Outlines & Scripts for Wing Commander SecretOps

Fiction: Captain Report

In the news: Making the Game: Captain Report (2009/09/28)
View: Microsoft Word (75 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 8, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 14

This document is an earlier version of all Captain Murkins' (known here as Captain [Name]) 'pre-series' reports. The most interesting thing is that they seem to have been originally developed as something much more interactive; some of the later updates include optional text that would be displayed depending on overall performance rather than just whether or not the previous series was won.


Fiction: Casey Report

In the news: Making the Game: Casey Report (2009/09/29)
View: Microsoft Word (61 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 8, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 10

This is a collection of all of Casey's "diary entries" planned for Secret Ops. As with the Captain's Report document, it includes a more nuanced set of text options based on performance in multiple previous episodes -- especially an increased amount of self-loathing if you fail multiple previous episodes.


Lost Fiction: Incident Report

In the news: Making the Game: Incident Report (2009/09/30)
View: Microsoft Word (43 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 7, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 4

Here we feature the original form of the famous 'Blue Horizon' lost fiction. The odd thing isn't so much the content of the document itself, which was posted over twenty years ago, but the context -- it's included with the other fiction files, but with a file name distinct from all the others (which specify week/placement/etc.). Could this be why it didn't end up at the finished website?


Lost Fiction: Confed Intel

In the news: Lost Fiction Archived (2001/08/27)
View: Text
Project: WCSO
Source: Origin

This was mistakenly posted to alt.games.wing-commander by Boomer about two months before SO was released... and he asked everyone to disregard it, since it spoiled the game. Oddly, the topics brought up in the e-mail never really appeared in the game. Here it is, for posterity.


Web Fiction: Lead In

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Lead In (2009/10/01)
View: Microsoft Word (59 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 8

Here our run through the Secret Ops fiction begins in earnest, with the document containing the game's "lead in" fiction -- the material that was posted (as static images, of all things) to the site before the episode releases began. Note that the game's temporary title is 'Wing Commander: Mission Disk', which is either a cause or effect of various contemporary retailers listing a Prophecy mission disk as being forthcoming.


Web Fiction: Episode 1

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 1 (2009/10/02)
View: Microsoft Word (74 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 12

The fiction for Secret Ops' first episode is easy enough -- there's no branching, so it's not practically any different from the 'lead in' fiction. One interesting note: this version of the fiction includes parenthetical notes to add various images to many of the updates ("Images needed: “Jupiter 1” station shot (altered shot of existing starbase"). We knew this was intended, since one of these notes slipped through the editing process... but it's a shame to see how much concept was abandoned here. A select number of flashy screenshots would have improved the experience greatly -- the 'wall of text' was for hardcore fans only.


Web Fiction: Episode 2

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 2 (2009/10/03)
View: Microsoft Word (55 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 23, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 11

Here's where things get interesting: variable fiction. Here's how these updates work: four Word documents were developed for each episode. A general, color-coded collection of all the text (here) and then linear versions for each site: default (no password), negative and positive.


Web Fiction: Episode 2 Negative

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 2 Negative (2009/10/05)
View: Microsoft Word (168 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: August 9, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 16

Here's an odd personal note: the one thing that bothered me the most about Secret Ops was being given 'Talos IV' as a password. For some reason, hearing the name of a Star Trek planet in my other favorite universe takes me out of the game like nothing else ever has.


Web Fiction: Episode 2 Positive

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 2 Positive (2009/10/06)
View: Microsoft Word (257 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: August 9, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 16

These 'positive' updates bring us to the end of Episode 2. The game takes its first tentative steps at variable fiction here, with extra winning or losing paragraphs for Casey's diary, the Captain's report and Zero's e-mail (am I the only one who's bothered by the fact that he types IN ALL CAPS? ZERO IS YELLING AT YOU!).


Web Fiction: Episode 3

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 3 (2009/10/07)
View: Microsoft Word (76 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 23, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 13

Here's where we start to see some cut material. As with the Captain and Casey documents, the overall fiction documents were written with variable paragraphs which were to display based on specific mission performance. Note that Captain Clippy's report's includes two such options -- and that one of his best lines, "Have you ever looked at our retirement plan? It assumes we survive this", was actually taken from one of these removed options and added to the overall losing comments.


Web Fiction: Episode 3 Default

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 3 Default (2009/10/08)
View: Microsoft Word (75 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: August 9, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 11

Episode 3 starts with the previously mentioned update that left its picture request in at SecretOps.com: "Pictures Required: Various screen shots of fighting between Excaliburs, Thunderbolts, and aliens" -- wouldn't that have been cool? (I do remember specifically asking about this at the time and being told it was intentional... but given the fact that every other update seems to have such requests removed, I think I was lied to.)


Web Fiction: Episode 3 Negative

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 3 Negative (2009/10/09)
View: Microsoft Word (63 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: August 9, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 11

The general Episode 3 fiction includes what is usually cited as the games' favorite update -- the story on Blair's memorial (attended, naturally, by entertainers referenced in Claw Marks and Victory Streak!). That final promise that the full transcript would be available in the "ISDN Archives" was certainly a tease, though.


Web Fiction: Episode 3 Positive

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 3 Positive (2009/10/10)
View: Microsoft Word (63 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: August 9, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 11

Oh dear, Zero's typing in all caps has had a negative effect on the whole crew: now everyone is yelling... including the fields in mail software itself, somehow.


Web Fiction: Episode 4

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 4 (2009/10/11)
View: Microsoft Word (69 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 23, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 13

The (unused) fiction really gets variable here -- there's a list of interesting facts that hit the cutting room floor because of the abandonment of that feature in Episode 4: Ella is destroyed, Stiletto's uncle dies, "sect" is the proper slang term for the Nephilim (and they have larvae, according to Captain Clippy).


Web Fiction: Episode 4 Default

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 4 Default (2009/10/12)
View: Microsoft Word (65 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 23, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 10

Episode 4 is where one of the most controversial aspects of the Secret Ops fiction shows up -- and I use that only somewhat sarcastically. I'm writing, of course, of the references to the "WEC", apparently the same Terran government seen in Origin's Crusader series of games. For some reason the reference to the WEC struck many people as an attempt to tie the game's together in a way that the Bloodfang in Ultima or SHODAN in Victory Streak were not. The game's designer noted, at the time, that the only significant obstacle preventing Crusader from being the 'prehistory' of Wing Commander was the fact that it includes teleporters.


Web Fiction: Episode 4 Negative

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 4 Negative (2009/10/13)
View: Microsoft Word (59 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 11

You know, first we have the long, amusing and ultimately undecided discussion about "Clippy" and then we have everyone making fun of Zero's nickname (Terry? What else do you shorten Terrance to?) -- I'm thinking one of the Secret Ops writers was having nickname issues.


Web Fiction: Episode 4 Positive

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 4 Positive (2009/10/14)
View: Microsoft Word (67 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 11

Following up the WEC notes in the unappreciated in-joke category is the fact that the names in the General Assembly transcript included in Episode 4 are all taken from 'Treasure Island' -- from the characters (Cmdr. Silver, Israel Hands) to the ship itself (Hispaniola).


Web Fiction: Episode 5

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 5 (2009/10/15)
View: Microsoft Word (77 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 23, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 17

Check out the sheer volume of "possible negative comments" that are options in this document. None of them are especially interesting and it's all a good indicator of why such a complex feature was dropped (can you imagine how many passwords would be needed by the time the seventh episode game along?).


Web Fiction: Episode 5 Default

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 5 Default (2009/10/16)
View: Microsoft Word (73 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 13

Episode 5's fiction is home to Secret Ops' most famous line: EAT THE CORE. Also: the entire crew stops YELLING in their e-mails and decides to come up with fancy signatures instead. One of the Confederation's top killers signs her e-mails *-*AmaZon*-* ?


Web Fiction: Episode 5 Negative

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 5 Negative (2009/10/17)
View: Microsoft Word (83 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 14

Episode 5's ISDN update includes the rare negative version -- a note that "the Ella system was nearly lost to an onslaught of Aliens that the Confederation was not prepared to confront." The designers seem pretty loathe to let the Nephilim blow up that cool starbase...


Web Fiction: Episode 5 Positive

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 5 Positive (2009/10/18)
View: Microsoft Word (73 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 14

Does it feel to anyone else that there's just something slightly off to the Secret Ops fiction? It has so much setup and almost no payoff; there's no resolution to the nickname debate or the alien virus or the secret cargo plotline. Was this all planned setup for another installment, or is it a case of writers throwing whatever seemed interesting at the wall and just running into a hard deadline instead of plotting things out entirely?


Web Fiction: Episode 6

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 6 (2009/10/19)
View: Microsoft Word (61 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 23, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 13

As predicted, the list of 'losing option' paragraphs is now as long as my arm. Another great Clippy line made the jump from optional 'you've lost everything' paragraph to linear 'lost' status: "Those dead want vengeance, and you have got to pick up that burning sword and deliver them some. Am I making myself clear?"


Web Fiction: Episode 6 Default

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 6 Default (2009/10/20)
View: Microsoft Word (84 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 6

Mystery solved! There's a (large green) note telling the site publishers to include the Blue Horizon update on the first day of Episode 6: "The document entitled INCIDENT REPORT.DOC This should have been included with the Episode Documents. Should be delivered to the public in this section the first day." I suppose it fell through the cracks.


Web Fiction: Episode 6 Negative

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 6 Negative (2009/10/21)
View: Microsoft Word (55 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 9

Speaking of negative, this episode has the largest, weirdest hints at the relationship between Casey and Stiletto (again, unresolved!). Some great writing on the subject, though - can't you just imagine lumpy Petrarca-Casey thinking "well I hope this flyboy hasn’t blown it"?


Web Fiction: Episode 6 Positive

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 6 Positive (2009/10/22)
View: Microsoft Word (72 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 9

Here's the thing about the lost fiction. In this episode, Zero e-mails us: "Hope everyone read the BLUE HORIZON incident report. If you haven’t, well, sleep tight." In spite of that, no one missed it -- because the fiction cried wolf so many times about material being available when it wasn't. Is it possible that there's a Blair memorial transcript or a document pack from Zero's dad out there that were never used? Or at least that these were planned and dropped?


Web Fiction: Episode 7

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 7 (2009/10/23)
View: Microsoft Word (51 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 23, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 9

Interestingly, the game seems to have dropped all attempts at incredibly variable fiction for Episode 7 -- it's all winning or losing, although the chart showing the many different options is still included in this document. Perhaps the feature was dropped between the writing of Episode 6 and 7, or perhaps the idea was that this late date was the equivalent of the 'you win or lose regardless of past performance' final series' from Wing Commander II.


Web Fiction: Episode 7 Default

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 7 Default (2009/10/24)
View: Microsoft Word (48 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 8

It's odd how, as in Wing Commander Prophecy, the narrative seems to shut off in these last episodes; here things like news reports are dropped entirely... possibly when the story could most benefit from them. I have to say it feels a lot more like a deadline issue than any especially planned event.


Web Fiction: Episode 7 Negative

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 7 Negative (2009/10/25)
View: Microsoft Word (36 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 9

And we end Secret Ops' fiction with the odd death of the Clippy joke/plot. He's just... named Clippy. Over the years I've spoken to several of the developers for Secret Ops and they genuinely had no idea where this was supposed to go. It just is. Very philosophical.


Web Fiction: Episode 7 Positive

In the news: Making the Game: Web Fiction - Episode 7 Positive (2009/10/26)
View: Microsoft Word (48 kb)
Project: WCSO
Date: July 26, 1998
Source: Origin
Donated by: John Guentzel
Pages: 9

"I’ve never taken down that many carriers in a single system before," says Casey. Although that's possibly true, verisimilitude goes out the window when you have the rookie character actually bragging about something like that (Jazz does something similar in Wing Commander II, talking about how he was finishing up his usual Fralthra and its Jalkehi escorts).


Document Archive

Wing Commander 1

Wing Commander 2

Wing Commander 3

Wing Commander 4

Wing Commander Prophecy

Wing Commander SecretOps

Wing Commander Privateer

Privateer 2: The Darkening

Other Titles

Canceled Projects