I am a very cynical Christian. I try my best to be honest, no matter the cost. I appreciate compliments, but I do not need them -- I'm here to do work and praise God. I will correct grammar. I am a political centerist. Also, 4 out of 5 dentists agree that I can be a smartass. I am also the head of an unannounced UDK project.
Hi everybody. As I believe I mentioned once, my friend Mythwriter is also a writer (he's been co-writing Offshoots with me). He also let me know that he's now going to be posting his own original stuff on his own profile: Moddb.com . He's got some interesting ideas and is talented at verbal narration, so be sure to keep an eye on him if you've got the time. That's all for now.
Hello readers, it's that time again. And as always, just glance at the bold highlights to catch the main message if you're in a hurry.
Alright, to start, I'm betting you've heard of TERA (if you haven't, run to Wikipedia real quick, or Google. I'll wait.) The main thing about the game was action-based combat. Instead of having more in common with WoW, it would have more in common with Kingdoms of Amalur or Heavenly Sword. Yeah there's also that political system but I'm not buying into something like that until CCP's Gothic-Horror-Vampire-Frankensteinian MMO finally arrives (seriously, politics will be just as important as your equipment stats).
So, back on the main issue: is TERA actually an action game inside an MMO?
The answer: Kind of? I'm not really sure what it's like on higher levels, as I only got to play a small time in the beta, but... what I played wasn't so much like an action game as it was like a Dragon Age 2 clone. It tries its best to hybrid action, shooting, and 1-8 mannerisms of different genres (yes, some classes shoot instead of melee attacks. It's not nearly as neat as it could be). I think the main issue is... there's very little more about it that's divergent. The opening cutscene's nice, even with my PC having to turn every graphical setting to the lowest possible. But the minute that cutscene ends, you're pretty much in a standard MMO. 'Run to this person', 'Kill x of y', '"learn" skills from trainers', 'repeatedly mash attacks until enemy is dead'. I didn't even have to read the text being said by my quest givers. This completely in contrast with that opening bit -- it makes you feel like you just got teased with the first few minutes of a movie and then someone else took over and paused the movie to play Warcraft. The game itself isn't bad it just... didn't come off nearly as 'different' as it hoped to be.
On a last note about TERA -- the character customization is... well I'm genuinely not sure how to talk about it. It seems like TERA's artists can't decide between making Dead or Alive looking characters (I'm not just talking females -- some of these male characters look like they're ready to start a stripper routine as well), or making Warhammer/WoW style exaggerated armor. Humans interestingly are some of the most concealing of the races, where as High Elves are the least concealing (Ivy from Soul Calibur must have started a clothing story in TERA). Characters are very vividly animated, but the animations (at least for your character), also seem to be made more enticing than empowering.
Now onto something that's an accident waiting to happen: EA's Origin service is having an open Q&A this Tuesday. Now I've stated that I don't exactly hate Origin, but there is easily an army of people who do, so EA is really sticking their neck out there. The fact is, this is a chance to show EA that we -aren't- an unreasonable horde of angry gamers, but instead just customers who want changes so we can be better served. I myself will try to be there, and I hope to bring some constructive energy to the environment. Treat others as you would yourself, and you're a lot more likely to find they'll listen to you.
Lastly, I'm going to touch on something that is close to home for me, as it's about a developer/publisher that was once one of my favorites -- Lucas Arts. They've gotten some flack for Kinect: Star Wars, and the short campaign of The Force Unleashed 2, but now what's been accused of them is just... as a publisher it is unforgivable. ( Kotaku.com ). In addition, Lucas Arts has a lot more mess ups that they've tried to hide: The Force Unleashed (PC/Xbox 360/PS3 editions) had a nearly-functional multiplayer mode still on-disc, with the development only held up by on key error. Republic Commando's campaign was cut in half, the latter half was to be a sequel, which was canceled before pre-production had even gotten underway. Console exclusive sequels to PC games. Awkward drops and rises in quality in versions of TFU across the various platforms (would you believe that the PSP version has 4 additional game modes and has working MP along with that? Meanwhile the PS2 version's only additional feature is 'ragdoll' physics). They repackaged Monkey Island games in a HD form to make a quick profit. KotOR 3 was cancelled in favor of TOR (once again, the pre-production stage wasn't even finished yet) They sued a machinema series based off of Battlefront 2, just because the series was gaining some popularity (thus taking the exact opposite approach of Microsoft when Microsoft found out about Red vs Blue). And now we know they strangled a company, over not wanting to spend money a product that any idiot could tell was going to sell millions, perhaps nearly as much as a CoD title. I can tell you right now, if I could run out and get a PS3 or PC version of Battlefront 3, I'd be pretty damn well ready to pay 60 bucks for it. Why? Because for their time, the Battlefront games were good, and a new one is always welcome. It had a distinct feel, it was a unique kind of shooter.
Well, that's about it for this week's opinion piece. Stay tuned, as Offshoots and then Man of Steel will be on their way in the days to come.
Clark felt sweat pouring down his brow. He'd been training in the cell for... days? He felt like he'd run a thousand miles, then for a second like he had run ten times that much. The cell was so isolated from the outside world that Clarke had come to only expect Zod's orders and the cell's refusal to budge. It was like being trapped in the grip of fortress.
Zod had answered whatever questions Clark had asked. Krypton, his homeworld, had been destroyed by machines. The machines were led by someone called Brainiac. Not man or machine, Brainiac destroyed Krypton and all its colony worlds. And it could have been stopped. Zod had made sure Clark understood that.
A force so ancient and powerful, almost as old as Krypton, had stood aside. Zod spoke their name “Green Lantern Corps.” like it made him puke. Once guardians of justice, Zod spat out every single misjustice the Green Lanterns had done to Krypton.
Zod had been the Lantern of Krypton, during his earliest years. Zod had hoped to be the paragon of his world. But within two years, he retired from the Corps. Zod had gotten into an argument with one of the higher ranking Lanterns, Sinis, over treatment of a race that had rebelled against their masters – who had, until their fall, been allies of the Lanterns. Zod had argued in favor to try and stop lives from being lost, but Sinis had led strikes against the rebel race until they surrendered to their new masters, the Lanterns.
The enslavement had hardened Zod, made him give up his ring and wipe his slate of the ordeal. With Sinis gaining power in the Corps., Zod got into the Kryptonian military. Zod anticipated a war with the Corps. at any turn, after refusing to allow Krypton to submit to the Lanterns' jurisdiction.
The tense years passed though, and Krypton's diplomats, even Clark's father, had begun to help ease the anger between the Lanterns and Krypton. Then the machines came, first quietly, then in masses. Despite pleas even by other powerful nations, the Lanterns refused to intercede in the war, citing various reasons not to. The Lanterns cut off the space surrounding Krypton, letting no nation pass.
And every time Zod referenced death of Krypton, Clark could see the pain and anger behind Zod's cold exterior. How Zod kept it together was beyond Clark's wildest imaginations.
“Alright soldier,” Zod said, as Clark began finishing his latest sit-up. “Stand to attention!”
Clark hastily rose, but the work and the cell was wearing him out.
“It's been exactly...” Zod said, raising his watch as he paused, “seventy-two hours and you are still functioning. Without a break. I must say, Clark, that's impressive. Jor-El only lasted maybe fifty. It takes a real iron will to keep going so long. Maybe we will make something out of you after all...”
“We... are supposed to keep going... until... I fall over?” Clark asked, exasperatedly falling on his back.
“Of course. How else do we know when your breaking point is? They don't make these cells to give you a workout, Clark. They're made to push a man until he breaks. You still haven't broken, but I want you broken. I see how far you can go, and we can definitely work with that,” Zod said.
“Why haven't... we needed... to eat... or sleep...,” Clark asked.
“Kryptonians don't eat as often as humans – once a week's pretty good, but our portions are a great deal larger. I swear that these people have no stomachs to speak of at all,” Zod said. “As to sleep – the cell may absorb most of your power, but it gives you energy in return. Keeps you awake. Like coffee constantly dripping into your veins.”
“This is insane,” Clark said, wiping the sweat off his face.
“This is the real world. Not the one where you're just tougher than the average lunk. You need to be ready because times are changing. There was one worldwide war and it didn't exactly end – they're just sitting back and taking a rest so they have more soldiers to throw at each other again,” Zod said. “This planet is too disorderly. Logic and reason get thrown out the window in favor of hedonism and tribal rage.”
“What's wrong with that? I thought you liked being angry...” Clark said, grinning weakly, but still cockily.
“Anger isn't the same thing as what these people are. Anger is a finely cut blade that you stab into your opponents throat, letting him drop down as cold and dead as a doornail. These people just get mad about every little fricking thing. 'These people look different', 'my kids aren't doing well in primary school', 'why isn't the government more in charge', 'why isn't the government less in charge' – bah!” Zod answered. “They have no idea what real problems are. Lets see them make sense of an interstellar war between two races, both of which have completely different biology, physiology, and means of travel though space and time.”
“Fact is Clark, we're going to have to make as best we can until these humans figure out how to get into space – which looks to be almost a hundred years from now. So the best I can do is make sure you're ready for whatever comes your way. I'm old, and I don't think I'm going to be seeing another Kryptonian besides you,” Zod said.
Clark rose slowly, his body finally beginning to relax.
“I understand. We need to be ready. There is one thing though, before we continue,” Clark said.
“What's that?” Zod asked.
“I need to visit someone,” Clark said.
I'm sorry for not being able to post this weekend -- I was on a family trip and without internet. The manuscript for the next update of Offshoots is primarily done but I have yet time to edit it properly. I appreciate your patience. As a consolation, I'm going to do as I did with Bioshock 2: Unlimited and link you all to the music that helped inspire both Offshoots and Man of Steel.
Man of Steel: Kotaku.com (originally I was listening to Earth 1 music, one of the first tracks from ME3 that made it to Grooveshark)
Also -- does anyone have any specific requests for Man of Steel? Any characters you hope will show up? Batman? Wonder Woman? If there's somebody you'd like to see, go ahead and suggest it my way in the comments section below.
I'm presently getting ready to charge through my school work that remains, and as such will only be making further posts on the weekend. I appreciate your patience about this and look forward to giving the latest in the adventures of the man of steel and of the Offshoots.
P.S. Holycrap, 30,000 views since joining ModDB, you guys are awesome! Also love that there are people reading back to their favorite postings!
Edit -- Sorry, the stats thing actually had me seeing -less- than how many views I've gotten overall. Just... I am in awe... 30,000...
Luthor squinted as sparks flew wild from the electric conduits. He'd been at work all day, tinkering with tools like that of God's. With Brainiac and Krypton's technology, Luthor could see a new world coming. A world where he would lead America to its greatest heights. A new Renaissance was to come.
Someone began knocking at the door to Luthor's lab as he continued to work away the minutes.
“Computer, let them in,” Luthor said, smiling a little to himself that he could speak to a machine, and it would respond! Bruce Wayne would spend the Wayne fortune trying to figure out how Luthor did it.
“Hello, Mr. Luthor,” Lucius Fox said, hands in pockets.
Some said Fox was the richest black man in the country, some said he stole it all, some said he didn't even exist – that he was some pseudonym for a corporate group. Luthor on the other hand, knew that only the former-most was true.
The board members hadn't been keen on Luthor's choice of investor, but Luthor knew all too well about Fox's eye for talent. Fox had made a pretty sum just from investing in Wayne's business. When Brainiac and Luthor had that little fight in the street, he had Fox's undivided attention.
“Hello, and please feel free to call me Lex,” Luthor said, sliding from underneath the workbench.
“Is this the prototype you spoke of?” Lucius asked, glancing at the metallic suit lying on the bench.
“One of them, yes. Unlike the mechanized battle tank this is more of an infantry centric armor set. It is bulletproof, includes a helmet that guards the face and most vital spots but still lets you see and speak as needed. It is also lighter than standard infantry armor,” Luthor said, grinning as he put a hand on the suit of armor.
“How good is mobility?” Lucius asked.
“You can roll, duck, and climb far more easily than with standard infantry armor. Also storage is kept to the belt and specific slots, which can expand and contract to the size of the object inside them,” Luthor said.
“How much does it cost to make one of these suits?” Lucius asked.
“It's a little early to say but, after we would get the manufacturers set up with the right equipment... roughly one hundred dollars, maybe one-fifty,” Luthor said.
Lucius stared at him dubiously, “You're joking. This thing looks like something out of a science-fiction novel and you're telling me it will cost that little?”
“It's all based on efficient use of natural materials. The equipment to harness the materials will cost significantly more, I won't lie to you. But once set up, you could have about twenty suits done in five to seven hours,” Luthor responded.
Lucius paced for a moment then turned to Luthor. “If I do this, I want the blueprints as collateral. All research done on the suit and all the plans.”
Luthor had half a dozen other designs in the works that would need funding. More funding than just an investor. He needed this deal to go through.
“It's a deal.”
“A pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Luthor.”
“I'm glad you came to me, Mr. Jordan. The incident of a few days ago... I suspect it has left you shaken,” Bruce Wayne said, handing a glass of scotch to Hal.
“The pleasure's all mine, Mr. Wayne. As I said on the phone, there's something I need to show you,” Hal said, reaching into his pocket. A small bag was taken out, glowing faintly.
“Well... that's certainly something,” Bruce said, holding his hand out for the bag.
“Be very careful, and don't touch it with your hands,” Hal said, sounding almost paranoid as Bruce took the bag from him.
Bruce opened the bag and used the fabric to hold up the ring. It still had a glow, but it seemed to dim when near Bruce. Bruce then held it up to the light sitting on the table between them. It grew brighter. Bruce moved the light closer to him, and the ring, and the ring grew dimmer. Bruce rose up and walked next to Hal, the ring grew so bright that Bruce had to close the bag.
“Well, it seems to like you Mr. Jordan. Very curious...” Bruce said, lighting a cigarette. “Would you-”
“Yes please,” Hal said, taking the extra cigarette from Bruce's hand.
“Hmm... and you say you found this near the body?” Bruce asked.
“Yes. Can you tell me what it's made of? Or if its even... of this earth,” Hal said, playing the fool. He didn't need to tell Bruce -everything- he knew.
“Well, if you'd like we could head to my labs in the morning, see what the lab techs can figure out. As it is, I advise you keep it safe but maybe not on your person. It seems to have a specific effect around you, so keep some distance for the next few days after. If you get near it after a week and it still glows, then let me know,” Bruce said.
“Sounds like a plan,” Hal said.
Yeah, and then you'll steal it or try to buy it off of me. I see where this is going...
“I suspect you've got other plans tonight Mr. Wayne. I'll see about calling you in the morning,” Hal said, putting the cigarette in the ashtray.
“Goodnight Mr. Jordan,” Bruce said.
“Goodnight,” Hal said, making as calmly but quickly as he could to the door.
Try to steal my ring... ha, we'll see about that...
Abin had always liked the caress of atmosphere during a descent, so calm with the help of his hardlight shields. But they weren't active, and he could feel his skin as if it were on fire, just barely.
Abin reached for his ring but it was not activating. He opened his mouth in desperation to give a voice command, but the hot air made him choke.
Where am I falling?
Abin's mind began to catch up to reality now. He'd been in a fight -- someone or something had disabled his ring... somehow. Nothing was supposed to disable the rings... he had to warn... had to...
And then the atmosphere got thicker, hitting Abin like a solid slab. In his last moments of consciousness Abin pressed the distress beacon on his ring.
At the very least... someone will find this...
Twenty Minutes later, Gotham City.
Hal hated going to these corporate dinners. They paid him to test the planes, make sure the troops were safe to go in them -- not stand around while Bruce Wayne and the contractors wined and dined. Half the people here were drunk before they got here, and he'd been passed off as "too stiff" just because he actually wanted to be sober for the arms deal.
No one outside of this building knew that Wayne was going to become in charge of producing 50% of the US military's weaponry, splitting the profits with his new partner Lex Luthor. Luthor had done something crazy back in New York City though, so maybe he'd be out of this deal. Hal didn't mind, Luthor was just a kid with too much money from his daddy who got to run the candy store. At least Wayne had worked to rebuild his company.
The corporate board had nearly piecemealed the who damn thing, but then comes back Bruce Wayne from isolation, and then he turns the company all around and now he's the titan of the weapons and manufacturing industry. One of the few people who made a buck anymore in the private sector.
As Hal looked out the skylight at the stars, he noticed one was getting bigger. And Bigger. Too big.
"Everyone get away from the skylight!" Hal exclaimed, the object from the sky hurtling towards the top of the building.
As people made way the object crashed through the skylight, sending shards of glass flying everywhere. Whatever it was, it was smoldering and looked more burnt up than a log. It made the floor bend down into a crater as it stopped. Hal was first to run near it.
As he got closer he realized it was a man, burnt so badly you couldn't see an inch of skin on him.
"What is it?"
"It's that thing Luthor fought! It's gotta be!"
"Can't be, he's not made of metal!"
Hal noticed that whoever it was, somehow they were still breathing, barely. The burnt man looked up at Hal.
"To you..." the burnt man said, letting a ring fall from his hand onto the floor.
"What do you-" Hal began but then he realized the burnt man was already gone. God bless his soul.
Hal picked up the ring quickly, and made way as security officers gathered around. Hal slipped off into the crowd, feeling a little sick from the sight. As he made it to the bathroom, he was pleased to see no one else inside.
When his gut calmed enough, he picked up the ring and looked at it. It was the brightest green he'd ever seen. It looked like a pure emerald, except for the few pieces of white in the center. He then noticed an outward bump on the one side of it. Hal ran his finger over the deformation and suddenly it folded back into the ring. Simultaneously a small man appeared out of the ring, hovering. It had the voice of the man who'd fall through the roof, although he was clearer now.
"To whoever is listening to this, I am Abin Sur. Green Lantern of Sector 2814. If this is playing, then I am dead, captured, or incapacitated in some way that prevents me from using this ring. This ring is powerful, more so than you can probably imagine. The wearer of this ring will take my stead as Green Lantern of this sector until either I can once again wield it or permanently if I am dead. Upon wielding this ring you give yourself to a long lasting order from across the cosmos, the most majestic order of its kind. We the Green Lantern Corps. are a force of justice through out all known realities. Shortly after receiving this ring, you will be contacted by the Green Lantern Corps. and given a proper introduction. If you believe that you were chosen at random, know that you were not. This ring is powerful and has the ability to choose its wielder, and it would not have activated if you were unfit. It will allow you to fly, create virtual instances of whatsoever you desire, and even allow you to pass through space. Use it wisely," the little man then disintegrated, but the ring began to glow. Its glow startled Hal Jordan.
But little did he anticipate what this ring would bring.
The truck drove on, a bright light blinding Clark as they entered the maw. Sound seemed to be warped as Zod said something – sounding as if he were miles away. Clark was led out of the car by Zod, the walls seeming to shine like diamonds.
Zod muttered something in annoyance as Clark's tripped over himself. Clark put a hand on the wall, trying to balance himself, but then felt as if the wall tried to rip away his hand.
“What the hell is this?” Clark yelled, his senses beginning to return.
“A solitude cell. It's like a jail cell, except it plays hell with your biology. Most recruits to the Kryptonian military were required to have to endure a couple of hours in one every so often. You've been so busy playing human that you've never really felt something that could hurt you. We need to fix that if you have any intention of living, kid,” Zod said.
“Kryptonian?” Clark asked, spitting a little blood out. He stared at his bloody spit in astonishment as Zod began to explain.
“You are a son of Krypton. It used to be one of the most powerful worlds in the universe, but we were betrayed. Your father lead the effort to try and save our home but he and his followers failed. When the chips came down, touch choices had to be made, and we – the survivors – separated and would stay hidden.”
“Are there more of us? Here on earth?” Clark asked.
“I'm afraid not. I've been waiting for some sort of signal from another one of the escape pods but it seems you and I were sent far from the others. That or...” Zod was silent, not wanting to finish the sentence.
“We're on our own then... okay, that answers a few questions, but there's something I still can't put together. You died. Everyone knew it. How are you still alive?” Clark asked, reaching into his pocket for his father's glasses. He experimentally put them on and found the brightness went down somewhat.
“I had to vanish. I'd let myself get pretty out of shape just to look like I was aging at normal human rate, but I got into a fight with a few punks trying to set fire to my porch. Only one of them got away, that Jordan kid.
Fact was that while the kid might have just sounded crazy if both of his friends hadn't gotten beaten up. I hadn't been in a good mood that night. So, I figured if I faked my own death then I wouldn't blow my cover. Then they'd just think 'okay, so the old man was on his way out and lost it' After that, I just kept watch on you from afar until you would be old enough to handle the dose of reality I had to force down your throat,” Zod said.
Clark was silent for a minute, then asked, “Zod, how old are you?”
Zod grimaced, “One-fifty. I've easily got another thirty-five years left in me before I really kick it.”
Clark paused yet again, thinking for a minute.
“So this cell... how did it get here?” Clark asked.
“I built it. You see, this rock Kent-” Clark glared at Zod and Zod sighed, “your 'father' found isn't just a rock. It's Kryptonite. It can bring a Kryptonian to his knees if you can harness its power. This shard was one that they used to make my cell. With some of the tech from my pod I was able to make it grow into a cell. But then I lost the Kryptonite a few years back – I don't know how – and it seems your 'dad' found it. Now that I've got it back...” Zod grinned.
“What?” Clark asked, but he had an idea in his mind what the answer would be.
“Now we're going to make you be able to fight like a Kryptonian. You've had it easy, just some high school bullies and a couple drunks. When we're done, you'll be the strongest man on the planet,” Zod said.
Clark put away the glasses, saying “If I agree to this, then you have to answer me fully on one more question.”
“That's fair. What is it?” Zod asked.
“What happened to my father,” Clark asked.
“Lois! Why the hell aren't you banging on Luthor's gates?” Perry White yelled as Lois ran past, Harley struggling to keep up.
“Something isn't right Perry,” Lois responded, grabbing her contact numbers and flipping through them rapidly.
“That's for sure! Luthor just beat the world's first fricking goshdamn alien! It's the story of the century and you were there!” Perry exclaimed.
Lois stopped at the number she was looking for and ripped it off of the holder. She stuffed it in her pocket and turned to her editor with an eye of determination.
“Perry, have I led you wrong before?” Lois asked.
“I'm going to have to say yes because you aren't out there now following the biggest story we've ever gotten the chance at! I won't have those fu-” Perry stopped, muttering to himself. His wife had been insisting he stop cursing, it just made him angrier. “-frickers at Morgan Edge.”
“Listen for a second and I'll tell you what I've got!” Lois yelled.
“Alright, tell me Lois, tell me before I find one of my best reporters, who I've already stuck out my neck for far too often, has gone batshit insane!” Perry ordered.
“That giant tank Luthor was using had Wayne Corp. logos on some of the pieces. Luthor never buys from other companies unless he's in a rush and I don't see Bruce Wayne selling out tank parts for a dime, and sure as hell not one's you can put together in an hour. This stinks of a setup. How is it Luthor's got a giant walking tank the second a 'man from space' attacks a building he's been trying to clear out for weeks? Luthor's probably put this stunt together himself!” Lois answered.
“And how do you plan on proving this Lois? The space man's gone and Luthor ain't the kind of guy you try and call a liar,” Perry said. Lois could see a change in his eye, and then she knew she had his attention.
“I'll check with my sources in Wayne's company and see if I can get anything there. You can have Jimmy interview around where it took place, someone had to have seen something," Lois said.
"You better be right about this Lane... you've got two days, if you can't find anything then you'd better be at Luthor's gates!" Perry said, gesturing for Lois to go.
I'm glad that Man of Steel progresses once more. Now that the story continues, several ideas will still remain, including a new antagonist that will shape our young Clark Kent. He has remained in the shadows for now, and shall come out in his viridian light soon. Very soon.
Aira walked silently amongst the various holding cores of the Atlas. The glowed dimly, giving the holding section a serene light blue color, like the refractions of light underwater.
"AVA, anything to report?" Aira asked, the Quin's health status still firmly ingrained in her mind, despite the calming atmosphere.
"Not yet, Captain," AVA chirped.
"..is it stable at least?" Aira asked, her one finger stretching across a core's glassy exterior.
"95% stable" AVA replied. "It appears part of the Quin's cranium was badly bruised, the brain damage is unclear at this present time. I don't have much in my database on the Quin, Captain. They were still tadpoles when I was first in operation."
"Yes, I am aware. Just keep me posted," Aira said, her eyes focusing on a suddenly little jut of light from within the core.
"Of course, Captain," AVA said.
Aira stood there a moment longer, wondering to herself why she'd taken such great concern to the Quin. Most of them were a bunch of docile servants. Some actually didn't mind slavery, even though it was illegal to do now. The Quin always took things lying down, not making a fuss. So why had this one seemed different?
Maybe it was guilt. Preying on passing travellers on the edge of the known cosmos wasn't exactly the moral high ground her people would have likened to.
Maybe it was loneliness. It had been ages since someone had been along with her, not any that were breathing organics at least.
"Jeiri..." Aira silently whispered as the glow in the core vanished, gone forever.
Approximately Twenty Thousand Years Earlier
Adrianne stood looking out at the leaveless trees. The ground was bare except for grass patches that remained after the Atlas had touched down. Her subordinate stood beside her, his rifle loaded and ready, but his eyes betrayed doubt.
Radikov was a well built man, short hair, proper uniform, but his face showed a hidden sullenness in it all. It wasn't uncommon – not many people liked working fringe assignments, stuck on your own for weeks charting planets.
"Ma'am," Radikov started, the question already in his eyes, "With all due respect, why are we here?"
Adrianne didn't turn to him as she quickly stated "Surveilance".
"Surveilance? This planet was charted three weeks ago by Missav's team. There's no native sentients here or a colony," Radikov said. "There shouldn't be any reason to survey anything here."
"Shouldn't is the key word," Adrianne replied, raising her rifle to scan the valley below. "Do you listen to the rumors at base, Radikov?"
"I don't believe in rumors, ma'am," Radikov said.
"Something's got our officers spooked. Brelin sent us out here on priority directive. It's not another stike force from Earth, word up the ranks is that the shaky peace between the UN and EAU broke down again and they're too busy shooting themselves," Adrianne said.
After a pause, Radikov spoke again. "Ma'am, are you suggesting we're out here to make contact-"
"No. Nothing that stereotypical. We sight, analyze, retreat... and probably shoot if they see us," Adrianne replied.
"Are we hoping they think that Atlas is just a big rock?" Radikov asked, glancing back for a moment at the tall vessel. Thin but tall, stretching back like a book. Three turrets sat on each side of it, although they'd need a full compliment crew to man them all.
"We've been experimenting with that," Adrianne said, checking her wrist control to see if AVA had activated the cover system yet.
"So our E.T.s aren't that bright?" Radikov asked.
"You could say that," Adrianne replied, scanning with her sniper scope again for any sign of them.
"Well, if they aren't as smart as a Gaz, then I guess we'll be making a trade up," Radikov said, giving a single humorless chuckle.
"That's what we're hoping for," Adrianne replied.
Offshoot's Guide to the Galaxy note: A Gaz' (Gazkagree) is a four-armed, bi-pedal alien hailing from Larka III. They, like humanity, believed themselves alone in the universe. When they met humanity, similar to humanity's response, they brought very large guns, and everything was very tense at diplomatic negotiations. Various small wars have broken out, along with some attempts at co-habitation. Aside from on the frontier though, each race is not commonly seen alongside the other in regular civilian sectors. Due to the fact that the Gazkagree also usually stick to living in their ships (exceptiosn being colonies, their home world, and their one major space port), they usually only have to interact with humans via communication interfaces. As a result, most humans have no idea what a Gazkagree actually looks like. Neither do some Gazkagree know what humans look like, which is, for the most part, good for the both of them, as humans appear to be balding apes to Gazkagree, and Gazkagree are awkwardly proportioned gecko's in a human's eye. As a result, there is no recorded inter-species relations of note and there have been no known hybrids. For the most part, both races agree this is a -good- thing.
And now for a brief dialogue about two very present figures in the gaming industry of recent. I hope to never speak about them pertaining to their game in question, ever, again, so please know that I'm not going to be touching on this subject after today:
EA and Bioware
Be calm, I am not going to go into a rage filled rant. I will merely be relating something to ME3, that is all, and I think it will shift things up a bit for at least some people.
Okay, so Bioware is releasing DLC for the ending of ME3. At first everyone assumed it was going to be an additional alternate ending. IMO, this would have been the best choice. We would get what we want but Bioware still gets their 'ending'. Instead, it has been clarified (very vehemently) that it only "explains" the ending and adds a few more CGI cinematics and some text. Apparently Shepard's voice actors aren't even being called in. Then almost at the same time, free ME3 MP content is announced, adding multiple new classes, four new weapons, and two new maps. If such an announcement was made from a Valve game, it would go without shock. Hearing this from an EA published game is astounding. Why is it that the MP content is for free suddenly? Because, Bioware is probably actually straight up ignoring EA. I can bet you good money EA would rather Bioware just made a new ending and sold it as DLC. I'm not going to get into the debate about whether Bioware -should- change its ending (I am honestly in favor of it though, sometimes you need to listen), but the fact that they pretty much have sidelined changing it in any way shows that they really don't care what the fans think. There was even a reference to the ending debacle in a video showing the Samara motion capture woman cosplaying as Samara, saying that she "understood" why people might not like the ME3 ending. Before she could finish the sentence, the Bioware employee holding the camera angrily and hastily states that "that's what the extended ending DLC is for" and then rapidly changes the subject.
It's not EA that's causing this, it's Bioware. There are plenty of times I won't blame someone for being pissed about EA. What with the BF1943 being removed from BF3 and all sorts of crap in the past like their horrible ad campaigns... but for once it isn't them.
Lastly: At with the storm of people arguing in favor of Bioware -- we're not trying to destroy artistic integrity, we're not trying to take ownership of the series, but we have a say in something we're buying and we didn't like it and it isn't just a vocal minority that doesn't like ME3's ending. It is a majority. We have done things calmly and have even taken positive approaches to things. Bioware's response is to ignore. That's it.
“Officers! Please stand aside, I don't wish to harm anyone,” Luthor called out, pulling levers and pressing buttons within the dome of his walking tank.
“Harley, is your camera still working?” Lois asked, not believing what she was seeing.
The flash of Harley's camera going off was her only reply. Even with the bright flashes though, Lois' eyes remained transfixed on Luthor's giant machine.
Something didn't add up. Luthor did government contracts, but this was something out of a science fiction novel. And why was it the metal man had attacked Luthor's latest buy? This smelled of publicity stunt, but Lois couldn't figure out how Luthor was faking it.
As Harley ran out of film, more police cars showed up. Luthor's protective dome opened up and he rose from it, the metal man still firmly in the tank's arm.
“Lex Luthor, step down from the-the,” the one officer attempted to order.
“Relax gentlemen. I will come very willingly, now that my opponent has been disabled-” Luthor began, stepping down an unfolding ladder from the top of the tank. As his feet met the ground, the metal man suddenly came to life again. It gave an infernal growl that made everyone freeze.
Suddenly it burst from the tank's grip, metal pieces flying everywhere as the metal man flew up into the sky. The police took out their guns and began firing after the monster, but it just kept flying. Flying as high as a bird. Then a plane. Then it was gone.
Over Twenty Years Ago...
The ship was hurtling through space, trying to divert Brainiac's drones from the other ships. Ashen had launched just in time, leaving into the Phantom Zone without any notice. Unfortunately for Korak, his ship had been hit first since it was the easiest target. All that remained, to Zod's knowledge, was a husk of metal floating above Krypton.
Zod had managed to keep the drones from breaching the hull of his ship for a good few hours, but he knew that for every drone they destroyed fifty more would be sent their way once they finally ran out of fuel.
They were supposed to be making limited jumps, primarily using wormholes to compensate for their conservative rations. Instead, they were burning through them in less than an eighth the distance they had planned on.
Now they were nearing empty and the drones had breached the hull. The coolant tanks had been ruptured for the primary engines and several lower decks had been locked down to try and contain the overflow.
Zod had been honest with his crew – they weren't likely going to survive this but at the very least they could unload stasis pods. The key thing was that they had to cover the pods, and Zod had devised a solution.
If the remaining fuel was dumped along with the pods, making it seem as if Zod were trying to cause an explosion big enough to eliminate any pursuing drones not on board the ship, it would give the stasis pods time to vanish beyond the drone's notice. Several small star systems were nearby, and each stasis pod had an internal drive system that, while not comparable to a ship, would pick a trajectory and move as fast as it could.
Zod's intention was to accompany one of the pods. He'd tag its navigational charts to an escape pod and would follow along. It was a risky bet for himself, but Brainiac would be too concerned with the ship to be worried about a lone escape pod.
As Zod reached the stasis pod in question, he linked his suit's computer to the data in the stasis pod, which was already calculating a destination in case of evacuation.
“Sol, Sector 5-2-6” the computer responded. Zod then made a break for the escape pods as the ship suddenly lurched, a loud grinding coursing through the ship.
Afterword: I'm afraid I'm going to be busy for the next few days. For now, here's the latest update in Man of Steel. On a side note: have you guys heard about this? http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/04/03/star-wars-battlefront-3-files-discovered-on-resident-evil-raccoon-city-disc/ It's worth reading. I hope that despite Lucas Arts, the game succeeds to be released properly, some day...