Matt's Personal Log - Episode 42

This ring is just chock full of surprises! After a week of burying the dead and salvaging what we could from the Knife’s wreckage, and waiting for any surviving crew to straggle in, we were finally in a position to start looking around. After finally getting the time to figure out where we were on the ring, we found out that we were actually on the ‘planet’ of Betazed in that big-ass ocean, not to far (relatively speaking of course) from ‘Andoria’ and ‘Earth’.

First we decided on making contact with the ursinoids that were in the vicinity – I’d asked Zeista and some of the other Betazoids in the crew whether they were natives to their own planet, but the answers I got were less than helpful. The ursinoids proved to be primitive nomads led by Ookla, their chieftain. We talked for a while and learned what we could – I even got a slave out of the deal, Usha. Usha seems to be older than most in his tribe, and since he’d been castrated didn’t seem to have any value to them. (I’ve asked Phros to check into making the guy whole again – no male should have to live like that if there are other options!)

Our next stop was Andoria, where Thanos made a huge impact on any attempt to make peaceful contact with his people. Let me take a moment to explain a few things. By now I had been made the de facto ‘leader’ of the group; everyone wanted to defer to my decisions about where to go, but since my only goal was discovery (you know, knowledge for its own sake), while the rest seemed to be interested only in finding treasure (they really didn’t understand the whole situation), they were getting bored and frustrated by our ‘lack’ of progress. It’s this frustration that I’m going to blame the strategy that Thanos took in approaching the people on Andoria – that or he’s as big a sociopath as I’ve suspected for some time. He did ask me what the plan for approaching the Andorian city was, but since these were his people I deferred to his judgment. He chose to order his Klingon mercenaries to take the lead in order to ‘clear a path’ for us. Of course it didn’t take long for the battle to begin, which made peaceful discourse with the inhabitants somewhat more problematic than they needed to be.

When the Klingons had fallen, I challenged their champion to single combat (hoping to avoid both needless bloodshed and, more importantly, personal bodily injury). He was good, I’ll give him that, but I was the victor when I saw an opening and tried that nerve pinch thing Karr had demonstrated to me once. Frak if it didn’t work! After that we were escorted to the city’s leader, had a few words, and left. We didn’t really learn much (too be expected, really, all things considered), but I did learn that these Andorians didn’t accept failure lightly – on the way out we saw the head of the guy I’d defeated left in the middle of the path; his body was nowhere to be seen.

Once away, we took counsel among ourselves and decided to try to find an installation of the Iconians (or whoever might have built this place). Since the most likely place to find that would be on the rim of the ring, that was our next destination. En route, sensors picked up a fleet forming above the surface of the ring, roughly half-way to the system’s star. Also in that vicinity was some sort of station – a big one! Bigger even than the Death Star! Luckily, they didn’d seem to have detected us (or if they had, realized we didn’t pose a threat to them and so left us alone), so we continued on our way. Before we got there, however, we also detected a city towards the center of the ring. It seemed to have a spaceport of some sort floating overhead, so we altered course.

After landing on the port, a few of us explored while the rest would remain at the ships. The installation proved to be some form of cloning facility, one of Imperial origins if the language and symbology we found was any indication. It was a bit of enigma though, since this installation would have been in operation for 35 years, which is far longer than any known contact with the Empire had occured (though wormholes aren’t as uncommon as once thought).

During our investigation, I lost Spevak to a droid guardian. Frakking thing was behind a locked door that R’Shee blasted open, and before the smoke had cleared it had opened up on us. My armor got me through the first barrage and gave me time to activate my PSG, which got me through the second. Spevak had gotten his PSG activated so when the third barrage came in I jumped behind him, but the damn droid wouldn’t stop firing. Don’t get me wrong – this whole time, Alyr and R’Shee were lighting that thing up, but its screens weren’t going down as fast as ours. I got one shot off, hitting it squarely in its ‘face’, but after that I was hit again and didn’t see anything else until I woke up in the Glory’s sickbay. The last thing I remembered seeing was Spevak getting pasted.

Long story short, when I recovered (Phros is good – I need to give him a bonus after this run) we went back in to the medical facility the droid had been protecting. For good reason, as it turns out – the facilty (and the city below) had been set up to create clones of the Emperor. (Given the time frame involved, I suspect that the city below hadn’t been there when the facility had been put into operation, since I calculated that over 5 million clones had been created since the facility had been put into operation). But the best part (or worst) was something that no one I was with could even begin to understand – the Emperor was none other than freaking CHUCK NORRIS! I’m talking Lone Wolf McQuade Chuck Norris! No wonder the Empire kicked so much frakking ass – look who was teaching them!

So we talked about destroying the facility, but that was doomed to failure of course. A lot of the crew didn’t like the idea of killing 5 million souls, and I wasn’t too keen on unleashing the singularity that was powering the station. So our next decision was to head for the massive station overhead. About then, Karr spoke up – and I managed not to kill him (well, attempt to anyway). You see, all those trips we made with him in search for his family and his family’s treasure? Well, it turns out that they had the access codes to the station we’d just found – the one that was turning out Star Destroyer sized capital ships every couple of hours. He had the key the whole time, and the coordinates (the ones that I’d just spent over a year trying to find for the Ring World, ‘cause they’re the same freaking place!). An as is usual for our luck, because we took so long in arriving, someone had beaten us to the place and had changed the codes!

We found out that last little nugget of information when we approached the station and tried to enter. The response was immediate – it fired upon us, with a ‘planet-killer’ no less! We were cloaked in the Starlight, and it was firing on us like we were holding a homing beacon for it. I think the only reason we didn’t get hit was due to the fact that we were a mite smaller than the planets it was supposed to be firing at! Anyway, once we’d gotten a little distance, it stopped firing at us – I don’t know, maybe it was only firing what it considered warning shots, but if so, it had vastly overestimated our capacity for withstanding them!

So Karr spoke up again (and again I restrained myself); he pulls a transit card out of his pocket, one that’s apparently the key to the station. If you don’t know, transit cards date back to the Iconians, and allowed them to access some sort of system linking a bunch of locations together. When activated, the card’s holder gets whisked away instantly to the location the card is linked to. He’d picked that card up when we were at Gren-ga Tharg the first time, when we flew out all this way to find his crazy old uncle, the one who made him undergo that ritual to regain his honor, the one with the pain sticks (oh but I’d like to have a pain stick or two right now). Yeah, he’d had it for over a year and had never mentioned it! Granted, I wouldn’t have known what it was at the time either, but I would have six months ago when I saw a bunch of ‘em on Baleer’s station!

Well, we did eventually use it. Karr, Alyr, me and Inara, and eventually Thanos. Something Thanos did sent Alyr back. None of use used it correctly, though – we don’t seem to be in the station, though I suppose we could be. We arrived in a room – a perfect cube. There are hatches on all four walls, the ceiling, and the floor. It’s harshly lit, but there was no welcoming committee of droids, so that’s a plus. We’re going to pick a door and head out, so I’ll be updating this as soon as I have some news for you.

CYA

Matt's Personal Log - Episode 42

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