Part 19: Episode 18: It's Detectivin' Time!
Alright, sorry this has taken so long to get up. Like I said my laptop sucks, and so does school. Also, this update probably has more text transcription than any other so far (this post is over 5k words long). I long for a text dump of Anachronox. Unfortunately, this LP is as close to it as we'll ever get.
Lots of fetching, interrogation, and the most illogical puzzles in this update.
Episode 18: It's Detectivin' Time!
I had two tasks to perform for the Order, to find the missing Keys of Cavatum and to travel to the Sluice Gates to obtain more resonating fluid for the MysTech Factory. I was already nearby the crime scene, and I wanted to snoop around, so I decided to go after the Keys first.
The crime scene was still hot, so I had to investigate quickly. I went down the hall according to the Abbot's instructions.
This was it. It didn't look like much. First order of business was to interrogate the monk standing by.
"This is the Shrine of Weeping," he said, "Every first Friday of the month, the Eye of Wisdom cries a bucket of tears. It's like a physical phenomenon, you know? It freaks the hell outta me every time I see it. I'd show it to you, but the switch is broken. The Three Keys of Cavatum were locked away in a glass case right below the Eye of Wisdom. This morning, they were gone, glass case and all. Shouldn't you search the area for clues or something?"
None of these monks looked like they could easily conceal and carry the glass case with the keys. There were no obvious clues toward the front of the shrine. In the back, there was a strange substance on the ground.
I got a jar of dirt.
I couldn't find any other physical evidence at the crime scene, so it was time to investigate the rest of the monastery.
Next to the shrine, a monk was reading some books and felt the need to lecture me about dreams.
He said, "Our order emphasizes the interpretation of dreams. We believe that long-term exposure to MysTech induces them. Sometimes I dream of things that once were. The past will echo off itself, trapped in recurrent nightmare as real as the first time. Listen to these MysTech dreams when you have them. They are signposts to your inner poison."
I had been using MysTech longer than anyone else in the universe and I hadn't ever had a MysTech dream. Apparently, the mania was widespread over here.
I learned that this Sister Angela was somewhat notorious around the tower for her far-fetched dreams from the gods.
One monk was able to shed some light on the phenomenon.
He said, "Our order places much stock in dreams and visions, purportedly related to MysTech. But you and I both know MysTech has no scientific affect on dreams. It does not inspire any mystical visions. No, the mystical visions and lucid dreams touted by certain members here are caused, instead, by a more mundane source."
He paused for cheesy dramatic effect and then continued, "Tetra. It's a hallucinogenic dreamstone, outlawed on most planets, and much sought after by certain circles of people. Be wary of any in the order who would lay claim to sanctity through such 'holy' visions. 'Holy visions' indeed. There's about as much truth to that claim as there is to the rumor that there aren't any side effects from heavy Tetra use. The only truth is that not enough scientific research has been conducted with regard to Tetra users. That's one reason I'm here. I'm here to study the side effects of the Tetra-Goners in this monastic environment. But I'm sure you're not interested."
In truth, I was a little interested. I guess I should have known that these guys were tetra fiends. Detective Rukh had been chasing around the Tetra dealer murderer on Anachronox and Sender Station. I wondered if it would come to Hephaestus next.
Nothing goes better with heavy hallucinogen use than weapons, as I learned from one monk.
"We're at a crucial juncture in the future of the Brotherhood. There's talk of forming an army. It makes sense. A planet that self-produces powerful weapons from the earth would seem an alluring conquest to any enemy. Others argue that the expansion of the amusement park will bring in enough revenue to buy any army we want. The Grand Mysterium believes our army should consist only of members within the order. Can you imagine that? These plump specimens of laziness forming an army?"
Grumpos would take offense at that.
The war was a serious issue among the monks. Many monks were more interested in chatting about the new army than the missing keys.
"According to the scriptures of Simon, the awakening of MysTech is to be followed by a great war of the cosmos. The Brotherhood of Mysterium is divided between building an army to prepare for this vague battle and expanding the reach of the order through its entrepreneurial designs. I see both sides of the issue. MysTech has awakened. So where is the war? Who is the enemy? Until the answers are apparent, the best way to serve the Order is through financial security. Solvency brings the leverage to deal with anything. Money can buy armies. On the other hand, the mysterious destruction of Sunder should be indication enough that the universe is in danger. Hephaestus is the center of MysTech. Could we be the next target? If the scriptures are right about the Great Awakening, then maybe it's right about the Great War."
However, some of the monks were definitely not properly equipped for combat.
"This is not only a place of knowledge, study, and self-discipline… it is also a sanctuary for those seeking refuge from misfortunes. My own misfortunes were many. They culminated in the loss of my… no, it is too painful to speak. Let us say the vows of celibacy are easy for me."
A monk and a nun nearby had more difficulty with the vows.
"Let us be free of the shackles that keep us apart, my sweet bird," the monk said under his breath.
He noticed me standing nearby "Oh! Uh, we were just discussing the scriptures of Simon."
"Uh, yes," the nun added, "the passage on the sweet baby of MysTech."
"Yes and the shackles of reality we must free ourselves from"
While wandering through the labyrinthine monastery, I stumbled across the library. I guess the monks figured there was no risk letting a guy like me in. A number of monks were absorbed in their studies. I went to see what they had to say.
One of the members of the tribunal was up here.
I couldn't get any of the other librarians to talk to me. Everyone else was too busy singing the praises of the Grand Mysterium to be of any use. On the way out I was pulled aside by a monk.
"Dear me! You're not a monk. Follow me into this alcove." After I followed him in, he said, "I wouldn't dare speak of this to my brothers. They would throw me out of the order. But… I believe… No, you'll think I'm crazy. Never mind. Okay, okay… I believe… You're sure I can trust you? Never mind. I'll just say it. I believe… That Simon of Brebula and the Grand Mysterium… are one in the same. I know, I know. How can such an impossibility exist?"
I guess I wasn't knowledgeable enough to know how much of a heresy that was.
I had scoured the monastery, and my only real clue to the keys' disappearance was jar of dirt. However, I had at least gained a little insight into the politics…and tetra abuse… that was rampant in the order.
I took the dirt back to the Abbot.
He continued, "Hmm. Well, perhaps I've got a lead, or perhaps it's only a red herring, but…Normal Malloy has been a suspect in my own mind for quite some time now. He's leading an effort to organize a union for the workers in the mining plant. He's got plenty of reasons to steal the Three Keys. Come, I'll walk you to the factory. Question him at length."
We left the monastery and went to an elevator panel near the loading bay where I had sneaked off of the truck.
Yeah, thanks a bunch man. Send me into the giant, dangerous lava processing factory without a clue of where to go.
The conveniently placed robot gave me directions to where Norman Malloy was. He also reminded me that the Sluice Gates, where the Resonating Fluid was stored, was also in this facility.
While following the robot's directions, I stopped to talk with another factory worker who was standing around idly.
"Have I seen anything strange here?" He repeated my question with a deranged laugh. "Buddy, I hear the screams of all the men swallowed up by the lava over the years. I feel a tingle down my spine every time the ghost of a little girl who died in these passages wanders by. The pipes whisper rumors. There's a secret in every room. If you're looking for something strange, you're center stage, baby."
I continued following the robot's directions and found Norman Malloy.
"Yeah I heard about the Three Keys getting' pinched last night. I figured they'd send someone down here to grill me about it."
He sounded suspicious. "Why were you expecting someone to question you?" I asked.
"I'm trying to organize a union. I'm pretty sure I know how this works by now…..You accuse me of a crime I didn't commit, then throw me into the Levant without a trial. Why bother questioning me? Just take me into custody and be done with it. Otherwise, get your butt outta my plant."
Maybe he was legit. I had seen the workers' living conditions; they could use a union. I had also seen how much these monks were focused on profit. Still, he could have stolen the keys as a bargaining chip.
"Then you don't mind if I ask you where you were last night?"
"I was here. Working. They gave me the graveyard shift to punish me for my union efforts, giving me back-to-back shifts just to wear me down. Believe me, Iwouldn't have the energy to break into the tower and steal anything heavy."
"Know anything about this grit?" I hoped it had come from the factory.
"Yeah… it's getting' your hand dirty."
"So whatta you know about the keys getting' stolen?"
"Hey, my nose is clean. I'm just trying to protect the welfare of my workers. I don't know anything about brotherhood politics, but I'll bet you they're responsible for the disappearance of those keys. Those monks are back stabbers."
"Who do you think might have a motive to take the keys?"
"It's common knowledge that Sister Angela is the most manipulative con artist of them all. She claims to get visions and trances on a regular basis between sessions of talking to the Gods. An ambitious kook like her might find a relic like that a pretty valuable political weapon… especially when she's trying to establish her own sisterhood. I've got work to do and I'm behind on my quota. Don't talk to me again unless you're gonna arrest me."
Contrary to his claim, he sure knew quite a bit about order politics. On the other hand, I had met Sister Angela, and she was pretty suspicious as well.
While I was down here, I might as well, I figured I might as well take care of the Resonating fluid. There was no reason to take multiple trips to this hellhole.
Another conveniently placed worker 'bot pointed out the way.
I followed the instructions until the giant "Sluice Gate" sign. There was, however, a keypad blocking my entrance to the Sluice Gates.
I tried a few combinations out of desperation. One of the factory workers noticed me fiddling with the keypad.
"Yeah, I know the code to the Sluice Gates," he said. "What's a white collar schmuck like you want with it? I'll give you the code to the Sluice Gates if you replace the filters on the magma siphons for me. Here are the replacement filters. Just plug 'em into the magma siphons located in four different sections of the regulator pipes downstairs. I don't want to have to fish you out, so don't get lost. I'd give you a ball of yarn, but the sludge down there would just eat through it. But here's an Antidote Aspirator with a Sulfuron Toxicity Meter on it. It'll kick on once it detects Sulfuron Gas. And it will. If the meter gets up near 100, you better use the Aspirator… or your internal organs will be lunch meat pretty quickly. Anyway, thanks, mac."
I don't think he really had a ball of yarn anyway.
Down the ladder I went.
Approximately one minigame later, I had replaced the filters, found Monk Moss, and obtained a smell that was worse than a Brebulan Brothel and a Gorian Gourmet combined.
I went back to the factory worker for the code.
"Shucks. I was hoping you would take longer. The code to the Sluice Gates is 49665. Love your smell!"
Yeah, I didn't notice the giant pillars of lava coming up from the ground. Thanks for the heads up.
This platform was connected to the ceiling by chains.
Using the control mechanism, I could maneuver it over the lava.
I moved it down to a platform right on top of the lava. There was a big orange button on the platform.
I moved my platform to a higher lever and found the power switch.
Moving the platform to yet another location, I found the lever and a locked door.
I took the lever, turned on the power, and returned to the platform above the lava. Activating the button put a lava sample into a bucket on the side of my moving platform. I docked my moving platform on the area with the lever and the locked door.
Hitting this button took my lava sample and used it to activate some machinery and open the locked door.
This is without a doubt the most poorly designed factory in the history of mankind. And it would only get worse.
Through the previously locked door was another door which required a security card to open. Looking through the large windows, I couldn't see anything of interest. There were a bunch of rectangles, whose colors ranged from green to red.
There was a long circular shaft through the center of the room I was in.
I went down three flights of stairs. At each level there was an opening into the center shaft.
At the bottom floor, I found the security card. I investigated the room upstairs, but there was nothing I could do with the multicolored rectangles.
Now on the bottom floor, I could walk into the center shaft. A giant orange button on the other side caught my attention.
I pushed the button. Sirens blared, but they didn't drown out the sound of machinery working. Also it got really hot.
Oh crap, the door I had just walked through was now a wall of red-hot magma.
I ran up the stairs to the next level.
The magma had pushed the plate in the center of the shaft up to the next floor. I ran across and hit the next button. I repeated this process until I reached the top floor, where I ran into the secured room.
Somehow the lava pressure had caused these plates to descend to form stairs, which I climbed.
Up the stairs, I found the resonating fluid dispenser. Let me guess, the lever is missing? Do I have to turn on the lava again? Maybe solve a Rubik's cube in 30 seconds? Scour the factory for fifty jigsaw puzzle pieces that when combined give the password to access the computer that gives the code that can be decrypted to open the dispenser?
Or…just hit the dispense button. After the previous two tasks, this was slightly anticlimactic.
I made my way out of the factory and back to Abbot Babbit.
I decided to mention Sister Angela while I was here. Perhaps the Abbot could provide some insight.
"Sister Angela?" He shook his head. "If the accusation hadn't come from that little hooligan Normal Malloy, I might have taken it seriously. Angela's always been an odd duck. As strange as she is, however, criminal activity doesn't' seem in her nature. But you better question her just to be safe. This is to be a thorough investigation… no matter where it leads."
I went back to Sister Angela, who was not even kind enough to face me while I questioned her.
"Strangers in Trenchcoats. Questions on your lips. The Gods sent me a vision of you last night. You will ask about the Three Keys of Cavatum, and you will accuse me of stealing them."
"Cute. Do your visions tell you anything about the disappearance of the keys?" I asked.
"My mystical graces are elusive. I do not choose them. They are chosen for me. As for the disappearance of our holy relics, I can only mourn for their theft."
"Ditch the psychic mumbo-jumbo act, sister. I ain't buyin' what you're sellin'." Sister was one of my favorite forms of address. I was happy to get to use it properly for once.
"Weep tears of ignorance, fool. My trails were arduous… my tribulations most grueling. The death of my husband and my son were worthwhile sacrifices on the road to divine communion. My sanctity is assured. Luckily for you the Gods to not disapprove of my cooperation."
Poor girl probably turned to tetra after her loss. Still, I continued the line of questioning.
"Where were you in the wee hours last night after Compline prayers?"
"I dreamt of bayberry leaves. There was a man in the woods… wooing me against the bark of glowing MysTech trees. Then the rain of truth came and washed away the lies of the world. I was the only one left standing. No theif am I. The Keys of Cavatum are inconsequential to me. I am an emissary of the gods… a seamstress of light and shadow, painting the truth through my visions."
"This handful of grit remind you of anything?"
"The seeding of the worlds by the sweet chariots of life. From earth all arises… the dirt of life, the grit of living."
"Well if you didn't steal the Three Keys… who did?"
"Balance is delicate. Power has shifted dramatically… not only in the universe but within our own hallowed stones. Brother Liseria recently vacated the position of Abbot. His political enemies are abundant. Revenge often leads men to reckless acts, wouldn't you agree? To test my patience is to risk the wrath of Gods. Trouble me no more."
I asked the guide, placed almost as conveniently as the robots in the factory, where I could find Brother Liseria. He directed me down the hall to the room with a candle out in front.
I knocked on the door.
"You disturb my prayers for what reason?"
I didn't waste any time. "Where were you after Compline prayers last night?"
"I retired to my chambers immediately after Compline and slept restfully until morning. May I return to my prayers please?"
"Know anything about the robbery of the Three Keys of Cavatum?"
"Am I under suspicion? I would never do anything to hurt the monastery or the brotherhood. I'm an austere and devoted follower of our order."
"You're well-connected. Any ideas on who might have stolen the keys?"
"I am distrustful of all outsiders. One fellow in particular, a MysTech dealer named Thomas Litton, especially stokes the fires of my suspicion. The Three Keys of Cavatum would fetch a healthy sum in the black market for a man with the right connections…which I hear he has. He's currently under house arrest. It should be easy enough to find and question him."
"Does this grit look familiar to you?" I asked, even though everyone else had made fun of me for the grit so far.
"You interrupt my prayers to shake a fistful of dirt in my face? I question the abbot's judgment in allowing an outsider to lead this investigation."
"Word around town is you used to be abbot of this dungeon. What happened?"
"My tenure as abbot was at an end. Nothing more. May I return to my prayers now?"
With that he shut his door and refused to talk anymore. Of course, before refusing to talk, he had managed to cast suspicion on Thomas Litton. I remembered seeing him around the monestary before. He kinda stuck out in his black suit.
"Hey, nice to see a friendly face around here. Is there something I can help you with?"
"Yeah, I hear you're the man who can hook me up with black market art items."
"Yessir. I mean, no, sir. I don't deal in anything illegal like that, though I hear it's quite lucrative and it gets you invited to really trendy parties on Cordica. I love parties. No, believe me, I'm a legitimate MysTech dealer. Why would I want to lose my license selling heavily-prized objects d'art to men with expensive suits and exquisite girlfriends?"
"Know anything about the robbery of the Three Keys of Cavatum last night?"
"Of course not. I feel like a criminal or something. I'm constantly under watch, and everyone looks at me funny. It's horrible. They make jokes about my weight and spit in my food. Honest, I'm only here renegotiating my MysTech Contract. I assure you I've got nothing to do with the disappearance of the keys."
"I'll spit in your soup unless you tell me who you think stole the keys."
"I swear I don't know anything about it. Honest, I don't. But spit in it anyway. It could use the flavor."
"Where were you after the evening prayers last night?"
"After the evening prayer? Uh… I was fast asleep. I remember being woken up by the monks making their way to bed. They sounded like penguins."
"Have you seen this grit anywhere?" Ok..let's try this again.
"Yeah yeah… I'd know that grit anywhere. There's always tons of it on the bottom of the shipping crates of MysTech they send me. You ought talk to the librarian about it. He's a geologist or something. It's probably from the tunnel transport area where they load the MysTech onto a train to take to the Entertainment District. I've seen the whole process. This stuff is everywhere. I don't know anything else."
I ran upstairs to the library. I had been there earlier while exploring. I found Brother Flammarion and asked him about the grit.
"This is the great library of Hephaestus. We have every manuscript, codex, and palimpsest pertaining to the scientific, and spiritual, studies of MysTech. As you can see, it's a rather underwhelming collection of works, but I suspect more scholars will put pen to paper now that MysTech has blossomed into adulthood. Unfortunately the library is currently infested with bugs that have acquired a taste for our parchment. We've tried everything to rid ourselves of the pests, but all attempts have proven fruitless. Anyway…Is there something I can help you with?"
"Can you tell me the origin of this grit?"
"Sir, I'm an herbalist. Why are you showing me a handful of grit?"
Let me guess…there's another monk on the opposite side of the monastery who can tell me about the grit?
"Herbalism is not the study of dirt. It's the study of herbs. I don't know who told you I was a geologist, but they are quite incorrect. Bu if you want my opinion on that grit, I can tell you this much: I HATE IT. When monks come here to study after they've been supervising the loading of MysTech into the tunnel transport, I'll find this residue all over my manuscripts. It drives me mad. Is it so hard for them to wash their hands? Tell me, is it? If you want me to prove it for you, come back with a sample of grit from the tunnel transport. I'll make a comparison and prove that grit is from the tunnel transport area, if that's what you want to know."
So I ran all the way back to the transport area. And as Brother Flammarion had guessed, there was a similar clump of dirt there.
There was also a transport worker standing by. I asked him about the grit.
"Know anything about this grit?" I asked him.
"Uh, you picked it up off the floor right here. I don't know man."
"Why does it look just like the dirt at the crime scene?"
"Wait a minute… I didn't have anything to do with those keys getting stolen. Don't try and frame me. Those two clumps of grit have nothing to do with each other. Now get out of here unless you want a clump of that dirt in your face."
He was so guilty. I knew it was all about the grit. I took the second sample back to Brother Flammarion.
He said, "Oh, yes. Look at the granular consistency of the grit. See those silver flecks of pumice there? This is sediment from the Levatic Processing Plant. It sticks to the bottom of the packing crates when readying MysTech for transport. Later, when the crates are put on board the tunnel transport, the sediment falls on the transport tracks and is crushed into this fine grit. There's no doubt about it. I may not be a geologist, but I know my pet peeves. That crime scene grit is definitely from the tunnel transport area. Hope that helps with your investigation. All I ask for in return is both of those samples. I'd like to put them in a safe place… AWAY from my precious manuscripts. Be a good boy and wash your hands."
Time to put the pressure on the transport worker.
"You connected the two clumps of grit? I see. Maybe you oughta take a seat, Detective. I'm gonna tell you a little story. As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a monk. To me, being a monk was better than being the president of PAX. Even before finding work here at the mining plant, I wanted to be part of the Order of Mysterium. It's the only place I knew I belonged. Monks do whatever they want. They have access to a library filled with books on MysTech where they can spend all afternoon reading. Or they can turn their attention to the mystery of the Nine Enigmas and let their mind drift into space. Man, they have it made. Because I've been a worker at the mining facility, I'm considered hands-off. I can never become a member of The Brotherhood. So when someone offered me a chance to change that, I took it. Brother Liseria said that if I stole the Three Keys of Cavatum for him, he'd see what he could do about opening the books for me. Yeah I stole the keys, but I don't have 'em. Last night, we used the tunnel transport to take the 3 Keys to the surface. One of his associates took possession of them there. I've been full of guilt and remorse ever since. What was I thinking stealing from the Brotherhood? My life is over. They're gonna throw me into the Mysterium Levant. I just know it."
Alright, time to shake down this Brother Liseria.
So whaddaya say, Grumpos?
Good call, old man.
Sera and I went back to Brother Liseria's room.
Sera sneaked around the outside of the monastery and crept into Brother Liseria's chambers.
Meanwhile, I distracted him.
"I've uh…got a confession to make."
"Confession? Confessions are for sinners, detective. What manner of confession would you burden me with?"
I was about to say that I thought he was cute, but instead I said, "I want to join the Order of Mysterium."
"Come now, detective. You've wasted enough of my time. Leave me be."
"But I'm deadly serious. The order of Mysterium calls to me!"
"If your interest in our fraternal order is indeed genuine, are you willing to submit to an exhaustive battery of questions designed to determine your suitability?"
"Ask away. My humble soul is ready."
I could see Sera inside poking around.
"My spirit," I answered.
I hesitated to answer, and he slammed the door in my face. Hopefully Sera had managed to find something incriminating.
Clever act indeed!
I went back to the Eco bar to see if I could intercept the monk.
"Sorry about that," he said. "I've been drinking. And eating. Life in the Brotherhood is no parade of laughs. Nothing but pointless politics. Buy me a drink?"
"Sure thing, buddy," I said. "Bartender! A canned heat for my friend here."
"That's mighty gent of you. I appreciate it. This has been the strangest 24 hours of my life. At least the beds at Le Sommeil are softer than the cinder blocks we sleep on in the monastery. Yeah I'm shacked up there for a few days. Long story. Burp. The room service is excellent. Like I need to gain any weight, right? I order something every 20 minutes. Now they answer the phone assuming it's room 3. Thanks for the drink, man. Excuse me if I pass out."
And right on cue, he passed out. I ran across the street to Le Sommeil and went straight to room 3.
I high tailed it back to the abbot to tell him. I was under strict orders not to touch the keys.
He didn't notice my smell last time!
Access to the Library.(video) / Backup