Part 42: Brickstown - Part TwoMy name is Isawa Koi.
Just Koi is fine, thanks. I'm a registered hero with the Paragon City Hall, and a member of the Modern Arcane Guild of Investigation, or MAGI.
I don't actually do much active heroing nowadays. I'm always happy to help out, but I've had more than my fair share of adventures and rescues in my time here, and there's always been plenty of heroes around to keep people safe.
Yes this is just a vanity shot for the badge count. Let me have my moment.
I could go on about myself - Magic origin blaster, fire shugenja, from another dimension, etc. - but that's not really important. I keep a low profile in any case, which is why I was surprised when I was messaged right out of the blue.
The newer contacts will automatically unlock and message you once you meet the criteria for them - hitting their level range, having the right badge(s), or in this case having Incarnate powers unlocked on the beta server. Yes, this is Issue 24 content, all of it copy-pasted straight from the game.
Timeline-wise, this is shortly after the Magisterium Incarnate trial.
So please allow me to speak of the time I helped save the people of a city (not Paragon City, but the home of even a single person is important), in a tale I call Praetoria's Last Gasp.
Hello? I just got a message about meeting a Dr. Orts?
(When Number Six speaks, his voice has a sort of echo to it, as if it is reverberating against something.)
There are a lot of asides like this with the newer contacts, usually giving little details that don't come across well in pure speech/dialog. You see it more villainside, where the arc writer felt that they needed to give you some kind of motivation beyond 'I'm the willing lackey of the contact' which characterized pretty much all of the City of Villains content for a long while. Granted, the motivation tends to be 'I want more power/money' or 'I want to be a cool mastermind of crime' or similar, but since this is a game where you can play a giant Asian robot that's always on fire, I'm willing to give the writers some leeway.
Hello, Isawa Koi! I'm glad you got my memo. I'm Dr. Michael Orts, but you can just call me Number Six! It's sort of my professional nickname.
Before you ask, yes, I am very... pixellated! It's due to a power I have, where I can turn myself into pixels and enter into computers! Isn't it fascinating?
Actually, we've met. It's been a while since Crey and the Council.
Number Six is a reference to an very old mission (content from the game launch, or at least issue 1), where the Council invaded a Crey Industries lab intent on stealing/kidnapping him, and you help release him from captivity and into the Internet. It wasn't even a story arc - just a little one-off mission from your contact. Nowadays you actually have to work a little to get that contact, and then it's random as to whether you'll get the mission in a timely manner because they randomly assign missions from a list.
Wasn't there a reason you called me, Number Six?
Oh, yes! Sorry, my mind sometimes has a hard time focusing, what with the pixels.
Yes, Vanguard is currently working on the evacuation of what we're calling the Final Bastion in Praetoria. This was a place that several rogue IDF troops set up to be an outpost from Emperor Cole. The outpost was quite impressive, really! They had sonic fences to keep the Hamidon back, along with turret schematics stolen from Lambda sector to serve as their defense.
The civilization is falling, however; it was going to be our last outpost in Praetoria, but I don't think it's possible for us to recover it. We need you to help with the final evacuation, Isawa Koi!
(You think things over for a moment. You've fought a god of death in Dark Astoria and helped push back the forces of Praetoria in Imperial City. You have the power to do more than help in an evacuation, you have the power to turn the tide and save this place and establish one last outpost in Praetoria!)
I'll help, but we're not going to abandon that civilization.
Huh? You don't want to evacuate?
You want to SAVE this place?! That's crazy! Why, you'd have to be...
... A super powered incarnate to begin to think that's feasible. OK, so, maybe it's possible. Okay, okay, think Orts... There's got to be a way we can make this work.
Well, I don't really think of them as Incarnate powers per se, but-- nevermind, it's not important. What's going on?
Well, okay, here's the situation we have right now. There's a Seed of Hamidon making its way to way to code-name Last Bastion. The Lambda turrets have all stopped working, along with the sonic fences. The entire place is crawling with Devouring Earth. Vanguard and well, the good IDF, are doing their best to rescue any remaining civilians and get them out using our new Portal Corp tech, courtesy of Emil Christie.
Emil Christie is a new NPC, who you run into during the new Brickstown arcs that minimalist was covering. He's a Longbow scientist who buys plushie dolls of heroes. Yeah, I don't know either.
But... oh, OH! I have an idea! Yes, I think I know how we could pull this off!
I'm all ears, Dr. Orts.
Okay, so, you know how Emperor Cole was able to give his Praetors greater powers? What if... And this is a big if... you were able to do that to the Lambda turrets? Maybe you could use your Incarnate powers to temporarily reboot them with Incarnate energy!
It's possible that turrets firing energy of that magnitude could repel something as massive as the Seed of Hamidon! Because, to be frank, Isawa Koi, if the Seed of Hamidon makes it there, that place is doomed, and we'll need to close the portal ASAP.
I would suggest that's your main goal, after you've secured the area! Serpent Drummer is leading the evacuation, so I would talk to him once you're through. Good luck, Isawa Koi!
... no pressure, huh. Well, for something like this...
... I'm going to need my hat. [sub]And my cape. I think it's cool, shut up.[sub]
Isawa Koi, Dr. Orts said that you would be coming here to help with an evacuation. I just received an odd message, however, that you intend to try to save this place instead of give it up to the Hamidon.
That's admirable. I would help you, but I'm unfortunately spent. I've done everything I can to protect the last refugees that are here.
Alright. What's the situation?
We've got Vanguard engineers that are out missing in the field, along with civilians trapped in those crumbling buildings.
We can't get them out with all the Devouring Earth around here, however. We need the Vanguard engineers back here to power up the portal - it'll take forever to evacuate everyone one by one. Well, I guess that is if we're going to evacuate.
Vanguard and the IDF can recover the civilians trapped in the buildings once the numbers of the Devouring Earth are thinned.
(You see the ground starting to rumble somewhat - the Devouring Earth are moving in on the portal!)
Here they come!
You have to save us!
Please do something!
I don't want to become one of the Devoured!
I don't want to die here!
Humanity has proven itself lacking. Give in to the Hamidon!
Stay away from them!
Right, step 1 - thin out the herd.
These Imperial Defense Force soldiers are all infested by the Hamidon. I don't want to think about what they'll do to the civilians.
Hamidon has the city surrounded by those... spires, I guess? Who knows what could be... growing inside them.
That's far too many missile launchers for one man.
OW NO I DON'T NEED ANY MORE MISSILES
The Engineers! The Devouring Earth must be herding them here.
Do your worst, I'm ready for it!
Your Hamidon can't stop up(sic) to Isawa Koi!
More to join the Hamidon!
Isawa Koi, if there's anyone who can help us, it's you!
I'll give my life for this place!
Isawa Koi?! Over here, help!
Isawa Koi, you were not expected, not yet.
You have to help, we can't lose this place!
Seen here: 1 second before the Pyronic Judgement Incarnate blast hits.
You won't take me! I'll die before I become one of the Devouring Earth!
What? Isawa Koi? Thank goodness!
You will make an excellent part of Hamidon, Isawa Koi.
I never thought I'd see you here!
Here's the turret console. Now I just have to-- wait, what the heck...?
... what is this even DOING here?
You know what, I don't have time to think about that right now. I'm just going to charge up those turrets and... wait, I don't know how to do that. I guess just put my hands here and...
There, charged! Glowing means it's charged, right? Wait, doesn't that mean I haven't touched it yet? It's been a while...
(glowing objects means you haven't searched them yet, but I wanted to make a bad joke. )
Okay, I've rescued the Engineers, cleared out some of the Devouring Earth nearby, and charged up the turrets. I think. That last one is a bit iffy.
Alright, Isawa Koi, the Vanguard engineers were able to get the Lambda turrets back online. They're reporting huge spikes in their energy after your infusion.
The Seed of Hamidon is coming in fast - are you ready to face it down?
I am, let's get this started.
I only have one thing to say to you, Hamidon:
(click for video. I'm working on getting a better quality shot of this, but please crank up the quality to 720p and watch it full screen to see the text.)
... wow. I'm as surprised as everyone else that it worked.
Talk about your last minute saves, Isawa Koi! We've got several super strength heroes on the scene now to position the powered up Lambda turrets around the area.
Serpent Drummer has set up a base inside the main building of Last Bastion; that's where all the civilians are currently staying. We're not out of the woods yet, however. Well, technically, you're about to go into the woods! Let me explain...
Do I have to? I'm... not good with forests. Too many times getting lost in Perez Park.
The IDF managed to build and power up the previous sonic fences in the area thanks to a facility nearby.
Right now, those sonic fences are down and missing crucial parts. I analyzed the data - not even your Incarnate powers could reboot them. It's like... ah... trying to use your powers to make a car work when there's no engine for the car to actually use.
You saving Last Bastion won't mean much if we can't get those sonic fences up and running. Hamidon's forces are vast and you can't be in this place all the time to fight them off.
We need to get the supplies from the facility nearby to rebuild the sonic fences and activate them.
Well, if I'm the only one who can do it... Alright, do you have the location of the facility?
I do... er, sort of. Kind of. Well, not really. Here's the problem. The facility is in the Hamidon's forest. There's all sorts of things crawling around in there, and it's not just Hamidon.
Scouts reported seeing Spirit Stalkers there. I know Shadow Hunter was the head of that pack... maybe it means he's been taken over by Hamidon? I don't know.
Shadow Hunter?! I thought the Devouring Earth killed him. No, wait, did he come back to life again? I can't keep all these Praetorians straight.
What you'll have to do is try to thin the numbers of the Spirit Stalkers and Devouring Earth there, and get a beacon to locate where the facility is.
You don't need to track down Shadow Hunter, if he's there, but if he's not taken down, he could cause more harm in the future. Also, there are three IDF generals who went out to find the warehouse, but they never returned. The forest is a maze, so I wouldn't recommend trying to find them... but if you did find them, they could potentially help out in the defense of Last Bastion.
Navigate maze, avoid Shadow-Hunter, rescue anyone else I find. Got it.
Whatever you do, be careful out there, Isawa Koi. You'll be going into completely unprotected territory.
Okay, I think that horrific groaning sound is just multiple Seeds of Hamidon flying around, so staying under the treeline is a good thing. And hey, the maze here can't be as bad as Perez Park, especially now that I've got this...
This is the Reveal power, a veteran reward given out to long-time subscribers of the game. As you can guess by the name, it clears the fog of war on the minimap and lets you see all the pathways in a zone or mission (but not things like enemy spawns or mission objectives).
... unfortunately, it's less than impressive on this map. At least whoever designed the arc gave you those green dots, which indicate the general direction of either the main path to take or an SOS beacon from the three optional NPCs to rescue.
... okay, don't panic. You've gotten out of Oranbega before - this should be a snap by comparison.
(5 minutes later...)
HATE WOODS AND MAZES AND GARBAGE-FILLED MAZES SO MUCH
HATE SHADOW DOGS EVEN MORE
WHY AREN'T YOU ASSHOLES LOST AS MUCH AS I--
I completely forgot about Infernal. He's the only Praetorian Guard member that's unaccounted for at this point. I don't know why he was here or what he was doing, but I can only hope...
... that he burns down this wretched forest and saves me the trouble of doing it myself.
Just end it. The Praetoria I knew is gone, thanks to you monsters.
Our Praetoria will be a beautiful place. You will see.
You cannot stop Hamidon's future!
I thought... I thought it was all lost. Maybe we have a chance, still.
There's always a chance - it's only lost when we just give up.
I won't go down without a fight! You monsters won't transform me!
You humans have already lost.
Yes, some support, finally!
Why do you all continue with this?
We can still do this, we can still win this war!
The war's over, General. But we can still build something out of what's left.
Looks like there's a clearing up ahead...
... oh, fiddlesticks.
This is Shadow Hunter, the Praetorian version of the hero the Woodsman. The Woodsman is a spirit of nature who is known for three things: getting killed by the Devouring Earth, his spirit getting rescued in the Numina Task Force, and his ghost being the contact for the Eden Trial. By comparison, Shadow Hunter is the master of the hunt, roaming around with his pack of shadow hounds. He was also killed by the Devouring Earth, but came back to life in the previous Incarnate storyarc and joined Emperor Cole in his last stand in the Magisterium trial.
I have seen what the Hamidon sees, finally. We will ensure its vision of Earth is fulfilled.
Oh no, the Hamidon's got you...
Isawa Koi. I have ascended, become something greater! I have become the Alpha Predator... and you are the prey!
And the last SOS beacon is just past you. I can't leave without at least checking...
The darkness will sustain us!
Seven Thunders, I forgot how tall you are...
AND YOU STILL TURN INTO A GIANT DOG OH HELP
(5 minutes later...)
This can't be how it ends...
Someone else is out here?!
More outsiders in Hamidon's forest?
I JUST BURNED A GIANT GHOST DOG TO DEATH, YOU ARE NOTHING TO ME
Have you found the others?
Yes, you were the last one. I don't suppose you know where the warehouse is from here?
Yeah, it's about south-east of this position.
... YOU MEAN I PASSED IT?!
One of the quality of life changes they made was to put up a waypoint on the minimap when you only had 1 last objective needed to complete the mission. It also displayed the the location of the last few enemy mobs (the red arrows) but only if you've already defeated 95% of the enemies on the map first. The top green arrow is Koi, while the second one is an ally (in this case, the NPC we just rescued).
As soon as I get back to Paragon City, I'm joining the Pave the Earth Foundation.
Great work, Isawa Koi! Vanguard is sending in a crew as we speak to recover the sonic fence technology and bring it back to Last Bastion.
I am never going back to those woods EVER AGAIN.
They'll be moving quick, of course; there's only so long that Hamidon's forest will actually be safe.
We just received word that there was a huge explosion over in what's left of Neutropolis. It looks like Anti-Matter's reactors all went off - it was massive! I bet that put a huge dent in Hamidon, or at least, I hope it does.
I just hope all the people there evacuated in time. I don't think anyone lived there, at least - it was mostly warehouses, the Lambda sector headquarters, and the Neuron Technlogies Unlimited building.
In the meantime we should take advantage of this and- er. Uh oh.
We've got a problem, Isawa Koi. I don't think that should surprise you at this point, right?
*sigh* Par for the course at this point. Just give me a minute to catch my breath.
Next time on Praetoria's Last Gasp: The Last Top Dog.