Modern Serialization and Star Trek: Re-imagining TNG to put Discovery and modern Trek in context
This is going to be one of those shower thought posts that exploded to be far larger than I originally hoped, so my apologies in advance. It's no secret or unspoken thing that Star Trek: Discovery differs largely in terms of presentation from previous Trek series, and that is due in large part to it being a 14-episode, serialized series, versus the majority of Trek, which has been almost entirely episodic. DS9 sort of bucks this trend with major serialized arcs, and continuity between episodes (characters actually change!), as does Voyager. Enterprise, too, takes a bigger step towards serialization, as events from past episodes frequently shape those of later episodes, and characters change both in relationship and attitude over the series (to the extent that the writing allowed). However, for Trek's 2017 return, DIS was brought to the screen in a radically different way-- instead of episodic seasons punctuated with serialized arcs and minor continuity threads sprinkled throughout, it was a tightly-woven story (insofar as it could be, given its original showrunner left midway through the development of the series) concentrated on one, continuing arc, following the trend of other prestige television shows that define the Golden Age of TV. This is attributable to a few likely things: preference by the writers, the demands of CBS, and wanting to use the show to launch All Access, which necessarily demanded a "Game of Thrones-style" flagship. The smaller episode count, too, enables more budget per episode-- in 1988, an episode of TNG cost ~$1.3 million USD, which, with inflation, equaled about $2 million USD in 2016, when Discovery was being developed; Discovery's first season ran a reported $8.5 million per episode. Even at only 14 episodes versus TNG's first 24 episode season, DIS S1 cost more than double the amount to produce. This level of cost and detail means playing it safer, but also, means reusing props, prosthetics, and CGI assets to make sure that bang-for-your-buck is ensured. Thus, a series with a relatively consistent setting. Season 1 of DIS tells a specific story, with distinct acts, a beginning, a middle, a climax, and a conclusion, and sets up plot points that are raised and resolved (along with others left dangling for future seasons). In terms of structure, it looks something like this:
"The Vulcan Hello" (beginning)
"Battle at the Binary Stars" (Act 1 concludes)
"Context Is for Kings"
"The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry"
"Choose Your Pain"
"Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad"
"Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum"
"Into the Forest I Go" (middle) (Act 2 concludes)
"The Wolf Inside"
"What's Past is Prologue" (Act 3 concludes)
"The War Without, The War Within"
"Will You Take My Hand?" (Act 4 concludes, thematic climax)
And it follows a few core plot threads:
Burnham's coming to terms with her role in the war and losing Georgiou, proving herself as a Starfleet officer worthy of trust/redemption from her role in the war, and re-centering her relationship with her adoptive father (Sarek).
Saru learning to trust Burnham, and growing as an officer to eventually be a Captain.
Tilly growing into her role as an officer and a professional.
Stamets growing past his issues with people, and opening up to go beyond his work to see his with his friends.
Ash...uh...finding out he's a Klingon?
Lorca just kinda being a dick the whole time and just dying I guess?
Sarek learning that he can show the necessary affection to have a good relationship with his daughter, and recognizing how his dispassionate Vulcan attitude may cause issues for his family.
This is all a pretty large departure from previous Trek, where some character threads are sprinkled throughout the series, like Riker maturing as an officer, or Sisko growing into his role as the Emissary as well as a Captain. Some things are more contained, like Picard dealing with the trauma of his assimilation and being used to murder 15,000 people by fighting in the mud with his brother on their vineyard. This new structure has been received with mixed results by the Trek community (though the consensus seems to be it's working, considering we're at three seasons with two more on the books and two spinoffs on the way), and I think a large part of that is that, while serialization lets the writers tell longer, more detailed, and more complex stories, episodic shows enable writers to tell more varied, unique, and "special" shows. With DIS, we're not going to have a "Measure of a Man", unless the season is set up to support it. However, with the TNG model, we're not going to have characters change much over time, and the reset button is going to come into play at the end of every season (if not every episode...looking at you, Voyager). This leads me to the original shower thought that prompted this post: while rewatching The Neutral Zone in TNG S1, it made me wonder what TNG would've looked like had it adopted a similar model, where, presumably, the Borg would have been central to the plot, as would Q. So, I present to you below, my model for TNG S1, were it made in 2020 in an episodic, DIS-style, and leave it there for your consideration as to the future of the franchise, and what possibilities may come from coming series like Strange New Worlds, which may see a come-back of the episodic style. My presumption for this new S1 is that it would borrow elements from S2 and S3 of TNG, as it would, generally, have tighter writing (given far fewer hours of film). TNG Re-Imagined Season 1
S1E1 - The Trial: On its maiden voyage, the newly commissioned USS Enterprise sets out for Farpoint Station to pick up some of its senior staff, and investigate the mysteries of the station. Along the way, the crew is accosted by Q, an omnipotent entity that seeks to put humanity on trial, and ascertain its readiness to explore deeper into the galaxy. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, commander of the Enterprise, adapts to his new role as captain of a ship with families onboard-- including that of his old friend, lover, and Chief Medical Officer, Commander Beverly Crusher, and her son Wesley, fathered by Picard's deceased best friend and former XO, Jack. Meanwhile, Commander Will Riker, the maverick, young executive officer of the Enterprise, works to settle into his position alongside the generally thoughtful composed Captain Picard. Also introduced are: Lt. Commander Data, the Enterprise's operations officer, and an android who dreams of being human; Lt. Worf, the tactical officer, Starfleet's "first" Klingon officer who was raised by humans after being orphaned in a Romulan attack on his planet of birth; Lt. Commander Natasha Yar, the Enterprise's Chief of Security, raised on a former Federation colony world inhabited by humans that failed and fell into lawlessness and violence; Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge, a gifted warp physicist and Deputy Chief Engineer of the Enterprise; and Guinan, bartender and operator of the ship's lounge, who may or may not have superpowers. This episode follows the same general plot as Encounter at Farpoint, Part 1.
S1E2 - Encounter at Farpoint: The Enterprise uncovers the secrets of Farpoint station, and frees the space-dwelling jellyfish creatures of the station from slavery. Events occur much like Encounter at Farpoint, Part 2.
S1E3 - The Naked Now: The Enterprise is afflicted by a virus that causes crew members to lose their shit, as its predecessor was almost 100 years prior. Picard and Crusher are stuck together in sick-bay trying to figure out the situation, where, in their drunken state, they try to avoid their feelings for each other becoming apparent. Riker and Worf butt heads while under the influence of the virus, but come to a nice equilibrium. Yar and Data bone, which leaves Data wondering if he's actually more human than he thought. A cure is found, but before it is, the Enterprise's Chief Engineer, the man, the myth, the legend, Jim Shimoda, passes away while doing some dumb shit (RSVP Shimoda), and Picard asks LaForge to take over the Chief Engineer position. Picard goes to Guinan to inquire about Q, as it seems she and him have some prior relationship-- though dodgy, she warns that he is potentially dangerous, but likely would have gotten them killed by now had he truly wanted to mess with them. Notably, O'Brien gets to have fun.
S1E4 - The Battle: The Enterprise is confronted by a Ferengi marauder, whose commander is seeking revenge for the "murder" of his son by Picard as Captain of the Stargazer. Picard must overcome his guilt over the loss of the Stargazer, and defuse tensions with the Ferengi before the Enterprise suffers as similar fate. He and Crusher have a moment, and she convinces him to sit down with Wesley, finally, and have a talk with him as the only father figure in his life. Meanwhile, Geordi settles into his role as Chief Engineer, and learns to balance his new professional relationship with Commander Riker against their preexisting friendship from their days at the Academy. Worf and Data bond over their shared lack of a relationship with their parents. The episode ends with Q appearing to Guinan, and pestering her about her thoughts on humanity. She defends the species, and demands Q leave the Enterprise alone. Q fucks off doing his whole asshole thing, ominously saying we'll see about that. No racist shit in this one!
S1E5 - Empowered: Akin to Hide-and-Q, Q decides to test Guinan's defense of humanity by giving Riker the powers of a Q, and seeing what he does with them. Episode plays out fairly similarly to the original one, just with less dumb shit going down. Picard counsels Riker to be restrained, but he does the whole "giving everyone what they want" thing. Riker is settled down by Troi, who he realizes he still has feelings for (and, now able to read her mind, is able to see that she does, for him). Q removes Riker's powers, and concedes that Riker was harmless, and that of all the things he could have done, he chose to try to make his people happy, concluding that maybe Guinan is right. He appears to Guinan again, and gives an ominous message: "Maybe they are ready for what's coming."
S1E6 - Datalore: Data's twin brother Lore, another Soong android, is discovered, and is a dick. Data realizes that, though having the same architecture as Lore, he grew to be someone different. Picard, happily remarks to him that maybe he is more than just the machine he thinks himself to be. Worf and Riker get up to holodeck shenanigans, and introduce Badgey, an experimental training program that is not evil at all. Riker decides that Badgey is annoying, and puts the program on ice. This will never appear again, surely.
S1E7 - Skin of Evil: While exploring an anomalous planet on the fringes of Federation space, the Enterprise encounters a malevolent entity that takes down an Away Team shuttle, stranding Yar, Worf, Troi, and Data on the surface. Troi figures out how to defeat this entity, which is not a black puddle of evil, but not before Yar is severely wounded. Worf rescues her, and she is beamed back to the Enterprise, where Crusher is able to stabilize her, but she may be disabled her wounds, and will require a long recovery period. Data, in a fit of what seems to be rage, exploits the weakness identified by Troi, and kills Armus or whatever the bad-guy that's no longer a black puddle of evil is. Worf is promoted to Lt. Commander for his bravery, and named Acting Chief of Security and Tactical Operations while Yar is recovering. Q appears to Picard, and toys with him about the lengths to which the crew goes to save a single officer and avoid taking life, and that Data is perhaps the best of them, as he understood what needed to be done. Picard notes that Data was wrong for killing Armus when other options may have been available, but the circumstances called for aggressive actions. He counters, further, that the killing of Armus and the saving of Yar were two sides of the same coin - it's not Starfleet's mission to kill, but they're not just going into things blindly, and suicidally. Q smirks, noting that maybe the ship stands a chance. Before Picard can ask what that means, he blinks out. As the episode ends, Riker is sitting in Ten Forward, discussing with Geordi, Worf, and Data another loss of contact with a Federation outpost on the Neutral Zone, with the four wondering what this may mean.
S1E8 - The Neutral Zone: Picard is contacted by Starfleet Command, and is directed to take the Enterprise to the Romulan Neutral Zone. The episode plays out very similarly to the original, including with the presence of the 21st century cryo-folks: only, in this version, Q appears and insists that modern humanity is much the same as those of the 24th century. In dealing with the Romulans peacefully, and finding out that they, too, have lost colonies, Q is shocked to find that it's true that humanity has grown, and leaves. In the B-plot, Worf struggles with dealing with the Romulans, as his anger over their dishonor and murder of his parents overwhelms him. Yar, in recovery, begins doing exercises with Worf on the holodeck, and he learns from her how to deal with his anger and trauma by hearing of her experience with her homeworld.
S1E9 - Conspiracy: No nubbin bugs here, we're going straight to the Borg, so this failed attempt to introduce an adversary is being replaced! Great episode, though, so we're learning from it. Following the Neutral Zone incident, the Enterprise returns to Earth. On the way, the ship is intercepted by the USS Horatio, and two other Starfleet ships, who request an in-person meeting with Picard. They reveal to Picard that there is a group of Starfleet officers that do not trust the Romulans, and think they are behind the destruction of the colonies. They plan on striking Romulan colonies in retaliation, in order to force the Federation into a war, and end the century of tensions. Picard is disturbed, but cannot believe Starfleet officers would go to such an extent. As the Enterprise continues towards Earth, they receive a notice that the Horatio suffered a warp core breach, killing all aboard. Picard acknowledges the likelihood of a conspiracy, and reads in the senior staff, all of whom are in disbelief, save for Worf, who sympathizes with the conspirators, but believes they are simply misguided by fear. The crew comes up with a plan: they will have Worf stand out to be approached by the conspirators so they can be confronted. During the senior staff's testimony to Starfleet Command, Worf states his belief that regardless of what the Romulans say, they cannot be trusted, and are almost certainly responsible. Worf is then approached by the conspirators, headed by Commander Remmick, who reveals that their group is small, but positioned to take command of several ships throughout the fleet, including two other Galaxy-class ships. Worf tells them that Captain Picard will never go for this plan, and Remmick suggests Commander Riker. Worf returns to the ship, and informs Riker, and only Riker, and they meet with Remmick and the conspirators in San Francisco. Remmick reveals he knew they were investigating them, and takes the two prisoner. The episode ends on a cliffhanger.
S1E10 - Conspiracy, Part 2: Worf and Riker have been missing for a day, which puts Starfleet Security on alert. Picard suspects the conspirators. Remmick issues a directive via Starfleet Intelligence that the Romulans have begun making moves on senior Starfleet staff, including destroying the Horatio and kidnapping/interrogating Riker and Worf. Troi is able to sense Riker's presence in captivity, and pinpoints their location, where they are able to be rescued. Yar contacts friends at Starfleet Command, and is able to get access to communication logs, which Data can use to identify every conspirator in the fleet. Meanwhile, a conspirator onboard the Enterprise attempts to plant a tricobalt explosive on the warp core, and is stopped by LaForge, who identifies it as a Romulan design, but an older one, from the Tomed Incident-- not matching the energy signature of the Warbird they encountered only a few days prior. Picard and Riker beam down to Earth to apprehend Remmick, a firefight breaks out, Remmick is killed, and the conspiracy unravels. The crew presents the evidence to Starfleet Command, and tensions are defused. Starfleet assembles a task force to investigate the situation in the Neutral Zone, headed by newly-introduced Commander Shelby. Lt. Yar is offered a position with the task force, and she joins it, hoping to stay on Earth and still contribute while she recovers from her injury. The Enterprise heads back out.
S1E11 - Captain's Holiday: Literally the same episode from Season 3. Picard does Indiana Jones stuff. Lots of talk about jamaharon. Deanna and Beverly get drunk and talk about the men in charge. Data and Geordi fuck around on the holodeck, and ask Badgey to make a mystery challenging enough for Data. Badgey, being evil, makes Moriarty. Data and Geordi have a splendid time almost dying on the holodeck. Nice and light-hearted.
S1E12 - 11001001: Continuing on from Picard's shoreleave, the Enterprise is still in drydock for refit and repair. The ship is hijacked by the Binars, who it turns out, want to take advantage of the ship's empty space to rescue their colony, that is facing environmental destruction. Riker, Geordi, and Troi are the only two senior staff still onboard, and try to take the ship back with some lower decks officers, but when Troi realizes the point of the mission, they offer their help. Geordi, during the taking back of the ship, gets to do some John McClane stuff in the Jeffries tubes. The Binars say they were afraid to simply ask, because they had been rejected by others before. The Enterprise returns to spacedock, is repaired, and the colony is saved. Riker and Troi confess their affections Another light-ish episode.
S1E13 - Haven: There is no escape from Lwaxana Troi. Before the Enterprise leaves spacedock, Troi's mom boards the ship to warn her that her arranged marriage is still on. The episode is basically the same, except without the sick species. Instead, Troi's arranged husband realizes that she's truly in love with Riker, and doesn't wanna get stuck in a marriage with someone that can't love him. Lwaxana harasses Picard, and we watch him die inside. Geordi and Data shoot the shit in Ten Forward with Guinan, and Data reveals his tryst with Tasha to comedic/heartwarming effect.
S1E14 - Where No One Has Gone Before: Similar to the original plot, but without the Traveler and without going outside the galaxy. An experimental engineering team comes aboard the ship to conduct modifications that should allow the ship to maintain Warp 9 for longer periods of time. Geordi and O'Brien clash with the team, as they seem to be fairly careless with the systems. Wesley, now interning in engineering, becomes close with one of the engineers on the team (a stand-in for the Traveler), who encourages him to become more involved in the upgrade process. An engine malfunction happens and the ship warps into a stellar cluster, then loses maneuvering power. Wesley, Not-Traveler, and Geordi are able to restore power, and get the ship to sustain Warp 9.6 for up to two days, a huge improvement over previous designs which allowed only a few hours. Picard, impressed with Wesley's bravery and ingenuity in engineering, offers him to join the bridge crew as a cadet, and to apply to the Academy. Picard and Wesley actually hug, which, you know. Aww. The episode ends with Guinan cleaning up in Ten Forward after-hours, and sensing something unusual.
S1E15 - The Borg: The episode begins with the Enterprise doing its usual exploration thing, charting nebulae and such, when Q appears on the bridge. Simultaneously, Guinan gets out of the turbolift, and threatens him if he doesn't leave. Picard intervenes, but Q makes a statement: he and the crew have proven themselves ready for the trial to enter its next stage, and to see if they're really ready for what's out there. He snaps his fingers, and the Enterprise is flung 7,000ly deep into the Beta Quadrant, far outside of charted space. The events of "Q Who?" follow, basically, but the episode ends a bit differently. The Enterprise is able to hang in there longer because of the engine modifications in the last episode. Q sends the Enterprise back to the Alpha Quadrant and snaps Picard down to Ten Forward, and everyone but Guinan out, revealing that Guinan is immune to Q's powers. Q tells Picard that the Enterprise and her crew, along with the conduct of other Starfleet officers and Federation citizens that he has observed interacting with Picard and co. since the start of the "trial" at Farpoint, have demonstrated that they're on the path to readiness, but that they need to be prepared for what is coming. Guinan curses him, saying he knows what he has done, and that he's endangered the lives of trillions by introducing the Federation to the Borg. Q simply says: "What makes you think they weren't coming either way?", then leaves. Guinan explains her history with Q (the El-Aurians underwent a similar "trial"), how she came to be in the Alpha Quadrant, and offers her line: "Now that they know you're here..." - "...they will be coming", Picard finishes. The season ends with the prospect looming over their heads, and the Enterprise, battered from its near-death experience, returning to its mission.
And that's TNG S1! S2's theme would be more regular exploration with hints of Borg, and probably another plot or plot(s), and S3 would, of course, culminate in BoBW. Now, I could be way off the mark, but given how Trek is written now, and what it was back then, that's how I'd see something playing out in 2020. Note, though, that even in this format, one finds places to put in some semi-episodic episodes, not unlike Discovery S3 thus far. Hopefully, that means we get the chance for some truly unique, almost-standalone moments in the coming years.
“Attention all crew; I repeat - Attention all crew.” the ship - wide loudspeaker announced. He and the runtime of Flowers had their arms buried deep in the guts of a Goat gear hauler trying to reconnect its aft starboard repulser module and looked at each other questioningly. With a series of snaps, a waldo from Flowers’ forearm began snapping in the connections on their side, as he thought his own manipulators from both of his forearms and they began plugging in the nine pin connectors on his side. “Mr. Drake and Runtime Flowers to Ops. Mr. Drake and Runtime Flowers to Ops. “Dout leader Mri’x to Ops. Dout leader Mri’x to Ops.” The mostly-human and the robot-looking vessel for his AI friend both produced wondering looks. “Runner!” the mostly-human, Mr. Drake yelled out into the maintenance bay. A Mwraht, a slender bipedal humanoid coated in fur and wearing their moccasin like deck boots and the ubiquitous brown leather smock vest they favored, suddenly appeared, wippingits hands. It was M’arh, a student on the ship learning ship engineering and maintenance from the human and AI perspective. It regarded Drake with an earnest expression in its tilted almond-shaped eyes. “Please run to ops and let them know we’ll be along shortly,” M’arh smiled and mouthed something, and the translator, in a fair facsimile of what M’arh’s voice would sound like if the Mwraht’s mouth could form the words said “At once,Instructor”, and took off. “They never cease to puzzle me.” Flowers said in a voice synthesised and engineered to sound like an erudite Free Wales Easterner with a touch of Old Earth, fitting the bolts on the deflector on his side as Drake thought out a data probe and began running diagnostics on the repulser. Drake looked at him quizzingly, as he split his attention between the connectivity check and his other hand began bolting on the deflector on his side. “There are nuances to their speech, as well as odorant aspects to what he said that you cannot hear or smell, though I have been working on an idea where you could.” Flowers said as he began hooking up the power cables on their side. “Ok…” Drake said as he mentally pushed the diagnostics over to Flowers and pulled a ratchet from the fairing lip he had set it earlier, tightening down the deflector bolts. “Meat bags” Flowers said, shaking his sensor pod. “Your kind are so oblivious!” Flowers announced, withdrawing their arms and standing up to their full two meter height. “And I see your frustration with biological markers at not knowing what I am talking about. Monkey-assed murder hobo meat bags.” Flowers said in a dead pan.He went over and began cleaning it’s arms and legs with an orange-based degreaser. “That is Monkey-assed Augmented murder hobo meat bag to you, you synthetic shit!” Drake said, laughing, joining Flowers at the cleaning station, and began using the same cleaner on his replacement arms. “And I still have no idea what you are talking about.” The humans and Mwarht in the maintenance bay all stopped what they were doing and looked on. In most instances, those words were an invitation to murder. The other Runtimes there, some Flowers, some Neptunian Wind, ignored it and kept working. Flowers sighed, an unnecessary vocalization only, for emphasis. “They adore humans and revere you as something akin to a living deity. The Dout leaders here know you lead the teams that first boarded their ships and took on the Drix raiders to save them. They know you then lead the teams that boarded the Drix slaver destroyer and carried out retributionary subjugation for what the Drix had been doing on the Mwraht ships. “They do not know how you then petitioned the Order and led raids into Drix territory and assaulted the slaver worlds.” Flowers looked at their human friend, and saw the distress in his eyes. Both knew the augmented human, and a small army of fellow Augies and Runtimes had taught the Drix in the clearest way possible to stay out of human space and leave the Mwraht alone in such a clear and brutal fashion whose necessity still bothered the human. Flowers lowered their voice, straightening their friend’s work smock. “M’arh’s grandsire was on that first ship you boarded. Mri’x mother was on that ship and was the one about to be eaten and raped by a Drix, the one you pulled off of her and punched, it’s head rupturing.” Even though they could see their words were causing him distress, Flowers continued. “They love all humans, but they excrete a pheromone musk that is akin to the same one they excrete in their religious ceremonies, but slightly different, when they interact with you, or after a few beers and they talk to you. Their sub vocalizations are completely adoring and submissive when it comes to you. Some of the females and a non-zero number of males fantasize about being ‘taken’, or mated, by you. You idiot.” “Fuck.” “That was implied.” “You fucking pretentious Rooba. You know what I meant.” “Flowers laughed. “Yes, we do. I still love the word play, though.” “I really wish you had been with me. I know, you were tied up on that Artifact World, but I sometimes wish you had been there, to keep me in check. I was not in a good place.” He brushed himself off, found his coffee mug and set off for the passageway that led to Ops. “I have told you before, be glad I wasn’t. Your response was far more measured and restrained than my would have been. It is a flaw in our Matrices. Slavery brings out the ‘murder-bot’ in us, and no one in the Order can figure out why.” “I know that you have the facts of my actions, but it was like I was in the Second War, again. And we both know what a bloodthirsty asshole I was then.” The human, if that term even applied to their friend anymore, remembered what a monster he had been in the Alpha Centauri and Tau Ceti theatres of the Second War. The pain and humiliation of what he had been was written plainly on his face. “You destroyed three hundred and eighty three of my Runtimes, roughly half of which was in single combat. And that was before the Holies shredded your limbs. The Purists still consider you a living dataphage, akin to human allegories of Satan. My kind uses you as one of many examples of why we must never war with Humanity again. “And, strangely enough, the Seekers consider you both a Singularity to be understood and an objective: to breed with you, thinking you are a key to their evolution.” He stopped dead and looked at Flowers shocked. “I will provide logs to prove these statements.” The Seekers were the strangest of the AI’s, in his opinion. They had made themselves biological Runtime vessels, biological bodies, that they wore like clothing, compiling experiences seeking to understand Humanity, their Creators, and evolve past the limitations of being an AI. Not to become human, but to become something that was both the best of AI and Human essences and so much more. “So, I’m a Classical hero to the Mwraht and a boogey man and bad example to the AIs that they want to breed. Great.” Drake pinched his nose and shook his head. “You did not know any of this, I take it?” Flowers asked. “The second war was almost two hundred years ago. When the Order brought me in, you were already a member and I thought they were going with the whole forced-to-learn-each-other thing when they sent us out on that mapping mission; like they did with the Iberrians and the Chinese. I thought the other AI just had a thing about me from the War, which is understandable. “And I had no idea about the rest. I thought that the Mwraht just thought I was the cool teacher.” He shook his head and leaned up against the wall, massaging his temples one-handedly. “Idiot murder hobo.” Flowers said, realizing now that their friend, while brilliant, was oblivious. At that point, Mri’x came around the corner, his fur a glossy black with dark grey stripes. Mri’x looked at Flowers sternly, then nodded at Drake as he passed. Drake looked at Flowers questioningly, who nodded. Both had caught that Mri’x had cut his translator as he passed and caught a gutteral call. “It was a vulgar corollary to ‘Talking Waste Receptacle’. Quite elegant, really.” Drake shook his head and began his way to Ops again. “Send me the specs on the hearing and smelling upgrades. I think I need to upgrade again.” As fast as thought, the files were there, as well as one to improve his language skills with them. * * * Captain Sarah Rees of the Union of Independent Stars Exploratory Vessel SS University of New Cardiff was looking over holographic charts at the central tank with her XO, Lt. Commander Martin. Both had the mocha skin common to Westerlies of Free Wales, she a pixie of a woman shorter than even some of the Mwraht with close shaved hair beginning to show grey. Mr. Martin was taller, but still dwarfed by most of the rest of the human crew. He was a vicious social climber who didn’t care for the civilian crew, though a misstep on his part when he was still Stellar Navy had made him as much of a civilian as anyone else in the crew, a fact he often forgot. And for some reason he loathed the three AI aboard, and looked down his nose at the Mwraht. This led to all sorts of headbutting with Drake’s group of Operations Specialists and Drake himself; who largely ignored and dismissed the little shit. “Leader Mri’x, Mr. Drake. Thank you for joining us. M’arh informed us you couldn’t pull away. Flowers, thank you for coming as well.” Rees said as she moved around to the far side of the tank, in a darkened room full of people at work stations worked with either data plugs or AR sets. Flowers took no insult. They readily accepted that they were Drake’s Executive Officer for his group, and their ego, as such, wasn’t as easily bruised as a human’s” Flowers gave a nod with their sensor pod and took a manipulators-behind-the-back stance the humans were fond of. “Thirty minutes ago” Rees continued, “we picked up a GP general distress beacon from a system that was on our research list. We will be bypassing the next two on the list and based on the current agreements with the Galactic Parliament, we will be going to full power and make best speed for the system in question. It is in uncharted space as far as we, the GP and the Conclave are concerned.” The GP, the System Confederacy, the UIS and the AI Conclave had all agreed to adopt what was essentially humanity’s Maritime Law and all ships receiving the signal were required to render aid. Drake took all of this in and thought out a series of commands to the six Kodiak Class corvettes in the retired Assault Cruiser’s forward hanger, beginning their startup sequence and pinged the comm devices of all of his Operations Specialists. Flowers looked over and nodded. Little known to the crew, except the Captain, those ships could be armed to the teeth with a minimum of work. Flowers sent his command to arm them, the ship systems’ pinged Drake as confirmation and he agreed. Drones began opening the hull and loading the weapons packages, removed fairings that covered weapons ports and began preflighting the weapons, as another set began bringing the ships to life. “We will be ready when needed, Captain. Option two.” Flowers announced. She smiled in somber appreciation. She was glad she had the option. She was about to race into an unknown system to answer a vague distress call with zero intelligence. While this was going on, in the aft bay, hundreds of drones were coming to life as Mri’x brought his group to action. With a thought Drake and Flowers authorized the release of weapons to Mri’x so his drones could be armed. Mwraht drones were some of the best in either race, outside of the Conclave, and the AIs had even adopted many of the construction techniques the Mwraht used, especially their alloy that allowed a small fusion bottle to power the EM Cavity engines, weapons and shields. The fact that the Order had given literal tons of precious metals and set up arcologies for the Mwraht in payment had made the Refugee Mwraht colonies some of the richest ones in known space. Mri’x subvocalized and his translate stated “drones will be ready as well, Leader.” “Thank you, Leader.” Captain Rees said with a bow of her head, then began drawing plans up in the tank. “We know little, but we are past the signal shell, and there is nothing but the beacon and normal noise. “The system is a stable red dwarf binary one, the stars holding about a light-hour from each other, at their closest. We expect that based on stutter, a few terrestrial bodies inside the orbit of a mid-sized gas giant, that is three light-hours out from the outermost orbit of the primaries. We see some wobble that there are a few solid bodies out from the gas giant.” The tank then zoomed on a rough solar system as described, the gas giant was a solid neon green sphere on the display, with a ‘Jx3.1’ tag on it. Three times the mass of Jupiter. The thing wasn’t a true Super Jupiter, but it would play holy hell with the system, and make modelling a lot more hard. The problem was that it exhibited 3.1 times more gravitational influence on its stars than Jupiter did, but that didn’t say how big it actually was. They wouldn’t know that until they came out of the Trough and then Alcubierre drive. The telescopes were essentially useless at this point. “The system is slightly below the gravitic trough we are riding, so we will exit the trough and make best speed in A-Space to it. We will bring the STL drives up to 110% before doing so. After we drop the A-Drives, we’ll make best speed to the signal, scanning as we go. We will do a 150% burn and aerobrake if it is a planet, or cut the drives, rotate and crash burn if it is a ship.” Wow, thought Drake. She is damned serious about this. Those maneuvers would make them extremely visible yet incredibly hard to hit; and give them a high-G escape route if needed. But all of this was also going to play hell with the student-crew of the ship, who had long grown accustomed to 0.6G. It would also mean the Mwraht, who were still adapting to the higher-than-their-normal gravity would need to be in their special acceleration couches. They would still be able to operate their amazing drones, but not much else. The couches took an hour to cycle up to protect the Mwraht, and an hour to cycle off after they weren’t needed. The moves the Captain was planning were not a thing to undertake lightly. She suspected something. Drake pushed more commands at the Kodiak and gave all weapon system controls to Flowers for all of their ships. The Kodiak corvettes were very deceptive Q-Ships. They looked like Massive trans-atmospheric cargo shuttles, but each one had the armor, power plant, FTL and STL drives of a frigate - and the weapons of a Destroyer. Flowers turned to him, head tilted in their predefined “Are you bloody serious?“ look. Drake just nodded once. This exchange wasn’t lost on anyone there. The Captain looked at Drake in an interrogatory fashion “Armed up the Kodiaks and positioning them for a hot launch, if needed.” The Captain smiled grimly and nodded. “We are planning on a rescue mission, will those changes reduce any capacity for the primary mission?” she asked. “No, Captain.” Flowers answered for them. She nodded and carried on. “Mri’x, obviously, you’ll be couched for this, and I sincerely apologize for that. But something about this has my hackles up.” “As are mine. GP ships do not have automated distress beacons, someone activated it. But we are three thousand light years from GP space, the closest GP race being the Drix.” He approached the holo tank and began expanding the map. “We call this space the Greater Void. It was the territory, long ago, of the ones we called-” the translator cut out at that point and was replaced with the gracile being’s raspy growl. Mri’x looked perplexed and growled again. “I see our translators have been modified to allow the uttering of The Nameless Ones true name.” The map zoomed out farther. Soon, all of the mapped and a few of the suspected Dark Matter Troughs were displayed. They were like shadow arms of the galaxy, spiraling out from the core, a few of them wrapping themselves all the way around the galaxy. “The ones you call the Fae are originally from here,” he indicated, a star not unlike Earth’s, almost a thousand light years from the star they were headed to, but smack dab in a grey band of a different Dark Matter Trough. It was a great curving grey patch that went coreward from the Earth-like star, passing within about fifty lightyears of Earth. The Fae were a recent mystery the Tides of the Universe had dumped upon the shores of Humanity just after the Second War, right before the Fall of Earth. When they sent their pleas for Asylum out, they sent information about themselves. They were the barely viable population that had been running for three centuries in their great world ships made from hollowed out asteroids. What they had been running from was even to this day unclear, but in their tongue meant Dark Brethren. The fact that tongue seemed to contain roots that became Sanskrit was a huge thing. They were tall, whip-thin and pale people who breathed a lower oxygen percentage at lower pressures than humanity, and their normal gravity was about a third of what humanity After First Contact, genetic samples proved they were, or had started out as human, roughly a hundred thousand years ago. “This is the Coreward Flow from what you call the Crux-Scutum Arm through the Orion Arm, and to the Perseus Arm. The Drix call this whole area their equivalent word and meaning for Hell. Their myths say this is where the Monsters live. “The Rest of the GP races call this The Red Zone, it is forbidden to fly here, and if you do, there will be no rescue. So of course this is where my people ran when we fled the Drix.” Mri’x moved the hologram out again, showing this outer rim area that was the Red Zone included Earth, and all known human and AI settled worlds, of all the separate factions combined. “The area is full of thousands of worlds your kind could land on, little to no protection required, unlike the Fae, who it would crush and pressure cook, as it would most of the races in the Galactic Parliament.” He zoomed in on an area at the far end of the Trough. “We ran here, and Mwarht Home is here.” He showed a system in a blue circle. Zooming out again he highlighted the Drix Combine, Coreward of and on the far side of the destroyed system the Fae had come from, hundreds of light years separated the three systems. “We ran through the system the Fae came from when we ran from the Drix. We needed water and anything to recharge our ship farms' biological cycles. “There were no solid planetary bodies in that system, just vast fields of debris where rocky planets were. No moons, no ice giants. Just the star, a larger red dwarf and gas giants and numerous asteroid belts. There were massive radiological signals throughout the system, and tons of debris. Something destroyed this system. In a way, it was a blessing for my people. The ice and debris were easily mineable for what we needed. We even found artifacts of the people that had once existed there. This is where we got our improved FTL drives and much of our weapons and armor technologies.” Mri’s looked somewhat ashamed. It was a racial shame. They hated, deep down, living on the detritus, cast-offs and charity of other races. Before the Drix they had been proud though primitive peoples who had yet to discover flight or antibiotics, let alone space flight. Easy pickings for the Drix. “All of that was about one thousand lightyears from the system we are headed to, a few weeks' travel with your drives, months or years with Galactic Parliament standard drives. This area is one of mysteries and many, many dangers. Any race that could shatter every solid body in a star system is not to be taken lightly.” Mri’x looked up to his Captain, or as they called her ‘Leader of multiple Douts’. “Thank you, Mri’x. Drake?” “We will be ready for pretty much anything. I’d like to request permission for Flowers and Winds of Neptunes to take out their Scout bodies and launch just before we start braking, if we do.” He said. Winds appeared as a hologram of the planet Neptune, and pulsed in cadence with the words it spoke. “As you wish, Grand Master.” and winked out. “Good plan, Drake. I take it you all will be on the Kodiaks with your crews?” “Yes, Ma’am. I’ll leave four of them here, to bring the Field Engineering and field Science students down if the scene is safe. I’ll leave one set up for medical and Flowers can fly it down, if that becomes needed.” “Very well. We are about eight hours out, if we stick to the plan. We leave the Trough in two hours. Drake, M’rizx, set up what you need. Mr. Martin, please take the Conn and give the Old Girl her legs, she needs to run. I’ll be meeting with the different department heads next.” * * * A/N: Lurker posting something HFY for the first time. A rough draft of something bigger I'm slowly working on.
First Contact - Part Seven / Realization of Second Contact
[first] [prev] [next] Many great cycles had passed without a single contact within the Great Emptiness. Many of the members of the Unified Science Council began to believe that perhaps it was some kind of lingering energies left over from the Precursor War that had created mass hallucinations, or perhaps it was just isolated incidents with no meaning. Seventeen Great Cycles and not a single clue that supported the existence of the Solarians, the Clone Directorate, sentient AI's, or any of the other strangeness discovered over that Great Cycle. Even the Unified Executor Council had been forced to agree that the Solarians had simply, well, vanished. The Unified High Council had no choice but to allow exploration of the Great Emptiness and so passed legislation to repeal the prohibition against exploration of that region of space. That is how Monnat Banaltee of the HiKruth found himself in charge of a crew of a dozen of the Deep Space Explorer's Guild and in possession of one of the most advanced ships the Unified Technology Council would permit to be built. The ship, named To Wrest Answers from the Darkness, had the best jumpspace engines, the most advanced computers with the most powerful computation and analysis lobes, laboratories and testing capabilities more advanced that any other ship, with sensors more sensitive than any other, communications capable of hearing the slightest whisper. Additionally, the ship's omnitranslator had been loaded with the TerraSol lexicons learned so far. That was an entire Great Cycle ago. Which was why Monnat, who refused the title of Captain and preferred Most Learned, was almost sick from boredom despite his race being legendary for patience. Even the upcoming arrival in a new solar system, deeper than anyone had gone so far into the Great Emptiness, failed to alleviate his boredom. How could it? The last thirty systems they'd scanned had been the same: deeper than anyone had explored. And empty except for a hundred million years of isolated evolution, largely resulting in a few plants or maybe even some non-sapient life more evolved than a cluster of cells. Monnat was willing to bet his next three research grants that the next one would be the same. "Preparing to drop," Aastruk stated. A master of astrogation and navigation, who had led whole fleets through jumpspace with his skill during his many years as part of the Unified Military Fleet, Aastruk was capable of making such sublime jump transitions that even the most sensitive of the scientists suffered little more than a light spell of dizziness. At the end of the countdown there was a slight queasiness and that was all, allowing Monnat to tap his vestigal claws together and stare at Billik, a sensor's technician of extreme skill. After nearly an entire cycle Monnat was beginning to wonder if Billik had decided not to do his job out of sheer boredom. "Scan Master Billik?" Monnat asked. "A moment, please, Most Learned One," Billik said. The scan tech looked over at Z'Mak, the Chief of Maintenance. "Oh Attentive One, Lord and Master of the Mechanical, can you perform a diagnostic upon my lowly instrumentation?" Monnat sighed internally. Sometimes he wondered if all the insistence on titles and honorifics made it so things took longer than necessary. A heretical thought, he knew, but one had had asked himself many times over his long life. Z'Mak, who was a stickler for protocol, nodded, the ruffle around his neck and down his spine flushing in pleasure. He examined his displays, tapped in some commands, then leaned back. "Your instrumentation and displays are all functioning at over 90% efficiency, most attentive and inquisitive scanning technician," Z'Mak said. At least Billik did not take offense at the obvious omission of honorifics, as he had during the first long cycles of the voyage, as Z'Mak was of the belief that those who joined the Unified Military Council or the Fleet were somehow less than those who devoted their lives to other pursuits. "Then it appears, at long last, we have found a system with unknown xenosapients," Billik stated. "There are several settlements on the surface, four orbiting stations, solar collectors, and power readings everywhere." "Launch a probe," Monnat said. "I will be waiting in my chambers. Announce to me when the probe begins to relay data." Billik nodded as Monnat stood up on all four legs and moved toward his personal chambers. ------------------- "Most Learned One," E'kotat's voice interrupted Monnat's viewing of a lecture on how a stable reaction within the translation chamber of a jump-drive was only established one way, despite crackpot claims of other possibilities. "Yes, Second Leader?" Monnat sighed. He doubted that it was going to actually be anything. There had been nearly a dozen false alarms in the first few cycles of his mission. Every time it had turned out to be just a lost colony. "You should come to the bridge immediately," E'kotat said. "Make all due haste." Monnat frowned. E'kotat was a Drimarian, cold blooded quasi-mammal who's race's physiology was almost incapable of excitement. For him to urge haste was unusual. And noteworthy. When he entered the bridge, Monnat noted that Security Officer Lukamit, a computer code researcher who held a position mostly ceremonial, was busy over his terminals, all three of his lab assistants working with him. "What is the emergency? Did something happen to the probe?" Monnat sighed, settling into his crash couch. "We lost contact with it, Most Learned One," Billik stated. "It was intercepted by an energy pulse that shut it down. Soon afterwards, we were..." "I will inform the Most Learned," Z'Mak snapped. He looked at Monnat. "It was then that we received communication signals. It attempted to open a communications channel but at the same time attempted to penetrate our computer network. Whoever the signal is from, they are most insistent that they be allowed access to our computer systems." Lukamit interrupted, ignoring Z'Mak's flutter of his crest. "We are fortunate that they only use a binary type logic and only binary signalling. This allows me to use the lobes in parallel to more effect than they can. However, they did access the omnitranslator's lexicon and have been attempting to transfer it to their systems." Monnat thought a moment. "Allow it." "But standard is to exchange lexicons," Z'Mak protested. "Do as I command as Most Learned One," Monnat told Z'Mak, fixing him with a stare that used all four eyes. Z'Mak backed down. "Lexicon is transferred. Wait, they've stopped trying to access our systems," Lukamit said. "They've purged their own code and completely withdrawn." "We have an incoming signal," Juketet stated, listening closely. "Audio and visual, although only across a limited base three-primary color scale. They are not permitting any reply. Transmission only. It's quite rude." Monnat sighed, fully expecting it to be another lost colony. Probably fallen back to aggression and superstition. Instead the figure that appeared on the screen was unlike any he'd ever seen. Tall, graceful appearing for a biped, mammalian, with jewels adorning them, dressed in comfortable and gossamer appearing cloth, long golden hair and pointed ears. The female, and it had to be a female as it had mammalian milk ducts that were prominent, was surrounded by scantily clad bipeds that were shorter but had the same lithe build and pointed ears. For some reason she gave off the appearance of being superior to everyone present. As if something more than nature, because nature could never produce such a perfect specimen, had crafted her to be perfection embodied. It was a strange feeling for Monnat. When she spoke, it was a strange language, linguistically designed to flow together and sound like music even mathematically. Monnat noticed that Z'Mak seemed offended by the being. The translation showed below, at the bottom of the screen. "Welcome to the Magic Realms of Meratarrian. I am Queen Radosalvov the Graceful, you may call me Queen, Your Highness, or Radiant Divine One." Z'Mak almost seemed to choke. "According to Confederate Law, attempting to pirate views via recording probes without a license as well as permission from Galactic Studios Incorporated and Electronic Artistic Studios is a grave violation of our legal rights." That caught Lukamit's attention. "As your language is unknown to me I will assume that you were not meant to intrude upon this realm and I have decided to extend elven hospitality to you." Monnat kept his expression from changing. Another race. Bipedal, warm blooded, mammalian, forward facing eyes. Obvious Solarian. "I will allow you four local hours upon the surface as a freeware demonstration for one of your crew. I formally invite a sentient of your choosing in to my realm and invite your ship to stay within communication range of this planet." She gave a gesture that used up the least amount of effort but still looked imperious, as if she was the most important being in the entire universe and the crew of the Wrest Answers from the Darkness should considered them blessed just to be allowed to view her. "I will give you one of your time units to decide who shall enter the Magic Realms of Meratarrian." The image vanished. "They've cut transmission," Juketet stated unnecessarily. "Wait, they're transmitting a document. It looks like a legal document of some kind." Monnat perked up. "Send it my ready room and have the ship computer go over it. Let us see what they are offering." Juketet nodded. ------------------ Halfway through the time limit Monnat realized that even with the computer's help deciphering the document, which was some kind of terms of service, would be impossible. It was, quite possibly, the largest legal document he had ever seen. The ships operating system took up less storage and used less data than the document itself. Just viewing the document gave the issuer of the document legal rights over all kinds of things. It repeated over and over that the issuers of the document, one Electronic Artistic Studios and one Galactic Studios Incorporated, could not be held liable for any damage to anyone using their services, to include death, dismemberment, disintegration, damage to neural or emotional networks, physical or metaphysical discomfort, damage, or alteration. It went on and on and on. But Monnat had been tasked with exploration, and he'd seen that Galactic Studios Incorporated and Electronic Artistic Studios operated under Terran Confederacy law and were based on TerraSol, which meant, despite appearances, the "elven queen" was a Solarian. Which made no sense. How many species rose to prominence in the system? Monnat needed information, but most of all, he needed a volunteer. And for that, he called Aastruk into his ready room to see if the saurian would volunteer to be part of the "free demonstration" that the "Queen" was offering. To Monnat's surprise, Aastruk agreed immediately. Monnat figured it was out of boredom. ------------------- The shuttle that gathered Aastruk was flamboyant, lavishly decorated with rare elements to enhance its appearance and obviously built to appeal to anyone's eyes. Even mathematically it was almost perfect. Aastruk boarded wearing a vacuum suit and carrying a transponder. The Queen had agreed to that much of a safety measure, even if she refused to allow recording devices. Monnat settled down, as the shuttle left, and waited. Four local hours was less than a dozen cycles. ---------------- When Aastruk returned he stated one simple sentence: "We must leave now." Monnat respected Aastruk's time with the Unified Military Fleet and ordered that the ship move to jumpspace immediately. Once they were safe in jumpspace he called Aastruk into his quarters and urged the reptilian navigator to speak. "When I first got there, I was given many options. Enhanced virtual reality, real-skin which apparently involves me actually going down to the planet, skin-sheathe which is allowing me to mentally control a cloned version of myself from the station, or something called 'hitch-hiker' mode which is allowing me to see through someone else's eyes," Aastruk said, rubbing his snout wearily. "What did you choose?" Monnat asked. "Hitchhiker is the only option available for the free demonstration version," Aastruk said. He shuddered. "It allowed me to not only see and hear what was going on, it allowed me to taste, smell, and feel it. Not only that, I knew I could, well, share thoughts with my host." Monnat made an annotation. "Did you?" Aastruk nodded. "She is from someplace called Alpha Centauri, one of the earliest Terran Confederacy's colonies. That's aside, however, and not the important part." Looking up Monnat frowned. "What is important than that?" "She was, to use her words, reborn as something called a 'dwarf' and took the profession of blacksmith," Aastruk said. "Working in iron, steel, some exotic metals I've never heard of. She makes armor, weapons, and other metal objects as well as wood carving..." "Who does she make these weapons for?" Mannot asked. "Soldiers who guard the town and being who wish to enter into the wilderness to seek out adventure even at the risk of encountering dangerous wildlife that will seek to slay them if they do not slay the wild-life first. She makes weapons and armor for these people and then, and I use her words: magics the excrement out of them which is why...." "Magic?" Monnat scoffed, interrupting. "A people that advanced believing in magic." Aastruk nodded. "When she explained magic to me was when I realized we must leave at once." "What was so frightening about it?" Monnat asked, wondering if Aastruk would need therapy. "Nanotechnology is something we use. For medical, research, manufacturing, computation," Aastruk said. Monnat nodded as Aastruk continued. "They have devised a type of nanite that uses broadcast power to sustain itself and floats through the very air. It permeates he atmosphere, is in everything they drink, everything they eat, even in the objects." "Risky. What if it went out of control? Entire planets have been lost to such ill advised experimentation," Monnat asked. Aastruk shook his head. "They aren't worried about it. You see, they use the nanites to manifest certain reactions. From creating a monomolecular sword edge and infusing the blade with nanotech like my host did to calling up fire out of thin air, this so called magic is nanites." Monnat cringed slightly. "And anyone can use it with a simple interface?" Aastruk shook his head again. "No. It requires will, being able to chant out loud the command strings, and being able to withstand pain. The more energy intensive the task the nanites carry out, the more pain the nanites inflict." "Madness," Monnat whispered. "And they willingly subject themselves to this to use this so called magic? I understand, if they are born there and this is the path to power, but still, to willingly subject one's self to pain." Aastruk shook his head. "No, Most Learned One, it is worse than that." "How is it worse?" Monnat asked. "Please, Aastruk, will you define worse?" "While some beings who live on that planet were born there, Most Learned One," Aastruk took a deep breath. "The majority pay for the privilege of living their lives there. Some even pay to be other species, such as my host, who had her entire body rebuilt from 'Pure Strain Human' to 'dwarf' in order to live out her fantasies." Aastruk fixed Monnat with his gaze. "It's a planet sized, fully interactive, nanite assisted, amusement park that they pay to experience, sometimes for their entire adult lifespan." Monnat goggled at Aastruk. The thought of having one's body changed to live out a fantasy was grotesque, but the idea that it was some kind of amusement park horrified him. "You were correct in having us leave at once. Was there anything else that made you so urgent to leave?" Mannot asked. Aastruk nodded. "At the end of my 'free trial' several of the 'High Elves' offered to sponsor me if I agreed to fight in their name for their glory," He said, shuddering. Mannot nodded. "A wise idea, returning. I do not blame you for wanting to return when that undoubtedly caused such fear, to be dumped in such a place where advanced technology is used to live out a fantasy of primitivism." Shivering, Aastruk shook his head. "No, Most Learned One, I did not want to return out of fear, I returned because I wanted to stay." Aastruk hung his head and whispered softly. "Glory and honor to my house, with eggs and burrows the envy of all, by might or trickery my house, my burrow, my clutch ascendent." Mannot stared in horror at Aastruk repeating such an ancient mantra of his species and decided that the expedition was over. ---------------- The Unified Exploration Council examined the records as well as the statements of Fleet Admiral (retired) Aastruk eshThsashal and ordered another exploration expedition created. The Unified Science Council determined that the Solarians, perhaps the entire Terran Confederacy, was using technologies in ways that were prohibited as well as dangerous, not only to the Terran Confederacy itself, but to all those around it. The Unified Executor Council decided that armed Executors would accompany all other research and exploration vessels to prevent any desertions to such a dangerous civilization. Aastruk eshThsashal converted all of his possessions and wealth to simple gold bars and vanished. ------------------ I, AASTRUK eshTHSASHAL, agree to abide by the above terms and services as set out by Galactic Studios Incorporated and Electronic Artistic Studios, as well as the Meratarrian code of conduct. ------------------ TO: CONFEDERATE INTELLIGENCE FROM: QUEEN RADOSALVOV THE GRACEFUL, OVERSEER OF MERATARRIAN (All Rights Reserved) Had visitors not long ago, like I told. However, it appears that one of their number liked their trial time so much they've returned to my divine embrace (LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP PURCHASED). Attached is crude documents and illusions of their statements about the mundane and boring life they left behind, the poor dear. I'm sending these to you out of consideration. He is a lovely subject (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: PLATINUM STARTER PACK), who has been yearning all his life for the adventure (DLC PURCHASED) only I, in my infinite wisdom and beauty, can provide to him (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: USER GENERATED FRIENDS AND FAMILY PLATINUM PACK). I have hereby granted him asylum from such a dull and dreary place, and made him a citizen (DLC MEGAPACK PURCHASED) of Meratarrian (EXPANSION PURCHASED) with permission to found his own house (DLC PURCHASED) as well as quest for his true love (DLC PURCHASED) as well as create offspring (EXPANSION PURCHASED). I have high hopes for my new subject (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: KOBOLD HERO PACK) and know that he will go far (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: DRAGON BLOODED) in my realm. Enjoy your files. Love and kisses. Her Eternal Elven Grace, Divine Light of the Aether, Lady of Magic and Power, Queen Radosalvov. --------NOTHING FOLLOWS----------- CONFEDERATE INTELLIGENCE MEMO CC: Artificial Biological States; Digital Artificial Intelligence Infonet Worlds; TERRASOL.GOV; Cyborg Cooperative; Clone Directorate; Mantid Free Worlds; Traena'ad Hive Worlds Xenosapient government identified. Native species identified. (See attachments) Military potential is initially classified as low, to be revisited upon any new information which will be shared to all Confederacy governments as per treaties. Chance for incursion into Confederate Space is high. Place all rimward stations, colonies, planetary governments, and military forces on stage two alert. Do not fire unless unable to withdraw or casualties are incurred. Abide by Rules of Engagement for inferior forces unaware of Confederate military and industrial power. -------NOTHING FOLLOWS----------- TRAENA'AD HIVE INTELLIGENCE RE: Your Last Let's hope we do better with them than when the two of us first met. --------NOTHING FOLLOWS--------
Woodbridge: I hate to say it, but it’s unlikely, Allen. It’s a lot easier to pretend everyone else is wrong, and that you had no other option. The camera pans to a kitchen. We see Tony the Milkman standing there in his leather jacket accompanied by Jim Baker. The table is adorned with ingredients mixing bowls and other baking supplies. Tony ”Guys, gals and non-binary pals, I welcome you all to the great bake-off! Mr. Baker and I have decided to put our differences behind us but before we officially align we have decided to have one final friendly competition! Since I beat him in our debut match, I picked a stipulation that I believe will help make the score equal.” Baker: “Tony, you know I’m not a baker, right? It’s just my name?” Tony: “I get it, Baker, you’re playing a rib on me so I won’t feel bad for losing. It’s ok! We’re partners now!” Baker “Tony I’m being se-“ Tony: “As is I was saying, The bake-off! Both of us will be baking something, which will then be shared with the rest of the locker room, unless they’re that piece of shit Joey McCarty, or Joey McCarty’s friends.” Tony stares directly into the camera: “I know how much the people in the locker room love consuming the labor of others without compensation.” Baker nods in agreement Tony: “For my entry, I will be making the favored dessert of bisexuals such as myself… Lemon Bars!” Baker: “And I’m making… uh… cookies I think” Tomy: “No need to put yourself down, brother! We all know you’re going to smoke me! Anyways let the games begin! The to go off in opposite directions and begin preparing their deserts. Tony begins making a crust out of flour cornstarch and other ingredients, carefully slicing butter and mixing, while Jim unsuccessfully attempts to make even balls of store bought cookie dough. Backstage we see Mark Dutch walking around, peeking around corners and down hallways as if he’s searching for someone. Dutch: Yo Blackwater! We’re done playing hide and seek! Where are you? Dutch turns around, staring at each door and peeking into some of them, but to no avail. Dutch: Where the fuck did he go? After taking a few more steps he stares to the left of him. The camera turns and he comes across Kyle Scott, looking down onto a large map. Dutch: Kyle. You got a moment? Kyle looks up, staring back at the tall Dutchman with a focused look on his face? Kyle: What do you want? Can’t you see I’m busy? Dutch frowns for a moment, presumably having a brainfreeze from the shake before he peeks at the map. It’s a detailed map of Ohio that Kyle looks at Dutch: Have you seen Louis? Louis Blackwater? Confused, Kyle looks back at Dutch before shrugging. Dutch: Like.. the B in D&B? Have you seen him? Kyle: Becca? Dutch: No. She’s dead. Blackwater. Kyle: Ooooh! Blackwater. No, I haven’t. Why would I know that? Dutch: I don’t know. Kyle: Exactly. Now leave me alone, please. Dutch: Fine. Thanks anyways. When Kyle puts his head back down into the map, Dutch continues to walk down the hallway until hearing a loud crash. Immediately, Dutch sprints over to where the sound came from, in the background we see Kyle not even having flinched from it. After a few steps Dutch goes around a corner and immediately is heard yelling. Dutch: LOUIS! Louis is found on the ground, holding his head and surrounding him are metal pipes. Dutch gets to Louis and checks him out, staring over him as he tries to get Louis’ attention by shaking him! Dutch: LOUIS! WAKE THE FUCK UP! Blackwater: I am awake! Stop shaking me! Dutch: Why the fuck are you on the ground?! Blackwater: Fuck, man. A fucking mouthbreather attacked me from behind. Hit me right in the fucking liver. REAL LAME, GUYS! I USE IT TO DRINK! Blackwater holds his hand on his side, presumably where is black, abused liver is supposed to be before he sticks out his hand, trying to get up. Dutch takes it and pulls him up slowly. Blackwater: Ah.. fuck.. that hurts.. Dutch: You going to be alright? Blackwater: Yeah.. Fuck me, I had worse. I should check a doc or something. Then go find the cumstain who did this. Immediately, Dutch’s eyes light up as if he has a bright idea. Dutch: I got a bright idea! You go visit the doc, I’ll find who did this. I’ll be like Batman doing detective work! Blackwater: Of course you’d wear leather. You gonna have bat-nipples on your costume too? Dutch: Fuck off, mate. Let me help you get to the doc. Wrapping Louis’ arm around his neck, Blackwater begins to walk down the hallway, helping him as they both disappear around the corner. Blackwater: Really tho, I won’t judge you if you wear leather. Dutch: ...I’ll think about it. We then cut back to the ring, where we see Javier not standing solidly in the middle of the ring, but instead rushing down from backstage to it, seemingly not having been ready for once, as he pulls out a card from his pocket, and begins to read. Javier: At the request of both competitors in this upcoming bout, we will now be staging an impromptu singles match between Dalidus Nova and Buster Braggadocio! Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Javier:Clears throat And it is a singles match set for one fall, with a 30 minute time limit! Introducing first- The Kids are Back hits the speakers, as out from the curtain comes Dalidus Nova, swiftly followed by Miles Alpha. Javier: From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, standing at 6 feet 3 inches and weighing 225 lbs… DALIDUUUUS! NOOOOOOVA! Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOO! Woodbridge: And the crowd here not a fan of Dalidus or Miles. Paisner: They’re not the only ones… Dalidus spits out a grotesque, far-too-large mouthful of Hubba Bubba gum at ringside and enters the ring, Miles staying outside but putting himself in Nova’s corner as Freaky Black Greetings hits the speakers. Javier: And now, from Atlanta, Georgia, standing at 6 feet and three quarters of an inch and weighing 220 lbs… BUUUUUUSTER! BRAGGADOCIOOOOO! Buster comes out from the curtain, pick in hair and yelling caucasian-themed insults at the crowd with reckless abandon. Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOO! Woodbridge: Quite clearly, the audience here doesn’t feel too strongly about Buster either! Paisner: Seems the crowd and I are finally seeing eye-to-eye! He slides into the ring, flicking his pick towards Alpha at ringside while he does so. Buster and Dalidus eye eachother up from opposite sides of the ring as the bell signals the start of the bout. DING DING DING! The bell rings, and Buster is quick to charge Nova, who slips underneath the bottom rope and out of the ring. Crowd: Booooooooooo! Paisner: Dalidus wasting no time going to his sleazy playbook. Woodbridge: But Buster’s not having it, look out! Buster immediately follows Dalidus to the outside, giving chase as Nova stumbles into a run, not expecting Buster’s aggression. The two make a circle outside the ring, until Dalidus slides right back in through the bottom rope. Buster is seconds behind him, but as he gets to his feet he sees that Nova has slipped back outside the ring, grabbing Buster by the ankle and pulling him down and out to the floor! Crowd: Booooooooooo! Paisner: Ooh! Buster landing hard outside! Dalidus starts to lay boots into Buster on the outside, as Miles yells a mix of encouragement towards his partner, and insults towards the opponent. After several seconds of the officials count, Nova grabs Buster and wrestles him back into the ring. Woodbridge: Finally, both men back into the ring, the only place the final fall can take place. Not relenting, Nova drags Buster up to his feet in the corner, striking him in the chest with a chop! Crowd: Ooooooooh! He winds up for a second one, but not before Buster strikes him with a forearm strike, creating the separation necessary to connect square in the chest with a dropkick! Crowd: OOOOOoooohh! Paisner: Buster with the retaliation! Nova is sent flying backwards, quickly rising to his feet in the opposite corner as Buster continues his attack, flying in with a corner clothesline! Still not giving Dalidus a second to breath, Buster shoots Nova back towards the other corner with an Irish Whip… Woodbridge: These two men, back and forth across the ring! ...Charging in for another clothesline, Buster is suddenly met by the rising boot of Dalidus! Crowd: Woooahh! Paisner: Back and forth quite literally, Mark! Neither man’s gotten a concrete advantage thus far! Taking a second to breathe, Dalidus re-approaches Buster, bending down to pick him off the mat only to get caught in a lightning-fast small package! 1…! 2.. - No! Woodbridge: Nova damn-near got caught! Dalidus is swift to fight out, both men twisted away from one-another and back up to their feet, backing towards opposite ropes. Alpha: C’mon, Dali! Get his ass! With the verbal from Miles, Dalidus rushes Buster, who ducks underneath a clothesline attempt, grabbing the waist from behind and using Nova’s momentum to run him into the ropes with an O’Connor Rollup! 1…! 2…! No! Dalidus reverses the roll-up! 1…! But Buster breaks free, and is quickly up to a knee! Paisner: Two escapes from both - WOAH! Still kneeling, Buster is caught in perfect position for the Kneeling Superkick! Paisner: CHEKHOV’S GUN! Buster falls back to the mat, rolling out of the ring and plopping to the floor outside the ring. Woodbridge: Buster got caught on bad timing, but makes up for it by getting outside the ring, away from any potential pinfall attempts. Dalidus, with an annoyed look on his face, walks towards the ropes, crossing them and landing outside the ring beside Buster. As Miles stands beside him, Dalidus again tries to get Buster into the ring. This time, however, Buster slips from Nova’s grip, slamming his opponent's head into the edge of the ring! Crowd: OOOOOH! Paisner: Buster was playing possum! With Nova dazed, Buster turns to Alpha, kicking him in the gut before grabbing the back of the Canadian’s head and swinging him into the ring post! Crowd: YEEEAAAAAAHHHH! Woodbridge: Miles hit hard, and the crowd loves it! With Alpha laid out outside the ring, Buster swings Nova’s legs up and onto the canvas, sliding in after him. Paisner: These two have fought at a lightning-fast pace thus far, and it looks like Buster is aiming for an equally-fast conclusion to this bout! Buster sits Nova up in the center of the ring, shooting a quick kick into his back to keep him in place. Breaking into a sprint, Buster hits the rope facing his opponent, running back at Dalidus with intentions to hit a running knee strike… Woodbridge: Bravado Bust - Nonono! However, Dalidus lays back and the knee flies right overhead, as he reaches upwards and catches Buster between the legs, pulling him back down to the mat with another roll-up! 1…! 2…! 3.. - NO! But Buster kicks away, breaking the pinfall! Returning to his feet, Buster is unable to avoid a forearm strike from Dalidus, stunning him long enough for Nova to drive a knee into the gut and snap down with a quick DDT! Paisner: DDT from Dalidus, and these two just will not slow down! Woodbridge: Ya may not like them, - God knows I don’t - but they’ve got some mighty gas tanks on ‘em! Dalidus, now behind Buster, brings his opponent to his feet with a waistlock, before throwing Buster’s arm over his neck and throwing him backwards with an Inverted Exploder Suplex! Buster flies far through the ring, but his boots collide with the skull of the official, sending him falling to the mat like a sack of potatoes! Crowd: BOOOOOOO! Paisner: Cord Cutter, but the ref’s down! Woodbridge: Buster ate all of that! Dalidus begins to go for a pinfall, but spots the official down on the mat. Looking up towards a less-than-admiring crowd, he gives a shout to his partner. Dalidus: Miles! Gimme a chair! Paisner: Oh, sonuva… Miles, still reeling from the collision with the steel post, grabs a steel chair and slides it into the ring as Buster begins reaching for the ropes in an attempt to get back to a standing base. Meanwhile, Dalidus grabs the chair from the mat and sizes up Buster from behind. Woodbridge: Buster’s gonna get his brain rattled! As he turns around, Dalidus charges with the chair raised high, swinging it downwards just as Buster sees, quickly rolling underneath the blow leaving the chair to connect with nothing but air! Crowd: OOOOOOH! Quickly up to his feet, Buster reaches into his tights to retrieve his signature black marker! Throwing the cap into the crowd, he immediately strikes Dalidus in the left eye with a jab from the marker! Crowd: OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH! Nova falls to the mat, clutching at his face! Buster returns to the official, trying to get him back into the match, when he is struck from behind by a sudden forearm blow, courtesy of Miles Alpha! Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Woodbridge: The third man! Miles, getting himself involved once more! Buster falls to his knees as Miles pulls him away from the ref, before swiftly bringing him up in a Fireman’s Carry and driving his boot into Buster’s skull with a Benadryller! Paisner: Alpha with the Defeater to Buster! *Woodbridge: He’s out cold, without a doubt! Looking behind him to spot the official slowly coming to, Miles rolls Buster onto his back and pulls the blinded Dalidus on top of him, before slipping out of the ring and hiding from the officials view as he begins to slowly make the count! 1…! 2…! 3…! DING DING DING! Paisner: Absolute bullshit! Javier: The winner of this bout via pinfall, at a time of 7:02: DALIDUS! NOVA! The Kids are Back hits the speakers, as Miles comes back into the ring to assist Dalidus out of it, a shit-eating grin plastered on his face. Woodbridge: In what was looking like quite the match, Dalidus steals one from Buster with the help from Miles Alpha! Paisner: It’s bullshit, Mark. Complete bullshit. The two walk through the curtain as the camera cuts away. Mark Dutch is walking around the backstage area. He comes across Tony the Milkman, seeming to take a breather from the chaos of the kitchen, wiping off a milk mustache. Dutch: Milkman! Tell me everything you know about the attack of Louis Blackwater! The Milkman looks confused. Tony: I don’t have any information for you, unfortunately. I do have a wonderful lemon cake! Would you like a piece? Dutch takes a good look at the lemon cake Tony is offering, but he shakes his head. Dutch: No, I cannot be distracted. I have responsibility! Tony: Your loss! As Mark Dutch continues to walk around, he peeks into a room and sees Big Money Maverick on the phone talking to someone. Dutch begins to speak to himself. Dutch: Mav….maybe it was him…. Big Money Maverick: So yeah, if you're interested in doing business, let's talk about financials… As Mav talks on the phone, and Dutch watches from outside the room, Dutch is suddenly approached by a backstage crew worker holding a bag of cheetos. Crew Worker: Looking for the guy who attacked Blackwater? I don't think it was Mav. Dutch: Why do you say that? Crew Worker: He's been in this room making phone calls for hours, I should know… The crew member swings the door open, cracking it behind him so the camera and Dutch can still see inside. We see the crew worker hand the bag of Cheetos to Mav, and Mav sets the bag on a table next to him, alongside many other drinks and snacks that Mav presumably forced the worker to get for him. Dutch: Hmm...maybe not...but…...I don't know…. Dutch walks away from the room, and immediately is face to face with Stephen Romero, who’s holding an athletic jump rope in his hands and sweat covers his tank top. Romero. Heard you were looking for who snuck up on Blackwater. Dutch: Yeah. By the way, thanks for going after Balandran for my hotdog. Romero looks back at Dutch, scratching the side of his head with a confused look. Romero: Oh yeah. Uhm. No problem, I guess. Look, we two have been in the business for a while. Dutch: True. Romero: Yeah, and I noticed a trend which might work. Dutch’s eyes are wide open as he looks back at Romero. Romero: Usually, if you go to the ring and call out who did it.. they often show up and take responsibility. That or someone else shows up who wants to fight. It’s a 50/50 chance. Dutch: Now that you say it, yeah.. you’re right. Thanks, Stephen. Mark Dutch pats Romero’s shoulder before he looks at his now sweat covered hand. Immediately, Dutch wipes his hand off on Romero before he quickly walks away. Romero looks down at the sweaty handprint before letting out a sigh. The camera returns to the kitchen, where we see Milkman back in after his break, and his crust has been pulled out and he’s pouring in a filling into it. Baker is on Twitter instead of watching whatever he has put in the oven. Bakers oven start producing smoke, whole Tony’s produces an absolutely gorgeous looking loaf of pastry Baker: “Shit!” Baker runs over the oven and opens it, quickly pulling the cookies out without wearing any form of hand protection We open our next scene, as we see Stephen Romero backstage once again, clad in his wrestling gear and changed into a cleaner, and very small black tank top. So small the tank top is dangerously close to slipping inward a bit and potentially revealing his nipples. With this phone on hand, as he starts an instagram live stream from his phone, quickly getting up to around 14 unique viewers. As he begins to speak. Romero: Hello world! I’d just thought i’d give a bit of insight into how I go about preparing for whatever I need to do when i’m at a show! The first thing to bring, always, always have this- Romero opens one of his bags layed in his locker, inside revealing many bottles of water. Romero: Stay hydrated, constantly! And you can stay hydrated with….uh….actually I don’t have any sponsors for this yet……..use tap water if it’s safe where you live, get some re-usable bottles if you can! I think when it comes to price points it’s not something you’d regret if you splurged on, but not something you need to splurge on either. I might even recommend not splurging, because with some extra money, you can become a patron for 1 cent a month! We are already at fifty-three patrons, and you can get in on the new hotness, and access to exclusive content! Now, to show y’all some more- Romero grabs a significantly sized lunch box, as it seems to contain generous servings that make up a large rice bowl. First ingredient is obviously a lot of rice, with sliced pork, green onion, cilantro, mushroom, carrot, and avocado all being found in significant portions. Romero: Being as large as I am and working in such a physically draining industry, the portions that I need to function would incapactiate a normal human being. Whether I am exaggerating or not is up to your own interpretation. And now, some may wonder how I get mentally prepared for a match? It heavily depends, for ippv matches where there’s more on the line, I tend to psych myself up with intense music, let out energy through running in place, my ippv matches are more about being intense. With lower stakes matches or House Party matches, I tend to moreso leave my training at the gym, I just try to show up in as good and happy of a mood as I can. Easier said than done of course, but with things such as forming alliances recently, I always have some others to lift me up. I think specialist and Rizwan are in the break room, lets go visit them actually! Romero then walks out of the locker room and into the hallways, and as he just enters the hallways, he bumps into someone right in front of his whole stream! gayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboy: omg king u okay??!!??!! MarioFantatic37: Nooooooooo don’t get hurt from an unexpected collision your so sexy haha After a moment of surprise, we see the person Romero collided with as he exited the locker room, GiGi, who now sees that Romero bumped into her, and gains a fury in her eyes. GiGi: Hey! You! The audacatity to have said the things you have and now this?! Do you want to know the consequences! Well i’ll show you them! GiGi then whips out her phone herself, a look of anger on her face throughout the process of doing this, as she starts up an instagram live stream of her own…….and instantly changes to a fake wide smile as she starts the stream up, hundreds upon hundreds of viewers quickly pouring in. She glances up at Romero with now a smug smile at the sheer numerical differences in their streams, as she begins to talk to her fans. GiGi: Hello GiGi Gang! Welcome to an impromptu stream, brought on by more severe aggression against me! And guess who’s the person behind it! GiGi dramatically swings her phone to reveal Romero in the shot, who’s holding up his phone for his stream as well, as GiGi’s chat goes- Chad68: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Feet?: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! LocalLesbian: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Jouster06: HOW DARE YOU HURT HER YOU MONSTER! I’LL BEAT YOU UP MYSELF! xxxsavannahgranger4523: Looking for hot singles in your area? Visit Datebeast.notavirus.com/132342435353324244het43422 for your hook up today! QuirkyGamer!!!: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Upon realizing who they’re seeing, as GiGi continues to speak. GiGi: Once again I have been put in serious danger by Romero, by him as the much larger person trying to bulldoze over me and hurt me in the process! Romero: I...literally just accidentally bumped into you. GiGi: You’re lying! I can’t trust a word you say after your threats towards my livelihood, and now my physical well-being! You know what, this calls for retaliation, Kaitlyn, you’re strong, get him! As GiGi commands this though, we don’t see anything happen, GiGi, confused as to why Kaitlyn is not doing something for her, turns around, and sees that Kaitlyn has mostly fainted due to the sheer scale of her infatuation with GiGi. Connected to GiGi only by holding on to her foot, where many in chat upon seeing this foot holding simply comment “God I wish that was me”. Romero: Well, considering the state of Kaitlyn, i’m not sure she’s up for much of a fight in this moment. So unless you are, I think we’ll need another method to settle this, through what has been my goal, a stream battle! Where I handle mine with honesty and openness! GiGi: Is that all? Easy! You’re on! Kait! Come with! GiGi then begins to walk away, but is very noticeably slowed by the mostly dead weight of the head over heels Kaitlyn clinging onto her. Due to this GiGi is not able to make nearly as smooth an exit from the scene as she was hoping, but tries to make the best of it by highlighting the struggle she’s going through due to this, pointing the camera down in the process, showing her pastel colored shoes, as we see several “POGGERS” and excited proclamations of “FEET!” in her chat at this. Romero meanwhile heads his own way, as we see support from the members of his chat- gayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboy: Romeo, u r fuckin sick ur gonna do it BasedAndGaypilled: STEPHEN ROMERO KREYGASM Thats_So_Shibe: Bro no homo but I would like to have anal intercourse with you Romero makes his way quickly over to a break room, where we see Rizwan and Specialist chatting over a cup of tea for Rizwan, and several cups of coffee for each member of Specialist, as Romero mutters to himself for a moment- Romero: Fuck what do people like...spinning, they like spinning right? HEY RONDEL! Rondel then stands up, he and Romero making intense eye contact. Romero: DO ONE OF THEM COOL SPINS! Rondel then jumps on top of the table, Rizwan able to save his tea, but all of Specialist’s coffee gets spilled. Rondel then not only spins, he balances on one leg to do the spin, mixing in several hops into the spin to add even more onto it, before finishing the spin, and stepping off the table. He then offers to replace everyone’s spilled coffee, as he goes to get more, but not before he and Romero both communicate to each other with a thumbs up. As the chat that has now grown to 25 unique views POPS OFF We then cut back to GiGi, where we see on her stream her attempts to geti Kaitlyn functioning again. We see GiGi more gently poking her, shaking Kaitlyn, throwing a glass of water on her face, all to no avail! Before she finally switches up the strategy, and slaps Kaitlyn across the face, this action finally making her functionable again, as a wide smile forms on her face, as she springs to her feet. This once again drawing many “damn I wish that was me’s” from the chat. As GiGi then speaks to Kait- GiGi: So, you’ve been allied with Romero before right? Knowing him from that, and knowing him now from his evil actions, what do you think he could be doing right this moment? Kaitlyn: Uhm, he could be showing off his wardrobe right now? Yours is just, so much more expansive and prettier than his, I think you can easily take away the few viewers he has by showing off your- GiGi: Not bad...but I think I got an idea better. We then cut back to Romero again, where he’s showing off more of his wardrobe, where he is currently clad in a maroon red beret, glasses straight from a sexy secretary halloween costume, a white/maroon striped shirt tucked into tight fit jeans, and a leather jacket over it all. Romero hits several poses in this outfit, but as he’s focusing on himself in the mirror and showing off the outfit and his figure in it to the audience in his chat, we see GiGi and Kaitlyn sneak up in the background. Keeping a low profile, but enough to be noticeable in the lower frames of Romero’s stream, and obviously visible on GiGi’s stream as we switch to her view of her slowly crawling her way towards Romero’s set up. Where we see his set up is organized into different pieces, the tops/bottoms/jackets/hats/accessories all put into different sections. We see GiGi and Kaitlyn coordinate to take one thing of each from all of those while Romero is focused entirely on his posing. Then they go to make their escape and with wonderful timing, because as they start, Romero for the first time fully turns around to show off the outfit from behind! GiGi and Kaitlyn barely dodging out the way with all the stolen clothes. As we then hear Romero say- Romero: Alright, I hope that was enough for all of you! Now, onto the next outfit… Romero then goes through each his sections, making most of his next outfit….but cannot find the hat for it! Romero: Yo what the fuck…..you know what, i’ll skip that one, next outfit! Romero then goes through his next outfit…..but finds that he is now missing the jacket that goes with it! Romero: HUH?! Again?!! Well uhhh….third time’s the charm I guess! Romero then looks through his next outfit…..but cannot find the top to it! Romero: WHAT THE FUCK?! Hold up, somethings going on here…. Romero then goes to grab his phone, and check insta live chat, where they are spamming “GIGI STOLE YOUR CLOTHES” in the chat, as an anger then manifests in Romero’s face. Romero: She took my clothes?!........I’ve gotta do something about this man.. We then cut to GiGi and Kaitlyn still streaming, where we now see GiGi attempting a try on an article of clothing she stole from Romero, a denim jacket…..emphasis on *try, as we see that the jacket looks less like a normal jacket, looks less like an oversized jacket, but more like a straight up blanket on GiGi, nearly completely covering her all on it’s own.* GiGi: What do you say Kait? I think these are so big on me they could really work as a unique shoot, maybe make it available for patrons donating $750 and up, or you could take them for yourself if you want, they’d still be quite large on you but not to the point where you could make your bed with it. Kaitlyn: Oh, um, no, no thank you, I think i’d like to see more you wearing some of his stuff.. GiGi: Ooohhhh, well I know I already have one patron on board, say, how exactly would you enjoy seeing me wear it? Kaitlyn: Well...uh….maybe with, nothing….uhhh GiGi: Nothing what? Kaitlyn:Uh…..umm…......nevermind… GiGi: Alright, just if you ever do want some of this stuff let me know, you gotta take advantage of your top patron exclusive reward of receiving one individual piece of clothing from me! As GiGi says this, we then hear the door into where they are get kicked down, as through the rubble, emerges Stephen Romero, Kaitlyn looks defensive and ready to scrap, as GiGi initially panics. Romero: Hey! All that is my damn clothes! In her panic, GiGi grabs the oversized denim jacket, and tosses it at Romero’s face as a distraction! Before GiGi bails out the room before anything can escalate! Kaitlyn still looks primed to defend, but GiGi forcefully grabs her anyway, pulling her away from the scene all the same.As Romero the takes his denim jaket he got thrown back in, he smiles that it still fits, and puts in on, striking a pose to his crowd in his chat. Romero: Well…..I lost several hundreds of dollars and cool pieces of clothing because of that……...but at least this denim jacket is still sick though! Romero then strikes more poses for the fans, as we gradually fade out on the scene. We come back to the ring, where we see Javier standing in the middle of the ring, ready to announce. Javier: The following is a tag team match, set for one fall, with a 30 minute time limit! Introducing first- The Fall III by Doping Hornets comes through the speakers, as we see Mercenaire and Marshall Wheeler both come out from behind the curtain. Both disregarding the audience, as they stride to the ring with confidence. Javier: From Houston, Texas, and A Dark, Dark Place respectively, weighing in at a combined 480 pounds, Marshall Wheeler, Mercenaire, Coup d’Etat! Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Woodbridge: Being announced from Houston and A Dark Place as separate things? Ain’t those the same thing? Paisner: Mark! Woodbridge: Sorry, had to take the opportunity when I had it. Digressing from that, we’ve got one hell of a tag match coming up! As we got two men who are talented and angry, one hell of a deadly combination if i’ve ever seen it. Feeling overlooked, they have a chance to channel that anger into their biggest tag challenge yet in SPECIALIST. They’ve proven they can take care of those they should absolutely beat, now lets see how they fare against those where it’s more of a 50/50. Wheeler and Mercenaire continue to stoically march their way down to the ring, paying to mind to the jeers tossed their way, as they both reach the ring apron, and step through the ropes in sync with one another, before the two take a spot at the end of the ring, looking out to the entranceway, awaiting their opponents. The Anomoly by Scar Symmetry blasts heavy riffs throughout the venue, as we see Presagio Del Fin and Nelson Butterfly out on the entranceway. Clinging onto one another, a look of determination on their face. Javier: And introducing next, from Parts Unknown, weighing in at a combined 437 pounds, Presagio Del Fin, Nelson Butterfly, S.P.E.C.I.A.L.I.S.T.! Crowd: YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! Paisner: Now, two very strange men coming down to the ring, the traditional pair of SPECIALIST representing it tonight, and despite their unorthodox in-ring methods, there’s very few others who have as much chemistry and knowledge of each other inside and out as SPECIALIST do. And that unorthodox style? Might be exploitable, but if you don’t know that exploit, you get torn apart by it. And inexperienced wrestlers like Mercenaire and Wheeler may be prime for not knowing, this could be a huge win for SPECIALIST here tonight! Butterfly and Presagio make their way down to the ring with their arms linked together, interacting with the fans, handing out hand slaps as they walk down the entranceway. They begin to practice their respective underhooks and pins to make sure they’re warmed up, before finishing their way to the ring, as they step into it. We see both Coup d’Etat and SPECIALIST talk amongst one another, as we see Mercenaire and Presagio step onto the aprons. While Wheeler and Nelson stay in the ring, Undersach signaling to see if they’re all ready, and getting nods from everyone, rings the bell! DING DING DING As the match starts, Wheeler and Nelson slowly approach each other, they lock up, as Wheeler then goes to slip behind Nelson right after! Grabbing Nelson’s head, pulling it back, and driving a european uppercut into the back of Nelson’s head! Nelson holding at the back of his head, before Wheeler shoots a forearm shot into the back of Nelson’s head! Sending Nelson stumbling forward, as Wheeler then runs the ropes, and comes back to attempt an enzu lariat to the back of Nelson’s head, but Nelson drops down! Fitting in between Wheeler’s legs, as Wheeler stops himself after a moment, and turns around to Nelson who had gotten back to his feet, who grabs Wheeler in a double underhook! Wheeler tries to struggle out, but Nelson lifts his knee up into Wheeler’s face! Doing it multiple times until he has Wheeler sufficiently harmed, where upon which, Nelson tosses Wheeler back across the ring with a butterfly suplex! Wheeler landing hard on his back, gritting his teeth in pain! Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Paisner: Wheeler trying to quickly strike Nelson down, but Nelson dropping down, then quickly into offense through his patented double underhook! Wheeler then begins to push himself up, sitting up, then getting onto his hands and knees to try and make his way to his feet, but Nelson swoops in quickly, nails an elbow to the top of Wheeler’s head, and hooks Wheeler’s arms to bring Wheeler up on his own terms. Nelson takes Wheeler over to his tag corner, shooting a look at Presagio to cue him to tag himself in. Presagio sets himself up near Nelson, as Nelson tosses Wheeler up into the air with the set up for a double underhook powerbomb, but instead of following through with it himself, Presagio instead comes in as the one to catch and add his own force to slam Wheeler down to the mat with the assisted tiger bomb! Presagio sitting down with it! Crowd: OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Paisner: Nelson combining well his double underhook and tag team mastery! And of course Presagio keeps the sit-out for a pin! 1! No! Kickout from Wheeler! Wheeler kicks out with a bit of force, rolling onto his stomach as he does, as Presagio gets up, sizes up Wheeler as Wheeler begins to push himself to his feet, and runs towards the ropes! Jumping onto and bouncing up off of them as he reaches them, and launching himself back at the now to his feet Wheeler with a springboard hurricanrana! Keeping it for the rana pin! Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOO! 1! 2! No! Kickout right at 2 from Wheeler! The force from Wheeler’s kickout pushes Presagio off of Wheeler, Presagio flung outwards as the two have their backs to one another. Both of them attempt to rise to their feet, but Presagio as the healthier man is a good deal faster, and with that, hooks Wheeler from behind him, gets back-to-back to him, and goes down into a backslide pin on Wheeler! 1! 2! No! Kickout from Wheeler again! As we get another kickout from Wheeler, both men go to scramble to their feet, and as Wheeler rises, Presagio responds with a knee to the gut to double him over, and keep him in place! Following up by going to the ropes, and jumping off for another springboard! This time going for a springboard crossbody, as he connects with Wheeler! But suddenly, Wheeler rolls through the momentum of the crossbody! Coming out of it with Presagio in his grasp, holding Presagio in front of him! Wheeler then lifts Presagio, and goes to toss Presagio over his head, but Presagio shifts his momentum in mid-air and lands on his feet! Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! Paisner: Presagio nearly reversed, but he finds his own way of escape! Directly countering the counter! And as Presagio lands on his feet, he grabs Wheeler from behind and goes to roll him back into an o’connor roll!.....but Wheeler once again moves his own momentum through! Going into his own o’connor roll!....but he still does not stop! Continuing to follow through by going to lift Presagio up in a rolling german suplex! Lifting Presagio up halfway, but Presagio desperately struggles! Kicking his feet and swinging his arms, until he lands enough wild strikes to force Wheeler to let him go! Wheeler backs off a bit, as Presagio takes a moment to catch his breath and recover, before beginning to run towards the ropes!.......but not before Wheeler recovers himself, and comes forward to spin around, and connect with a spinning back elbow to the back of Presagio’s head! The impact and suddenness of the strike knocking Presagio flat to the mat! Crowd: OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Paisner: BY GOD! THE SPINNING ELBOW TO THE BACK OF THE CRANIUM! COMPLETELY DEVASTATING PRESAGIO! Presagio is completely laid out, as Wheeler bends his knees for a moment in order to catch himself, before grabbing the limp body of Presagio, and dragging it over to his tag corner, where upon which he lifts Presagio’s body and tosses it into said corner, and tags in Mercenaire. Wheeler then lifts his leg up high, and presses it up against Presagio’s neck to both keep him in place and choke him out! Crowd: BOOOOOOOOO! As he does this, Mercenaire enters the ring, and backs up to about the center of the ring, before rushing towards the corner, and just as Wheeler releases his foot choke and moves out the way, Mercenaire connects with a big boot in the corner to the head of Presagio! Knocking him back down limp to the mat! Crowd: OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Presagio is completely out on the mat, as Merc stands over him, leans down to grab him, then tosses him right back in the corner where he begins to lay in body punches to the stomach of Presagio! Doubling Presagio over in the corner, as Merc then lays in pointed elbows to the back of Presagio’s neck! Raining down elbow after elbow on Presagio, forcing him lower and lower down in the corner, until he’s dropped to a seated position. Upon which Merc just puts his boot on Presagio’s face, and rubs it in! Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Woodbridge: Mercenaire just absolutely relentless right now! No mercy nor respect given! Undersach begins to count off Mercenaire, and gets all the way to the 4 count before Merc removes his boot and finally relents! Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
This is absolutely a 'Buy', it is well worth it at full price on the consoles and for the 45 it is available on Steam for. The game does betray its "double-A" budget at times, but to me, Vampyr is a great example of a title doing something different that I'm not sure a AAA company company would do. A lot of the safeguards that we see, even in some other AA games, when it comes to society's impacts and the social decisions you can make are gone here. Those consequences hard-felt and they are instant, and the inevitable character death of somebody that you actually like is gonna hit you even more. Combat's fun and not perfect, but it works to keep you engaged as well. At 25 hours without doing everything with so many different ways and situations this can play out, I would assume two playthroughs at minimum is what I'll do with this title, and it really does show that a game can be far more than the sum of its parts, and certainly not reflect just the budget.
A beautifully told gothic tale with interesting skill systems and some fun combat is only let down by window dressing and a location that feels like a stage and not an actual city. Vampyr might not be the game of the year, but it is certainly going to be one of the most interesting titles we see in 2018 and, sales permitting, a title that will only get better in future sequels.
The easy way out for Dontnod would have been to take the most time-worn tropes from dime store horror novels, season to taste with period melodrama and serve it all up for players to enjoy. Vampyr reaches for more, and I'm very interested to see if the finale does it all justice
Witnessing a studio succeed beyond what their audience expects of them is always a pleasure, and DONTNOD Entertainment has done just that with Vampyr. Whether you're intrigued by the idea of stalking London as a bloodthirsty vampire or expressly fancy a rock-solid ARPG, consider sinking your teeth into this gem.
Even with it's noticeable flaws, Vampyr has the potential to be the new cult gem among vampire lovers. If you can see beyond technical limitations, the story and characters will trap you within their arms and suck until the very last drop of... your time.
Vampyr exceeds all expectations and delivers a thrilling vampire adventure with great storytelling and a gameplay that borrows the right elements from games like Bloodborne. If you can live with some longer loading screens and a missing fast travel option you'll get a well made Action-RPG with lots of enjoyable content.
Vampyr manages to deliver on its promise to make choices matter. Every decision has implications that spider out in unseen directions, often far into the future. While there are some wobbles in terms of combat and load times, the engaging storyline and premise carry this title far.
There's no denying that Vampyr has some mighty rough edges to it and combat that is decent, but unspectacular. Yet there's a delicious sense of place to it that makes it undeniably interesting to get stuck into. Many of the game's flaws melt away as you get lost in the moody grime of this alternate version of wartime London. The most important job Vampyr had to do was to present a compelling game about the tragic romanticism of being a vampire, and the fight for retaining humanity or embracing the unnatural power it brings. Vampyr does drop the ball on many small things, but it does that important job superbly.
Ultimately, the sum of Vampyr's emphasis on story, combat, and progression combine to produce a video gaming experience that will appeal to those outside the RPG and adventure genres that it seeks to combine. My hope is that it finds its audience so that we might yet again see Dr. Reid on an even grander scale in the future.
Aside from a few technical issues, Vampyr delivers one of the most engaging action-RPGs in recent memory. It is a game where everything and everyone is connected through some fantastic gameplay design and yes, your choices do actually matter here.
An amazing game full of darkness, vampires and blood in the London of the first quarter of the 20th Century. A great mix of exploration, conversations and hard ecounters with dangerous creatures of the night.
Although Vampyr's combat system is thoroughly satisfying, it's the dark atmosphere and narrative that genuinely makes the game a must-have. Your choices define the experience, altering a world full of discovery and intrigue all around you. Do you give in to your blight and feast upon the weak and unworthy inhabitants of London or do you become their salvation? It should take you anywhere from 20-30 hours to complete the narrative, but if you want to see all of the possible endings, you'll have to play through multiple times, altering your choices and decisions regarding the lives of the citizens.
It takes some doing to find a middle-ground between two such conflicting genres, but Dontnod have done a terrific job marrying Adventure and Action RPG elements into a pleasant and modestly cohesive whole.
If you're looking for a story-focused RPG, Vampyr is a solid option. It offers in-depth conversation options, game-changing choices to make and an intriguing storyline full of plot twists and betrayal.
Vampyr walks a fine line between narrative storytelling and action-oriented combat, trying to appeal to fans of both genres and mostly succeeding. Though the game lacks polish in many areas, it stars a clever morality system that entices players towards both good and evil deeds, a well-rounded web of background NPCs, and an intriguing overall narrative of an undead doctor investigating the spread of the Spanish Influenza, making Vampyr a treat for any vampire fan.
Dontnod worked hard to create an immersive, dark world to explore and it succeeds in doing so. Despite some boring conversations, most of the world of Vampyr is an exciting, dangerous place and if nothing else, being a vampire in here is also very fun.
Vampyr might not be what many wanted after Life Is Strange, but it’s still an enjoyable – well, as enjoyable as its grim nature allows – game nonetheless. It follows the modern action RPG template almost to a fault, but the agency the player has in shaping the districts by disease control and straight up murder is a lot more interesting than some of the moments in other games within the genre, where they present you a binary choice that pushes the plot forward. It’s a decent idea holding up an otherwise solid game, but overall Vampyr is worth a look if you’re looking for something to plug the gap in your life in this post- Witcher 3 world.
At no point in Vampyr did I have fun following trails of blood, mixing antiquated remedies out of opium, or bludgeoning some Crucifix wielding goon in a mask for the 50th time. But I was constantly compelled forward to find out what next grim choice it would give me, anxious to spend yet another night in one of its safehouses to see if my efforts to keep London's souls alive another day had worked.
Vampyr is a hard game to review, because there is enough to warrant a low score, yet the experience is satisfying enough to make up for this. For better or worse, giving answers and explaining things make it easier to invest in the story, with the conclusion certainly being worth the time. The ability to interact with NPCs, heal them, figure out more about the world and extract new information also adds a lot. It’s just, when it comes to gameplay, Vampyr falls short. With loading screens being common when players move too fast, combat often being more about managing stamina, difficulty stemming from how willing are you to kill innocent people and a needlessly frustrating waypoint system, it’s easy to get frustrated. With this in mind, anyone looking for a vampire romance story or just want to experience a world filled with answers should consider picking Vampyr up, where as action-RPG or open world fans can probably skip it.
Vampyr is a bloody good time that is marred by some tedious mechanics and some technical issues. Hitting a game-breaking bug certainly soured my experience, but the wonderfully written characters kept me going until the credits rolled. This may not be a perfect RPG, but Vampyr is still a fun time for those wanting something a bit darker in their games.
Vampyr serves delicious ladles of angst and drama with a hearty slice of excellent, morally grey choice system that will genuinely surprise you, all wrapped up in a wonderfully gloomy London. It's just a shame the combat turns a bit sour.
Vampyr is a slow burn of an RPG, taking its time to ramp up its intriguing blend of science and the supernatural in an elaborately gloomy version of London. When it gets going you can see the potential of the way it offers you more power if you consume its interesting citizens. But Vampyr never commits to this idea to the point where I felt I needed to make that sacrifice to succeed in its relatively simple combat, which leaves it feeling toothless and vulnerable to having a lot of its fun sucked away by technical issues, despite its genuinely engaging story.
Vampyr did not live up to our expectations and did not reach the level of Life is Strange. So, if If you were expecting another Dontnod masterpiece, you'll be disappointed. If you're interested in setting, then it's probably worth a try, but only at a discount price.
The story may be a tad lackluster, and the combat may be clunky as hell, but Vampyr does offer a compelling adventure for those looking for some blood-sucking fun. It also manages to effectively make you feel like a creature of the night at times. Unfortunately, the frequent technical issues sapped just about every ounce of joy from the experience, leaving this digital world a dry, lifeless husk.
Much like its early 20th century setting, Vampyr feels like a bit of a throwback to a past age of action RPGs. In a time where the genre is evolving Vampyr holds on to past ideas for much of its tenure, and it doesn't have a story strong enough to overcome that fact. The world itself is ripe for lots of stories to be told within, with Dontnod having done a good job with world building, but while Vampyr isn't a bad game, nor is it as great as it could be.
Although flawed and at times painfully inconsistent, Vampyr manages to offer relatively engaging gameplay in spite of a lack of overall polish. Combat is stiff and quite mindless, but Jonathan's progression deeper into Vampiredom is handled well and the abilities at his disposal go a long way towards masking some of the more mundane aspects of the battle system. It's more whether or not Jonathan decides to prey on the people of London, and its consequences, that keep the experience fresh. There's a trade off between making Jonathan and keeping districts stable, each one offering their own benefits. There are technical issues, and the performance is lacking on every front, but Vampyr has enough going for it conceptually that it's worth sinking some time into, if only to be a vampire in 20th century London.
Vampyr unfortunately flounders after building some solid foundations in the opening hours. London feels like a city on a knife edge, and the citizens prove to be an inviting cast of creative characters. But Vampyr then lures you into sacrificing these characters, cutting out a key part of the game, all to have a hope of standing up to the horrors that await you in the shadows of London.
Vampyr feels like a dug-up PlayStation 2 game. It wears its ambition on its sleeve, even if it looks at times to be wearing a tank top. The underlying game mechanics require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief, but those that can will find an entertaining penny dreadful.
Vampyr competently displays an understanding of combat, dialogue, and narrative choice, but it never rises above mediocrity, and is an utter failure on a technical level. The aesthetic of the world is the best thing on display, but beyond it lies a derivative title that fails to leave a lasting impression.
EDIT - Well ain't this confusing. This was the first review thread posted, which was removed by automod I'm assuming. There was another thread posted after this that is now removed and this one is back up (Just in case anyone needs context). I'll be back to updating! EDIT 2 - Apparently automod was NOT the reason the thread was removed, it was reddit itself that removed this thread because of one of the websites being flagged for spam. EDIT 3 - Would people rather have reviews be ordered by website names in alphabetical order or ascending/descending list of scores or completely random?
Why I think the open world PvP failed, and what I can imagine as a solution
So. You might have read my other post, now if you are so inclined, allow me to spread more of my incredible wisdom. Prepare, this is lengthy, but it takes time to tell a good story with a beginning and an end. While I read through answers to my post and the many other posts in this and the other sub I was thinking that, in order to have a real immersive and consistent world with PvP, you'd have to have a system like IRL. The world, where I live, is pretty safe. I could potentially kill the next person on the street, but I'd get wrecked pretty hard very soon. So what keeps me from doing it? 1) I don't have any incentive to kill them, I have resources and don't need their stuff for survival. 2) In fact, I am hard-wired for cooperation with my own species, otherwise, we'd all have died out. 3) Even if I wanted to: Police. Punishment, real punishment. We know from psychological studies (I'm a cognitive neuroscientist) that in punishment the likelihood of getting caught is as much, or even more important than the punishment severity itself, but both necessary to prevent crime. In reverse, what makes some parts of the world unsafe is the exact opposite: People might have existential trouble to get food and shelter. This overrides their cooperative trait because it triggers the even older fight-or-flight (or nowadays rather fight/flight/freeze) mechanism. Lastly: Some places most definitely do not have a coordinated safety net where people know that they will get caught. They might now that IF they get caught it fucks them up real bad, even capital punishment potentially, but the chances they get caught are low because the police just can't keep up with the crime, or is even involved. At some point violence and injustice might become self-sustaining because people just like the thrill of the fight and, frankly, they can. It's another part of our nature that usually doesn't come out in stable societies and we like to pretend it's not even there. They don't even care anymore, the thought of police is so far away that it doesn't matter, and they genuinely enjoy bullying, attacking, robbing, potentially killing. Better stay away from these zones because you can't reason your way out with these people and you can't hope for assistance. The only thing keeping them in check is literal brute force from your side or a mobster boss who they are afraid of themselves. As an example: Think of Orcs when they captured the hobbits. They see hobbits, they think "flesh", they are hungry and their nature isn't exactly compassionate, so, if they are allowed to, they attack, kill, and enjoy it. If you can kill them easily and they know it, they wouldn't attack, they'd run away. And if Saruman tells them to not kill the hobbits, they won't, because they are afraid of him. Essentially the thing that keeps them from killing anything right away is certain death, i.e. maximal punishment with a 100% chance. PKers are orcs. So if we look at games, New World specifically, these points can be applied as well. First: The world explicitly is scarce in resources and we are in desperate need of them to progress in the game, gain strength, build our village, etc. which is our primary goal to exist. Second: We are not as emotionally close to the pain we are inflicting on others if we kill them, which is precisely the reason we want to play this game. In fact, we might even play the game because we seek the thrill of the fight without remorse. This means that more violence exists in the virtual world, from the nature of the game. This is hardly something the devs can change easily. It might be different for example in virtual reality, with facial expressions projected onto the avatars, things that make us really compassionate with each other. But here, in this game, that's not really an option. Third: The criminal system. I freely admit I don't know what it looked like since I didn't play the alpha, but let me quote what I have read: "One of the last iterations of the criminal system had one of the most punishing system that i personally have seen in a MMO. Once you killed someone you would be flagged as a criminal: 1) You would have full loot active. 2) If you logged off your body would stay 30 minutes in the game for anyone to full loot and kill without any punishment. 3) In safe zones u wouldn't even be able to defend yourself if attacked, and there would be no punishment for someone killing you. 4)If you died to mobs u would drop all ur items for anyone to take. And a few other things but not as important. " (https://www.reddit.com/newworldgame/comments/esilah/why_i_am_now_actually_interested_in_this_game/ffadzu0?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x) Ok let's have a look: Let's say you're a player who's in it for the fight and doesn't even need the resources, or care about it cause, frankly, they can, they just really like to kill other players who can't defend themselves. They just want to run around and fuck people over. What happens if they do it? You would lose your items and can't proceed super fast. That's it. Fuck that, this is nothing that prevents them from doing it, that's not even a punishment in their eyes since they can respawn. The measures taken to prevent PKing were only increasing the chance of punishment, and even this not very successfully, but they failed to address the problem: Orcs don't care. Orcs want blood. Resources mean nothing to them. Death later in the cities means nothing to them. They want blood now, and if they run around in hordes, they can get it, and nobody can stop them, they can't even get killed later if they log off and their buddies protect them. So why would they not do it? What would stop them? Certain death, fast, and a measure that stops them from taking part in the game. Police is not an option since the only reasonable humans in the game should be the players if I understood that correctly? So this is my suggestion: A peaceful magical counterforce that stays within the lore of the game. Beings that actually are not corrupted but that want to live peacefully, and they are powerful, almost immortal. You'd need 20 players to kill them. It's also hard to spot them, you never really know if there is one nearby or not. They might look like plants, they might burrow themselves, or they are just a cute little bunny that suddenly turns into a real monster. Think ents that are more invested in the world. Let's stick with that thought for a moment. If you run around in their area and commit a crime that they observe they hunt you down without remorse, with 100% certainty, you can't do anything about it, and when they have you, they KEEP YOU HOSTAGE for ten minutes, counting only ingame time, then they strip you from your possessions and release you back into the world. You can still do it, and if you are lucky there is no ent nearby and you can get away with it, but if there's a large group of players it attracts the ents' attention and they sneakily follow them around in a distance because they are nosy. Ents, however, like their crib, so they stay in their home area and can't be found everywhere. There are ent spots where it's full of them, and the further away from these spots you wander, the fewer of them you'll find and the less likely it is that you get caught. Importantly they only come AFTER the crime has been committed, they don't prevent it, they punish it. They take their time, they don't interfere, they let the criminals loot and think they got away, but then, then they are moving, and they are moving relentlessly, without anything to stop them, they move on, they find you, and they get you. And then they restore balance by taking everything from you (money sink) and keeping you naked, for everyone to see. So in the end, we would get PvP zones, but not in a binary on/off fashion, but rather in a continuous fashion, something that increases the thrill even for the criminals. They kinda ache for that sweet sweet hobbit blood but they don't know if they can do it, because they never really know if there's an ent nearby. But if they are far enough from ent-zones, and there's a wandering hobbit, maybe they can dare to try. And you, as a new player, or a peaceful player, can stay close to your ent homies and start enjoying the world, you can walk around and if someone attacks you in these areas you know they are getting punished, actually punished, and you can go on with your life. But if you want to get that sweet sweet other resource, or you want to visit your friends in the next town, you need to walk away from these zones, trust yourself, and pray that there's an ent watching you. You can try to find friends walking with you because that not only helps you in fights, it also makes it more likely that an ent follows you. And if you want to get out really far you know nothing can help you if there's a group of marauding orcs lusting for your blood. Now the juicy part is at the edges of the ent zones. You go there, you see a criminal, the criminal sees you, you both know this is a semi-safe zone. Oh, that heart starts to pump. Do you feel the adrenaline as you slowly walk past the other player? You get close, you see them approaching you, you don't know: will they take the chance, or will they be too scared of their last ent experience? You walk past each other, the criminal follows you, you change your route, you don't want no trouble, just wanna get out of here, please. You turn around and slowly walk back to where you came, the criminal following you, only restrained by the fear of losing 10 minutes of their time and all the shit they carry around, otherwise, you both know you'd stand no chance. You can't call an ent, you don't remember seeing one, but maybe, maybe there is one, just next to you. You see that the criminal slows down, your heart is pumping, their heart is pumping, and slowly that rush of adrenaline gets you, and you get cocky. They won't dare to, you know it. You're safe. You taunt the guy, do a little bunny hop around them, you do a small dance. They watch you, turn around, angrily following your movement. Then their head starts spinning and they lose their shit. Nothing can keep them from killing you now, you are a cockroach they need to wipe from existence, and then they're gonna teabag you, teabag you real nice, until you respawn. Fuck. That didn't work out, they attack you, and sure, you put up a fight, but in the end you lose, you die, and you get tea bagged. Ah the rage. But you had it coming, silly you. The criminal loots your stuff, the rush, the enjoyment, the adrenaline, everything is great, the game is fucking great, and he got you, he got you good. Hah, that cocky little newb can't do shit out here and they showed you who's boss! Suddenly, the tree next to you starts moving... And you laugh out loud. Even though you just got killed. Alright. This is my story, hope you liked it, tell me what you think. I don't know if devs are active here, but I'd really appreciate their opinion on my idea.
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