Love, Terran Confederation Style

We all know Blair and Angel, Maniac and Rosie, Catscratch and Sosa... but the conventional wisdom says that Wing Commander is, by its very nature, not the platform for stories about complex romantic relationships. In honor of Valentine's Day 2017, I would like to respong by remembering two relationships from the Wing Commander canon that are a little more nuanced.

Warning: the first is a downer, a great 'could have been.' The first Wing Commander novel, Freedom Flight, introduces us to Lord Ralgha nar Hhallas (the kil who would become Hobbes) and Lady Hassa, the Sivar cult priestess to whom he is oathsworn. We learn that the pair are old friends who grew up together on Hhallas and that they are now prominent citizens: an honored Khantahr (Rear Admiral) commanding a cruiser and a leader of the rebellion fomenting on Ghorah Khar respectively.

Hassa has ordered Ralgha to support her rebellion by defecting, surrendering his Fralthi to the Terrans at Firekka. Ralgha, an abolitionist deeply loyal to Hassa, has agreed though it will mean his explusion from Kilrathi society. In an open air temple in a peaceful, tree-lined Ghorah Kharran city, the two steal a moment to say their goodbyes, each knowing they will never see the other again. Ralgha beautifully summarizes the moment with a profoundly wistful line:

"Sometimes I wonder if we should ever have left our planet, Hassa. We were so happy there as children, we could have stayed there... perhaps I should have claimed you as my mate and bearer of my children when I had the chance. Years ago, before politics and soldiering claimed my life, and the Lord Sivar claimed yours."

But it was never to be: by the time the day is out, Hassa is most likely dead at the hands of Imperial Security and Ralgha is on his way to Firekka, never to return to that childhood home on Hhallas. You can read their entire goodbye in the Freedom Flight preview chapter (originally included with Wing Commander II) here.

Now the good news: our second relationship is a great deal more fun! The year is 2790, and the name of the place is the Tri-System. Lev Arris is on a quest to learn his true identity and make a quick credit... and he's always happy to rescue a damsel in disgress. Melissa Banks, a similarly skilled privateer who is not above a little gun running, has run afoul of the Papogod at Nav 51. Lev flies to the rescue of her Faldari and the result is a romance, a second mission and a series of cutscenes as the two encounter one another through the course of the game.

In a game with a wide range of cutscenes, these personal moments stick out; Clive Owen and Mathilda May have an excellent chemistry and they give the Arris/Banks relationship a wonderful edge. Seeing the two flirting-ly snipe at one another as they seemingly try and completely fail to keep their connection 'casual.' What's more, they seem to be true equals, each an expert pilot and each capable of a great riposte. It feels incredibly genuine... and more realistic than anything else in gaming from that era. Here's the final cutscene in the sequence:

BANKS: Just look at you. I bet you've forgotten.
ARRIS: Forgotten what?
BANKS: Our anniversary.
ARRIS: Our what?
BANKS: It's the anniversary of the very first time we met. When I came out of nowhere and saved your life.
ARRIS: That's not quite how I remember it.
BANKS: Typical man.
ARRIS: Sorry, do I know you?
BANKS: In every conceivable sense.
ARRIS: I mean, your face is familiar, but...
BANKS: Oh, that's a pity, seeing as I just booked a hotel suite with a freefall jacuzzi.
ARRIS: Melissa! Happy anniversary, darling.
BANKS: Do I know you, mister?
ARRIS: Well don't you remember, you saved my life?
BANKS: Somehow, I just can't recall.
ARRIS: We, ah, we met at the Rampant Robot bar, you gave me a cure for dry lips.
BANKS: I did?
ARRIS: Listen, has the suite really got a free-fall Jacuzzi?
BANKS: You bet.

So cute--LEV+MEL 4EVER! You can start the Melissa Banks side-quest by playing with SOS missions on with Disc 2 of the game in the drive. Of course, we couldn't let a Valentine's Day pass without the famous Love Arrow animated GIF!


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Official news, fan projects and topics of particular interest to Wing Commander fans. Recent updates:


Oof, Right in the Listicle
2017-09-20 -- The Animated Times is running one of those list articles that the kids today love: "15 Video Game Cartoons You Totally Forgot." Wing Commander Academy makes the list, at #15:The Wing Commander franchise made a splash when it debuted in 1990, but it was never a series that burned up the sales charts. This, however, didn’t stop the USA Network from turning the space combat games into a short lived cartoon in 1996.

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day
2017-09-19 -- It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day! ITLAPD is an internet favorite, with all sorts of goofy nonsense occuring every September 19th. Of course, this is nothing new for Wing Commander fans: we've been talking like pirates since the 1993 release of the Wing Commander Privateer Speech Accessory Pack.

Pass the K'ha'haf
2017-09-18 -- You've seen hint books for games, you've seen hint books for series of games and you've seen hint books that cover collections of games on particular consoles... but have you ever seen a hint book for a COMPANY? Better yet: have you ever seen a hint book with a painting of Prince Thrakhath and a basketball player?

No End Run in 2017
2017-09-17 -- Bad news for eBook fans: Baen has published their schedule through December and End Run is still not on it. The second Wing Commander novel was accidentally left off the original schedule because a physical copy wasn't retained in Baen's archives... the publisher intends to issue it when a hole opens on their schedule, but sadly that will not happen in 2017.

Cute Little Mini Ship EXPOSED
2017-09-16 -- Do you remember Wing Commander III's smallest, cutest spaceship? You have to look carefully! The Confederation and Kilrathi transports in Wing Commander III are designed to have cargo pods attached to their latticework.

In France, No One Can Hear You Scream
2017-09-15 -- Our examination of classic magazine scans continues! This two-page Privateer advertisement appeared in a November, 1993 issue of Generation 4 magazine in France. A similar ad appeared in UK publications, with a somewhat different variant in the United States.

All About My Triangles
2017-09-14 -- The image below is the first screenshot of Wing Commander III's gameplay ever released to the public. An Arrow flies past... a triangular Kilrathi transport.

Look What You Squid!
2017-09-13 -- DefianceIndustries has posted finished screenshots of the next two ships being added to the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack: the Terran Confederation F-103D Excalibur and the Nephilim Squid interceptor. There are just two more ships on the docket for the next patch, so once the Orca and the Plunkett are completed there will be a new playable version. We can't wait!

Wing Commander Sticks With Us
2017-09-12 -- What is there that does not love a crazy, meaningless sticker? Not Origin Systems, that's for sure! In the early 1990s, Origin's manufacturers could barely keep up with demand for new copies of Wing Commander...

RIP Jerry Pournelle
2017-09-11 -- Jerry Pournelle, one of the giants of science fiction literature, passed away on Friday. He was best known for his frequent, genre-defining writing collaborations alongside fellow luminary Larry Niven, including The Mote in God's Eye, Lucifer's Hammer and Footfall. He was an unparalleled creator of worlds in his own right, responsible for series like Janissaries and the CoDominium setting, which has become an expansive shared universe that continues to expand today.

Test Your Audio Trivia Knowledge In New WC Contest!
2017-09-10 -- The fun drive is over, but George Oldziey is still working hard and staying engaged with fans. He's put together another contest to see who can place where another new track originates. If you think you know what game and scene it first appeared in, email the address below!

Flat Universe Multiplayer Alpha Now Multiplatform
2017-09-09 -- The Flat Universe team has been hard at work these past few weeks debugging the multiplayer alpha of their fan game, and they can finally say "FU" to the glitches that have nagged the Mac and Linux editions of the game. Everyone will need to re-download now, but future editions should be patchable with the new auto updater. Give it a try and let the Maslas Brothers know what you think!

Taking The Wraps Off The PPG
2017-09-08 -- Unboxing videos are still all the rage, and a proper video series that details the contents of a wide variety of Wing Commander products would be awesome. That's why we were excited to stumble across a Privateer Playtesters' Guide being unwrapped for the first time. It's a relatively obscure book, and there's some really useful stuff in there for the Gemini Sector traveler.

Wing Commander Album Well Under Way
2017-09-07 -- It's been a productive two weeks for Origin composer George Oldziey since the successful conclusion of his campaign to create a second Wing Commander album. Most of the orchestral portions of the album are already in work, and George details where in the WC games these pieces originate from below. He's also firming up plans for the live jazz recordings with the goal of wrapping up the album around the end of the year.

Ships Added & Bugs Squashed For Next MUP Release
2017-09-06 -- There's been a ton of progress on the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack over the last week or so, and we've gotten behind in the news! Here's a double update worth of great progress to catch up on. There's something for everyone: new Excalibur models and quick incorporation of the Vaktoth fighter we featured yesterday - plus status on the latest bug fixes and feature additions.

New Vaktoth Ready For Post-War Battle
2017-09-05 -- The Kilrathi are perhaps the single thing that Wing Commander is most known for, but somehow it's been several months since we've written a post dedicated to a kat space ship! DefianceIndustries is here to help with his latest take on the heavy Vaktoth. Its sharp-edged design may make accurate rendering relatively easy, but the high quality textures is where the model really shines.

New Homeworld Screenshots Come Hell Or High Water
2017-09-04 -- While trying to find some high ground to stay dry on, L.I.F.

Confed's Contrasting Cartoon Carriers
2017-09-03 -- If you liked Klavs' cool Concordia animation from last week, we've got a new way to check out the model. NinjaLA has put together an artsy render of the ship for fans to enjoy. It's from a forward perspective that gives a great glimpse of the large phase-transit cannon.

Flat Universe Multiplayer Alpha Goes Live!
2017-09-02 -- The highly anticipated open multiplayer test of the Wing Commander Flat Universe is now available. Wingnuts can go in and register and download the fan game for Windows, Mac or Linux. There are lots of nice improvements to the core game itself as well, even if you're not into blasting your friends.

This Is How We Do It...
2017-09-01 -- It's Friday night, and I feel alright. The party is here in #Wingnut. So I reach for my laptop and I turn it up.

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