Oh hoy yo!
Arlas returning, from the comfort of a Behemoth-class Battlecruiser. That's the fun of alternate timelines and dimensional pockets. Our universe that we know could be so different from the others. 70 years from 2409, we're looking at capital ships that outsize even our finest Star Cruisers and Battle Cruisers of Starfleet. Presidio Command Cruisers, Yamato Class Dreadnaughts... all of them pale in size to the Behemoth, which could measure as long as a kilometer. But, what's this I see on the horizon? An Intrepid-class science vessel? Wait... the Star Explorer from Ratchet and Clank? THE BLUE FALCON FROM F-ZERO? WHAT?
Seems that the dimension I was actually located in wasn't in fact the StarCraft dimension, but the RoboCraft dimension... that would explain why everything looked so low-poly. I ended up bringing the battlecruiser to port, and noticed that there were a sizeable number of ships surrounding the area, all in the shape of cubes. I asked the barkeep what the hubbub was, and he explained that they were constructor motherships. Apparently, they came with their own little constructor robot named Cray who would construct smaller robots for combat on a couple of planets.
These robots would be duking it out in an endless war between the E14 and the CF Alliance... but at this point, you'd be hard pressed to find out who was who. There was definitely a tale to be told here, but no one could tell me it, because they'd all forgotten it. All they knew was that the war for the local power resource Protonium had been waging for over three years. All of the classic issues of the RoboNews, which was their local paper, had been lost to time.
Now, life was just a meaningless battle, where robots would face off in Deathmatch style game modes. There were the few faithful soldiers would fight in the Battle Arenas that were the Protonium fields, scattered across multiple planets. The best of the best would compete in Leagues, to prove their worth to their allies. But those who held no allegiance to either side would just duke it out in Brawls... or worse, the Pit. Thankfully these types of engagements were limited, as if planned for ahead of time.
For a time, pilots would be paid in the local currency, Robits, which definitely helped the wartime thrive. Parts were being forged left and right for outrageous price, and people were buying. High powered lasers, plasma grenade launchers, large caliber rail guns?! These people were insane. Things only got worse though, as protonium and robit scarcity drove the price of weapons through the roof.
Then came the scrappers who sold supplies in crates to the highest buyer for currency now since lost to time. Losing more money on the sales than anything, these scrappers would fix matches, and those pilots who performed the best, or the side that triumphed got better gear. At this time the truly unholy armory was unleashed.
It wasn't bad enough with just rail guns and plasma grenades... now they unleashed the chain cannons, the lock-on missile launchers, the ion disruptor cannon and… the gyro mortar. These legendary weapons turned the tides of battle, not even this could keep sales booming, so to all the scrappers dismay, people started getting paid again.
Modules were introduced, the barkeep tells me, to even the flow of combat a bit... to keep both sides profitable. Each side had to adapt their technology to the changing war theaters. A cloaking system was developed, but it suffered a fatal flaw; it only bent light around you, but there was still a shimmer that could be seen. Worse yet, if you approached an enemy, they could hear you coming a mile away.
A low-power warp drive was introduced as well, but it could only make small jumps, useless for interstellar travel, but great for retreating from a battle. An auxilary battery could be installed in bots to increase the amount of power a ships weapon's systems could draw from, though this was later reworked into a simple quick-recharge. There was one as well that provided a crude photonic shield that would block incoming projectiles. To be honest, it was a surprise you could get a use out of it at all.
The most dangerous one of the bunch had to have been either the EMP, which was exactly what its name implied, a module to shut down a ship and drain it of power causing a restart; or the 'Windowmaker' as it was so lovingly referred to, because it could locate enemies and transmit their coordinates to your entire squad, making coordinated attacks brutal.
After discussing the various implements of destruction, the barkeep stopped me in my tracks and demanded payment. By this time, I was already 4 whiskeys in... and I was broke. So, the barkeep gave me a choice: scrap my ship for parts, or do a few jobs for him. To be honest, I'd rather keep the Norad in-tact, so I chose the latter. He gave me a list of instructions, and told me I had to engage the enemy. There were tons of threats on the radar, and I figured that I wasn't returning from the fight...
Five waves of death and destruction later and the Norad III was in pieces, most of my equipment had been damaged or destroyed, and it was at this point that the barkeep expressed his gratitude, and informed me that my ship would be good as new in the hour. Turns out, when you pull into dock for the first time, they scan your ship so it can be repaired almost instantly when you get back from the battlefield. They have a system similar in the field that regenerates the vehicle on the fly, but it wasn't compatible with my bucket of bolts.
Since my ship was so large, and my crew compliment dwindling after the previous conflict, he recommended I start looking for a new ship. When I told him I couldn't possibly pay for it, he advised me to check 'the Factory'. And getting the chance to peruse... it didn't exactly make me feel all giddy inside. Most of the cheap and shoddy work in there would never pass for usable in our world. But, this is a place where everything is built out of blocks... Choosing to take the high road, I came across a Class F shuttle, and I figured it was as good as any a chance to leave.
I have to admit though. For a while, I had fun fighting along side these bunch of salty veteran pilots, and even the newcomers with the gleam in their eyes. Hell, I even managed to score a couple of upgrades for the Norad, and I'm sure she'll still be waiting here for me when I get back. Turns out opening that portal was no accident either. I just seemed to be leaking a little Steam. Good thing everything was Free for me, otherwise I'd have no time 2 Play.