Part 11: Day 5 - GameplayDay 5: Gameplay
Expanding Control. I think from now on I'll just append these to the end of story updates, as it's right after those and it really isn't gameplay, but this one can go here for posterity.
Music: neutral 3
We give Talow and Mizu the E.G.O equipment from Forsaken Murderer, and make sure that D.A.D. and Bishop have One Sin's weapon.
Orders from the top, everyone! I've been asked to try keeping you guys away from the Qliphoth Meltdowns today, so we'll be avoiding them until closing time.
Remember, I expect nothing less than perfection from the all-important Control team. Get to it!
This isn't even remotely my fault.
Did you ask her to change her way of doing things, after knowing full well her mental corruption was approaching unsafe levels?
...okay, maybe it's remotely my fault.
I will take care of things when the Abnormalities are under full deterrence again. Until then, simply try and finish the day.
DAY 5 CHALLENGE: NO MELTDOWNS
Every 5th day I plan on doing some kind of challenge day since there's otherwise not much else to do. Today's is simple: We cannot work any Abnormalities that have a meltdown on them. This means that every time our Qliphoth Gauge goes up, we're going to be losing energy-and if either 1.76 MHz or Forsaken Murderer gets tagged by one, we can't do anything to prevent them from instantly dropping their QC to 0.
The day starts by shuffling everyone in the mirror again. Working with tool Abnormalities doesn't advance the gauge, so this is effectively free. Unfortunately, Mizu and Talow are both dropped back to Fortitude 1, on a day where HP would actually be nice to have.
Talow has it particularly bad, but with both of them having suits with good Red defense, we should probably be fine.
After thinking for a moment, I settle on a simple enough strategy: We need 80 energy to pass the day, and every work matters. Our TETHs give 12 or 14 chances to get energy each work, and One Sin only gives a maximum of 10. The best option to get through this is to ignore One Sin entirely today, and focus on 1.76/Forsaken.
Mizu's Fortitude seems to be close to level 2. It's not worth wasting the LOB, so we'll put her to work with the Murderer to take advantage of it.
Please bear in mind that we are effectively working without a safety net today, Manager.
I know. Talow's Fortitude is also 1, so he should work with 1.76 MHz That feels about right. Make it so.
What brought that on?
Nothing in particular. It's just a trick I've heard about how E.G.O gear works. If you just trust its instincts it'll help steer you, even if you don't know how to use the weapon.
Alright, I'll keep it in mind.
We make it to 24/80 energy in our first two works, which isn't bad. The downside is that we're already halfway to our first meltdown.
Sending them back to work, the meltdown triggers and lands on Forsaken Murderer. The good news is that the timer won't start counting until Mizu is done with her work, and that these two works put us at 47/80.
The bad news
Music: First Trumpet
Forsaken Murderer is on the loose. When its QC hits 0, its head changes into a hammer and it crawls around the facility, hoping to beat anyone it sees to death. This also causes our very first warning to happen! I'll actually just let the manual explain this for me:
Each level comes complete with its own song. We'll probably hear all of them at some point. This is just that kind of game.
You said it was kept immobile at all times!
Yes, my policies ensure it never has a chance to leave its cell. If you change one tiny thing, though, the entire department could fall apart. That's why my Control team will not tolerate any failures.
Don't worry, Manager. I still appreciate the chance to test out this new way of working with Abnormalities! I won't disappoint you! Team, engage!
Clicking on a breaching Abnormality brings up this screen, where you can quickly see the Abnormality's attack type and resistances, the HP/SP levels of the Agents in its department, and by clicking on one you can have them go to suppress it.
We send everyone, of course.
Forsaken Murderer attacks by slamming its steel head into the ground, hitting anyone in its path.
D.A.D. is the first Agent on the scene. Unfortunately, they're also the worst Agent to show up-their weapon deals 0.8x damage due to being lower level, and they take 1.2x more damage because of their suit.
Okay. Just have to go with the flow, was it..?
About time someone else got here!
Are you okay?!
Been better. Guy hits like a train.
They hold off the enemy until Bishop arrives, but 3 hits was enough to cut off a third of their health. In the early game, the suppression menu is a good way to keep an eye on the health of all our Agents at once. With no healthbar for the enemy, all we can do is keep an eye on our life and run away when the Agents get too hurt.
I'm dying here, gotta back out!
Go, go! We'll handle it from here!
Mizu and Talow finally show up from the other end, and start clubbing the Murderer with their much stronger weapons. The fight doesn't last much longer after they get involved, and when its HP hits 0 the Abnormality vanishes and returns to its cell, leaving only a big red splotch on the floor where it was.
Woah that's some real zen stuff. Where'd you pick that up?
I heard it in an old position. Seems like it was good advice.
That must be why I'm good at fighting! I'm always going with the flow.
That's one way of putting it, I guess.
Music: neutral 2
Time to take stock. I snuck in one 1.76 work while the Murderer's meltdown was going, so after the -5 energy we're at 52/80. I queue up another two works on Forsaken/1.76
So close. If not for the first -5, we'd already have the option to end the day. As it is, we're about to hit another meltdown, which will be on...
Our favorite radio signal. This actually works out, since I wanted to show off what it did anyways, and it's hard to lower its QC to 0 any other way.
That aside, Manager, there would be no shame if you were to simply end the day now.
...No. My employee has decided to screw with me. I'm not backing off until it's clear which of us is the boss.
It's very clear that you're the boss, Manager! I'm just doing exactly what you've told me to.
Then there's no problem if things keep going until I'm satisfied, right?
None at all, sir!
When the QC hits 0, 1.76 MHZ doesn't actually break out. Instead, it fills the nearest hallway with some static that deals White damage every few seconds to everyone in it.
Does anyone else hear that?
Ahh hell. D.A.D., can you take care of the next couple works with ol' radiohead? My suit's weak to White.
Every so often, it spreads to another hallway. It will never appear in main rooms, but if you don't address it
It'll eventually cover everything else. The key to getting rid of it the static is getting its QC back up to maximum. Making QCs go up is rare among Abnormalities, and whenever it's possible the Abnormality's management tips mention how to do that.
Like so. Anyways, with their suit being the strongest against W damage D.A.D. is basically built for this. Their first work is a good and brings the QC back up to 1. Their second work is a perfect, and we hit 3. After the next work...
Oh good, that buzzing stopped. It was getting annoying.
The static all clears immediately upon getting the QC back to 4. Amusingly, while the Forsaken Murderer didn't manage to kill anyone during his rampage it appears that 1.76 MHz managed to send everyone in the facility aside the agents into a panic, making them all kill themselves.
Radio waves, man. They'll mess you up.
With our radio back under control 1 work before we'd hit our next meltdown, I do some mental math. The next meltdown will remove 15 energy per failure, and with 2 of them, we'll be getting hit for -30. We should be able to make that up, so I queue up another work for Mizu on Forsaken Murderer.
This isn't a terrible result, since we only have to deal with Forsaken Murderer one more time. I have to make sure not to do any work while the meltdown timers are draining, or else I'll just lose the energy-we can't go over the max, no matter what.
Music: First Trumpet
It broke out again. Should we do a pincer maneuver like last time?
It didn't seem all that strong. What about if we just all jumped it at once and beat it up?
While there are a lot of tactics available when suppressing Abnormalities, the most satisfying is probably the deathball. It's exactly what it sounds like: We grab all our Agents and send them at the Abnormality all at once.
Pictured: everyone beating up on Forsaken Murderer in the exact hallway where most of the dead clerks wound up. Somehow D.A.D. managed to sneak behind the thing.
During the entire fight I'm carefully watching Mizu and Talow's health points. I'd rather not have them die. With them taking 2-3 damage a hit, I decide to have Talow back off after the next attack from Murderer.
It never comes, though, as the Abnormality is suppressed about 2 seconds after this shot was taken.
Music: neutral 3
They keep anything going on in their facilities on a tight leash, so their PR front was good, as far as the Wings go. That's why it was so confusing when someone asked me to look into them. But now, I think I get it. This place
What're you jabbering on about?
Nothing important. Just figuring out what kind of company this is.
The kind that gives paid time only 60 days after hire. Nothin' else matters.
I send Mizu in for one more work and push us over into the next meltdown, which hits Forsaken Murderer and the Mirror. This lets me sneak in one more work from Talow on 1.76 MHz.
These two meltdowns would lower our energy output by a total of 40. We could probably barely make that up, but it would take four works, and we have three left. The next set would then lower us by an additional 50. At that point, we'd be playing catch up forever. Am I wrong?
That's the situation, Manager.
In eleven seconds, the decision will no longer be in your hands.
Malkuth, what would you do here?
Isn't it obvious, manager? If I needed 40 energy in three works, I'd just work the Murderer 3 more times! If it's perfect every time, that's 42 energy!
And if it isn't, everyone under you dies.
The weak have no place on this team.
Four seconds, Manager.
Pack it in, everyone! The manager's all done with his experiment! Time to clean up.
No. Those four are getting the rest of the day off. You're cleaning up the bodies by yourself.
...Yes, Manager! You can entrust me with this task, as well!
Manager, I know you may think you mean well, but it is a poor idea to poke at things you do not comprehend. Please refrain from making any such changes in the future.
I'll think about it.
I'll admit I didn't think that I'd have to end the day up quite as early as I did, but the one extra work Talow did during the last meltdown wound up meaning I wouldn't be able to hit the goal without scrambling and relying on some favorable meltdown placements. I figured it was better to finish while I was ahead.
That said, we get to pick a new Abnormality now!
Music: never frozen bottom flows
O-04-100: The more blood it has, the more beautiful it is.
O-01-92: It's a good day! Are you still shy today?
F-02-44: However, the curse continues eternally, never broken.
That's three times in a row.
I do not want you, -44, I do not want to see your lore. I do not like your instant kills, I do not like the memory drills. I do not want your E.G.O gear, I do not want you coming here, I do not want you, -44, please do not show up anymore.
Setting that aside, -100 is a really finicky Abnormality that's bad for training, bad for gear, and is a giant pain in the butt to handle. Its E.G.O set is very pretty, but that's all it has going for it. Our last contestant, -92, is also a very meh Abnormality. Like the other two, it cannot breach and also has a somewhat annoying gimmick. However, it can be used as a sort-of-okay trainer in any stat and its weapon fills a couple of niches that I've been nervous about going without.
It's mostly by default, but -92 takes this round.
Next time, on Lobotomy Corporation: We get HR management tips from a probably-homicidal AI.