Part 76: Day 34 - GameplayDay 34: Gameplay
Music: neutral 2
The second research I generally grab from Disciplinary is Rabbits. They're good in a pinch, but sadly they're completely useless against the challenge coming today. Don't worry, their time will come. Oh yes it will come.
Our gear has been shuffled around somewhat as well. All of my HE or higher level White damage weapons are assigned to our Agents, for reasons which I shall make clear later.
So, I take it you have a plan?
You could have lied, Manager!
Yeah, but then you would have wanted to know what the plan was. Look I just When I'm not managing, actively managing, everything's a mess and I don't know what I'm doing. These feelings They don't have anywhere to go and I'm just tired and my head hurts all the time from thinking about it and apparently some asshole-who might be me?-banned drinking during business hours so I just have to deal with it.
You could try Enkephalin.
You and Hod have convinced me to stay clean, thank you.
Your loss, manager.
Feh. It's all just excuses. If you keep those thoughts rattling around your head, today's going to be a lot harder than yesterday. You wanna pay those Abnormalities back for all the employees they've slain too, right?
Not really, but I'll indulge you because that's my job
Huh? Speak up, manager!
I said let's just see what we're dealing with.
Time to kick some ass.
Since today is going to get a little crazy, we'll start with our tool: a literal heart. It is very simple to understand: We can hold on to it all day and as long as we never try to return it nothing bad can happen.
So we let Mizu do that, since she's got a big heart-shaped hole in her clothes.
It's probably just a design.
Now, to Apocalypse Bird. The first step of fighting it is triggering it, which means we have to free two of the three Birds. There's some debate about what the best way to purposely release the Birds is, but my favorite is to start by reducing Big Bird down to QC 1 to start with.
With Repression work to give us on-demand Bads, this isn't very hard for Tenebrais to do. Doing this kicked the Parasite Tree to 4, so we also have Mizu work with it. Now as soon as 5 employees die Big Bird will breach. As for how to kill 5 employees quickly
This might be the stupidest plan I've ever been part of, and I hate that it's going to work.
Judgment Bird deals a maximum of 7 Pale damage per hit. Talow has a 0.8x multiplier from his suit's level, and 0.5x from his suit's resistance. This means each hit from JB is at most 2.8 Pale damage, or a little under 3% of his HP. Even if he fails all 24 boxes, he'll only take a little over 67% of his HP in damage, making using him to provoke the Bird into breaching incredibly easy. The best part is that if we're trying to fight Apocalypse Bird, we should have a Justita suit already.
No can do, Tiphereth. We're looking to cause a bit of havoc today.
Alright as long as you're aware of it.
Hey. You should make a bet with yourself like you used to.
How do you know about those?
-! I-I told him, of course.
So, do you think we'll be able to get through the day without losing any of our agents?
Of course not!
Well then I'll believe in the manager.
Heh. Sounds good.
Judgment Bird, when freed, wanders the halls and occasionally attacks the entire room it's in for 30-40 Pale damage, like so:
Clerks have 2.0x Pale modifiers, and as their suits are considered ZAYINs they have an additional 1.5x modifier. This means that Judgment Bird will deal them between 90-120% of their max HP with every attack. Since Central has 20 clerks instead of every other department's 10, it doesn't take long before
Music: First Trumpet
We'll be dealing with all three at once. Who's got eyes on the door?
It's in Control! My clerks are engaging, but they aren't really doing much
Well, they are clerks. Still, that gives us plenty of time to set up.
Tenebrais and Boksi are set in front of Yang and Nothing There.
I thought I was done hanging out with you, mosshead.
Trust me, the feeling is mutual. Let's see how a low-class like you handles the day.
Credentia is hanging out in Firebird's corridor.
Meanwhile, Sephiroth and Mr.Blond are keeping an eye out in Safety.
Don't do anything stupid today, got it?
These birds they seek their own reunion. I would be a fool to stop it but I truly wish to test my powers against theirs.
I said no stupid.
We've confirmed the entry of the first bird!
Roger that. Is everyone in position?
All set here.
I've got the regenerators running at full output, boss.
We also put Talow and SeyserKoze in the elevator in the far left of Welfare. If we're lucky, none of them should be doing any fighting today.
While the birds work their way up to Control, Big Bird snacks on each Clerk it runs into on the way. This gives me more than enough time to get everyone else moved into position.
That position is this elevator. It's a nice central location with quick access to everywhere in the facility aside Welfare, letting me quickly move wherever we need to go. This stack has every source of White damage in the entire facility, including all of our Spore spears (which, as you'll recall, increase their target's vulnerability to White attacks)
Also Mr.Black is there for some reason.
...We're ready. Let's get this going.
Why isn't anything happening yet?
The waiting is honestly the hardest part at this stage.
Manager, the second bird has entered, and the door is entering its final stage.
Music: neutral 4
...That's all well and good, but what happened to the alarm?
It was deemed unnecessary and ended.
We are literally about to fight something called 'Apocalypse Bird' and the alarm is unnecessary.
Of course. No one has died and no additional breaches have occurred in some time.
Whoever designed this system is a hack.
If you remember the Emergency Level Mechanics chat, the danger level in the facility goes down by 1 every 15 seconds. It takes Big Bird so long to get from Disciplinary up to Control that no other threats spawn and the music resets before it even gets there.
Here it comes..!
At this point, with Big Bird almost into the gate, I do two things.
The first is to zoom all the way out. The second is set the speed down to 1x.
A loud roar echoes, and Apocalypse Bird spawns into Control.
And for the first time in this LP, I am Not Screwing Around.
All the lights what happened?!
It's a side effect of the Bird, manager.
Right, then I'll just pause time and--
=ACCESS DENIED-ERROR DETECTED IN TT2 PROTOCOL=
Let's talk about this Bird, shall we?
Apocalypse Bird has a number of options to damage Agents, and any attempt to fight it head-on is doomed to failure due to its complete immunity to any form of damage and 330,000 HP. None of that matters because we never want to engage it directly, and since it's too big for hallways it's stuck teleporting between main rooms. Unfortunately for us, it will steal control of our Agents and force them to slowly walk to its room-taking them away from us until they arrive, at which point if we don't move them they will try to engage the Bird in combat and die horribly. On top of this it spawns Meltdowns periodically through the facility. This means that if we don't stay on top of things, we can suddenly find ourselves dealing with Nothing There, Yin or Blue Star breaching in the middle of the fight-all but a death sentence for our facility.
Oh. And of course, we can't pause.
In order to damage it, we need to target three eggs, which spawned into three random Main Rooms. Each one gives Apocalypse Bird one of its attacks, and they can also do other things as well. Let's go through them next.
The Big Eyes egg is weak to White damage and absorbs Black damage. If destroyed, the lights come back on and we don't need to worry about the possession ability any longer.
The Long Arms egg absorbs Pale and is 0.3x vs everything else, and combined with its high HP it is the tankiest of all three eggs by far. Destroying it disables the Pale attack, and most importantly it will give us back our ability to pause. It is unquestionably the highest priority target.
The Small Beak egg only enables a single attack. It's weak to Black, but absorbs Red. It's generally the lowest priority target.
Putting it all together, the fight is basically a battle of trying to attack eggs in the Main Rooms while running away from Apocalypse Bird when it appears in those rooms-all the while keeping an eye out for possessed employees to pull back or critical meltdowns that need to be addressed before ending our day the hard way.
To that end, my overall strategy looks like this:
This fight has too many moving parts to let me stick too closely to it, but if nothing else it's a fairly strong setup. Additionally, since none of our targets are immune to White damage, our weapon setup means we won't have to do a lot of micromanagement and our Spore spears will keep our damage boosted against each target.
Make us an omelette, agents!
As planned, everyone charges at Long Arms. Meanwhile, the Apocalypse Bird will sit up in Control performing attacks and mostly just killing Clerks. Every 15-25 seconds, it will teleport to another main room. So long as it isn't in one of the egg rooms, it's not an immediate threat to us right now. We still want to keep it on screen as much as possible.
This is what we're keeping an eye out for-it means the Apocalypse Bird is teleporting. We want to have all our Agents selected whenever we see this, and be ready to run out of the room we're in.
Luckily, its first teleport sends it to Disciplinary so our Agents can keep up the pressure. The particularly astute will notice that our mission is saying we've already finished 1 of our 3 suppressions. This is because the entrance, each egg, and the Apocalypse Bird itself each count as a different Abnormality for the purpose of this mission. It's theoretically possible to clear the mission by killing only two eggs and then ending the day, but there's absolutely no reason to ever do this.
The next teleport places it in Information, and out of our way again.
So belatedly, I think I know what 'concealed the time' meant.
Oh, um is that why you're targeting the egg that appeared in the Training Team first?
Yeah. That's the hope, anyways. We just have to keep on top of things and hope the agents can manage.
Manager, we've got a meltdown here on All-Around Helper!
There are several spawning throughout the building!
...Nothing important-just ignore them, we'll round them up when we have time!
While there, it spawns the first set of meltdowns, hitting Forsaken Murderer, Laetitia, and Helper. None of them are an actual threat to any of my Agents, so I just ignore them and focus on hitting the egg while I have the chance.
Time to fall back, everyone!
Our luck runs out on the third teleport, and Apocalypse Bird shows up in Training. I retreat our agents to the elevator and take stock of the situation.
That is a very big bird.
It's hard to see it with the lights off
We could go in there and finish off the egg right in front of it.
That's suicide, Gebura
But just think about it-smashing the thing's egg right in front of it. How much that would hurt. We should do it, manager.
...yeah, no. We wait.
During this time I also move the camera around to see if any other meltdowns have appeared-there's one on the Shelter, but it can be ignored like the others. So far, so good.
The path is clear. Attack!
Manager, more meltdowns.
One's on the Firebird, sir.
Credentia seems to have wound up somewhere else, so I throw Boksi at it and wait for the Long Arm egg to die.
Meanwhile, we start to see some breakouts...
But we take down the first egg, returning our ability to pause. The hard part of the fight is officially over.
Alright time to take stock.
Apocalypse Bird moved down to Welfare, and spawned more meltdowns. We'll need to have Talow and Seyser take care of the two WAW in Welfare before they cause problems. Meanwhile, Firebird still hasn't been worked why?
I'll show you the true power of a nestborn you drat bird!
...Ah. Boksi apparently got possessed and picked a fight with the Apocalypse Bird, by himself. That cancels the work order we made, so we'll just quickly retreat him to the hallway to heal before he gets murdered. Since he's hurt we'll just have Tenebrais deal with Firebird-
This is how things can and do spiral out of control while dealing with Apocalypse Bird. In many ways it boils down to a fight to suppress the Long Arms egg before there's too much to deal with in real time, and then mopping up once we can pause again.
Tylana's up in Central 1, and she's possessed. This is inconvenient since it means she's going to wander around to try and find the Apocalypse Bird, and until she gets to him she can't be controlled. Worse, since she's a long way away from it she can't get to it quickly-we won't be able to control her again for a good while.
Credentia here is in the same boat, but she seems much more into it for some reason. (it's because the animation randomly broke on Tylana. )
We do get lucky, though-Tenebrais is only being called by the Tree. We can break her out by clicking on her and send her to the Firebird so it doesn't break out-we do it, since it breaching would be a massive headache.
Meanwhile, I order a mass attack on the egg. Mr.Black is removed from the attack party, due to his Lamp E.G.O dealing Black damage.
This isn't going so badly.
It's not over yet. We can't afford to get cocky, kiddo.
Can I call diibs on the eeggs..? I want to study theem
Not if I get to them first. Who knows what secrets they could hold?
Can you wait until these things are suppressed before figuring out what we're doing with them?!
Apocalypse Bird teleports up to Control again, and I'm just circling where Mr. Black is sitting, by himself, in an elevator. This is important for later.
Music: First Trumpet
So the Apocalypse Bird didn't restart the trumpet.
But a scarecrow and a murderer and that All-Around Helper thing breaking out, that's definitely more of a threat than that super terrifying monstrous bird that is literally named after the freaking apocalypse. Better sound the alarm for them!
The algorithms which dictate our warning system are complex and-
...capable of providing counterintuitive results. They are incapable of mistakes.
More meltdowns spawn, Firebird wants more attention and we need to deal with La Luna unless we want to deal with her as well and with Credentia wandering around randomly we've got nobody on that side. I set this aside for a moment.
HAHAHAHA! All alone, with a scarecrow? I'll make sure you're smiling for days after this!
Mr.Black engages the Scarecrow, but he's got it handled by himself.
Meanwhile, it's time to have everyone run away again.
Now it's Ppodae AND the scarecrow.
...eh, I'll toss him a Black and Red shield, he should be fine.
Twee also gets tapped to run down to Disciplinary and deal with La Luna. She's got ~35 seconds on the timer to do it, and as the fastest person in the facility by a lot she'll make it there easily.
It's moved to Welfare again. Take out the egg, now!
Shouldn't be any trouble.
While the Agents do that, I wake up this random Clerk from getting pulled in by Parasite Tree. All the breaches mean it's been working overtime, and while we're only at one blessing I don't want to make more if I can avoid it.
That's basically all the time there is before the second egg gets finished off.
This turns the lights back on and stops Apocalypse Bird from possessing anyone else, though it doesn't help the agents who are already possessed. Credentia continues to do whatever she's doing.
...Can we turn the lights back off?
Here's a better closeup of the Bird now that everything's working again. Its health bar is 2/3rds empty now, since there's only one egg left to crack. Unfortunately, things aren't going to get easier-now that it has fewer attacks to choose from, it can spawn meltdowns more frequently.
Like so. We have Boksi handle Nothing There, and Talow run over to handle Yin since Tenebrais is busy with Firebird.
Blue Star is also melting down, so we throw Mr. Blond at it, and I manage to remember 1.76 MHz exists as I throw Bishop up to handle it as well.
Meanwhile, Apocalypse Bird shows off the attack it gets from Small Beak. It literally fires a projectile that's like a second mouth while it fires out its first mouth and it's just not something we want to get hit with.
Think you kiddos are ready to handle an Abnormality that isn't a helpless egg?
After today, pretty sure I could fight anything without getting nervous.
Apocalypse Bird teleports over to Training and starts some more meltdowns in the meanwhile.
Is it throwing a tantrum?
Most birds would, if they found their eggs destroyed.
I guess that makes sense
Meanwhile, Bishop finishes up his work and expresses the thoughts of everyone in the entire facility.
Music: neutral 3
Gratuitous deathball shot. Also, the music changes back again.
We've got things in hand, I guess.
We do have to snap Tenebrais out of the Tree's spell again, though.
Teleported again-it's in Information!
Right. Continue the suppression, team.
You got it, manager!
Circled here is Twee, who walked all the way back up after finishing her work on La Luna. I order her to go down and help out.
Everyone, fall back!
Can I stay for like three seconds to hug the big cutie?
No! Move, move, move!
We don't get to finish it off, as the Bird decides to come say hello again before we take down the egg.
Everyone runs from the Bird to the safety of the hallway, and I have circled Twee to remind everyone that she's still faithfully carrying out her last orders.
So let me tell you about how I was just about to crush the giant bird, before the Manager called me away
Meanwhile Boksi handles Nothing There before it causes a problem.
Manager, it's rearing up for an attack!
Good thing there's nobody there to-
Okay! I'm finally here to take care of that egg, as ordered!
You're the one who didn't change the order!
Yes. This is entirely your fault, manager.
Lady Angela's got you there~
Ugh, it's too late to blame anyone now!
I swear I'm good at this game.
Finally we get a good shot of an attack. Apocalypse Bird fires off its mouth behind everyone in front of it, where it hovers.
It then grows teeth. Damage is done at this step, so Twee is fine.
And then it fires back through everyone to go back into the Bird. Looking closely, it seems Twee took ~28 Red damage from that hit.
No matter how powerful Apocalypse Bird is, its bite just can't beat the OG.
It's back in wellfare, manager.
Everyone, move in!
Finally! Let's finish this bird off!
The Agents push in. The egg's owner isn't around to protect it.
The final egg falls.
A final, desperate roar crashes through the facility.
The Apocalypse Bird reaches one final time to the sky
And then stops moving, crashing to the ground.
...Is that did we do it?
I don't even care right now. I just want to know if we did it.
...It didn't move when I nudged it. Seems like it's down for the count.
Well, THAT was an eventful first meltdown period! What's next?
Unlike every other Abnormality we have, Apocalypse Bird's bits have nowhere to return to. They'll be hanging around the facility for the rest of the day. Also, we can't have an Apocalypse Bird come out twice in a single day-we don't have to worry about freeing it again today.
Manager, there's incredible potential within this Bird's remains. Shall I send the data for E.G.O extraction?
Yeah do that.
Hey, do you guys feel different?
It's probably the wing you've got now.
The what? A wing?
Yes! It looks like something off of that Bird creature that appeared.
The first major reward we get is a brand new E.G.O gift for all our agents: the Through the Dark Twilight wing. It's a flat +7 to all stats, and one of the most powerful gifts in the game. Everyone who lived through the day gets one, which is everyone.
Hey, what happened to your wing?
Eh, I decided it wasn't for me. I don't need a reminder of a day like this.
It's your loss. I'm just sad I never got to give it a big ol' hug!
Manager, hurry and find somewhere else for her to be.
Everyone except Credentia, that is. She was in the middle of being blessed by Parasite Tree when Apocalypse Bird died, so she was never given the wing. Oh, well.
We also had the heart equipped for long enough to get its full data. It's called the Heart of Aspiration, and it raises HP and Attack Speed. Just slap it on someone, let it do its thing, and never put it back-that's what it's designed for. In the future we should put it on someone whose weapon doesn't ignore Attack Speed, though. Whoops.
I can't believe all of that was only on the first level
The day should speed up from here, Manager.
Yeah. After that, what else is going to stop us? Crimson Dawn? Man, this place eats Crimson Dawns for breakfast.
Hey, I know you're angry and all, but maybe calm down? I'm getting your room just back how you like it, sir.
Don't worry. I'm not here to kick you around again. I just wanted to make sure you knew that if I'd been in the fight? It would have been over five minutes faster.
I worked through one break today, you do not want to be in my way right now, clown.
Job's done. Now to go figure out how to lean back in a chair with this thing coming out my back.
Huh you're not as energetic as normal. Tired?
At this point, my goal is to get the day done with ASAP. The Bird seems especially prone to triggering the memory leak bug, and while my system's never given me problems before, I figured it would be a good idea to save things quickly.
Incoming clown scorpion!
I'll hold it here! Back me up!
Muahahaha! Fire, my feathers! Fire!!
Good teamwork, everyone!
It's at this moment that I notice something absolutely awful.
Evil Kit's Temperance has been boosted to 3 by the wing. He can no longer fulfil his purpose in this facility because of this, so I need a new Agent to throw at the Woodsman. Whoops.
Anyways, Crimson Noon finishing up gives us the energy we need to complete the day. And what a day it was.
Shall we end things here?
Yeah, send off the signal. I need some serious sleep.
It's time for E.G.O maintenance, everyone~ Good work on a hard day. Have a coffee break before we get started.
Will do, sir! Man, this was a really full day, wasn't it?
Keeping an eye out for meltdowns was nerve-wracking, knowing you guys were all fighting. I thought I was going to phase through the floor things were vibrating so badly!
Yeah, that thing could really hit hard!
Say where'd Talow go?
He went off when he heard the Noon alarm. I'm sure he's fine.
...Well, you're not pointing a gun at me, so this is kind of an improvement.
We survived that thing. I survived. You wanna tell me now what's going on?
Hold on, you think you're out of the woods?
We did just beat the creature from inside the black forest, so. Yes. Quite literally. Talk.
I will, I will but you've still got one more day.
We've dealt with the Sephirot spewing chaos all over the facility, Abnormalities escaping left and right, now this, and you're telling me what kills me isn't any of it?!
Well, not usually. You are a pretty good fighter, after all.
Then what? What could possibly be a threat at this point?
Are you asking me because you don't know, or because you don't want to admit it?
You know I always thought it was funny that your name was Bishop. See, Bishops move on diagonals, dashing through positions at an angle when charging straight through's impossible. They're sharp. Reliable. But if they don't pay attention, they can get their escape routes cut off by the movements of the other pieces around them. Then just like that, they're helpless.
If you're saying what I think you're saying, then I'm still in danger right now. Is that right?
You do have a knack for getting yourself cornered. Good luck.
Rrgh you are so. Frustrating.
Trust me, the feeling's mutual.
...And he's gone. Huh. Guess I'll page the Manager.
Oh, hey, I was meaning to talk to you today. Something up?
Just curious, about something. Did you ever find anything out about the old man?
Not a thing. Though, I did find something interesting.
Oh? What do you have?
Work records for our clerks. I always said they don't count, but... Apparently they can be handy. Turns out, there was only one other clerk assigned to the area Delta3 died. An engineering specialist, Gamma34.
Huh. So another clerk offed her?
That's the thing. Every other day, our clerks number from 1 to whatever the highest number there are is. We didn't see 34 again until we were over halfway through the upper layer. So, this is a fake, right? It's got to be.
That would seem accurate, yes.
Then, who would have had the ability to fake a log after the fact? Only someone with technical expertise, like the sort that could load a program onto our network without Angela's notice.
Hey, I never-
I've pretty much got it figured out. You lied to me, Bishop. Is there anything else I should know? Are you really even freelancing down here?
I told you, I never-
We'll talk tomorrow. I've got things to do, and you probably have a lot to think about.
I hope that Bird hurt when we struck it down. It felt good to watch its last moments of movement.
Our newbies are all basically maxed out, so we'll likely be bringing some more in tomorrow.
But for now our long day is finally over.
Next time, on Lobotomy Corporation: We meet the Rabbit Team captain
Requirements: Listed above
*Not affected by Attack Speed
Requirements: Fortitude EX, Prudence EX, Temperance EX, Justice EX
The Heart of Aspiration
VIDEO: Apocalypse Bird Suppression