THE MAELSTROM HINT GUIDE
(For Overlords Who Feel Compelled to Cheat)
by Skave McGlade, esq.
Howdy tyros, glad ya could make it. As Grandpappy Skave always says, winnin' is fine when ya do it by the rules, but only a moron doesn't cheat when it's gold-plated easy ta do.
Now before we get started here, Skave'll give ya a tip in case ya hafta destroy these docs fer some reason - an' by the way, if yer gonna eat 'em, Skave suggests Tabasco an' L'll'y'yy'rwwrian firewater. But Skave digresses.
If fer any reason ya can't get ta these docs, ya can always ask Skave in person. Ta get access ta the Skave private advice line, just send one o' yer SIN boys out ta Rimble on a recon mission. They'll find Skave an' the Miscreants soon enough. Then ya can dial 1-800-SKAVE when ya want some advice on how ta handle the universe. Skave's a busy guy, so chances are my squeeze'll take the call, an' he'll get back ta ya. (Skave always needs the cash.)
Okay, on ta business. Lemme warm up Skave's mystic crystal ball, an' we'll watch the future unroll in technicolor. Right off the top, yer gonna get a call from Glaska Terr'don, the big cheese over on Thornwood. Treat her nice, she's a sweet kid. She'll tell ya that some egghead named Annuber's been snatched, an' ask fer yer help. Lemme tell ya right off, this guy's no good. Dig up a little info on the guy an' you'll see what we're talkin' about here. Anyway, the Syndicate snatched Annuber an' shipped him off ta Happenstance, that hunk o' metal over in the Syndicate sectors. Just leave him there, he'll be fine. What ya gotta do is jump over ta Thornwood right away an' poke around fer clues, 'cause chances are ya can find somethin' that'll tell ya what the doc was workin' on. And that can be useful later. Now don't worry about sending yer best fleet 'cause there ain't gonna be a fight - a tin can with wings'll do it. But get yer hydrogen burnin' quick. The Syndicate'll clean up the mess as soon as they can an' ya gotta get there first. By the way, did ya know that a fleet composed of a single Fox-type hull is undetectable unless it attacks? Just thought ya'd like ta know.
While yer worryin' about this, somethin' else is goin' down on Bird. The skullsweaters over there have been playin' with their toys a little too strong, an' all heck's gonna break loose pretty quick. Yer gonna wanna go help 'em - it's worth the effort. However, I should warn ya that the Syndicate sludge has also sent a group o' ships over ta help as well. So! This is what ya gotta do. Take some o' yer startin' capital an' whip up a decent ship or two, an' sent off the bunch o' them ta Bird even afore ya get called. Then when the trouble goes down, yer right on hand ta help an' reap yer rewards. With any luck ya can be finished faster than yasmir fruit through Grandma Skave. And if yer still there when the bad boys show up, yer equipped ta deal with 'em.
This may seem like a lot o' action, but if things get tense, don't ferget that ya can slow things down a bit from yer options screen.
Now, all through this mess the Syndicate's gonna be hitting a handful o' other planets. They're generally gonna start with Knormphell, but they like ta mix up the pattern every so often, so ya can't really say fer sure. However, every so often ya should flip over ta yer sector map offa' the Military section, an' look fer planets that have been snatched by the Syndicate. They'll be shown in red. While yer there, check out any missions that they might have flyin' around, an' maybe ya can stop em' before they start.
Don't ferget ta keep an eye on things on Harmony. Keep yer engineering boys hard at work, 'cause the cheapest an' best weapons are gonna come from the labs on Harmony. Keep pushing the electro-magnetic type doodads, an' Skave'll tell ya why. There's a planet buried at the heart o' the Sve'n star system, but ya can't get ta it 'cause of all the cosmic interference. The only way yer gonna get ta these guys is ta build a special transmitter that can cut thru ta 'em. Once ya call 'em they'll send ya help, well worth the effort. So get yer guys goin' on buildin' that radio!
Anyway, after a while things are gonna start bubblin' on Azure Dawn. Those hotheads on Keyops an' Esbastista are gonna try an' make trouble fer poor Maissa Pariag, who never hurt anyone in her considerably lengthy life. Now, Azure Dawn's one o' yer major fitzholnium consumers, a smart Overlord'd keep a handy eye on her. Ya can't pick on Esbastista, though, 'cause Dre'han Van Cott keeps yer minin' machines chuggin', an' if ya tick him off it'll cost ya big time. The thing ta do is ta send a regiment or six over ta Keyops an' show Pixor Meunier how ta rumble Harmony style. Without Keyops, Esbastista ain't gonna move, an' Azure Dawn is safe. Problem solved, no muss, no fuss.
In the mean time, ya should keep minin' on Harmony, 'cause that's where yer major source o' money's gonna come from. Not only that, but I have it on good authority that there's a starship buried near the lake, right near yer capital city o' Perfect. If ya manage ta find the starship, fix it up, it's worth more ta ya as a ship than as scrap metal, doncha know.
Have ya spoke ta Keif Bailey yet? He's gonna have some problems 'cause he's got some nutty rule about not keepin' a proper fence around his yard. That Syndicate flyboy, Jerov Laddry is gonna grab Bailey's daughter an' get Keif ta pressure ya into sending over a bunch o' yer ships into a nasty rumble. Don't waste the tin, 'cause ol' Skave knows where they're hidin' the girl. Laddry keeps a tiny bolthole in orbit around Pihzda, too small ta catch with yer normal scans. What ya should do early on in yer career is ta send out a SIN team ta recon Pihzda, an' they should smack right the heck into it. Then when Bailey starts whinin' ta ya, send another SIN mission right back, an' they'll know where ta look fer the girl. Don't waste a whole fleet, send one o' them stealth ships, an' sneak in an' sneak out. Without the girl Laddry ain't got nuthin', an' Bailey should throw some cash yer way fer yer trouble.
Speaking of SIN, yer aware that Laddry an' some other Syndicate hotshots regular take sneak shots at Harmony, ain't ya? Something like once every couple months yer gonna get some sort of underhanded problem, if yer ain't careful. Now, ol' Skave knows about security - spent the best years o' life sneakin' around it. What ya gotta do is throw them all the money ya can, an' keep the heck outta their way. And don't worry about what yer penny pinchers tell ya, ya can't waste money in security.
Now, while yer diggin' oversized gopher holes all over the face of yer nation, ya might try pokin' yer nose around the base o' the mountains. Skave knows a lot 'bout geology, an' it's better than twelve ta seven that if ya take a chunk outta a base of the mountains, yer'll find a nifty little mineral called catzite. When ya dig it up, yer'll get a call from a chump named Larcher, head o' DICE Industries. He's lookin' ta buy the stuff, ta make super-lasers. If ya sell the stuff, yer'll get a good price, but the Syndicate'll have the same access ta the weapon that yer do. On the other hand, if ya keep the stuff ta yerself yer Research folks'll probably whip up the laser themselves, an' then it'll be just yer toy. This one's yer call, kid, but Skave says there's nothing like lots o' ready cash ta keep a battle moving.
Hey, Skave's got another handy tip fer ya. During battle, ya might want ta focus all yer ships on just one of the other guy's, ta make sure ya kill it. Then move on ta the next ship until the whole fleet's gone. Skave's won a canoeful of fights that way. It's a great twist from the old style.
Just when ya thought it was safe ta let yer government out ta play, Skave's got a feelin' that the background music's in minor keys. Skave knows the way Jerov Laddry thinks, an' I feel pretty certain that sooner or later he's gonna make a grab at one o' the heads of yer departments on Harmony. No creativity fer this guy, though, he's gonna play hide the head in one of those orbiting satellite thingies. Ya gotta find them before this all goes down, but Skave knows the magic word. Send out recons ta Ceddran, Tarso, an' Pihzda, though if yer already found the one at Pihzda from the earlier grab, no need ta find it again. The other two are somewhat more than a little obscured, ya may have ta look more than once ta find them. Anyway, once Jerov pulls the old snatcheroo, send out three agents ta yer three spots, an' Skave's yer uncle. Don't worry about a fight, Laddry's a lover, not a fighter.
Crystal ball's getting a bit fuzzy, but Skave's got a few more gems ta impart ta ya afore we all move along. Here's a nifty nugget Skave shoulda shot ta ya earlier, but better late than dead. If ya send a fleet out ta the Soraya Nebula, there's a prize inside. Any good smuggler knows the legend of the Lost Ship of the Battle of Soraya, all ya gotta do is send any old fleet out there, an' ya got an extra ship fer yer fleet. Better than being hit with a frozen frog, Skave always says.
How're we doin' here? Still with Skave? Okay, about two or three years after ya start playin' this gig, the lovely Lady Sybarrite should notice that someone's messin' with yer fitz prices. It don't take a Tarsonian feeper ta smell fungus growin'. Laddry's in cahoots with a joe from Thyzahn, name o' Sib'broue. Ya gotta admire Laddry, he's more or less untouchable. But Sib'broue got his weak points, they all do. Before this goes down, ya gotta run a background check on Remy Sib'broue, an' give yerself lots o' time 'cause ya may hafta try a couple o' times. They make good security on Thyzahn. When yer fitz stock goes funny, throw some heat on Sib'broue by havin' yer SIN send him a little extortion note. He'll back down 'cause he's a jelly fish, an' no harm done. Watch out fer Laddry, though, he'll try an' get his licks in even if ya stop his partner.
Ya been rememberin' ta check the Syndicate's progress on other planets, on top o' everythin' else? Don't feel shy about warmin' 'em up with a little social call every so often, Skave knows that might makes right with these boys. Ya might also send a couple snoop missions over ta the Syndicate sectors, just ta check out yer competition. Play the shadows though, 'cause the Syndicate leaves the big guns circlin' their home turf. If ya put the pieces together right, ya might notice that what Doc Annuber's been puttin' together is a new weapon fer the bad boys. He's makin'armed an' dangerous killer vegetables. Tough ta stop an' they breed like bunnies. The last couple planet's the Syndicate takes over'll use these babies. If ya can find the planet where they breed the green ghastlies, hittin' it hard will buy ya some extra time.
Couple years ago Skave had ta kick the butt of a guy named Zoran, nuttier than a fruitcake with wings. Showed up on Rimble claimin' ownership o' the place, right o' blood or some such nonsense. Skave showed him blood, lemme tell ya! Anyway, Skave's got it on good authority this jimbrone's gonna show up at yer place at some point. Don't talk, don't argue, as soon as he gets there take every last rock ya got an' throw it as hard an' fast as ya can. Get yer first shot off fast. It'll confuse him an' ya can aim yer second careful-like. Skave says Zoran's bad, an' kickin' the tar outta him's good.
Alright, an' now we come ta the grand finale. The fat lady's gonna sing, an' no cracks about Skave's mother. If yer been playin' yer cards right, at this point ya should have amassed a sizeable fortune with such stuff as insurgence, extortion an' sellin' weapons fer fun an' profit. I especially emphasize the sellin' of yer technology, always big money in that.
With all this moolah ya got, yer should have bought some fancy military planet hoppers, loaded up with all the extras in case o' trouble. Yer Military should have seasoned veterans, an' all yer ships should be in good repair. Finally, yer should have taken Skave's advice an' sent some SIN agents ta recon an' find out which o' the Syndicate planets contains the main headquarters fer the slimy little treethogs. Now yer ready ta finish this whole mess off.
Load up yer biggest an' best, make sure all yer ships have as many officers as yer can muster, pump up the military budget an' the wages fer good measure, an' set a course fer the Syndicate sectors. Hop right ta whichever planet's got the headquarters, 'cause all the planets are heavily protected, an' yer don't wanna waste time an' resources muckin' about with the wrong one. Beat the tar outta them, an' friend, that's all she wrote.
Well, Skave's crystal ball's over-heated like a lady on Valentine's Day. I read all that I can, I can't read no more. Best o' luck ta ya. Keep yer nose clean an' yer aim steady. An' if yer ever in the Drooling Sloth on Rimble, tell 'em Skave sent ya!