Part 109: Day 44 - GameplayDay 44: Gameplay
Music: neutral 1
You're not supposed to be here yet! If Angela finds out
It's okay! I'm invisible to AIs, no matter how perfect!
Manager, you suddenly seemed distressed, and now you are whispering to yourself. Is everything alright?
Toldja so. SUPER handy for getting snacks from the executive lounge after hours.
No, it's nothing. Let's just continue onward with the briefing. Wait, can't the Sephirot see you?
Brains in robot thingies. Completely different.
An Arbiter awakens I remember that they're dangerous, and one destroyed the facility. Does anyone have any specifics?
Oh! Miss Binah used to be an Arbiter forever ago. She told me that once.
What's she doing on this call?!
I needed someone to run the department while Binah's out. It should just be for the morning.
There's no way we can trust someone like-
Hey, let's all focus on the task at hand~
Gebura, you fought her. Do you remember anything?
Arbiters they're tough. They've got access to a number of Singularities that they use as weapons. But more than that, they don't fight fair. I'm sure I don't need to remind you what happened when she descended on our facility years ago.
But she's not as strong as you. Right?
Obviously. She fights more like you would, though. Keep an eye out for tricks.
Sounds good. Anything else before we get things under way?
I believe there's no other urgent business at this time, A.
There is one thing. Tenebrais got a Gift yesterday, and it's screwed things up.
Really? Hold on, I'll look into it.
Tenebrais got Yin's gift, and it knocked her below the 110 all stats threshold to use her favorite E.G.O gear. I give her Mizu's Paradise Lost equipment, but that leaves the question of who to put Apocalypse Bird on.
Perfect. Let's get this knocked out and go home, everybody.
Music: Second Trumpet
NOW it's time to work?
Yeah. You gave me a heart attack when you showed up early like that.
Well, that's me. Gotta be the first to show up, otherwise it's no good. I don't like that first spot being stolen from me.
Gotta say, that mask looks way creepier up close...
I really like it! It's been a month and it hasn't lost that delicious smell. It's also tasty.
Like with Gebura, the day begins and our camera is dragged over to Extraction immediately.
It's been some time since I've last had a form like this... Manager. Allow me to make one thing clear.
That'd be a first.
I never have any problems understanding her.
I'm not one of those weak-willed beings who needs your help. All I require is that you stop me with your own power. Until then, I shall crush you time and again until you break beneath the weight of your aspirations.
You know it's the employees who'd be doing most of the fighting, right?
I shall consider those whom you order as mere appendages. I shall cleave them all with time.
I never thought you'd be the Sephirah who wouldn't make me jump through hoops.
The first thing Binah does after the camera focuses on her is raise her hand and send a ripple effect over the screen.
Then as so many times before, I shall play my favorite music. I wonder how you'll react today? Don't disappoint me.
Oh hey, that's just a rearranged version of that thingy from before!
What are you talking about?
The stuff I see when I shut my eyes really tight! It's coming from in my own head so it's probably me, since there's no cuties nearby to shove stuff in there and try thinking for me.
Has anyone ever told you you're kind of terrifying?
Do you have time to be talking to that child, manager?
All Phases posted:
Now can you stop me on your own two feet, with your own power?
Go ahead and stop me without her help this time.
Ah, this brings me back to my senses.
It seems this body of mine can also use these powers. Interesting, yet tenuous.
Phase 1 posted:
This body simply has too many limits.
If only I knew what power this place held, we could have acquired it for us to use.
Youre being reckless yet again, deceiving the Head and planning such bold actions.
You haven't even done anything yet.
Always so reckless... Your high-mindedness will only put you off-balance.
Manager, I can feel it the cuties are calling! They want our attention!
What? What are you talking about-
Binah's first wave does a couple of things. The first is that it spawns 6 meltdowns of two different types across the facility, for a total of 12. The first, Meltdown of Gold, are basically completely normal meltdowns aside from their yellow highlights. The gray ones are called Meltdown of Dark Fog instead. These apply a -10% penalty to the work rate of the Abnormality inside, and have a shorter timer than normal meltdowns-45 seconds instead of 60 seconds-so we need to react at least a little quicker to them.
Whatever. We can handle those as we go. In the meanwhile let's send some agents to see what Binah's capable of.
Why are they half dead?!
Maybe the flash did that too?
Binah, it's been literally ten seconds, what the hell?!
I simply gave you a normal greeting.
For the record, it's a testament to our facility's toughness that everyone survived Binah's first attack. My first time playing through the game, this wave killed around five Agents by itself. Unlike Gebura, Binah doesn't have any intention of letting us gain our footing.
Oh right, and all of her resistances are 0.1x. All of this information comes rushing at us during the first few seconds of the fight, with her first attack being easily missable if we just watch her for a second after she raises her hand. All of this plays into the theme of this fight: managing chaos. While Hokma was a test of stopping fires before they could start, Binah douses the entire facility with gasoline, tosses a match, and says "good luck."
Alright, let's just get to work on these things and see what happens.
I suppose you wouldn't have made it this far without at least that much resolve.
Hey manager, she's about to do a thingy!
Who's engaging her?
Have them get out of there.
There's two things of note here. One of them is the black dots. When we work the special meltdowns, dots fly out of them and into Binah-needless to say, we want to work all of the Meltdowns if we want to get anywhere. The other is that she has combat quotes like Gebura did. This one in particular means everyone needs to get out of the room or behind her unless we want them to die. Her hand glows in the color of one of the four damage types and she raises it up in the air like before.
Then she unleashes a bunch of slashes in front of herself. We'll cover the specifics later, but this move will generally murder anyone standing in a room in front of Binah.
Her quote here also means that we've cleared all of her Dark Fog meltdowns. This temporarily lowers her resistances to 2.0x, then after a short time they'll settle at 0.8x-effectively, we have to work these if we want to damage her.
Zeta21 and Tenebrais will be set to attack her during this time, since after an attack she has a cooldown of ~15 seconds before she'll be able to launch another.
The sandman? What's that mean?
Huh. Now's our chance!
This quote comes when we clear her Gold meltdowns, and means she won't be moving for a short while. This opens her up to attack without having to worry about dodging her attacks in return.
Stacking these two temporary debuffs is the best way to pile damage on.
That lifebar isn't going down as much as I'd like
It's Binah, after all. She's gotta be tough! All of us Extraction-types are.
Tough, insane, not really sure which one you guys qualify as more.
It's definitely toughness! If I wasn't super tough I probably would have stopped moving like the others always do. Instead, I survive. And... survive. So I'm always looking at the cuties, because they might be the only thing tougher than me. No matter how much you kill them, they don't die. It's a big super mystery!
Well, you can't really kill a concept-that's probably where they gain that power from.
Oh yeah, I heard about that I wasn't really paying attention that time, though.
I really don't get how you're the best in the facility at handling new Abnormalities.
The cuties? I greet the new ones because they're coming home. I've known them all since forever.
This is as much of her lifebar as Zeta21, Tenebrais, and Credentia could shave off by themselves. I'd ideally burn her down further but it's dangerous to pull everyone off of what they're doing.
Ah There we are. I have awoken at an interesting moment. Surely you were aware of my interest in this child?
That's-Hey! You're trying to distract me with something weird so I screw up the fight, aren't you?
Perceptive. Though since I need none of your sophistry and platitudes, I did not think it would be wrong to show you another interesting sight.
This is Binah's other main attack, a pillar which she fires off after a short time. It travels in a straight line, and unlike her slash attack will go through the entire facility to hit anyone in its way. It's much less powerful than the slashes, but ideally she fires it into as small an area as possible. Like the slash, this pillar can come in any of the 4 damage types.
Meanwhile, Scarecrow's breached. Thanks to Medea we can largely ignore it.
Do you remember our second conversation?
You drove a man insane and made him pass out. It left an impression.
The merest glimpse into the Well is enough to render someone incapable of speaking of its wonders. The mind cannot fathom it. Even while my body is mechanical, it tortures and rips at my soul whenever I see it.
What are you getting at..?
As Binah walks through the facility, whenever she passes by the door of a containment cell she'll leave behind an effect on it. I've circled it in the picture above.
Countless managers before you, there was a fresh-faced employee who had somehow survived long enough to be employed in the Extraction Team.
Oh! I know this story! It's really good.
What's she up to...
-Wait, this is just a distraction! I don't care about your stupid story!
This effect is from her spawning a normal meltdown on whatever cell it is she's just walked past.
Am I not providing you precisely what you've asked for? You were able to manage the facility and communicate with the others at the same time. Do you lack the talent to do so now that you are being asked to speak without worrying about the words you use?
...Fine. I can tune you out when I need to.
Moving BICEPS in to work with La Luna when Binah spawns a meltdown on her provokes another attempt to slash everyone-luckily, since Tenebrais, Credentia, and Zeta21 are all behind her we can just ignore it.
That child was fascinated by Abnormalities, and the idea of speaking with them and having them respond filled her with wonder. She joined the Extraction Team since she wished to learn everything about them. Such employees never last long, the crushing nature of our work erodes the soul, and a thirst for knowledge will break the mind. Such is the setting you have designed for your play.
It's the feel-good romp of the year! Except most people say it doesn't really feel that good?
The pause she takes when attacking turns out to be very useful to our attempts to whittle her down.
Keep talking. You're nearly out of time.
The work we do requires the employees keep their eyes shut and simply follow orders. They must never look within the Well. To try and comprehend it is to go mad.
And let me guess, this agent peeked, went crazy, and died.
They beheld the Well's waters as I drew with the Bucket. They could not stop staring. I could have bid them to stop, but the idea of observing yet another tragedy in the endless mountain of corpses you have made was the more appealing option.
Okay, so they did something else insane. Got it.
That child was an unassuming employee. Left alone as her loved ones were swept away in the Night of the Backstreets, taken or slain as she hid. Such a tragedy befits those of this facility. There was no reason to expect anything, aside from the collapse of that child's boundary. And collapse it did.
Shame that you're out of time. You'll have to tell me the rest later.
But there are those who can survive through the most improbable circumstances.
Oh hell-she's another multi-phase fight, like The Red Mist!
Phase 2 posted:
If you cannot defeat me, you shall be crushed by the Head and its ruthless Claws yet again.
Even if you were to break this cycle, it would not last long.
You cannot escape the Head.
What do you think you will accomplish on your own, even after breaking out of this prison?
Ohmigosh! I think she's gonna do the thing again!
At the beginning of her second phase, Binah sends another wave throughout the entire facility. When she does this, her resistances revert to 0.1x.
These Abnormalities can hear the overture. They would like to partake in the concerto. Who am I to deny them?
Not this shit again!
This time, we can pause and see what harmed our Agents before.
The ground is bubbling
Sniff sniff... Smells dangerous!
We want to make sure that our Agents aren't standing on these bubbling points. They spawn alongside the meltdowns, and after a short time
Yep! Definitely dangerous!
That explains it.
The most important thing about this attack? Multiple spikes can spawn in the same location-if an Agent gets hit by 2-3 of them then they're going to be really hurting. But that's not all!
In phase 2 she adds a new type of meltdown, the Meltdown of Waves! This one has a 60 second timer and a -5% penalty, and 6 of them spawn alongside 6 of each other type-that makes 18 Meltdowns being spawned across the facility at once. With all of our departments built out, we have a total of 36 possible targets (her meltdown powers do not effect Extraction as it's currently being suppressed). That means she's literally tossed a meltdown on half the Abnormalities in the building. But wait, there's more!
These black waves are added to the mix as well. They slowly travel along the room they spawn in from one side to the other, dealing Black damage to anything they touch as they travel. When they hit the end, they move somewhere else. We have to clear all of the Meltdowns of Waves in order to make them disappear-otherwise they're invincible.
I see so you've been using facility-wide attacks as you're able while trying to keep the focus on you with that story. Unfortunately for you, you can only use that attack when you change phases.
I doubt sincerely that you have seen through the whole of my plan. Still, simply speaking to you is unlikely to stop you. Shall I continue my story?
Oh! Mr. Mountain is breaking out.
Another downside of Binah's number of widespread attacks is that any Abnormalities who lose QC due to deaths will be very hard to keep from breaching. With our facility having two of them, that's another layer of chaos to add to the mix.
No objections if I call the Rabbit Team, right?
If I tried to limit such a technique, you would be able to cling to the hope that you only lost because you could not try your best. Your despair will be much more complete should you call them.
We're in full damage control mode now. I drop the Rabbits in Extraction and leave it to them-I do not want Mountain to get out. Even if I were to try using it against Binah, she's immune to damage from Abnormalities. That also means we can't abuse the Shelter to get past her, either.
We queue up works and get all set for another round of trying to deal with Binah.
An Arbiter?! Listen you, the contract specifically stipulates-
It's not really an Arbiter anymore, and I only want you to take out that Mountain in Extraction anyways.
Good enough for me. Let's graze, boys!
They do the job so quickly that they're finished before I could get footage of them shooting it. Mountain is pretty weak until it eats some corpses.
You're all set! Good luck, Manager!
Now, where was I? Ah yes, that child's boundary. It collapsed, but she was functional. Unquestionably broken... but no matter how many times she was tested, her mental corruption level was at 79%. Barely sane. A shell which could scarcely be called a person, acting the part of an employee.
She's the best at acting.
I think I'm starting to see where this is going. So, then what?
Ah it's time to sleep.
I see. Then everyone! Attack her with all you've got!
I think you will find that quite impossible. Goodnight.
Where is she?!
Uh in the doorway?
As it turns out, Binah will fall asleep in the exact spot where she's standing when her stun phase is triggered-this can include transitions, which means our Agents aren't able to attack her at all. This is an entirely wasted opportunity to pile on the hits. Binah!!
Instead I focus my attention up here. Since the Justita hits all targets within an area, we can't actually have Medea engage Scarecrow without risking her getting chomped by a tiny red bird.
Hey, Mizu. That girl in the story That's you, isn't it?
Hm? Oh, probably.
You can't say for sure?
Luckily, Carlos is nearby-and Spore only targets a single enemy. He'll be able to attack with near impunity.
Hmm Nope! I just know what I know~
Then what do you know?
Cuties, mostly. All sortsa things about cuties. They love me, and I love them, so we'll all get along great forever and ever~
And where do you know that from?
From the other times I met them, silly! When I see one, I remember times we've met. Times we fought. Times we talked. Even the times I died. All these cuties are so very charming!
How do you remember times that you died?
Iunno. With my brain?
I thought you said you wouldn't be getting distracted, Manager.
Oh, you're awake?
I roused from my slumber a short time ago. I simply removed some problems before speaking.
Unfortunately for us I focused too hard on handling the scarecrow situation, resulting in Binah murdering two Agents.
Taking stock, it looks like she did the Black slash attack-Zeta21 and Tenebrais were the only two on her that survived it. I toss some bullets on them to try and heal them up.
As for BICEPS, he survived the initial shot but the fear damage from two equal-level Agents dying drained 20% SP on top of that, panicking him. We throw some White damage dealers at him for now.
Cheap trick, Binah.
It was you who said that you were prepared for it. Perhaps you found the story far more interesting than you thought?
This pillar is a problem. Not because it'll hurt my agents-Tenebras and Zeta21 can tank it easily.
It has a secondary effect-If it passes over the door or containment cell of any Abnormality, that Abnormality immediately starts a normal Meltdown. This means I have a problem: Woodsman is melting down, and Dimi is dead. This meltdown on the Woodsman can be worked, but it'll drop its QC to 0. If I ignore it, it'll drop to 0 anyways. That means if this cell gets hit during her next phase, I'll have to sacrifice an Agent to work it. That's really not ideal.
Oh, and La Luna is melting down again, with Big Bird on the prowl after all the deaths.
Setting that aside, how much of it is true?
I wonder..? Now, where was I? That child's mind collapsed, but she continued to function. Eventually she died, as would be expected in such a state. As is the way of this place she was eventually brought back, good as new. But something odd happened: bit by bit her mind degraded on its own, until her actions were indistinguishable from before. Gazing for so long into the Well of humanity had caused it to look back at her. By the second time we met, some managers later, she had become a creature indistinguishable from one of the Abnormalities themselves.
Is that really possible..?
Don't look at me. How should I know?
Meanwhile, damage control time. I opt to prepare for the next phase by putting the upper layer into my favorite elevator, and the remainder of the lower layer over to the left hand side in a second elevator. While it's difficult to blitz Binah down in phases 1 and 2, her next phase gives us a little wiggle room we can use to try and beat her directly if we play it right. We should be able to handle the Woodsman problem by ignoring it, and then preparing to just dodge the final set of meltdowns.
Moreover, La Luna can only target 1 person at a time with her favorite attack so dogpiling her will solve that problem, and since Big Bird is slow, we should be able to avoid any major complications. This isn't a perfect plan, but it'll do.
And with BICEPS back to normal, we send him to join the upper elevator as well.
I gave that child the same instructions as I always do when drawing from the Well with the Bucket. Those who disobey and open their eyes make it clear soon enough, so I thought nothing of her following them perfectly.
You're kind of kicking my ass already, do you still have to keep this up?
Do you have to keep trying to plot behind the Head's back in order to bring about a pointless revolution? Simply acting according to one's conviction is normally applauded in this place.
...Do whatever you want.
By chance, I noticed one day that the child had looked up to follow one particularly violent response before I had told her of it. I asked her why she had disregarded my order. Her response was something intriguing. She had 'forgotten to blink.'
It's really hard to remember sometimes! And it's like, do I do it with one eye, or both eyes, or one eye and then the other eye, and how long am I supposed to do it for? There's all these rules and it's hard to remember them all! And then someone mentions winking and don't even get me started on winking!
That child as we knew her is gone, only able to grasp at the straws of her own sanity long enough to slip once more into the Well. What she has become is something else, an expression of some primal need of the Well in a way distinct from the Abnormalities. And so she may gaze into its depths, for she knows the path on which she treads.
And we're letting something like that just continue to be reborn forever?
Of course. An assistant who is able to see and react without orders is more valuable to my work than any number of normal employees. A pity, then, that whatever manner in which she broke has never been replicated. One cannot predict how a temple shall collapse upon itself, but it rarely allows shelter afterwards.
So that's your story, huh?
I guess? I just wanna smooch cuties! Who cares about the rest of it?
Then... why are you telling me this?
If you must know
I was stalling for time.
Ooh, that wave's coming again!
You can do that more than once?!
Assuming I could not call upon the Abnormalities again was your own error, Manager. Carmen may be their mother, but whose face is the first they see within this place?
Around 60 seconds after all of the Meltdowns have either been worked or had their timer expire, Binah will resummon her special meltdowns by repeating her opening attack. I'd thought I had more time.
I pull back to check on the locations of the meltdowns, but I forget to pause. To review:
-Spikes can show up under any Agent in the facility.
-Multiple spikes can show up in the same place.
-Watching an Agent of the same level die or panic deals 10% SP damage through fear.
-Almost everyone in the facility is in two very cramped spots.
As a result, Binah annihilates our facility in one move. On top of that, her defenses have returned to 0.1x.
From what I've observed, this is the part where you run.
...Yeeah. I don't think this is salvageable anymore.
The weak crumble in the face of the strong. Such it is.
I did underestimate you. Can't claim otherwise.
Don't worry, Manager! You'll win next time. Or everyone will die. Either way, I'll be right here!
That's not as comforting as you'd think, Mizu, but thank you.
When Binah makes it to the center of Central's main room, she pauses for a second. This means that it was her destination. How her pathing AI works is actually fairly simple: she picks a random department, and moves for its main room. Once she gets there, she pauses for a moment before selecting another main room and going there. While the day's over, I let her wander around for a while longer just to show off a couple more things.
The first thing is that dark fog on Zeta21 and Binah. Until we clear the Meltdowns of Dark Fog, that fog will debuff every Agent in the same room as her, giving them -15 to Move Speed and Attack Speed. The second thing is the green sparkle effect on her. If we don't handle the Meltdowns of Gold, then she gets a regeneration effect that will heal her by 1 HP/second for the next 60 seconds.
Binah really wants us to engage with her mechanics.
That's about all the information I'll be getting from her. Let's get out of here before we find out what happens if WhiteNight breaches with you in my office.
Oh yeah, that'd be super fun. I get to grow wings!
You already have wings.
Retry count 15
Confession time, I knew going in that I would probably lose. Binah is the Core Suppression that I'm the worst at. The sheer amount of chaos she brings to the table is enough to throw me off of my game, and I'm at my weakest when I'm having to react to things on the fly. Because of that I've just never been that great at fighting her. Still, I wanted to try it the "normal" way once in order to give her a chance to show off. Fights against Binah tend to be quick one way or the other, since if we don't kill her quickly she will take us all out-as you've seen, two mistakes was enough to wipe out the entire facility.
Music: neutral 2
So that's an Arbiter
Her power has degraded since back then, much the same as Gebura's.
That's not really much comfort. I need to think of a plan.
The problem's that she fights super dirty, isn't it? Why not just fight dirtier?
Huh. That's actually an unexpectedly good idea. Thanks.
Who are you speaking to, Manager?
Er-myself, that's all. I just need to run a few numbers.
...Of course, sir.
Next time, on Lobotomy Corporation: Binah continues trying to kill us because she's an AI and this is a video game.