Part 15: Good news and Bad NewsChapter 12: Good news and Bad News
No shit. Couldn't show up on time to their own funeral. There's Dente, at least...
Oh, my head. I do believe I overindulged.
It's not a question of stamina but sensitivity. You haven't felt a hangover until you have echolocation glands.
I'll have to take your word for it.
Ooooh, my head.
Oh, come on! All you drank was root beer!
Pure cane sugar is a hell of a drug.
Hey! Can you get the guy in the headband away from my sister before I have to do it myself?
I assure you, Trog is a gentleman's gentleman. Your sister's honor is safe.
Is done with lady smelling good. Looking to adventure!
We better get a running start, then. It won't take long for Su-Zaku to spot us.
The key to my bike.
The rest of your troop already has loaners. I want you to have mine.
Socho, I can't...
You will take my bike, Gunnery Sergeant Elsom, and that's a direct order.
...did you just field promote me?
I'm probably the most senior officer left in the city. Who's gonna stop me?
Heh. Not me, sir.
Good. You can use the telecoms on your dashboards to talk to me and each other. I've programmed your first destination into your HUDs. You come back to me in one piece, gunny, and you bring your people with you.
Hoo, sir. Alright, troop. Let's roll!
We got a hoverbike! It still doesn't keep Su-Zaku off our backs, but it moves quicker, which increases the amount of distance we can cover before she attacks. Also, the bike will fit into subway tunnels. You'll want to use those wherever possible, since that's where the monsters are, which is where the gold is.
The subway entrances are spaced pretty evenly throughout the level, but they're not heavily interconnected. You'll have to dash from entrance to entrance as best you can.
(Your first destination is the city of Akiba. Akiba evacuated to a hidden location after the bomb hit. We agreed to use the library as a rally point just before they went dark. You'll find directions in there.)
(Hey, what's this beepy thing on the dashboard?)
(It means you need to haul ass, because Su-Zaku just found you!)
Ah, there you are! Come to me, my juicy mice!
(Trog's foot is down all way!)
Oh, the mice have wheels to run in! Hmm hmm hmm. How amusing.
That smug tone in her voice drives me nuts. How long are we gonna have to put up with her?
Hopefully not long. Alright, spread out and look for intel. I'm not really sure what we're looking for, but we'll know it when we see it.
Worst part of adventuring, right here
We've checked the entire first floor, Ell. Nothing.
And just how are you so sure?
Is Dewey decimal system. Secret towns in 700s.
...blocks to the north.
If this is the 700s, what's the 800s?
Spells of kill.
Wanna read dat book!
I'll just borrow this for a bit.
You mean steal.
It's a library, Elly. If we can't take the books outside, why is it even here?
It's really easy to miss this hidden pickup, because there's about 125 different shelves across both floors to examine. On top of that, your party is immediately taken the Akiba book when they walk upstairs. It's not like you can't just buy a Stone book for 5000 GP, but it's still free!
Stone is functionally equivalent to Death, except instead of relying on the Paralyze bit for immunity, it relies on (not surprisingly!) Stone. If Death doesn't do it, Stone probably will, and vice versa. It's handy to have both available, because monster HPs are such that Rez can't one-shot groups anymore. Stone immunity is somewhat more common than Paralyze, so we save Death for when the really bad stuff is going down.
(Late Edit: Thanks to Gabriel Pope for pointing out I've got things backwards. O-Stone is more rare than O-Paralyze, not less.)
Also, a word of advice. When the book says "14 squares east", it means starting from first tile your bike can drive on, not from the library itself. If you count it off as intended, you'll end up one square east of the subway entrance. Unfortunately, this means you'll have to be out in the open to find it...
Meals on wheels! Delightful.
...which means dealing with you-know-who. Anyway, it's just a short jaunt over and up, and then...
This must be the place.
Is certain? Not many people.
I don't know what else it could be.
What about Birdo up there?
The buildings are too close together for Su-Zaku to fit. That should give us ample opportunity to look around.
Treas—oh, no. Look at all the skeletons...
It seems the town of Akiba didn't make it.
Is awful. Looks like never knew what is hitting them.
I really hope the ROM's still here.
Indeed. It would be a shame if their deaths were in vain.
What did this, though? Su-Zaku can't come down here.
Trog is guessing that is.
Yeah, that'd do it.
There's monsters (mostly hydras), a few treasure chests, and not much else in here. Hydras deal respectable damage, but their main trait is O-Weapon, which makes it twice as lengthy (and twice as annoying) to kill them.
Hmm. Kinda small to be a sword!
That's because it's a combat knife. I've needed one for a while now. Nice serrated edge on it, too.
Less sword means less swing. Less swing mean Trog's hair safe. Is done with glow sword?
Yeah. We probably ought to sel—
Catcraws are an amusing failure of romanization you'll remember from Final Fantasy. They're agility-based and hit like a truck, which is why I'm breaking my loadout plans and giving it to Elly. Single-target guns are rare through this next part, and the available heavy ordinance doesn't have a lot of ammo. Whether or not I like it, we need some stab.
This must be it.
Is so small! Trog is not understanding how power fits.
Nor I, I'm afraid. This is beyond anything I've ever seen.
Let Socho worry about that. We need to get it back to him, pronto.
Oh no. That means..
'Fraid so. Ten hut, troop. Ready... steady now...
Wait for it, man! Wait for it!
Squad... mount up, prep, and run like hell
Well, that wasn't so bad. These bikes pick up some neat music, too!
Yes, but what is with saxophone?
I have no idea.
Sir! ROM secure.
Ace job, gunny. Knew you'd come through.
Your next target is the city of Ameyoko. We'll be flying blind here. What little comm equipment we have doesn't reach the other side of the city. I'm not sure there's even anything left of it.
It seems to be a recurring theme.
I'm uploading the coordinates to your bike. It should be fairly close to Akiba. Word of warning: No comm means you'll be running dark for this mission. I won't have ears on you, and your RADARs won't work. You keep your people underground as much as you can, gunny. You get pinned down by Su-Zaku this time, you ain't comin' back.
(Trog has been thinking.)
(Thought I smelled smoke back there. What's up?)
(Thinking of fist.)
(Have five fingers. Very strange. Why not four? Why not six?)
(I want to believe this is going somewhere, but...)
(Whatever it is, it'll have to wait. We're under attack!)
Aha! Is time test new theory, Trog believes.
Is different way attack.
What, you're going to hit them with your other fist?
Ha! That's it?
Is already dead.
Just not knowing.
Jesus flipping H, Trog! What did you do to it?!
Secret is clenching five fingers. Then, strike! Harder is better.
That doesn't explain anything!
Were you honestly expecting it to?
Yeah okay, you got me there.
Sooooo, remember when I said Punch gets better the more you train it? When you get down to its last usage, the damage skyrockets. I expected 100-150 on the last shot. I did not expect one of my characters to suddenly figure out how to punch through solid steel. (Though, in all fairness, I would've picked Trog as the one to do it.)
Now that we've run out our first set of Punch, we've officially engaged the Punch exploit. This means we now have 99 uses of a 300+ damage punch. If we had this back in Base World, it would've been game-shattering. With Elly and Rezen already hitting that hard through normal game mechanics, Trog finally gets to join them in the Effective Fighters club. It's technically an exploit, but since the damage is comparable and I've put in the hard work to train it without grinding, I'm going to call it even.
Of course, we don't want to waste all of it before endgame, so I'll be training X-Kick as well. I'm not sure if this'll work the same way; I suspect Punch only took because both sets were in my first two inventory slots. However, if X-Kick can also be exploited, I'm gonna make this face a whole bunch:
For the record, putting items or equipment in the newly-empty slot breaks the exploit, which more or less confirms it is an exploit. The code has removed text from the item window, but it hasn't actually removed/freed memory for the empty set of punch. The next time something's swapped in, it's overwritten, and everything goes back to normal. Strong work all around, gentlemen. Well done indeed.
Oh ew. This place smells like an open sewer.
Yeah. Let's get the board and get out of here before I puke. Excuse me, can you tell me...
What's with the lizards? Why is everyone in those stalls?
Remind Trog of cattle pen.
I have to agree. Something is not right here.
What's your deal, anyway?
Permission to speak to strangers!
Wow. It's been a while since I've seen freemen.
All men are free! Smell clean air!
Oh, I smell something, alright.
You probably don't understand. We didn't have a lot of options after the city fell. These lizards found us and wrangled us together. They haven't eaten us, and they drive off anyone who tries to mess with us. Su-Zaku stays away, so they must have cut some sort of deal with her.
Call a spade a spade. You guys are slaves.
One man's indentureship is another's protection. I'm happy to live in a stall if it means I'm not eaten by a phoenix. Besides, we still have some freedom. We're allowed to trade. We even keep some of the profits for ourselves!
Well, since you put it that way... Whatcha got?
Permission to show wares!
Have a look around, we all have different products to offer.
Now's not the time, Rez.
I'll give 'em to you for 5k a pair.
Oh em gee they're on sale!
Well, I'm not comfortable buying from this place. I'm going to look for the Board.
I'm not much of a shoe fanatic, myself. I'll accompany you.
Suit yourselves. Hey, while I'm at it, we found this bonkers-nuts sword thingy on our way up the tower. Do you know what it is?
Been fightin' a while, have you?
You an Esper?
Well... Way I reckon, girl, you have one choice—magic or the saw. Magic is... Well, nobody knows. But the saw? The saw is family.
You best be rememberin' that.
I sure will, Mr. Scary Pants.
There's a lot of good stuff for sale here—Death and Stone books, Catcraws, and Geta shoes. Geta shoes are basically pumped-up () Giant gloves, but they count as their own armor type. That means you can wear a helmet, gloves, armor, and shoes. We should probably buy a full armor loadout, but I opt to trade the Giant gloves for shoes instead, because we need the extra inventory space for emergency potions. (My humans always carry two Elixirs. Always. Don't judge me.)
I have no idea what's up with the lizards. Except for the one guy who offers the board, they refuse to speak to you. There's really more questions than answers here.
Yo. You got a board around here?
Yeah, I don't speak your language.
Great, now you're telling me to get out. Whatever.
I believe those were directions, not a dismissal. Follow me.
This is actually pretty tricky of the game. In order to get to the lizard with the board, you'll have to exit from the back of this stall and ride the town's north wall. No one tells you this, though I think someone in the first town alludes to it.
Greetings. Do you speak Basium?
Sure do. Whatcha need?
Ah, excellent! We're looking for a board for this ROM. Would you be willing to trade?
Sure. But, just between you and me, you're getting screwed on the deal.
Er, come again?
I don't know where you found her, but that's some damn good horseflesh. She's worth way more than this crummy board.
OPSEC, Elly! He's the only chance we have at the Board.
My apologies, sir. I assumed it was obvious she wouldn't be part of the deal.
Ehn, a reptile can dream. Tell you what, I've had this piece of junk forever. It doesn't do me any good. Here, take it.
Why, thank you!
Don't mention it. You keep an eye on that heifer, yeah? She's a fine specimen.
Finer than you'll ever know, sir.
If anything I've ever said to you sounded even a tiny bit like that, I can't apologize enough.
Barbarism is ugly in all races, my dear. You make honest efforts to correct yourself. As far as I'm concerned, you have nothing to apologize for.
And you get a shoe! And you get a shoe!
Is Trog's color!
Guys, this isn't a shopping trip. We need to get back underground before Su-Zaku spots us.
Everyone gets a shoe!
Hey, I'm serious! We can't get caught out in the open like—
Oh my, just standing there! Have you given up? We were just starting to have fun!
Get on the bikes! Get to the tunnels! Hurry!
No, she's blocked the tunnels! What now? Decide! Quickly! Quickly!
(Pull around, we'll flank her and get to another one!)
Yes, that's it! Flank her! It might work!
Hmm hmm hmm. So close!
(Elly, we're too far away! We'll never make it!)
(Don't worry, Rez, I've got a plan. Split up to confuse her! Dente, take Trog and Elly to the tunnel. I'll be right behind you!)
Again? Hmm hmm hmm. Why not! Try again!
I'm getting really sick of your smug, stupid face.
I'm entirely unsure why, but the Balkin is a fucking chaingun. (More than likely, it's a bad romanization of "Vulcan.") As you might expect, it shovels out group damage pretty impressively. The problem is, a lot of enemies in this area have O-Physical, which cuts its effectiveness in half. Also, you only get 20 shots. Still, it targets entire groups and is better than a bazooka.
Plus, it's a chaingun. Do I really have to justify it?
I do believe I've just grown tired of you.
Heh. Feeling's mutual.
Is leaving no friend behind!
Phew. Elly, what were you thinking?!
Worked, didn't it? Even though Trog almost blew it. The big lug.
Okay, just hold on a sec. I'll cure you.
I'll cure you! Just give me a minute!
Rezen, these wounds. They're... they're grave.
Dente, give me my Cure book! I just need a little time! I'll fix it!
Rez. Sweetie. It won't work, and you know it.
I'm sorry, Elly.
Don't be. Dente, you're in charge now. You get her to the top of that tower.
I can't hear you, soldier.
Atta boy. Trog, you keep Rezen and Dente safe.
...will never break vow.
Thanks. Rez? Where are you? Vision's going.
I'm... I'm right here, Elly.
Sing me a song, honey. I love hearing your voice so much.
S-Start at the beginning... finish at the end
Everything you'll tell them is true
Nothing is pretend, but when you long to come running back
Remember, this is now... that was then
Start another story, tell it as you go
Make a happy ending, or sad
Tell it how you know, just remember a day gone by... is never really gone
If your tale... goes... on
If your tale... goes...
Next Chapter: The Mechanics of War