What is the Secret Cypher?
You get to live a bit longer.
We'll give you just one more chance.
What is the Cypher?
You have tried to trick us with a clever deception
however, we are ever wary and have uncovered your evil scheme!
While we abhor violence, we have found that under circumstances like this
the best course of action is to attack suddenly with overwhelming force.
You do not know the Secret Cypher!
Therefore, you must be an evil, dangerous alien invader
intent on killing all of us in some horrible fashion!
We have every right to prevent this.
We are The Safe Ones -- the Spathi High Council.
You have given us the correct Cypher and so you will not be destroyed immediately.
Now, if you please, tell us how you acquired our most Secret Spathi Cypher
which every Spathi swears never, never to reveal
even when threatened with considerable pain.
And just where is this Spathi `friend' now?
Never mind -- the answer is all too obvious in your tiny, dry eyes.
If you held a weapon to Fwiffo's head, he would say anything you wanted him to say.
In fact, if you held a vegetable to his head
he would probably say anything you wanted him to say.
Somehow, Captain, we are not surprised.
Well then, surely you would have no trouble letting Fwiffo approach the viewscreen for a little chat
would you, Captain?
We thought not.
No, you ARRIVED in peace.
You CAME in a somewhat more violent manner
as indicated by this report from the Spathi patrol vessel you attacked.
Of course, Captain we realize that misunderstandings happen... occasionally.
Let us just hope that no similar `misunderstanding' causes us to open fire on you
with our planetary defense batteries.
I'm sorry, I must have an embarrassing waxy build-up in my hearing hole.
What did you say?
There ARE other options you know, but if you insist...
Please don't hurry on our account.
We did not expect to see you again so soon, Hunam!
Our prognosticators had indicated that you would not return for at least 30 years
and now I fear, they will lose their tenure as a consequence.
How sad. I expect each had thousands of encrustlings to feed who will now go hungry.
Here's an idea! Leave now and do not return until the appointed time.
This premature visit shall remain our little secret, eh?
We are too afraid of the Ur-Quan to consider such an alliance.
They would most certainly punish us with extreme tortures.
Hello! Hello! Awaken from your dreamy state Hunam!
Now is the time for realism, not wild fancy!
Yes, your vessel is unique, and here is the crux of the problem.
A `Unique', meaning singular, starship is not equal to the task of destroying the entire Ur-Quan armada.
If you had, say, ten thousand similar starships, we could take your boasts more seriously.
Well, that would probably work
but I have a better idea -- a test
one of those questy kind of things.
You must wipe the Evil Ones from the face of Spathiwa!
Let us explain the sad history of our species.
Once upon a time, many thousands of years ago
we inhabited the warm, safe surface of our home planet, Spathiwa.
We were happy and content. During those golden centuries, we evolved from a primitive nomadic culture
into a complex, agrarian society. We learned to write on clay tablets
and we were well on to being able to read those tablets
when the Darkness fell upon us
when the Evil Ones came!
Creatures from the darkest pits of hell they were.
They hunted our people -- devoured them like tasty nodules
and we had no defense against them.
Suddenly, our culture became once more nomadic.
We fled across the oceans, from continent to continent, but the evil ones always followed.
Spurred by our great need, we advanced from bronze to atomic technology in less than one of your centuries
but none of our innovations was a match for the Evil Ones' natural cunning and ferocity.
Finally, with no other option available, we fled our world and took up residence here on our own moon
where we have resided, most uncomfortably, for the last three hundred years.
Firstly, we have an unreasoning fear that the Evil Ones will devour us all painfully.
Secondly, in the rare cases where we have overcome our fear, and ventured to Spathiwa's surface
the Spathi who landed were all devoured painfully.
Don't feel bad about being a coward. It's natural.
So... the hunam coward has returned.
You know, if the Ur-Quan discover we have been fraternizing with you
we're going to be in serious trouble.
Perhaps it would be better if you just leave.
Unless you're here to accept the quest, that is.
You're right. It is. Don't even consider reconsidering.
Your behavior makes clear the very slight distinction between bravery
and suicidal stupidity.
We will await your return with great anticipation.
Simultaneously, we will prepare a short, poignant eulogy to mourn your demise.
You must wipe the Evil Ones from the face of Spathiwa!
They are creatures from the darkest pits of hell
whose relentless passion for our fleshy parts
forced us to abandon our otherwise wonderful homeworld
and to take up unhappy residence on this cold, airless moon.
Unless you are killed and eaten, which is fairly likely.
This is wonderful -- too good to be true!
We will immediately begin transporting Spathi from this unpleasant moon down to the safe surface.
We shall send encrustlings and the infirm elderly first, as a special honor!
Please come back later to receive your accolades.
You failed us!
There were creatures all over!
They attacked the unsuspecting Spathi the second our ships unloaded and took off.
The poor encrustlings were gobbled like popcorn!
We can only conclude, that in your eagerness to return us to our world
you neglected to eliminate ALL the Evil Ones from the surface.
The job is incomplete until their presence is scoured from the surface of Spathiwa!
That was not a LITTLE mistake.
A LITTLE mistake is leaving the top off the eye cream or forgetting to clean your lid in the morning.
Now on the other hand, a BIG mistake might be, say
telling your friends that a certain place is safe when in fact it is crawling with hideous, hungry beasts
who want nothing more than to feast on soft, Spathi flesh!
That's a BIG mistake.
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on...er
even MORE shame on you! You lied to us before
but I suppose we'll check again.
What kind of fools do you take us for?
Your lying is pointless.From this day forward we are enemies forever!
What?! Can this be a true fact and not a false lie?
We will send an exploration team to investigate your claim.
If what you have said is true, we shall be forever... er
substantially in your debt for a long, though unspecified, period of time.
How go your foolishly courageous and noble efforts to rid the Evil Ones from our beloved Spathiwa?
You are fortunate to have survived
but to complete the quest, and earn our friendship
you must annihilate them all!
You must destroy them all, and swiftly!
They breed like Shofixti, and will replenish their numbers in days.
I'm not surprised. We certainly won't go there.
Why should you be any less craven than ourselves?
You have made a good start and are to be commended.
Now go finish the job.
Return when you have completed the job.
That's why we live on this inhospitable moon, instead of our nice, warm home planet.
New? New!? This is not a new thing. Your violent ways are, as they say in your language, as old as the hats.
Suddenly we grow less upset.
Look, look everyone! It's the violent creature from Earth.
I wonder how many of our encrustlings it wants to devour today?
I am probably just an old pod-in-the-mud, Captain, but I just can't let go of the idea
that this is all part of some devious trick of yours to torture and kill my species.
An unreasonable fear?
We, the High Ruling Council of Spathiwa have just passed a new law.
Your continued existence is now a crime!
With the authority of justice, we attack!
Oh joy! Oh happiness! We rejoice and make merry in celebration of our imminent return to our homeworld.
You are most heroic and helpful - thank you, thank you, thank you!
But now I must return to our festivities.
Please feel free to come back any time!
Oh, you're back
Um... our celebrations are still going on, can you come back later?
Oh, hello Hunam. Your arrival is timed most poorly.
You called just when it was my turn at the Ja-ja pole
and now I have to wait in line all over again.
Do you think you could return at some point in the future?
Why don't you just wait a while, until after we are resettled on our homeworld?
We can discuss details at that time.
Ten, fifteen years tops.
No, no, no!
We are simply taking a more adult, `welcome to the real world' view of this situation.
We cannot simply say, `Hurrah!' and form an alliance with you this very moment.
Surely you see that?
NO!... er,... no... please!
exactly what kind of relationship were you thinking of?
Oh, ok... we're quite familiar with that arrangement.
Very well... I'll bet we will regret this decision later on, but you leave me with no choice.
We will comply with your needs.
A Spathi delegation will depart immediately for the planet Earth.
Welcome back to Spathiwa, Captain.
We hope the material we provided your starbase engineers was sufficient for your needs.
What can we, the High Spathi Ruling Council, do for you?
Hello Captain, what brings you here today?
Perhaps, Captain. I will explain.
We have been investigating the `Caster which we took away from the Umgah
after the `Jud the Vug' scandal, 8 years ago.
We have uncovered evidence of something strange going on between the Umgah and the Ilwrath over the past many years.
We suspect that the Umgah were using the `Caster to pull off some kind of long-term joke on the Ilwrath
but we are unable to glean any more details.
Yes, and the news is not good.
As you know, Androsynth space borders our own, and while we never really liked the Androsynth
it seemed that they weren't out to kill us as everyone else seems to be.
Imagine our shock when we learned that they had been invaded and eaten by those fish-folk, the Orz!
Well, actually we don't know if the Orz ate anybody, but we're sure they did something creepy.
I sure hope you're not considering an alliance with them, Captain, they are dangerous.
Developments?! What developments!? Whatever are you talking about, Captain?
Are you implying we are up to something -- that we have some kind of secret plan!?
How wrong you are, Captain! Our feelings are injured by your unwarranted accusation.
Apologies would be appropriate at this time
Fishy! Fishy? What is this fishy?
No, nothing fishy here -- totally fishless.
There, now that that's resolved
is there anything else you would like to talk about, Captain?
I guess we forgot to tell you this a while ago... sorry
but we've been so busy lately, working on the shie-- er... preparations for returning to Spathiwa
that I'm afraid it just slipped my mind.
Okay, that's all.
Hey, I gave you an apology!
What more do you want?
Oh, right! The thing I forgot.
Yes, I remember now! It was something odd that happened to us when we first met the Ur-Quan.
We sent out a ship to meet the oncoming Dreadnoughts
we wanted to tell the Ur-Quan about the Evil Ones, so that they could safely avoid our planet
but when we got close, the Ur-Quan started blasting out this overwhelming signal
`SENTIENT LIFE. WE ARE THE UR-QUAN. INDEPENDENCE IS INTOLERABLE. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.' -- you get the idea
anyway, in a moment of panicked genius, the Captain blurted out
`Hold! What you are doing to us is wrong! Why do you do this thing?'
To everyone's amazement, the Ur-Quan fleet stopped dead in space.
The Ur-Quan fixed a tight communication beam on the ship
and the creature spoke a long while and with great passion
almost as though it were intoning a high ritual.
The words he spoke were of planet-shaking significance!
At least, we assume so. We can't be really sure, because all of the Spathi on board at the time
were curled tightly in their shellcases, and couldn't hear very well.
Maybe if you get the opportunity Captain, you can try to ask the question again.
No, Captain, no news.
Certainly. About what?
Since we never wanted to be in the Hierarchy, and we're afraid of all the other members
our knowledge on this subject is a bit limited, but I'll tell you what I know.
The Hierarchy is the construct of the Ur-Quan. It exists to maintain their supreme authority
over all sentient lifeforms in the galaxy.
As far as we know, there are 6 other races active in the Hierarchy, including
the gelatinous Umgah pranksters
the multi-legged, super-violent Ilwrath who are fanatical in their worship of Dogar and Kazon
the Thraddash - a weak and obnoxious race from the Draconis group of stars
the humanoid clones you call Androsynth from Eta Vulpeculae
(though they have been strangely quiet for some years)
the vain VUX, commanded by the brilliant and eccentric admiral ZEX
and the mysterious Mycon, who ramble endlessly about people, places and events from long ago
as though they happened just today.
If there are other Hierarchy races, we are not aware of them.
Before the Evil Ones appeared, we Spathi were a simple folk
we were content with our calm lives, our rude huts
and our coarse-woven turtle-neck sweaters.
I suppose we could have remained that way for eons
were it not for the sudden arrival of a million voracious monsters from hell!
We have never quite figured out where they, the Evil Ones, came from.
The few specimens we collected, who had mostly died of tooth decay from eating sweet Spathi flesh
were physiologically unlike any other species from Spathiwa.
It was as though they had arrived suddenly on the surface of our planet
transported there by some unknown agency... but that is nonsense
who could be so cruel?!
You mean the one we helped demolish? That one?
Well, we had some contact with Alliance members before the Ur-Quan showed up.
Mostly with the Chenjesu, who stopped off here occasionally
when they were on their way to explore the galactic core.
Actually, their last visit was interesting. They were returning from the Tucanae Star systems
Where they said they had found a new alien race called the Fop-Dope-Bic...or something like that.
The only other race we ever dealt with was the Mmrnmhrm who once tried to colonize Beta Herculis
which we considered within our sphere of influence.
When we explained this to the Mmrnmhrm, they politely withdrew from the contested star system
and never bothered us again.
Since we tend to stay close to home -- preferably in the living room
we know little about other races beyond our neighbors, such as the Umgah.
Before being subjugated by the Ur-Quan, the Umgah were a contented and peaceable race
who inhabited the region of stars which you call `Orionis'.
They spent their time happily exploring and mining the nearby planetary systems
and engaging in elaborate, and to our way of thinking, cruel practical jokes.
One particularly nasty prank was the time they broadcast a trick message through space
declaring the arrival of the 'Grand Master Planet Eaters' or some such nonsense.
This caused several alien cultures to go mad with panic
including, you might be surprised to know, ourselves.
Like all other races, we have found evidence of the Precursors scattered throughout our space.
Our belief is that the Precursors are not really gone, they simply came to their senses one day
and used their superior technology to invent some kind of perfect invisibility shield
and remain alive and happy to this day. We hope to rediscover this secret someday
and disappear into similar obscurity.
One other thing
We haven't been able to translate much of their writing, but we understand one fragment of text.
It mentions a sequence of 10 artificial `waste disposal sites ' they built somewhere around here.
I suspect that even garbage from the Precursors would be of incredible value.
Good. I don't feel much like talking about that anyway.