Molly’s betrayal hurt, and that’s the truth of it. It was still too close to think about.
But everything else — that Confederate, and then Intel getting involved. The riots, and the raids, and all the explosions… and my own job: moving money secretly offworld, without government knowledge. It all added up, and in a way I didn’t like.
“Well, now; as I live and breathe. Dear Martin it is, and no mistake! And how are you this fine evening?”
Queen Molly in person. That was all I needed. No, seriously; it was: If she had been late, or if my note to her hadn’t arrived, it would have screwed up my plan. Not badly, but enough.
I put on a winning smile and made my best leg. “Milady Queen! Delightful to see you, as always — truly delightful! I do hope you’ve brought some friends with nice strong backs?” I could just see them moving behind her in the murky night. “Excellent. Do come this way.”
In order to write about the new changes in torpedoes announced at Planets.nu, I need to briefly explain how torpedo economics work in Planets. As most of you probably figured out pretty early on in your Planets days, Mk.4 torpedoes are the best go-to torp to pick, until you have more money to get one of the top-tier ones (Mk.7 or Mk.8). Many of you have looked at the damage (TW) rating of each torp and then compared it to the cost, and noticed that certain torpedoes are much more efficient at packing a punch than others.
I bet she had a pretty smile, but if so she was saving it for someone special and I didn’t qualify. I tried anyway. “The way I see it, you can hide in the tunnel and hope the cops don’t stumble over it, or you can stay in the District until tomorrow and sneak back into the Zone after all this settles down. I know some people–“
“I just bet you do,” she snapped. “I’ll find my own way, thanks!” And then she started walking — the wrong way, back toward the club. I almost let her go, but good sense prevailed.
“No, it’s simple, kid,” he said. “We pick up the package, then hop over to the District to pick up the passenger. After that, it’s to orbit and back on a joy ride and we’re done.”
“OahOOOoohhhh! I geddit now! Fine! When we leavin’?” I could have killed him, but I had a job on so instead I finished my coffee. It tasted like dark roasted heaven, which for some reason really pissed me off.
“It’s funny; all the big names just vanished all of a sudden.” Eddie’s eyes narrowed again. “Maybe they know something we don’t.”
I had to admit, it seemed likely. There definitely had to be something going on to explain this; then, for another thing, riots just don’t happen all that often in the Empire. Security frowns on them — hard. But what could be behind it all? I shook my head. “Above my pay grade,” I said. “I’ve got a job to do.”
Once upon a time, the Eleven Races were severely unbalanced. Then, hyperspace and Chunnels were invented; races gained special abilities, fighter production could happen on ships, the Super Spy mission was introduced, and so on — and we were all still unbalanced, but not by as much.
(The following is a rebuttal to “Seeing Purple and Red“, by Talespin. The opinion is that of the author, and does not necessarily reflect that of the Planets Magazine as a whole.)
Hands Off My Minefields, Dammit!
My esteemed colleague has raised several points in his article, and it’s true that there are factors that need addressing. The prevalence of short-form Planets games alongside the rise of the new PPQ system (which I’ve referred to as the New Nu Queue, to spare confusion) certainly creates new questions of balance and game flow. Steady advances under solid logistics and impeccable defenses are no longer tenable in non-Classic, non-Standard scenarios.
Planets is less a galactic combat simulator and more a space opera; it is an adventure story, flavoured with science fiction and tempered by the rules of a war game. Each sector is a mental filmstrip beaming images of Tie Fighters and X-Wings, Raiders and Vipers, and pointy-eared spies and Qapla’-shouting warriors! These exciting moments are why we toil and “turn,” but, alas, when the game we love becomes mired in purple and red circles, we lose the very soul of what makes Planets fun. Purple and red means webs and minefields, and an overabundance of these leads to long slogs and painfully-slow endings.