Part 13: Why, farewell, boxWhy, farewell, box
Leaving the box was the clear winner. And to those who voted option D, you have no idea my capacity for grinding. I once played a ZAngband variant wherein I leveled from 1 to 50 without leaving the starting town.
Outside the box, by the way, is in fact death.
Just kidding, this is from a rating 4 server while I was getting the cash to upgrade. It's certainly the first time I've seen 3 steps up from the server rating! So far it's only occasionally been 2 steps up.
Okay, so it's not death death, but being dumped at this level does 5% damage to our physical health. That's a whole day of rest to cure!
I wisely wait for the end of the month to roll around before upgrading our lifestyle, so I don't have to immediately pay a grand in rent. We've moved up to a one-bedroom apartment (the box sleeps in the closet) with scheduled brownouts and water rationing. We'll just tell the cool kids that it's a safehouse rather than where we actually live.
Okay, it's not actually that bad. Most of the servers we get contracts for are rating 4 or 5, with the occasional 6 or 3.
So let's hit that rating 5 server.
Hey, a new thing! You may notice this looks kind of like a CPU, but it isn't actually a CPU. That's because this is an SPU, a sub-processing unit. Which means this server is the first to have multiple... levels? Tiers? Whatever.
Accessing the map reveals that there's a second Portal node, the hollow purple rectangle in the northwest. This is the way up to the next level. Each level has its own IC entry port and security node, but you may notice that there's no admin alarm I/O port on this level. That only appears on the same level as the CPU. Did I mention that, since it's all one server, all levels share the same alert level? Better not trigger a red alert, or you won't be able to prevent a system shutdown! (Note that you can cancel one here in the SPU, but the admin will just start another shutdown.)
Luckily I found the target I/O node on the first level, and got the hell out of there. A reputation increase and a skill point bonanza!
That reputation increase unlocked rating 7 servers, and a new mission type: timed missions! I'll probably never take a timed mission because combat characters suck balls at them. Not only does combat itself take time, but the prelude to the actual mission-doing of closing the IC port, shutting off the admin alarms, and securing access to the security node is all pretty much required.
Instead we're going to crash a system. These missions are balls hard for stealth characters (and only possible using Virus programs), but a cakewalk for us.
We just murder our way to the CPU, murder the IC protecting the CPU, then hit that button that looks like dynamite! Okay, it looks like a red candy bar with a floating spark in the air, but it's supposed to be dynamite. Crashing a server can fail, and can trigger a red alert, but who cares? Just press the button until this comes up:
Unless you are absolutely terrible with your hardware and other skills, it'll only take you a couple tries. You'll succeed before any reinforcement IC appear.
Meanwhile, that Defense 5 chip finally finished cooking, and I bought a Coprocessor 5 chip from the marketplace.
Our skills are progressing nicely as well, but I could really use a better Attack chip.
A quick vote while I continue grinding:
With my deck able to handle the Load, should I run Hush (our Hide program) so we might sneak past some gateways and avoid some probes, or remain purely about combat?