We're one month in to the Wing Commander 3 portion of the community replay! This time around players will be visiting the Caliban Nebula (well, technically you were already in the Caliban Nebula when you were in the Ariel System...) and the Torgo System (take care of the place while the master is away). Here are DaveO's notes from Delius:
There’s a big Kilrathi asteroid base here that we’ve been given the orders to take out. I’ve picked Flash as my wingman and selected a Thunderbolt for its firepower and torpedo. There are four Vaktoths defending the base, so I give Flash the go-ahead to break and attack the heavy fighters. I gun one down after multiple hits and a foolish frontal pass by the fighter. Flash fries a fighter, and the mighty guns of the Thunderbolt split another Vaktoth in two. I get a third one with little effort, and I see Flash taking some hits from a second wing of Vaktoths launched by the base. I go after them, and Flash frantically says this is a no win situation. I get a Vaktoth off Flash’s rear, so there’s just one fighter left. Flash decides to retreat before he’s hosed down by that last Vaktoth fighter. Frankly, I think he bugged out too early since I hear an explosion and notice that last fighter off the scope. It’s just me versus Ayer’s Rock version 2.
I do notice quite a bit of defending turret fire coming from the base, so I pull out of my attack and take another approach. I let the torpedo launch and it does severe damage to the base. I make a strafing run on the asteroid, but have to pull up quickly as I get too close for comfort. I make another attack run, and I can hear the base taking multiple hard hits. I start going after the defenses, and hear more hits on the base but miss the targeted turret I was looking to eliminate. The next pass is completely ineffective, and my next pass is not much better since I pull out once I hear some hits to my Thunderbolt’s armor. I get a turret on my next run, so I go after another one. The base takes still more damage but my attack failed to tag the turret. I do gun down a turret on my next pass, but again miss on another turret. I try spraying another portion of the base, but I don’t hear any hits. I manage to get two turrets on my next attack, so I’m definitely making good progress here. I eliminate enough turrets to get into a stationary position. I change power settings to more for the guns, and open up on the base. A lot of the base is in the red for damage, so I keep shooting.
I let the base have a few missiles but this is not getting me much further. Even with full guns and constant shooting, I’m just not making enough of a dent to finish off the base. Time to find a likely soft spot. I turn a little to the left and notice what looks to be a communication tower. Let’s see how the guns do there. KABOOM! The base goes up and I get to see it’s charred shell float around for a bit before it’s gone. Since I have no backup, I decide that the safer course is to head right back to the Victory. Rollins is there to say that the only good cat is a dead one, and with my successful scuttling of the asteroid base I get the group congratulations again upon landing. Our battle group jumps into the Torgo sector where a certain Admiral is waiting for us.
- Community Replay - General Discussion
- WC1 Week 1 - Enyo, McAuliffe, Gimle, Gateway, Cheng-du
- WC1 Week 2 - Brimstone, Dakota, Kurasawa, Rostov, Port Hedland, Hubble's Star
- WC1 Week 3 - Venice, Hell's Kitchen, Alternate Paths
- Secret Missions Week 1 - Goddard, Border Zone, Midgard
- Secret Missions Week 2 - Jotunheim, Bifrost
- Secret Missions Week 3 - Valgard, Vigrid
- SM2: Crusade Week 1 - Firekka
- SM2: Crusade Week 2 - Corsair, Near Firekka
- SM2: Crusade Week 3 - Corsair, Charon
- WC2 Week 1 - Gwenydd, Niven
- WC2 Week 2 - Niven, Ghorah Khar
- WC2 Week 3 - Novaya Kiev, Heaven's Gate
- WC2 Week 4 - Heaven's Gate, Tesla
- WC2 Week 5 - Enigma
- WC2 Week 6 - K'tithrak Mang
- SO1 Week 1 - Pembroke
- SO1 Week 2 - Rigel
- SO1 Week 3 - Ghorah Khar 1
- SO1 Week 4 - Ghorah Khar 2
- SO2 Week 1 - Canewdon 1
- SO2 Week 2 - Canewdon 2
- SO2 Week 3 - Canewdon 3
- SO2 Week 4 - Ayer's Rock
- WC3 Week 1 - Orsini
- WC3 Week 2 - Tamayo, Locanda
- WC3 Week 3 - Blackmane, Ariel/Delius
- WC3 Week 4 - Caliban, Torgo
This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the first letters page:
CONCEPT: These pages are great - the 'letter to the editor' format lets you answer old questions and also gently poke fun at the series and the fans with impunity. As I went into the project I had a list in my head... how do I answer X and Y question, how to I address this continuity error, how do I comment on this. This format allowed me to do a lot of that in one place. We really could have done an entire magazine of letters to the editor - I had to force myself to stop expanding it. (Coming soon - Star*Soldier Letters Magazine. "Dear Star*Soldier, I never thought this would happen to me, but I sighted these two Gothri heavy fighters and...")
- "Gash Dekker" - It's Dekker the Space Marine from Wing Commander IV and Prophecy (see what I meant by small universe?). Note that the photograph is tiny and fuzzy, which is for two reasons. One I wanted to make sure we had a picture of Dekker in his helmet and armor... which proved hard to find. Two is that I was worried EA legal (or someone) would slap me for using the actors' photographs. Since there was one that I really, really wanted to do (we'll see it later) we fuzzied Dekker up to the point where you can't really recognize him. In the end, no complaints, though.
- "Joan's update" - Joan's Fighting Ships, from Wing Commander I and II. I always wondered why they didn't bring JFS back again for 3/4/Prophecy (Chris McCubbin did use it years later in The Confederation Handbook). This was actually the only 'legal' thing ever brought up about this manual. I had to dig up a copy of Claw Marks to prove that the name had been used in WC before (and not related to EA years holding the Jane's license).
- "Glory to Sivar" - Sivar is the Kilrathi war/warrior God introduced in Secret Missions 2. You can see here another attempt at expanding the universe without telling a direct story - we learn about a Kilrathi clan war going on right now through this aside rather than by being specifically told about it. I'll admit this: in most cases I didn't plan these out in advance. I just stuck as many as possible in so that fans or future projects could continue these stories if so interested. Star*Soldier is a stew, not a cake.
- "hrai" - Kilrathi word for family (with some variation) first introduced in Freedom Flight.
- "Sum'n"/"Sihkag" - The Sihkag are one of the eight noble clans as defined by Fleet Action while the Sum'n are not... they're just a system taken from the Wing Commander Universe map. The idea was to show how far the former Empire had been shaken up... with kilra'hra challenging the lower rungs of the nobility.
- "Blood Will Tell, 2700/5" - Please note the dedication throughout to establishing that there are other even-more-pretend issues of the pretend magazine out there. Claw Marks fails to do this in a way that has always bugged me - it's the first year (Volume I) of the magazine but also Tooner's comic strip had been running for two years...
- "honor-bound to repay you" - shades of Freedom Flight's somewhat silly plot with Kirha swearing allegiance to Hunter and serving him throughout. The fact that a Kil is so happy about a magazine article he read is similarly silly.
- "kysh49@sum'n.clan" - Here's my attempt at integrating Kilrathi into the Confederation's email system. Also, I thought it was funny that a Kilrathi might have a number in his email address like a teenager.
- "takhar" - Kilrathi word meaning brother of equal rank, from Fleet Action. Remember from Wing Commander IV that Dekker does not hold a grudge against the Kilrathi!
- "Privateering licenses" - I mention this at several points. Here's the deal: one thing that bugged me about the original Privateer was that 'privateer' doesn't mean freelancer. A Privateer is/was someone issued a Letter of Marque by a government and told to go interrupt enemy shipping. More often than not they ended up being pirates, but they had some official status. We never see that in WC - so what's the difference between the hero and a mercenary or a merchant? So my retcon here is that the same thing happens in Wing Commander and that's also why you're allowed to buy (cheap!) munitions in that game... we just never see Burrows get his license. Also, I touch on something else here, which is that the former Empire is the equivalent of modern day Russia. If you really want something then a little money can get it for you in Kilrathi space...
- "Tiger's Claws" - Ah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah. Hah. Seriously, though, I would like to think I did this in a way that was properly respectful to absolutely no one.
- Okay, okay. For those not in the know, this is an adorable (!) way of explaining the one element of the Wing Commander movie that made me genuinely angry (getting the name of the carrier wrong)... while still making fun of myself and others for being angered about it in the first place. I do touch on a few others later in the manual (furless cats, for instance).
- "Dolos" - refering to the planet (and the events) seen in the last episode of Wing Commander Academy. I'd love to see that article!
- "Tiger Claw" / "Tiger's Claw" - The famed home base in Wing Commander, Secret Missions, Secret Missions 2, Freedom Flight, Wing Commander Academy and the Wing Commander movie.
- "Asher C. Lawson" - He's 'Frosty' from the Wing Commander fan community (since made a member of the CIC staff).
- "email@example.com" - I don't know if anyone picked this up. The double Ns in the email address were intentional, to suggest that the New Constantinople space station in Privateer had been destroyed in the Nephilim War (we talk about damage to Gemini later) and replaced with... NEW New Constantinople.
- "Gemini and Hope" - These sectors reference Origin's second attempt at developing Privateer Online. The game would have been set in Gemini and then introduce the newly discovered 'Hope' sector (positioned above it on the current map) for exploration.
- "CCSP goons" - The "Confederation Citizen Subsidy Program" from that same Privateer Online attempt. This group was part of an elaborate explanation as to why your ship and character would return if you were shot down. I like the idea that all the cancelled projects are happening somewhere in this timeline (and that we can still comment on how ridiculous some of the ideas were).
- "Daniel Sumner" - References a longtime Wing Commander fan, around since Origin's site had its own message board.
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" - Exploratory Services was the group charged with exploring new star systems in the original Privateer. Avalon is the sector to the 'left' of Gemini (sort of a commentary on how odd I thought it was that the 'new frontier' Gemini Sector was in the middle of known space on the Wing Commander Universe map). Additionally, DanS was Sumner's online handle.
- "Border Worlds conflict" - The events of Wing Commander IV.
- "arrival of the Nephilim" - The events of Wing Commander Prophecy.
- "Confederate," "country," "unreconstructed," "Colonel," etc. - This is American Civil War-style verbiage which is meant to equate the former Black Lancers with the (post-war) more radical secessionists... Wing Commander's equivalent of the men who started the original KKK.
- "Tolwynist" - A... follower of Admiral Tolwyn, I suppose. The entire letter brings up a good point that fans have had many 'moral' discussions about over the years - in the end, exactly what Admiral Tolwyn threatened would happen occurred. A powerful race did show up to fight the weakened Confederation... and presumably people in the Wing Commander universe would be having exactly this discussion.
- "J. Bielawa" - This is Justin Bielawa, "LeHah" from the Wing Commander music scene. I hope he doesn't mind being a space Nazi.
- "Arrow Eclipse" - Finally, something that actually ties Arena to the rest of Wing Commander. Those mysterious cloaking Arrows in WCIV? Eclipses!
- "Black Lance" - Admiral Tolwyn's conspiracy group from Wing Commander IV.
- "credits" - The unit of money (sometimes) used in Wing Commander. I'm looking at you, "dols". The editor responding to a letter with a death threat is another nod to Sudden Death.