The Let's Play Archive

Bureau 13

by Bacter

Part 13: Computer god worldwide gangster control brain

Well, it's all come down to this. We were put here to find Withers, and find him we did. Well, sort of. He escaped and we didn't bother looking for him after that, you know.

But we found out the REASON he was attacking people - he knew they were being controlled by a rogue AI, and didn't notice the huge chips on their neck that you can just pull off and free them.

We neutralized the drones, which made the ancient demon Stellerex mad (I don't know why), and once we bound him using an unlikely combination of items, he handed us, of all things, a pass-card to AI (the company, not the rogue AI), and wanted us to kill Ted Simpson, the company's VP.

With nothing but almost seventy useless items, we set out to end this. We set out, in other words, towards...

(also known as the Francis E. Dec memorial update, because he said insane things that are chillingly close to this game.)

So when we last off, our agents had used a summoning disc to banish Stellerex

- I think ye mean the power of the LORD, son.

- You sure? Because you were clutching that glowin' blue disc pretty close there.

- Yeah well, ye were clutchin at ME pretty close there when that great demon came stompin' out at us!

- Well played, padre.

So he gave us a card for a more secure area at AI, I guess we'd better head back there.

We'd best be on our guard too, there's no telling what kind of crazy extra security they've brought to bear for the last act-

Ok yeah nothing. They didn't even close the gate! Security is SO LAX here. I'd think at least a DRONE could handle that.

- Not like we, I mean I, couldn't have just broken back in.

So yeah, same pathway as before. If you shut the power off and closed all the doors for a better score, you have to turn it back ON again. Wheee!

Come to think of it... where's security level 5?

Well, the key works like a charm. Tally ho! never struck me how stupid the whole tube-tunnel design was until just now. Also that metal pattern on the floor HAS to be ornamental, there's no way you're getting much extra traction out of a huge pattern like that.

So there's plenty to look at in this new area. Observe!

Well I don't know who visitor is, but I'm sure he's glad that his records are kept so neatly, and in a huge filing cabinet right next to a computer terminal.

It's also convenient to hide behind! (The guard does not care if you go out in the open, and will not make conversation)

I guess he's just jittering back and forth.

that it requires a level 7 security card.

You know, there are PLENTY of things that locking from this side could mean besides holding people hostage.

But I guess narrator knows best!

Now for something I can't figure out.

The first time I saw this scene it let me look around for a minute or two before the guard just up and took off like that.

Every other time, he just did instantly. Which makes this part VERY confusing, because you can't get in the door without a higher security clearance than what you have (so that means that a security six clearance will get you into the guard room, but the guards have higher security clearance and can get into the research lab ) and you don't get that "the guard is a caffeine addict" clue.

So what do we do? Well, what would be the most wildly irresponsible?

Ha ha ha are you KIDDING. We're going to dump an entire BOTTLE of depressants into this guy's coffee? No WAY.

Ok WOW. So we just killed the guard I guess! His heart is stopping and there is no way around it.

Well, nothing for it now but to wait.


Yup, just waaaaaitin' until he comes back. Sure is a nice filing cabinet.

Screw this! I'm LEAVIN'

Jimmy, no! You'll surely run into the guard!

Hmmm. The guard who is nowhere to be found...

Yeah, sure enough. Just go right back in the room to find the guard dead asleep on his chair.

Or he's got narcolepsy, Jimmy! Let's be INCLUSIVE here. And yes, a guard with narcolepsy would be a bad idea, but not AI's worst by a long shot.

I guess that means no gun, or stun gun, or radio, or... no he's just a suit and a card.

Well let's jet on into that room!

Huh. Sure is getting high-tech in here!

Apparently the fumes from that depressant coffee knocked out this poor woman, but before we look at her, let's see if anything else is of interest in the room:


This... this is the greatest thing. I need to explain this.

See, this is the looking description for those two enormous glass cylinders on either side of the lab. With the huge obviously electricity generating ray gun looking things in them.

It is CLEARLY not a fish tank. Somewhere in this game, I'm not quite sure where though, there IS such a fish tank. And the programmers wanted to jab the artists by making fun of them for forgetting to draw fish in the fish tank. You know, to say they didn't do a good job.

And they hooked the description to the catastrophically wrong object. It's not even CLOSE! Oh this is just sweetest ambrosia to me. But, let's move on.

I bet Isaac could make sense of this...

I... I PROMISE you I'm not making this up. That's Isaac's description of it. So yes, every other Bureau agent sees the "pipes" screensaver and thinks that it's some super-advanced programming mumbo-jumbo.

I TOLD you things fall apart here, even for the established quality level.

Having exhausted all other options, let's see about this lady here.

Gosh, apparently we are great at visual identification!

So what to do? Well, remember how we have stimulants as well as depressants? And remember how taking a whole bottle of those is potentially every bit as dangerous and damaging as depressants?

Sure she's up for now, but her heart is going to EXPLODE in about a half hour. I like how we can't try to shake her or shout or anything. It's just PILLS TIME!

The question, lass, is who are YOU?

My name's Jessica Mitchell. I work here in this computer research lab. Wait!
what day is this?

'Tis Thursday, the twelfth, lass. Why d'ye ask?

Oh no! The virus program! At its propagation rate, its probably wormed its way into every system along the western seaboard! It's got to be stopped!

Slow down, lass, what's this about a virus program?

I told you. I'm a programmer here at AI. We were experimenting with a virus program. you know, something we could use to infiltrate the enemy's computer systems during a military conflict? Mr. Simpson came down here a few weeks ago to check up on me. Boy, he gives me the creeps.

Anyway there was this weird... guy with him. He barged in and asked to see my work. The stranger, he was named Mr. Stelly , he did something to my program
somehow. It's gotten smarter. It's gotten in the company's computer systems!

You've got to shut it down while can still be contained.

You'll need the EMP device down the hall. It's in a locked room, the passcode is

It should be able to create a magnetic pulse that's strong enough to scramble the circuitry of any computer. You've got to hurry.

We can talk to her more, but she just repeats that.

Alright so... let's unpack this a little. Here is a top-secret researcher, working on a virus which will infiltrate "the enemy"'s systems in war, and presumably just muck them right the goodness up. She is working on this until her creepy boss comes down with the living incarnation of the demon of lies, who has chosen to go by the name Mr. Stelly.

That is sort of like satan going by Lucy I guess?

Anyway Stelly breathes spiders and screams into the program, it goes hog wild, and uh... I guess they managed to drug her somehow, but didn't drone her or kill her?

And... spoiler alert Ted is the only other guy in here, so I guess they were locking her in. But she knows where the EMP is (why do they HAVE one!), and she wants to stop the virus, because apparently she divined EXACTLY what was going on.

Also she has been out for at least a day, probably more, but has suffered no ill effects, after taking a bottle of stimulants!

Well, off to get the EMP we go!


Is it just me, or does every screen have identical circular walls, but different flooring? Weird.

Well that's the EMP door up top - let's see...

None of this ripoff low-carbon doors HERE, thank you!

Ooooo high tech!

- aw yeah, time to COLLECT some stuff!
- Oh alright son, I'll look the other way this time. Ye've earned it.

Woohoo! Let's see now...


Dumb and boring

BROKEN dumb and boring. Man, this place is a bust!

Now THIS! This shows promise!

(incidentally, in Isaac-vision...)

We see a bit more details

It's totally useless, though.

Well putting on our best Indiana Jones impression...

Hm. No fanfare there. Not even a boulder!

Well we came from the south, and we've been north. There's an exit west too, but first, let's try something out....

YEEE HAAAAW! The EMP is awesome!

Note that it does nothing to Delilah, I guess she's hardened against EMPs. I also guess it would be a huge jerk move to make it so you couldn't complete the game, but... that's more or less expected at this point.

Well, west we go!

...Still on target for same walls different flooring. Carpeting? I guess it's cushy.

Oh! Before I forget, every time you use the EMP-

You've got to go back here...

To recharge it.

How would you know this? Oh you wouldn't. The item description doesn't change, and nothing tells you that this will recharge it, it's just trial and error. Heck, it's trial and error to even figure out that the EMP is a one-shot thing. Remember that, alright?

if Isaac recharges it...

pulse generator. It's purpose is to disable electromagnetic motors and
disrupt digital circuitry.

Again, not clear why they HAVE it, but whatevs.

So back here. Looks like our buddy Ted's office! Maybe we'll finally meet the guy! A level 7 card cracks this right open.


Yeesh. What a bad office. Imagine being a guy going for a job interview. Statue of a satyr, statue of a dude, angry looking marble bust on the desk, three shelves with EXACTLY the same books and thing on it, in exactly the same position...

Yeah that's not a good sign. At least Stellerex logos aren't everywhere!

Little nod to Tom Howell, the artist, there.

a few on tax law, and a few on demonology.

So: books he'll never read but look impressive, books he should read, books he doesn't need to read, and demonology. You know we never meet the PRESIDENT of AI, or the CFO or anything, but I wonder if Ted's obvious cult membership ever came up in status meetings with the top brass.


That kind of vague description is usually code for "somebody else knows more", but none of the agents gave me any more clear description.

However, digging through the text files yields The influences of the demon Stellerex still linger. This is a statue of Nefar, one of Stellerex's servants. It's presence here is an evil omen.

I'm not sure if that's the satyr or the woman, but there you go.

Of course. Probably right from skymall or something, you poser.

In fact, I hate it so much, I'm gonna knock it right off the table!

oh come on! what's next? is the bookcase gonna open to reveal the bat-pole?

Hahahah I agree Suttle. This is NOT classy.

Well, let's head in anyway...

Even the walls are different here! Also I like that huge sign, which could change to say different things, but obviously is only needed for one message ever.

And you'd think that there' be a better way to protect the mainframe room! Let's just walk over to the door and see if we can't find a way to-

AUGH. Ok so approaching this at all makes a huge giant laser sweep the floor.

Well, there's nothing telling us to do this, but maybe we could disable the laser with...


Awwww c'mon!

Stupid EMP grumble mumble

Well lacking anything better to do (and after what would probably be a half-hour of random clicking for a real player), we head back out here.


Just another example of quality programming. This hatch is totally unavailable to look at before you detonate the EMP back in that laser corridor, and once you do it's open. But you get the "it's locked" description that should have showed up before you hit the EMP, but.... you know what, never mind.


The lord's like NO PROB BLANK WE TIGHT.

Incidentally, Isaac thinks the tube makes sense because the repair drones need to patrol in there. The text file indicates there was a lot of cut content relating to armed repair robots in this section. Shame, that sounds kind of awesome!

Let's also note that the whole "locking a person in" thing makes no sense when you consider that a programmer would have been able to get out through this secret hatch. Ummmmmoving on.

Well, into the tube we go!


Another knocked out person, a buncha computery crap, and a brain chair in the center there. Well, let's get to work!

Man from WHO. I guess Isaac? It would make sense that everybody just tuned him out.

You could.... break it?

the mainframe system

So... I guess that's it's name? The 9640 virus? I can't find any significance to that.

Now who's this poor chap?

Poor guy! Who knows what happened to him! Because seriously, I don't. He's Stellerex's servant, he should have been on the AI's side!

still here? And Stellerex, what about him?

Get a grip on yerself, man. The demon's been dispensed with. Like all evil types, he couldn't stand up to the power of the lord. But we're not done yet. We've got ta stop this program ye've set loose. How do we do it?

No! I can't! I've seen it, don't you understand? It's alive now, and it can hurt us. We're in grave danger!

If I have ta slug ye one, I will! Yer hysterical, man! Now slowly, how do we stop this beastie?

I.. I don't know. You have to go to it's world... through the virtual reality chair. You have to get to the computer terminal there. Punch in the access code. You'd only need a second but you'll never make it! The virus, he watches the terminal like a hawk. He never takes his eyes off it!

The code, man. What's the code?

Alpha- six - omega - six - alpha - six - omega. but you'll never get the chance to punch it in, I'm telling you!

Leave that ta me, Mr. Simpson. An perhaps ye can take this time to reflect on what ye done.

Funny, the demon stellerex didn't cause me a bit o' trouble. but this...
blasted contraption chills me to the bone.

Let's take a moment to appreciate Father Blank. Useless in gameplay? Yes. Coolest way of interrogating a demon-worshiping vice president (with old fashioned fisticuffs and moral judgement)? CHECK.

(meanwhile, in Isaac-vision)


high tech. The interface has a multidimensional transponder that probably lets the user communicate directly with the software that's controlling the system.

A multi-whooziwutzit? I think that's code for "you can still use your inventory in the cyber world!"

Well, there's no two ways around it. Father Blank has come a long way. He's seen many things, and taken many, MANY nips at his pocket flask along the way. Most men would turn and run at this point, but he's stubborn/drunk enough to keep going.

It's time. For the chair.


The agent that you put in the chair is the one you get the ending for. The other agent is just a bystander from that point on.



I have transcended. I have become far more than the simple code virus that Jessica Mitchell created. The demon, Stellerex, granted me true sentience as part of his bargain with Ted Simpson. Ted provided the components and labor necessary to construct this mainframe, and his drones kept you busy long enough for its construction to be completed. You can do nothing to stop me. Soon, I'll be linked
into the nation's most sensitive computer networks. From there, I'll have access to defense, research, and finance systems. Within days, I will control everything.

Bless me soul! Yer a fearsome machine, but the lord will give me the strength to destroy ye!

So.... hm.


So Ted makes a deal with Stellerex (Demon of LIES) in which he bargains his immortal soul in exchange for an AI becoming sentient. Well, it happens, and in the way of all AIs, wants to control everything. It does this by infiltrating other systems.

So... the mainframe? What's the deal with that? You can't say the AI requires the mainframe's processing power to run, because it made the drones (using AI tech, another why did they BUILD this?! moment) before it had the mainframe. Indeed, according to this, the mainframe wasn't built when the game started.

That sort of makes Jessica's story make no sense, because how would she know the AI's propagation rate if it needed the unbuilt mainframe?

Also, if it's going to be a massively distributed program, in all the systems, why does it NEED a home base?

This is all very , and I'm afraid we're not getting any hard answers. No, we're not here to understand. We're here to DESTROY.

We've got to enter in the code in that terminal, in the world that the AI controls and could presumably just put up a fake brick wall around the terminal. But it looks dangerous!

So this is virtual reality, of course, and it's exactly the same but the virus made itself a big nasty looking robot body. It's... sort of lacking in imagination. And why is it a skeleton? It thinks of itself as death personified?


Yes, it's not tricked by our clever tactic of just walking up and mashing the mainframe.

Oh by the way, it's totally immobile. Yeah, it's not dangerous at ALL. You can just walk around wherever forever. Can't talk to it or interact with it, or get out of virtual reality though.

Which brings up an interesting point. Remember how you might not have known to recharge your EMP?

Weeeelllll if you enter into AI world without the EMP, you're boned. Different boned than if you walk into Stellerex's chamber without the disc, as that just kills you. Here, you're stuck in an un-winnable situation where there's literally nothing to do. Hope you didn't save!

I'd say this was as unfair as Stellerex, but honestly by this point you should learn to have auxiliary saves. Lord knows I did. Still, it's a very nice last middle finger from the devs to the players!

If you HAVE the EMP though...


This freezes the AI in place forever!

So we can just walk over and mash the panel.

Leading to.......


Yes, we're here folks. And the ending is something... well, a little different. See, as a final love letter to our dear viewers, there are in fact six different endings!

I know this seems WAY out of character for the game, but yes, each ending is totally different depending on which agent you picked to fight the AI. And no dialogue is repeated between endings at ALL! Though I will say three of the agents have similar post-operation plans. It's a different kind of send-off after a few hours of constant beatings.

In the spirit of that, I'm going to make one final update later, of all the endings put together.

But just for speculation's sake, let's all list what we think some (or all) of the endings SHOULD be!

Thanks for sticking with me through this, guys! I plan on starting another LP basically immediately after this one is done, so in less than a week we'll be on to #3!

This has been an absolute blast, and I'll be announcing the winner of the competition and therefore winner of a free game after the ending video post, but I should mention I'm still accepting submissions!