Part 58: Day 27 - GameplayDay 27: Gameplay
Music: neutral 1
After last time, I can't help but feel tense.
No one would blame you for looking the other way, X.
Not very partnerly, Angela. Try being supportive.
...The other Sephirot have been put to sleep for the time being. I wish you the best of luck, manager.
I'll be sure to deliver. Let's do this.
Music: Second Trumpet
There's no wavy effects or anything like with Malkuth's meltdown. Everything seems almost normal so far.
Hod, you can hear me, right?
I sure can, manager. I'm glad you're here. It's time to film!
Our training video! Did you forget? It's okay, let me take care of things!
A training video? What the hell?
It seems like she's still suffering some hallucinations. We'll have to carefully get beyond that before we can get anything done.
BWAH! Don't just sneak up behind someone like that!
Sorry, manager. I thought you might like the help.
Well, I certainly don't not want it. So, we need her to face reality?
Yes, but be careful. Her mental state is incredibly delicate.
Let's all do our best today! Lights, camera, action!!
Like Malkuth (and every other Sephirot), Hod also has a set of text that changes as we go.
All Levels posted:
Well, shall we film the corporate educational video together?
Please make sure to do it carefully, and dont mess up! Every employee will watch this educational video and refer back to it!
Alright everyone, look here! Smile, say cheese!
Level 1 posted:
I want to help as much as I can here.
I wish everyone would rely on me...
Hey what's that smell?
Seems like there's something coming out of the vents.
Heeheehee . Hey Taalow I feel kinda funny..!
..! Twee, it's a sedative. Be careful!
Oh, uh-yeah! Sure!
Hod's Suppression tests our ability to work through a day where our Agents are weaker than the Abnormalities they're supposed to be working-think back to day 10, but now we have WAWs and ALEPHs. I've heard it described as Hod temporarily turning things into one of those 70s-80s era training videos, and it's a very apt description. For a quick comparison, here's Twee's stats from the preparation screen:
And here's her at day start:
Altogether, she's got a +5 Movement Speed from the Control Team's Clerks, a +5 Work Success rate from the Information Team's Clerks, and a -15 penalty to all stats from Hod. Our facility's focus on optimized training gives us a bit of an advantage, but this will get worse and is why Hod's generally considered the hardest of the Upper Sephirah to suppress. All of our stat-gated Abnormalities which require 5's in stats are now ticking timebombs, and the most common causes of death vs Hod are either having suddenly-weakened Agents get shredded by Green Noon, or meltdowns spawning on stat-gated ALEPHs like Blue Star or Nothing There when your Agents are all below the threshold.
So that's what Abnormalities look like from here, huh?
Pretty much. I've heard it's a lot less terrifying than the real thing.
For sure. These look a lot cuter-why, I want to ask what that cutie-patootie Ppodae looks like under this filter.
I'll send you a picture after we're done here. Let's just get Mizu to work on it, we don't have time to do proper research today.
So, as I said before we're on a 10 minute time limit. This means we're not going to have time to do my usual strategy of fully investigating our newest Abnormality. Instead, our plan is to spam works as quickly as possible. Right now, it takes 12 works to progress a level. We need to get to level 6 to clear the day, so we have to go through 5 levels. That's a total of 60 works, which isn't nearly as huge an ask as you'd think.
Pictured: 13 total works at once (including Control, which is just offscreen). Chesed's missions do not count time spent on pause, so it's best to do everything in giant batches to get through the day ASAP. We've also got Tenebrais on a special mission.
Hod, I didn't ask for a training video to get filmed, and that's not even what's going on.
But manager, that's got to be what's happening! I remember clearly that you told me we'd be doing this today!
I saw your memories, Hod. I know what happened. First there was the issue with giving out Enkephalin to junkies, and now all the extra training that made your employees rebel. How do you get from that to 'make a training film?' I can try that conflict resolution thing or whatever, but I need you to act rationally.
Music: Theme - Retro Time ALT (You should probably listen to this. )
Um I'm not worrying about that right now! It's more important that this video get made!
Wow you really are bad at this.
I'm trying, okay?!
Level 2 posted:
How come nobody understands my kindness?
Im the only one who cares about them Why would they hate me ?
With level 2 we get our first real graphical interference-the screen looks a bit more like an old time CRT tv that an old VHS training video would be played on. We also get our stat penalty up to -25. Please ignore Tenebrais's stats, I mistimed You Must Be Happy and she's got a whopping penalty on top of it. Speaking of
That's much better. You Must Be Happy can fairly easily negate most of the penalties Hod gives us, and makes this tool a hard counter to the entire suppression. If we were unsure, we could have every agent in the entire facility wander over here and work with YMBH until they were all buffed for the day and just proceed like normal.
That would take way longer than 10 minutes, though, so I've prioritized Tenebrais and Kaori for this treatment. Tenebrais will be heading down to Central to work with Nothing There, and Kaori gets to stay in Safety to make sure Blue Star doesn't have problems.
Anyways, we start queueing up a lot more works as soon as the cooldowns on the cells are cleared. This will happen a lot today.
So, got any bright ideas?
Thank you for asking! The proper protocol to deal with meltdowns is to ensure that they're worked by an appropriate Agent as soon as possible. So long as you do that, nothing out of the ordinary will occur. With an Abnormality like Long Bird
None that come to mind immediately. Dealing with agents who are already this mentally corrupted doesn't usually fall to the Training Team.
Then hm. When did she start this latest round of extra training?
It was oh, about two weeks ago? Almost precisely.
Aha. I see.
The reason for all of this.
But most importantly, never ever put Punishing Bird into its scales! I know it might seem cute, but this simple action can trigger a chain reaction if the facility contains-
Hod. No matter how hard you work, or how much you try and make your agents follow along with you, it won't bring Tiffany back.
This training stuff, it's not for the agents at all, is it? Someone died because of your policy. You want to feel better about it, so you worked extra hard.
That's ridiculous! I work harder to help the other agents here than anyone else!
Manager, aren't you being a little harsh..?
You do work hard to try and help your agents. The problem is that they all hate you for it. Am I wrong, Hod? Medea?
I mean, I have to field some complaints from time to time, but that's just how it is. Every department has some people who don't quite mesh.
...It's alright, Medea, but I already know. My employees complain plenty. They don't understand my kindness They never do. I try my best, and they talk like they talked to my face, but they talk behind my back instead.
So why don't they understand it?
I don't know I don't know!
You have to know! You're not an idiot, Hod! You're just running away from it! They hate you because you're not doing any of this for anyone but yourself!
Manager, please! Calm down! You need to talk things through normally and-
I can't talk with someone living in a fantasy world! At least Malkuth hated me for things I'd actually done!
But I haven't done anything wrong! I'm doing my best! I'm a good Sephirah!
Level 3 posted:
Manager, youre not mad at me, right? You cant be mad at me, I swear Im a good Sephirah
Its all thanks to me that the employees could survive so long, but does anyone ever thank me? No, no one does...
Amber Dawn is more of a time waster than anything, but since they don't take long to suppress and are worth 10% of our energy total, we take care of them while waiting for our work cooldowns to expire.
This is what the feather weapon looks like when being used. It fires fairly fast, making it a decent WAW weapon despite not being affected by Attack Speed.
We also get a Queen Bee puff, but now that we have Red bullets we can block the damage, which stops our Agents and Clerks from getting hurt at all. It takes ~2 Red bullets to fully stop someone from taking damage (maybe 3 if it's a Clerk), but it can be worth it.
Unfortunately I missed one of the pollen'd clerks. The bee doesn't leave this room, though, so there's no problem!
Hod you are literally screwing up the entire facility right now because you're pretending we're shooting some training video. Of course I'm mad at you. I'm furious.
Manager, that's enough out of you! Hod's doing her best to to I know she's not exactly helping, but she thinks she is! You have to make her see she isn't!
I'm not going to do that by blowing smoke up her chassis, Medea!
Ghh This isn't anything like what happened with Malkuth. Bishop, you moron!
Wasn't it harder than usual? Wasn't it? One of the clerks birthed a bee, and more died waiting for your agents to suppress the Dawn between works. Without me, things don't work as well, but nobody ever thanks me. Nobody's ever shown gratitude for what I do for how hard I work to keep them safe
I'm telling you that's not what you're doing at all! You're just selfishly shoving your ideas onto them!
Hod's trying really hard, manager!
Yeah, but it's not for you employees at all! She's being selfish!
But I'm always helping, manager! Can't you see it? Can't you see the way they all suffer without me?
You are literally sedating my agents. They're suffering because of you!
Music: Theme - Retro Time ALT (Distorted ver)
No, no, no, things don't work without me. They just don't work without me..!
Level 4 posted:
Our employees are suffering! See? Things just dont work out without me here!
Wheres Tiffany? Shes late for her counseling session. Why isnt she here?
Tiffany where's Tiffany? I was going to have her interview for the training video after her counseling session
Great. You've made things even worse.
She's not going to get better unless she admits there's a problem. More pressingly, these things come in Indigo?!
There's a lot to unpack here, so here we go: First of all, Hod's debuffs increase to -35 to all stats. Remember, the best our Agents can get without E.G.O gifts right now is 110 in a single stat if everything lines up right, which means 75 is all that's left-without a lot of gift stacking or use of YMBH it's impossible to have a level 5 stat at this stage of the suppression.
Secondly, the CRT filter gets even worse, like we're watching a videotape so old it's about to fall apart.
Thirdly, new Ordeal! Say hello to Indigo Noon, The Sweepers. This Noon is special because it can't appear before Day 26. As a result, it's a bit tougher than the others to handle.
Manager those are Sweepers!
Sweepers, sir! At night in the Backstreets oh, nevermind! Do you keep track of the personnel folders?!
I uh I mostly do? But what are you asking for?
If Mizu sees those things, she's going to go ballistic! We definitely can't afford that right now!
Tiffany Why are you so late..?
Uugh we have to move then. And fast.
Indigo Noon spawns in a lot of Sweepers, a total of 12 overall. They wander the facility, but don't have any AI rules about staying together so they can get pretty much anywhere. Their main attack comes out relatively fast, and their charged attack-while a little slower-is much stronger. They also have one last quirk not listed here: They're supposed to heal damage every time they hit someone. However, it's coded strangely. They made it so that they heal themselves, but then they also made it so that they convert the damage dealt to a negative number and then heal themselves for that much.
This would have worked if they damaged themselves for the negative number, or healed themselves for the positive number, but because they tried to convert their damage into healing in two different spots, Sweepers literally hurt themselves for the same damage they deal when they hit anything. This game's coding, ya'll. Altogether, I usually consider them a threat roughly on par with Green Noon, though which one will give us more problems is largely based on whether our E.G.O blocks Red or Black damage better.
That said, our strategy here is simple: We ignore them unless they come to us, and continue pushing works out the second they become available, avoiding corridors they're in as best we can and Black bulleting agents who get caught in the crossfire. We don't need the energy and we're in a freaking hurry, remember?
Oh, thank goodness. There're no Sweepers in Welfare right now.
...how can you tell?
The colors. Our hallways have red sirens that go off when an Abnormality or Ordeal is in them. If you look for the red, you can see where enemies are.
Oh, I'll keep that in mind. Well then, let's work fast before anything unexpected hap-
I won't let you by! As as long as I draw breath!
One Black bullet is all it takes to make sure he wins this fight. Also note the one dead Sweeper on the floor already. Kid's come a long way.
Oh, there's little Gaia! I remember how he nearly died on his first day. If not for the training I gave him, he'd be a goner
Oh would you just shut UP.
But I'm right! I'm definitely right! They're ungrateful It's all their fault!
Mmnnngh I've had about enough of your sanctimonious, self-righteous crap. All that training you were doing since Tiffany died wasn't to help the team, it was to convince yourself you were doing something important!
Tiffany's got a counseling appointment! She's not-
Geez loueeze, this again? Tiffany is dead! She died because she was an enkephalin junkie! You gave her her fix, and she OD'd and died in the damn Safety department! Don't look away from that!
Level 5 posted:
Forgive me, manager. If you cant forgive, then please at least forget.
You all would be dead where you stand without me! Every single one of you!
It may be hard to tell, but we've hit meltdown 5 here. Not much left to do but queue up as many works as we can, as fast as we can-just like the end of Malkuth, we want to skip ahead quickly to finish Chesed's mission. A meltdown does spawn on Nothing There, but Tenebrais is able to take care of it handily since we boosted her with YMBH earlier-a good thing, since otherwise we might have to redo the entire day..
I'm a good Sephirah! I'm not I haven't done anything wrong! It's everyone else they just don't understand!
They understand just fine! You're trying to prove you're kind so that you can puff your chest out and feel proud of yourself. That's dumb!
It's not dumb to better yourself!
You're not bettering anything-you're too busy denying the truth entirely!
This should be the last couple of works we need to clear the day. Just a little longer...
Um M-manager! Please look into Punishing Bird's current position! Hurry, many will get hurt!
You see? Whenever you have to face an ugly truth about yourself, you just turn away from it to look at something else!
But I haven't M-manager, I'm just trying to be a good, kind person!
Just because you're trying to be kind now doesn't erase the fact that you called down a damn Arbiter on us, Michelle!!!
But but I I never...
No buts! It happened because of your actions, just like with Tiffany! When are you going to stop pretending that you can't do any wrong?!
But I haven't done anything wrong! I've NEVER done anything wrong! Do you have any idea how hard I work? Every single one of you would be dead without me! Would it kill any of you to be grateful for it, every once in a while?! If you don't appreciate it, maybe you SHOULD all just die!
Hod, please! You know I know how hard you work!
Medea..? Oh Oh no, I I didn't mean it like that, I I forgot...
Nah. You got pissed and you said exactly what you were thinking. I'd know lord knows I did a lot of that with Malkuth.
And here. You definitely said some unnecessary things here, sir.
Hey, I'm doing my best!
I yelled at Medea I caused so much destruction Tiffany died because of me and I hurt everyone trying to prove how much they need me.
I guess I just never was a good person from the start
And so, we clear it in 6:14, well below our target time. The first Chesed mission is fairly easy no matter when you do it.
...I don't feel good about this, sir.
Well, the Qlipha alert's been cleared at least. She needed to face reality, even if that reality was crap.
For her sake, I hope you're right.
You should go. It's probably best that Angela not find out about these visits.
Yes That's for the best, sir.
Music: never frozen bottom flows
...You've done it again, X.
Well, what can I say? I have a gift.
So it seems. I shall begin coordinating the cleanup effort. Things should be back to normal by tomorrow.
Good. Here's hoping this put another good bit of energy towards that Seed of Light, whatever it is.
You'll remember before too long.
I hope so. I'm getting tired of only half-knowing what's going on.
O-03-88: The only advice that can be given is to remain cautious and aware of your surroundings.
F-02-58: Still, it didn't matter to him. After all, he was "destined" to be a big bad wolf.
T-01-31: From break and ruin, the most beautiful performance begins.
Two WAWs and an ALEPH today, so let's go through them. First is -88, which is a WAW that breaches if we spend too long working on it. It's a pretty good Insight trainer, and a source of White weapons-but it doesn't have any sort of suit, so it's not great defensively.
Next is -58, which is one of the best Instinct trainers in the game. It doesn't breach often, but when it does it's a complete pain in the ass to suppress. Despite this, its completely unique E.G.O gift slot makes it a necessary evil in facilities which are trying to fill out gifts as much as possible. It's also part of a set of two Abnormalities, which instantly breach when they get too close to each other-this is something to keep in mind should we decide to take it.
As for -31, it's an ALEPH with a QC that decreases on both Bad and Good results. When it does breach, and it will, it can reset our energy gauge for the entire day if we don't beat it down quickly enough. Given that Dusk and Midnight ordeals can show up now, this could force us into fighting something really nasty. In exchange, it grants us one of the few ways to get outright immunity to a damage type, and like all ALEPHs its gear is top-notch. Unfortunately, it's slow and I'm in the middle of Chesed.
I decide to grab -88, since White weapons will be invaluable for something I'm building towards down the road.
Next time, on Lobotomy Corporation: We should probably make sure Hod is alright.
VIDEO: Hod Core Suppression