Monday, July 16, 2012

Star Saga: One - Beyond the Boundary - In Search of the Tri-Axis Drive

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.

Silverbeard had just "cornered" me, and demanded cargo. Feeling confident that at least my shields would hold, and based on my recent Boundary run, I engaged the wily pirate. I outmaneuvered him. Before I disabled his ship, he pulled some fast moves himself and fled. Unfortunate; I was looking forward to getting some of his loot.
I beat him by a lot though...
I arrive on Darscold. This is the Darscian home world. Here I learn of the ability of Serene Contemplation, a method for controlling ones emotions. This is essential to the Darscians who are genetically modified, removing aggression, and thus are non-violent. In stressful situations they can keep their cool. There's also mention of the anti-gravity technology I've already found on Fiara. There's very little to keep my attention.

Feldo is a strange 'planet'. Feldo is an alien, the size of a planet. He comes from a world, Juliarra (not found in this game), where each generation exhibits random mutations. Feldo was born normal. Being normal on a planet where normal is abnormal was too much to handle; he left. He enjoyed many travels, but soon ran into a situation he couldn't handle.

He became the pet of some rather large aliens. His time on the ship caused him to grow, and he continued to grow; he was growing larger than the ship. They jettisoned him into space. He prepared for the worst. It never came.

He floated through space, living off space dust and particulate matter, until he found a nice star to orbit. Of interest is his ability to reorganize his body, internal organs and all. Traveling through a planet sized human was a little disconcerting at first, but Feldo assures me it's to make me feel more comfortable. I gain another alien ability, even though it's no longer my quest.

Yrebe is an iron rich planet orbiting in close proximity to its star. It's so close that the sun facing side is liquified. Each night it hardens. The planet isn't of much consequence other than mining for iron. Strange aliens are encountered here, but I only find one willing to describe their journey in space. They're plasma energy beings that long ago shed their physical form with help from a wise alien race.
I searched for more plasma creatures on the day side, fruitlessly
Gironde is a high-tech world with zero biological life. The entire planet is run by core computer AIs, and robots maintain them. They were built with a single directive, which remains a mystery. They trade computers! Finally, I can work out purchasing all remaining equipment. If only I can find a way off this planet.

Before I leave, I learn of a second directive, no computer on Gironde may leave. This is enforced by a fleet of warships that materializes out of the blackness of space. While I've overcome the Boundary and Silverbeard, a whole fleet isn't something I risk.

Back on the planet, I remember a hidden action I received on Gnarsh. I use it to get a Gradient Filter, which I learn the creation of is part of the first directive. With no options left, I attempt to get by the fleet by stealth. I lower engines to impulse, minimize life support, and cut sensors. The fleet disappears.

I realize the fleet was never there. Back on the planet, I rewire the computer and find a bit of software installed during my stay. Questioning the core leads nowhere, but it seems this program is the protective measure keeping ships on Gironde. For my troubles, I re-task the software as a weapon against other ships. Not able to convince the core that there's really no fleet, I leave in further pursuit of the Tri-axis drive.

Ouabain is a fascinating world where they have turned everything possible into a game. Landing is a game, albeit a rather simple one where the hints are blatant. The idea imparted to them by off-world aliens of the advanced variety was that life doesn't have to be boring, and games allow one to exercise the mind while getting even the most mind-numbing tasks completed.

I was shown their center for learning where they've developed the ability of telekinesis (picked this handy trick up as well). A game was presented to me. A simple guessing game. No hints. Only, pick the correct door out of three. The purpose of this is to find the prophesied Game Master who will bring the ultimate game.
Which door would you choose?
My hesitation in choosing shows that I am not him, but I'm still allowed the chance to choose and rewarded for a choosing correctly. I get nothing, but I didn't need the Synthetic Genius anyway. The market offers computers. This sector of the galaxy must really love making computers.

Cordethar, a plot rich planet, rips my ship out of hyperspace as I approach. There's no escape. A voice coming from the planet demands information on my destination, point of origin, name, ship name, and reason for exploring. I give it fake information; it knows I lied. Instead, I'm able to bend the truth somewhat. Giving partial truths allows me to move on.

The planet is a creation of an advanced alien race, one it calls the Owners. Its purpose is recording and transmitting data. There aren't any protections for the data, so I have it transmit all the data to me. The planet's task was to trap passing ships, collect information, and send this on to the Owners. Based on what I've learned from other planets, the owners would visit the home world of the alien race and modify them in some way, either biologically, theologically, or technologically. In addition to the Owners, another frequent race were the Clathrans.

It seems 50,000 years ago, the Owners and Clathrans stopped visiting this area of space, and Cordethar's functions were impaired. It attributes this to a change in the galactic dual space interphase levels. These two events are connected, but I'm not sure how. It's possible the drive technology the aliens use is based around dual space. Recently, about 5 years ago, the dual space levels again changed enough for it to regain some functionality beyond passive recording. It has not yet been able to transmit its stored databanks.

Aware of one event in particular, I search for it in Cordethar's memory, the arrival of Vanessa Chang before the construction of the Boundary. In short, Chang and another ship, the Archangel, met here to discuss their odysseys in the Galactic Arm. Combined with the space plague that recently hit the Nine Worlds, they decide to recall all explorers with Tri-axis drive technology and erect the Boundary. Having learned all I could, I left.
Not much happened in the intervening years

Corbis, currently inhabited by large cats, of the non-speaking variety, and cities obviously built by a long gone intelligent race, holds a mystery. Here, deep in the cities I learn a cat-like people once thrived. In stylized pictographs I see these people discovering technology related to what looks like a spaceship, and in the next image, a lizard race visiting them, wielding a weapon. This was the last picture etched.

On my way back to the ship, I slip and fall. I can't get up. Over and over, I slip and fall. My boots are covered in a viscous fluid that need complete removal before I get any kind of traction. Following the source, I find a font of the liquid in what used to be a fountain. I determined it's the substance known as Super Slip. I'm able to collect 1 unit, but unable to determine the source of the substance. It seems the conditions in this section of the city are perfect for spontaneous creation. There's no way to speed up the process, and I continue to get the section that tells me there's no more to find, 269. I spend months in-game time, 269, 269, 269. It continues, 269, 269, 269, 269. I can wait it out, 269 269, 269, 269, 123...
Is this the games not so subtle way of telling me I'm wasting my time?
Sensors picked up a thermal hot spot nearby. It turns out to be an active volcano, although strangely, the surrounding area shows no sign of lava flow. As I climb up, I'm overcome with an urge to leap in, but before I make my final dive into the unknown, one of the cat creatures knocks me to the ground. I regain my head space, and thank the animal, who follows me down the mountain ensuring my safety. Now I feel a little bad for capturing one early to examine.

I determine a hypnotic signal is coming from inside the lava--based on readouts and senors on the ship--that attracts intelligent creatures to the core. I now know the fate of the alien inhabitants. It seems I only felt a dulled effect that grew stronger as I neared, at a guess, due to the frequency tuned to a mind and biology unlike my own.

One last location, the building picture with the technological discovery, provides me the formula for the creation of the Tri-axis drive. Finally!
Building a Tri-axis Drive Booster
1) Crush 1 Iron and 1 Crystals into powder and mix vigorously with 1 Fuel
2) Sift mixture through a Gradient Filter, and boil with 1 Flame Jewel encased in Warp Core
3) ???
4) Enjoy your new Tri-axis Drive Booster

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