Sunday, July 22, 2012

Star Saga: One - Beyond the Boundary - Going For Dambroke

Please note that each character entry will contain spoilers. If you're looking for an overview of the basics of this game, I suggest looking here.

Note: In my mind, Professor Lee Dambroke is a man, so I'll refer to him with the proper pronouns for that assumption. The game never indicates gender for the main characters.

In haste, I map out what I need to build the Tri-axis Drive Booster. I note my lack of Warp Core. Instead of returning to Fiyar in hopes of finding more, I follow a lead overheard on the sub-space radio. Ethnar, a planet I've yet to find, is a good source of Warp Core.

I planned to map out the galaxy anyway, so I head further into the unknown after a short stop on Firthe to visit the underwater city with my newly acquired Super Space Suit. Inside I see much of their technological advancement, which is useless to my biology; however, one weapon, a Phase Cannon, is just begging to be tested. I trade testing the cannon in open space and combat situations for the permanent attachment. All this work, and I never once use it. The Super Space Suit also allows me to enter the captains quarters on the ship that crashed in to the asteroid on FLN-1. I find the Clathran still inside alive, but paralyzed. There's nothing for me here.
I could take him!
Rialla is home to a floaty impatient race of aliens that look like fuzzy beach balls. The Riallans have a very distinct language of beeps and chirps, and I need to spend some time learning it if I'm ever going to get around. A universal translator is of no help because I can't get any of them to stand still long enough to teach me, luckily I have telepathy.

I learned that the Riallans once lived closer to the Galactic Core until a cataclysmic event forced them to leave, the reason they float is through levitation (which I learn), and their life cycle lasts 10 years plus a random and unknown number of days. This last point is the reason they're in such a rush.

Their ships are also attached with Tri-axis engines. Asking about this results in the chance to test a jump drive (instantaneous travel) suitable to organic life. The last test subject died, but they have high hopes that recent modifications are sufficient to prevent this. Sure, why not? The test results in a quick succession of passages to read through. At the end the ordeal, I learn I've been in a coma for a week. I relay my experience, and am rewarded with the recipe to create the Tri-axis drive booster, something I already knew, but this was fun.

I decided to examine Riallan biology (I am a Xenobiologist after all), but my only hope of this was to kidnap one as they wouldn't stay still long enough to chat. As I stalked one, it popped and turned into two. I grabbed one of the two and ran back to my ship. It turns out that female Riallans create two babies when they die, this is how Riallans breed. I also learn immature Riallans loves ships. I now have a permanent resident.

I try to wrap my way around the bottom to get to Gazan, but I'm blocked by the density barrier. I require the Tri-axis Drive Booster to proceed into this sector. Guess I'm going around top.

Dargen is an icy wasteland, its purpose, the second location of the Brotherhood. My only action, seek out the temple. I wonder what it's like to come here before visiting Gen. Once again I speak my part, once again I face an ordeal; once again I gain an ability. Darthan, the defensive counterpart to Kothan, proves just as useful. Before sending me off, I'm instructed to seek a third planet, Margen, which lies beyond the density barrier. It's nice to have goals for the next game.

Gazan, the origin of the alien shuttlecraft piloted by Vanessa Change, crashed twice, is another home of the Darscian race. The location of the planet was traded with the Darscians for their help after she crashed on Fiara. Here I locate a large warship, complete with active defense systems. Defenses overcome, I explore the ship. I manage to salvage an 8-bay cargo drone and a powerful weapon, the Hyperbeam. I find a log describing the Clathran origin of the ship, and Vanessa Chang's capture and escape.
Is that the same Silverbeard? How has he survived for 300 years?

Arthlan is a desolate planet, once earth-like, now barren, it is devoid of water and life. There are five impact craters, which form a hexagon, minus one point. Also of interest is a large pool of metal near one of the volcanic sites.

Locating the missing crater, I find a large cylindrical metallic object. On top is a hatch. Inside is an octahedral mechanism. With my ability to levitate I examine the interior without fear of disturbing anything. It's unknown why this device never detonated like the others. I learn that the device was measuring the location of the planet, and that the six blasts were meant to send it hurtling into the sun. Five was enough to destroy all life by driving the planet close to its three stars.

The molten pool of metal appears to contain all the natural metal on the planet. A portion not melted is a piece of a ship. Inside I locate a strange recording disk. Touching the disk starts playback of a voice resounding in my head, "The Dictators were angry that we had destroyed atoms and folded space." It went on to say the planet would be destroyed, and the Hrtthi needed to escape. In vain, they attempted to build this spaceship, but couldn't escape the planet in time.

Ioreth, the last of the Darscian planets, is home to a ravenous toxic wild. Even with my environmental suit, I manage to become poisoned during my initial exploration. The poison causes irrational anger, and I decide the Darscians are behind this. Futile efforts to exact revenge ensue. After a few attempts, I regain my senses and visit the star port. Before leaving, I learn the technology here is useful for creating a Ship Shield Generator, the market trades in Medicine, and I pick up some native poisons that are useful in battle.

Ethnar, fabled home of warp core, and home to 4-foot tall squirrels, is another earth-like planet. Before approaching the natives, I explore on my own, and find one of the squirrels, dressed in red, mining a green ore. Startled by my appearance, he attacks. I later find out there are two tribes, red and blue. The red are not welcoming of outsiders. I easily best him in combat, and gain some green ore. This ore is what is refined into Warp Core.

The blue natives are much more welcoming, although wary that I might be a spy. Eventually I convince them otherwise. The Squirrellies, as I've come to call them, allow me to join a mining party. We come across a red raiding party, and I once again overcome my attacker. I gain a strange weapon, which is called a ninchuckle, and I train in its use back at the village. I'm able to purchase Warp Core here as well, but I only needed the one.
How exactly is this created?
Tretiak is a trip, literally. The planet, while non-toxic from all appearances, starts to mess with my senses. Completely drugged up by the time I land, I'm faced with strange sites and options, such as swimming in a "BIG PINK LAKE WITH MARSHMALLOWS" or rapping with little green men. One option is listed as dressing for the party, which is to put on my environmental suit, and immediately regain my hold on reality. I learn from talking to the natives, "Humans are good, Clathrans are bad, and the Infinite visited us at the Temple and made Tretiak insane." From the pink lake, I learn it makes things invisible, I collect a sample for later use in combat. While fun, there's very little left to do, and only one last place to visit.

Outpost, my final destination. As I near, I get an open communication, "har, har, har..." Silverbeard again. Attempting to land brings about a series of combats of increasing difficulty. At this point, I'm equipped with every known offensive and defensive capability, save for the E.C.M, and I know I'll easily break through. Even so, it's obvious the fight is close as I barely miss the necessary 100 points to succeed in defense against Silverbeard.

With Silverbeard's ship destroyed, and the threat of the planet nullified, I'm able to land and begin my search for equipment to repair my ship. From an old computer I learn Silverbeard may have introduced the plague while at the same time trying to keep the location of the human homeworld safe from the Clathrans. The Clathrans conducted physiological and psychological experiments on Silverbeard--the same John Silverbeard from Vanessa Chang's crew--that stopped the aging process. It also made him insane. He believed every human was a Clathran, and had fantasies of being a seafaring pirate. The materials he captured were used to build the defenses on Outpost.

Searching further for a way to fully repair my ship, I find the remains of the weaponry used in defense of the planet. After fixing my ship, I spend some time equipping it with this advanced technology. In an old building I find the Lockerbait, the last ship used by Vanessa Chang. Inside is an voice recorder. It holds Vanessa Chang's last message.

Here are the major points (yes, this is a summary):
  • Vanessa Chang's crew discovered Flame Jewels in the possession of an alien race, and recognized them as components to a new drive technology that would allow travel past the Density Barrier.
  • In exchange for one, one of the crew, Sherin Mosswell, tested a new jump drive technology (sounds like Riallans). The jump ship was never seen again, but they gained a Flame Jewel.
  • During their exploration, the same theme I encountered is repeated in the Galactic Arm, alien races meeting a fate some 50,000 years ago that now prevents their expansion.
  • They find a source of Flame Jewels and share them with a small set of other explorers.
  • Her ship is captured by Clathrans and brought to Morikor.
  • During her escape, she notes a huge fleet, and believes the Clathrans are preparing for a new survey of the galaxy.
  • The space plague stopped due to a new mutation in the human immune system.
  • They met Reverend Eric DeVries, captain of the Archangel, on Cordethar, who was as deeply disturbed by his findings in the Galactic Arm. The reasons are still a mystery.
  • The Boundary was erected, both to protect against Clathrans, and keep exploration to a minimum while technological advancements continued to be encouraged.
  • The hope was to create a small group of explorers able to infiltrate the Arm, and discover the intentions of the Clathran menace, going as far as to hope we might stop them.
Here I'm given star maps of the Arm, told to wipe all memory systems of the location of human worlds, and succeed where Vanessa Chang had failed, pushing boldly into the Arm, into the nest of the Clathrans.
Building up abilities has little impact on the next game, as the import feature just asks what you had before, no checks
And so ends Star Saga: One - Beyond the Boundary. Some of the story is still left to explore though, and I'll be going through the rest of the characters before moving on to Star Saga: Two - The Clathran Menace.

One thing I've learned about Star Saga, the events are deterministic. It'll take some time to figure them out, but following the same actions produces exactly the same results, the same "random" passages in space, and the same planets are discovered at the same locations. Deviating or delaying by a turn will change some of these, if not all of them.

I hope you enjoyed the extensive, if long winded, summary of the journey through the first game. Subsequent characters won't have as much detail concerning each planet or the events surrounding them unless there are character specific passages or actions. Next up, my favorite character, Corin Stoneseeker.

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