Master of Orion

Master of Orion

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s_omara Sep 13, 2016 @ 11:16am
Feature Spotlight - Espionage
Sabra crept along the exterior walls of the Psilon facility, pausing to hide from the occasional robotic sentry or the glowing beam of perimeter scanners set on a predictable rotation. She knew the exterior security would be far simpler to outsmart than what lay within the facility, but she was still shocked that reaching the Hadron Bio-Technology Institute was even easier than she expected.

Perhaps the Psilon were becoming too confident with their state-of-the-art security suites and forgot about the old fashioned spies and criminals that defied their carefully-tested logic matrixes. A low window on the northeastern side of the building was her first objective which she reached without incident. Popping the glass from the frame was simple enough, and once she slid through the narrow window, she replaced the glass without triggering the tampering alarms.

Phase one down. She checked her wrist comm for notes from the agency on Fieras. A simplified map showed a vulnerable terminal in a nearby wing of the research facility. She leaned against the wall staying completely still as a small flying sentry bot came whirring down the hall. Honestly, this part was up to luck. Most of the Psilon sentries had a single camera on the front of their bodies that relayed a feed to the security team, but a few had been upgraded to 360 degree cameras or thermal sensors.

It floated by without incident, and Sabra breathed a heavy sigh of relief. She raced down the hall, the soft pads of her bare feet naturally dampening the sound of her movements. The lights began to flicker, but Sabra stayed focused on her mission. She reached the door which was locked by a simple digital keypad. She plugged her wrist comm directly into the keypad with a wire she pulled from her belt, setting an automated hacking routine to begin working on the door.

Each second dragged on like hours. She anxiously kept looking over her shoulder. If a sentry turned the corner, she would have nowhere to bolt. Finally, with a satisfying click, the keypad went dark and the door unlocked. Swinging the door open, she stepped inside without making a sound, quietly closing the door behind her.

The room with the vulnerable terminal was in a private office for one of the researchers at the facility. The Mrrshan government gained access to the terminal remotely, but they needed an agent on the ground to access the locally stored files on network. They weren’t sure exactly what the technology they were after was, but they knew it was beyond what the Mrrshan already knew.

As she took the first step toward the computer, the lights in the facility went dark. She stood, perfectly still, in the total darkness. A few moments later, the light came back on and an ear-splitting siren reverberated down the halls and against the featureless walls. She instinctively covered her sensitive ears pressing herself against the door to the office. She moved her hands from her ears, the howling sirens shaking her to the bone, reaching for her side arm. Ear pressed against the door, she listened for the sentries to reach the office.

She would take as many of them down as she could while trying to reach the files, but in any case she refused to be captured. Few things seemed as nightmarish to the Mrrshan as imprisonment, their freedoms stripped away and the universe confined to a bleak Psilon 4x4 cell.

The sentries raced by the office door but kept going. The sounded like they were headed for a different wing of the building. Could the Pride be behind this? A remotely triggered alarm in a different sector of the building in order to buy her time to complete the mission and allow her escape?

Sabra rushed to the terminal inserting a small drive that would replicate all the files and copy them onto her wrist monitor. All she had to do was wait while the files copied, then she could get out of this screaming facility. Her ship, parked beneath the cover of low-lying trees a few miles outside of the grounds, awaited her.

The alarms suddenly switched off, the silence of the facility deafening in their absence. Sabra sighed audibly in relief, her ears ringing from the clamor. Hopefully her hearing wasn’t permanently damaged.

“Hello?” The soft and monotone voice made Sabra jump from her chair, where a slight Psilon researcher stood just on the other side of the monitor. She hadn’t seen him or heard him enter the office, and now the door was sealed behind him. He must not have noticed her either.
Sabra pulled her weapon aiming it at the Psilon, her heart racing. She looked down at her wrist monitor. 76% file copy completed. She looked back up at the Psilon. It just stood there, blinking. Was it afraid? Nervous? If it felt anything, it gave no response. A small black communication unit was clipped to its belt.

She didn’t want to kill the creature, but she couldn’t let it live either. It had seen her face. The Mrrshan Pride was in jeopardy now. If she were exposed, the diplomatic relations between two great empires could plummet.

No pressure.

Sabra pulled the trigger and the silenced weapon made a metallic ping, then nothing.
The Psilon was still standing there, staring at her. Sabra was both dumbfounded and agitated, the hair on the back of her neck stood on end while her tail curled defensively against her body. The Psilon had stepped so slightly to the side that Sabra almost would have thought she missed, but she didn’t. She never missed a shot at such close range. The Psilon had dodged. How was that possible?

The Psilon cocked its head to the side, as if confused as to why Sabra had fired her weapon. It still didn’t reach for the comms unit at its belt. It very calmly walked around the desk. Something about the Psilon made Sabra’s blood run cold, she felt like she was pinned to the spot. The monitor at her wrist beeped to let her know the file transfer had completed.

In the moment she looked down at the computer and back up to the Psilon, it had drawn a weapon on her. It shot with efficient accuracy, shooting her in the arm and leg. It reached down to pick up Sabra’s weapon as it clattered away, pausing to look down on her as she bit her own tongue to keep from screaming.

“What an unfortunate coincidence for you,” said the Psilon, the usual monotone pitch of the Psilon language obscured by a dull hiss. It reached down, ripping the wrist monitor from
Sabra and pulling the device from the computer as well.

Sabra writhed in pain on the ground, helpless as the Psilon placed the Mrrshan technology into a small pouch attached its back.

“Kittens should not play a game which they don’t understand,” the Psilon reached down for the comms unit and smiled, something unnatural and twisted on the Psilon’s usually expressionless faces. It was then obvious that its face was a mask for a being much more sinister beneath it.

The agent cleared its throat and resumed the monotonous tone of the Psilon as it activated the comms unit, “I have found the intruder, northern sector, room 856.”

“Wait,” Sabra hissed, “kill me! Don’t leave me here.”

The Darlok looked at her with the weapon half raised. It seemed to contemplate the request for a moment before walking towards the door and lowering the weapon. “Hopefully you’re better at talking your way out of this than you are at completing your missions.”

Last edited by s_omara; Sep 13, 2016 @ 11:16am
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Showing 1-11 of 11 comments
Torchfire Sep 13, 2016 @ 12:31pm 
Nice story, once again.

And you must really love Darloks. Pretty much every story appears to be about them.

Here's a (probably very far fetched) idea:
A Deus Ex style stealth game set in the MoO universe, where the player takes the role of a Darlok recruit, conducts espionage missions against other races, uncoveres a galaxy-threatening Antaran? Orion? mistery, and then saves all known races without them ever knowing it.
(I can't help writing this. I'm currently playing the original Deus Ex game and love it)
Last edited by Torchfire; Sep 13, 2016 @ 1:13pm
FourteenFour Sep 13, 2016 @ 4:33pm 
why not fix espionage before writing silly stories which tend to imply its more engrossing than it really is and devoid of any fun? There is less text in all the espionage tool tips than this story.

it is one of the worst features you implemented completely ignoring beta testers telling you over and over how not fun it was
seabo_76 Sep 14, 2016 @ 9:03pm 
Actually espionage is working fairly well these days....
Good story :)
Davor Sep 15, 2016 @ 8:58am 
I found this story really good. So as not to sour this good story, FourteenFour please make a new topic on why you feel Espionage needs fixing. This is not the place for it but would like to see what your thoughts are.
madocs Sep 15, 2016 @ 10:42pm 
Originally posted by FourteenFour:
why not fix espionage before writing silly stories which tend to imply its more engrossing than it really is and devoid of any fun? There is less text in all the espionage tool tips than this story.

it is one of the worst features you implemented completely ignoring beta testers telling you over and over how not fun it was

I hate to agree with this, but I do!
Espionage is weak! It needs something more than a pretty story sorry!
well in a different game it just so happens i have an imaginary "club" full of silly stories related to THAT game...

personally i applaud the efforts to engage us in a fun way, allowing us to see the "vision' of the devs

i find it odd that "comlainers" don't first ask if youwrote this in your free time or "on the clock"...rest assured not EVERY player expects your every second of life to be about us and ur wants....just most of 'em.....hehhehhehe

TYVM for the time and creativity :)
madocs Sep 21, 2016 @ 1:27am 
I did enjoy the story :)
frdnwsm Sep 23, 2016 @ 3:06pm 
The story was amusing. Trying to conduct an espionage heavy campaign, even as the Darloks, is not. I just stick every spy I recruit on counter espionage duty, and forget about them.
nabob57 Sep 28, 2016 @ 7:38am 
I recently played as Darloks placing counter espionage in my important planets. Grabbed all the spy related and anti-spy related techs and built the necessary defenses. The f*ing Silicoids were constantly succeeding with poisoning crops, and causing insurrection that made me lose control of my capital. Yet I never once succeeded in anything more than the easy phase. Could not steal tech, could not destroy any facilities, could not cause insurrection. This is on EASY mode. Espionage is not fun, its broken.
madocs Sep 28, 2016 @ 2:54pm 
Would be nice to hear from the developers on this!
nabob57 Sep 28, 2016 @ 8:32pm 
agreed. a simple acknowledgement would be nice.
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Date Posted: Sep 13, 2016 @ 11:16am
Posts: 11