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A spoiler is a piece of information which reveals plot events or twists, and thus may "spoil" the experience for any reader who learns details of the plot in this way rather than in the work itself.
Read this article at your own risk.
Prisoner 849 was a criminal placed in a small cell aboard the Vortex Rikers, the rankest prison transport this side of the Milky Way, for an unknown crime. A plasma gate guarded her cell; and after numerous attempts, 849 learned that trying to get through the plasma gate would only result in head trauma. The Prisoner then spent some time dreaming on the cell's iron frame bed, of the freedom of riding a roller-coaster on Earth.
One day, Prisoner 849 awoke to find alarms blaring throughout the ship, prisoners screaming, and a strong burning scent blowing into the cell. Officers and guards were rushing up and down the corridor. Though the Prisoner made a promise that she would make her way to the emergency shuttle, it proved quite difficult as the cell was still locked.
Suddenly Ash, the head guard of the prison cells, started to walk by while writing something in his log book. Questioning him about the situation resulted in a quick answer stating that the Vortex Rikers was going to crash. Though 849 tried to convince Ash to open the gates so they could escape, he simply sneered and continued on his path. 849 started to yell at him in rage, but was thrown back against the wall by a strong jolt from the ship.
Some time later 849 woke up to discover that against all odds, she had somehow survived the crash. 849 was heavily injured as well as dehydrated but was relieved to be alive. 849 also had a chance at freedom, as the plasma gate was deactivated during the crash. In the wreckage of the ship, 849 found a Translator to assist with understanding alien languages. The door to the prison block was locked, so 849 used an air vent to access the bridge. While in the air vent, 849 got her first look at a Skaarj Warrior. She continued through the rest of the ship while healing the wounds suffered in the crash, and attempting to discover the ship's present situation. 849 soon listened behind a locked door as a large group of guards were murdered by a single Skaarj Warrior. As the door opened the Prisoner caught a glimpse of the beast, but it ran away instead of attacking. 849 collected a Dispersion Pistol off one of the guards, now armed and ready to exit the ship, which the Prisoner proceeded to do by an emergency escape shaft.
849 had found a way to escape the Vortex Rikers and started travelling around the alien planet of Na Pali. With a trusty Dispersion Pistol in hand, 849 explored NyLeve's Falls; killing a few Lesser Brutes, Tentacles, and Mantas as well as acquiring an Automag. The Prisoner realized that this was a hostile world and the clear objective was to escape.
849 traveled to the Rrajigar Mine facility, where the Prisoner encountered the Skaarj in combat for the first time. The Nali, the inhabitants of the planet, were being enslaved by the invading reptilian race. While attempting to escape from the planet, 849 freed a great number of the Nali, who in turn assisted Prisoner 849 with supplies she had found but did not know how to use.
The game comes to an end when the prisoner arrives at a Nali Castle and descends into its dungeon, before climbing up once more to see a Skaarj facility, guarding over what looked like an alien spaceship.
Suddenly, the prisoner realizes that this is the source of the Skaarj presence, and it's the reason the mothership crashed here: The very same reason the Vortex Rikers crashed, as well as the ISV-Kran and the Terraniux. The prisoner now realizes that, being related to insects, the Skaarj have a queen that if killed, will cause all the Skaarj on Na Pali to become extinct once the current generation of them is dead, giving freedom to the Nali. The prisoner realizes that this was already prophesied by the Nali. Then, she realized that even if she failed, she will find a way to freedom in there.
After this realization, the final stage in the game occurs: The prisoner must enter the mothership, kill the queen, and escape to her freedom. Once the Skaarj Queen is defeated, the prisoner finds a Skarrj escape vessel.
Wasting no time, the prisoner enters the pod, and as she ignites the engines, the ending sequence starts: the prisoner blasts off and flies out of the mothership complex, eventually exiting the atmosphere, and then the gravitational field.
However, once free of the gravitational pull, the fuel reserves run dry. The pod then continues with the remaining momentum, eventually coming to a halt.
She’s imprisoned in the pod, left to ponder the events that transpired, and his/her miraculous survival of them. Prisoner 849 laughs and thinks about how little has changed about her situation. Still, Prisoner 849 feels confident that her ship will eventually be discovered.
In the beginning of Return to Na Pali, as the prisoner almost dies of starvation, the help she prophesied had finally arrived...
The UMS Bodega Bay, a ship of the Terran military body called "the Unified Military Services," which also arrested Prisoner 849 and owns the prison vessel Vortex Rikers, rescues the pod the Prisoner used to escape. The crew sends Prisoner 849, well armored and equipped, back down to the planet to find the UMS Prometheus. The Prisoner searches the Marshlands of the planet and finds the Prometheus, as well as the Talon Data Cores. The Prisoner intercepts a conversation between UMS Starlight Base Command and the Bodega Bay about Operation Talon Hunter. To keep the operation a secret, Base Command orders the Bodega Bay to eliminate Prisoner 849. A couple hours later, Prisoner 849 finds a shuttle, and flies it into orbit. The Bodega Bay attempts to fire a missile at the shuttle, but the prisoner leads the missile back into the ship, and destroys it.
Prisoner 849 flies away, and it is currently unknown what happens next.
Physical appearance Edit
Other than their status as a convicted criminal, the prisoner's personal details such as sex, race, past, crime, and subsequently sentence are all unknown, to be filled in by the player at their leisure.
In both Unreal and Return to Na Pali the player is able to choose a character other than the default. In Unreal, changing the character only affects the character seen when the player dies and some sounds, while in Return to Na Pali, the intermission voice changes according to the character's gender. It is unknown to what extent that game has been accepted into Unreal canon, however the default male character's name in Return to Na Pali is Carter.
- It is assumed that the first name of the prisoner is Gina, due to her name being that of the default character model of Unreal. The fact that the allegedly gender-less protagonist is female is given by James Schmalz in an interview.
- In a cinematic in Unreal Championship 2, Szalor explains that they attacked Humans, starting the Human-Skaarj War. The interview explains that while the Skaarj have no particular grudge against humans, the killing of the Skaarj Queen maintains a healthy antagonism toward humans on the Skaarj's part.
- In Unreal Tournament 2004, the cinematics of the assault level AS-Mothership also reveal that the events of Unreal are the cause of the Human-Skaarj war:
- The effects of the Queen's death on Na Pali are never really made clear. The implication by way of Nali writings was that a Messiah would descend from the stars and defeat the Sky Demons, or Skaarj, that had taken over the planet. However, as of Unreal Championship 2, which takes place well into the Tournament time frame, the Nali appear to still be subjugated by the Skaarj. In Return to Na Pali, Prisoner 849 presumes that another Skaarj Mothership landed on Na Pali after the Queen's death. Given the penchant Unreal games have of possessing, at best, bitter-sweet endings, it is not entirely unlikely that the Nali were simply overly hopeful in regards to the effect that Prisoner 849's actions would have on the Skaarj occupation of their planet:
- ↑ Bates, Jason. "Unreal Preview - Take a look at the future of gaming". PCGamer. Archived from the original on February 18, 1998. Retrieved April 19, 2019.