Headscratchers: Star Control

  • Colonies. Only race to appear to have more than single colony in Star Control II is humanity, and even they have it because original people couldn't get back to Earth. In first game(no, there is no third no matter what you say) you would constantly try to build new colonies to keep up with the war. In II, Any battle thralls seems to be happy with their home planet alone. Zot-Fot-Pik atleast Hand Wave this by saying all their colonies have been wiped out. Nobody else colonies anymore? I know this mroe of a technological reasons but it still bugs me...
    • The commander of the human starbase tells you that after capitulation the Ur-Quan gave a set period of time for everybody to get the hell back to Earth before any stragglers were hunted down and destroyed. It isn't that unlikely that similar conditions were given out to the other League members as the surrendered, thus necessitating the evacuation of any colonies they DID possess. Why the battle thralls don't have any is a more interesting and pressing question, but judging from the environments of the planets you tend to run into, it appears likely that they wouldn't be that comfortable for habitation (we have no reason to believe the BT races would have any better luck than an un-upgraded lander does on a Venus-like world: namely none), to say nothing of the possibility that the Ur-Quan might be keeping an eye on and limiting the expansion of the BT races to prevent a revolt in their rear during the Doctrinal Conflict. Most likely, everybody quickly stripmines the local barren rocks in their neighborhood and ships them back home without the need for colonies. Proportionally, the galactic stage was more-or-less reduced to near-antiquity levels of insulation and isolation between the races, with nobody having any contact with anybody else and the Ur-Quan acting as the only go-between for everybody still capable of operating off their worlds. The first game, on the other hand, showcased a level of integration not unlike the world wars of Earth, whereupon each race may not exactly be bestest buddies or the most knowledgeable about each other, their command systems are at least fairly integrated and communication is more or less open, thus creating the right climate for colonies. third game]], it is likely the recovery from the damage of the Hierarchy War and the Ur-Quan yoke would have healed enough for colonization to once again be feasible.
  • Who crews the Kohr-Ah Marauders? In the manuals for both Star Control 1 and 2, the description for the Ur-Quan explains that each Ur-Quan Dreadnought is captained by a single Ur-Quan who commands a heterogeneous crew assembled from the various Hierarchy slave races. The manual for Star Control 2 explains that this is because Ur-Quan are naturally so territorial that two Ur-Quan can't get near each other without fighting for dominance. The same problem must also apply to the other branch of the Ur-Quan race, the Kohr-Ah. Except the Kohr-Ah don't enslave other races, they exterminate them. Yet Kohr-Ah Marauders have just as many crew members as Ur-Quan Kzer-Za Dreadnoughts. So who's crewing the Marauders?
    • My guess is that Kohr-Ah work far enough from each other not to start up their instincts OR Kohr-Ah are capable working together without fighting OR they deal with the fights for dominance before they get on their post. One who wins the dominance? Captain. Second one? XO. Third: Navigator etc. etc.
      • Ur-Quan dominance fights are described as being to the death, so that last explanation doesn't seem to work. Also, if the Kohr-Ah can do any of those things, why don't the Kzer-Za do the same thing? After all, letting large numbers of non-Ur-Quan onto their Dreadnoughts exposes them to espionage or sabotage. You've got to figure that plenty of the Ur-Quan's slaves are secretly rooting for the Alliance, after all.
      • ...Unless the crews of the Dreadnoughts are from the countless galaxies the Kzer-Za conquered on their way here down the Galactic spiral, and who weren't involved in the original alliance at all. For all we know, there is not a single alien from our galaxy aboard any dreadnought, but the Kzer-Za utilize slaves from outside their area of operations due to the risk of sympathy between those on the dreadnoughts and the locals. And if they defect anyway, the chances of the Alliance races understanding them are slim at best. And as for the reason why the Kzer-Za don't have a similar system, the Dnyarri might also be responsible, given how while it was necessary to keep their soldiers from killing each other, it wasn't so for their scientists, who anyway might conspire for their overthrow is allowed to congregate without killing each other (and that's percisely what happened anyway, it's just that they didn't count on the ability of an Ur-Quan to send a message without being physically present and thus triggering the territorial issues).
      • Crewing the Dreadnoughts with slaves isn't much more inadvisable than assigning scary Ilwrath and cowardly Spathi to do anything together, never mind the Earthguard. The Kzer-Za are not the best people managers, which is understandable given their original solitary nature.
      • True, but for their defense, they didn't exactly have all the time in the world to organize anything before heading off for the Doctrinal Conflict, they likely figured out that at least SOMEBODY would stay on (and the readings they got from the Moon might have fooled them), and perhaps most importantly, Earthguard is NOT a major force. Hell, judging from descriptions, it's a hastily assembled force tossed together without a great deal of preparation. The only reason Earth is a threat at all is because a One Man Navy comes in from an unknown world armed with unbelievably advanced technology looking for Earth.
    • Maybe A Dnyarri Did It? Before they were Kohr-Ah, after all, the Black Ur-Quan were genetically manipulated to be soldiers. It would have been helpful to that end, if their intraspecies hostility were dialed down a little so they could collaborate against whoever they were set on.
      • Could be. Except if each Marauder is full of Kohr-Ah, but each Dreadnaught has only one Kzer-Za, doesn't that suggest that there are either a lot more Dreadnaughts than Marauders or a lot more Kohr-Ah than Kzer-Za? Because if the fleets are roughly the same size (allowing for the fact that the Ur-Quan took significant losses to the Shofixti) and the populations are roughly the same, then it would seem that the Kzer-Za must have a lot of spare personnel. I guess they might not have enough of an industrial base to make enough ships for all their potential captains. Either way, though, it seems like there must be some large inequality between the two groups somewhere.
      • Well, considering that they would probably have time to breed, and likely have been garrisoning their sides of the galactic spiral with their own species, and the Kohr-Ah more or less have anihilated every living thing on their end, it is quite likely they have vast colonies in their conquered areas, whereas the Kzer-Za have been more or less acting as various large Communist countries with vast rural bases (Soviet Union, China, Vietnam) have: letting the populace largely to what it will while posting occasional strongpoints and officers to keep eyes on things.
    • Is it possible the 'crew' indicator only shows relative strength? That is, there might be one Kohr-Ah on the ship, but he/she/it pilots with the ferocity and ability of many crew members.
      • This would work fine were it not for the Syreen ability to steal enemy crew. The fact that they pick up crew and add it to their own on a 1-to-1 basis means that the Korah must indeed be crewed by multiple creatures.
    • But here's one more idea: We know that the Kor-Ah did not, in fact, exterminate every race they found: the Talking pets survived. It's theoretically possible that they keep some other "lobotomized" race(s) as crew for their ships.

  • How big is the Ultron? The Utwig mention it was broken when it was being passed to someone and it slipped out his hand. The Aqua Helix is said to be one meter tall, so how could the Helix be a component of the Ultron and have it still be a handheld device? It's never said how big the Utwig are, so I suppose it's possible they're a race of giants, but damn, if they were that big they'd be able to fight the Ur-Quan in hand-to-hand combat.
    • A meter's not all that big, considering the things poking out the top of the Ultron. I think it's about the size of a medium-sized potted plant or an umbrella stand.
      • But looking at the Ultron it seems to be about as wide as it is tall.
    • Even then it doesn't have to be handheld — a big bathtub-like object that requires two hands to carry could still slip out of someone's hand. Besides, I'm 5'7" and I could carry a light object that's a meter in diameter. Clumsily, and I might well drop it, but ... I assume someone a foot taller than me (the Utwig look about 7 feet tall to me) could probably do a much better job. The bigger question is at the end, when the Proctor is carrying the Utwig and DANCING LIKE A LOON. How much does the Ultron WEIGH?
    • Who says that the Utwig are human sized? They might be huge!
  • So was it ever confirmed who "They" were? I assume it could have been the Orz.
    • Yup. Word of God says, "The Orz is part of Them, the projection of Them into TrueSpace."
    Orz: "My *fingers* reach through into *heavy space* and you *see* *Orz bubbles*, but it is really *fingers*."
  • Wait...how do you pick up Francium?
  • How are the Umgah "not malevolent" (main work page) aliens that "we would have gotten along well with" (quote from Hayes)? They're Omnicidal Maniacs with the same sense of humor as The Joker. Let's review their jokes, shall we?
    • Deliberately triggering at least a Class 1 apocalypse against a race by dropping a planetoid into the ocean of an inhabited planet.
    • Dumping horrific monsters on the surface of Spathiwa, forcing the harmless and pacifistic Spathi to abandon their homeworld for generations.
    • As if that weren't enough, setting up the surviving Spathi to be used as cannon fodder by alien overlords.
    • Manipulating the peaceful, enlightened Ilwrath into becoming ravening vicious monsters, utterly destroying their culture.
    • Even when you free the Umgah from being enslaved by the Dnyarri, they're only capable of showing gratitude to you for a matter of days before they issue a freaking death order against you for no visible reason.
      • The Umgah aren't malevolent: they don't see their "jokes" as wrong or harmful. They are, probably, insane, but they don't really mean anyone ill will. As for Hayes... I don't think he knew about most of those pranks. Even the Captain doesn't seem to know anything about the Umgah other than their reputation for having a unrivalled sense of humor, so perhaps none of humanity knew of their true nature until the game takes place.
  • The Kzer-Za, who were genetically engineered to be master scientists, had the insanely advanced Sa-Matra in their sole possession for thousands of years. How/why didn't they back-engineer it and use the technology for their own ships? Or even improve it, like the Chmmr were able to do with the precursor bomb in a few days?
    • Religious taboo? They see it as a sacred artefact after all. Or maybe it was a part of their treaty with Kohr-Ar.
      • If the control runs are a Black Box, they would (entirely justifiably) probably be unwilling to try cracking it open, because they wouldn't be assured of being able to put it back together again. And finally... why would they need to? The thing is outright unstoppable in a straight fight; even a WMD from the same tech base that created the battle station needed to be massively overclocked and shoved right up to it to put a dent in the defenses. If I had an indestructible mega-battleship that could wipe armies off the map without breaking a sweat and take a nuke head-on without a dent, I'd probably be satisfied too.
      • Religious taboo is correct one. It may not be used on Doctrinal Conflict and bringing it out to beat opposing enemy is pretty much admiting that your doctrine is not strong enough in itself. Kohr-Ra can beat pretty much anything in their way alone and so can Kzer-Za. Only when it started to be clear that Kohr-Ra were to arrive in year or two Kzer-Za brought Sa-Matra out, to keep their forces strong enough to beat Kohr-Ra. Remember, Kzer-Za consider genocide a wrong thing to do and Kohr-Ah with Sa-Matra would pretty much mean sterile galaxy...
    • Whose to say they didn't? Maybe their ships do use scaled-down versions of reverse-engineered Sa Matra technology.
  • Aren't the Shofixti still doomed? Even if one male and sixteen females can produce thousands of them, that provides the Captain with plenty of soldiers for this generation, sure, but in a few more generations, wouldn't it ultimately all end up in inbreeding and thus genetic decay eventually?
    • It would if their genetics worked the same way genetics works on earth (which we can't be completely sure of, alien species and all) and if things were left to unfurl through wholly natural means. But sufficiently advanced genetics technology offers a variety of ways around this problem, and this is a space-faring species we're talking about, with space-faring allies even more advanced than they are.
  • When Kzer-Za enslave Earth, why did they bother to destroy all the ancient landmarks? Just to deprive Earthlings of their legacy and break their spirit? That's kinda petty, not to mention pointless, since there's an indestructible bubble around the planet.
    • There's an implication that they were destroying left-over stuff from the saucer people.
      • Each of the landmarks that the Kzer-Za destroyed had either some important historical, religious or otherwise important link: Stonehenge (marvel of ancient man, possible religious or astronomical value), a one square kilometer of land in the Iraqi desert (given its location, a very vague estimate of Eden's location), the Parthenon (temple to Athena), the Pyramids (one of the Seven Wonders; construction feat as well as elaborate burial sites), an area under Antarctica (link to the Cthulhu Mythos?), several targets beneath the Amazon rainforest (among other South American historical sites, possibly El Dorado among them), and a patch of the southeast Atlantic Ocean floor (possible point where Atlantis ended up).
  • The game is over with the destruction of Sa-Matra, and apparently the war is won, and the enslaved planets are freed. But how are the Ur-Quan actually dealt with? After all, the Kohr-Ah managed to wipe out half the galaxy, and the Kzer-Za managed to enslave the other half.
    • Several things had happened to break the Ur-Quan's control: first, the Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah were fighting a massive civil war for the entire game, which the Kohr-Ah were winningnote , meaning that the Kzer-Za fleet was getting decimated. The Kohr-Ah were taking heavy casualties as well (particularly if you send the Thraddash after them). Second, they lost their greatest weapon, the Sa-Matra. Third, the Chenjesu and Mrmhrmrm (or however the hell you spell that) are back in the form of the Chmmr, which have ships that are at the very least an even match for Ur-Quan ships. Fourth, their Battle Thralls are spent: the Spathi have slave-shielded themselves, the Androsynth are gone, the Yehat defect, the Mycons got routed by the Syreen, and the Ilwrath and Thraddash slaughtered each other. All that's really left are the Umgah and the VUX, and the latter has lost their genius military commander. And finally you have a brand-new Alliance of species backing the Chmmr, probably consisting of: the Yehat, the Shofixti, the Earthlings, the Arilou, the Syreen, the Utwig, the Supox, and the Orz. That's not a small force, and it took the entire Kzer-Za fleet to beat the first Alliance of Free Worlds.
      • Too Long Didn't Read: the Ur-Quan fleets were too weakened by their Enemy Civil War to oppose the new Alliance. Either they surrendered when they realized this, or were forcibly conquered by the Alliance.
      • Also, the Ur-Quan only won the first war because they brought out the Sa-Matra; and the new Alliance is much stronger than the previous one (nearly all the new races either joined it or are at least friendly to it; the Utwig and Supox alone change the balance of power pretty heavily, opening an entire second front on the war.) And assuming they can break slave shields (which it seems the Chmmr can do, since they broke theirs easily), the alliance can start up the factory on Vega, provide resources to it, and produce as many copies of the player's precursor ship as they want, fully-outfitted with nearly-limitless Chmmr resources, while the Sa-Matra was irreplaceable. Come to think of it...
      • Also, it is extremely likely that the Spathi have switched sides by the end of the game, and the Spathi Discriminator/Eluder, piloted with even minimal competence, can slaughter whole fleets of Dreadnaughts and Marauders.
      • Another thing to remember is that the Ur-Quan are in fact highly religious, and the Sa-Matra is literally a holy relic to them. But then these "inferior" species came along and destroyed it, and started mass-producing ships that are actually superior to the Ur-Quan's... The Ur-Quan's entire religious/philosophical system that had worked for over 22 millenia came crashing down around them in a matter of months. This probably broke their morale very quickly.
  • Why didn't the Chmmr break the slave shield on Vega and use the factory there to produce unlimited copies of the player's ship? That seems like it would have been a much more reliable response to the Sa-Matra than just one bomb.
    • Who's to say that wasn't Plan B? But that plan would take time, and time was running out. Better to go with an option that has a chance of succeeding now while still working on the backup plan.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: WHY hasn't one species in the entire series developed the sense to have more than one class of spaceship for themselves? Even humans would've been smart enough to realize that their Cruiser was not good enough by itself and gone on to design some new types of spaceship to supplement or succeed the Cruiser.
    • Each side's ships-of-the-line rely on the other races to make up for their shortcomings. Looking beyond the 1-on-1 aspects of in-game combat, the sides involved had an array of ships to handle any situation (e.g., an Earthling Cruiser would be all but helpless against a Mycon Podship, but the Arliou Skiff can dance circles around it and ping it to death from close range. Similarly, the Androsynth Guardian's Blazer mode can evade the Earthling Cruiser's MX Missiles and ram it repeatedly, while trying to use a Spathi Eluder against a Cruiser would just turn into a battle of attrition if both captains know what they're doing.) Also, Hayes in SCII mentions 'smaller support vessels' in passing when talking about the events leading to the Alliance's defeat; maybe the ships used in battles are representative of actual squadrons instead of individual ships?