The Aqua Helix is one of a trio of Precursor artifacts whose mystical links to each other had been sensed by Pkunk psychics. (The other two artifacts being the Clear Spindle and the Rosy Sphere.) All were given simple names based on their color and shape. The Aqua Helix is a crystalline gemstone, composed of a homogeneous substance, that appears to have been naturally grown in the shape of a flat strip twisted in a three-dimensional spiral. It is extremely hard (rated Mohs-13, able to scratch a diamond) and its internal structure remains unknown.
The Thraddash revered it as a holy object, and constructed a shrine for it in a mountainous cave of the continent of Funt on one of their colony planets, Zeta Draconis I. While housed there, the Helix constantly gave off pulses of intensely bright light by an unknown process; control of the shrine and the Helix was regarded as the ultimate symbol of the ruling authority of each successive Culture, and within the shrine was inscribed in ritual hieroglyphics the history of each Culture. This custom has lasted for all 2,000 years of Thraddash history, only briefly challenged by the two-week reign of the heretic Culture Nine. Except for that one exception, the Thraddash dogmatically insist on veneration of the Helix as the one constant factor that keeps their civilization continuous through all the countless wars and power shifts that make up their history, despite the fact that the Thraddash have long forgotten what the original symbolic significance of the Helix is. (Some speculate its helical shape may be related to the Thraddash's conviction that social evolution must come through a cycle of destruction and rebuilding.)
The ascension of Thraddash Culture Twenty, based around the teachings of the human Captain, led to an invitation by the Thraddash to allow their new leader to view their most sacred artifact. Having learned something of the Helix's nature from the Pkunk, The Captain allowed his crew to violate the Thraddash shrine and steal the Helix, disturbing its structure and quelling its ancient glow, causing the Thraddash to turn against their great Teacher and throwing Culture Twenty into turmoil. This decision however proved wise, as the Helix proved to be one of the parts necessary to repair the Utwig's Ultron.
Sources of information
The Melnorme sell one item of information about fixing the Ultron, which gives the location of the Aqua Helix as somewhere in Thraddash space. The Pkunk also describe one of the Ultron replacement parts as a "blue twisty thing" and associate it with Draconis.
The Aqua Helix can be obtained in one of the following ways:
- Create an alliance with the Thraddash (by killing several of them), who then allow access to planet's surface.
- Suggest the Thraddash assist the Ur-Quan by fighting the Kohr-Ah, which leaves Aqua Helix unguarded.
- Trick the Ilwrath into attacking the Thraddash by using the Umgah Caster, which leaves the Aqua Helix unguarded.
- Wait until the Kohr-Ah begin cleansing the races, which leaves the Aqua Helix unguarded when the Thraddash are wiped out.
After its acquisition, all Thraddash encounters will be hostile, though Torches can still be built at the Starbase, and any Torches The Captain may have in his fleet remain with him as well. (bug #973)
If the broken Ultron is also part of The Flagship's manifest, then selecting and "using" the Aqua Helix from the Devices submenu automatically applies the Helix to the Ultron, effecting a third of the needed repairs.
Relevance to the plot
The Aqua Helix is required to repair the Ultron, making it possible to obtain the Utwig Bomb. Also, once the Helix has been stolen, it is impossible to establish diplomatic relations with the Thraddash. If the Thraddash are already part of the New Alliance when the Helix is stolen, then at the next encounter the Thraddash will leave the alliance. However, it is still possible to keep them in the alliance and be able to construct Torches even after stealing the Helix by simply avoiding any encounters with the Thraddash. Interestingly, and likely due to a glitch in the programming of the game, Torches are still available after the Thraddash officially leave the Alliance.
Game objectives - required items
|Sa-Matra||Deep Child Egg Case Fragments - Syreen Shuttle - Sun Device - HyperWave Broadcaster|
|Clear Spindle - Aqua Helix - Rosy Sphere - Ultron - Utwig Bomb|
|Taalo Shield - Talking Pet (device)|
|Yehat Rebellion||VUX Beast - Shofixti Maidens|
|QuasiSpace||Ur-Quan Warp Pod - QuasiSpace Portal Spawner|