Quinn’s Journal #1: "What a strange business this is. First, my old friend Louis Wu disappeared, and managed to see it coming soon enough to alert me, and then I found that his contact Chmeee had also disappeared under unusual circumstances. I had very little time to wonder about this, though, because as soon as I made contact with Chmeee's son, we were attacked and had to make a run for it."
|Quinn's main companion introduces himself.|
We briefly get an ominous cut-scene showing that the Patriarch's centurion has arrived with his task force to wipe out Chmeee's family. Great timing, guys. Meanwhile, we get to have a conversation with Iacch about how we really don't know what's going on, but along with the ring, Louis Wu sent an infodisk with some information about his trip to Ringworld with Chmeee. Iacch reveals that he's the test pilot for the prototype ship made using the special hyperdrive engine acquired from the Puppeteers. That’s convenient.
|No time to grieve; Harrach is probably never mentioned again.|
|What's "next time" when you're already dead?|
So I take out my stunner and shoot the assassin, which is only my third action of the game so far. We're temporarily safe, although Iacch says more assassins might show up any minute. I don't stick around to find out: I follow him out into a landing area which seems to be where the assassin team landed their "cycles" (individual flying vehicles). But there are three vehicles and only two of us, so I have to slave the third cycle to mine to make sure that we can't be followed.
There's no comment about whether anyone else is in residence at the home: I would imagine that taking all their cycles would at least temporarily strand the assault team there and make it more likely that they'd find and kill anyone else still there. But maybe the two brothers were the only ones there at that time.
|Do you really think it's wise to insult the intelligence of the guy who's going to help protect you while you escape from assassins?|
I quickly dash back into the courtyard, check the body of the assassin, find the security disk to run the cycle, and dash back to the landing area. I didn't want to hang around to see if more assassins showed up if you stay there. With the disk, then I can make my cycle the master, and we can escape with all three cycles.
|Interesting alien landscape, with what looks like a very large moon in the background.|
|Hijacking this unique prototype seems entirely too easy, to be honest.|
|Miranda's entirely reasonable reaction to our unexpected presence on the ship.|
|I don't think this is much of a threat, actually…|
|...because our ship is much larger, and we have other things to worry about anyway.|
|Five wires is all Miranda managed to disconnect before I caught up to her?|
I think somewhere in all this, the Destroyer defeated or drove off the defense forces, warned Iacch that he was still under the death sentence against the Chmeee family, but then disappeared to follow orders to attack the Puppeteer Fleet of Worlds first. They weren't supposed to leave any members of the family alive, so that suggests that the ships can't directly destroy each other. The Destroyer is supposed to be able to destroy whole planets, but I read somewhere that the ship hulls are made of something that's basically impenetrable to any normal force, so even that weapon wouldn't work against one.
|The Patriarch's first order given to the centurion.|
|Iacch's portrait. Yes, according to lore, the Kzinti really have those odd fan-like ears.|
He renounces his name, because it was the Patriarch who gave it to him, and decides to call himself Seeker-of-Vengeance instead. (I'll just call him Seeker for short, I guess.) He also names the ship, calling it Lance of Truth. (It's a fully-functioning prototype ship and it didn't already have a name?)
|"That" is a Puppeteer hologram appearing on the bridge.|
|A clearer image of them from a ship computer I was able to access later on.|
This Puppeteer identifies himself as the Hindmost, which means he's the leader. Puppeteers have a very strong self-preservation instinct; the ones that go offworld and deal with other races are officially considered insane by the rest of the species. So the leader is the one that's best at staying safe in the rear of the pack, hence Hindmost. He informs the group that the Puppeteers want certain things from the Ringworld, so he wants them to go to a certain set of coordinates and bring the things to the Fleet of Worlds, and in exchange, he'll help them find Louis Wu and Chmeee on the Ringworld.
If they have to make a detour to the Ringworld to get this stuff for the Puppeteers and maybe to rescue Louis Wu and Chmeee, I don't see how they're going to catch up to the Destroyer in time to prevent it from attacking the Fleet of Worlds. But Iacch, I mean Seeker, agrees, provided that the Puppeteers can guarantee that the death sentence against his family will be lifted and that the Patriarch will be deposed. So off we go to the Ringworld.
I'm going to pause here to say that this is a really, really plot-heavy game. I was trying to decide whether I'd even taken ten discrete actions (aside from selecting a couple of conversational choices) in this first section, which amounted to not quite an hour of gameplay. I decided I didn't think I had. Here's how it breaks down:
Number of people stunned by Quinn: 3 (the assassin, the ship's guard, and Miranda)
Number of actions taken by Quinn other than stunning: 6 (triggering the laser doorbell, showing Iacch the ring, taking the infodisk, slaving the cycle, fixing the wires, putting the infodisk into the autodoc)
Number of conversational choices: 4 (two with Iacch near the beginning, one with the guard, and I think I forgot one but maybe there were actually only three?)
Number of deaths: 1 (failing to stun the assassin right away)
All the rest of it has been automatic cutscenes or clicking through conversations. It took far longer for me to work through the plot and summarize what happened than it did to actually play through it. We'll see next time if the game opens up at all once we get to the Ringworld.
Session Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
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