Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

The Lion’s Song Episode 2 Anthology (Steam)

At the turn of the 20th Century, a young aspiring painter named Franz struggles to make a name for himself.  He has the ability to see the different layers of people, yet has trouble bringing them to life in his paintings.  Can Franz discover that one element he needs to bring his paintings to life?

Once again, we have another story about the struggles of an artist.  Like Wilma, Franz is struggling to find himself and develop his work.  However, while Wilma had to isolate herself in a cabin to develop her next song, Franz needs to go out and explore the real world to be able to bring life to his paintings.  On his journey, he takes advice from an art critic, Grete, and has a session with real life historical psychiatrist Dr. Sigmund Freud. I don’t want to give anything away but, at the end, there’s one painting you help Franz with.  Whether he completes it is up to the choices you make.

Like the last episode, you get to see references to early 20th Century Germany and, as mentioned earlier, Sigmund Freud makes an appearance.  You get to see history in the making from the fashions to the farmer’s market.

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Slight spoiler alert, Franz not only knows Wilma but actually painted her.  If that’s not enough, you get to hear Wilma’s song on the gramophone.

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For those of you who explored everything the cabin had to offer, the Grete in this episode is also the same one who sent a love letter to Arthur.  You also see another hint for what will take place in Episode 3 when Franz has the opportunity to paint a Mathematician.

The game play is similar to the last episode, with you making dialogue choices for Franz.

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As I said in the second paragraph, you get to explore more in this episode than you did in the last one.  In the first episode, you had little to no control over where Wilma went next. She stayed in a cabin, listening to the sounds around her for musical inspiration and only left in dreams.  With Franz, you could explore the city and actually talk to people to learn how they view the world. You also get to see how Franz views people by the white silhouettes representing the layers of each person’s personality.  You even get chances to paint people and ask them questions. What you ask determines how the painting will turn out.

This game is insightful and intriguing.  I give it 9 out of 10, it somewhat made me think and managed to get a chuckle out of me at certain points.

Community: Digital Estate Planning (HULU)

When Pierce’s father dies, he leaves one final request for his son.  He must bring seven of his friends to play a video game he invented in the eighties and compete with them to earn his inheritance.  Only one person seems intent on making sure Pierce does not win. Can Pierce and his friends work together so he can claim what is rightfully his?

This is not a review of a video game or a board game, but of an episode of Community.  The premise of the series is that a lawyer faces disbarment because he faked his bachelor’s degree.  Therefore, he has to get a real degree at Greendale Community College in order to practice law again.  On the way, he forms a study group with a collection of misfits and goes on all sorts of wacky adventures.  This show embraces the geek in all of us in a manner that’s not insulting. It’s also one of my favorite sitcoms to binge watch on HULU.  I can honestly say that this episode is no exception. The first summary already shows that this episode is about an 8-bit video game. Since I review anything relating to video games and board games, this episode fits the mold.  I should warn you that spoilers in this review are unavoidable, so proceed with caution.

As you can see, this is a Pierce episode.  For those of you who don’t watch the show, Pierce Hawthorne is a racist and sexist elderly man with more wealth than sense.  I’ll admit that I’ve always felt neutral about Pierce as a character, but he does manage to carry a good episode and this is one of them.  Anyway, a while back, Pierce once suggested to his father, Cornelius Hawthorne, to invest in video games rather than their regular product, Moist Towelettes.  In retaliation, Hawthorne went so far as to design a video game for Pierce to play when he dies.

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As I said earlier, Pierce has to compete with his friends to rescue the white crystal from the black caverns, something his friends refuse to play along with.  Whatever faults the characters in Community have, one of them is not backstabbing someone they’ve been friends with for years. Troy even points that out when explaining why they’re not going to fight him. Abed also points out that there’s no sport in beating Pierce, something the other characters, and I’m sure the audience, agree on.  

As for why there’s no sport in beatine Pierce, it’s because he is an epic fail at playing video games.  In order to play the game, you have to sit in front of a computer, let the camera scan your likeness and see an 8-bit version of yourself on screen.  The opening credits show the process going down instead of the traditional opening with an 8-bit midi version of the theme song.

When beginning the game, Pierce can’t even tell which one he is, despite that being rather obvious.  Britta claims to have the same issue and follows it up with saying that she assumes nothing because she’s not racist. Since Britta is extremely liberal to the point of having white guilt, you can bet that she’s lying. Pierce also can’t figure out that you need to tilt the joystick right in order to move right and, when trying to fight his friends after hearing the rules of the game, accidentally digs himself into a hole.  He’s very lucky his friends chose not to fight him and, instead, turned it into an escort mission.

Just because this is a Pierce episode doesn’t mean the other characters don’t get a chance to shine.  When they get to the town in the video game, the other characters go their separate ways to see what they can collect.  Jeff and Britta visit an empty house with witty dialogue about a painting being crooked which Britta decides to straighten and ends up finding a secret passage.  Jeff ignores the painting and tells Britta to stop playing like a girl, which is obviously a sexist statement. It’s a shining moment in the episode when Britta proves Jeff wrong.  Then shows similar sexist beliefs by saying women don’t hack and slash our way through life. Britta claims that it’s because we’re one with life. I’m a woman and, when I’m not looking for secret passages in these types of games, I’m usually hacking and slashing.  You can also find secret passages in video games through paintings on the wall. Therefore, Jeff just demonstrated his own ignorance. Anyway, Britta proves herself wrong later in the episode by hacking and slashing jive turkeys.

Annie and Shirley, who split off to go buy weapons, find themselves at the Blacksmith’s and the former accidentally kills him.  When Shirley freaks out, Annie tells her not to apply real world morality to a video game. It’s something Shirley takes a little too literally as she proceeds to kill the Blacksmith’s wife when she finds the body.  Then goes upstairs to what the game hints at is Shirley slaughtering the children.

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They finish up by ransacking the store and burning it to the ground. It’s something you have to see to believe. What makes this black comedy moment even more funny is how the scene where they murder the Blacksmith and his family takes place right after Britta’s speech about how women are one with life.

Troy spends most of the game leaping and doing random things to figure out how to win it.  He even plays poker with Pierce in the game, where they are both so bad that they lose all of their clothes.  Don’t worry, it’s 8-Bit nakedness, so they can get away with showing their full bodies on national television.  

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Troy’s also the one who points out that Pierce’s father was right about video games being a bad investment in the eighties due to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 during Cornelius Hawthorne’s speech about its purpose.  Then, during Abed’s plot, gets jealous that he can’t have his babies, which I’ll explain later. Troy also gets to do his and Abed’s classic “Troy and Abed in the morning” line with “shooting lava” replacing “in the morning.”

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Despite this being a Pierce episode, Abed gets his chance to shine.  Before I explain the role of my favorite character, let me explain the video game.  The name of the video game is Journey to the Centre of Hawkthorne and I already explained that up to eight people could play.  You start out in the study room and, when you die, that’s where you respawn with absolutely nothing.

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Doesn’t matter what potions you made, items you bought or anything else.  If you die, you will lose everything. Therefore, as Jeff points out and the rest of the group says is rather obvious, dying in the game is bad. This makes me wonder if Pierce’s father added that detail recently because, in the show, the group hangs out in a Community College study room and Cornelius Hawthorne visited that very room in a previous episode.

I should also tell you that the game is incredibly offensive but you’re not supposed to take it seriously.  I’m sure you remember that, in the second paragraph, I described Pierce as racist and sexist. Well, his father is even worse.  Let me put it this way, name any existing prejudice in the world and you can bet that Cornelius Hawthorne has it. The enemies you first meet are hippies who only say, “peace, love, sex” repeatedly and bite you at the first chance they get.  

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You have to “rescue” a white crystal from the black caves, which takes the form of a black man’s face. Shirley points out the symbolic racism in this objective that flies over Pierce’s head in a scene that could be a reference to Breaking Bad.  On the way, you go through The Valley of Laziness (a Mexican village with taco buildings),

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Gay Island (an island with a rainbow and a stone hill that looks like a penis)

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and ride the Free Ride Ferry (which is a wheelchair). In the Black Caves, you have to fight literal jive turkeys to get the crystal. Britta herself points out how offensive this all is every chance she gets.  It’s as if the writers said to each other, “What type of game would an evil man with every kind of prejudice in existence design?” and came up with this. There’s more to this game, which I’ll explain in the next paragraph.

As I said two paragraphs ago, Abed gets his chance to shine.  He spends the first part of the episode talking to an NPC named Hilda who gives him information on all sorts of topics.  

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He falls in love with her and finds out that she’s the daughter of the blacksmith Annie and Shirley killed. Then proceeds to explain that Hilda has to either marry one of the villagers or take her chances out in the wilderness. Therefore, the game is not only offensive, but also extremely complicated.  It’s Troy’s turn to point that out. Anyway, Abed ends up marrying Hilda, and making babies with her in a G-rated way. Be prepared for more black comedy and sexism you’re not supposed to take seriously. Abed proceeds to use the many children Hilda gives him by enslaving them in his business and having them make anything the characters require.  I really hope Abed never gets married and has children in real life.

I already said that Abed is my favorite character.  While the show’s main character is Jeff, Abed is the lifeblood.  He’s the eccentric member of the group who views their lives as a TV Show while referring to other media made famous by pop culture.  Abed understands various fictional worlds better than the real world and many people, characters and viewers, speculate that he has Aspergers Syndrome.  In this episode, he falls in love with the character, Hilda, due to being better able to understand a program than he can real women. He’s also the one who discovers the various rules of the game by explaining that, if you max out a character’s affection level, you can change their code.  

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It’s something he uses to make Hilda say she loves him and have her make his babies. He also uses his understanding of coding to make the babies his servants and use them to make various weapons as well as disposable mooks. Abed makes the mistake of saying that you can code children in the game to do what you want, like children in real life.  Annie tries to explain otherwise, but Jeff stops her. Pierce, at one point, refers to Abed as Rain Man, which is a movie I have yet to see and, in all honesty, don’t want to.

You might think this episode is a boring plot about cooperation with no true enemy, but you couldn’t be more wrong.  See, there’s one aspect I have yet to mention and that is Gilbert Lawson played by Giancarlo Esposito, most famous for his role as Gus Fringe on Breaking Bad, a drug dealer with the cover of an honest businessperson.  In this episode, he starts out as an honest businessperson who proceeds to fill in the eighth slot and tries to beat Pierce to his inheritance. First, he attempts to play fair by winning through skill only to drink an extra strength potion Britta made which turned out to be poison.  Then he uses cheat codes to beat Pierce and, when he gets to the throne room with the white crystal, has to agree to a certain condition in order to steal Pierce’s inheritance.

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Before I reveal this condition, I should tell you that Gilbert is more than just Cornelius Hawthorne’s underling.  He is Cornelius’s illegitimate son with a black woman. I’ll remind you that this man is not only extremely prejudice, but set up a game for Pierce where he could potentially lose his inheritance out of spite.  Imagine how horrible Cornelius is to his illegitimate mixed race son that he won’t even acknowledge as his. In fact, the condition he imposes is that Gilbert not reveal who his father is so he doesn’t “besmirch the good name of Hawthorne” (his words not mine).  It’s the one sad moment of an otherwise funny episode. Anyway, Gilbert ponders the conditions and then rejects them. The result is creating an enemy character who tries to kill Gilbert’s avatar while he’s shouting in anguish that he is Cornelius’s son. The study group teams up with him and uses Abed’s weapons and babies to help defeat him.  This comes with a funny and gratifying scene where you see Cornelius taking his final breaths as he explains that he will not cheat the player out of a proper victory. In the end, the study group forfeits, something that might seem contrived. However, keep in mind that this episode takes place in a computer lab. Considering that the episode shows more of the game than they do the room, it’s something you can easily forget.  I think they heard Gilbert’s cry and, since some of them had their own parental issues, they could easily relate. Pierce especially, considering that he and Gilbert have a common enemy. What makes this moment even more heartwarming is that Gilbert got the acceptance from Pierce that Cornelius would never give him, even in death.

Like many sitcom shows, this one has a credits gag at the end.  You’d expect it to be something about the video game but that’s not what you get.  Instead, you get to see Troy and Abed going to the study room and finding a baby they think is abandoned.  They talk about how they have to raise the baby, with Abed getting a job at the food service while Troy’s sad and angry that he has to stay home and parent.  Then it turns out that the baby’s mother was getting something from under the desk and leaves with the baby. Troy and Abed continue to go on as if it never happened.  Not only does this have nothing to do with the episode, save one line from Troy, but it also makes no sense continuity wise. This episode takes place during Chang’s insane takeover of Greendale, which is a complicated plot that I won’t get into.  However, I will tell you that he kicked the study group out, so there’s no way Troy and Abed could go near the school, much less spend time in the study room. What’s sad is that this isn’t even how Mark Harmon wanted the episode to end. According to this article, his original plan was for Abed to adjust the game so that Pierce could play baseball with his dad and finally hear him say, “great job, son!”  Unfortunately, Chevy Chase left early due to fatigue, which was a common issue with him. In this case, he did this on the last day of filming so Mark Harmon had to make do with this credit’s gag. It led to a feud between the two ending with Chevy Chase leaving the show. In this case, I do agree with Mark Harmon that this would have been the perfect Credits Gag for the episode, even if he did have his own dick moments in the feud, which I won’t get into.  However, I will say that it’s rather a shame that they couldn’t film it.

This episode is funny and enjoyable.  I give it 8 out of 10; it lacks the proper credits gag, but still an enjoyable take on retro gaming.

Lost and Found and Spoils of War (Star Trek Online)

A/N: Melana’s back and this time she’s recapping two missions!  One about her first trip to Deep Space Nine and the other about how she helped the Bajorans get an Orb of the Prophets back from the True Way.

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This is Melana of the I.K.S. HAR’NUC and I just got a message from J’mpok.  He told me that he got a message from Commander Sarish Minna of Deep Space Nine and wants me to report there right away.  Apparently, because of Ambassador Worf, the Klingons still have ties to Bajor. So, they negotiated my services at Starfleet.  Then he has the nerve to tell me not to forget whom I truly serve!

I’ll tell you right now, I serve no one!  I’m in the KDF because it benefits me and I’ll leave when that stops becoming true!  Thankfully, I knew better than to tell J’mpok that. Plus, I heard Deep Space Nine is one of the hotspots in the Alpha Quadrant.  So, it will definitely be fun to visit. I immediately set course for Deep Space Nine.

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It wasn’t long until I arrived and they let me dock, though not without giving me a warning not to cause trouble.  I looked around and this station lives up to its reputation. Unfortunately, I’m here on business so I told my crew to enjoy themselves while I talk with the Commander.  Maybe I can join in the fun next time I come here.

I went to Operations and finally met the Commander of DS9 face to face.  

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She gave me this long history about the Cardassian Occupation and Bajor and how, even after the treaty, the Cardassians refused to give the Bajorans their stolen artifacts back.  Now, the True Way’s stealing from the new Cardassian government and one of those objects is an Orb of the Prophets. Apparently, the orbs are precious to the Bajoran people, possess unusual powers, grant vision to supplicants and can be sold for a ton of latinum.  All right, I added the last part. Then the Commander told me that she wants me to travel to the Badlands and get the Orb for the Bajoran people. I told her that I’d track down those responsible for stealing the Orb of the Prophets. That Orb might sell for latinum but, if I give it to the Bajorans for free, I get a valuable ally and one that owns the wormhole.  Plus, I never get involved in religious matters, and, if I turned down a challenge like this, my crew would mutiny big time.

After getting the mission, I contacted my crew and told them to prepare for a glorious battle.  Then I beamed aboard the HAR’NUC and set a course for the Badlands. As soon as we arrived, K’Gan told me that the plasma storms and gravitational anomalies were interfering with our sensors.  Meaning we have to search the Badlands the old-fashioned way. We also got a distress call from a Bolian freighter who was under attack by The True Way themselves. So, I set course for the freighter.

I’ve got to say, the True Way don’t really put up that much of a fight.  At least they’re weak compared to the Vorgons from my last mission. After the HAR’NUC destroyed the True Way ships, the Bolian captain hailed us and thanked us for rescuing him.  Then told us that he knew that he never should have cut through the Badlands, but it takes weeks off his journey. Honey, you never take dangerous shortcuts unless it’s an emergency.  After pointing that out, I asked the Bolian what happened and he told me that he passed by some strange anomaly that he just had to scan. Then a bunch of Cardassian ships appeared out of nowhere and ordered him to surrender in the name of Gul Kardek and the True Way.  He told me that he was trying to leave, but they disabled his engines. Apparently, they were about to board him until we showed up. He told me that, if I’m looking for the True Way, I should head for that anomaly he scanned. I thanked him and recommended that he gets his engines repaired and exit the area.

I took the Bolian freighter captain’s advice and headed for the anomaly he scanned earlier.  Then I scanned it myself and ended up running into the same Gul the Bolian captain ran into earlier.  Gul Kardek gloated about how I’ve fallen into his trap and will never locate his base. Apparently, he never heard of the human expression, playing possum.  He put up more of a fight than his True Way subordinates did, but I still managed to defeat him.

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After the battle, Thraak told me that the anomaly was a tear in the fabric of the spacetime continuum.  It’s dormant right now, but he can widen it into a portal. He also detected traces of orb energy in the area that we might be able to follow.  I contacted Commander Sarish aboard DS9, told her the situation and asked for backup in case we need it. She told me that she’d be along in the Defiant shortly, something I thanked her for big time.

Then I scanned the anomaly again, successfully this time, and K’Gan pinpointed that the trail leads to that nearby moon.  So, I set course for it and who should be waiting but a True Way ship and orbital weapons? K’Gan said that the True Way must have been doing something down there if they went this far to defend their base.  Thanks for the observation, sweetie, but I think I can figure out that much on my own. It took a while, but I managed to destroy the True Way ship. Then I took out the orbital weapons without breaking a sweat.  After all this, I finally got to scan the moon and found out what I already knew. This is a True Way base and I am finally beaming down.

I took my standard away team with me and Thraak was able to detect orb energy nearby as well as a number of Cardassian lifesigns.  I pointed out that it looks like we’ll have to fight our way to the orb, something that made me and my crew very happy. As soon as we entered the building, one of the Cardassians set out an alert claiming that hostile parties have entered the base.  Then he told all of his forces to move to high alert. You can bet that we had to fight our way through a few Cardassians with Thraak pointing out during the fight that the orb energy’s coming from the office on the lower level.  After a few more minutes of fighting, the Cardassian told me that the orb is his and we’ll never have it.  Seriously, am I fighting a True Way leader or an overgrown three-year-old?

It took awhile but we managed to defeat the True Way patrols with help from my away team and my adorable little arctic puppy.  

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Thraak told us that his scans indicate that Gul Kardek sealed himself in his office. Thankfully, it’s a security lockout we can override.  I went to the nearby console and did just that. Then I went to his office and got one hell of a welcome from the Gul himself. He said that the orb is the property of the Cardassian government, the true Cardassian government.  I think both the Bajorans and the Cardassian Union would disagree with you on that, honey. He finished it by telling us that we can’t have it. Yep, I’m dealing with an overgrown three-year-old. Then we had to fight Kardek while he bragged about how we’ll never defeat him.  I have to admit, he does put up a fight. However, he did bring in reinforcements whenever he could, as K’Gan pointed out. I actually had to use my pheromones to disorient him.

After shooting at Gul Kardek, he finally beamed out, something K’Gan made sure to tell us.  Kardek still left his reinforcements here and we took care of them rather quickly. After the fighting was over, I lowered the forcefield on one console and downloaded the data from another.  

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You would not believe what the data was. Apparently, our “traditional” Cardassian is making deals with a Bajoran and, I have to say, she may be old but she looks rather good for her age. So, either she aged well or she’s had work done.  I also can’t shake the feeling that I’ve seen this woman before. Anyway, she left a video letter for Kardek and commended him for the clever way he opened a pathway to their universe. They plan to make good use of it. Then she talked about the other matter he spoke of, which is helping Kardek defeat the Federation.  Right now, they can’t because they have their own territorial issues to work out. Then she offered to arrange a meeting with Kardek in the usual place and ended the transmission by saying her name was Leeta. Again, I’ve heard that name before, but I can’t remember where.

After reviewing that transmission, I beamed the orb to our ship.  

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I hope the Bajorans are going to give me hazard pay for this. Maybe I’ll get a chance to look at Deep Space Nine’s technology.  Hey, it’s the only station with combined Cardassian, Bajoran and Federation technology! Can you blame me for wanting to look at it?  Thraak told us that we have the Orb of Possibilities and asked if we’re ready to beam up to the HAR’NUC.

As soon as we beamed up, Commander Sarish greeted us with the Defiant in the Badlands and asked what our status was.  I told her that we got the orb, Gul Kardek escaped and we’re about to track him down. She told us that she’ll be here with the Defiant, and may the Prophets smile upon us.  I don’t really believe in the Prophets, but I replied in kind. Then, after I ended the transmission, Sarish bragged about how she arrived just in time. Considering we were ambushed by True Way ships right after the Defiant showed up, she couldn’t be more right.

It took a while but, with our combined forces, we managed to destroy the True Way ships.  K’Gan managed to detect a plasma wake that he thinks belongs to Gul Kardek’s ship. K’Gan told me that he can modify our deflector dish to emit ionizing radiation, which should interact with the plasma wake and illuminate it.  He warned me that the illumination effect won’t last very long. It’s better than nothing, so I ordered him to make the modifications and prepare to emit radiation on my command. Let me tell you, I wasted no time in commanding K’Gan to emit the radiation.

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I followed the trail and who should be there but that anomaly from before and Gul Kardek with a Galor class escort?  After a few hits on Kardek’s ship, he turned tail and ran. His escort stuck around until we blew it to bits. I scanned the anomaly and K’Gan told me that it leads to the infamous Mirror Universe.  Yeah, I remember reading about that before, but a part of me always thought it sounded ridiculous. I guess it was ridiculous enough to be true. Then K’Gan informed us that ships are emerging from the portal, so I immediately ordered shields up.  Commander Sarish said that the ships do look like mirror universe ships. After destroying a few of them, Sarish warned us that more ships were coming through. Let me tell you that these ships are tough.

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After destroying the Mirror Universe ships, Commander Sarish congratulated me on retrieving the orb.  Then told me that I have to return it to the temple on Bajor and she’ll notify the Vedeks that I’m on my way.  I immediately left the Badlands and I plan to return the orb to the Bajorans as soon as I deal with a problem the Deferi are having.

A/N: So, what did you think?  Feel free to request a Star Trek Online mission for me to make a Captain’s Log for, or team up with me for a mission with your own Star Trek Online character for a chance to be mentioned in one of my recaps!

Vorgon Conclusion (Star Trek Online)

A/N: Here’s another log recap from the point of view of my KDF character, Melana!  I’d like to give a shout out to Hashakgig1106 for not only teaming up with me, but for taking some screenshots and letting me use her characters in the recap.  If you recognize it from the Star Trek community, I don’t own it.  I picked Zuleikha Robinson for Melana’s voice, who you can hear in this video.  However, be warned, if you haven’t seen Rome and plan on watching it, there are some serious spoilers for the show.

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Major General’s Log Stardate 95726.01

This is Melana of the I.K.S. HAR’NUC and I just got another message from Daniels.  Apparently, there’s a disturbance in the 27th Century caused by Vorgon Mercenaries and I have to protect a scientist named Kal Dano.  I also have to prevent his research from falling into the wrong hands which is, you guessed it, the hands of the Vorgon. I asked Daniels why the Vorgons want this item called the Tox Uthat and, apparently, they want to sell it.  I can’t I say I blame them. I can think of quite a few people who would pay good latinum for the power to destroy a whole star. Therefore, I set a course for the Lirss System and met up with Daniels.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one Daniels called.  When I got there, I met a Reman named E’Mak who Daniels also contacted.  

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With the time shift completed, Thraak told me that Daniels docked at shuttlebay 1.  Then told me that, in the future, we end up terraforming Lirrs and it looks like we’re getting close to succeeding.  As soon as Daniels came onboard the bridge, I used a tiny bit of pheromones, as I usually do with people who work with me.  It’s not enough to drive them crazy, but enough to let me determine if they can be trusted. It’s like putting on perfume to make yourself more desirable to someone you want to fuck.  Unfortunately, it only works on half the population and that half can sometimes be strong willed enough to fight that little bit of pheromone usage. Daniels asked me why I was bothering with my pheromones when I’m well aware that he’s too strong-minded to succumb to a small dose.  He’s right and, if I increase the dosage, it will sap some of my energy and cloud Daniels’ mind. So I stopped using the pheromones.

After that, Daniels told me that Kal Dano’s stationed at the Daystrom Institute and we need to get into scanning range to find out if the Vorgon took him.  First, I asked him the usual question, such as why Kal Dano is significant. He told me about how he’s a brilliant scientist working on the Tox Uthat, which I said earlier can destroy stars.  It’s a powerful weapon in the wrong hands and, according to Daniels, the Vorgon are the wrong hands. Then I asked why E’Mak was here and Daniels told me that this mission was too important to trust with a single person.  He followed that up by saying that E’Mak and me are both the best in our field and need to work together to stop the Vorgon. All right, it’s not as if it’s my first time working with someone else. After that, I finally ordered the helm to bring us into scanning range.

The minute we got in range of the Vorgon ship, Thraak told me that there’s no sign of the Tox Uthat or Kal Dano on there.  He warned me that they’re at yellow alert, and then told me that the Vorgon might already be on the planet looking for Kal Dano.  Therefore, I told Thraak to let me know if anything changes. Then Daniels told me that the Vorgons might already be at the facility trying to get what they want.  Daniels said that he’ll go check it out and that E’Mak and I need to keep an eye on the Vorgons. After that little speech, I ordered the helm to bring us into transporter range.

What do you know?  The minute we get into transporter range, K’Gan told us that the Vorgons were targeting us.  You can bet that I immediately brought the ship to red alert. Then, as I’m just getting ready for a fight, Daniels warns us that the Vorgon cornered Kal Dano on Lirss and he’s engaging them now.  Yeah, so am I, sweetie, and so is E’Mak. I have to say, I’m glad Daniels called him because we’re an unstoppable team. It’s like the old human expression, “Two is better than one.”  After E’Mak and I destroyed the ship, Daniels called to tell us that the Vorgons beamed out after their “disagreement.”

After this, a Vorgon named Boratus contacted us.  He claimed that we were interfering with a private matter that doesn’t concern us.  So I straight out told the guy he fired on our ships, so we’re making it our concern.  Then another Vorgon named Ajur told us exactly what Daniels already told me and says that the Tox Uthat is theirs.  She warned both E’Mak and me that reinforcements are on their way and that we shouldn’t have interfered. Honey, I am not Starfleet.  I don’t let entire species die out in the name of the “all-knowing” Prime Directive. Thankfully, E’Mak agrees with me and told Ajur in a mocking tone that she could’ve avoided this.  Daniels contacted us to tell us that Kal Dano’s safe, for now. Then they both beamed up to my ship at the same moment K’Gan told me that we’ve got more Vorgons to deal with. This must be my lucky day.

Daniels told me that, since these Vorgons aren’t of this era, destroying them won’t disrupt the timeline.  Well, that makes my job easier. So, it was up to E’Mak and I to get rid of three Vorgon ships and, during the battle, I felt much more grateful to Daniels for calling him.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a good fighter but I’ve lived my life flying under the radar. Unlike Klingons, I, to use a human expression, know when to fold them. Speaking of Daniels, he told me after destroying three Vorgon ships that he gave Kal Dano his timeship because he must fulfill his personal destiny.  After that little speech, I immediately launched the timeship from Shuttlebay 1. Let me tell you, there’s no such thing as an easy mission. The minute the timeship left my shuttlebay; more Vorgons warped in and guess who they decided to attack. That’s right, Kal Dano.

E’Mak and I set our sights on destroying those Vorgon ships.  Daniels ordered us to keep the Vorgon ships busy a little longer.  Don’t have to tell us twice. I immediately targeted the small ships first and then worried about the big one.  After destroying the ships, Boratus contacted us once again and told us it’s a temporary setback. They will have the Tox Uthat and Kal Dano at any cost and then threatened us by saying that history can be changed, as we’ll see.  Does he seriously think he’s the first person to threaten me? I spent my childhood with a pervert who wanted to fuck me as soon as I got my first period. Then I spent my teenage years flying under the radar dealing with people much worse than him, and that was before I signed up for the Klingon Academy.  I can handle an entitled douchebag. E’Mak didn’t say anything and only looked like he wanted to laugh at this pathetic attempt to threaten us. Then Boratus finally cut the channel and left. To that, I say good riddance.

Daniels told us both that Boratus left for good.  Then he informed us that they’ll want to travel back in time to a pivotal point of its history.  Daniels found them in the 22nd Century, which, for Starfleet, is the time of Captain Archer and the first starship voyage.  For my people, it’s the time when Starfleet spread that ridiculous rumor about how Orion women are the true rulers of their race.  Seriously, just because of one Orion man’s stupid comment, the entire Alpha Quadrant thinks the women of my race are evil seductresses trying to crush the will of good and honest men.  Anyway, since Daniels can’t ask Captain Archer for help, he laid a temporal course for us to follow.

Thraak detected a Vulcan cruise and Captain Archer’s Enterprise fighting with Suliban and Tholians.  Of course, I’m more interested in finding the Vorgons, which Thraak managed to detect. Turns out they were running long-range scans and masking their warp signatures so the 22nd Century ships couldn’t find them.  I ordered Thraak to do the same for our ship and I hope E’Mak’s doing the same for his.

The Enterprise ended up taking the timeship along with the body of Kal Dano.  Daniels explained that Kal Dano was meant to end up on the Enterprise after a temporal incident ended his time and career.  Daniels then told us that the Vorgons don’t know this, so we can’t let them endanger the Enterprise and we need to stay out of their sensor range.  You don’t need to tell me twice.

My ship ended up getting a message from Ajur, who told us that history shows we have a habit of meddling in the affairs of others.  I know this isn’t my first time travel adventure, but I didn’t know E’Mak also went through time. Looks like I’m not the only one Daniels recruits to protect the space/time continuum.  Then Boratus told us that they believe it’s time to break us of that habit. E’Mak sarcastically wished him luck with that while I just told him to prepare to be disappointed.

That lead to another battle with the Vorgons and these guys are still good.  I’d admire them for that if they weren’t trying to kill me. E’Mak helped me survive and I’m grateful for it, but I’m still not sure if I can fully trust him.  With our combine forces, we managed to defeat them. I would’ve celebrated had K’Gan not told me that the Vorgons were repairing their systems quickly and multiple reinforcements were warping in.  Thankfully, that’s not a problem when you’ve got two ships fighting these guys. I’d better thank E’Mak after all of this is over. I just hope he’s not expecting me to fuck him. Not only would that be sleazy, I’d have to explain that I don’t like men.

There was no time for me to worry about that, because Tholians warped in.  Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse. They told us that we don’t belong and that we need to submit to an investigation or be purged.  I’ve read all about these guys and they don’t like anyone outside of their own species. So, you can bet that I wasn’t submitting and negotiating with these guys is a waste of time.  Thankfully, E’Mak agreed with me on that point, treating this new battle as a pleasant surprise. Ajur tried to butter them up and align with them, which was a waste of time as I said earlier, and the Tholian captain proved me right.  So now we’re fighting both Tholians and Vorgon though, if you ask me, the latter should be aligning with us.

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During the fight, some of the Vorgons turned tail and fled.  Oh well, that makes my job easier. It also helped that E’Mak and I both summoned the Nimbus pirates.  I also used some of my scorpions. I have to admit, I’m a little surprised that E’Mak also knows the Nimbus pirates.  I guess they pay whoever does them favors in distress call beacons rather than money. Anyway, after the battle was over, Daniels told us that a Vulcan rescue ship is arriving to aid the D’Kyr.  We need to leave before they detect us and ask questions that we’re not prepared to answer. That’s a real shame, I’ve always had a thing for Vulcans. They’re immunity to my pheromones makes them a real challenge.  Unfortunately, Daniels is right, so I asked him if he could get a lead on the main Vorgons.

He managed to locate the Vorgons on the Risa system in 2368.  Great, I get a chance to visit Risa and it’s not for shore leave.  Daniels then told us that the Tox Uthat was buried there and about to be discovered by Jean-Luc Picard.  Of course, I remember reading about that. I told Daniels that Picard destroyed it. He informed me that it’s the official record, but he couldn’t bring himself to destroy something so valuable.  So he faked it’s destruction to fool the Vorgon. I have to say, nice job Picard! If it were me, I would’ve done the same thing, except I would’ve sold it to the highest bidder, after doing a thorough research on their background.  I’m not stupid enough to give a weapon like that to just anyone. Then Daniels found a new disturbance in the Sol System, 2375 and locked in a course for us to follow. Guess we’re not going to Risa after all.

E’Mak and I followed the coordinates and went to the 24th Century.  

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This time, we ended up in the middle of the Dominion war at the minute the Breen were attacking Earth, as K’Gan informed me.  I asked Daniels why he picked this moment in time. He explained that the Tox Uthat was here, in a high security vault under Starfleet Command.  The Vorgons were taking advantage of this chaos and trying to infiltrate the facility so they can steal the Tox Uthat. I told Daniels exactly what was on my mind.  That it’s a pity Picard’s ruse didn’t last. Daniels defended Picard by pointing out that the ruse held up for quite some time, which I agree with. Then he talked about how the Vorgons are getting help because history shows them giving up the hunt after their failure on Risa.  E’Mak pointed out, a little too happily, that they’re here now and we’ve got work to do.

K’Gan informed us that the Breen were attacking, so we had to handle them before we could beam down on Earth.  I have to say, both the Vorgons and the Breen have some impressive ships. I’d love to tinker with them someday, see what makes them tick.  Unfortunately, it’s looking like I might never get that chance.

Anyway, we defeated the Breen ships and, let me tell you, they put up less of a fight than the Vorgon did.  Daniels wanted to take advantage of the situation to beam down and asked if we were ready to go to Starfleet HQ.  Honey, I’ve been ready since you gave me the mission. E’Mak said that he was looking forward to blowing some more shit up.  So we both beamed down, and I took K’Gan and Ch’gren with me.

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I finally met E’Mak in person and he took Rush, a hot and feisty Cardassian, with him.  I used a bit of my pheromones to determine if E’Mak could be trusted. K’Gan told us that we’re in the middle of the Breen invasion.  So, we’d better to expect to find them here, something that made E’Mak, Rush and my Klingon officers very happy. I’m not as trigger-happy as my officers are, but I do appreciate a good fight. First things first, I had to see if E’Mak was someone I could trust, so I emitted a small pheromone effect.  As my people say, the only man that can be trusted is one too doped out on pheromones to know better. Okay, maybe we are vixens but, if the Orion men hadn’t gone on a power trip, we wouldn’t have had to resort to our pheromones to get power. Both E’Mak and his companion, Rush, showed a slight attraction and said that they’re here for the same reason I am, to stop the Vorgons.  I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed. I’d expect a couple of intergalactic pirates to have a stronger will than that. After that, I turned my pheromones off. There’s no time for sex and, even if there was, I never use my pheromones to get a woman into bed.

Then we went further into headquarters and who should we run into but a few of the Breen K’Gan mentioned earlier?  We made quick work of them, even though E’Mak got a little too explosion happy. After the fight, I checked the nearest terminal to read the news.  

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It was mainly about the Breen attack and the Starfleet casualties. After that exciting report, we went through the halls and came across a researcher named Roberto Nunez who Daniels suggested we talk to right away.  He was just happy to see that neither one of us are Breen, just an Orion, two Klingons, a Reman and a Cardassian. It’s a little weird for a Starfleet officer to greet my crew and me kindly, but I have to remind myself that this is before the Federation and the Klingons went to war.

Roberto told us that the Breen were heading to the vault and what’s left of the research team grabbed some phasers and decided to hold the line against the Breen.  The man begged us to help them and I told him to get to safety, assuring him that we’ll take it from here. So we go to the next room and, what do you know, more Breen.  Thankfully, we made quick work of them, but I think I nearly got caught in one of E’Mak’s blasts.

A nearby scientist, Skye Williams, thanked us for the assist and asked if there was anything she could help us with.  We went to her and she told us that the Breen thought Starfleet scientists couldn’t fight. Clearly, they were mistaken.  I told her that it was a huge mistake on the parts of the Breen. Then I asked Skye if she’s seen any Vorgon. She told me that they have and offered to buzz me in.  I told her to lead the way. Before following her, I checked a nearby news report to see that Breen forces are overrunning Earth and about to target Starfleet Academy.  

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I’m amazed that Earth actually managed to win the Dominion war, though it did help that everyone in the Alpha Quadrant teamed up with them. Including the Romulans and the Cardassians when their treachery got revealed.

Anyway, E’Mak and I went to the door, which was jammed on the other side.  E’Mak suggested blowing it up, but I didn’t want to waste equipment so needlessly.  Skye offered to open up secondary access but warned us that the Breen made it there.  I thanked her for the warning, but told her that we can handle ourselves. We made our way to the room nearest to the vault, and there was the Breen to greet us.  Fortunately, we made quick work of them and I checked another news report.

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Apparently, the Enterprise and the Cairo were holding off the Breen space wise but they were still kicking Starfleet ass ground wise.

After that, we came across the door to the vault and Starfleet locked it with a puzzle code.  Luckily, I have quite a way with machines and so does E’Mak. It was one of those reconfigure the isolinear chips puzzles in order to open the door.  It took a while but, together, we managed to get the door open. We walked through the hallway and managed to find the vault. Who should be waiting for us but the two Vorgons we’ve been looking for?  This time, the envoy’s with them.

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Well, I don’t think this person is a friend because they turned down his offer to be part of their war.  Only the Tox Uthat matters to them, something they won’t be getting. Then Boratus pointed out that they’re not the only ones who want it.  The envoy called us the meddlers that Boratus spoke of and told Boratus and Ajur to kill them quickly. Not in this life, honey.

I have to admit, even on the ground, these Vorgons put up one hell of a fight.  I’ll confess that I had to use my pheromones to give us a slight advantage over Boratus, giving one of the enemies a giant dose when I can.  After the battle, Ajur died in Boratus’s arms.

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All he could do was transport out in grief. I’d feel sorry for the guy if he didn’t try to kill us.  Meanwhile Daniels, the guy I’m actually capable of feeling sympathy for, screamed in pain and his face got even more damaged than before.

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This is the second time we helped him and ended up hurting him even worse.  I asked Daniels what was going on and he told me that it was need to know information and, right now, I don’t need to know. He also said that there are bigger things to worry about. Fortunately for him, he’s right, and I’ve already wasted enough energy using my pheromones to get the truth.  Even if I could sum up the energy to give Daniels a small dose, he’d be too strong willed to succumb to it. Now I’m starting to wonder if Rush and E’Mak played me earlier

I went to the nearby terminal and I wanted to search for the Tox Uthat from there.  Unfortunately, since I don’t have any science training, the best I can do is search for artifacts matching the Tox Uthat’s rarity.  While the computer was downloading the information, I checked the news and saw the exact same report from earlier about the Cairo and the Enterprise.  

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Anyway, all E’Mak and I got were four boxes that contained something similar and we had to scan them one by one. I took the left side and E’Mak took the right.  I managed to find an Alice droid created by Harry Mudd from the days of the Enterprise and the Tox Uthat! Right after that, Thraak contacted us to let us know that the Breen were leaving.  Then he told us to beam back to the ship whenever we’re ready. I’m ready now, hon. So, I told him to prepare the ship for a temporal transit and beam us back up.

We got back to our time and space and there was Daniels ready to congratulate us.  He talked about how the Envoy keeps gaining allies and how he keeps hearing about something called the Temporal Liberation Front.  Then thanked us for keeping Kal Dano and the Tox Uthat out of their hands. It was one of those good news/bad news deals. After Daniels left, E’Mak and I shared our contact info, just in case either one of us needs help again.  It’s always good to have allies when you need them. After that little time adventure, I’m off to Deep Space Nine.

A/N: So, what did you think?  Be sure to leave a comment and, if you have a Star Trek character, feel free to comment as them if you want to role-play.  If you want to team up with one of my characters for a Star Trek Online mission, as Hashakgig did, feel free to email me at suburbantimewaster@gmail.com.  Just give me a brief description of your character, take screenshots during the mission to send to me and I promise that I will send the rough draft to you before I post the mission here.  Don’t forget to check the categories before making a request to make sure it’s not a mission I’ve already made a log for.  Although, if you want me to replay the mission with a different character, I’ll be happy to do so.

Mortimer Beckett and the Book of Gold (Gamehouse)

When Mortimer inherits his uncle’s museum in Snuggford, he gets the task of protecting the Book of Gold.  Unfortunately, a sheik desires the book for sinister purposes. Now Mortimer must team up with Kate and prevent the book from falling into the wrong hands.

Mortimer’s back and, like Sally, he’s joined the cast of Delicious.  This time, he teams up with Patrick’s sister, Kate O’Malley, who longs for adventure.  I have to admit, this is the first time I’m hearing about this characterization. However, they don’t really do much with Kate except use her as a false love interest and hint that she makes perfume.  That last part went the way of Francois’s interior decorating business. Kate is now Watson to Mortimer’s Sherlock Holmes, even if she thinks she’s the hero and Mortimer’s the sidekick. There are even hints of romance between Mortimer and Kate, which, if you ask me, really isn’t necessary.  The writers just believed that, because it’s a man and a woman hanging out, there must be romance between them. Unless the man is gay, then he just gets subtle hints of his orientation and no romance. I will give the writers credit on not turning Mortimer into a dogged nice guy. He’s just a regular man with a crush who doesn’t feel entitled to Kate and only follows her vigorously because she has the Book of Gold in her backpack.  They even have Mortimer admit that he’s never been with a woman because he feels that his life is too chaotic for romance. That’s right; they actually reference his past adventures. Spoiler alert, at the end when Kate says that she’s not sure if a life with Mortimer is right for her, he doesn’t pressure her into staying.

The storyline has a tendency to pad, such as when Kate falls into a hole and needs to get out.  The worst offense would have to be when the police arrest Mortimer because they mistook him for the notorious criminal Jackal.  This serves no purpose because we never hear about this Jackal again. All right, it serves one purpose and that’s to rub the Mortimer and Kate romance in our faces.  The game will do this quite often, so be prepared. However, this is an adventure storyline about an introverted guy and an extroverted girl teaming up to find an artifact, which can quickly become a tired old gender cliche.  You can easily make Kate and Mortimer good friends without ruining the storyline.

As I said, this is a story about a thinker and a doer.  The plot does fall victim to the Straw Vulcan trope at one point, with Mortimer and Kate arguing over a map.  Mortimer has trouble deciphering the map, so Kate follows her intuition. She ends up with the Book of Gold and Mortimer, who wants work extra hard at deciphering the map, ends up poisoned.  Mortimer has to solve a puzzle only for a poisonous spider to bite him, which begs the question of why someone would put a puzzle there and have the reward be a near death experience. Instead of chalking this up to dumb luck, the story treats Kate as being in the right.  There’s another instance where the game does not delegate the tasks to the characters properly. Mortimer’s job is to call for help while Kate looks for clues. Since Mortimer is the detective and Kate the social newcomer, I feel that it should be the other way around.

These aren’t the only problems with the storyline.  For instance, when Kate first meets Mortimer, she mistakes him for a janitor.  I don’t know about you, but if my car broke down in front of a museum and I met a well-dressed man, I wouldn’t think he was the janitor.  Don’t forget that Mortimer became famous for thwarting the Crimson Thief and, if Kate really does want adventure, there’s a chance she might know who he is.  The biggest problem would have to be the artifact in the title, the Book of Gold. What is it about the Book of Gold that makes it so important that people are willing to kill for it?  What does it do other than come up with random sayings everybody knows? When you make a game about the artifact in the title, you have to come up with a good reason for why it would be important.

The game play is actually unique for a hidden object.  You go through the map and play each level in the same style that you would play a Gamehouse time management game.  

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In each level, you collect pieces of the items to add to your inventory and use them to advance throughout the story.  

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You get a green checkmark for using no hints. Unfortunately, there are no sparkling objects to hint where you need to interact.  Therefore, you have to guess where you’re supposed to use certain items. Like in many hidden objects, you get to play mini games.  

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However, there are no instructions for how to play them, so you just have to guess blindly. Be prepared to consult the walkthrough for The Book of Gold quite often.  You also find the mouse and get hidden challenge levels for diamonds. You have to complete the challenge levels in a certain amount of time if you want the hourglass, which also serves no purpose other than bragging rights.  You use the diamonds to purchase artifacts at an auction.

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I did some research and, from what I could fact check, most of the info is historically accurate.

This game is fun but flawed.  I give it 6 out of 10; only slightly better than the last game in the Delicious series.

Out in the Cold (Star Trek Online)

A/N: I’m going to be doing something different with this post.  Anyone who follows me knows that I am an avid Star Trek Online player.  So I decided to recap my missions from the point of view of my STO characters.  This is Candy’s recollection of Out in the Cold from the Breen story arc that, unfortunately, got removed in the latest update for Star Trek Online.  When reading the log, imagine the voice of Eliza Dushku, who I picked out for Candy.  You can hear her in this video.

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Captain’s Log Stardate 95670.87

This is Admiral Candy Marino of the U.S.S. Winchester, and we just got a message from the Deferi about Breen attacking civilian ships.  I’ll admit that I don’t know much about the Breen other than they wear refrigerated suits, their planet is colder than the North Pole and they look like something out of a Star Wars holo-program.  I’ll admit, protecting civilian ships isn’t much of a mental challenge, but I’d really like to discover more about these Breen.

So, I had the Winchester go to the VZA-4001 system and investigate what’s going on.

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Well, wouldn’t you know? Chris picks up a distress call from a Deferi freighter. He looks at me, expecting me to do the right thing.  Then Elisa chimes in by pointing out the obvious and finally locating the Sabok. It took me awhile to get out of warp, but we finally got there.  I have to say, for a mysterious species, the Breen really don’t put up that much of a fight. Then the Sabok thanks us for our assistance and tells us all about how they took extra precautions, such as a micro-warp jump and using the magnetic field of the comet to hide.  Yet the Breen still managed to find them. Seriously, these guys are good. Then they tell us about the Paktau, which is the sister ship, and asks them to check up on it. I feel like a glorified bodyguard, but the Deferi will make valuable allies to the Federation, which also includes me.  So I have no other choice but to help them. Sometimes I feel that I should’ve gone solo; then I can choose my missions without having to worry about anyone else.

Well, what do you know?  The minute we start searching for the Paktau, it sends us a distress call.  Apparently, they just need some replacement parts to prevent a warp core breach.  Then, as soon as we beam that over, Breen ships ambush the Winchester. The first two went down like that, but the second one put up more of a fight.  Eventually, we destroyed all of the ships and the Paktau rewarded us with information on the Breen slavers. Apparently, they heard a couple of the raiders talking about the Zaria system.  Zarva scanned it herself and found nothing more than a broken planetoid, but she pointed out that the information could be out of date. So, I ordered the Winchester to fly there immediately.

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Good thing I did, because that so-called destroyed planet has a dilithium-rich core, as Zarva pointed out.  The Breen themselves even use the Deferi they capture as slave labor. Not the first time they’ve pulled shit like this.  The Breen even stationed ships around the planet, but the Winchester took care of them. After that, we still had to beam down to the planet and destroy the transporter inhibitor the Breen kept in place.  I have to give credit to Elisa for discovering that.

We ended up beaming down into a cargo storage area and, what do you know?  They have all of them in prison cells. I guess this is what the Breen call a break.  Either that or they go around capturing slaves while having no idea what a slave is. Chris pointed out that the Breen are using three separate transport disruptors that are keyed to Deferi physiology.  It’s why the Breen can beam in and out and why the disruptors didn’t stop us from transporting in. If you ask me; that’s a really huge oversight on the Breen’s part. Then Chris points out how we need to neutralize the Breen guards before destroying the disruptors.  Thanks for pointing that out, Captain Obvious. Zarva took the time to examine the cells and said what Chris already told us. Then she told us that there are other Deferi life signs on other levels and the cells are all connected to the same mechanism. Well, that makes my job easier.

So, my away team and I went through the hallways and ended up fighting group after group of Breen, disabling each transporter inhibitor on the way.  

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After that was done, Zarva pointed out that a new Breen beamed on the planet. According to her, we aroused suspicion from the Breen commander by freeing their captives.  You mean the Breen don’t like people beaming on to their home world and sabotaging their prisons? What a shock! Now all we had to do was check on the Deferi captives and the only thing preventing that was a force field.  

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Well, I easily deactivated that and we inspected the now empty cells.

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Chris told us that all of the Deferi prisoners transported safely, and claimed that we could return to the Winchester. Well, he was about to until we got a message from Thot Trel.  You wouldn’t believe what that asshole said to me! He went on about how I’m not impressive and called me insignificant! Then claimed that his little henchmen should have no problem taking care of me! I’d like to see the look on his face when I prove him wrong.

Anyway, Trell sent Thot Gran and his henchmen after me.  Me and my away team took out the guards first and then dealt with Gran.  Hey, you want to beat the big boss, you have to take care of the small fry first.  I’ll admit, he did put up a bit of a fight but I won and we beamed back to my ship.  Who’s insignificant now? Elisa immediately began celebrating about how the whole mining operation fell apart.  Then she started speculating about who sent the message and how we’ll need to look into this in more detail. She told me that Starfleet will either send patrols to make sure this doesn’t happen again, or the Deferi will mine dilithium here for themselves.  Honestly, I don’t give a shit. I just found myself in the middle of a mystery, so I immediately left.

As soon as we left, Ambassador Surah hailed us, claiming that the survivors are on their way home and they want to mine dilithium for themselves.  Then he talked about considering a joint operation with the Federation and sharing the resources with us. The Ambassador ended up thanking us and telling us that our actions helped preserve the Balance.  It’s a big day for Star Wars references. After this, I ended up getting myself a huge promotion! You’re looking at Vice Admiral Candy Marino!

A/N: So, what did you think?  Some of the stuff I took pictures of didn’t show up in the screenshots, such as the dialogue or the fighting.  So, I need to figure out how to get that in the pictures.  Anyway, feel free to requests any episodes you would like my Star Trek Online characters to recap.  You can also role-play with one of your Star Trek Online characters in the comments, if you want to.

The Lion’s Song Episode 1 Silence (Steam)

Wilma’s a promising young musician in early 1900s Austria who’s having trouble coming up with a new composition.  Her professor offers to let her stay in his cabin for the week, hoping Wilma can find inspiration. Will she be able to write her next piece in time for the weekend concert?

As you can see, this game is historical fiction and it has a retro design to drive that point home.  This chapter is about Wilma and her struggles with her own insecurities. This shows itself in symbolic dreams, her crush on her professor and her conversations with Leos over the telephone.  I’ll admit that Arthur is a bit of a selfish jerk, trying to force Wilma to come up with a composition so he doesn’t lose face. However, Wilma’s crush on him is realistic as he is an accomplished professor.  Leos is a man who calls a random number to test out his new telephone and ends up talking to Wilma about his problems while helping her in return.

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The dreams are also very symbolic of the pressure Arthur put Wilma under and her very own insecurities.  Wilma even finds herself weird for caring more about her musical career than she does about starting a family, something she briefly talks about with Leos. In other stories, I’d consider this sexist but, in this game, I actually thought it was a clever nod to the role of women in that time.  Another aspect of the time is how remarkable Leos thinks the telephone and its ability to communicate with people from different parts of the world are. People of our time have the same reaction when we try out virtual reality for the first time at Best Buy.

The game play is simple point and click with you also picking Wilma’s dialogue options.

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You choose what Wilma will say to people and you click various objects to help her find inspiration.  Many players might find this confusing, but keep in mind that Wilma is a musician. She can hear music from the drops of the rain to the swinging of the lantern.  Wilma also gets ideas from reading books and letters that help her decide how to write her composition. Not only is it your job to click on the various items. You also have to find them in the right order.  Whether the audience thinks Wilma’s song is a masterpiece or run of the mill classical depends on you.

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This game is insightful and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10, a compelling psychological study on how musicians create.

Clue (Walmart)

Requested by onlyindreams145

Someone murdered Mr. Boddy and it’s up to you to figure out whom.  Play as one of six suspects, each connected to the victim, and figure out who done it.

The plot is the standard murder mystery that makes the game popular in the first place.  The characters themselves are the standard tropes you would find in a classic mystery movie.  Miss Scarlet is the beautiful femme fatale. Colonel Mustard is the decorated war hero. Mrs. Peacock is the widowed socialite.  Mr. Green is the corrupt business, or con man in this version. Professor Plum is the classic scholarly gentleman. The only difference, besides a change in Mr. Green’s profession, is replacing Mrs. White with the new character, Dr. Orchid.  She’s the adopted child of Mr. Boddy with a PhD in plant toxicology. Those of you who are familiar with Clue know that Mrs. White held the job of Mr. Boddy’s housekeeper. I don’t know why this change happened, but I suspected they did so in order to have a career-oriented woman as part of the game.  An article I found on the Washington Post only slightly confirmed my suspicion. Apparently, feminists ran a petition for the makers of Clue to change Mrs. White’s job to being a doctor or a scientist. In response, the makers decide to remove Mrs. White from the game entirely and replace her with Dr. Orchid.  They also made this new character Asian so not all of the characters will be white. Only problem is that the makers enforced an Asian stereotype, which might just be an accident. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt on this one. Other people are a little upset about their decision to replace Mrs. White with Dr. Orchid because they don’t like change, my mom being one of them.  In all reality, I wouldn’t have known about this had my mom not bought the game from Wal-Mart. We thought we had the original Clue but we might have given the game away in a daily purge by accident. Therefore, my mom had to purchase this new version.

The characters aren’t the only part of the game that changed.  In the classic game, you play a character, roll the dice, go to a room, and guess who did it with what weapon in that very room.  If your friends have one of the cards you mention, then you know that you’re wrong. Then, if you’re sure, you can accuse someone with a specific weapon and in what room the suspect killed Mr. Boddy.  If you get it right, you win. If not, you’re out of the game. You have to separate the cards into three piles, suspect, weapon and location. Therefore, the solution changes with each game. The rules say that you can accuse any time, but my mom and I have this one house rule.  You can only accuse on your next turn as long as you spend the next two turns exiting the room and then re-entering again. Well, in the new version, you also have nine clue cards that you have to use if you roll a magnifying glass with the dice on your turn. If you roll two, you have to take two cards instead of one.  If you’d rather play the classic game, then the clue cards aren’t necessary. The game also added a new style for a two-player game. You have to take four of the cards and put each one in a different room. When you enter said room, you can reveal the card. It adds challenge to a two-player game, but the clue cards seem more distracting than actually being a part of the game.  However, that might be because I’m not a big fan of change.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 7 out of 10; still adjusting to the clue card change.

Sally’s Salon: Beauty Secrets (Gamehouse)

When Sally’s favorite singer and long lost love disappear from civilization, she goes on a quest to find him once and for all.  Can she reunite with her long lost love?

That’s right, Sally’s back and she’s part of the Delicious cast.  However, it seems that they ignore Sally’s Quick Clips and Sally’s Studio as well as the existence of Nell.  The former’s justified by saying that Sally’s Quick Clips sucked and Sally opening a studio is a little outside her comfort zone.  On the other hand, salons and spas go hand in hand. As for the latter, no true justification except that they wanted to make Francois Sally’s sidekick instead.  Which is a good decision; since Francois is more fun, but they could have at least mentioned Nell or let her have a cameo.

I’m sure many Delicious fans remember the plot of Emily’s True Love, where Emily goes to Paris after finding a letter her French lover wrote to her long ago.  This game shares similarities with Sally chasing after Julio, who she never got over from her college days. Considering that Julio left without saying a word, you can bet that it didn’t end well.  I bet you’re expecting me to find a problem with this plot but the truth is, I understand. I’ve had some bad experiences with people I still dwell on and a part of me still wants to make up with these people and be friends with them again.  Sally’s longing for more, but the idea is still the same. I will admit that the game has a few laugh out loud moments, such as Francois telling everyone in Snugford where Sally ran off to and then hearing it on the radio.  There’s another moment on a cruise ship where Francois watches the exercise programs and talks about how watching people workout can really make you sweat.  He’s even expecting to be in shape when the cruise is over. Oh, how I wish getting in shape could work like that. Sally also has more of a character as a gossiping and coffee addicted hairdresser, which was more than she had in the previous games. One of the spa owners Sally works for calls her out on her flaws. Did I mention that Sally also refers to previous Delicious games in her stories?  In one instance, she even tells a story about Emily that wasn’t hers to tell. It’s something Francois called her out on. However, the plot itself can be rather predictable. Sometimes, when the characters mention something, I know right away how it will be resolved. I also have an issue with how old Sally is. The game hints that she’s almost fifty. I have to say, she definitely doesn’t look it.  Either Sally ages unbelievably well, or her salon business makes so much money, she can afford expensive plastic surgery.

The game play has made significant changes due to Sally joining the Delicious cast.  For instance, you have to grab items before attending to customers. You also have different mini-games to play and it takes a little getting used to.  Catch the mouse in each level, complete challenges for diamonds and get one star to advance to the next level. Try for all three, if you feel lucky. You can also purchase upgrades in between levels.  Like previous games, you can upgrade your products, but you have to click on each product individually instead of getting a popup about it. This gets very annoying very fast. I also didn’t like having to reset my screen whenever I wanted to play the game just so I can few all of the cut scenes and enjoy the game fully.  There’s also one issue I have feminist wise. All of Sally’s customers in the first venue are women. Not a single man visits her salon, which is quite a change from the first game where men and women visit. However, in one of the spas, you can paint a man’s toenails just like you can paint a woman’s toenails.

This game is addictive, yet predictable.  I give it 6 out of 10, a couple points off for the upgrade issue and the problem with my computer screen.

Sally’s Studio (Gamehouse)

After running her own successful chain of salons and spas, Sally enters the workout studio business.  Can this venture be just as successful as her other two?

I’m sure everyone who’s played the Sally games knows the answer to this question is yes.  This is why there’s nothing to discuss about the storyline. The game play is another matter and, let me tell you, after the disaster I like to call Sally’s Quick Clips this is a serious improvement.  Sally’s Studio goes back to the game play that made the series famous. Customers enter your shop, you drag them to the right workout station and assist them. Then you check them out and take their money and they pay you based on how much they enjoyed their experience.  It’s something you could never do in real life without getting into trouble with the owner.

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Some customers require mini-games that can give them an extra heart. You can purchase upgrades in-between levels, some of them being workers you can delegate tasks to. Believe me, you’ll find this very helpful.  If you purchase the collector’s edition, you can buy an extra yoga instructor who is the first worker to take a mini-game from you. You can also purchase a greeter and a cashier.

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Unlike in Sally’s Spa, the game doesn’t force the cashier on you. However, you also don’t get to select products for people to buy while they wait.  I’ll admit that I loved this aspect of Sally’s Spa. The collector’s edition also comes with two extra venues. Each venue comes with a medal you can earn if you complete a certain requirement as well as six trophies you can earn throughout the game. Seven trophies, if you purchase the Collector’s Edition.

This game is fun and addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10, not as good as Sally’s Spa but way better than Sally’s Quick Clips.

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