Master of Orion

Master of Orion

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elpozoleolmeca  [developer] Apr 7, 2016 @ 11:40am
Identity Crisis - A Darlok Short Story
We continue our short story series for Master of Orion as we shift our focus to one of the most cloak and dagger races in the game, the Darlok. Stay tuned for more, and please feel free to ask questions about any Darlok lore in the comments!

Identity Crisis by Kelsey Howard, Creative Writer at Wargaming Austin

He opened his eyes slowly, slightly uncomfortable from the night before. He could sense a bright light through his closed eyelids; he must have slept through his alarm. As he went to move his arm, it jerked back suddenly. He opened his eyes in a panic and saw that he was in a hospital bed with his arms restrained to the frame.

“Hello!?” He screamed, his voice hoarse. How did he get here? The room around him was a standard hospital room… white walls, tile floors, and an empty bed beside him. Tubes ran from his arms to a hanging bag of viscous red liquid that made his stomach turn.

A nurse came through the door at the end of the room. “Please, relax, Mr. Anderson.”

The nurse picked up a clipboard from a nearby desk. “Mark Anderson… may I call you Mark? It says here you were found in an alley late last night. You were admitted and began fighting the orderlies.” She held the board with cleanly manicured nails and long fingers.

Mark stopped struggling against the restraints. Something in his head clicked. That didn’t sound like him. “I’m sorry, ma’am, I just…”

The nurse pulled up a chair and sat beside him, “Don’t worry about it. Call me Kara.”

“Kara, then.” Mark tried to sit up on the bed, limited by the amount of space the straps gave him.

She looked down at his arms. “Want me to remove those restraints?” He nodded sheepishly and she sighed, collecting a key from her left pocket. “Just promise not to become violent again.”

She unlatched the binds and he rubbed his arms gratefully. The feeling of blood rushing back into his fingertips was welcome. He began to touch the IV drip and she clicked her tongue at him. He dropped his hands back to the bed and tried to ignore the headache throbbing in his temples.
“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” Kara’s voice cut through the pain and gave him something to focus on.

Mark looked over at Kara. She was pleasant to look at, though not intimidatingly beautiful. Her dark eyes were kind and her round face seemed flushed, as if she had just been outside in the cold. Her face was set in an expression that was not unkind and she held a pen over the papers on a clipboard expectantly.

“Sure.” He cleared his throat and took a deep breath. He must have had too much to drink last night and landed himself in the hospital. Sarah would be worried. Sarah!

“My wife, Sarah… I should contact her.” He scratched the top of his head. How could he forget about Sarah until now?

Kara smiled and scribbled a short note on her board. “Of course. We’ll look her up right away. So, my first question. What do you recall from last night?”

He remembered going out to a nearby club with a few of his friends. Yes, he must have been drunk, but he always took a cab home and got back safely. “The last thing I remember was heading to the bathroom.” He scratched his head again. “Honestly. I don’t even recall getting here.”

Kara nodded and made additional notes. “Any previous medical history we should know about?”

“No, healthy as ever. Injured my knee playing baseball in college…” Mark shrugged and smiled sheepishly. Kara watched him carefully and reflected his smile back at him.

“Have you ever experienced these black-outs before?”

Mark shook his head. “No, never.”

Kara cocked her head to the side and smiled. “You enjoy baseball?”

Mark shrugged, “I guess so.” He looked out the window and noticed a pair of blue birds hopping on a nearby branch in the early morning sunlight. One hop forward, two hops back.

Kara pursed her lips. “What do you fear the most?”

Something about Kara’s soft expression made Mark feel disoriented. “That’s… a rather complicated question. Is that on the form?”

“Do you love your wife?” Kara’s voice was flat and casual.

Mark stared at her. Kara kept her attention on the board, unfazed by her own question. Dark ringlets framed her face and her thick eyebrows were scrunched gently together as she focused on the paperwork. “What kind of question is that?” he asked.

Kara moved along without pause. “You just hadn’t mentioned her until now. Do you have any other family members in the area?”

“A sister who lives outside of Dallas.”

“Where did you grow up?” Kara continued to scribble quickly on her paperwork.

“We moved around the Southern Union for a while.” Mark rubbed his forehead; his skin felt clammy to the touch. Why was it so hard to remember where he grew up? It felt like his brain was on fire. “Miss, I think something’s wrong…”

“Can you describe your mother to me?”

Mark grasped for the image and nothing came to mind. His heart began to race. “Aren’t you going to call my wife?”

She stood up and smoothed her skirt. “Of course. I’ll be right back, Mr. Anderson.”

As she left the room, Mark sat up and swung his legs off the bed. He looked out the window and had a strange feeling of déjà vu. The birds hopped forward, then hopped twice back. The exact same movement, almost like a video on a loop.

He stood up gingerly, afraid that his legs wouldn’t support his weight. He moved over to Kara’s clipboard and flipped through the pages, but they were all covered in some script he couldn’t recognize.

She came back through the door with both of her hands in her pockets, her head cocked to the side as if she could not understand his actions. “You should be in bed, Mr. Anderson.”

“What is this place?” His voice came out shakily, as if he already knew where he was. He was afraid.

Kara smiled, but the corner of her mouth turned up just a little too high. “You may have sustained a little more damage last night than we thought.”

Mark looked back to the window, to the birds hopping in an endless repetitive loop. “This isn’t right!”

She nodded emphatically. “Can you clearly express what isn’t right?”

“This… this room. Why is it so silent? What’s wrong with the window?” He staggered into the bedside table as if he were exhausted, carefully slipping a scalpel into the sleeve of his shirt.

Kara nodded again, her hair bouncing playfully. “You’re paying too much attention to the details, Mark. Humans aren’t supposed to point out these things.”

“Humans?” He stepped backward as Kara moved forward casually, her hands still within her pockets. “What do you mean? What are you?”

Kara stopped and sighed. It came out as a sizzling hiss that was unlike any sound Mark had ever heard a human make. She pulled a large syringe out from her pocket as she said, “I’m just trying to help you.”

“How is this helping?” He screamed out, his voice echoing against the stark walls.

She was closer now, on the same side of the bed as Mark. “Humans bring up their loved ones FIRST.” She scoffed to herself. “Sentimental creatures.”

“I am a Human!” Mark shouted at Kara, but even as he said the words he had a creeping feeling that they weren’t true.

As she took the step to bridge the gap between them, Mark lunged forward and slashed out at her face, the scalpel flashing in the dim light. She closed her fist and swung, making contact with Mark’s abdomen and leaving him breathless. He collapsed to the ground, gasping for air. Kara’s face was deeply cut across her left cheek and nose, a deep wound that began to foam a foul-smelling purple substance.

She slammed the syringe into his neck and he quickly drifted out of consciousness.

Kara took a towel from the side table and brushed her face. The blood was beginning to clot and the wound was superficial enough that the skin was reforming on its own. She threw the bloodied rag at Mark and hissed, “Amateur waste of resources.”

She pulled the IV from his arm and checked the bag of fluids above him. The Human target’s blood was still fresh and viable for another donor, so she wheeled it out of the room with her. Past the door to the cell, a group of Darloks watched the room through a one-way mirror.

“This subject is a waste. You should have known better. I don’t need farmers for these operations, I need trained operatives.” Kara hated wasting time. The Darloks they were bringing her for their operations were not prepared for the pressure of immersion.

The Darloks on the other side hissed in agreement. One spoke first, a male-formed humanoid with greying skin. “We have limited assets, Teacher.”

Kara sighed dismissively. “Get another subject ready for transformation. When they come out, I want them prepped and ready for interrogation.” She began to walk off, then looked back over her shoulder. “Get a memory wipe on that one in there. He’s not appropriate for stealth operations, but he’s strong. I recommend sending him to the armed forces.”

The Darloks whisked like shadows into the cell, picking Mark up off the ground as his skin began to fall in heavy clumps to the floor and his Darlok body shivered uncontrollably beneath the mass.
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Showing 1-15 of 17 comments
Rob'sEvilTwin Apr 7, 2016 @ 12:22pm 
Well that was the opposite of what I expected :D
elpozoleolmeca  [developer] Apr 7, 2016 @ 1:33pm 
Originally posted by Rob'sEvilTwin:
Well that was the opposite of what I expected :D
Did you find any hints towards the twist at the end? I think there's a slight one in there early on.
Torchfire Apr 7, 2016 @ 2:01pm 
Originally posted by Rob'sEvilTwin:
Well that was the opposite of what I expected :D

Not for me. I began suspecting that they were both darloks by paragraph 4 (there was something just a bit odd about that nurse)... Although I thought through most of the story that it was going to be a debriefing, not insertion training...

Questions:
So Darloks can obtain the appearance of another race simply by injecting themselves with their genetic material? How does that work exactly (Although a certain well known horror movie comes to my mind...)? Does that mean that the Silicoids and the Meklar couldn't be mimiced?
Do all Darlok infiltrators mimic specific living creatures?
And how does the memory imprinting work? Was the operative imprinted while he was unconscious, and his memory gaps were a result of an incomplete procedure? Or poor mental training?
Do all Darlok infiltrators believe they really are their disguise until "activated", or is it normally just an act?
Last edited by Torchfire; Apr 7, 2016 @ 2:03pm
Birdie_Sparrow Apr 7, 2016 @ 3:54pm 
Originally posted by Torchfire:
Originally posted by Rob'sEvilTwin:
Well that was the opposite of what I expected :D

Not for me. I began suspecting that they were both darloks by paragraph 4 (there was something just a bit odd about that nurse)... Although I thought through most of the story that it was going to be a debriefing, not insertion training...

Questions:
So Darloks can obtain the appearance of another race simply by injecting themselves with their genetic material? How does that work exactly (Although a certain well known horror movie comes to my mind...)? Does that mean that the Silicoids and the Meklar couldn't be mimiced?
Do all Darlok infiltrators mimic specific living creatures?
And how does the memory imprinting work? Was the operative imprinted while he was unconscious, and his memory gaps were a result of an incomplete procedure? Or poor mental training?
Do all Darlok infiltrators believe they really are their disguise until "activated", or is it normally just an act?

I can answer some of it:

1- Yes they need DNA from the race to be mimiced. Any DNA will do - blood, hair, skin, spit, etc
2- We actually have a pseudo-scienced methodology on how they transform. We dropped some hints but are not ready to release exactly how it works.
3- They can mimic a Meklar - see the Bulrathi short story. No comment on Silicoid.
4- Darloks can mimic any living creature within certain limts. As an example they could mimic say a large dog in order to observe a target.
5- No comment on memory imprint at this time.
6- The subject as stated was not a trained operative. While Darloks can mimic creatures it takes trained operatives to actually go "undercover". Their training helps to keep them from breaking character.
7- No comment at this time on Darlok infiltrator staus.
seabo_76 Apr 7, 2016 @ 11:04pm 
That was a great little story.
Figured something was up with the nurse fairly quickly but Mark threw me for a loop lol.
Well done :)
Light-Bringer Apr 8, 2016 @ 12:18am 
The Darloks are good at spying and tactical subterfuge so the story is sufficent of an alien encounter. When will we have the pleasure of playing Darlok and Sillicoid?
Torchfire Apr 8, 2016 @ 2:25am 
Originally posted by Birdie_Sparrow:


3- They can mimic a Meklar - see the Bulrathi short story. No comment on Silicoid.

Wait... Those two Meklars in that story were really Darloks? I didn't notice that... And based on the Meklar story, I kind of assumed that they would just get assimilated by the machines, if they tried to infiltrate the Meklar society...

And the Darloks can be revealed by geting injured? I take it that a "blood test" they used for spotting changelings in ST:DS9 would reveal one?
And will we ever learn what Darloks really look like?

Just out of curiosity, what is going to happen when all races get their stories? Will they stop comming, or will there be more about other subjects in the MoO16 universe?


Just thought of a possible event in the game (once espionage gets introduced):
Defecting spy. A spy from one empire defects to the empire that he was infiltrating.
Gameplay result: One empire loses a spy, while another gains one as well as a random tech that the first empire had, but the second didn't. Is should only happen when the general morale in the first empire is very low, but high in the second one.
seabo_76 Apr 8, 2016 @ 5:40am 
Would be kind of a cool idea Torch.

I hope they keep the stories coming after release. Would be cool to have evolving lore
Birdie_Sparrow Apr 8, 2016 @ 10:17am 
Originally posted by Torchfire:
Originally posted by Birdie_Sparrow:


3- They can mimic a Meklar - see the Bulrathi short story. No comment on Silicoid.

Wait... Those two Meklars in that story were really Darloks? I didn't notice that... And based on the Meklar story, I kind of assumed that they would just get assimilated by the machines, if they tried to infiltrate the Meklar society...

And the Darloks can be revealed by geting injured? I take it that a "blood test" they used for spotting changelings in ST:DS9 would reveal one?
And will we ever learn what Darloks really look like?

Just out of curiosity, what is going to happen when all races get their stories? Will they stop comming, or will there be more about other subjects in the MoO16 universe?


Just thought of a possible event in the game (once espionage gets introduced):
Defecting spy. A spy from one empire defects to the empire that he was infiltrating.
Gameplay result: One empire loses a spy, while another gains one as well as a random tech that the first empire had, but the second didn't. Is should only happen when the general morale in the first empire is very low, but high in the second one.

No- the Bulrathi trader pulled the ear worm out of the Darlok mimiced as a Meklar. Only upon searching the bodies did he discover one Meklar was really a Darlok. An ear worm is ultra-rare and virtually impossible to obtain which is why the Psilon paid a pretty sum for it. Again we have background on how they fake being a meklar - only the most highly trained operatives can go under cover on non-tissue based organisms (think Bond or Bourne). The two Meklars haggling with Natesi Nori are Meklars.

Partially yes on injuries - depends on some factors.

No comment on their real shape at this time.

We do have some things planned for after all the initial race stories are done. I cannot speak to what that may be at this time but rest assured we wont cut everyone off cold turkey :)

Not a bad idea on defection - I will pass it on to the dev team.

Last edited by Birdie_Sparrow; Apr 8, 2016 @ 10:19am
Godzilla1000000 Apr 8, 2016 @ 11:29am 
my guess on the true form of the meklar is that they were like slugs or jellyfish, and when they saw the homonids, probably orionites, they became a version of them.

and by orionites i mean the species that lived in the orion system
BRB Apr 11, 2016 @ 5:45pm 
Great story, I was twisting around on myself trying to figure out what was going on. Knowing the drayloks I was thinking it was a standard Draylok who had some memory problem that made him forget he was a dralok, then maybe studying humans to see what their habits are but I guess they go beyond that with the DNA injections.
Xexorian Apr 13, 2016 @ 2:54am 
I know this isn't the right place to ask, but can I get a comment on when we can expect a fix for the 'expected' dps that heavy, auto-fire, and other addons actually add to the offensive and defensive capabilities of ships? I've noticed that when I make a missile MIRV that it's 'damage' does not change to reflect the damage of 4 warheads, only it's weight, and that it has a negative impact on auto-resolving encounters. Is this a bug in the current release? Also would like to note that heavy armor doesn't seem to add to the defense of ships while reinforced does. There's more too but I can't remember it all atm. :)

PS.

Really great lore, hope they make a series or something using graphic assets from the game later. Like how star wars did with the storm troopers/clone or whatever that was. Master of Orion ftw!
mtiller Apr 15, 2016 @ 12:33am 
Originally posted by elpozoleolmeca:
Originally posted by Rob'sEvilTwin:
Well that was the opposite of what I expected :D
Did you find any hints towards the twist at the end? I think there's a slight one in there early on.

Yes, the comment about his stomach turning due to the red liquid in the second paragraph. He would havwe called it blood if he was human. It was also obvious the nurse was intergating him from the start.
AdmlBaconStraps Apr 16, 2016 @ 4:54am 
Originally posted by mtiller:
Originally posted by elpozoleolmeca:
Did you find any hints towards the twist at the end? I think there's a slight one in there early on.

Yes, the comment about his stomach turning due to the red liquid in the second paragraph. He would havwe called it blood if he was human. It was also obvious the nurse was intergating him from the start.


Just pointing this out as a Registered nurse myself: Up until 'What do you fear the most' that was all pretty standard fare. They did a pretty good admission interview up to that point (though I suspect that was the point)

Also: Devs: Re the other stories, I'm not seeing them easily, can they be pinned or moved to a lore subforum? It'd make finding/referencing them a LOT easier..
Last edited by AdmlBaconStraps; Apr 16, 2016 @ 4:56am
Birdie_Sparrow Apr 16, 2016 @ 7:08am 
Originally posted by AdmlBaconStraps:
Originally posted by mtiller:

Yes, the comment about his stomach turning due to the red liquid in the second paragraph. He would havwe called it blood if he was human. It was also obvious the nurse was intergating him from the start.


Just pointing this out as a Registered nurse myself: Up until 'What do you fear the most' that was all pretty standard fare. They did a pretty good admission interview up to that point (though I suspect that was the point)

Also: Devs: Re the other stories, I'm not seeing them easily, can they be pinned or moved to a lore subforum? It'd make finding/referencing them a LOT easier..

For now the easiest way to find them is on the MOO FB page. Click on the "More" button, thern "Notes". They are all there.

https://www.facebook.com/MasterofOrion.Official/notes
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Date Posted: Apr 7, 2016 @ 11:40am
Posts: 17