Part 33: Episode 32: The You Five Minutes Ago
Detta's fortress is a pretty poor final dungeon. The team splits into groups, and each group hits switches to allow some other group to advance and hit another switch so that…yeah. Still, it has its moments.
Episode 32: The You Five Minutes Ago
We split up into three groups outside of Detta's gate. Democratus, Rho, and I would sneak into the east wing while Paco, Grumpos, and Sera would attempt to infiltrate the west wing. Normally, splitting up would be a bad thing, but we had very limited information from Mardoman about the security situation. If one team became trapped, the other would still be able to complete the mission. We did, however, know where the security center was. While we were running through the compound, PAL would disable the security.
My team sneaked into the fortress through an unattended gate in the fortress wall. Security was light. After crushing the Resistance, Detta obviously wasn't feeling too threatened.
Aside from the unnaturally polygonal trees, nothing seemed out of the ordinary inside. There were no guard patrols in sight. We could see a door leading inside the fortress ahead, but it was gated off.
The gate was pretty much worthless since we could avoid it by sneaking through a gigantic gap in the angular shrubbery.
I was all ready to use my lockpicking skills to get the door open, but it wasn't even locked. It was almost like Detta wanted us to barge in and kick his ass.
Meanwhile, PAL had infiltrated the building through a large water pipe.
He waved to Rho who was still loitering outside for whatever reason.
After finding a conveniently placed ventilation duct, PAL was inside the compound, too.
Sera was also making her way through the courtyard.
Just around the corner, was another door leading inside. The inside of the building would be more exciting.
Ah yes, this was more like it. We were five steps into the basement and already we could see big burly thugs with guns.
However, they would never get a chance to use their guns as they were immediately frozen solid.
And then evaporated by planet sized lasers. After fighting Dark Servants and a Mephad'in Doorloord, common street thugs weren't exactly a threat.
Detta may have no trouble kidnapping, murdering, and stealing, but he does put in ramps beside the stairs to make his lair handicap accessible.
Some lazy Detta goon, probably one of the ones we just finished, had left his keynote lying around. We didn't have the code to open it up. PAL could have brute forced it in a millisecond. At least it gave me a nice shot of my handsome mug when I put in the wrong password.
More Detta goons.
Yeah, they had played a little too much Street Fighter. Rho was a bit ticked at having been Shoryukened. "Step back! I'll take care of this" she said.
She pulled out the pocket singularity. The pitch black orb floated into the air.
Far away planets and nebulas were, apparently, also sucked into the void.
The powerful gravitational field also consumed the thug.
Then all turned black.
After a bright flash, the thug was expelled from the singularity an incredible speed and came crashing back to the ground, which somehow wasn't also engulfed.
For unremarkable damage. What a waste of time. Rho wasn't allowed to fight from then on. Democratus and I finished off the thugs almost effortlessly.
After defeating the thugs we were at a dead end. The bridge had been raised up to prevent us from moving on.
Fortunately, PAL found himself at a giant security computer after navigating the ventilation shafts.
After hacking the terminal, he was able to move the bridge for us.
We followed the path further down, moving deeper through the warehouse in the basement, encountering a few more keynotes on the way. Many swarms of goons later, we found this cryptic message. My detective's brain quickly deduced that BEEF was a Keynote code.
The data stored on the keynotes that we had passed was mainly scientific. Rho summarized it by saying that Detta was using genetic alteration and nanotechnology to buff up his thugs. Additionally, it became clear that Detta wasn't just enhancing his existing troops; He was cloning an entire army of them.
That explained why all of his muscle looked identical. We had left the basement storage facility and run upstairs when we met these identical triplets. Being clones and all, they were just as easy to crush as the last squad.
Someone had gone through the trouble of attaching a slag of MysTech to the ceiling. Democratus hauled it in. It turned out to be Firestorm Harmonic, a pretty powerful slag for those who didn't have a souped up elementor host.
Many battles and bridge switchings later, we had reached a door that lead out of the underground storage area and into the compound proper.
The door lead into a circular hallway with four doors leading to computer rooms. Three of the computers had strange sequences of characters.
The fourth took the three sequences and used them to reveal a secret message, "USE ONLY ODD NUMBERED ENTRIES TODAY." We had no clue what the message was supposed to mean, so I just tucked it away in my trenchcoat.
The only other exit from the circular room was this locked door. PAL couldn't open the door without a security code. For now we were stuck.
While we made our way through the storage warehouse, Sera's team found itself in what looked like a maximum security prison. Each cell was numbered and had its own access code to gain entry.
The floors also appeared to be electrocuted. There was also a keynote lying around, but it was worthless without the password.
A little electrocution never stopped Sera.
Detta was hiding an entrance to a security room on the slightly charged floors. It appeared that the room was no longer in use as all of the computers were not functioning. However there were a few healgreases and even a GEAS Noxcell to loot.
Sera's team moved on through the prison area and found themselves in Detta's cellar. Aside from the presumably expensive artwork, Detta also was storing hundreds of casks of wine.
Make that art, wine, and thugs.
One Radius Rage from paco subdued the thugs. I mean come on. This guy basically soloed the Doorlord. Detta thugs were nothing.
One of the NoxGuards had helped himself to a little bit too much of the wine. Crumpled up in his pocket was a scrap of paper that read "TODAY'S FACE and 1 2 3 6 8 11 13 22." Once again, my detective's instinct told me that FACE was a keynote password. The sequence of numbers was somewhat more cryptic. Combined with the "USE ONLY ODD NUMBERS TODAY" message from the computers, we were left with 1 3 11 13. We had no need for this code yet, however.
The keynotes in the area had little of value. They did provide a bit more insight into Detta's cloning operation, but most of the information was purely technical.
The liquid in the casks was definitely not wine. In reality, the Noxguard that we thought was passed out from overdrinking was likely dead from ingesting this glowing purple stuff.
At the far end of the cellar, Sera found a locked door just like the one that I had found. It was up to PAL to find a way in.
The security computer that PAL had hacked into was capable of opening the locked doors, but we would need a code. Taking the sequence of "1 3 11 13", applying the most basic form of decryption where 1 = A, 2 = B, etc-the only form of decryption a dettathug could comprehend-produced the sequence of A C K M. Converting to Sender standard callsigns yielded "Astro Cordica Kepler Mojo."
The password opened up our door, Sera's door, and also allowed PAL to take the elevator to a different part of the manor.
Things were looking much more normal on the upper floors.
For all the enhancements Detta was supposedly making to his goons, they were all very weak. He was so desperate that he was resorting to sending overweight mechanics-so overweight that their spines were cybernetically reinforced-to do battle with us.
In all those years Detta was still using the same car. I'm pretty sure it was just to mock me. Nearby the car was another keynote. Using FACE as a password it said "Medium Security Door Access is 4 17 1 2 5 6." Using the same logic as last time, this decoded to QAE.
Why the garage is next to the swimming pool, nobody will ever know. The only other exit to the pool room was the level one security door on the right side. It was up to PAL to get that thing open.
Ever so conveniently, the elevator led PAL to another computer that could open level one security doors. I also wondered when Detta got the Hot Chicks Room installed. I had been here once before and don't remember seeing any such room. I said a little prayer that the Hot Chicks room would be on our way.
If Detta didn't know that we were on our way up, he certainly did now.
The security breach had likely activated the laser death trap.
Using the computer terminal in that room with the Medium Security password seemed to work.
I was able to shut off both the laser death trap and some electric beams on the floor below.
On the other side of the lasers was some sort of medical facility, likely where enhancements were performed.
The medlab computer let me open the level 2 security doors. Still no hot chicks room.
Once again we were at an impasse.
Sera's team was moving through the upper floors on the other side of the mansion. Among Detta's various experiments, he had also created the smallest time minder ever.
Eew. Detta's narcissism knew no bounds.
This is the room where I turned off the lightning trap.
With the lightning off they were able to move into a room with a track and an overturned cart, but they couldn't go any further. With both of our teams stuck, it was once again up to PAL to lead the way.
Since I had opened the level 2 security doors, PAL was able to get access to another room with another computer. This one activated the fluid plates. What does that mean? I still don't know.
Practically speaking, it meant that three new carts appeared on the tracks.
PAL was unable to go any further.
The cart tracks went to another part of the lab having to do with the cloning.
Oh boy, another computer.
This computer moved some of the transport pods seen above to the lab where my team was stationed.
Into the pods we went.
They took us to, you guessed it, another computer terminal! This computer, for no logical reason, was able to open the airlock that was blocking PAL.
On the other side of the airlock was the most recent batch of NoxClones, still in some sort of suspended animation.
The prize was also on the other side. That door lead to Detta's inner sanctum. PAL said, "That's a pretty mean' lookin' door, man. I oughta wait for the others before seeing what's on the other side. My little circuits are doin' the tingle-tingle."
As with every other room, there was a security computer here. This one would let PAL undo nearly all of the obstacles that were between us and the door.
My path to the door took me through Detta's bedroom. It wasn't the first time I had been here. K'Conrad K'hk was being roughed up by a group of Detta's thugs. After letting them beat him up a little, we iced them and interrogated the floater.
"Your timing could not have been more perfect, Detective," he said, "Thank you so very much. I'm grateful you found it within your heart to forgive me for my earlier trespass against you. You will be very happy to know that in a grand turn of karmic justice, the devious Vendelin Detta recently betrayed me… just as I betrayed you. This morning, I overheard my former employer relate a rather tasteless anecdote about a floater, a prostitute, and a bag of tea. He was, of course, unaware of my presence. At that moment, I realized his concern for the rights of floaters was a carefully cultivated deception. This fact, coupled with his insane plans for galactic domination, supported my decision to terminate my employment here. In fact, I was helping myself to quite a nice severance package when Detta's simple-simons caught me red-handed. Perhaps I could interest you in some of my new acquisitions."
He didn't have anything I wanted, and if he did have anything I wanted, I would simply take it from him-not pay.
Even if we failed here tonight, I still would have the last laugh.
The bedroom was very nearby the door. We regrouped with PAL and Sera wasn't far behind. It was time to make final plans. "Alright, kids. Team huddle," I said, "Guess this cloning business puts a little wrinkle in our search for the Keystone. I don't think anyone in this room will feel right unless we stop Detta from producing any more of those soldiers. I mean, what good's saving the universe if Detta's just gonna turn around and take it over? So I propose we split off again. This time into two groups: Stiletto and I will look for the Keystone. The rest of you should double back and find a way to destroy that production line. Make sense? Then hurry. And don't wait for us."
Detta was waiting for us inside. / Backup
The other team was successful in destroying the cloning facilities, but it hardly mattered now that the big man was just a green stain on the streets of OneGate. The automated cleaning bots were already evaporating the last traces of his remains. The press would probably chalk it up to a gravpath malfunction during plate transition.
And now we just had to destroy the keystone. / Backup
And that's how everything came crashing down. This explained why he was so interested in the Keystone from the very begging and why he refused so adamantly to go to Limbus, but how could he be a student of the School of Order at the same time? Things happened so fast. I still haven't gotten a chance to sort them all out. My only consolation was that we had avenged Rukh.
Anyway, this breakfast has gone on long enough. Spread this record far and wide throughout the universe. Maybe some will follow us through the gate and aid us, but at the very least this will serve as a historical record. You'll probably never see us again. Even if we're successful, there's no reason to believe the gate works both ways.
Here's hoping you all don't suddenly cease to exist.
End: Hey KOTOR II thread! We hate endings more than you! However, I can't say that I completely loathe the ending. Boots gets off his ass, faces his past, and stops wallowing in self pity and alcohol. Maybe some day Tom Hall will decide to let us know how the story really ends. Thanks for reading. I'm still going to go back and show various extras such as the other Democratus missions, but for the most part we're done here.