Part 6: plot_dump.txtUpdate 5 - plot_dump.txt
While we're in the area, let's check out Sampson's Lab.
Tackett's journal said he was a cybernetic engineer, but now he's a cybergeneticist. Let's talk to him. Hopefully he'll be able to help us with something. Interestingly, if we examine him, it says he's "younger and stronger than expected."
Dr. Sampson? You're Ludwig Sampson? Deirdre Tackett's in trouble. I know you've worked with her against the vampires.
I'm not here to kill you, Dr. Sampson. I need your help. I'm a victim of the evil you fight.
So you are a vampire with a conscience, eh? You want to undo your fate? Turn your head to the right. Push your hair aside. Yes. I see you have a neural implant.
I have Hopkins-Brie Syndrome. The implant's a reality filter of some type. I can't pretend I understand how it works.
But it may be all that gives you any hope of redemption.
This game is full of cyberirony.
You can cure me? Restore my humanity?
A cure is not impossible, but it is difficult, near unattainable.
Thankfully we ran across the one scientist who knows about a cure. Funny that he was only mentioned as an offhand comment in Tackett's journal. If anybody else knew that there was a cure, you'd probably hear of it elsewhere.
But you'll help me?
Very little I can do, but if Deirdre's life is at stake, I must try. I maintain a WELL at the address Zarathustra. My computer has a c-space port, and I can let you use this deck if you need it. It is rather crude, I'm afraid, but it should suffice. You can deck from here. It's safe. I have studied the issue closely. I'm convinced that vampirism can be reversed, its effects wiped clear from a human body and mind nonlethally, but only under very specific circumstances. Even then, you understand, this is all theoretical. Still, in this WELL is a text file that summarizes the essential information, the steps you must take to become human again. You are welcome to that copy of the file, should you desire it.
Another absolutely meaningless Nietzche reference. The connection between the concept of Übermensch and BloodNet is very strenuous at best. I'm only left with the thought that this is an attempt at posturing by the writers. They made the effort to try to seem philosophical by all these name-drops, but upon closer examination, nothing extends beyond the shallow surface. Again, posturing. Still, if someone wants to write about how I don't interprite Neitzche's aphorisms correctly (as if an aphorism can be incorrectly interpreted), and defend the writers of BloodNet, I'll gladly be proven wrong.
The Praxis 2300XC is a quest item. I assume you could also use this to deck if you, for whatever reason, sold off the required parts of your deck to a vendor. Speaking of decking, that's something we should do right now.
On our way to the FATS, we run across another dragon soul box.
Congratulations. You've got a dragon and a big mouth too. Try anything, and I'll sabotage my own matrix, go viral and replicate my structure until TransTech won't help but notice both of us.
Tough talk. I've run with suicide gangs, so I'm real scared. Top yourself if you got the nerve. I've been surfing the net for over ten years, through three crackdowns by the heat. Seen some tight riders go down. Thought I'd risk interface in order to clue you on some things that could save your life. Sorry I wasted my time.
Wait. I'm sorry about the threat. Lately I've had to be careful about who I trust.
Wait, come back! I'm so lonely!
Yeah, I've programmed that routine myself. Just keep in mind that aside from your cloaks, the soul box is your most important software. But know its limits. You interface with the net, you're exposing your essence--the animating information encoded into your central nervous system--to the chaos of the net, nearly unmediated perception of countless stimuli. Nobody can take it forever. You will notice code fragments that randomly appear. They're pieces of data angels who pushed the virtual envelope too far, outstripped their capacity to distinguish themselves from their surroundings . . . and they just broke apart. I suppose it's possible to recompile them--if you could ever retrieve all the data, that is.
Whatever. It might marginally help to upgrade our cloak when we get a better one, but it's rare that you're caught decking. I'll show it off if it happens, but then I'll have to reload a previous save because you lose everything in your decking inventory. Also, like Scream Wipe said, they leave you to die in a cage.
Let's visit ttheat before zarathustra.
This means that we need somebody else's essence before we can get in. Since this is a TransTech well, it's probably someone from TransTechnicals that has the essence we need.
Security not showing up means that either it was an empty threat or a programming error. Whatever the case, nothing happens. Off to zarathustra.
Sampson betrayed us. He must be attacking us in reality. We can't search his well, which is what we need to do, until we deal with him. However, unlike our implant says, we can go do whatever in the net without consequences. We'll exit anyway.
Old Abe wants to diablerise us. We can't let that happen, so now it's go time.
I teased combat earlier, and now we get to go into the gritty details of it. First thing is every battle is to place our party members. Stark is required to be in every fight, but we can skip as many of our party members are we want. There's no reason to skip any unless they're plot relevant NPCs that suck at combat.
I placed Stark next to Sampson, and placed everyone else in the corner. Note how they all look the same.
It's fist important to note that there are two types of combat in BloodNet: Descriptive, and Quick. Quick is where you let the computer make terrible decisions for you and you get to watch your party die in three rounds. Descriptive is where you give order. We'll get more into it in a second. I'm just going to quote the manual again to explain these options. We'll go from bottom to top for convienence.
The Manual posted:
COMBAT SETTINGS: This option permits you to oggle the quick combat message function, combat sound, and combat music on and off.
Combat messages are vital in understanding what's actually happening during combat. Combat sound is terrible - you get to listen to DOS shotgun sounds and shit. No thank you. Combat music isn't even an option for me since I didn't set up the music.
The Manual posted:
RETREAT: Selecting this option will produce a menu asking you to specift wheather all or some of your characters are to retreat. The selected characters will flee towards the nearest exit of the screen. If the whole party retreats, you will be returned to the New York Subway map. Whenever the entire party retreats, there is a chance that a member of your party will grow frustrated with your leadership and leave.
There are some times when a certain enemy will prevent anyone from retreating. Rarely, an enemy will retreat. I've never had a party member leave after retreating. That stuff about fleeing to the nearest exit is just rhetoric.
The Manual posted:
QUICK COMBAT: Enters quick combat. ... Combat will continue until one party is defeated or until you strike the ESCAPE key.
It's important to note what the manual fails to mention: the escape key must be pressed in the middle of a round to stop the next one from occuring without giving you the chance to issue orders. You can't just press escape after seeing the combat message - that just closes the message and continues combat. Do you see the problem there? You can't stop combat when you want to switch tactics unless you press escape before you know you want to change tactics. The same thing still applies if you're in descriptive combat.
The Manual posted:
The manual's explanation of view status is very long-winded. All it does it let you see the Hitpoints, equipped weapon, and action for the next round of whichever character you have the pointer over. Resume combat is self-explanatory.
Issue orders let's us select a character to tell them what to do. It also let's us view the status of anyone before we select a character to issue orders to. This is the option we'll choose right now.
With this cursor position, we can see both Sampson's and Stark's status, but if we click, as expected, we'll be giving orders to only Stark.
Top to bottom this time:
The Manual posted:
Defend Position: The character will maintain its current position and attack only those NPCs that occupy a position adjacent to it or any NPC that targets the character. This is the default command for all characters when they begin a combat sequence.
We'll get into aquire target in a little bit.
The Manual posted:
Free Combat: Selecting this option allows the computer to select a target for a given character.
The Manual posted:
Manoeuvre: Allows you to move to a different location ... The speed ... depends upon the situation in combat
The speed with which a character moves, and the distance a character will move in a round, seems to be completely random. It's awful.
The Manual posted:
Bite: This option is only open to characters who are vampires. ... The vampire will manoeuvre next to the target and attempt to bite it. The vampire must hold the bite for at least two and perhaps more rounds for it to be fatal.
The manual fails to mention that biting diminishes Stark's bloodlust, which is very important. Stark can indeed bite vampires, and vampires can bite him.
Use item is limited to items in the specific character's inventory, as expected. Interesting about Choose Weapon is that it seems to be bugged. It only let's you switch between one-handed weapons.
The manual is surprisingly vague about Exert Will, only mentioning that it's a vampire-only option and that the will scores of the vampire and target have something to do in its success or failure. All it does is render the target immoble for its duration. Bite does the same thing.
We'll tell Stark to bite sampson.
We'll tell MAX BAX to aquire a target.
If we click, it will choose Sampson, since he's the only enemy between the two. If both Stark and Sampson were enemies, we'd get a drop-down list prompting us to select which one we want to target.
Body is the default setting and will give the character's attack a chance to land anywhere on the target. Don't bother with it. The only reason to choose head, or any of the leg or arm options is if the opponent is wearing armor impervious to the type of damage your character is dealing, and then only if it doesn't cover their arms or legs. There is a seperate slot for head armor. Remember, for the most part there are only two types of damage to worry about : firearm damage and lazer damage. Anyway, MAX BAX is going to target Sampson's torso. We won't worry about anyone else.
Sampson apparently had 110 total hit points, but only 50 points of damage did him in. This is the part of BloodNet's combat that makes the least amount of sense, and the manual doesn't touch on it at all. I'm not sure what determines the order of combat, but I thought that Stark would go first. Oh well. Turns out that Sampson wasn't wearing any armor whatsoever. It also turns out that a shotgun/lazer rifle blast to the torso is all it takes for almost all enemies in the game. You can see that distance doesn't seem to matter at all when using ranged weapons.
After combat, we can take what we want from the fallen enemies. Nothing really noteworthy here.
Now that Sampson's taken care of, we're allowed to search his lab.
Most areas don't have anything hidden, and you're just wasting time if you search them. The few areas that do have hidden items normally house items that are vital quest items. There's no way to tell which areas have items and which don't. We're picking up:
Coveralls which have a patch on the right shoulder indicating that it's "property [sic] of the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Sounds useful. We'll head there eventually.
Both the Schonbrun 52 and Use Utsukushii 66 cybergenetic arms. Most of those empty spaces in the equipped items menu are for cybergenetic limbs. What's interesting here is that this Schonbrun 52 is the only one of its kind in the game. Apparently there was a time where there was supposed to be more than one of each cybergenetic limb. The limbs are useful for making a cyborg body for elvis (you only need one leg, one arm, one cyborg body, and one cyborg head), but they're also useful for attaching to party members. We've got to go to a special doctor to do it, and it takes a lot of time and money. What's the payoff? The manual doesn't say. I'll tell you, though: for every limb attached, a selected stat tied to each limb is randomly increased from 10-30 points. It wouldn't be so useless if we actually knew which stat would be increased beforehand, and exactly what the stat does, but since we don't, it's a waste of time and money.
Sinusoidal Pulse Gun Plans - I've never bothered to use the gun.
There's also a cyborg torso which I forgot to pick up because it's obscured by the gray of the big robot body in the background. Whoops.
Back in Sampson's well, Lash Givens searches the area and finds a text file.
Sampson Text File posted:
A text file written by Ludwig Sampson. The key lines inform you that Sampson believes the effects of vampirism can be reversed if three conditions are met: 1) the vampire must kill its progenitor, the vampire who created him. 2) a priest, rabbi, imam, or some other holy person must perform an exorcism on the vampire's body and, the most difficult to attain condition, 3) the vampire must possess Incubus to excise the vampiric aspect while he is rendered as a cyberspace entity.
1) Sounds like we really need to get in touch with the lost kids. If they have INCUBUS, we need to find them.
2) We need to find someway to get to old Abe.
3) Find some "holy person" for an exorcism. Whatever.
Let's get to it. But first..
I said I would get Bonton in our party, so let's first get some Red Lifters.
Location: The sickly sweet smell of burning opium fills this narrow alley. You struggle to control your temper. You hate drug dealers.
This is the place.
Each vendor has 24 items total for sale. They all have the same car with the "i my uzi" bumper sticker and "ESCAPE" license plate.
We'll get some Red Lifters, which "give the user the feeling of immense strength."
A pair of Mirror Shades. I wanted to see what they do. Turns out the manual tells us.
The Manual posted:
Mirror Shades: Can protect a character from a flash bomb's effects. They also make the user look cool.
And lastly, we'll buy some Instapigment. All that does is make Stark not look like a vampire for 24 hours. We need this for reasons.
Back at the Abyss, it's you-know-what time.
Transfer Money: Bonton Himishaka receives 5000 dollars. [also red lifters.] You now have 88272 dollars in your account.
I didn't hire you to support your habit. I hired you to keep me breathin'. Let's get outta here.
He comes with a fuck-ton of useless drugs. We'll equip him with a Kevlar Vest and 9MM pistol, both of which he came with.
The Kafka conspiracy might have information that could help us. We should check them out.
The first person we'll talk to is called Coover Tristan.
He's unimpressed with things in general.
This should be good.
I'm Ransom Stark. You three must be with the Kafka Conspiracy. Oscar and a few other people at the Cafe Voltaire told me your group is waging a campaign against TransTech's monopoly over cyberspace.
Do you support--to quote from Cummings--that "fine specimen of ultraomnipotence," that triumph of progress, TransTechnicals?
You're not the only ones out to get the Company. We might be able to help one another.
My enemy's enemy is my friend. I see that you're armed. As Jesus put it, "He who lives by the sword dies by it." We eschew violence as a political weapon, because, really, who would notice one more murder in this city? Language is our weapon.
I guess he never read Matthew 10:34.
Whaddya, talk them to death?
I look to Stevens who says, "We are the artificers of the world in which we sing." Information is power and TransTech has power over information. Information depends on transmission, upon language. The Conspiracy targets the Company's means of transmission. We've introduced syntax breakers into the cyberspace parser system. We've created dozens of free-standing, public text stacks to serve unmonitored communication. As Barthes might put it, the creator is dead, long live his creation.
I'm shocked the writers didn't make a God is dead reference.
I don't need a resume, pal, and I don't want to know what you've done. I want to know what you plan on doing.
A need to know basis, Stark. You need to prove your loyalty before we start revealing strategic information. Our methods are varied, but our finance is limited, and we need hardware. We need a multichannel transmitter. More precisely we know where one is, and we need you to get it. There's a group of media pirates who call themselves the Icon Robbers. They have a headquarters on West 96th Street. If you're interested in an alliance this can be a trial. See you prove yourself. They have a transmitter that we can use. Steal it and bring it here.
Seems to me that you and the pirates would be natural allies. You're both dancing around TransTech's control of the media. Why hurt each other?
You're either with us or against us. Robbers' subversion is just a byproduct of their turning video into profit. There's no politics. They don't care who has access to what or whether TransTech remains in power. I think they prefer to have the Company holding the reigns. Be bad for the pirating business if sims and video were available from multiple sources.
Why are you citing sources for almost everything you say?
As Umberto Eco explained, it acknowledges the loss of innocence. Everything's been said and done before by someone, somewhere. I can't pretend what I'm saying is new. I have to tip my hat to those who've come before. You've heard my offer. Bring me that transmitter as a sign of good faith, and we can discuss helping each other further. One other thing: no violence. Leave the pirates living. Murder would give the heat another reason to come down on us. Someone will be watching you, so we'll know if you've resorted to violence.
We won't be able to do this in a non-violent way for a while. If we don't do it non-violently, the kafka conspiracy won't like us. If we do, we can get Coover Tristan to join us, but that's for another time.
Rides Naked posted:
And yeah, dear god, this writing... interestingly the references in the Coover conversation primarily reference modernists/concepts associated with modernism more than anything else. Wallace Stevens and E.E. Cummings were both deans of modernist poetry. Barthes' "Death of the Author" essay came during the transition from his structuralist period to his post-structuralist period (the latter being the one identified with postmodernism), and is mostly a recapitulation of the intentional fallacy, a critique made in the late 40s and early 50s by the (quite modernist) New Critics anyway (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intentional_fallacy). Jesus is, well, jesus. The only really clearly postmodern/poststructural thing referenced there is Eco's works on semiotics.
Art is never understood in its time.
He didn't say much about the Kafka Conspiracy. What exactly is your angle?
We've one value (principle, standard): information will be free. The Company's control (authority; ability to dominate) over cyberspace and the countless gigabytes stored there is unnatural and doomed (judgment passed, condemned, ruined) to collapse. The Kafka Conspiracy (accord to be illegal, treacherous, evil) will hasten that collapse.
It's gonna be the cyberballot or the cyberbullet. In this case, the cyberbullet.
How many in your organization?
Our number is shadowy (indistinct and dubious) and always shifting (transferring position and place). Members come and go, but it isn't numbers that will free us, it's ideas (image, thought, notion: transcendent).
I don't know about you, but I'm very impressed.
Yes. Let's just get this over with and leave.
There is talk of one who took others under her wing. A special group formed. When their work led them to a great and powerful secret, all were put in danger. It is rumored that, to protect the secret, the children went on the great journey, beyond the rainbow, into the dimension of cyberspace, so that they could safely guard their mentor's secret. To do so, they had to relinquish all existence in the physical world.
This sounds a little familar.
How many were there?
The story tells us that there were five. One was left behind purposely, to watch the others disappear into the net and destroy their remains. These children's love for this woman was so great that they would make the ultimate sacrifice for her. She had given them a home and a life. And the only gift they could give her was to leave her. And how truly sad I am for the one left behind. He waits for you, Stark. Go to him. He is no anarchist. He's just a boy.
Call me crazy, but that sounds like there could be one of the lost kids up at the Electric Anarchy. I think we know our next destination.
They're located up at the very top of Manhattan.
Remember, Garrick Fizz is supposed to be here.
The first person to talk to is the guy who's punching that kid.
Nai Hilistick. Ha... Ha...
If it's such a drag, why don't you just dump him on a government agency? Someone'll take him.
What government? Aside from this comment, I could swear that the writers were, knowingly or not, writing about an utterly tyrannical rothbard-esque dystopian future.
Cause he's more than just an ordinary kid. He's valuable to us. Can't tell you why. Only thing is, I haven't been able to beat the info. out of him yet. But I got plans for him tonight. He'll be talking soon enough.
That certainly doesn't sound good.
We should really get him out of here.
My name's Stark. I think we can help each other out. I was friends with Deirdre Tackett, too.
This conversation happens even if you never went to Tackett's well or went the the Kafka conspiracy. When I first played the game, I ran across the dialogue by accident and was pretty confused.
I've heard of you. But why should I trust you? You're not takin' me anywhere, if that's what you're getting at.
Hey, listen. Tackett and I go way back. She saved my life, installed my neural implant. We were both being chased by TransTech. I'm even beening targeted by the Company for knowing her. There's a hit list of Tackett's associates and I'm on it. We worked together, and now I'm a wanted man because of it.
Yeah? Prove it. I'll believe it when I see it.
We need some sort of proof. If we talk to him again...
I said prove it. You don't have the TransTech list of Deirdre's associates. And I won't trust you until you do.
Weird that a kid would know exactly what transtech proof would convince him. Now we're going to talk to someone named Phracktle.
Yeah, right. I spend my days running from the Company. I'm no mainstream hack. You guys aren't the only ones on the edge, you know. Besides, who are you that I gotta prove myself to you?
Relax, man. If you're such a big edge surfer, then why don't you do somethin' for the revolution instead of just running from it, man.
And what revolution is that?
If you're really wanted by TransTech, you'd want to put them in their place. Like us here. We believe the quest for information freedom can be achieved only by outright guerrilla tactics against the Company that owns it all, man, destruction of the megacorp machine we're all enslaved to. We gotta take it one step at a time, and I got a little task that needs doin'. Involves knocking off a big shot TransTech pig. We got ten grand to pay you for it. It probably ain't as much as you're used to. But you'd be doin' it for the cause. You into it?
Of course! The only color they stop for is blood red, just like the right side of my face.
We need you to hit the security director, the king of the pigs, at the Brooklyn headquarters. The guy's a heartless bastard, instructing the whole pig army to track down the phreaks on his cybercrackdown list and kill them in cold blood. He deserves to die, but none of us can get away with it. We're all recognized on TransTech's security scanners with instructions to shoot on sight. Do this for us and you got ten grand comin'.
Another side-quest. And now we're about to get another one.
If you're asking if I ever rode the matrix with TransTech breathin' down my neck, then I'm on your side.
Ah, a real phreak. Then maybe you can help me. Ever get your hands on any top level soul boxes? I've been looking for one. If you're interested, I've got an offer. You get me the soul box so that I can ride the dragon, and I'll give you a phreaky way to get rid of TransTech pigs. Deal?
We need what she's offering, so yes.
Great. I've got a powerful sleeping gas that will knock out a room full of people. Could come in handy for a guy like you. Bring me the soul box.
We need this for Coover Tristan's quest. Considering we've got a tin soldier soul box, this might seem like a rip off. We'll see.
Two more people to talk to.
Yeah, maybe I worked for TransTech a long time ago. And maybe they ruined my life. That could explain why I spend my days doing what I can to stick it to the megacorp.
Your story's no different from anyone else's in this city. You know, I found a way to channel that hate, got my hands on some Company hardware that really does some damage. You interested in a bio-weapon?
We'll hear her out, but this is not worth it.
Smart guy. It's called a wrath ray. What better way to arm ourselves against TransTech than with a weapon that's more powerful the more we hate them? I love it! You want one, you're gonna have to bring me what I need. I want a TransTech clearance, especially if it came from some security pig. The Company has all kinds of ways of identifying those guys, but I just need the clearance. I want in the Brooklyn headquarters without any hassles. You got one on you now you want to trade?
Then come back when you have the clearance. I'll be waiting with the wrath ray.
The wrath ray is worthless when all it takes to kill most enemies is a blast to the torso. I wouldn't trade a badge even if I had an extra one, and we don't even have one.
Last is Garrick.
Garrick, I need you. You're one of the slickest deckers in the biz, and I'm a dead man without you. Rymma says you can be spared from this job. We've got something bigger to deal with. Rymma will tell you all about it.
You've saved my hide in the net more times than I care to count, Stark. Looks like Rymma thinks its important. If you need me, I'm in.
Garrick would ignore us if we didn't have Rymma with us.
bag. This job may not be much safer, but at least we know who our friends are, right? And I know you'd rather be associated with Stark anyday[sic]-- living, dead, or undead.
Interestingly, if you listen to the tindeck link, it's Stark's voice actor that voices Rymma's lines here.
So, thread, do we want Garrick in our party?
Vote Yes/No if you want him in the party, and then vote for who you want him to replace if he does join the party, even if you voted no.
-Bring Chuck the TransTech list of Deirdre's associates.
Visit the Red Crosse Knights in the north end of Manhattan
Find a Holy Person
Kill Abraham Van Helsing
Collect the other two pieces of Charley Flyer's mind.
Visit Timmy Goldfarb down at the Autonomy Dogs
Penn Martinez will help us with complex computer code
Get Hakim a Praxis 3000
Non-violently steal a multi-channel transmitter from the Icon Robbers and bring it to Coover Tristan.
Put the possession next to Cyril Thorpe in Cafe Voltaire.
Get someone to vouch for us so we can talk to Lenora Major
Meet Zeus at NYU
Trade Sis Konfigg a Level Four Cloak for the WELL address of the New York Bank.
Get into well TTHEAT
Find a way to get into TTHQ
Trade a Dragon Soul Box to Phree Taught for sleeping gas.
Kill the TransTech security director for 10,000 dollars from Phracktle K. Oss.
New Location Gained