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Search Party - A Klackon Short Story


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ApolloArtemis #1 Posted 09 March 2016 - 07:26 PM

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We continue our short story series for Master of Orion as we shift focus to the races coming in Early Access 2. This story touches on a  Klackon ship that follows their leader through dangerous deep space with confidence and faith in the Hive. Stay tuned for more, and please feel free to ask questions about Klackon lore in the comments!

 

Search Party by Kelsey Howard, Creative Writer at Wargaming Austin


The ship, a living entity itself, hummed quietly as its biologically based core had been grown around mechanical and technological systems. The ship, referred to as AX-135 Strand Delta, was a small scout vessel travelling in dark, isolated space along the Mrrshan-Sakkra border. The only sounds onboard that could be detected by an alien ear was the rattle of scuttling legs and clacking body plates, as the Klackon crew communicated primarily through targeted pheromone responses punctuated by subtle antenna movement.

 

The crew had been together for a long time, not just on the ship but in life itself. Born of the same egg clutch on a colony planet near the home world of Kholdan, they had always trained as a unit. Now they lived as one in the impossibly cramped quarters of the scout ship in symbiotic peace. This was the Klackon way.

 

A panel whined in high pitched tones on the bridge, similar to the cry of newly hatched Klackon young, capturing the attention of the Captain and an Officer. They watched the panel with mild interest as it was the only blip of activity seen in recent weeks on their outlying patrol. The Captain had been running them back and forth in a relatively small sector of space, as if unsure of what they were assigned to look for in the first place. The Captain was secretive and private, but the crew trusted him implicitly as they trusted all from the Hive – the Klackon were truly united in their ways.

 

Should we investigate the anomaly? The Officer twitched his antennas violently while filling their personal space with pheromones of concern and agitation. The Officer was disturbed by the sudden change of routine and risk of exposure. The Klackon and Mrrshan were far from friendly, with their frequent skirmishes causing irritation between the two governments. The Klackon and Sakkra fared no better.

 

The Captain surveyed the panel, calculating distance. Yes, the Hive will be pleased with additional resources. We could stay in the field longer. The Officer could not sense any feeling from the Captain other than a steady stream of calm, so they turned their attention back to the control panels.

 

The Officer nudged the ship in the direction of the beacon, the low-power mode of the scout responding sluggishly. After a few minutes, a ship began to come into view. A perfectly intact Mrrshan cruiser, its operational lights flickering ominously, drifted with a sole repeating beacon the only indication of activity. As they neared, it was obvious that something had gone terribly wrong, but there were no signs of combat.

 

The Officer was emitting a low amount of fear-based pheromones. Should we even bother saving those filthy beasts? They wouldn’t help us.

 

The Captain appeared completely confident. They wouldn’t help us, but they would loot our corpses. Let’s return the favor. Prepare non-essential crew as a Scavenger team, quickly. Before the soft skin reinforcements arrive to the beacon call.

 

They circled the derelict cruiser slowly, looking for any external damage on the ship that would jeopardize their mission. A quick inspection showed no damage and revealed the name of the ship painted on the hull, Star Seeker. As they slowly began the docking procedures, the small team of Scavengers prepared to board the ship. They were buzzing with anticipation, the prospect of adventure and replenished resources renewing their vigor. The Klackon ship made contact with the Mrrshan cruiser and shuddered ominously, as if recoiling from the touch.

 

The Klackon Scavengers scuttled onto the ship with weapons ready, taking careful note of the undamaged interior and the bodies lining the halls. The Mrrshan crew was recently dead, the Scavengers detecting the delicious scent of hardly decaying flesh. They turned the bodies over looking to loot weapons, ammo, and any personal effect of value.

 

It seemed as if the Mrrshan had turned on each other, based on the evidence in the ship. Their weapons were drawn on each other and their claws still dripped with blood, but the reason for their attacks were still unknown. Many of them were locked in the final poses of close quarters combat, their eyes glazed over and faces expressionless.

 

The Scavenger team was unanimously emitting high levels of concern, so the member of the team with the radio pulled it from their utility vest. The verbal communication of the Klackon was primitive and crude, their non-verbal communication far surpassing it in evolution and complexity. They expressed their concerns. The Captain was clear in his response: We will accept the risk for any knowledge to be gained for the Hive.

 

Combing through the ship slowly, the lights overhead flickered to an irregular and haunting beat. The Scavengers searched the desolate halls efficiently, strapping gear to their backs and holding valuables in their many hands. The more specialized Scavengers activated terminals, scanning networks for valuable intel then wiping the programs as they finished. The Scavengers emitted a low alert pheromone that kept them all on edge and in touch with each other.

 

The flickering of the lights became weaker as the team closed in on the bridge, the periods of darkness becoming longer. The sound of something dragging began to trickle out from behind the blast doors of the bridge. The door, damaged from the Mrrshan fighting, was slightly buckled and refused to retract into the bulkhead. The Scavengers began working as a seamless unit to open the door, their many hands needing no direction other than the common goal.

 

As the Scavengers pulled the twisted metal apart, a bitter hissing greeted them from the bridge. The Klackon aimed their weapons on a creature that is not immediately familiar to them, a purple tinted being with a twisted, foaming face. The nerves of the Scavengers lit on fire – the emergency scents of shock, surprise, and fear electrified the air. The being lurched behind the cover of a bridge station, dragging a useless, badly mangled leg behind it.  

 

What is it? They thought jarringly, no distinct voice pulling forward as the individuals panicked and broke the collective calm of unity.

 

Should we capture it?

 

Should we kill it?

 

Should we run?

 

The being was dressed in an ill-fitting and torn uniform that matched the ship full of dead Mrrshan. Patches of fur clung randomly to the creature’s body, with clumps of it piled on the floor of the bridge. It seemed to be slightly foaming and shaking. An unfamiliar weapon was at the low ready while it kept an eye on the Klackon. It seemed anxious and afraid, the terrified eyes shifting from Klackon to Klackon. The eyes… like dark and twisting vortexes. The Klackon found themselves looking anywhere but the being’s face.

 

Just as the Scavengers formed a consensus to capture the being, the wounded creature shot its weapon at the ground. A hiss of steam and a cloud of smoke blinded the Klackon as they began to cough. The cloying and sickly smoke reminding them of the coarse sands of Kholdan when whipped into a deadly sandstorm.

 

The Mrrshan ship let out a sudden rattle and sigh before going completely dark. The Klackons, blinded by the mysterious smoke and darkness, retreated quickly - following the scent of their own trail back to the docking bay. They bridged the gap between the two ships quicker than they had ever moved before.

 

They scuttled over quickly, grateful to be out of the pitch black of the damaged Mrrshan ship. As the last Klackon entered their ship, the door triggered an automatic response to seal off the docking tube. The coughing of the Scavenger team became ragged as they fought for breath.

 

The crew attempted to separate the two ships, the Klackon ship refused to move. Captain, the ship refuses to disengage! The Scavengers cried out as one, their message carrying down the ship. As their message travelled through the ship, so did the ominous coughing spread.  

 

The Officer on the bridge looked to the Captain for guidance. The Captain was silent in all ways.

 

The walls of the ship suddenly began to crack, the tough chitin shell of the walls breaking apart to reveal blackening tendons and damaged frames. The crew’s mind was frantic and united. In their panic there was no clear thought. The coughing and wheezing crew dragged themselves down the hallways in weak attempts to reach the escape pods.

 

The Officer watched with horror as the cracking walls made their way to the bridge. The ship groaned with a sound not of twisting metal but of a wounded creature. The internal structure was snapping while a dark ichor seeped from the crack walls. The ship shook and released pheromones of distress and imminent failing system warnings.

 

The Captain was staring at the dark Mrrshan ship through the video feed. Captain, what is happening? It was then that the crew silenced all at once, coughing and gasping for air. The Officer collapsed as the Captain stood tall, watching them choke. The Captain seemed to note the cracking walls with more interest.

 

“Collaborator?” The ship’s external comm system glowed, the foreign voice filling the bridge. The Officer understood the words, but the voice was so alien and strange that it made his antennae quiver.

The Captain moved forward, manning the controls himself as the Klackon at that post writhed on the ground. “Yes, I am here. I received your distress call.”

“I am wounded. Is the weapon working?”

 

The Captain looked back on the crew, moving forward on many legs to inspect them closer. The crew could barely keep their eyes open. The Captain nudged them with his foot and expressed mild interest before returning to the comm station. “The pests are dying. Interestingly enough, the virus seems to effect the ship’s DNA as well.”

 

“Good. There is no room for pests which linger in the dark, though its effect on the beasts was… unexpected. There is an operational shuttle on this ship. We should take it back to Nazin with this information.”

The comm went dark and the Captain looked back on his crew. The walls of the ship were still cracking, the black tendons continued to snap and the low hiss of the outer hull breaching was turning into a scream. The crew noted that whatever sickness these enemies had spread moved through the Klackon DNA quickly, but they could not move to send a warning back to the Hive. The Captain looked down on the crew, I do apologize. You were a good crew. He was silent after, his antennas lowering sadly.

 

The Klackon crew closed their eyes together, a last act of unity in the face of the unknown. The Captain walked over their bodies gently towards the docking tube. He left the ship just as its natural phosphorescence went dark and life support cut off. 



OrionSol #2 Posted 09 March 2016 - 07:27 PM

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Beautiful.  

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Anguille_1 #3 Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:12 AM

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This is slander!

 

We Darloks have a sense of honour and we respect life! Blasphemy....we'll come for you! We will make a formal complaint at the Galactic Council.


Playing MOO since 1993

 

Playing MOO Conquer the Stars on GOG Galaxy

 

4x space game CV: Master of Orion, Master of Orion II, Master of Orion III, Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain, Reach for the Stars, Imperium Galactica, Imperium Galactica II, Armada 2526, Distant Worlds, Star Ruler I and II, Endless Space, Horizon, Stardrive, Stradrive II, Sword of the Stars, Sword of the Stars II, Galactic Civilization I - III, LotBS, Lost Empires: Immortals, Space Empires IV and V, Starships Unlimited, Star Wars: Empire at War, Star Wars: Rebellio, Birth of the Federation and Stellaris.


Vahouth #4 Posted 10 March 2016 - 04:44 PM

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I wish we could scavenge defeated enemy ships in the game. The loot could be either tech, BC, or research points. So much flavor. :)

Edited by Vahouth, 10 March 2016 - 04:44 PM.


GeneralDirection #5 Posted 10 March 2016 - 06:30 PM

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So we did something a little different with this story compared to the others. Most of them have had a positive (or neutral) ending for the races the story is about. What are your thoughts on this one being more negative for the Klackon? Would you like to see additional stories that sometimes steer that direction, so not everything is all fluffy bunnies and unicorn happiness?

Vahouth #6 Posted 10 March 2016 - 07:22 PM

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I see this story as a positive one for the Darlok. ;)


Anguille_1 #7 Posted 11 March 2016 - 11:28 PM

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MOO lore is actually fairly an unhappy and dark one....it's good to have deeper and darker stories, it's part of the MOO universe. MOO3's lore is even worse...i hate the Harvesters....they are a true nightmare...

Playing MOO since 1993

 

Playing MOO Conquer the Stars on GOG Galaxy

 

4x space game CV: Master of Orion, Master of Orion II, Master of Orion III, Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain, Reach for the Stars, Imperium Galactica, Imperium Galactica II, Armada 2526, Distant Worlds, Star Ruler I and II, Endless Space, Horizon, Stardrive, Stradrive II, Sword of the Stars, Sword of the Stars II, Galactic Civilization I - III, LotBS, Lost Empires: Immortals, Space Empires IV and V, Starships Unlimited, Star Wars: Empire at War, Star Wars: Rebellio, Birth of the Federation and Stellaris.


Beoran #8 Posted 11 March 2016 - 11:53 PM

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Love the story! Love the way the writer fits the natural biology of Ants to fit the Klackon. Love the idea of a raiding party going after derelict ships too. Wish we could do that in game. Cannot wait for the Darloks and Klackon to be playable. It's like waiting for Game of Thrones to start! ;)
I think my cat is a Mrrshan?




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