Developer: Egosoft Publisher: Deep Silver Platform(s): Windows PC, OSX, Linux
Bit tech readers young and old! Gather around the warmth of this here PC, and listen well while we tell you a story. It's a cautionary tale about trusting appearances, being taken in by beauty and spectacle. This is the story of Ren Otani and his epic quest to buy one hundred Energy Cells.
Our story begins with Otani piloting his ship, the Albion Skunk, into the zone of space known as Cold Peaks. It's a starkly beautiful place, situated between the two halves of a cracked planet. The zone itself is dominated by two vast Energy Arrays, long tubes of metal lined with huge solar panels, like a tree branch covered in butterflies. Queues of space traffic trail in and around the arrays, the string of gleaming hulls illuminated by the flashing lights of patrolling police ships. Meanwhile, hulking interstellar freighters and fearsome Capital Ships float languidly beneath the solar platforms. It's an incredible sight, just like every one of X: Rebirth's meticulously crafted zones, sectors, and systems.
"Entering, Cold Peaks", bleeps the ship's computer cheerfully.
"NOW SHUT UP BETTY!" screeches Otani's co-pilot - a woman named Yisha - in a nonsensical and highly unconvincing fashion.
Otani is jarred out of his admiration of the view. Who is Betty? he wonders. Is Yisha talking to the computer again? She does realise it's not a person, right? He sighs inwardly. How on Terra did he end up flying with this shrieking lump of stupidity who moves around in his peripheral vision in a really creepy manner like a spider playing with string puppets? Oh that's right, he found her floating in space right at the beginning of all this, alone and helpless. Perhaps there was a reason for that.
But it's done now, and besides Otani has a job to do, so he flies to one of the trading posts located on the second Energy Array to buy one hundred Energy Cells, which he plans to sell to a giant Asteroid station in a neighbouring Zone in exchange for some new plasma weapons. Otani opens up his trade menu, and sighs again. The trade menu's buying and selling sections are denoted as "Sales" and "Offers", and Otani can never remember which one is bloody buying and which one is sodding selling. He figures Offers is buying, because people offer things they want to sell to you, but no, he's got it wrong again. Offers is selling, because you're offering people things you want to sell.
"Makes perfect sense", Otani mutters.
That means Sales is buying, naturally, so Otani purchases the 100 Energy Cells, a fiddly task in itself because the trade menu only has a slider, and Otani can't simply input the quantity of the product he wants. Suddenly, a figure pops up on the ship's communication screen, and says "That's a fine deal! We're on our way to meet you."
It takes a moment for Otani to recognise the figure. It's the captain of the Rahanas, the trade ship that Otani owns. The captain's real name escapes Otani, so for the moment he decides to call him Brian. Why is Brian picking up the 100 Energy Cells? Otani thinks. We don't really need a cargo ship the size of a county town to pick up 100 Energy Cells? Can't I do it right here, right now?
Oh wait, no, because the Albion Skunk isn't a trade ship, and I can't fly any ships other than this one, meaning if I want to do any trading, or mining, or anything that isn't fighting or exploring, I have to get other ships to do it for me. Isn't that silly? muses Otani.
Luckily, Otani doesn't have to wait around. The Rahanas should do its thing automatically. In the meantime, someone in Cold Peaks needs transporting to a nearby zone, which is conveniently the same zone Otani plans to sell the 100 energy cells in. He decides to take the job, and no sooner has the mission finished when Brian informs Otani that the deal is almost "Sewn up". Mood brightened by this news, Otani heads to the asteroid platform, and instructs the Rahanas to "Offer" the 100 energy sells to the asteroid platform.
From here, it's a case of kicking back, waiting, and admiring the view, not that Otani can admire the view particularly well, because the cockpit HUD takes up most of his vision, and for some reason he can't look freely around the cockpit, despite being able to climb in and out of his ship when docked at a space station. Maybe he's wearing some kind of invisible neck-brace that he isn't aware of. But he supposes what limited view he can see is still nice, so he waits.