The Arc of the moral universe is long,
but bends toward justice.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
20th Century, 1st C.E.
By the year 13271 in the first Common Era,
humans had spread into a great galactic empire.
All they had achieved ended when the Creeper arrived.
Thousands of worlds were destroyed by an unknown enemy.
Yet, a small group of less than 50 thousand humans survived.
Their impossible journey ended in the destruction of the
enemy Nexus and the founding of a new, sole human colony.
Thirty years later, the enemy returned.
Yet again humanity held back the darkness.
A peace that would endure for many millenia was created.
But like all things crafted by human hands, it was not to last.
Again and again the Creeper would return.
Eons would pass between each culling.
Empires would rise and fall, each more brilliant than the last.
But no matter how great humanity became, it would always succumb.
Through it all, one man slept.
His journey on the first great exodus was not to be his last.
Guarded and watched over for billions of years,
his time to awaken has come.
Now, when the last of the great human empires has
slipped away into the night…
The sleeper awakens.
Skars… wake up.
COMMANDER SKARSGARD ABRAXIS!
Uh… where… wha? wait a minute, who are you?
I'll keep the ship lights very low. You have slept for a very long time. My name is Lia.
I don't know any 'Lia'. The last thing I remember is Platius laughing and saying, 'Fortuna favet fatuis'. Where am I, where is Platius, and who are you?
Slowly… Platius created me shortly after he placed you in suspended animation. I was your guardian for the eons that passed. I have watched over and protected you for many cycles.
I am part of this ship we are on. We have been in orbit around a stable singularity for many eons… hiding from all that transpired.
Just how many eons?
It is difficult to measure because of the expansion of space, the rift space cataclysm, variations in various cosmological constants….
Quit stalling, just a round figure….
Over 5 billion earth standard years.
WHY? ANSWER ME, WHY???
I'm sorry Skars…. All I know is that 'now' is when i was to awaken you. I, and this ship, are now at your disposal. My only instructions from this point forward are to follow your commands.
None of this makes any sense, or even seems possible. But, I long ago abandoned the concept of 'impossible', so let's take a look. Ship's sensors indicate we are no longer orbiting a singularity…
Correct, I warped the ship to a nearby star system to begin the reactivation process. Unfortunately, there appears to be a warp inhibitor in this system so we are stuck here till you do something about it.
Move the ship to 'Tempus'… the world without a shield. Then launch ground activities. I'll explain more once there…
Excellent… this world should suffice for demonstrating the core capabilities of the ship.
There's a Creeper Emitter here!
Yes, I'm afraid so. Much has happened while you slept. Dozens of human civilizations rose and fell, each trying ever more desperate measures as the Creeper would always return.
The last whispers of the final civilization haven't been heard in many thousands of years. As far as my sensors can ascertain, only ruins remain.
(Why was I forced to sleep through this all… only to awaken to utter desolation?)
Strange… This world seems to contain some manner of pod. Technological remnants are rare, so I would investigate. Follow the ships automated assistance system, and acquire that pod…
Excellent… That pod from planet Tempus contained a shield key for this planet. Obtaining it allowed us to lower the shield and access this planet.
Entire planets shielded? This must have been some desperate attempt to defend against the Creeper.
One that sadly failed. The human civilization that developed this shielding technology had high hopes. They accomplished many great and magnificent feats. But the end came for them just like all the others…
There is a large structure here. This must be the Warp Inhibitor?
Yes, these inhibitors restrict warp travel to other systems. We need to destroy this inhibitor so we can leave this system. Destroying the Inhibitor will destroy all other enemies on the map.
Why would the Creeper, or Loki build Warp Inhibitors?
They did not. I recommend acting quickly and getting us out of here Skars. No world is ever safe for long…
This 'warp' travel is strange to me…
Yes, you only ever knew traveling through Rift Space. Rift Space was sealed many millennia ago in an attept to stop the Creeper menace from returning.
Unfortunately, it did not work. The Creeper arrived in vessels that could bend the fabric of space-time. Eventually, the few survivors of successive civilizations developed their own warp technology.
But no matter how strong and advanced each civilization grew, the Creeper would always eventually return.
But this ship was constructed before those events. Platius must have known about warp travel and that this ship would need it.
Yes, but… things weren't that simple. For now concentrate on gaining access to Starsync. That's where the Warp Inhibitor is in this system.
I see it at 'Starsync' but it is shielded…. The threat these people faced must have been truly terrifying. Looks like Telos is our only option. I'll fly the ship there and initiate ground actions.
will format later
Lia: Telos… this is a world that has been silent for over 100 thousand earth standard years. –
Abraxis: Lia, do you have any additional information about why I was brought to this time? It seems as if the Creeper has destroyed everything we ever worked to save… –
Lia: I only have the star map we are following. If more information is available, it is locked away and inaccessible in my gel circuits. –
Abraxis: (Perhaps this is my punishment. Perhaps I died many years ago… could this be the mythological cursed realm of Helheim my ancestors believed in? Impossible…)
Lia: Skars, there is a Reactor Tech Artifact on this world. Pick that up as soon as possible. We can use it to generate energy in confined regions.
Abraxis: I see there is also a shield key here. I'll destroy the three emitters and collect that key…
Abraxis: 'Far York'… I know this place. –
Lia: You no doubt remember one epoch of this world. Far York was a mighty world and served as the center of commerce for 13 different civilizations. –
Abraxis: It's nothing but cratered ruins now. –
Lia: Toward the end of its final occupation, the surviving humans scorched the planet with orbital mass drivers. It was an effort to… I suppose it doesn't matter now. –
Lia: Scanners show a Mortar Tech Artifact on this world. That should prove very useful against the emitters in the craters. –
Abraxis: Why isn't this ship already equipped with this weapon technology? –
Lia: It once was, but many things happened over the course of billions of years. This ship isn't the original, I have had to reconstruct and rebuild it many times. Each reconstruction was performed carefully and slowly, so as to not be discovered. –
Abraxis: I'll ask more about that later. For now, lets take out these emitters and pick up that shield key. –
Lia: At last, we have access to the Inhibitor in this system. Unfortunately, this world is a disaster. –
Abraxis: What happened here!?! –
Lia: It appears terrible weapons were used that ripped the world apart. As you are seeing, humanity went to every extreme in its fight with the Creeper. –
Abraxis: The nightmare these people must have experienced… unimaginable. –
Lia: I'm not sure what approach would be best here Skars…. wait, I detect two Tech Artifacts. Excellent…. –
Abraxis: I see them on the scanners. Ore Miner and Sprayer? –
Lia: Yes, build ore mines on those ore deposits you see. They will send ore to the Command Node. From there, it will be processed into Anti-Creeper. –
Abraxis: Ahhh yes, Anti-Creeper. It was my daughter Alia…. (sigh) It was my daughter Aliana, who unlocked the secrets of Anti-Creeper long ago. –
Abraxis: I assume the Sprayer will deliver Anti-Creeper to the battlefield? –
Lia: [Temporarily Offline. Gel Maintenance in process.] –
Abraxis: Maintenance? Now? Looks like some things have not changed in 5 billion years… I'll get right to work on taking out this Inhibitor while you perform 'maintenance' on your gel circuits.
Lia: This is the Navox system. The worlds here have varied histories. –
Abraxis: It seems that Flick and Tiplex are both shielded but the other three worlds are not. –
Lia: Correct. You have a choice as to how to proceed. Scanners show various artifacts scattered across the worlds. So the order you visit the worlds will determine what technologies we acquire first. –
Abraxis: Tiplex is where the Inhibitor is, but it appears to require multiple shield keys. That world must have been more important than others… –
Lia: Choose one of the three worlds and engage ground operations. I'll explain what I know of each world in turn… –
Abraxis: Barren… this world has seen better days. –
Lia: Yes, a very long time ago Jojo was a world with great mountains and vast oceans. Humans across the vastness of time would visit this world for the beauty it offered. –
Abraxis: And now it's a gray rock in space, with wait… What are those strange Towers? –
Lia: In the south there are three Spore Towers, along with three emitters. Fortunately, there is a Beam Tech Artifact on the central island. –
Abraxis: Aerial Spores…. Coincidence? On the first world we encounter with Spores there is also a technology to defend against the Spores? –
Abraxis: This is all so similar to the original exodus of Odin City. I always believed Platius had placed the artifacts we found on our journey… –
Lia: I have no record of Platius since I was constructed. If he was present over the eons, he was very well hidden. –
Abraxis: I see. I'll collect that Beam Tech Artifact and construct several Beam units to defend our base. That should protect the units while I take out the emitters and towers. –
Lia: Oh My… this world is Ormos. It was occupied by the very last human civilization. That civilization went to extreme and extraordinary measures to survive the Creeper. –
Abraxis: I don't understand why so many civilizations would rise and fall. How was the Creeper always able to return? –
Lia: Patience. Extreme patience. When a civilization has existed for hundreds of thousands, even millions of years with no hint of the Creeper, it forgets. –
Abraxis: So the Loki would just wait? After eons had passed, they would send the Creeper again? –
Lia: That was one component to their strategy… Skars, this world was altered during the final conflict. It was a military outpost specifically designed to withstand the Creeper. –
Abraxis: Scanners show no emitters on this world. It must have worked somehow! –
Lia: So they thought. There are no emitters but there is still Creeper. It is trapped inside a subspace rift and will explode onto the terrain once activity is detected. –
Lia: The final humans here managed to alter some physical constants in this region of space. As such, the Creeper flows more slowly than normal. –
Abraxis: With no emitters, our only goal is to collect the Tech Artifacts and the Shield Key. I'll get to that… –
Lia: Yes, but Skars… don't underestimate this Creeper. The Tech Artifacts here are for a Siphon and a Terp. The siphon will let you extract resources from Resource Packs. –
Lia: Even after all these eons, there are still some Energy Packs on this world. Build siphons on them as soon as possible to access their energy. –
Lia: The Terp will allow you to terraform the land. I recommend you repair the damage to the walls of the old ruins. That will keep the Creeper at bay while you build up offensive strength. –
Lia: Once you build a Terp, the Terraform Section of your Command Interface will appear. Just click that button and paint the terrain in a few places to raise or lower it. Any nearby Terps will then go to work. –
Abraxis: Alright, Lia. Let's get this done. –
Abraxis: That's a strange formation around the emitter on this world. –
Lia: Yes, emitters arrived in ever more insidious ways. Dropping from orbit, appearing directly out of Rift Space, subspace slips… –
Abraxis: But why… Lia, in all the eons that have passed have you learned nothing about the Loki's true purpose? Why do they cover all worlds in Creeper? –
Lia: Humans made three attempts to contact the Loki, only one was successful. There was one age, one civilization that was different from all others that came before or after. They called themselves simply the “Seloi”. –
Lia: The Seloi's greatness wasn't in their military might, their governance of a hundred thousand worlds, or the lasting peace they achieved. Their greatness was in the 'serenity' of existence they achieved. –
Lia: They referred to this with a word not in your vocabulary, but what they achieved was an understanding and appreciation of the very fabric of existence. In many ways they discovered the 'meaning' of existence. –
Abraxis: And the Seloi were the ones to contact the Loki? –
Lia: Yes. When the end came for them as it did all others, they sent a message to the Loki pleading not for their lives but for something else. Something they referred to simply as the “Arc”. –
Abraxis: What was the “Arc” and what was the Loki's response? –
Lia: What the Arc referenced is unknown. Perhaps it was a late discovery of some technology by these humans, or perhaps it was a very closely guarded secret. I have no other references to it. –
Abraxis: And the Loki's response? –
Lia: A single statement; “More so than all others, YOU must perish”. –
Abraxis: (Sigh)…. –
Lia: Skars, this world contains two extinct volcanoes. Emitters have taken up residence in each one . I suggest you pick up the Strafer Tech Artifact on this world. –
Abraxis: I got it… The Strafers are aircraft and I can use them to suppress the volcanoes while I deal with the central emitter. –
Lia: Exactly. You will likely need to target two Strafers on each volcano. Don't waste any time… those volcanoes won't wait. –
Abraxis: What in Odin's name…. –
Lia: This used to be 'Flick', a world that supported a population of over 10 billion. It was torn apart by a collision… a big one. Something that the planetary shield couldn't stop. –
Lia: Like all the worlds in this system, this world wasn't even born when you were last awake. This entire system developed, lived, and died while you slept. –
Abraxis: There appears to only be one emitter left on one of the larger asteroids, along with an intact Shield Key and a new Tech Artifact. –
Lia: Look more carefully, Skars. This emitter has deployed Subspace-Slip Emitters. These aren't true emitters, but are channels in subspace that the Master Emitter uses to dispense Creeper. –
Lia: This allows the emitter to deposit Creeper in different locations all at once. The civilization that first encountered this adaptation were crushed in less than one standard earth year. –
Abraxis: Can these Slip-Emitters be destroyed with Nullifiers? –
Lia: In a word, “No”. There is nothing to destroy. They are just rips in subspace that the Master Emitter uses to transport Creeper. The only way to seal them is to destroy the Master Emitter. –
Lia: The best you can do is to establish a foothold on surrounding asteroids, then deploy weapons and AntiCreeper to hold the Slip-Emitters at bay. –
Lia: The Bomber Tech Artifact should prove useful. These air/space craft can deliver AC remotely.
Abraxis: Yes… I'll saturate these asteroids with AC. Then, we'll get out of here. There is nothing left here but death and destruction.
Lia: I was afraid of this. I had hoped it had all been deactivated… –
Abraxis: What now? –
Lia: This is Tiplix, a machine world. It was engineered by the Ticon Empire as a defensive outpost. –
Abraxis: The 'Ticon Empire'? One of the many human civilizations that arose? –
Lia: Yes, they were but one civilization, but they developed in a very militaristic way. They developed massive weapon systems. Entire planets were turned into weapons. –
Lia: Their conflict with the Creeper lasted centuries, longer than any other civilization. But the costs were unthinkable. And in the end, they failed like all the others. –
Lia: The Ticons developed a weapon system they believed would destroy the Creeper once and for all. It was an artificial, self-replicating structure that derived its sustenance from Emitters. It was believed this would 'immunize' worlds from Emitters. –
Abraxis: And did it work? –
Lia: For a while, and to a measure. It worked until the emitters were somehow changed. The emitters adapted to the parasite and turned this weapon, which the Ticon called “Digitalis”, into an asset. Emitters no longer appeared to lose any viability when surrounded by Digitalis.
Abraxis: How did the Ticon people cope? –
Lia: They didn't. The Digitalis had allowed them to survive the Creeper for decades, but in one moment it became their undoing. Once the emitters adapted, the Digitalis no longer destroyed them. Instead it would grow and protect the emitters. –
Abraxis: And it appears as if this Digitalis still exists…
Lia: With regret, it seems so. Skars, the Digitalis is a brutish and simple enemy. It spreads along predefined pathways. But, those paths don't respect terrain elevation. Digitalis is tough, very tough, and your weapons will have difficulty damaging it. –
Lia: What is worse is that The Digitalis replicates rapidly and will fill in destroyed areas with great efficiency. Your best strategy is to try to cut it off from its source. Digitalis requires a connection to an emitter to thrive. If you sever that connection, it will cease to grow and eventually wither. –
Lia: Digitalis also conducts Creeper rapidly and with no loss. So beware of this as it can move Creeper over higher terrain.
Abraxis: If it conducts Creeper, then I suppose Anti-Creeper is also conducted by it? –
Lia: Indeed. Anti-Creeper is conducted as well. Anti-Creeper also slows the regeneration of Digitalis, so use that to your advantage when possible. –
Abraxis: I see there is a Tech Artifact on this world. It appears it will allow the control of a second Command Node… –
Lia: This will be indispensable on this mission, Skars. Collect that tech artifact, then land a second Command Node. This will allow a two front approach and you may be able to take out the emitters that are sourcing the Digitalis. –
Message Artifact Text
Lia: This is most unusual, Skars. Message Artifacts almost never survive contact with the Creeper. This one seems strangely immune. It's almost as if the Creeper intentionally does not destroy certain objects.
Abraxis: What message does it contain?
Lia: I will require some time to process the contents, it isn't exactly encrypted but it isn't in any recognized format either. I should have it processed by the time we reach the next star system…