Talking Pet (device)
This modified Talking Pet, sometimes referred to as a neo-Dnyarri, represents the only known re-emergence (created by the Umgah genetic engineers) of the original Dnyarri species, and is perhaps the most dangerous creature in the known galaxy. Similar in appearance to the Talking Pets used by the Ur-Quan, it is comparable with its Dnyarri ancestors in terms of power and malice. The Captain uses the neo-Dnyarri to distract the majority of the large Ur-Quan fleet guarding the Sa-Matra, allowing him to attack and destroy the mighty battle platform. Though it is generally accepted that the creature perishes in the attack on the Sa-Matra, the actual status and whereabouts of the neo-Dnyarri following the battle are unknown.
The Arilou Lalee'lay observed the crash of a Kzer-Za Dreadnought on Alpha Pavonis VII during the Doctrinal Conflict; seeing that the Dreadnought's self-destruct function had malfunctioned, they chose to investigate the wreck and salvage it. The starboard warp pod from this wreck is used to build the Portal Spawner that the Arilou give to The Captain, while the only surviving life form from the wreck, the Kzer-Za Lord's Talking Pet, was taken by the Arilou for medical care. Since biology was not their field of expertise, the Arilou decided to take the Talking Pet to their Umgah friends to be treated.
The Umgah, rather than merely healing the Talking Pet's physical wounds, grew curious about its genetic code, finding long sequences of apparently useful genes that had been deactivated by artificial processes. Not knowing that it was the Ur-Quan who had enslaved the Dnyarri and devolved them into Talking Pets, they repaired the Talking Pet's DNA, both activating its racial memories and restoring its full intelligence and latent psychic powers.
Upon its awakening, the neo-Dnyarri, mentally taking stock of the events of the past 20,000 years, almost immediately embarks on a program of conquest and revenge. It quickly seizes control of the Umgah homeworld, then begins to send brainwashed Umgah slaves out of its sphere of psychic influence to search for information on the Ur-Quan and how they might be defeated.
Association with The Captain
Unfortunately for the neo-Dnyarri's plans, the Umgah prove less than competent at deflecting the attention of the nascent New Alliance of Free Stars. Should The Captain visit Beta Orionis I without the Taalo Shield, he is compelled to "find someone to kill him" — a Dreadnought. However, after taking possession of the Shield, the neo-Dnyarri is forced to resort to more mundane means of killing The Captain — compelling the Umgah commander to assemble ten Drones to counter The Flagship and its escorts. After The Captain destroys them, he finds himself reluctantly agreeing to ally with the neo-Dnyarri against the Ur-Quan, letting the creature aboard The Flagship.
Details about the neo-Dnyarri's nature are hard to come by during its residence on The Flagship, since it was not above using minor psychic compulsions to turn aside inquiries about itself, particularly its psychology and its psi abilities. Initial tests, before the neo-Dnyarri began openly manipulating its testers to falsify results, showed its measured IQ to be far above that of the greatest human geniuses and its personality to be classified in the category labeled "Furtive-Hateful" by human xenologists, due to its antisocial habits and its direct, sadistic desire for others' pain and suffering. Physically similar to Talking Pets, it appears as a quadruped with small, atrophied limbs, a grossly bulging cranium, and a somewhat human-like face.
Its life on board The Flagship was a constant series of petty demands that its handlers were incapable of refusing up to a certain point, and twisted mind games played by spreading gossip and false rumors based on reading the crew's thoughts. Should The Captain ask him about the species' history, it attempts to deceive the Humans about the history of the Dnyarri Slave Empire to put itself in a better light; what Humans have learned both from the Ur-Quan themselves and more apparently neutral parties like the Melnorme and the Chmmr (and the neo-Dnyarri itself, in two instances: if confronted on Beta Orionis I with the Ur-Quan version of history and before the final battle of the Sa-Matra, when he named the Ur-Quan his "ancient slaves") indicate that almost no historical information obtained from the neo-Dnyarri can be considered reliable.
The neo-Dnyarri is able to send the Ur-Quan defenders of the Sa-Matra into mindless confusion even through the Taalo Shield's influence (though it is possible that the Shield only protected beings within it, without incapacitating their mental compulsion powers), allowing The Captain to advance his bold scheme of using The Flagship as a suicide bomb against the Sa-Matra. Records of the sequence of events during the hectic battle of the Sa-Matra are extremely confused, but it seems that The Captain "accidentally forgets" the neo-Dnyarri locked in the cargo hold; the creature's pleas for help are in vain.
The neo-Dnyarri is now presumed dead; however, the slightest possibility of his its survival is an excruciatingly terrifying thought — its vengeful, greedy and sadistic nature are likely to ignite the next great galactic conflict. Its propensity toward voyeurism and cruel experimentation with other races indicate this conflict would be unnaturally rich in violence, emotional tension and gratuitous trans-species sexual interaction.1
Sources of information
The Chmmr suggest using some kind of psychic weapon against the Ur-Quan and hint that such a weapon would likely be an inimical lifeform. The Arilou provide the greatest amount of information about the Talking Pet they rescued and entrusted to the Umgah. While they do not know that the Umgah awaken the Talking Pet to full sentience, they are aware of strange psychic activity centered on Beta Orionis, the Umgah home star. When the Arilou or Chmmr learn of the awakened Talking Pet, they each explicitly suggest that it could be used against the Ur-Quan. The Zoq-Fot-Pik also appear to be vaguely aware of the powerful psychic activity in the Orionis constellation. The Melnorme never reveal any knowledge of the current events related to the neo-Dnyarri, but the historical data they sell does reveal useful information about the history, powers, and fate of the ancient Dnyarri.
The Taalo Shield can provide the protection necessary to avoid the neo-Dnyarri's psychic compulsions against curious intruders. However, he does have a last resort battlegroup of Umgah Drones for just such a situation. When the battlegroup is defeated and after a short conversation with him, the neo-Dnyarri is transported to The Flagship's manifest. Alternatively, it is also possible to obtain the Talking Pet without the Taalo Shield, by waiting for the Kohr-Ah to destroy the Umgah.
Relevance to the plot
The Talking Pet is the only way to distract the limitless Ur-Quan starships that surround the Sa-Matra, leaving only a small battlegroup of Dreadnoughts and Marauders guarding the Sa-Matra. It can also be talked to while it's on board, for some (untrustworthy) information.
Notes and references
- 1In the credits, the Dnyarri alleges that he has managed to escape and that the sequel will all be about him and his conquest of the galaxy, though the credits are not considered canon.
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|