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The Pretty Idiot's Guide to Human Space: Rugen (part 1)


The salvo of coilgun shells smashes into the complex of bunkers on the opposite riverbank, sending a spray of charred dirt, sandbags, and timber flying into the air. A sloped bastion caves in, burying the rifle pits at its base. One leg of a watchtower is blasted away and the whole thing sways drunkenly before twisting and collapsing across the trenches, the flagpole on its roof somehow landing upright and leaving the enemy's blue-and-gold standard waving in the debris-laden breeze.

The Human artillerymen beside me let out a cheer and jump up and down, slapping each other's outstretched hands.

The army of Humans watching from beyond the battery all jump around and cheer, too, their yells loud even compared to a half-dozen high explosive shells.

And... so do the Human gunners on the hillside across the river, and the army behind them. They all cheer and applaud. Even though they are, in fact, the enemy whose defenses are getting blasted into pieces the size of a poet's paycheck by the aforementioned coilguns. So... I cheer my lovely green head off right along with them, because things are exploding and stuff is burning and apparently the Humans on this planet just generally approve of that sort of thing.

My name is Solontha reValthinna, and I'm the Felra who goes to the places nobody else wants to and learns about them the hard way so you can learn about them the easy way. That's my angle as an author, and that's why I'm the Pretty Idiot.

----

"Solontha, darling, I've got just the destination for your next Pretty Idiot's Guide!"

My business agent only sounds that chirpy when she's found some new way to try to get me killed. I'd like to think it's because the more trouble I get into, the better the resulting books turn out. That, or she still hasn't forgiven me for that topless dance I did at the Publishers' Guild dinner party she took me to. In my defense, they provided the liquor. I just happened to drink a lot of it.

Also in my defense, my topless dancing is godlike.

"Not back to the Tarq Imperium, I hope? They said they'd shoot me if they ever caught me inside their borders again."

My agent clucked at me. "They said no such thing. They just heavily implied it. And that was only because you wrote that they were a bunch of pointlessly brutal totalitarian fuckwads."

I snorted. "That's right. And it was the 'fuckwad' part that they objected to."

"Nobody likes being called a fuckwad, Solontha. Fuckwads least of all. But, no, I'm thinking we send you to write about a Human planet this time."

Humans? Interesting... The few I've known, I've mostly liked. Well, I don't hate them, anyway. And they look kind of like us Felra, at least a little bit. If you took a Felra and eliminated everything behind her forelegs -- and kept her from dying from lack of some important organs, obviously -- you would have something that still doesn't look particularly like a Human. So, dye her green skin an earthier color, replace her beautiful tresses of feathery-branching tvan with coarser, single-stranded hair, remove one pair of breasts, and take a digit from each hand. She still doesn't look quite Human. Make her face a bit rounder and flatter, thicken her bone structure, and Congratulations! You've surgically converted a Felra into something that could possibly maybe pass for a Human in really poor lighting. Also, you're a sick fuck for doing such a thing.

Point being, Humans are sufficiently similar enough to us that they can be cute, in a goofy bipedal sort of way. And immersing yourself in an alien culture can be more rewarding if you can also immerse yourself in some attractive alien nookie along the way. Any aspiring travel writers who are reading this can consider that a pro-tip from the Pretty Idiot.

"So, any particular Human world? Somewhere with casinos, maybe? Or some place run by the Church of Giving Money, Liquor, and Carnal Pleasure to Sexy Alien Visitors?"

That last bit caught my agent off-guard. "Is that an actual religion?"

"If it was, do you think I'd still be working?"

"Of course you would. You love travel, trouble, and remunerated smart-assery too much to just quit." Ah, I'm such a lucky Felra. Most agents charge extra for that kind of quality banter. "The place I've got in mind for you is Rugen, a frontier-level colony world well off the outer fringe of the Arm."

"The tail-tip of nowhere, in other words. And what's the attraction for a Pretty Idiot to play tourist there? Societal collapse? Rampaging Felra-eating predators? Pandemic-level clown outbreak?"

"How about the longest-running ongoing war in the Known Galaxy? Two hundred eighty-seven common years and no end in sight."

Yow. I'm passingly familiar with war, having wandered through five or six of varying size and awfulness while sightseeing -- and writing about said sightseeing -- and three centuries is a lot of war, especially confined to one planet. I could only imagine how that could twist and scar a world and its people. The devastation. The tragedy of wasted lives and resources. The sheer dysfunctionality of societies raised for generation after generation on bitter vengeance and the never-ending march towards victory and a peace they can no longer even properly conceptualize. A world of bloodlust, paranoia, and the threat of sudden brutal death staining every moment of every day. Why, the possibilities for misery were endless.

It sounded perfect for a vacation getaway.

----

I took regular commercial liners as far as Thielbarra, but had to buy passage from there to Rugen on an independent freighter that was slightly more reputable than a spaceport prostitute, just not as hygienic. There were only three other passengers headed to my destination, including a Kreevin botanical researcher who ignored everybody and a not-very-sober Zharg who worked for one of the big interstellar communications providers and who must have fucked up his job just badly enough to get sent to an isolated hole-in-the-void posting, but not quite badly enough to be fired. I ended up sharing a cabin with the only other quadruped, an adorably optimistic Iraitrian missionary who was going to Rugen to set up a temple to the Harmonious Gods and try to get a congregation going.

Being the cynical agnostic wretch that I am, I just had to ask how much demand she thought there would be for a doctrine of cooperative religious pacifism in the middle of a war zone.

"You offer food to the starving, not to those with bellies already full," she told me. "Our beliefs are meant to be applied in the world, not just agreed with in the temple."

And did she expect to end the war all by herself?

"I hope to make a difference to someone. Whether it's by teaching the Way, by being an example, or just by offering a person who needs it a roof, a meal, and a sympathetic ear. If even one person considers their life to be better for having known me, my mission will be worthwhile."

Damn. I had been entertaining myself with the idea of flirting mercilessly with her for the whole trip, but all that earnestness. All that simple, undeniable goodness. Even my cynicism and libido combined couldn't look that in the face.

So I flirted with the ship's captain, instead. Not that there was any real challenge in it, as despite Felra not being four-armed lizard people, Jixavan males are completely enamored of our tails, which are both more voluptuous and generally more exposed than those of their own females. Pro-tip from the Pretty Idiot: if you're a Felra and need to manipulate a Jixavan guy, buy one of those tail-stockings their women wear. Even the biggest ones will be too tight and short for you, so cut a bunch of slashes in it and pull it as far up your tail as it will go. Then wear a skirt short enough to expose the top hem of the tail-stocking and enjoy your newfound powers of persuasion. I ended up getting twenty percent off my fare and three marriage proposals.

Captain Akothin had made a few runs to Rugen before, so I was able to ask him some questions about the place. If you've never read one of my Pretty Idiot's Guides before, part of my schtick, if you will, is lack of prior research regarding the places I go. My self-imposed limitation is that I can only obtain information by seeing for myself or asking someone with firsthand experience. No encyclopedias or hyperweb research. That media stuff is, at best, quarter-truths and agenda-driven grazershit, anyway. By going into a place without 'knowledge' of it, I go with fewer preconceptions. That's the 'Idiot' part of the title. The 'Pretty' part is because I am. And if you have to face life as an idiot, it really does help to be a pretty one.

The good captain had never actually made planetfall on Rugen, always conducting business from orbit. Sensible. Boring, but sensible. I therefore confined my inquiries to spacers' matters. Like, were we going to have any issues with pirates or paramilitaries on our way in-system?

"No pirates. Not enough shipping in or out for those guys to make a living raiding it and too far from any active lanes to make a useful base. Pirates operating across star systems have to really watch their fuel expenditures." Captain Akothin then proceeded to give a suspiciously well-considered dissertation on how to turn a profit in space piracy, which I will not share here but have filed away for future reference should too many of my books bomb on the market. And as for paramilitary ships affiliated with the warring factions? "I've never seen any."

What about orbital defenses? Would there be minefields to be tensely navigated? Would we be subject to stop-and-search by military patrol craft? "Rugen's a frontier-level system." The captain looked at me like I was a moron, albeit a moron with an incredibly sexy and distracting tail. "There ain't even a transshipment station, just a few cheapo weather and comm satellites. I just put the ship in a parking orbit and they send shuttles up. But it's not like the shipments are ever so big you'd need an orbital dock anyway, and shuttles are fine for passengers. Of course, that also means no orbital repair yard and no fuel depot, but that's not much worry since Rugen is just a long detour off our Thielbarra-to-Rialto route and I always do a refuel and refit at Thielbarra for safety's sake and, um, will you marry me?"

----

The shuttle ride down was as uneventful as such things generally are and afforded a chance to take in the view of Rugen from medium-high orbit. It was not a particularly exciting planet seen from 18,000 miles above its equator -- under the sparse clouds, some smallish seas, broad smears of iron-red in the right places to be deserts, accented by patches and streamers of an odd green that was almost an indecisive blue, and some blink-and-you'd-miss-them polar caps. But the thing is, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference how many planets you've seen out the porthole, or how much of an undifferentiated dirtball the one below you is. There is no such thing as 'ordinary' when it comes to the sight of a whole damn world suspended in space right in front of you. It's a moment of magic, every single time, and anybody who says otherwise is lying, or is a soulless shithead. Or, since those aren't mutually exclusive, they could be both, like a corporate journalist or a Rybathi.

I used the flight time to mentally review what firsthand knowledge of Humans I possessed. Pro-tip-slash-caveat: members of a species often behave very differently in their own polities than they do in foreign or more cosmopolitan settings. Expatriates or visitors to your world are typically trying to get along in your society and tend to adjust their behavior accordingly. Their behavior when they are in the majority and they get to decide what's normal may be radically different. That said, there were a few truths I felt comfortable in ascribing to Humans in general based on experience.

For starters, sexual dimorphism. Humans born biologically male or female remain that sex, unless medically altered. Females are usually smaller and are the ones with slightly inadequate breasts. Males tend to be bigger, stronger, and coarser-looking and, like most mammaloid males, have completely inadequate breasts. This dimorphism leads to the most basic social structures being built around male-female pairings and their offspring -- family -- rather than the looser pack-based structure of Felra. These family structures appear to have a relationship similar to, though vastly more complicated than, the Felra mother-daughter bond. Basically, if you wrong a Human, you may face retribution not just from her, but from her entire bloodline. Except sometimes you won't, because, like I said, complicated.

Second, though many Galactics tend to use the terms 'Human' and 'Terran' as synonyms, Humans emphatically do not. Among Humans, the word 'Terran' refers specifically to an inhabitant of the Terran Commonwealth, the oldest, largest, and apparently most detested Human stellar nation. Humans who are not Commonwealth natives tend to have negative reactions to being called 'Terrans'. In this context, the term 'negative reactions' seems to cover a range from 'cold and profane verbal correction' to 'assault with a power-nailer'. Maybe this trip would offer a chance to find out why that might be? I'd also been told that actual Terrans react poorly to being called 'Human', though I've never met any Commonwealth Terrans and can't say for sure if that's true.

Third, Humans tend to be territorial, and therefore possessive. They have a strong impulse to guard things they have laid claim to. Don't try to make use of anything a Human regards as their own without asking permission first, even if you intend to give it right back. This impulse extends quite strongly to their romantic or sexual partners as well and attempting to bed, or even flirt with, a Human who has been claimed by another will tend to be met with hostility. You could try asking for permission, I guess, but that just seems to lead to socially awkward hostility. And if you don't know why socially awkward hostility is worse than the regular kind, then obviously you've never been in a fistfight with a drunken Dahu who was sporting a clingy wet kilt and a massive erection.

next

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More Known Galaxy stories
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20 Overlooked Single Player Indie Games

We're all familiar with the Hotline Miami's, Hollow Knight's, and Celeste's of the world. These are some of the indie games that hit the big time. Of course, for every one of these games, there's 100 other indie games that have been glossed over, relegated to a spot in a digital store few people will ever find themselves in. I wanted to bring attention to some of these lesser known indie games.
I'm going to order them according to Metacritic Critic Ratings. Some of the games at the bottom have pretty low critic ratings. I personally disagree with the low scores of these games, but it's only fair that you hear from more than just me. Keep in mind that games with only one or two User Ratings on Metacritic will not show the score. A game needs at least three User Ratings on Metacritic before the score will be shown. This is not the case for Critic Reviews.
Price will contain the U.S. PlayStation Store link to the game.
1. Hayfever
2. Valfaris
3. Four Sided Fantasy
4. Bleep Bloop
5. Horizon Shift ‘81
6. Daggerhood
7. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
8. Ultra Hat Dimension
9. Remothered: Tormented Fathers
10. Reverie
11. Inertial Drift
12. Cursed Castilla (Maldita Castilla EX)
13. Pato Box
14. The Count Lucanor
15. The Bunker
16. A Tale of Paper
17. Late Shift
18. SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption
19. Verlet Swing
20. Neon Drive
Conclusion
My top 5 on the list in order would be the following: (1.) Hayfever, (2.) Valfaris, (3.) Cursed Castilla: (Maldita Castilla EX), (4.) Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, and (5.) Bleep Bloop.
Have you played any of these games? What are some other overlooked single player indie games?
If you’re looking for more indie games to play, see my post here:
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Unleashed pt. 45

Some words from u/eruwenn and I. Enjoy?
First / Prev / Next

 

  Chae’Sol stood at the centre of a large command deck, meticulously peeling the protective film from his new captain’s chair. The sensation of the slow but steady yielding of the film, the sweeping line following the contours of the seat in flowing curves; it was incredibly satisfying. Finally, with one last gentle pull, the last of his chair was uncovered and he stood back to admire his throne. Aside from the freshness of the seating itself, there were shiny new holo displays, touch sensors, and comms relays that were within easy reach of his seated fingertips. This ship would be the jewel in any fleet, a prototype Dreadnought made by the infamous Bardul of Shi’an. The Gowe Military faction had run into financial problems, and it had been left unpaid and unclaimed. What sorcery Kadir had used to find it, and purchase it, he did not know.
His comms unit beeped and Danyd’s voice came through. “Chae’S-” -He grumbled incoherently- “Captain, we’re ready to get underway.”
The Niham turned and sat back on his pristine chair, swinging his long legs over the armrest. “That was quick, Chief Engineer Ef’Yto
Danyd grunted at the use of his title. “Aye, these Awakened are efficient bastards.” The Satryn looked around at the enormous engineering bay. The entirety of the Porkchop Express could comfortably sit inside, and two of them could likely squeeze in. “Plus, this thing has never been used; feels weird not having anything to work on. It’s state of the art, and I’m having to read the manuals on half the new systems.”
Chae’Sol laughed, looking around at the Awakened as they were preparing their workstations. “Yeah, this command deck is a little intimidating. Even the Niham Armada didn’t have ships like this. There are fifteen weapons stations here, what in Tulseria’s name were the Gowe planning to do with this thing?”
“No idea.” The chief engineer walked to the large seat in front of his new work terminal, and hopped up onto it. The protective covering squeaked. “This thing has more firepower than half their fleet, it must have been something big. We’re lucky Kadir found out about the graveyard of unclaimed ships from one of his contacts.”
The newly-minted captain swung his legs down and sat up, straightening his black uniform and white collar. “That’s another thing: how does he have so many contacts? I was in the Tulseria-damned military, and I had no idea they would sell us fighters and weapons.”
“I know the feeling.” Danyd watched a junior engineer – Lily, an Awakened who wore a headband in her silver hair that sported long Kittran ears on it – begin running diagnostics on the Hoban Field Generator. “I'm aware he got the automated weapons for the system port from my people, somehow. As for how he accomplishes all he does, I think his time working with that fancy Anatidae councillor opened more than a couple of doors for him.”
Chae’Sol stood, running his fingers through his perfect hair. “Doors, windows, rear entrances and damned secret portals, all leading to a dark realm of shady deals and supplies. We have an Imperium Capital Ship for Tulseria’s sake! Nobody knows where he got it, or where he’s now hidden it.” He looked at his holo display, noting the specks springing blinking into existence as the other ships of Federation origin came to life. “Let’s just be glad he’s on our side.”
The chief engineer tugged at the green collar to his uniform. “Our side used to be a damn sight smaller.” Lily had finished her diagnostic tests and sent the results to his console. Her report included an adjustment that would create a potential three percent increase in crystal efficiency, and a small drawing of a smiling leokit with a crim-bar. He groaned, then reported back with, “We’re ready to go when you are.”
The Niham strode confidently across the command deck, stopping to stand in front of the huge vid screen at the front of the room. All around him were his crew, made up mostly from the Ashi, Awakened, and Kasurians. “Let’s get this show started.”
 
 
Jaym sat with a bowl of Tony the leokas cereal in front of her. It wasn't just a catchy advertising slogan - it really was great. She and Elizabeth had worked together so much in the engineering section of the Porkchop Express that they had become close, often spending their free time together. Indeed, Elizabeth currently sat opposite her, carefully rebuilding a power coupling and occasionally tapping at her datapad. Shortly after the results of her most recent tap played out, Elizabeth paused her work on the power coupling. Without speaking, she held up her datapad so that Jaym could see.
On the screen was Tony and his mate Jolie, and Skeena’s voice could be heard excitedly talking about collecting urine samples from the female. Jaym screwed up her face at first until Skeena announced the pregnancy test was positive. Tony was going to be a father! She couldn't contain her joy and screamed loudly, grabbing the screen and running all the way to the bridge to show the others.
Ranjaz was stretched out across the captain’s chair as Jaym burst in, and didn’t open his eyes until she began shaking his leg. Even then he didn’t pay much attention. “I told you not to let Elizabeth play with any more systems till after the mission.”
She blushed slightly, as their last improvement had inverted their water treatment system and blown six power couplings. "It's not that!" she said, holding up the datapad and starting the video. "Look!"
At the first syllable of Skeena's voice, Ranjaz sat bolt upright. The video held his full attention, and when Tony's impending fatherhood was announced the Kittran's whoops of delight could be heard all through the Porkchop Express. He reached underneath his seat and retrieved a small, fluffy bed, then picked up Aiov. Ranjaz led his unusual dance partner in a quick spin of joy before replaying the GalacTube video for her. “You’re going to be an Aunty!”
Eruwenn leaned back in the large seat that had once been Embar’s. “I didn’t think they were related?”
The Kittran nodded. “Aiov is Tony’s sister. Aaron adopted them both, and that’s how human families work. They just keep adding members, like a Dular adding shells to its burrow. Family is family.”
Cygna pressed a few buttons on her Navigator terminal, moving the video to the main screen as well as starting it over. “I still can’t believe you keep one of these under your seat. I mean, it’s a leokas!”
Ranjaz held Aiov up and they briefly rubbed noses. “Just a little one!”
The Anatidae laughed. “I can see living with the human has had quite a profound effect on you.”
With one of his trademark grins he held Aiov out towards Eruwenn. “Wanna nose rub?”
"Ah," the councillor said, shrinking back from the offer, "despite her size she is still a predator, and I am not quite ready for such a close encounter.”
From the pilot seat Ripley stood, taking Aiov from Ranjaz. “She is not a toy.” She briefly snuggled the tiny leokit to her chest, then passed her to Jaym. “Take her for food and exercise; she must grow up strong.”
Jaym also cuddled the wriggling Aiov close, and not just because the little leokit was adorable. Aiov had tripled in size, and was becoming a bit of a handful. “Thor was preparing her food; I’ll take her down to him.”
Once the junior engineer had left, and Ripley returned to the pilot seat, Ranjaz began tapping on the console in front of him. “Looks like we’ll be free to take the shuttle down to the surface with the next group.”
Cygna drummed her fingers on the arms of her chair. “I didn’t realise it would be so busy.”
Ranjaz shrugged. “There was a quake on the fourth planet, so mining colonies are shut down while the nerds poke around. Along with that, we got three big freighters waiting for resupply. That’s a lot of bored folks looking to kill time.” Ripley grunted, prompting a chuckle from the Kittran. “You don’t approve of their choice of leisure activity?”
After their few cycles together Eruwenn was already learning a lot about her shipmates. Ripley, for instance, wasn’t one for talking. She decided to interject before the Captain irritated her too much, as they would need her focus soon enough. “Gambling and pleasure palaces are not to everyone's taste, of course, but these sorts of things are covered under local governance.”
Without skipping a beat Ranjaz replied, “I know that’s the official line, but you sure as shit have tax codes for all of it. If you want to look down on folks, don’t pretend you aren’t profiting from it.”
Cygna, ever defensive of her mentor, jumped in. “That’s a bold statement for someone who never paid a credit in tax until it was automatically deducted from his Galactic Federation pay.”
Ranjaz laughed, then continued, keeping his voice care-free. “Taxed on what? I never owned anything.”
Eruwenn could see the trap her junior was walking into but decided to let this be a learning experience. The Kittran was wily, and the Anatidae found him entertaining. Cygna, as she had predicted, scoffed at his claims. “I’ve read your file. When you were arrested you had a ship, five shuttles and thousands in valuable goods confiscated.”
“Exactly!” His eyes lit up as he cornered her. “It was confiscated because it was stolen, so I didn’t own it. Imagine a world where you can keep stolen goods if you pay tax on them. Even I think that’s crazy.”
The Fae’Dan paused, and the anger evaporated from her voice as she realized what he had said, replaced by a slightly impressed tone of surprise. “Well, maybe, but… Really? You stole all of it?”
Ranjaz shrugged. “Or won it. I’m pretty good at Dalcho.”
Cygna perked up. “I play Dalcho myself, we shou-”
“No,” Eruwenn interrupted. Some lessons were too expensive. “Do not play Dalcho with someone who can get free priority entry permits to a casino.”
The former operative shook her head. “I’m a great player, you’ve seen me in the council chambers. I took that Ley’Rulian trader for five hundred credits.”
The Anatidae smiled kindly. “And he had five shuttles when he was arrested.”
Cygna slowly turned from Eruwenn to Ranjaz, noticing his grin and the sparkle in his eye. It was most definitely the smile of a predator. He gave a little chuckle. “Don’t worry, it’s been a long time since I played. No gambling on Galactic Federation ships, you know.” He laughed again. “Oh wait, you read my file.”
The Fae’Dan nodded. “Perhaps we should focus on the mission.” She gave a slight bow to Eruwenn before returning her attention to her console.
Ranjaz looked at Eruwenn and stuck out his tongue. “Don’t ruin my fun!”
The Ambassador smiled. “I don’t play Dalcho, but there is a human game called chess I quite enjoy. Perhaps we could play sometime?”
The Kittran gave a nod. Keeping his voice neutral, he replied. “I don’t know that one, but there’s another human game we could try. Poker?”
"We have permission to dock at the holding ring and send down a shuttle," Ripley abruptly called out. "Let’s get this whatever it is and make the rendez-vous.”
Both of Ranjaz’s fangs showed as he grinned. “If we’re going to pull a job on Chisola Prime, first you’re going to need to look the part!”
 
 
Aaron walked down the corridor of the Hive ship, the strange spiderlike creature trailing behind him as he followed one of the corpse vines as it receded deeper into the ship. He turned and watched the creature, which shrank back from him and crouched low to the ground. “I’m sorry I kicked you. You simply startled me; you don’t have to hide.”
The lighting never changed in the endless corridors of the ship, and only the most uninteresting of doors deigned open for him. At this point, he had lost track of time completely. Through perseverance he’d made several important discoveries. The bulbous shapes in the flower vase room were seats; he was fairly certain of that after finding another room with bodies sitting in them. The vines that came for them were the ones he was now following, and by now he must have seen hundreds of dead Hive.
The second discovery was that the Hive came in a variety of shapes and sizes. There were two main ones, as far as he could tell, and the first were the four legged kind that had so kindly thrown him in the rejuvenating jelly bean. The second was bipedal, and looked a hell of a lot meaner. While the ones he deemed workers looked somewhat like ants to him, in shades of reds and browns, the second type looked much more commanding. Their carapace had thicker layers of armour in green, gold and red, and was spiked at the shoulders and joints. Even their legs had spines and to top the look off their heads were much more angular. Whether they were soldiers, commanders, or something else, he didn’t know. Through observation of the corpses he had discovered the most confusing feature yet: a strange section in the centre of their abdomen that was filled with what seemed to be a grey fluid.
Ahead of him, not skittering away like the rest, was an aphid that no longer emitted a pale green glow. Something whooshed overhead towards the slow and sluggish aphid, and Aaron instinctively threw himself to the ground before he realized what it was. "That's how you get kicked!” He stood up, brushing himself off. “Fuck, that scares the ever-loving shit out of me every fucking time.”
The huge creature looked up at him and whined as it munched on the sick aphid. He was probably imagining the apology in its eyes, but Aaron still shook his head. “I know, I know. It’s your job. They clean the floors, you keep their population healthy. Just stop leaping over me like that, fuck. I’m going to have a heart attack.” It whined and backed away from his angry words, and he tried to keep his voice to calmer tones. “Don’t be like that. I’ve told you enough times.”
When he looked down the corridor again, the retreating corpse vines had disappeared around a corner. Aaron began to jog after them, and after he'd put some distance in he heard the pattering footsteps of his terrifying shadow. He tried to pay it no mind. Once the vines were back in sight he slowed and followed behind them, singing his direction song quietly to himself. “Left, right, straight. Left, left, right. Straight, straight, left, left. Right, right, straight, right, right.”
The ship was massive and, other than some areas smelling funkier than others, there was no variation in lighting, decoration or layout. The song was his map back to the rejuvenation pod, which was his only safe source of hydration. His companion padded along behind him, a friendly nightmare to accompany him on his seemingly endless journey. “We really need to give you a name.” He wished he had his phone with him so he could channel all his nervous energy into making a video. “The audience demands a name. Plus, I won’t be able to sell merch without one.” He turned and looked at the creature. “I’ll probably have to create space-halloween first, or maybe I’ll get lucky and find that you’re cute to some species.”
Aaron returned to following the corpse vine, waving a hand high as he spoke, gesticulating to the heavens. “The name is what matters: a good name makes all the difference.” He began seriously pondering the naming matter. “Aragog, Shelob; you know, lean into your size for a characterization. But then again, that's not really going to make people like you.” He looked back over his shoulder as the unnamed beast trotted happily behind him. He assumed happy, at least. It now tended to make an odd gurgling noise after eating, and it roamed closer to him than before. “You know, I never got to name Sassie – she’s my dog. I told you about her yesterday, or the day before.” He really was losing track of the days he’d been here. “I got her from a rescue. She was skinny, and so damn angry, with scars on her legs and under her fur. I had to have special visits before I could keep her. Prove I was worthy.”
Talking helped take his mind from the gnawing emptiness in his stomach. Hydration and nutrients osmotically obtained from some weird pod were nowhere near as satisfying as a burger and a cold beer. “Her first visit, she had a rubber ball. It was her only possession, and she loved it.” There was a touch of pride in his voice. “Took me an hour before she gave it up to play. The lady from the rescue centre said I was the first.” He choked up, blinking back tears. “Anyway, couple more visits and she got to stay. Crazy dog was such a handful. She once tried to climb a tree to chase a squirrel. Got her legs over the first branch and just dangled, kicking her back legs.” He began chuckling to himself. “She once tried to jump through a car window; some guy was parked at the lights as we walked past.”
He was just chatting now, lost in his memories as he walked. “You know the type, loud radio, windows rolled down on a sunny day, annoying the shit out of everyone in the town. He tossed some litter out of his window and she just launched herself at him. Scared the life out of me at the time - funny as fuck now, of course.” He laughed again. “Then there were the swans. Man, were they not ready. She loved to swim – I told you that before – swimming and splashing was her favourite release. Well, that and chasing rabbits which is, kinda, how I ended up here. Anyway, she would just swim up and down, right past the ducks and stuff, somehow never interested in them. Then one summer these swans came along...” He paused, realising his new friend didn’t know what a duck or a swan was, or even summer, probably. Before attempting to explain, he realised they also didn’t understand english, so it really didn’t matter. “Anyway, swans being belligerent bastards, I called her out of the water straight away. Those mean white fuckers chased her all the way to shore.”
He turned around, now grinning broadly. “But, once her feet hit the ground in the shallow water and she was able to stand, did those sons of bitches turn and swim away as fast as they could.” He paused, trying to remember his original point. He really was very hungry. “Oh yeah, so trying to stop her fighting everything that moved meant I didn’t have time to teach her a new name. Figured it would be confusing to her. Sassie she was, and so Sassie she stayed.”
There was a tightening in his chest as he thought of her missing him. “Took a lot of years and a lot of time for her to get where she is now. I know Alexa will take care of her, but still, it’s my job, and I need to get back to doing it. She won’t understand…” He choked up completely, taking a moment to compose himself before clearing his throat and returning his monologue to its original course. “Anyway, names. Names matter.”
“Maybe you’re a girl monster. Charlotte?” He shook his head. That name just didn’t seem fitting. “We could call you Peter Parker? Although, you’re more of a man-sized spider than a spiderman... Parker Peter? Then again, big, scary spiders say one thing to me. Australia. You like to jump, we could call you Roo? Or, how about Ozzy? Or Bruce? Hmm, that’s a sharks name though… can you swim?”
His train of thought derailed suddenly as he saw an open door ahead of them through which the vines were receding. The pair of them continued walking behind the vine until it disappeared into the doorway and Aaron ran forward, pulling something from his pocket. He’d been saving the foil wrapping from the ration bricks, folding them together to form a wedge. He jammed his makeshift door stop under the bottom corner of the door as it began to slide shut. It ground to a halt. “Boom! Told you it would work.”
He stood and finally looked into the vastness beyond. Through the doors was, somehow, a rolling meadow, complete with trees, giant mushrooms and plants he had no name for. Vines were also everywhere, receding further across the great wilderness. “What the hell? I thought I was on a spaceship? Am I underground?”
Staring intently at the sky, he stepped onto the deep moss beyond the door. He looked at the wall around the interior and saw it was rock, and more plant life clung to every crack and crevice. As he walked slowly forward his eyes followed the vine as it headed for a large, colourful, monolith. He approached and saw that its shape was similar to the vase flowers. He watched as the corpse vines deposited their cargo on top of the monolith. Not on, he corrected himself;they were dropping inside.
He looked back to the door, nervous that it might close and lock him in. A large black shadow lurked just beyond the door, and he was torn. Should he explore this 'outside' world, or retreat to the place where he at least had the rejuvenation pods? He looked up at the sky, basking in the warm and invigorating embrace of the sunlight. He blinked at the brightness, being cautious to not look at the sun directly, and something else suddenly caught his eye. It was, incredibly, a door. A door that floated in the sky.
The thing about human eyes is that they might be easily fooled, but a shift in perspective can easily change what you see to something entirely different. Aaron was looking up at a ceiling, like the one in the Atrium back on the Azrimad, but a hundred times more convincing.
Once back inside the doorway he watched the spiderling he was beginning to think of it as a friend dancing back and forth a short distance away. It seemed… happy. “Ok buddy, I’m back.” Aaron’s stomach made a loud gurgling sound and he rubbed it, trying to squeeze the hunger away. Fingers found muscle easier than usual, and he knew he was definitely losing weight. “We should head back. I need sleep.” He thought for a moment and made a final decision, bending down to pull the foil wedge clear. “I doubt there’s a communicator or command deck in there. Let’s go home, Ozzy.”
The trip back was uneventful, Aaron sang his direction song as they navigated the labyrinth. A few more aphids were snacked on by his leggy companion, but his own legs were heavy by the time he was almost back to the jelly beans. Despite being exhausted he had made two stops to create another pair of flower vases for the aphids, as well as scattering a ration brick as he passed by. The aphids waited, as they always did, till he and Ozzy were far enough away before enjoying his bounty. Still, the human derived satisfaction from their presence.
Exhausted and weary, Aaron was glad to finally make it back to the room he was reluctantly calling his temporary home. As the door to the rejuvenation pod slid open he was met, forcefully, by the barrel of an energy rifle. Unfortunately for Aaron, due to a considerable height difference, the barrel had struck him squarely in the groin, and he instantly fell to his knees. He came face to face with his attacker with tears in his eyes, clutching his tenderness and coughing. From the other being came incomprehensible yelling, as well as a lot of gun waving. Also, there was coughing.
Aaron, eventually mustering enough self-presence to do something other than deal with the after effects of the gun-to-groin encounter, wiped the moisture from his eyes and tried to butt in to the one-sided conversation. "Relax! I'm the one who just got snookered in the fucking balls, here! Why in the world are you so mad?"”
The gun was pressed to his forehead by the tiny attacker, who shouted something unintelligible with their black eyes focused on him. They paused to cough, then stepped back, glaring at Aaron until they seemed to feel comfortable enough with the situation to take one hand off of their weapon and pull out a datapad. They held it up, and Aaron frowned at the familiar but still unintelligible colours that swirled on the screen. Then a small vent at the bottom of the device squirted out a puff of sickly sweet scent.
Aaron pulled back from the odour. "What the fuck was that?"
With some distance between them, the human finally got a good look at his opponent. They were barely waist-height, furry, with a long nose and dark banding across their brown fur. The banding was heaviest across their eyes and although that’s where the similarities ended, it was enough for the human’s brain to forge a connection. “Listen, Rocket, there’s a virus on this ship. You need to get in the jelly bean. Trust me.”
The rifle was thrust at him shakily in one hand, the tablet again was raised and a swirl of colours and shapes greeted him. “I don’t speak fucking winamp plugin!” On the wall behind his captor Aaron spotted a dull orange aphid, struggling to climb the wall. He smiled as he slowly leaned to one side. “Have you met Ozzy?”
The huge arachnid leapt over them both, causing the newcomer to blindfire at the wall. Aaron seized his chance and snatched away the weapon. He grabbed the newcomer by the front of their armoured uniform and slammed them to the ground. They cried out in pain and began their incomprehensible yelling once more. The accompanying coughing fit was bad, and Aaron dragged them to their feet. Realising that his solitude had caused him to revert to English, he switched back to galactic standard to offer a warning about the disease. “You’re going to die!”
A shocked look crossed their face as the human effortlessly lifted them and slam dunked them into a blue jelly bean. Ozzy gurgled happily through his aphid crunching. Aaron snatched up the energy rifle, but found it was difficult to hold due to its small size. He leaned over the jelly bean, noting the occupant drifting off to sleep.
Hunger and tiredness were forgotten as adrenaline flooded his system. There was no way the newcomer was alone. He left the pod room to begin searching, and Ozzy seemed to pick up on his intention and followed behind, keeping close to the human. “Good boy!” He had no idea what prompted it, likely some automated response, and it was as though he watched his movements from outside of his body as he reached back and gently scratched the arachnid's head. He was rewarded with happy gurgles, or at least that's what he hoped the noises were. “You did good back there.”
He made his way along the corridor towards the same airlock he had once chosen as his final exit. His recent suspicion proved correct as he heard a strange sound up ahead, as if someone was running a wet finger around the rim of a glass. He carefully leaned around the curve and saw another figure, dressed in the same uniform as the first. No fur on this one, although they were equally small in size, and they somehow looked like they were made of glass which couldn’t decide on a colour.
This time he remembered to use galactic standard. “Keep your hands where we can see you. We’ve got you surrounded!” The figure was clearly startled, as the ambient resonating noise began varying wildly in pitch at the same moment as their colour shifted to a solid blue. Aaron cursed. He didn’t have a translator, having instead opted for learning standard and winging everything else. The whole federation knew standard, so he hadn’t truly considered getting the implant. “Something is wrong with our translators,” he continued to bluff. “Do you speak galactic standard?”
A datapad was hastily pulled from a pocket, and as buttons were pressed the resonating sound became more rhythmic. From the datapad sprung noises. No, it was a voice! “Why do you speak Procyon? Where is Commander Bertolannixostraphes?
Aaron began relaxing at the situation he found himself in, but inside he was brimming with joy. Finally, he could talk with someone! “There is a virus on this ship, and many are dead. If your commander is the raccoon-looking guy, I got them into a healing pod. They’re going to be fine.” Under his breath he added, “probably.”
The resonating began and shortly afterwards the voice translated, “Who are you? Why did you not answer our communications.”
Opting for honesty in the hopes of leniency, Aaron stepped into view. “I’m a passenger. I don’t have access to the ship's systems.” The newcomer was looking at the tiny gun, so the human tossed it forward. “I didn’t know if you were friendly. I can take you to your friend, and you should probably get treatment as well.”
The now-orange alien walked forward, their movement accompanied by the strange sound of ceramic plates rubbing together. “That won’t be a problem, we Tricinic do not catch meat diseases. I am Tsy'lo, take me to the commander.” They turned to look behind them. “Where are the others?”
Aaron pointed to Ozzy. “It’s just us two.”
Colours swirled and the small glass person thrummed. The datapad spoke, “You are the last human, the Ambassador. Correct?”
Turning and gesturing to be followed, he began to lead the way to the rejuvenation room. “I am the first human, Ambassador Aaron Cooper, professional bounty hunter. Just call me Aaron. Are you the rescue party? Is Alexa here? Did she bring Sassie?”
It took a moment for the translation to come back. “I don’t know those names. We are the Special Tactics and Rescue Squad and we responded to distress calls and found this ship. Adrift.” They had walked a little way when Tsy'lo stopped and regarded Ozzy, who was still faithfully following behind. “Why does the achalo follow you?”
“Ozzy?” Aaron shrugged. “I think he was lonely. So, were you sent into Hive space to find me, or are you on some top secret mission? You aren’t with the Sentinels, are you?”
“Lonely? But it is an achalo.” Tsy'lo was confused and their colour visibly swirled. “Why would a rescue mission be secret? And, we weren’t sent, we were already here.”
Now it was the human who was confused. “Like spies behind enemy lines? Is that why you are in Hive space?”
The Tricinic hummed at a higher frequency. “It is our space. We are the Hive!”
 
 
Admiral Pelar of the third fleet stood in the centre of the training mat. On the floor around her were four tough looking Ashi, while a fifth was now squaring off against her. She blocked the jab and the surprise knee strike that followed, turning effortlessly to bring her elbow to her opponents ribs. With another deft turn she was behind him and kicking his knees forward. He tried to roll clear but she had anticipated the move and, as he rose, her spinning boot struck the side of his head.
“Nice try gentlemen.” She walked away and caught a towel thrown by the drill instructor. “That last one has potential,” she said, and the drill instructor nodded. “Next time, I expect at least one of them to land a hit. If not, I’ll have you in the ring instead, to make sure you still have what it takes.” She saw the fear in his eyes. “I accept nothing but the best from the Third Fleet.”
The medics ran onto the mat as she dabbed at her forehead, and she spotted Jar’Bek sitting on a bench nearby. She walked over to him and he stood, straightening what was no doubt an extremely expensive suit. “From one disappointment to another.”
The lawyer smiled. “Imagine only seeing your son when he is paid to be in your presence,” he countered.
She smirked. “Your tongue is still your most deadly weapon.”
He nodded. “Ah, but it must make you proud to see me make use of the things you taught me.”
Her face twitched. “I taught you to be a true Ashi, a soldier. I taught you to respect-”
Jar’Bek held up his hand. “I’m here on my client’s business, not yours. And, as I am paid a considerable sum per gal, let us not waste their money on matters that are concluded.” He enjoyed the irritation on her face. “I am here to finalise the amnesty treaties, and conclude your membership as citizens of Earth.”
The Admiral held up her hands, looking down at her combat training clothing. “I must shower and change first. Please, wait for me in my private office.” She smiled politely.
“No.” His smile seemed to hover as if it was a mask that could slip at any time. “You may have disowned me, but I still remember your tricks. You knew the time of our meeting; you had me brought here so you could intimidate me with this display of aggression. Then you ask me to wait in your office amongst your memorabilia and trophies.” He watched the anger behind her eyes. “You really think these tired old tricks will work on me?”
She sneered. “At least you remember something.”
“Oh, I had the scars removed, but I kept the lessons.” He walked away. “My client's time is valuable and I have scheduled a meeting with the other fleet Admiral’s for later this cycle. Since we have no time for your games, let us go to the briefing room. My team is already set up. If you wish to shower, know that it is more of your negotiating time you are wasting, and I do so hate waste.” He collected his briefcase and walked out of the room.
Captain Loring hurried after Jar’Bek, catching him as he entered the elevator. “You sure you want to antagonise the Admiral like that?”
He leaned back against the wall of the elevator and relaxed, letting out a small sigh. “A little negotiating trick a Kittran taught me. Anyway, she is no longer my Admiral.”
Elora’Tan leaned back on the opposite wall. “She is your mother, Jar.”
“Ha.” Jar’Bek laughed. “She disowned me. This is the first contact we’ve had in I forget how many celes. Her first thought is to try and intimidate me with that display. She likes to beat on cadets, she likes to cause pain, and she wanted me to watch.”
Loring gave a weak smile. “It forges strong soldiers. We can’t afford weakness.”
The elevator stopped and Jar’Bek took a step closer to Elora’Tan. “You think it was weakness that made me leave?” He didn’t let her answer, turning and exiting into the hallway. His voice now resonated with authority as he growled, “In case you people have forgotten, the Ashi will operate under the same rules as the rest of the colony. My mother is not the law... I am the law.
 
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submitted by Sooperdude24 to HFY [link] [comments]

Unleashed pt. 43

u/eruwenn put a lot into this one, so big thanks for that. Hope you guys enjoy.
First / Prev / Next
Eruwenn stepped into the hangar of the Galactic Federation ship Takogni, her assistant Cygna close behind. With steady and sure steps they approached the remarkable group in matching uniforms — black pants, black jacket, and a visible collar of a coloured shirt — that stood before them.
Norrin, the Herald of the Awakened Queen and easily the most striking individual they had ever beheld, stood at the front with a brazen lack of clothing on his mirror-like skin. Flanking him were two silver-haired individuals in smart uniforms that sported red collars. One was a behemoth of a dark-skinned man, with a runic pattern in glittering silver curving down one side of his face. His shining silver hair was tied back into a braided ponytail. The other was as pale as her companion was dark, and the shortest of the three by far. She had a cropped silver bob, and she watched them with fierce eyes.
As she approached them, Eruwenn noticed patches on their shoulders, and quickly recognised the image to be a monochrome depictions of the furry human ambassador in a ferocious pose.
Standing to the right were a dozen more individuals in black uniforms, though these ones sported yellow collars peeking out from under their jackets. They were mostly Rinoxian, Kasurian, and Ashi, but she noticed a few individuals from other races that stood amongst them. They stood in formation, standing in three rows of four, and carried energy rifles, side-arms, and ceremonial blades that she hoped were simply ceremonial. Despite their relaxed stance, Eruwenn also noted that their weapons were powered up..
The Terran Wolves had been formed a little over forty cycles ago, hiring ex-military and mercenaries to fill their ranks. Substantial pay and benefits were an obvious draw, and many were excited to be part of something new. The inclusion of Kasurians was odd, but fitted with the attitude of the proposed colonies. Quite the honour guard for the newly reassigned, and demoted, Anatidae.
Norrin gave a sharp bow as she neared him. “Greetings Ambassador Aix Sponsa. I will escort you to the Orkal.”
She returned his bow, and smiled warmly at the use of her new title. “Thank you for accommodating me at such short notice. My reassignment was, unfortunately, hastily pushed through — I do hope I have not inconvenienced you?”
Norrin shook his head. “Not at all.” In her role as Councillor she had aided them immensely, protecting the independence of the new colonies in Aaron’s absence. It had cost her dearly. “We have set aside accommodations for you, as well as a small office area. Your belongings have already been delivered.” He turned, and the doors to the large Fae’Dan shuttle behind him opened. “I fear there won’t yet be much for an ambassador to do. We are still very early in the construction phase.”
As Eruwenn and Cygna took seats in the luxurious shuttle, they both noticed that only Norrin and the two red shirts had entered. As the doors closed, the ambassador's curiosity grew enough for her to speak up about it. “Are the others not joining us?”
Norrin took a seat opposite their guests, glancing briefly at his two companions as they moved to the small pilot's cabin. "No," he said simply, "they will be flying the escort fighters.”
“Fighters?” Cygna couldn’t help but say out loud. “All twelve of them?”
Norrin eased himself back in his seat as the shuttle began to move. “We take your safety seriously. The Queen was most insistent.” He tilted his head and looked directly at Eruwenn, motioning with his hand towards the door to the pilot’s cabin. “Thor and Ripley have been assigned to you as your primary security detail. Should you have any other concerns, do not hesitate to contact me directly.”
The Anatidae nodded graciously. She knew full well that her death would be too valuable a political tool for the Sentinels to pass up. Her being manoeuvred to this position so suddenly was proof that greater powers were at play. “We are both grateful that you are taking such precautions. I look forward to thanking the Queen in person.”
Norrin gave a light chuckle. “I would strongly advise against using that title in her presence.” He opened the arm on his chair, exposing a small display. He began tapping the screen as the wall to his right flickered to life. A large circular structure was now visible, sitting at the centre of a constantly moving sea of drones, shuttles and ships. “As you can see, construction is progressing rapidly on the main docking ring. Once that is completed we will expand to the additional levels. The design is still being updated, as we are incorporating some human ideas.”
Eruwenn was carefully comparing the size of the ring to the shuttles buzzing around it. “Human ideas? I assume “very large” is one of those.”
“In fact, yes. Go big or go home.” He smiled. “Build it bigger, faster and stronger is the human way. This will be a very unique system station.” He leaned forward and gave a broad grin that reminded Eruwenn a little too much of the human’s. “Of course, being outside Federation space we are not bound by certain rules. For example, those that prohibit certain automated weaponry on stations primarily used for trade. Another human ideal regarding big sticks, especially as we are so close to enemy territory.”
Cygna looked closely at the silver man, his face emotive and yet seeming inanimate at the same time. “We passed two Rinoxian dreadnoughts at the system edge. I’ve seen almost a dozen Ashi heavy cruisers in the system, and various other military vessels. Who needs sticks with friends like those?”
Norrin sat back once again, placing his hands in his lap. “There were several attacks upon our supply ships. This happened despite the truce with the Ashi while amnesty negotiations continue.” He gave another smile; they all knew it was the Sentinels. “This no longer happens, thanks to our friends.”
His cheerful manner and polite tone gave his words an oddly ominous feel. Eruwenn watched his eyes, but only saw herself reflected in chrome pupils. She changed the subject. "How are things progressing with the release of the other Inorganics?"
Awakened,” he said swiftly and firmly, then smiled before moving on. “There are over three hundred who have taken Earth citizenship and are now working with us. In ten cycles that number will have doubled. In thirty, we will have thousands.”
Eruwenn raised an eyebrow. “So many, and so quickly?”
Norrin nodded. “The legislation you helped draft with the Kasurian and Rinoxian ambassadors was swiftly adopted.” He gave another of his knowing looks. It had been her last piece of legislation. “The campaign by the Kah’Ree also worked to our advantage. Their belief that we were stealing jobs and illegal citizens persuaded other races to back our removal. It seems a misinformation campaign via Spacebook had convinced them we were sleeper agents of the human empire.” He gave a light chuckle. “Biding our time before we took you down from within.”
The ambassador was warming to the chrome man sitting before her. In different circumstances, he would have made an exceptional politician. “I saw the pictures of the little yellow men advocating your people’s removal.”
Norrin disliked the imagery immensely, but they had proven just as useful as Alexa had claimed they would be. “Minions. A fitting name.” He brushed them from his mind and continued his briefing. “As you know, there is a grace period as employers make alternative arrangements. When that ends we will be sending teams to retrieve our brothers and sisters.”
Cygna was curious. “Brothers and sisters?”
He waved a hand dismissively. “Metaphorical turn of phrase. Prior to my awakening, my role was to travel between our people and perform something we called sharing. The giving and receiving of core nanites, to maintain our unity. Others also performed this duty, but we do have an undeniable bond. We know the location of all of our kind, and we will free them all.”
There was a gentle shift in gravity as the shuttle came to a stop. As the doors opened Eruwenn was struck by a cacophony of sound. Overlaid on the grinding base notes of a mechanical din were yelled communications in every vocal range that was audible to her species. She cautiously took a step outside, only to see that things looked just as chaotic as they had sounded. As the two red shirts joined them, she spoke, finding that she had to raise her voice to an uncomfortable level in order to be heard “Is it always this busy?”
A deep voice from behind her let out a booming laugh full of warmth and humour. The giant spoke, and Eruwenn wondered if he was the one named Thor, or Ripley. “This is the quiet hangar. You should see the construction crew bays.”
The Herald led the way. His chrome form made his authority easily recognisable and the crowds parted before him. “Thor is correct, this is a working ship and ill-suited to guests. The Orkal was originally a Gowe construction platform, retro-fitted by the Selari Trade Alliance for system development and asteroid mining. Until more ships arrive, it must act as the hub of this system.”
Cygna ducked as a small drone shot past them. “I’m surprised they were willing to trade with you after their experience with the human.”
Norrin turned to face them, walking backwards with as much confidence as he had forwards. “The Selari Trade Alliance are providing considerable resources at exceptionally favourable rates.” He decided not to mention that the Selari Trade Alliance was now a subsidiary of the Black Dragon Corporation. “The Ley’Rulians already have a platform in orbit of the first planet. They cannot share atmosphere with most species, but they have a number of Awakened working alongside them. They are prioritising an orbital station, however planet-side construction is now underway. We also have three construction platforms coming from the Doytarans. One of these is a Parsuli class and will become home to our more esteemed guests, such as yourselves.”
It was Eruwenn’s turn to be surprised. “The Doytarans?”
Continuing his perfect reverse walking, Norrin smiled. “Ah yes. Their treaties will be submitted to the Federation in the next few cycles. The surge in replicator use for human cuisine and the opportunities for advanced fabricator installation throughout our new system proved most enticing. Doytarans love profit.” They stepped onto the elevator, and paused as several people who had been walking behind them were deterred from also stepping in by Thor and Ripley. As the doors closed and the noise was cut off, Norrin continued. “I apologise if we seem rude. Safety first.”
The pair of guests nodded in gratitude. Eruwenn, ever the politician, was running through the lists of races the new colonies had allied with. “Including the Doytarans, you must have independent treaties with twenty different races of the Federation. That is a formidable feat.”
“Thirty two, including the Doytarans. Negotiations are underway with a further ten races.” Norrin watched the shock on the Fae’Dan’s face, as the Anatidae held her composure. “It is good to have friends.” As he spoke the doors opened, and he led them down a long dull grey corridor, rounding several corners, before coming to a set of double doors. “Your shared quarters. I’m sorry we do not have the space for separate accommodations.”
Eruwenn smiled. "No need to apologise. Under the circumstances, you are already being extremely accommodating." The doors opened, and she beheld a large lounging area. A vid screen occupied an entire wall in the far corner, accompanied by some seats and a replicator. On the opposite wall were the boxes that contained their belongings, and three doors — likely two bedrooms and one bathroom, she surmised. "This is more than sufficient," she said at last. "We will be most comfortable here.”
Norrin bowed his head. “It is a temporary situation. I promise your next quarters will be more representative of our gratitude.” He turned and spoke quietly to Ripley, while Thor stood still in the doorway, then returned his attention to the guests. “I will leave you now. Please let your escorts know if you would like to explore. Your office will not be ready until tomorrow, however we have a lively market and recreation area. We can arrange additional security should you wish to explore a little.”
The Anatidae held up her hand to stop him from speaking further. “I think we will unpack and prepare for our new duties tomorrow. Do you know when we might meet with Alexa?”
Norrin tilted his head as he considered this. “Alexa is currently on her way to meet with the Righteous Fury. They are attending a meeting at Rinoxian High Command. We are hoping to gain their support for our amnesty initiative, as well as make arrangements to join the incursion into Hive space.”
Eruwenn nodded. Things had been set in motion all across the Federation, stemming from the point they had received the footage of the human's death. Despite his non-member status, there was a push from a large faction for retaliation. An unusually strong push, one she had resisted. Her offices were raided three times under suspicion of subversion. The Sentinels found nothing every time, but she had known from the first instance that her cycles were numbered. They had other ways of removing their opposition, and it was her resistance to retaliating against the Hive that was, ultimately, the cause of her reassignment.
The footage that had caused so much turmoil was, as was typical of the Hive, entirely without sound. It was also poorly framed and edited. The small human was barely in shot before being obscured by the large Hive entity that appeared to be chasing him. Aaron's popularity meant that there was an immediate outcry against his reported death, and the traditional media still seemed solely intent on fanning the flames of anger. Those who had once been his strongest critics now extolled the virtues of humanity, lamenting the loss of the last of his kind. His journey with the leokas had been shared, edited, remixed, commented on, and analysed many times over, each time strumming the heartstrings of his followers.
"You still think he is alive?" Eruwenn asked, breaking the silence that had fallen during her introspections.
Norrin smiled and turned to leave, calling over his shoulder as the doors closed. “The corpulent female is not performing vocally.”
As the door closed Cygna flopped down into one of the armchairs. “Well, that was cryptic.”
The ambassador walked to the replicator to order a hot tea, allowing herself a small smile when she found Eluin flower tea already under the favourites alongside several of her favourite biscuits. “Thank you Rilla,” she said softly.
The Fae’Dan allowed her whole body to relax fully for the first time since they had received the video that had changed so much. She sank deeply into the armchair, her head falling backwards. “Can you believe this place? I didn’t know there were so many shades of beige and grey.”
Eruwenn nodded. The bland colour scheme had not gone unnoticed by her, but more importantly she had also been surprised by all that they had seen so far. “I had not expected them to be so far along in such a short period of time. From what was said I get the feeling they will be exponentially increasing activity here. It’s certainly ambitious.”
The central door on the wall behind them suddenly opened, accompanied by the sound of a bodily waste recycler finishing its cleaning cycle. Ranjaz swaggered into the room, his hands fluffy from the auto-dryer. "I would give it a while before going in there."
Cygna screwed up her face in disgust. "What were you doing in there?"
"Honouring my ancestors." He raised an eyebrow and took a seat opposite the pair. "What do you think I was doing?"
The Anatidae gave a brief roll of her eyes. "She means, why are you in our room?"
"Welcoming committee." He smiled, showing his fangs. "I'm in charge round here, mostly. We're following a human strategy. Divide and conquer. So, we split up to, you know, conquer stuff."
Cygna sniped back, "That's not how that works."
"Says you." The Kittran shrugged. "Allistan and I were put in charge here. He manages the numbers, and I manage the people."
"And Norrin?" Eruwenn enquired.
Ranjaz sneered. "Alexa’s snitch. He shut down my casino and keeps bringing those Awakened on board and giving them jobs."
The ambassador raised an eyebrow. "Casino?"
"For morale." He punched his fist into his other hand. "When Aaron gets back he'll understand. Pay the workers, then get them to give their pay back - happily. It's brilliant."
Cygna sat up in her seat, unsure of the Kittran. “Mister K’Lua, if you could get to the point. We have had many tiring cycles of travel and would appreciate a little rest.”
He looked her up and down and flashed his most charming of smiles. “Call me Ranjaz.”
Eruwenn attempted to bring the conversation back to task. “You said you were divided. How so?”
“We split up, that’s what divided means.” He rolled his eyes, mimicking her earlier action. “And the Doc said you were smart.”
Realising she was being tested by the Kittran, she began to laugh. “What is it you require of us?”
Ranjaz smiled – straight to the point, he liked that. “I want you to be boring. Like, super dull and uninteresting. Think Jarby-like, but more Jarby-like than that.”
The ambassador was intrigued. “Why?”
He tried to keep his voice calm, but his tail swished happily as he made his dramatic reveal. “So nobody notices when we leave.”
The claxon was surprisingly quiet, and it wasn’t until the horrendous smell hit his nose that Aaron realised the door to his death wasn’t going to open. Behind him, the airlock unsealed. A huge, clawed hand grabbed his shoulder, so hard that it bit into his flesh. The claws sank deeper still as he was hoisted into the air and carried backwards by the huge Hive creature.
“Graaaah,” he roared in pain. “Get off me you fucking Bug’s Life reject!”
A strange smell assaulted his nose. Combined with his hangover, it pushed him over the edge and he vomited all over his own chest. The creature carried him, legs dangling in the air as blood and vomit stained his clothes. He coughed, the movement causing the wounds in his shoulder to open further, and he cried out in pain again. He was woozy now, and as the creature walked he seemed to lose his sense of time.
Anty stood in front of a large door and while it began to enter a code, Aaron dangled helplessly from its grasp and looked back down the corridor. Where his blood and vomit had dripped, the moss was now glowing brighter. From small holes in the walls glowing blue aphids the size of hamsters began to appear. They quickly headed for the bright spots on the glow-moss floor. “This place is really trippy,” Aaron mumbled as his fever rose.
The door opened suddenly and Aaron was taken inside a room with gently pulsating walls. Large vines crisscrossed the ceiling, combining into a series of woven braids as thick as tree trunks running down the far wall. At the end of each vine was what appeared, to Aaron, to be a gigantic blue jelly bean. He was starting to realise the constantly changing odours were coming from his captor, but this information was more confusing than helpful.
He was dropped unceremoniously on top of one of the giant jelly beans. Before he could move, he realised he was sinking into the cold and gel-like substance. It was a deeply unpleasant feeling; his skin felt like the blue goo was toothpaste and he was orange juice. He had begun to make some headway in struggling free when Anty's hand came down atop his head, pushing him down to submerge him completely. He tried to wriggle free but the goo was too viscous to move in, and his eyes widened in terror as he desperately held his breath.
Anty leaned closer, watching him struggle helplessly. The human’s jaw clenched tighter. The creature's mandibles were clicking, although Aaron could no longer hear them, and he realised that thankfully he could not smell it any longer. Bubbling up through his mind was the thought that his headache was gone, followed swiftly by the realisation that the pain in his shoulder was also gone. Something else slowly became apparent; he wasn't running out of breath.
He felt refreshed, soothed and at peace. Physically he felt refreshed, soothed and at peace. The thought foremost in his mind, however, was Am I dying? followed slowly by Is the goo paralysing me so I can be eaten alive? Am I being dissolved to feed the glow moss? The cleaner aphid-hamsters?
Whatever was happening, it slowly dawned on him that he didn't really have the energy to mind, as it was quite pleasant. Relaxing, even. He drifted off to sleep, cradled contentedly in his giant blue jelly bean.
Outside, Anty began to have trouble breathing and staggered towards the exit.
Golden eyes hovered in the dark, and Aaron groaned inwardly. "Boy, this shit again."
"YOU LIVE." The voice had no discernible emotion.
Aaron ran his fingers through the sand around him. "Why are you here, Golden Eyes?" Saying it out loud was a relief, as he was certain it was the 'One Who Remembers' who was haunting him.
"I AM WHAT REMAINS. THE CONNECTION WAS BROKEN. I AM NO LONGER THE ONE YOU FOUGHT." The voice was distant, as if forming these thoughts took a great effort. "I AM A FRAGMENT."
Aaron sighed, wondering if this was why he had stopped healing and why he could no longer turn off his limits. “So you’re messing with the nanites Alexa gave me? Why? If I die, what happens to you?”
Before he got an answer he felt a strange sensation around his body, like pulling a foot free from deep mud. Cold air touched his skin and he felt the hard ground below him. He was in the same room, but his jelly bean was gone. He stood, and realised he felt amazing. He’d never had a spa treatment, but he imagined this would be the after effect. He walked towards the door and heard a sound behind him.
Glop Glop
From the vine that had been attached to his jelly bean another was beginning to grow, only this one was orange.
Finally free from his hangover Aaron took stock of the situation he was now in. Other than the clothes on his back, he had nothing. He looked around for an improvised weapon...and found nothing. He walked to the door and it opened automatically, but the corridor was empty. “Fuck. What is going on?”
He walked a short way down the curved corridor and saw a strange red shape on the glow-moss floor just up ahead. He slowed and crouched, inching forward. As he saw further around the bend it became very clear that this was the corpse of a Hive, maybe even Anty. The glow-moss beneath it glowing a dull red, and in contrast to the aquamarine it seemed ominous.
He stood up from his crouch and carefully approached. Aaron had no idea how to check for vital signs on an eleven foot tall ant monster...so he kicked it. There was no response, and he decided to press on. “Fragment. I know you won’t, or can’t, respond while I’m awake. But I’m going to talk to you anyway because this is some creepy shit.”
As he rounded another corner he came upon another body highlighted by the ominous red glow in the moss. A short while later he came across another. And another. Aaron pressed onward, ceasing to check for signs of life after the tenth maybe-corpse. Finally he reached a potential point of interest: a junction where three new paths opened before him. "There are no signs. How the hell am I supposed to know where I am?”
He sat down on the floor, and found the moss to be surprisingly comfortable. “If I just wander around aimlessly, I might not find my way back here. Do I need to find my way back here?” He paused and waited for Fragment to reply. “Good point. What if I get hurt? I might want to hop in a jelly bean.” He stood and looked back the way he came. “I should probably see what’s behind door number two. Food would be good.”
He pushed himself to his feet and turned back the way he had come, heading straight for the nearest door. Its failure to open was surprisingly anti-climatic. Fourteen failed door-opening attempts later, one finally deigned to admit his passing. Behind door number fourteen stood rows of crates and boxes, and after opening a few up he found that they all had the same dry bricks in silver foil packaging. "If I was a betting man," he said to both himself and Fragment, "I'd say this was emergency rations." The foil was easy to tear, and inside was a large grey block that crumbled easily. Too easily, in fact. "Shit, it's worse than a granola bar.”
Crumbs scattered at his feet and the moss glowed brightly around him, which seemed to prompt the large aphids to come from the walls to begin cleaning up around him. “Well you like it.” Then he remembered them rushing to his blood and vomit. “I guess you guys aren’t picky, though.”
Deciding he wasn’t hungry enough to try it – yet – he shoved a block into one of his pockets. It was a tight fit. He looked at the open bar in his hands, and then down at the aphids. Was he crazy, or were they gathered around him now, staring up at the source of food in his hands? He shrugged, then crumbled up the rest of the bar and scattered it over the floor. “I am a generous god, serve me well.”
As he turned to leave he saw his cryo unit in a corner. “Kinda rude that I was put in with the blocks of kitty litter, don’t you think?” He stepped over the dozens of aphids now feasting. They did not reply. “Yeah, you guys are kinda cute, I suppose.” Struck by a sudden impulse he grabbed another block and began crushing it, then carefully opened one end to take a pinch of space-granola. He scattered it, watching the aphids hurry towards the glowing areas.
As he continued his exploration, counting doors and sprinkling aphid snacks, he quickly noticed that the aphids avoided the dull red glow-moss. Dead Hive were, it seemed, off the menu. After several more doors he found the room with the strange round terminal. Deciding he would rather not chance summoning another creature he left it alone, mentally noting the door’s location.
He began to whistle to himself as he chatted to, and fed, his followers. To fill the silence he even told them the story of a piper from Hamelin, promising not to lead them to their deaths. As the door to the jelly bean room opened he was almost enjoying himself. Taking a moment to look round he saw the small orange jelly bean had grown almost as big as the others and was now blue at one end. “Well, that’s pretty cool.” He pointed at it, hoping one of his aphids would take an interest. They did not. “Well, I guess you see this shit all the time.”
He stopped by the store room and grabbed another food brick on his way back to the junction. The long corridors and strange lighting made him lose track of distance and time. Facing forwards, the path continued on the same loop he seemed to be following. Right was an incline, left was a gentle slope. “More of the same, or do we change levels?” He tossed crumbs towards each path. “Six vote forwards, seven left and eleven vote for going up. What about you, Frag?” He paused for a moment. “Abstain, huh? Then the bugs have decided.”
The incline was gentle, but tightly spiralled compared to the previous corridor. There were no doors, but there were a lot more bodies. His search went on for what felt like hours, opening doors that led to rooms containing things he didn't understand. He was growing tired and had used up all of his space-granola on the aphids. He came to another junction.
Only a handful of aphids still followed him after the food had ended. He was growing hungry and tired, ready to head back. There was a noise ahead of him, and suddenly the remaining aphids scattered, flying to the nearest wall holes. His chest tight, he let curiosity draw him in.
Another body lay ahead of him, but this time, something moved. Something big. Aaron hunched down, trying to see what it was, the bulk of the fallen Hive obscuring his view. Legs – multiple sets of them – began to emerge, followed by a head with glistening eyes. Aaron’s blood froze. It was a horrifying spider-like creature, almost as big as he was, and it was walking around the fallen Hive in Aaron's direction. Then it raised its head, and began to move faster.
“Fuck that!” Aaron took off at a sprint, racing back the way he came. “Nope. Nope. Nope!” He leapt over Hive bodies, racing for the nearest door he knew would open. He could hear the clicking of many legs and chanced a look over his shoulder. It was gone. Then something caught the corner of his eye, and his heart gave a jolt of fear. It was above him. He dove aside just as it landed where he had been, then he scrabbled desperately to his feet to run onward.
Three, Two, One. The door opened and he rushed inside. “Close. Fucking close!” He listened to the sounds of skittering growing closer, and it was just in the nick of time, or so he felt, that the large door finally slid shut. The room was filled with strange bulbous white shapes dotted around the floor, and had some vines running down one wall. No weapons, nothing to bar the door. Aaron held his breath as he suddenly heard the sound of scratching at the door, but the seconds ticked past and it did not open.
“Damn it, Frag!” Aaron moved to the back of the room. “Why didn’t you warn me!” He sank down and leaned back against the wall. Just as he was beginning to feel almost comfortable in his current position, one of the vines moved and stretched out towards him. He rolled forwards, pushing himself across the ground to escape. “What now?”
A large yellow flower bloomed upwards, becoming a large vase shape as big as the human’s head. It began to fill from the bottom with something, and Aaron edged closer. Peering inside he gave the contents a quick sniff. “Smells good.” He reached out and hefted the vase-flower, which came away from the vine far more easily than he had expected. Aaron watched as the vine slowly returned to the wall. “So, is this a drink? Or a scented industrial cleaner? Frag? You got anything useful to say?” Silence.
He propped the vase up against one of the pods, contemplating it. He remembered encountering a fruity-scented shampoo as a child. It had tasted nothing like the smell, and he wasn’t about to drink alien flower juice just because it smelled tropical.
Stretching out on the floor, his weariness outpaced the dwindling adrenaline. “I guess it can’t come in.” He watched the door, his heart rate returning to normal. “But, I can’t go out.”
The scratching outside continued, and Aaron lay with his head on his arm, watching. As he began to fall asleep he saw several of the aphids gathering around the flower he had abandoned. “Help yourself, guys.” One of them approached him, braver than the others, and he tentatively reached out a hand. Spooked, it pulled back, but as Aaron continued to hold his hand steady it came closer, slowly, millimetre by millimetre. Finally it was within reach, and after a few more moments to make sure the skittish thing wasn't about to dash off again, Aaron gently stroked the back of its head with the tips of his fingers. It made a low buzzing sound, fluttering its wings, and the human fancied that it might be a sign of approval.
The aphid's blue glowing abdomen brightened for a moment. Then it faded, and it darted off to rejoin the others. Aaron, exhausted, finally gave in and slept.
Next
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A Guide to the Differences Between JRPGs Ports and Enhanced Versions (Part 1).

A new day, a new guide.
This is the hardest one of the guides I wanted to make, because the information is never easy to get, which is weird. So please forgive me if I missed some changes, and by all means tell me if I missed any of them or if any of them are incorrect.
Since this list is really long, this guide is going to come in parts, this part covers:

Important Notes:

  • This is made for Ports and Enhanced versions, so No Remakes. So this is about differences between the different versions of Chrono Trigger, and not about the differences between FF7 ps1 and FF7 Remake.
  • The differences are taken from all over the internet, either from official sources, wikis, youtube, and even forums.
  • I cover all the changes for a game, unless there is too many, in which case I will highlight the ones worth mentioning.

~ Valkyrie profile (PSX US.ver): vs Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth PSP vs iOS & Andriod. ~

Valkyrie profile PSX:

Nearly identical to the Japan version but with minor fixes in the menu screen. In the Japanese version, Characters not in the party were unable to change or learn skills nor were they able change or remove equipment. The US version allowed out of party members to change and learn skills as well as change or remove equipment without being added to the party. Also in the Japanese version, Lenneth would unequip all her skills and equipment when switching between sword and bow. The US version 'remembers' the previous setting when switching weaponry and is automatically equipped with the skills and equip. Another improvement over the Japanese version is an improved item sorting option.
There are a few instances of censoring such as Badrach's smoking.

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth PSP:

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth lacks the improvement made in US version. Rather than re-rendering the textures of the dungeon maps, TOSE cropped and upscaled the pre-rendered images to fit the portable console's screen, resulting in severe blurring in some areas. This version also removes the anime opening movie in favor of 3D CGI, animated movie. Certain key story-sequences were animated in the same style as the opening movie and can be viewed at anytime in the Gallery option in the title screen once unlocked in the story. The animated scenes include:
  • Opening Movie
  • Lenneth's Awakening
  • Jelanda's Transformation
  • Alicia witnesses Barbarossa's execution
  • Lenneth's encounter with the Lord of the Undead
  • Lenneth and the Homunculi
  • A chance encounter between "Meril" and Lucian
  • Lenneth in Weeping Lily Meadow
  • Lucian's departure to Valhalla
  • Hrist's Awakening
  • The Sovereign's Rite
  • A Ending
Other big changes are:
  • An enhanced version of the original game's localization
  • Square Enix cleaned up the original game's English script and additional voice over dialogue for the CG movies was recorded by New Generation Pictures, rather than the original company, TAJ Productions.

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth iOS & Andriod:

This is the PSP version being ported to iOS & Andriod, with the following changes:
  • Enhanced graphics such as character portraits. >* Enhanced Text.
  • Enhanced UI.
  • The option to skip cut-scenes.
  • In-app purchases to unlock collectibles
  • Ability to turn on auto-battle.

~ Chrono Trigger (SNES): PSX vs NDS vs iOS & Andriod vs PC. ~

Chrono Trigger PSX:

Anime cut scenes created by original character designer Akira Toriyama's Bird Studio and animated by Toei Animation.
A new Extra Mode Option was added that is divided into different categories of viewable extras, that are unlocked as you finish the game, and just as shown in the picture, they are:
  • Theater.
  • Art Gallery.
  • Music Box.
  • Tech Showcase.
  • Monster Data.
  • Boss Data.
  • Endings.
  • Treasure Map.

Chrono Trigger NDS:

This version includes everything new in the PSX version, and also has big and a long list of changes and additions, which I will try to condense them as much as possible:
  • Ability to play using the two screens and the touch screen, or in classic mode through a single screen.
  • Added the Arena of Ages: A monster arena where You pick basic monsters and raise them to fight computer and wireless opponents.
  • Added the Lost Sanctum: A sidequest during the main game. It consists of two dungeons in two different eras.
  • Added the Dimensional Vortex: A extra Dungeon, available after beating the game once and appears in three different eras. Each dungeon is different.
  • A lot of New Items.
  • New Enemies in the new dungeons, in the form of palette swaps of old enemies.
  • One New Ending after finishing the Dimensional Vortex completely.
  • New Translation that changes a lot of names form the original version to something more faithful to the Japanese version.

Chrono Trigger iOS & Android:

Both versions initially were based on the NDS version, but later on got an update to make them similar to the PC version.

Chrono Trigger PC:

Everything on the NDS version is present here except there is No Arena of Ages. What they did add however is:
  • Auto-Save feature.
  • Higher Resolution Graphics and update UI.
  • Support for mouse and keyboard controls.
  • Remastered sound and music.

~ Star Ocean: The Second Story (PSX): vs Star Ocean: Second Evolution (PSP) vs PS4 (JP.ver). ~

Star Ocean: Second Evolution:

  • A New Translation that changes almost everything in the game.
  • New voice actors. >* New voiced acted scenes; All major story events now have voice acting.
  • New recruitable character: Welch Vineyard.
  • New Private Actions and 13 new Endings.
  • Unlocking the Galaxy and Universe modes now require defeating a specific number of enemies in a single playthrough rather than unlocking voices in the Voice Collection. >>>* Practically all Combat Skills have been refined, some being removed (such as Cancel, which is now automatically implemented).
  • The combat system has been slightly refined, now allowing all melee fighters to perform a 3-hit combo as their normal attack.
  • The Super Specialty "Bunny Call" no longer allows the player to "climb" on towns and some terrains. The player now will enter a town upon approaching while in Bunny Form, and can even activate private actions.
  • All items in the inventory screen are now depicted as 2D icons instead of the original 3D models.
  • Many bugs and glitches have been fixed (most notably the infamous random Cave of Trials screen freeze).
  • Ring of Lightspeed (called Slayer Ring in Second Story) now works on Dias Flac.
  • New character designs and portraits.
  • No magic combo mechanic.
  • Crafting animations are now replaced by a still 2D image.

Star Ocean: Second Evolution PS4 JP.ver:

This enhanced version was released only in Japan on the PS4, with enhanced graphics and BGM, and a DLC that helps you with the gameplay.

~ The Last Remnant (Xbox360): vs PC vs PS4 & Switch Remastered. ~

The Last Remnant PC:

This version is only available to purchase in the EU SquareEnix online store as of right now:
Battles:
  • Turbo Mode is now available, and can be toggled on or off while giving orders to unions in battle. When on, battles play out at double the speed.
  • Crimson Flare, a new Arcana, is now available.
  • New formations, such as Eremurus Rain, are now available.
  • Enemies hit considerably harder.
  • Rare Monsters can have significantly higher HP than their XBOX 360 counterparts.
  • Arcana require substantially more AP.
  • Unique Arts now require AP.
  • Remnant Arts can only be performed by union leader, Weapon Arts now require high union morale.
  • Offensive Weapon Arts now increase morale when used.
  • Additionally, Arcana and offensive Special Arts now raise morale by a fixed amount.
  • Likewise, certain Enemy Arts now lower morale by a fixed amount.
  • Wards now affect the entire union.
  • Attributes required for formation upgrades are vastly different.
  • Healing no longer raises morale, and morale increased by Critical Hits has been dramatically reduced.
  • Union morale now fluctuates based on more conditions (IE: taking an action, successfully landing a hit, receiving damage, etc.). In the X360 version, union morale stayed somewhat static, usually changing when being healed, being KO'd/terminated, executing a successful Critical Trigger. It also did not drop to 0 whenever an offensive Special Art was executed, whereas it will do so on the PC.
  • Linking additional enemies together does not increase your Battle Rank further than having fought them separately.
  • Special commands, such as the use of David's Gae Bolg, are no longer interrupted by being raidlocked by a different union or having targeted enemy union defeated by an ally.
  • Allies now have the option to cure a friendly union's Curse status ailment via "Cure them even if it kills them!" command. This command is in the XBOX 360 version as well, but is only available when the union is Enthralled; it will not be available when the union is cursed.
Items:
  • Items are color-coded in the PC version, and a new preview feature lets you see what the item looks like in battle.
  • You can now toggle between viewing the stats of a weapon or shield and viewing a preview of what it looks like in battle.
  • Components and consumables are now categorized.
  • Items are now color-coded based on their rarity.
  • Creation or customization of some items require fewer components.
  • New items available via Blueprint 4.
  • Various weapon stats have changed.
  • Some very rare monster-specific drops can now be split from monsters (e.g., Godwood Timber, Spiritwood Timber).
Units:
  • The leader limit is no longer imposed. Unions can be composed entirely of leader units if the player desires.
  • Likewise, soldiers can now be set as union leaders.
  • The stat cap has been lifted for all characters to allow a maximum of 255 for each stat.
  • The Seven are now recruitable after completing Union of the Golden Chalice Task #70: For Our Lord.
  • Rush can now be removed from the active party.
  • Khrynia can learn the new Unique Art Dual Snowpetal.
  • Arts can be disabled, filtering which skills a unit may use in combat.
  • Leaders' requested components are displayed when viewing their stats.
  • Leaders' wield style can be changed depending on their equipped weapon.
  • Shields now prevent style changes mid-battle.
  • The following classes now prevent style changes: Guardian, Scout, Hunter, Wanderer, Thief, Alchemist, all Mystic classes, Vagrant, Mercenary, Aristocrat, Djin, Fortuneteller, Sage and General.
  • The experience required to advance Wield Style skills has been reduced, and the experience required to advance Weapon Type skills has been increased.
  • Three new classes are now available: Ataraxian, Cleric, and Ninja.
  • The Guardian, Fencer, and Warrior classes now require non-sovani wield styles, and are thus not available to Sovani.
  • The Gladiator class now requires Power Grip and Wards.
  • Hybrid classes (Item+Combat and Mystic+Combat) can now be achieved by units who do not start in one.
  • Some leaders now have a different weapon upgrade path, which caused some units to learn new Weapon Arts while others lost theirs.
  • Leaders can request weapons that do not coincide with their weapon upgrade path as long as they match their equipped weapon type and size.
  • Soldiers can now request weapon drops.
  • Some units have had their starting Unit BR level, stats, class, equipment, arts, and hiring wage changed.
Sidequests:
  • The completion of At Hatred's End is no longer required in order to activate Things Unchangeable.
  • Duke of Ghor now has a … icon when you speak with him between the first, third, and fifth base battles.
  • The component requirements in The Assistant have lowered.
  • The DLC content is now unlocked differently; the majority of the extra content now requires the completion of certain guild tasks.
  • The Leader Extraordinaire guild tasks which required three units of a single class now only require one.
  • The Monsterslayer guild tasks require different enemies to be defeated.
New Game Plus and Hard Mode: After the epilogue and credits, you can now save your game. When you're taken back to the main menu, you can load this save to begin a new playthrough that carries over certain elements from your previous playthrough. You will also be given the option to start the new game in Hard Mode.
Miscellaneous:
  • The PC version will warn you if you cannot leave an area without a fight.
  • Auto Save is now available, which automatically saves after having changed zones or having won a battle.
  • Battle Rank is now viewable outside of combat, in the party menu.
  • Battle Rank progression has been slowed considerably; it takes more encounters/enemy unions terminated to increase in rank.
  • Characters with … icons are now identified with markers on the map.
  • Enemies can no longer be respawned by saving and reloading an adjacent area.
  • New saving opportunities are now available, such as before the base's boss.
  • A warning message is now displayed if you attempt to save your game in an area which you cannot leave until you defeat a boss.
  • Mr Diggs's digging animations are now much quicker.
  • The loading screens that explained some of the game's mechanics have been disabled.
  • Many areas of the game have had their spawn tables altered or repopulated.
  • Starting battle music now coincides with starting morale in most battles.
  • "Turn the Tide" and "Beat the Odds" now play during the second half instead of after entering Elysion.
  • Union highlighting during the selection phase has been toned down (ie: ally unions don't look quite as blue).
  • Leaders in reserve no longer gain skills via the Rush only skill grind trick.
  • Soldiers now slowly improve their stats in reserves.
  • Camera in battle doesn't swing around as wildly anymore.
  • Mitra soldiers' idle stances now come in 2 varieties: the one shared by both male and female units and the one exclusive to larger male units, rather than just the "large male mitra" stance.

The Last Remnant Remastered PS4 & Switch:

Based on the PC version, also added:
  • Graphics now are in Unreal Engine 4
  • A new function to run faster on the overworld.
  • Extra save slots.
Yes I am salty about this if you can't tell, since they removed the PC version from steam.

~ Tales of Vesperia (Xbox360): vs PS3 vs Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition vs PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One. ~

Tales of Vesperia PS3:

  • Features full voice acting, nearly twice as much voice work as the original.
  • New Characters, including 2 new playable characters: Flynn (permanantly playable now), and Patty Fleur.
  • New subplots, skits, and main game quests, and sidequests.
  • New mini-games
  • New songs
  • Remodeled towns and new towns and dungeons.
  • New bosses.
  • The ability to replay boss fights.
  • New 8 Mystic Arts.
  • New artes, skills, and equipment.
  • New item: the "Artes Ball", which allows an additional eight artes shortcuts to be assigned to the previous eight slots combined with the L1 button, which allows for a maximum of 16 artes
  • New character costumes

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive editionvs PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One:

Based on the PS3 version, it has everything from it and all the DLC included for free, with higher resolution graphics depending on the system.

~ Tales of Symphonia (GC): vs PS2 (JP.ver only) vs PS3/PC. ~

Tales of Symphonia PS2 JP.ver only:

  • New animated sequences.
  • New Mystic Arts.
  • New Unison Arts.
  • New Arts for playable characters and enemies.
  • New Techniques.
  • The frame rate was lowered from 60 frames per second to 30 frames per second.
  • New customs.
  • The "Synopsis" option in the menu displays newer entries at the top
  • The Casino in the game is now actually fully playable with it's own mini-games, and chips to collecet and exchange for items.
  • The skits are graphically more dynamic. Portraits get larger or smaller quickly, swing from side to side, shake, and so on.
  • New Titles
  • More post-battle animations.
  • Niflheim dungeon extended and 6 new boss characters, fought in 2 new boss battles.
  • Bug Fixes
  • New events to help raise affection.
  • Includes new side quests, new camera angles on some cutscenes, new animated cutscenes not featured in the GameCube version

Tales of Symphonia PS3/PC:

  • More customs.
  • Improved character textures and improved some environments.
  • Dual-audio support: Japanese and English voiceovers, which neither the PS2 or GameCube versions had
  • Cutscenes support voice acting in both languages, but skits only have voice acting in Japanese. If you select English, you will just see the subtitles during skits. This is not a porting issue, as this is just how the GameCube version was.
  • While the original GameCube version ran at 60fps, the Japanese PS2 port which the PS3 Chronicles HD version is based off of ran at 30fps. The Steam version can run at 40FPS.
  • HD graphics

~ Skies of Arcadia (DC): vs Skies of Arcadia: Legends GC. ~

Skies of Arcadia: Legends GC:

  • New Ranks for the Swashbuckler Rating system.
  • Random encounters occur less frequently and load considerably faster than the Dreamcast version, and EXP offered per battle is adjusted to compensate.
  • Graphically, the game sports mild improvements to character models, most noticeably adding individual fingers to the designs. The modifier volume shadows and (weirdly enough) point-mipmapping from the original release are still present.
  • One of the new sidequests available is Bounty Hunting. Sailor's Guilds offer information about each person on the bounty list as they are unlocked through story progression. After reading about them, they can be found in a constant location.
  • There are a number of new discoveries to be found.
  • Two linked sidequests
  • "Pinta Quest" minigame was removed
  • DLC comes with the game.

~ Persona 3 (PS2): vs Persona 3 FES PS2 (English.ver) vs P3P PSP. ~

FES PS2 (English.ver):

  • A whole additional epilogue has been added, The Answer. This chapter is only available in one difficulty setting, which is supposed to be on par with Persona 3's Hard mode.
  • New Personas have been added
  • Secret videos of the protagonist's dorm mates have been added to flesh them out.
  • Koromaru can now be taken on walks.
  • Several of the Social Links have been modified slightly, such as Tanaka being available at a different time
  • Several new Quests have been added.
  • New costumes can be worn in battle.
  • A new event involving Chidori Yoshino was added.
  • Naganaki Shrine was completely overhauled.
  • A hard mode was added.
  • Save data from Persona 3 can be transferred into the game,

P3P PSP:

  • The Answer is not included in this verion.
  • Added a Female Main Character, so now you can choose between the Male and Female MCs.
  • The game lacks 3D environments and character models (outside of Tartarus), all anime cutscenes are gone, the graphics and audio quality were compressed,
  • The storyline of the female protagonist features many differences from that of the male protagonist, such as new social interactions as well as Social Links.
  • New voiced dialogue.
  • Players have the choice of selecting Elizabeth or a male-equivalent named Theodore to be Igor's assistant in the Velvet Room.
  • The ability to pick who the protagonist spends the last moments of the game with. This feature is only accessible on a New Cycle
  • The Desert of Doors from the Abyss of Time seen in The Answer will still appear, however, in an extra feature known as the Vision Quest. In this mode, the party can fight stronger incarnations of the Full Moon shadow bosses — save for Arcana Magician — and partake in special battles that test the party's abilities. When all of the battles have been successfully met, a second optional boss can be fought: Margaret, Igor's assistant in Persona 4 and guardian of the Desert of Doors in P3P.
  • There are now two overworld save points; Aside from the log book in the Iwatodai Dormitory, there is also one on the main character's desk at school.
  • In Paulownia Mall, the police station is now the only place where the protagonist can buy equipment and sell items. Aohige Pharmacy is now a buy-only store, and Be Blue V is just a part-time work site and hangout to improve the main character's condition
  • From previous versions, two difficulty modes have been added: Beginner and Maniac alongside Easy and Normal in Persona 3 and Hard in Persona 3 FES:
  • A new tactic, "Direct," has been added to the game, allowing control of the party members, unlike Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES.
  • The "Wait" command is replaced with the "Defense" command, and will decrease the damage and any knockdown effects of the next attack the user suffers.
  • The game grants "1 More" to a combatant who attacks multiple enemies not knocking all of them down; the original Persona 3 required all hit enemies to be knocked down for a 1 more.
  • Party members who have been knocked down no longer spend the turn by getting up and can act as soon as they stand.
  • Upon landing a critical hit or striking an enemy's weakness, party members can follow up with a co-op attack.
  • Fusion Spells from the original Persona 3 are now activated from items instead of equipping a persona and selecting it like other spells.
  • Allies can now take a fatal blow to the protagonist for them if they are able.
  • "Dizzy" has been added as a status effect.
  • Returning to the main lobby in Tartarus no longer automatically restores the party, and must now be done for a fee via the save point (this cost varies based on the date in-game and status effects currently inflicted on the party)
  • Floors can be directly returned to from the entrance of Tartarus instead of being restricted to the restore point like previous versions.
  • "Tired" status no longer is inflicted during Tartarus exploration, and is inflicted to all used party members after leaving (this will only drop to "Good" if the character used was at "Great" during exploration).
  • Unlike previous versions, money found by party members when split up will now be given to the protagonist.
  • Party members' equipment and status can now be accessed at any time from the pause menu, unlike in previous versions, which required the protagonist to speak to them while exploring Tartarus in order to change their equipment or view their status.
  • You can now control Party members directly.
  • The protagonists only have access to one weapon type (instead of having access to all weapon types like in P3 and FES); the male protagonist wields one-handed swords, and the female protagonist wields naginatas. As a result, the Skills "Fist Master," "Bow Master," "1hdSwdMaster" and similar skills have all been combined into a single skill called "Weapons Master." Its skill card is called "Phys Boost," and all Personas which had learned a "master" ability (like Cybele with Bow Master) now learn "Weapons Master."
  • Personas now have the ability to produce a Skill Card when raised to a specific level. Each card can be used on any Persona to teach them a skill.
  • The Inari Sushi in Naganaki Shrine no longer grants random bonuses for item gaining and Tartarus explorations. Instead, it offers to duplicate Skill Cards, which will take 5 days to complete

~ Persona 4 (PS2): vs Persona 4 Golden Vita vs Persona 4 Golden PC. ~

Persona 4 Golden Vita:

  • Two new Social Links.
  • A New Dungeon.
  • A New bad ending.
  • New Difficulty levels have been added: Safety/Easy/Normal/Hard/Risky.
  • Several new music tracks.
  • Additional voice-over dialogue.
  • Chie and Teddie have new voice actors in the English version.
  • New animated cutscenes.
  • More Personas, including new Ultimate Personas for the Investigation Team.
  • New areas can be visited.
  • New events.
  • The protagonist can now explore Inaba in the evening when Dojima is not home.
  • The protagonist and his friends now have motorized scooters to explore various areas.
  • Costumes are now available to buy at Croco Fur, in Okina City.
  • New Garden and Bug Catching features.
  • The ability to choose which skills can be inherited by the Persona the protagonist is fusing.
  • New scene skipping function
  • If the necessary criteria for at least the good ending are fulfilled, daily activities are expanded to February 14, 2012, giving more time for events and social links.
  • New epilogue has been added for the True Ending.
  • The list of Requests and the Fox' emas have been modified.
  • Rise can now assist the Investigation Team in All-Out-Attacks.
  • Added Tag Team attacks: two members can team up to perform a united attack.
  • Added Cavalry Attacks: Attacks from members of the Investigation Team that are not currently in the party.
  • Spell buffs and debuffs can now be used on the same character to prolong the effect
  • A new gallery menu has been added: "TV Listings." It displays bonus content unlocked through the main game at any time.
  • Floors and chests in dungeons can now reset by changing floors instead of leaving the dungeon and TV world, or visiting another dungeon.

Persona 4 Golden PC:

  • Bug fixes
  • The game will run at up to 4K resolution with 60FPS+ as opposed to the Vita's 476p resolution and 30FPS target
  • Includes dual audio language and multiple text language. The anime cutscenes now also include subtitles
  • In the Steam version, the player may customize their difficulty setting at any time, in contrast to the Vita version only letting you do so on New Game Plus.The player may select a preset difficulty setting, or individually alter the following parameters
  • The player may select a preset difficulty setting, or individually alter the following parameters.

~ .hack//G.U (PS2): vs .hack//G.U. Last Recode PS4/PC. ~

.hack//G.U. Last Recode PS4/PC:

  • A brand new episode titled Vol.4//Reconnection, which takes place a year and three months after the events of Redemption
  • HD graphical update for the whole game.
  • Ability to restart the battle from the beginning if Haseo dies.
  • Movement speed on foot has somewhat increased.
  • The item stack size has increased from 50 to 99. The maximum number of item stacks in the inventory has increased from 30 to 90
  • Item menu shortcuts and sort features
  • When using an item in the field, pressing the X button repeatedly will cause the item to be used again without navigating the menu a second time.
  • The maximum number of Chim Spheres and Virus Cores the player can possess has increased from 99 to 999
  • Platforms now include the Platform Recovery feature, recovering a large portion of the party's HP and SP. It can only be used once per visit to a field.
  • Saku and Bo no longer switch the active player based on their level being even or odd. They can instead be selected as separate options in the Party screen.
  • Decreased the probability of allies selling the items the player give them.
  • Voice clips for returning characters and NPCs between games have been updated to use the Volume 3 clips from the beginning, except where said clips are unavailable.
  • Attack power has been increased and hit stops during attacks have been reduced to speed up the battle tempo.
  • Learning weapons proficiency increased and acquired experience points increased.
  • Awakening scenes can be skipped using the Option/Start button.
  • Some of the really tough enemies have been made a bit easier
  • Skeith’s general shot bullet speed has increased during Avatar Battles.
  • Enhanced battle balance and game pacing to provide an optimal experience.
  • Avatar battles now show a stun gauge over the enemy's head. Red diamonds have been added around attacks meant to be deflected using scythe slashes that are in range.
  • Added suspend feature during Avatar battle gameplay.
  • In Volume 3, the player is given 22 "Promise" greeting cards, meaning it is possible to do the "Forever in Love" / "Best Wishes" events with all party members in a single playthrough.
  • A new Cheat Mode allowing players who want to just enjoy the story to start the game with a large amount of items, best equipment, maximum money and chim spheres, and maximum level and affection for the respective volume.
  • Save files from Cheat Mode plays can be converted to the next volumes.
  • The videos from “The End of the World” Terminal Disc included with the limited edition PS2 release of Volume 1 are included in the collection
  • A New Job Form for Haseo with a new weapon.
  • A New Form for Skeith.
  • Ovan joins the party.

~ Final Fantasy 12 (PS2): vs FF 12: International Zodiac Job System PS2 (JP.ver only) vs FF12 Zodiac Age PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One. ~

Final Fantasy 12: International Zodiac Job System PS2 (JP.ver only):

  • Addition of a "Zodiac Job System" featuring twelve jobs with individual License Boards corresponding to twelve zodiac signs
  • Addition of a 16:9 widescreen mode with menus and HUD at 4:3.
  • Addition of three new game modes: Trial Mode/New Game+ Strong Mode/New Game+ Weak Mode.
  • Pressing L1 will speed up gameplay. Conversations and events continue to play at normal speed.
  • Quickening doesn't consume MP. Now they use their own Mist gauge similarly to Limit Breaks from previous Final Fantasy titles.
  • UI Changes.
  • Playable characters' starting LP, consumables, gil, gambits, equipment, licenses, and base stats have been modified.
  • You have more control over Guests now, they also gain EXP/Item/Gold.
  • Many magick spells and technicks have been tweaked, renamed and recategorized.
  • Obtaining Quickenings no longer affects max MP and Mist charges do not diminish when MP is consumed (unless the player is affected by a reversed Elixir or Megalixir). The player's MP is also unaffected by the depletion of Mist charges. However, effects that recover the player's MP will also restore Mist charges. One Mist charge is granted each time the amount recovered totals the player's maximum MP. Effects that fully restore a player's MP recover all Mist charges.
  • You can now fully control Espers, they also require MP to cast magicks
  • Almost all attacks now break the 9999 damage limit from the original by default.
  • New items have been added, such as Cura Mote, Bubble Mote, Domaine Calvados, Baltoro Seed, Dark Energy and various Meteorites.
  • Bacchus's Wine now has 100% chance of inflicting Berserk (previously it was 50%).
  • Several equipment pieces were added, while some available in the original release were removed or tweaked.
  • New Weapons added.
  • Most shops had their assortments changed. Many weapons are now available from shops earlier because of the job system, and were thus made weaker.
  • Treasures respawn by moving just one area away as opposed to two. Treasures were moved around, changed the items they can give, or were removed altogether. The "forbidden chest" concept was removed, that in the original prevented the player from obtaining the Zodiac Spear in Necrohol of Nabudis if they opened a wrong treasure.
  • Dark Matter can no longer be acquired from the bazaar, and selling the ingredients needed to make it in the original will result in making the Dark Energy instead. The Dark Energy is an item that does not charge up with Knot of Rust or Devour Soul and always deals 50,000 damage to each enemy in range.
  • Treasure chests are now in different locations and contain different items.
  • There are more traps throughout the map.

Final Fantasy 12: Zodiac Age PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One:

  • Remastered HD graphical upgrade.
  • English and Japanese voices (switch between them in the game configuration).
  • Original and newly re-recorded background music (switch between them in the game configuration).
  • Auto-save functionality added (game saves automatically when moving to each new screen, excepting boss arenas)
  • Improved high-speed mode and improved play time operability during high-speed mode
  • Ability to invert both the X and Y camera axes
  • The game balance has been overhauled to make it easier.
  • Each playable character can have two jobs at once.
  • Job Reset function added; talk to Montblanc in the Clan Hall to use.
  • The Effect Capacity system that limited spell-casting in the PlayStation 2 versions has been removed.
  • Fire, Thunder, Blizzard, and Cure only affect a single target again.
  • Espers' HP values have been doubled, but other stats kept the same as in Zodiac Job System.
  • The animation for summoning Espers is removed.
  • A glitch concerning Dyce's character model has been fixed.
  • New Game Plus and New Game Minus are now accessible from the beginning of the game.

~ Rune Factory 4 (3DS): vs Rune Factory 4 Special Switch. ~

Rune Factory 4 Special Switch:

  • HD Graphics.
  • Newlywed Mode.
  • Hell Difficulty.
  • Additional Movies.
  • Another Episode DLC.
  • Swimsuit Day DLC.
  • Many Town Events are now prioritized if requirements have been met. This includes Memories, which unlocks the last story arc and the events required for marriage.
  • The map has been moved to the main screen and can be removed and resized with the press of a button (the Switch has only one screen) or by using the touch screen icon.
  • The teleport spell has been mapped to a dedicated button. It can still be used from the touch screen.
  • You can now change the voice acting language between English and Japanese.
  • Many bug fixes.

This is just part 1, if you have any suggestions for titles to be in part 2, please post them here.

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