Neptune’s Pride Diary: Prologue
Normally when I write I try to make a point, or make my audience think, or just appear smarter than I actually am. This is not one of those times. If you absolutely must take something away from this, here it is: Trash talk and roleplaying are two great tastes that taste great together!
See, lately Kent Sutherland and I have been playing a lot of Neptune’s Pride, an eight-way galactic free-for-all of an online strategy game for which the phrase “diplomatic clusterfuck” seems just barely adequate. The game is itself a treacherous beast that thrives on paranoia and trust issues, and believe me when I say that makes for an entertaining postgame writeup. Oh, did I mention that we’ll be doing a postgame writeup? That’s coming sometime in the fairly distant future; for now I offer you this excerpt from our correspondence as a taste of things to come:
[After maintaining a tenuous alliance for most of the game, I suddenly spot a fleet of Kent’s ships bearing down on one of my outlying colonies. Time to give the traitorous bastard a piece of my mind.]
Veret: First of all, congratulations on not getting bogged down in any costly wars before this point. Congratulations, too, on your apparently lucrative trade partnerships, and on being currently the most technologically advanced player in the galaxy. And lastly, congratulations on the recruitment of such brave pilots who are willing to make a blind leap into hostile territory. Well done.
But no, you may not have fucking Birdun. It’s mine, and it’s damn well going to stay that way. You see, I’ve been fighting for my life nearly the whole game, and you’re about to find out just how good I am at it.
Kent: My brave pilots will not die in vain! Best of luck and may the best space monster win!
Veret: Pshaw. Not even your fishbowl-wearing Salarian folk can match the awesome power of my teenage mutant ninja space-turtles! The Empire of Wazn shall triumph over all who oppose my illustrious rule!
Kent: My fishbowl-clad warriors will trample on the corpses of your space lizards and perform ceremonial dances with their wives!
Veret: What? Insolence! Brazen impiety! To even suggest that our stately wives might partake in such frivolous activities! And with your vulgar foot soldiers, no less! I swear by the spackled shell of the Most Holy Wazndorfer that you shall pay for your base remarks. We’ll trample your space-crops as we march through your worlds! I’ll make reptilian scowly-faces at your loved ones! My soldiers will poke out your stupid bug eyes and I will URINATE IN YOUR FISHBOWL!
[I make a rather boneheaded mistake and allow Kent to take the system. His few remaining ships then have no choice but to scamper the hell back out of my space before my reinforcements arrive.]
Kent: Huzzah! Victory is mine and I beat a hasty retreat. What has my attack accomplished? Little, if anything. Oh well, the surviving two soldiers said goodbye to their ill-fortuned companion many minutes ago, and grand stories of battle will be shared on Minelava over casks of babblebrew, a delicious Salarian social lubricant. Ah, how the lizard blood sprayed the halls and the legendary living three laughed in linked arms as the thrusters of NO CAN HAS [that’s my defending fleet. If you have to ask…don’t ask. –V] twinkled in the distance, a veritable star of victory.
I would like to direct your attention to your own fishbowl helmets and to remind you where you acquired such wonderful technology! From us, that’s where! OR will you pretend that you don’t remember your scientists all huddled in awe in my laboratory in Izar, sucking against their plastic bag pouch helmets, only beginning to comprehend the wonderful freedom that a fishbowl could provide. And you would urinate in our helmets? Such cruel irony!
[The moment Kent finishes his undignified retreat, his ships turn right back around again and set a course for the single most remote, barren, and utterly worthless system I own. On the one hand, it’s actually a tactically sound move on his part. On the other hand…]
Veret: Ding! Thank you for flying Air Minelava, non-stop to the ass end of nowhere. In the final ten minutes before departure, please take a moment to review some of the many exciting features the system of Warg has to offer.
Warg’s industrial sector may not accomplish much due to its critical existence failure, but the system’s bustling economy continues to bring in a staggering zero Wazn-dollars per annum! Warg has also nurtured a promising tourism industry since its original colonization in 3186 W.E., as pilots from all over the galaxy flock to the planet’s surface to get killed by its one surprisingly ferocious inhabitant.
Also: Are you an invading army and/or fleet of pirate raiding craft? Be sure to check out our exclusive seven-to-one offer! Never heard of it? This special promotion gives you the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of losing seven of your “elite” pilots to every crazy old hermit they kill. Talk about humiliating! But hey, at least you can tell your friends how you pillaged one of the least valuable planets in the galaxy, right?
[The one defender I left on Warg gets some surprisingly nasty defensive bonuses against the invading fleet. Kent wins—barely.]
Kent: That was a fierce hermit to be sure. My men aren’t suited to desert combat, okay?
[Suuurrre, Kent, whatever you say. Bastard.]