Part 52: Day 25 - GameplayDay 25: Gameplay
Before we get into gameplay, a note: Because I'm doing Core Suppression days twice (once with the mouse visible for a video, and then again without it for the LP footage), for the purposes of my Retry Count I'll be going with the lower retry number of the two recording sessions. Because of this, our Retry Count remains at 6 for the moment despite well, you'll see.
Without further ado, let's get into it.
Music: neutral 2
We get the final research from Tiphereth, giving us all 3 of the basic shield bullets.
Now that we know the secret and Malkuth is having a proper meltdown, we activate her Core Suppression by clicking on the biohazard symbol in the upper left of the Control Team's area on the deployment screen, right here:
We can click it again to turn it back off. The astute of you will notice that Yesod and Hod both have buttons as well, this is because their meltdowns also unlocked at the same time as Malkuth's. This means I have access to their story cutscenes as well, but we'll cover those later.
Anyways, clicking it makes the screen glimmer with some red artifacting, removes everyone assigned to the Control team, and also changes 'Begin Management' to 'Begin Core Suppression.' The Control team now tells us our goal for the suppression, as well as gives us a hint about what to expect. For Malkuth, we need to collect the assigned amount of energy and reach Meltdown Level 6, and our warning is that "An error with the work system is detected."
Manager, allowing her emotions to run rampant like this is going to cause issues with your ability to perform your duties.
I know. Still, we're going to do it. I can't help but feel like this is somehow my fault.
You did immediately attempt to change her previous rules and regulations, setting her off and causing a lasting sense of resentment from yourself as it came to a predictably poor end.
...well when you put it like that. Still, we'll get through it. Let's get Tiphereth's new project done while we're at it. These bullets are nice, I can't wait to see what they come up with next.
DAY 25 CHALLENGE: A COMPETENT SUPPRESSION
Rules: Complete Tiphereth's "Proving your Competence 4" mission. Suppress the Core of Malkuth. All agents must survive.
Shouldn't be too hard. Let's get this underway.
When we start the day, a klaxon plays in the background before the day actually starts. And when it does, we get a strong contender for the best song in the game.
Music: Second Trumpet
What? What was that?! Angela, what's going on?!
It's clearing up...
While only the mission to suppress Malkuth's core is showing up right now, we can still complete some other missions on Core Suppression days. In general, the only missions we can't complete are the ones that keep track of a variable through the day like Hod's suppression mission did. Tiphereth's completes without an issue so long as we avoid letting any meltdown timers expire before the day ends.
Angela? Yesod? Hod? Tiphereths? ...Netzach? Anyone, respond!
They can't reach you right now, manager.
Malkuth?! Angela, focus on Control.
One of the consistent challenges of suppression days is that we get no dialogue from any of our other AI. We don't get warnings when someone dies or panics, or when an Abnormality escapes. We can't rely on them to tell us things anymore, so we have to be alert. We have to keep an eye out for breaching Abnormalities ourselves, but deaths can be tracked using the bottom-left notification readout. Upside: No more Punishing Bird notifications! Meanwhile, in the department that we're suppressing...
Whatever, I'll do it myself.
The Sephirah is now an eldritch horror.
Hello, manager! Thank you for coming to see me.
What the hell?! What did you do to everyone?!
Nothing. I just cut you off from hearing them.
...Okay. I'm going to need you to stop that.
I don't think so, manager. I want to know what it's like when you're helpless. When you're overwhelmed. You wouldn't say anything before... So, here we are.
...It's fine. They can do the work without me. Everyone knows what to do already.
I'm afraid that's not an option either.
What did you do.
An AI has gone rogue and embedded itself into the facility's main network. This has triggered the Second Trumpet protocol. Agents are forbidden from acting without direct managerial oversight, on penalty of termination.
I won't kill them for doing their job. They should know that.
That's alright, manager. Their ID cards and E.G.O equipment are synchronized to an execution feature. I can activate it from here remotely, to remove any problems as they crop up.
Well whatever. Luckily, I prepared for this.
I put Talow close by just in case. I'll just have him get up to the Control main room and take Malkuth out.
We can move someone right into the main room if we want to. Nothing happens-it even keeps healing agents like any other day.
What the Okay, this is new. ...Mmm These roots are going under the floor and into the wiring. I can't attack it without risking shorting out the entire deterrence system.
Dammit. Continue to monitor the situation.
Do you understand now, manager? There's only one way out of this.
Yeah Reach Meltdown Level 6, with the energy required.
Very good! Let's see how you do when you don't have all your crutches-when you're not the one in control.
Alright. Let's do this.
Malkuth talks to us during the entire suppression via text over our interface-it'll probably show up from time to time in screenshots, since it's everywhere. I'll go ahead and put these quotes into their own sections, they change with each meltdown level.
All Levels posted:
This is what you call a truly uncontrollable situation, manager.
Everythings all jumbled up, messed up, flustered hahaha
Its unpredictable, isnt it?
Level 1 posted:
I could have done it.
I just wanted to help out.
Like any good boss fight, every Core Suppression in the game is a test of some skill that we're supposed to be mastering as we play. The skill Malkuth is testing is how well we can analyze a situation that is CLEARLY going wrong to determine what the root cause is (and by extension, how well we execute a countermeasure to the problem). I know the root cause already because I've played the game before, but I'll be highlighting the clues the game gives us. The first one is from back on the prep screen: "An error with the work system is detected." This is the second, and one that many players will gloss over: instead of telling us the work type we're highlighting, we instead get a ??? over it.
Let's try some Instinct work on One Sin. No matter what happens, he's mostly harmless.
Orders from the top, everyone!
Normally this is the point where managers stop paying attention to the work they're ordering because the game takes over from here. This is a mistake-the game wants us to be diligent. It's the only way to catch this:
Did you see the work type in the gear? Talow's not doing Instinct work at all.
Wait, why does he have a golf club? Malkuth, what did you do?
That would be telling.
Then Maybe a couple more works.
I have Mr.Black do Insight work on Today's Shy Look, and Sephiroth does Attachment work with a good girl who has done nothing wrong in her life. The work log in the lower-left refers to all work done as 'Unknown' work, which would be another clue if anyone ever read the thing.
None of those work types are right. You're altering the orders, aren't you.
How does it feel to know that everything is going wrong even when you do your best, manager?
This is the basics of what Malkuth does-for today, our work types are shuffled. These shuffles remain consistent, so Instinct > Repression, Insight > Instinct, Attachment > Insight, and by process of elimination Repression > Attachment.
Not great! I should be able to remember all of this, though. So if my theory is right, and Repression is Attachment, then this should be fine...
Good creepy fleshdog. No sudden movements.
There we go, this isn't so hard.
Of course you'd find it easy, Manager. You're her favorite after all. People without talent can't hope to compare, no matter how hard we work...
That's fine. I'll just try even harder.
Level 2 posted:
I knew I didnt have any right to participate in the experiment, thats why I was so impatient.
Make sure you feel this horrible sense of helplessness to your core, right to your heart.
Not hard enough, Malkuth. You Must Be Happy doesn't do anything, and Scarecrow will react the same no matter what the result is.
When suppressing a department, that department's Abnormalities are not subject to the normal Qliphoth Meltdowns. We'll never see a meltdown spawn in Control during this fight. It's a small mercy.
Even now It never ends. It never ends!
You ignore me, you belittle me, it never ends it never ends iT NeVEr ENDs! I'm not an 'even Malkuth!'
Sorry, were you saying something? I was protecting this clerk from that scarecrow.
A clerk! You pay more attention to a clerk then to your own Sephirah!
I just need to figure out who to have handle this.
No need for that sir!
Omni? Chinely? What are you doing there?
'Chinely and Omni! You've survived?! How did you get here?' That's what you're probably asking right now. We can't hear a damn thing you say over all this noise, but it's easy to follow such a simple thought process.
Naturally, we've prepared a proper answer! We were following Bishop, but he realized something was off. He told us to change into the Training Team's armband and wait here for the day to start in case the scarecrow got out.
There's no need to worry about anything anymore, for we are here.
Alright. Get back to the Training main room after you're done.
What if he just tells us what to do next like always, Chinely?
Right-We still can't hear you manager! Make sure to use the command console like you're supposed to!
...Ah, yeah. This thing.
Oh, there you are-I thought I saw your names under our team's information. What's going on up there? Where's Bishop?
We have no idea!
Everyone valiantly ran away before anything went down. And after telling us to wait, Bishop just turned a corner and vanished to who-knows-where!
I think he's in the maintenance ducts. Or the ventilation shafts!
And with the comms down we can't contact anyone this is bad. I hope the others are alright.
Don't worry. You'll all be fine.
You're doing it again! They can't even hear you! Stop ignoring me! Look at me!
Sorry, but I don't have attention to spare for infants throwing tantrums.
...that's just fine. Because I don't have any attention to spare for bosses who are incompetent.
Isn't hopelessness a wonderful feeling? I simply must repay you, time and time again, for showing me.
Then I'll have everyone attack it! With the new bullets
Bullets can't cover the entire facility, and your feeble attacks can't stop the Blue Star.
It's pointless. An uncontrollable demise.
The script here breaks, and for some reason Blue Star sucks in all Agents except the Suicide-types, instead of just all of them like it's supposed to. Sometimes Suppressions just make things funky. Make no mistake: we're dead. We could probably kill Blue Star without any Agent casualties at this point, but we'd have to position ourselves for it, and since I just completely forgot to work its meltdown we didn't get to do that.
This isn't over.
Of course not. I want you to wallow in hopelessness, time and again, until you understand what I do. That's my wonderous repayment.
Music: Second Trumpet
Repayment for what?! I don't remember doing anything to you!
You don't need to. I remember it clear as day. That day when I begged for you to look at me. To help me. You turned away. That's enough.
That wasn't me! Those memories were someone else's!
Is that what you think?
...It doesn't matter what I think! You're ruining Punishing Bird for me! I can't even laugh at Omni right now!
I can understand why you do it, now. Laugh at their pain. I always take my duties seriously, so I never understood it.
But I see clearly, now. Watching you fluster in this uncontrollable mess is fantastic.
It didn't come up last time, but every time a Meltdown occurs, Malkuth reshuffles the work types. To get around this, we're having Talow work Instinct with One Sin, Mr.Black work Insight with Shy Look, and Sephiroth work Attachhment with Laetitia. With just one glance like this we can see what 3 of the 4 works have been changed into, and that makes the 4th work the odd one out. This time, Repression is still Repression.
You're still sending him to work on an ALEPH, in gear so weak?
Boksi can survive, so long as I know what the works are, and since I know them after the first three works, it's simple to just remember.
I hope you don't make any mistakes, Manager.
No you don't.
No, I don't.
Amber Dawn. While the suppression department is immune to meltdowns, it still can have Ordeals spawn inside of it, so we're one department down to face the same number of worms.
They won't stop mooving..!
It's alright! You just keep smiling there and get eaten for a bit while I shoot into each of them!
Level 3 posted:
Please watch me manager! I can take care of this situation, no problem!
I still have so much to do, just look at my notebook its all worn out
Something's definitely happening this time. She's droopier now.
Losing steam, Malkuth?
Not at all, manager! I could continue for as long as it takes. Get frustrated. Get angry. Fall to despair. And at the critical moment, I want to turn my back to you, too.
I'm not going to get frustrated! I remember everything just fine.
Yeah. Attachment is Attachment, and Instinct is Insight.
That was the last meltdown level. I swapped Attachment with Repression this time, manager. You'd know that if you paid attention.
Don't think I'll be able to clutch this one out even with my pedigree
You've killed Boksi. You know that, right?
You killed Boksi. I just watched and did nothing.
Hey, at least I get to show this off! When Nothing There kills or panics someone mid-work, or when someone gets a Bad result with it, something fun happens.
See, Nothing There is a shapeshifter.
I love you. I love you~
...I'll be seeing that in my dreams tonight.
Now, once this has happened Nothing There is supposed to kill the next Agent to walk in, and go into a special event. However remember what I said about Suppressions seeming to break some things?
I love you.
...Aww hell no.
Tenebrais can just wander in and work with NT like it's any other Abnormality. It's weird.
I love yooou~
Manager I don't know what the actual hell you're thinking to shove me in here with a freaky mosshead trying to put the moves on me but I swear on my damn life the second I'm out of here: I will find you. And I will kill you. And anyone else standing in my way.
Oh my. An agent who's gone rogue. Don't worry, sir, I'll activate the execution protocol so you don't have to consider the ramifications of your mistake. There was nothing you could do, after all. It was unavoidable. Inevitable.
I can't stop here
But your every advantage is gone. You have to do the one thing you can't do. That you don't know how to do. That you never really learned to do, while you were busy leaning on everyone else's good graces to do it for you: Your job.
That look of utter hopelessness That's what I've been wanting to see. See? Even manager can manage a task as simple as that.
Why? I'm not wrong, am I? It's okay to admit you aren't cut out for the position. Of course, you'll have to be removed, but you won't have to worry about anything after that.
I said shut up!
You know I'm right. Just admit it, and you won't have to handle this difficult job any longer.
I could just have Angela do your part.
Then you'd just be running away again. I'd still be right. You and I both know it. And knowing how much that would gnaw at you that's fine by me.
...Gh..! What do I do? This isn't like the other days !
What's going on?
Phew. That took a hell of a lot longer than I thought it would.
Bishop? What are you doing in here?!
Showing up to heroically save your ass at the last moment. Isn't it obvious?
Next time, on Lobotomy Corporation: Once more, with feeling.