic,” Marshmallow said, but he and everyone else was glad there would be no dying today.

By that afternoon, the Vindicator was already back at the Starbase.

“Have you dealt with the base yet?” Hayes asked.

“We found the base, but it was abandoned years ago,” Zelnick replied. He was as relieved as anyone that he hadn’t sent anyone to their death.

“I’ll be darned,” the Commander replied. “All these years we’ve been listening to their incoherent broadcasts and we never guessed.”

               ***

DeYoung grabbed Hayes’ shoulder, his face stark with fear.

“An Ilwrathi avenger! It just jammed our signal!”

The Vindicator had failed already.
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2007, 10:41:57 pm »

“By the fetid breath of the Dark God, Kazon,” Captain Ishkavvelkasha exclaimed. “A Hu-Man in an alien starship. How fascinating. When I intercepted that Ur-Quan drone, and learned that an unidentified starship had approached Earth, I never expected to find such a remarkable vessel in the hands of a Hu-Man.”

Zelnick wiped a brow seeing this vicious looking creature, but Sparks barely flinched. He just looked on with a hatred even more vicious than the Ilwrath. The beast, resembling a spider from Earth, except red, and bigger, and with claws and sharp killer mandibles, looked back with several unblinking eyes.

“Hu-Mans are prey animals,” Ishkavvelkasha replied, hunger dripping from each word. “Weak and helpless. But here is a Hu-man in an armed starship! And therefore in direct violation of the Oath of Fealty! I am sure our masters, the Ur-Quan, will punish Earth most severely for this treachery, when I present them with the wreckage of your corpse, and your many charred corpses!”

The Captain stood up to begin his negotiations, but it was Sparks who spoke first.

“It will be a pleasure blasting your ugly face out of the stars,” he grunted, before zipping off communications.

The Avenger sped towards the Vindicator, a burst of flame shooting out from the tip of its beak.

“You idiot!” Zelnick cried, causing every head on the bridge to turn and look. “That thing is going to burn us all alive.”

“Relax, Zelnick,” Sparks replied, not standing up. “This will be a cakewalk.”

“A cakewalk! You’ve made a big mistake here, Sparks,” the Captain argued. “We’ll be skinned alive!”

“Don’t be such a goddamn coward,” Sparks growled, giving Zelnick a critical eye. “You need to learn when to run and when to fight. And right now, is the time to fight.”

“People are going to die because of you,” Zelnick sighed, slumping into his chair.
               ***

Robinson and Marshmallow were in the cargo bay when they saw the Avenger. Fear gripped both their hearts. By the time that thing got in range of the Vindicator, it would already be cooking them up.

“I sure hope the Ilwrath don’t like their Marshmallow raw,” Marshmallow said weekly.

               ***


So much for the Vindicator. Hayes and DeYoung could only look on as the Avenger swooped down on the alien vessel, like a hawk swoops down upon a fish. They’d have a good view of the crew members burning alive from this angle. Shortly before the Ilwrath decided to take the starbase’s residents alive. Damn those Vela scientists.


               ***

“Now, Margot! Fire!” Leonard yelled.

                    ***
Erika shut her eyes as the Ilwrath Avenger came ever closer to the ship. This was the end. They were all going to die. So much for fighting the Hierarchy. Her eyes opened to the sight of the ship spiraling off course, a second missile zooming in and smashing into its side, a brilliant cloud of flame and dust coursing through the nothingness. The Tobermoon. They’d forgotten about the Tobermoon. Everyone except for Sparks.

That day, the crew finally got a break. The Vindicator and the Tobermoon docked with the starbase.

               ***

“What a beautiful sight, Captain,” Hayes exclaimed as Zelnick and Sparks stepped through the airlock. “I haven’t seen an Avenger blown away like that since the Battle of Draco.”

“I can take partial credit for this one,” Sparks replied, a boastful smile on his lips. “Though, Officer Leonard Rekk is the captain of the Tobermoon.”

“I guess you know how to handle yourself in battle,” Hayes went on. “So my last reservation about helping you is resolved. I will commit this station to helping free Earth and defeat the Ur-Quan. We may get our atoms rearranged in the process, but by God, Captain, we’re going to try.”

They walked through the large steel doors into the central station. DeYoung was waiting excitedly.

“So, the obvious first step is to get your Precursor equipment and software over here,” he said, without greeting. “So that we can make it work with our ship repair fabricators.”

“Agreed,” Zelnick said. “We’ll need to ensure that the Vindicator is fit as a fiddle, as they say.”

“But then what, Captain?” Hayes asked.

“We will slowly build our strength,” came Zelnick’s reply. “Unify an allied star fleet, and bring the Ur-Quan to their knee-equivalents.”

“A sensible plan, Captain,” said Hayes. “Let’s get to work.”


                  ***

For two weeks, the first members of the New Alliance of Free Stars worked to prepare the starship Vindicator. There was a crew turn around, and many of the officers on the Vindicator went to the starbase. The same was true in reverse. On the final day before the Vindicator’s departure, Robinson and company decided to break in the ship’s new canteen. There had been many modifications to the inside of the ship to make it more livable for people of Human size. With the advent of this, the ship had quite a few more floors than previous. As such, it also had quite a few more spaces in the Living Area for things like the canteen, and a gym.

Robinson, Marshmallow, Hendryx, and Traveller were seated next to one of several windows in the room, overlooking the slave-shielded Earth. Traveller, who’s real name was Carl Frakes, was from the starbase, a cocky fellow who DeYoung had personally insisted come on board. More because DeYoung needed him out of his hair than anything else.

“You know,” Robinson said, a glass of warm beer in his hand. “When I was a kid, I used to dream about going out into the stars. I used to say to my friends ‘When I grow up, I wanna get off this boring planet and go off into space!’ Now that I’m out here, and they’re all down there, it gets me thinking. Maybe the Earth isn’t so bad. Sure, it’s got its problems, but after seeing the rest of the galaxy, I truly think it’s the jewel of the universe. Now, after wanting all my life to get off of it, my greatest fear is that I’ll never live to go back on it again. Kind of ironic isn’t it?”

For a moment, everybody just looked out at Earth, the moon spiraling around it. Marshmallow raised his glass.

“To Earth,” he said. The others raised their glasses and drank to the Earth, beginning to think it might all be ok after all.


               ***

The Vindicator pulled in its docking compartment, drifting casually out towards the stars. Zelnick seated himself next to Sparks, his eyes fixated on the space out ahead of them. The first officer gave him a long look.

“You ready to go out into space, Captain?” he asked, setting his cane aside. Zelnick gave a slight nod, never looking away from the view screen. It was time to live out the stories he’d heard as a kid.

“Let’s go Erika,” the Captain ordered, and the Vindicator sped away, the Tobermoon right behind it, leaving Earth and the Starbase behind.


---

Feedback, comments, suggestions for the future are more than welcome! Hope you all enjoyed the first installment!
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Re: Star Control Story
« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2007, 09:19:09 am »

A few things that I would change:

I find the prolog kind of bland and reword it.

When Zelnick says they have the most powerfull ship around I would change it to be less arrogant, because they know whatever happened to earth was most likely caused by ur-quan and if earth has fallen that speaks badly for the rest of the alliance. Also the vindicator does not have enough fuel to return to vela or to reach the other alliances home worlds. Also the vindicator at the start of the game is rather pathetic and could be easily killed by a fleet if there was one stationed in sol. I would have them discuss the fuel issue because the fuel means they are dependent on aid from earth or wreckage around earth to get fuel.   I know the melnorme are out there but they don’t.

I would also add a little about sparks trying to get the drone destroyed. And later when hayes realizes its gone sparks can say “we tried to kill it but the thing was just to damn fast.”

On mercury you kept saying lifting off into the air and such I would reword it to say “get off the ground” or lift off. Since mercurly has no atmosphere.

Docking with the star base doesn’t make much sense when it comes to the dialog. When the ship is docked Hayes would be able to look at the ship and his reaction to the ship would happen then not when his scanners came back. Also docking with a station leaves the ship vulnerable to a boarding action. In case it was a trap as sparks says. Instead I would have had the lander transport the radioactive to the station.

The lander crew on mercury they had magnetic boots on the moon they had gravity boots. It’s an inconsistency. I like the gravity better then magnetic.

I think the battle with the dillrat needs a little more substance.

Also after the battle with the dillrat you say they dock with the station again I would think the dialog is better suited to a ship to ship communication.


I like it so far. It’s enjoyable.


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