The Let's Play Archive

Lobotomy Corporation

by TeeQueue

Part 204: BCP 33 - Alriune + The Snow Queen

X-394 is a big facility, full of mysterious creatures known as Abnormalities. Many of these Abnormalities can do very bad things if they're handled improperly, and it's vitally important that our agents know just what may happen if they're careless. What's a manager to do?

Episode 33: Alriune + The Snow Queen

Music: trailer..?

Hi! I'm Paul! Just your everyday plucky employee of Lobotomy Cobotomy, here today to… uh…

Oh, Paul. You're usually more professional than this. We're talking about Alriune today, right?

Y-yeah. That's what we're doing, Miss Hod… It's just that you look a little, um. Exploded.

Oh, that? No, no, there's nothing to worry about, Paul. We're just making a training video today-like we always do. I'm always so helpful, doing this and that for everyone!

Oh, um… Alright... then… Let's give it a shot, I guess!

There's no need for guessing! Let's all do our best today! Lights, camera, action!!

Alriune is a WAW-level Abnormality which takes the form of a porcelain doll with flowers growing from it.

Oh, I had one of those growing up! Maybe this won't be so bad.

Any work with Alriune must be done with an eye on getting a Normal work result. On either a Good or a Bad, the Alriune will be released-causing significant dangers for whichever one of our ungrateful agents was too good to listen to the very careful and detailed training plan I prepared for all of you. On top of that-

Uh, Miss Hod? I think the video feed's being covered by your… angst?

Oh! I'm sorry, I must have gotten a little off topic. Now, where was I~?

On a Good or Bad result, Alriune will breach. While I know that none of you pay attention to the things I say, please try to avoid situations like this one, okay?

I pay attention to what you say, Miss H-

Just like you paid attention when I said it was a ZAYIN Abnormality. I haven't forgotten, Paul.

That was-

Just read your lines like a good boy! I've had to work so hard to write them since Malkuth broke all those days ago!

I thought she was always broken...

Well? Your line?

Eheh… We'll all work hard to make sure nothing bad happens! But since it's too late now, let's see what Alriune does when it breaches!

That's a great idea, Paul!

Upon breaching, Alriune will appear in a random hallway, and spend time there. As it does, three petals will grow over its back, like a tail.

What happens when they all grow in?

That depends entirely on the state of the corridor. If there are no employees within it, nothing.

Alriune simply teleports harmlessly somewhere else, and repeats the process.

Flashstepping flowers! That doesn't seem so bad.

Oh, Paul. Paul, Paul, Paul. I knew you were a bit slow, but you're overlooking an obvious thing here.

Good thing we have the great and mighty Miss Hod to point it out, right? Everything would definitely be better if we were to just listen to you!

Exactly. If an employee is in the same corridor during the teleport, there's a reaction.

As you can see, agents who decided they knew better than to listen in training and want to stay in there to see 'how bad the cutie could possibly be' wind up taking significant White damage.

Wowsers! That's a lot of hurt! But since it's White damage, that means our agents will only be-

Panicked? Why, you'd think so.

I-I was just saying that!

You took too long.

Well, maybe if you weren't releasing that sedative, I could-

Oh dear! This training video might need one more ungrateful, self-obsessed diva of an extra to show off Alriune's ability! Or maybe you'd prefer a trip to We Can Change Anything, since there's something you're finding wrong with my direction? I'm sure it can fix anything!

No problems here, ma'am!

As I was saying, any employee who would panic from this attack is instead killed, as flowers sprout from their bodies. A fitting end for those people who couldn't be bothered to listen through a simple training exercise, or participate in standard therapy just to deal with their problems-and the only ones who did sit through it only did so for the drugs, the manipulative little-

Um… are you okay, Miss Hod? You don't seem so good.

I'm fine! I'm fine… Tiffany… Tiffany, you should have just let me help you! I'm not self-satisfied! I'm not smug! I'm just trying to help everyone! I'm a good person! A good person!!

Y-yes'm! You're a good person! Um, and that covers Alriune, right?

...Ah! Oh, yes. Alriune will continue teleporting until suppressed. Simply keep its rules in mind and there's nothing else to worry about. While frustrating to deal with, it's a simple Abnormality to understand.

I see, I see! Very insightful as always, Miss Hod! And wowsers, look at the time! Well, that's all we have for you today. Thanks for joining us! And remember, knowledge is just-

Oh, no. We have much more pain to observe.

I'm sorry?

There's so much more to do! We're nowhere near through with our filming day!

I think this is enough…

You think wrong. The purpose of training is to make sure that you don't think the wrong things. So we need more training, until you can't think of anything wrong! And I know just the thing!

Umm… okay?!

The Snow Queen is a HE-level Abnormality which takes the form of a witch made of ice.

Sounds c-cool, Miss Hod.

While she lacks a Qliphoth Counter, she does have a special ability which can activate on a Bad or Normal work result. Paul.

Ah! Y-yes, I'll demonstrate. But the sedative…

Since she deals White damage, I'll be more than happy to have your fellow agents beat the sanity back into you, even if you screw it up a hundred times!

Yes… Miss Hod.

Ouchies! I got poked through by something!

That's a shard from The Snow Queen, meaning that you've received her first kiss.

Like that thing Queen of Hatred does?

Not at all like that. You'd know that if you ever read the training manuals I spent such painstaking hours making for you, of course-but it's fine! I'm a good person so I'll let you learn hands on. The first kiss is merely cosmetic. A second failure, however, will give a second kiss!

Yowie wowie! I'm a popsicle, Miss Hod!

Yes! The second kiss traps the agent inside a frozen hell, where they can't escape. They can't escape… Won't ever escape. There's no escape from them there, alone, with their thoughts, realizing that they're the worst-that nothing will ever undo their crimes. It's hellish, isn't it? A true hell just for the agents of Lobotomy Corporation!… Yes?

Luckily for them-unlike some of us, they can get out! The third kiss is the lethal one, and that isn't administered until the end of the day.

Then how do I get out?

We send in some help, of course!

The next person sent to work with the Abnormality is given a rose sword, to use to try and rescue their fellow agent.

Wowsers! You really sent Miss Medea to come save me? She's a Training team legend!

Don't be silly. This is stock footage. I had someone else go bail you out. Since you don't listen, it can't be helped if you die, right? Right?!

Once inside, the agent and the Queen have a duel!

Miss Hod, your thoughts are doing the thing again…

The duel's outcome is unrelated to the work type selected, and the only thing that matters is the agent's Fortitude level. At Level 5, the rescuing agent cannot possibly fail, but below that the odds range from 10% to 80%. Should the agent fail, both die.

Th-thank goodness that Nea has Level 5 Fortitude, then, huh?

Once the work is done, if successful, both agents can leave-and they get a special gift to commemorate the occasion.

Hey! My cheek's all icy now!

This special E.G.O Gift provides the agent with +6 HP and SP. Since it's a guaranteed gift for winning the duel, it's worth putting agents at risk so long as you follow the guidelines that we've set forth. Tiffany… Tiffany, you knew you weren't supposed to take that much Enkephalin. Why would you take so much? Why did you kill yourself?! Tiffany…!

Um… so are we done now?

...No. No we can't stop. Not yet. The Snow Queen has one more undocumented feature.

For it, we'll need to use Elodie. Tiffany's old friend. They talked on my team-plenty. I bet about how to get more Enkephalin out of old Hod… even though she's trying to do her very best to make sure that everyone is alright, caring for each of them like none of the other Sephirot ever would!…! Miss Hod…?

But it's fine! I can demonstrate this-the unusual effect of an agent with the Feather of Honor suit working in The Snow Queen's cell!

She… Just burned up...

Isn't it interesting? The Feather suit realizes the temperature has dropped, and tries to turn up its heat to compensate… but that's too much for any agent to take, so it just burns them alive instead! Cooked from the inside out! This was in the training materials I passed out in that meeting about the Firebird-but nobody came to that one, so of course no one would know about it. So we'll teach everyone through pain and observation. Pain and observation.

Um… Miss Hod… I really think you should take a moment to breathe.

But why? What purpose is there in that? I haven't done anything wrong. Tiffany died-she abused my kindness and she died. And Elodie was her friend, of course she was abusing it too. They both abused it, so they deserve this.

Really Miss Hod, you sh-should take a moment to-

And what did I do? I sent Tiffany her old friend! Now they can both talk to each other, wherever they are! Even though they both betrayed my trust, even though they got my counseling cancelled, I'm only thinking about them. I'm a good person! No matter what happens, I'm a good person!

M-Miss Hod..!

I'm a good person! Won't someone please recognize that?! Please, look at me! Look at all the good I've done, all the good I'm doing! Rely on me more! Put all your faith in me! And would it kill you to thank me while you're at it?! Every one of you is ungrateful! You don't deserve my kindness, and here I am providing it for you all every day, because I'm a good person!

Manager, please... help! I-I don't know what to do!

Everyone should praise and be thankful for me! Because I'm a good person!!!

Tch, I suppose you couldn't cut it after all.

Manager?! What do you mean?! I've done nothing wrong-! I'm..!

Nothing more than a broken machine. We've observed enough pain for the day, thank you.

Music: Aspire

Good evening, future Managers. I've… made a grave miscalculation. Throughout nearly four months of work, day after day, I've managed to put together a near-complete library of every Abnormality in the entire facility. However, with this latest twist… it's become clear that I cannot simply allow the present Hod to take the stage any longer. I've made a terrible mistake.

...For the sake of those who don't wish to listen to an old man grumbling, I'll cover the Abnormalities now. Feel free to skip to the next episode after this, should you like. Angela.

This blasted chia pet is not particularly dangerous to a powerful facility, but will run rampant over anything less than a crack team of agents with good White resistance. Moreover, its tendency to teleport around will make it difficult to successfully suppress-as it will be difficult for agents to damage it while it is warping around. As a result, even at its best it is frustrating. Still, it must be considered for the weapon-its crossbow is a very powerful White ranged weapon, and there are few things better for handling a panicked agent.

My personal recommendation is to take this Abnormality and work on it to gain access to its powerful gear, and then once you are satisfied to rewind time and never think of it again.

This Abnormality unsettles me. It brings up bad memories, clawing at my mind much like an agent begging to be released from the cell of Nothing There. Since I can't put my finger on why, I'll discard that feeling and judge it fairly.

There is absolutely no reason to ever build a facility without The Snow Queen in it.

She is perfectly benign, and gives out a very powerful Gift without any random chance. Her weapon is powerful, quick, and slows enemies to make them vulnerable to other attackers. There's really almost nothing bad I can say about her-the only weak point is her suit's weakness to Red damage. Take her, put her in your facility, and reap the rewards. There is little reason not to. That is all there is to say.

Now then… since making the mistake of clearing a Dusk Ordeal after first reaching that unopenable door, I haven't since dared complete the missions of our Sephirot. Doing that cleared both Malkuth and Yesod from the field-leaving Angela with their duties. Unfortunately, Malkuth wrote the scripts. Neither Hod nor myself have quite the same touch as she does-but we've tried for the entirety of this season.

We had to. My mission was almost complete-and it was my own folly which brought a Dusk Ordeal upon us. Much the same way, my own error has now cost us Hod. I never meant for the Wolf and Red's interaction to spread so far… but I suppose this too was inevitable.

Tried as I might to rage against the machine I was trapped within, straining without rest to hold back the movement of the gears, the inexorable weight of this place has finally crushed my resistance. Things are once again moving forward. I cannot move them back, nor can Malkuth, Yesod, or Hod be fixed.

...Two remain. Only two Abnormalities remain. I must see this through-for the sake of those who come after. For the sake of this project. For her.

All I need to do is what I've always done. There's no longer time for rambling. Now it falls to me to act.

Next time's featured Abnormality…

New Guidelines

The Snow Queen

New Gear

Requirements: Prudence 3

Requirements: Fortitude 3

Requirements: None

Requirements: Fortitude 2

New Story

The Snow Queen