Part 44: Day 21 - GameplayDay 21: Gameplay
I knew he was incompetent! I knew it!
Hey, I'm not-
Then how do you explain that absolutely horrific performance before!
Hold on, I'm almost done getting the last bit of energy we need to extract this E.G.O weapon.
I do not believe it can wait, X.
...oh shit. Netzach, why didn't you-
zzz huh? Oh. Alarm's goin' off, boss.
Dammit. Kaori, get there now!
I'm heere. But it's eempty
If you're wondering why I haven't played any music, it's because Blue Star breaching overrides any musical cues entirely, and gives us a low pitched humming noise. This is unfortunate, because the Trumpet themes are all wonderful.
Anyways, Blue Star appears randomly in a main room, and instantly kills everyone with Prudence 3 or less, and Temperance 2 or less in that room.
Every few seconds it pings, it deals 15-20 White damage to the entire facility. Anyone whose SP is reduced to 0 is sucked into the center of the star. It has 2200 HP, and ALEPH-tier defenses-its only weakness is Pale damage, which we lack.
We have no way to mitigate damage, making this a straight DPS race we don't have any way of winning, especially once the deaths begin causing fear damage to the rest of our Agents.
We're all dead, aren't we?
On the upside, it's mercifully quick.
And in the end, all that remains is the hollow pride of a weathered knight.
You absolute moron. You complete knobhead. You careless buffoon. Do you understand what you are doing to our employees? We cannot possibly create energy like this.
Yeah yeah Let's just rewind things and try again.
Retry count: 5. No excuses here, I just glazed over a meltdown like I did a couple times with 1.76. We just couldn't live through this one.
...I just forgot something. Won't happen again.
Nice try, Manager. We both know you won't make it through the day without another catastrophe.
Given, but that's Malkuth's fault.
What? I haven't done anything!
Music: neutral 2
Each layer gets an entirely new screen, so we have to page up and down between them in the deployment phase now. We've swapped Mizu into the ALEPH gear, and moved Talow down to Central. We've also shuffled around our Agents in general.
You wanted me to take out a Dusk Ordeal, remember?
Oh right! I'm still waiting on that. Good luck, Manager!
I'm sure it'll go better this time, sir.
In fairness, I don't see how it could have gone much worse. Let's do this.
You guys had better not screw up!
Just don't do anything dangerous.
So before we go any further, I just want to talk about how Central is built for a moment: There's a massive main room and hallways branching off to either side, but the way they're linked is sort of terrible. Let me draw you a picture.
The bottom half of Central mirrors the top half, so I've put it all here despite not having part of it until day 23. The doors at the top go up to the bottom room of Information. Our Agents start on levels 1 and 3, so if we follow the arrow we can see that to access the first set of Abnormalities our Agents have to go all the way to the right of their current room, then all the way across the second level (2 or 4) to get to the hallway in question. This is hilariously inefficient, so the most important thing to do in Central is always immediately move all of our Agents down to levels 2 and 4.
Who the hell built this department like this?
Every square inch of this facility was designed by our founder, A, and recreated per his specifications with painstaking detail. I am certain he has a great reason behind everything he has placed in this facility.
Then where's that upper-left door go?
We do not discuss the upper-left door.
You're here? I thought you'd already be working with the new Abnormalities.
I was just leaving, but I got a liiitle lost. This place is big.
Isn't it just one long corridor..?
Well yeah, but there's like, three whole directions it goes in.
Alright. Time to lead. You can do this!
Okay, so We've got two Abnormalities. Seyser, you and me are going to be alternating working with the cute robot thing.
Talow, you're going to be working with the bird that has those scales around its neck. Mizu, you're ...
Already in the cell. Of course you are.
Ooh, this cutie's shaving away at my soul. That's kind of forward, huh? I like it~
This effect means that this bird isn't playing around: It's Pale damage. Pale damage is always dealt to employees as a % of their max HP, so 100 pale damage will kill you. Here, Mizu's taking 6 damage per failure out of her 106 HP, meaning she's taking ~5 Pale damage. Pale damage is incredibly dangerous to our Agents, and right now only Talow and Mizu can work this bird safely.
I like the other one just fine, but you're a cutie too and that birdie should have definitely bought me dinner first.
How huh She was just working with the bird, and now..?
First time watching her work, huh? You get used to it. It's best to just wait for her to finish before you do anything.
We get some names for the two Abnormalities. Neither one is their true name, but they'll do for now. Talow keeps working Long Bird, while Tylana and SeyserKoze alternate with Little Helper.
How am I doing?
That's way better. I'm sure we'll get moved to a new department before too long.
...what are you doing?
We're following your example, and practicing to become paragons of Justice!
...ookay then. You just keep. Doing that. I don't think we're getting any orders today anyways.
Control is no longer a useful training location, outside of having Mirror around. We'll probably be sending some tougher Agents back up here soon to hold the fort-now that we're past the start of the game, our LOB bonuses are going to be picking up quickly.
So those two weirdos from Control decided to ask me to pose with them? Not really sure what it was all about, so I said no. Seems like a waste of time.
Don't you judge me, stupid bird.
It's futile. Come as often as you like, but you shall never break through our ironclad defenses.
These things are getting a little underwhelming. Not that they were ever particularly whelming in the first place.
First Punishing Bird, now you I hope we don't have to deal with that anytime soon.
Talow manages to get the rest of the information for our new friend, Judgment Bird. It's a very basic Abnormality if we ignore the part where it deals Pale damage, and it has some incredibly nice ALEPH-tier gear. We want all of it, so we'll be here for another 270 boxes.
Who was it?! Which third-rate employee with a fourth-rate work ethic screwed up the bee?!
It doesn't matter-we just have to contain the infection!
I was getting bored anyways! Messing around with Blue Star all day isn't going to get my blood boiling like this.
Hey, Boksi. Looks like you got your ass kicked.
Most of this blood is from the bees.
HAHA, these things don't bleed! They're too chitinous!
It's okay. I took some hits too. You don't have to pretend you're tough.
Yeah, we all know you suck anyways.
Good work, Seyser! We managed to get all the information together. I'll have a clerk ferry it up to Information.
All-Around Helper, as it's really named, is an also-boring Abnormality-though one which is much more likely to escape than Judgement Bird due to a much tighter requirement for good results.
Bwee-deet dee dee bwee dee dee bumm-ba dum bum ba dum badum...
What is he doing?
I think its called Roundabout, sir!
Well, it seems to work so I guess I shouldn't complain..?
You don't need to worry at all, Manager. The second their unnecessary habits stop them from being able to perform their duties properly, I'll remove them from the Control team in one manner or another!
Yeah, we'll circle back around to that.
Of course I'm serious! Why are you like this?! Can't you do anything?!
Okay, Mizu go say hello to the cutie.
I'm sure it'll be fine if the Manager says so.
Exactly. Just watch.
Ooh, you want to play? Then let's play, cutie!
When All-Around Helper escapes, it wanders the facility until it's in the same room as something to attack. At that point, it starts to spin and a tiny orange bar under its HP charges up. When full, it dashes forward quickly, hitting anything in front of it for Red damage.
Told you it'd be fine.
It'd still be more efficient to send multiple agents to suppress it.
The others may take more damage than Mizu, though. When in doubt, defense is the best offense.
I'm not sure that's right, sir
After it charges, it powers down for a moment and is vulnerable. It then stands up and repeats the process. It can't hurt Mizu, though, so
We're reading an incoming Green Dusk, Manager.
So it's going to be robots, eh? Okay. I can deal with robots.
I see you are handling the bird once more.
Well... someone has to do it, and this way nobody else has to get hurt.
Job's aall done, booss..!
Alright, go ahead and head up to Control. It's our staging area.
Crowded in here, isn't it?
Can't be helped. You're all going to be staying here until I figure out what's going on.
Medea's missing. And Mizu too where are they?
Your duties are simple: We're going to need a first wave to test the Dusk's capabilities. You're the strongest agents in the facility right now, defensively speaking, so the Manager's decided to send you in.
I'll do my best!
Ooh, a new wandering cutie, and I get first pick? Leave it to me!
Music: First Trumpet
Let's do this.
It's right next to you! Go get it.
It's a hard target! We'll be needing more offense to deal with this thing!
I smell more cuties within the cutie..!
Our new Ordeal is the Green Dusk, and it's all about making more Green Ordeals for us to fight. Green Ordeals being all about Red damage, anything that worked well vs Green Noons is just fine here. They themselves are incredibly tanky due to their ALEPH tier defenses and high HP, but if you can get to them without the robots around they're defenseless on their own. The problem here is that they can spam out Green Noons if we're unlucky-and I'm incredibly unlucky. That means a lot of Red damage, and that will shred through even our tankiest agents.
It drops two Noons and a Dawn on our heads, and while Medea and Mizu are tanky they still take a good chunk of damage.
We're gonna have all sorts of fun today!
Has anyone ever told you you have a strange definition of fun?
That was a slog, and it was just one of them. And there's three more? Hold on, I need to stop time 'til I make a plan.
X, did you know that when time is halted like this only you and I can perceive it?
Not even the Sephirot?
They would have to be able to access the TT2 protocol, and this is not an authority granted to any but the highest clearance levels within the company.
That does explain why their messages don't go away until I've restarted the timestream but why are you telling me this now?
It has occurred to me that, given my status as a superior AI, you may wish to register your awe regarding my helpfulness in performing your duties. It would make sense, as I am the greatest partner you could have. If you wish to perform such an action without worrying about the jealousy of the lesser AI, it would be possible to do so within this frozen space.
Yeah, uhuh, cool. Planning now.
...Very well, X.
Eureka! I've got it!
Okay, let me unpause and explain it to everyone.
Because we have no way to mitigate Red damage and even our best Agents will keel over from all the chainsaws eventually, Green Dusk is best fought as a war of attrition. I prep a killteam of Mizu, Talow, Sephiroth, and Medea-all our agents with WAW-level or better suits-and prepare to send them on sneaking missions into the Horrible Death Zone to take out the targets one at a time. They'll be my main focus, micromanaging them between the targets and the main rooms to heal in between.
Tenebrais, D.A.D., and Twee have decent enough suits and weapons to handle wandering threats, and are positioned at the Central main room so they can heal between fights. They'll run out to engage any enemy that goes into one of the killzones, then return home to heal-that'll keep the ordeals away from our more vulnerable Agents sitting in the bunkers.
This plan it could work, but you'd have to remain on top of things.
Don't worry. When it comes to things like this, our facility is always at its best.
Let's believe in them, Tiphereth.
You're being naive, Tiphereth.
In that case, how about I give you two command back home? Their safety'll be in your hands.
Hmph! You better not be trying to get on my good side.
Oh, I'd never.
I think we should try, Tiphereth.
Fine Let's get this over with.
You seem down, Tenebrais.
I wanted to go into the horrible death zone. Give it a new reason to be called that.
Calm down, kiddo. You'll get plenty of chances to break things, I'm sure.
Good luck, everyone! I'm sure you'll beat them-even if you have to unleash a last minute superpower to do it!
I just wish there was more we could do than sit and wait in here.
Tell me about it. We need that extra gear ASAP.
I've got eyes on the first one-moving in now.
You have desecrated Mother's halls for too long!
Now, the upside of the random spawns is that we will rarely ever have to deal with more than 1-2 Noons at a time.
The downside? My luck is terrible-This box immediately drops 3 Noons on top of Talow and Sephiroth.
Two chainsaw attacks x 3 Noons and I retreat them to the main room below to heal, letting Mizu and Medea deal with the Dusk. Mizu's weapon deals AOE damage and they're far tankier than the other two, so they'll be fine.
...only just now do I realize that it probably would have been smarter to have the melee guys have the stronger defenses, but whatever!
Medea and me cleared out all the cuties up there. Two more to go!
Those beasts en masse they can even slow a SOLDIER 1st class Terrifying.
That was three Noons and a couple of Dawns. Are you okay?
Well, you two did soften up the Noons for us, so we could finish them off as they approached.
Alright. We'll rest up here for a minute. Check on the others!
Alright, take it easy. Tiphereths, how's it going up there?
It's just 'Tiphereth.'
The Noon's dead, so I'll leave the cleanup to you kiddos.
Stay safe, D.A.D.!
Now this is what I'm talking about!! I could do this all day!
We've seen a couple of incursions, but it's nothing that my agents couldn't handle perfectly!
Keep out of it, you busybody! He was asking me!
Ah, I'm so sorry. I just thought that the Sephirah of the Control Team would be best to talk about the Control Team's situation!
Ugh stupid Uppers. Anyways, we're fine! You'd better not screw this up.
I won't. Team, we're going to cross over to Training's main room and use it as a staging area for the Information Team dusk.
They should take lower Control, it's less full of Ordeals right now.
Good idea. I thought you'd be upset at all the clerks dying.
I am. This one is because of Malkuth's research request, however, so I'm letting you off the hook for pushing things too far, just this once.
I appreciate it.
...Well, it's important to understand the threats that we face to this facility, on the whole. I'm sure this is a net positive experience for everyone.
Hey, Tenebrais? Why do you always get so into this?
Busy now! If you've got time to talk, hit harder!
Well, will you tell me later?
I'll think about it!
The Training main room is still clear, Manager.
That'll serve as a good staging area. Everyone, head back there and heal up.
What's he doing?
Someone's alive down here?
Sure am. While you guys've been off having a party, I suddenly had ten times more paperwork dropped in my lap. Thanks for that.
You should go home for the rest of the day.
Right now, captain? But we're still-
That's an order, Beta27. Get out of here.
Uh Yes, ma'am. Of course.
...You didn't have to do that.
Sure I did. If they stayed here, then they'd definitely have died as soon as we left.
It is true. People die a lot around here. Not me, obviously.
To be fair, I'm not sure how much either of you qualifies as a person anymore.
Ugh fine. You know I'm from the Backstreets, right?
Twelve, obviously. Don't ask dumb questions. Point is, down there everyone's so focused on just getting by. Thinking in terms of plusses and minuses, and trying to keep their bank account over 0. Not something a Nest kid like you or mosshead would understand. I was like that, too.
So what changed?
Some of the other rats decided they wanted to try tearing us apart for scraps. I felt something snap then, well, you ever seen a person's skull break apart from bashing it into a wall?
Just stick around here. You'll get to see it sometime, I'm sure.
That sounds horrible!
Does it? For the first time I wasn't thinking how the world was trying to make me think. There was me, and an enemy to crush, and it felt great.
So you're basically always after that feeling again, huh..?
Something like that. I just only feel alive if I'm risking everything in a fight against something else.
Just don't go too far and get yourself killed, you hear me?
That'd mean I wasn't strong enough to keep up with the freaks that show up around here. No way that could ever be true.
...you know I think I should get back to work now.
It's about time! Central's full of those Green Ordeals.
Be careful, Manager.
Tiphereth isn't kidding-that's four Noons in the main room. As a reminder, that's as many that spawn in an ENTIRE Green Noon Ordeal prior to day 21, and this doesn't include the 5-10 we've killed prior to this point.
The killteam runs past the 3 Noons and into the Dusk's hallway, kills a fourth Noon, and then starts to dogpile on the Dusk until
Three more Noons spawn at once, and another one walks in from the main room.
Fall back, everyone!
Training is still safe, head there!
We need a better plan.
Mm actually, I'm picking up that the Noons have cleared out of that room. If you head back, you should be able to sneak by them.
It's the best plan we have. Let's do it.
The second time around is the charm, and we're finally done killing the spawners. It's all mopup from here. I do make a major error here-see how the team is cut into two groups? It turns out Sephiroth's speed is just right to catch the sawblade attacks from Green Noons that Medea and Mizu trigger as they run by.
How strange that I should remember the war against Wutai now, of all times? There were far more of those ninja, but they were far less formidable opponents.
It does not go well for him, of course. Still, we're through the hard part so now we just have to mop up.
Oh. You're back.
Don't sound so disappointed.
She was just having a lot of fun.
Well, there should still be a couple left to mop up. Want to take care of them?
Do I ever.
Alright, let's clean 'em up.
Now that we've recombined our kill and defense team, we can shred the remaining Ordeals. These four Noons aren't able to get through a fortified position.
Music: neutral 1
At last, it is done.
You actually did it. I can't believe it.
Yeah, I get that a lot. Malkuth, will that do?
Yes, Manager! I'd like to resume my duties in Control at this time. Would you please excuse yourselves, Tiphereth?
Yeah, I'm leaving.
Have a good day, Malkuth.
Now then-your orders, Manager?
Don't need you right now. I'll call you if anything melts down.
Now that the Dusk is over, the remainder of the day is spent just focusing on finishing off Judgment Bird and All-Around Helper's gear. Nothing else interesting should-
I am getting really tired of your sass, mister!
Oh right, Medea can solo the Scarecrow now. I guess that happened.
Hell of a day, huh.
It has certainly been eventful, Manager. Our E.G.O equipment processing has been fully completed at this time. I take it you would like to end the day?
Yeah, let's quit while we're ahead.
I can't help but feel we haven't done much today.
I wouldn't worry about it. An uneventful day is the greatest blessing we agents can have.
Okay, everyone. It's time to pack it in. We're done for the day.
I heard they released a new episode of Gacha-Dat Hero if you guys want to watch after work.
Count me in.
...I've got other stuff to do. Maybe some other time.
You did it, Manager!
No new maxout club members yet, though we've got a couple of people who are incredibly close. It's time to pick another pair of Abnormalities.
Music: never frozen bottom flows
O-05-47: You've pressed it numerous times and you still have something you want to know about it?
O-01-04: In the name of Love and Justice~ Here comes Magical Girl!
F-05-32: This is a forest full of hearts. No matter how many he cuts down, the forest still remains dense.
Oh boy! It's time to pick between three completely terrible choices again!
We've talked about -04 before, so let's start there. We could actually take care of her Clerk death requirement now, between Scarecrow and Helper being easy to release and suppress and with Queen Bee taking care of large numbers of Clerks. However, this would take a significant amount of time that I would rather not be forced to waste. Still love her, but still no for right now. Show up on day 33 or later, please.
Next is -47, which is a meme ZAYIN that has no gear, very few positive benefits, and is actually able to delete all of our purchased E.G.O equipment due to some questionable programming choices. Hard pass for now, which means we have a winner by default.
I kind of hate this thing, and we'll go into why when we see it properly.
T-09-82: It literally makes itself into "the safest place on Earth."
D-09-104: "...Is your future totally grim? Have you hit absolute rock bottom, not a single way out in sight?"
T-09-80: "The tree simply reaped from what it sowed."
It's tool time again right after, and we have an easy, if painful, choice to make. First off, -80 is a healing Abnormality which comes with the minor side effect of making Agents violently explosive. Pass. -82 is more interesting. It's a heavily defensive Abnormality which can be used to cheese a specific mission we'll have to deal with later on without much issue. It's good enough to be an instant pick for me against almost any other Abnormality in the game.
Unfortunately for -82, one of those Abnormalities is right next to it. -104 is our first actual meltdown eater, and it can save us from most situations at the cost of a single level 5 Agent, once per day. This sounds steep, but trust me-it can be very worth it. Most importantly, it's a tool that is almost entirely positive in nature, having a drawback only if we ignore the instruction manual entirely.
Please show up next time too, -82. I want you in my facility, I promise!
Next time, on Lobotomy Corporation: The CEO contacts us!
Requirements: Fortitude 2
Requirements: Prudence 2
Requirements: Level 5, Justice 5
Requirements: Level 5, Justice 5