Part 32: Episode 31: Tunnelvision
Episode 31: Tunnelvision
Rowdy had told me that the key was in the MysTech tunnels. In all likelihood I had handed it over to Detta like a chump. I still believe to this day that those goons would have killed us without hesitation. I thought back on the pathetic equipment we had back then and laughed. Rho, Paco, and I went back to Sender Station to let everyone know the score.
Grumpos was none too pleased with the news. "WHAT?!" he yelled, "That stone we found in the tunnels was the key to the cosmic gate? I just KNEW it was important, and you gave it away like candy! That really chaps my hide, kid. We could've taken on those guys, but because you're afraid of Detta we just rolled over easy. Now we have to fight who knows how many stooges to get that stone back. And I'm only a chapter away from finishing my paper." He sighed. "I'll come out of retirement for one last mission. I can meet ya at Detta's Fortress as soon as you're ready to kick off this soiree or I can come with you now."
The only man didn't think it was important, just expensive. But still, I knew we'd need everyone on this mission. "Pack your bags, pinky. We're movin' out," I said.
"Let's hit the road, boss. Though I should warn you that I could use a better staff head if we're planning on crashing Detta's fortress."
Little ingrate. It wasn't going to get better than the Dark Servant's Enerstrike.
Even though we were pretty sure the stone that we handed over to Detta was the key, we couldn't be absolutely sure. Rowdy had no clue what the thing actually looked like. It was plausible that it was still down there. I decided that one team would scout out the MysTech tunnels while the rest made preparations for the assault on Detta's fortress in the event that we couldn't find it.
I took Grumpos and Democratus back to Anachronox. While walking through the back alleys to avoid detection, we saw a Detta thug working over some poor guy. In fact, we had seen the same thug beating up the same guy back when I first teamed up with Grumpos. Grumpos opened his mouth to say something smart to the NoxGuard but was preempted. "Don't be so stupid as to talk to a NoxGuard again, old man. Not even the aged are safe from us," he said.
Well now he'd done it. I armed my earplugs.
I had to commend the NoxGuard's stamina. Few had survived this long against the yammer onslaught, especially at master level. However, the threat of an old person with a photo album was just too much for him. "Klaz! SHUT UP! That's it. I'm gonna shove this bug in your damn mouth!"
And he did just that, shoved a bug in Grumpos's mouth. Luckily for us it was a cobalt crawler and gramps didn't swallow it. This made eight, enough to fill out an elementor host entirely with crawlers. The host glowed with a brilliant dark blue as I stuck the bugs in my trivice. I could feel the incredible power emanating from the device, and it was just a little frightening. This would have to be saved for dire circumstances.
I wanted to make sure that Grumpos got a chance to talk to that floater from the school of order. He sounded like he had something important to say when we last met. "Kind regards and salutations," he said to Grumpos, "I have in my possession the greatest repetition in nature. That is to say, a homogeneous solid of pure mesmerization. A prism of zero imperfection. I was rapt from the first. It holds and shapes the purest of light. Quite helpful in meditation. Enjoy." The floater produced a small dodecahedral prism from one of his mucus sacs and pushed it at Grumpos.
After giving it a thorough scrubbing, Grumpos insisted that he be allowed to meditate with the crystal.
He meditated in front of the black cube for hours. When he finally emerged from the chamber, he had learned another potent healing spell, White Light.
I made my way back to the tunnels with Paco, Democratus, and Sera. Democratus, Paco, and myself were in charge of combat while Sera, who still was using inferior weaponry, just wanted to see the tunnels before the universe ended.
Down down down.
The tunnels were swarming with highly upgraded NoxGuards.
They could certainly dish out the pain.
But they couldn't take it. A single blast from Democratus's sensor array dropped him.
The cycle robots were specially shielded against our normal attacks.
Their guns, while impressive, were actually weaker than those of the NoxGuards.
Democratus decided to switch it up and use WinkyVortex to get around their defenses while Paco opted to just punch harder. Not even the Roboattacker's defense could overcome Proxima Punch. I was still a bit too nervous to unleash my MysTech. Also, next to superhuman strength and planetary defense systems, even this Stargent Decimator looked like a pea shooter.
Now we've already been through the tunnels once before. Aside from the huge collection of NoxGuards and goofy robots, not much had changed. There were a few slags of crappy MysTech around and a couple other random items, but in general they were the same old tunnels. The existence of MysTech made us hopeful that the key might still be down here somewhere.
One of the items that was lying around in the tunnels this time around was the GEAS Noxcell. At first glance, it's a crappy cell with a low NRG capacity. The big advantage of the GEAS cell is that all of that NRG can be diverted to shields, whereas the other cells that we used could only convert a small fraction to shield. For someone like Democratus or Paco who basically never used MysTech, this was far more useful than a conventional shield.
Now it was time for Sera to show off her loonie tossing skills.
After a few attempts, she managed to hit the switch and open up a compartment at the very beginning of the mines with Stargent Laserblades inside. Not wanting to waste time backtracking, we sent Sera back through the path that we had cleared to claim them. The rest of us moved deeper into the tunnels.
The most surprising thing about the tunnels was that a squad of Dark Servants were patrolling. We wondered whether they were in league with Detta or whether they were independently scouring the tunnels looking for the stone.
The second most surprising thing in the tunnels was the Mephad'in Doorlord. He was definitely not pleased with us for using his secret against him.
Battle with the Doorlord (video). / Backup
As you can see, when handled properly the doorlord is actually a simple fight. His normal attacks induce every status in the game when they hit (as shown when Democratus gets nailed early on). The basic hole in the doorlord's defense is his weakness to stun. Tractor Beam and Flashblind will stun while doing no damage and ground pound stuns while doing very nice damage. Additionally, hitting an enemy while he's stunned causes double damage! So yeah, abuse the stun attacks and he drops like a chump. I take back what I said about Flashblind Schizo!
The once mighty Mephad'in Doorlord left behind his Recycler Shieldcell, with unparalleled NRG capacity and shield capability. Furthermore, its throughput was unlimited just like the Vigil Shieldcell.
Our merry little bunch backtracked through the tunnels and back on the streets of Anachronox. It was time to regroup at Detta's fortress. Of course, we'd have to go to Anox tours to get some OneGate tickets, and meet up with the rest of the team in front of Detta's mansion/fortress.
On the way to the tours building, we passed the switch that Sera previously could not hit from across the street. This time, she nailed it first try.
A small compartment below the computer opened up, revealing a regenergy round plus and a few vials of healgrease.
I couldn't buy the tickets, but Sera could.
The tours area was completely desolate except for the crazy prophet in a dark corner. He didn't even have an audience anymore, but he was still ranting as crazily as ever. He shouted, "As the curtains close on this mad shadow play, shall I die quietly and alone on an empty stage, mouthing these words and perpetuity…? Or will I be granted a more substantial role? Curse fate! I will not be enslaved by the words of another man!" He paused and went through his coat pockets, eventually producing a slag of MysTech. "Take this with you," he said. "Think of me when you use it and I will be immortal. I am free now. I will live in your memory."
I promised the dude I'd use it. I never actually did, but the fact that I took the time to mention him now is probably all that he ever wanted.
The three of us filed into a shuttle headed to OneGate. Luckily all of the shuttles are automated and were not shut down during curfew hours.
OneGate was every bit as desolate as the bricks. Even the well-to-dos were under Detta's thumb.
This Cordican was the only other person in the terminal. He said, "You shouldn't be out. There's a curfew you know." We told him that we knew about the curfew and that he had better get indoors himself. "I don't know how I'm gonna make it out alive," he responded, "I had an interview at the prestigious Dolce & Surbok law firm. They grilled me for hours. It was savage. I don't think they liked me much. The interview didn't let out until just now, way after the curfew. I just wanna get back home to my wife in Anox West. But the way the city plates are arranged this evening, it could take hours. You don't think…Hell, you don't think they kept the interview going past the curfew on purpose, do you? Maybe they think I deserve to die. Should I find some warm pile to sleep under until morning…?"
I told him that he wouldn't have to worry about Detta for very long.
The snob shop was still operating under the main shuttle platform. I bought a handful of golden, whining glodents and a few Dettacorp shieldcells for the rest of the party. We didn't have enough high power shieldcells to go around.
OneGate was silent, and the streets were empty except for…
…Super NoxGuards around every corner! These were the same as the NoxGuards in the tunnel, so we had plenty of experience defeating them.
Before long we had fought our way to Detta's front door.
I was sure. (video) / Backup
End: Almost there!