Part 22: "Professionals"
Remember kids, bombs solve all your problems.
Sure hope we can hang around Dazz, the person we haven't seen talk since Chapter 3.
I imagine Acheron was pissed because he's now has 'employed by a terrorist' on his resume.
In order to avoid legal responsibility for massacres carried out with Armstrong Inc. weapons, in 1993 the company technically classified all their products as toasters.
But it was very short lived.
The tone on my phone echoes through the empty hall.
I hesitantly check my text messages. I'm completely unaware of what awaits me. But after reading what I was about to; I knew that things would never be normal again.
Dunno who this person is, but I already like them!
It wouldn't be the first time Rabies has killed someone. Let's just say he can't be trusted around tractors.
Oh god, did Reiyo make this person sit through the sad clipart earth presentation too?
You know, from what I can tell, the identity of the person sending these texts is supposed to be this huge mystery, but literally anyone could guess who it is based on who we've met in the game so far and the following scene:
I have never seen a story that refuses to stick to a single scene this much.
We can't naturally segue into this guy actually explaining what he's talking about, so we talk in on him talking about what he previously said.
Not only over Earth. But its people, too. And the flow of time therein. I am certain you would like this power...
In your line of work, it would be essential. Am I correct to assume that you agree?
To recap: someone who has powers from Reiyo is texting us, and this scene literally shows us Max striking a bargain from the guy.
I don't really feel like I'm spoiling anything when I say Max is the one sending the texts. This game is a serial offender about bringing up plot points and then revealing some dumb twist almost immediately after. Or in this case, the very next scene.
Also, let's add Gurren Lagann to the list of anime stuff Klace watched and subsequently stitched into the plot.
So what, I can control time?
In a way. What has happened cannot be changed. But you can stop it -- and slow it down.
Like a river; it can flow, or be still. The gear gives you the power to do this.
So let's say I believe you. Which I -am- inclined to. I mean -- just look where I'm standing.
I imagine all of the people I could save. Those that are struggling, or in danger.
Remember, Max is the President of a global arms corporation.
But I sense you want something in return. You wouldn't just hand out this "power".
I'm glas you're as smart as they say. The truth is, I grow tired of this place.
The Ark is fun for a time. But my ambitions have grown larger.
I seek a worthy successor. Someone to rule in my stead. However, there is more than just "time".
The power The Ark runs deeper.
The power of the gods. The power to show people sad clipart stars.
Also, if she needs her gear to use her powers, why didn't Rabies get one?
Okay, besides the fact that it was never really explained what kind of powers Rabies actually got.
Indeed. The Ark governs life and death as well. This renders the dweller immortal.
Governs life and death? You mean, you can bring back the dead?
Yes. Or I can cause the living to die. Something I fear I'll be doing more of.
But you said you couldn't reverse time.
It's true, I can't. But time and life are separate entities. I'm not sure how to explain the difference.
It's a concept hard to put into words. But it's easily understood in practice. If you become my successor, you'll see.
This is the plot's way of explaining that Klace couldn't really be fucked to elaborate on any of this time/death nonsense, so just tosses it under the bus of "you can't comprehend it".
It says a lot about Reiyo that he's willing to give his reaping job to a person who's great-grandfather probably sold atomic secrets to the Soviets.
Of course this is a gamble, Max. You are not the only one who will be chosen. There will be a few "contestants".
Along with a goal, and an objective. I can't just give The Ark away. Not without finding a worthy owner.
It is your goal to prove that worth. And there will be others in your way.
Very well, then. What are your terms?
My terms are simple. Pay very close attention.
Reprieve from what?
Does it really matter what time of day it is in a prison cell? Also, shouldn't the player be able to guess what time it happened anyway based on context clues?
No. This game kills my appetite and makes me foam at the mouth.
If that window leads to the outside, couldn't those two yell for help or something?
With me right beside you? I'm not sure if I should be offended. I thought I was pretty good company.
Oh, I didn't mean it like that! Of course you're good company, Caylen. It's just -- I'm missing lots of people.
That -- and it's wet, and dark.
They call this particular cell The Hole for a reason.
This just makes it sound like at some point in the past Caylen got locked up and turned into a mummy.
This would seem a lot less done-deaf if there was art showing Kabu being emaciated, instead of saying he's starving while still having well-toned abs.
Just ration this bread, Kabu.
Not a chance, that's yours.
Not really -- I can survive on little food. Your body isn't used to that, though. I can tell this situation is foreign to you.
It seems to be quite the opposite for you. Spend a lot of time in prison, Caylen?
More than I'd like to admit. But being in prison isn't all that bad.
There's a strong chance the guards are starving you two out and taking bets on what day you die.
Only you could find that reassuring. I'm afraid I don't share that sentiment.
Plair would never keep someone alive. Not unless they were important to him. So for now, we get free food and shelter.
With a side of torture, you mean. Your optimism is an inspiration.
It's just who I am. Think of it like this: Every time they take me out for torture? I can mentally map more of the estate. I'll have it all down in no time.
This plan of his only makes sense if the guards, for whatever reason, take a completely different route every time they drag Caylen to the torture room.
I'm starting to think maybe Caylen gets, uh, something of the torture.
I assume he's just pushing them outside the window bars and hoping somebody collects them.
I know this place inside and out. I can definitely help you, but -- I can't just let you suffer in my stead.
Of course you can. That's what buddies are for.
Yeah. I want to help you out, Kabu. That's why I gave you my bread. And why I'll make sure they don't hurt you.
I don't think I can repay you for this.
Well, you could tell me about yourself. If we're buddies, I should get to know you.
Also, why would a dog furry have a collar of a bone? That'd be like a person having a collar with a golden bag of potato chips strapped to it.
Sorry, I don't really do that. The bread and care will have to suffice.
But please, do tell me. I don't ask unless I genuinely care.
Can the author please find another way to say 'someone smiles'? I think I've seen 'let out' at least four different times.
"He tried to sell me frosted flakes."
I'm sorry to hear that. That must not be a pleasant first memory.
Heh, in this case you're wrong. I look back on that memory very fondly. Were it not for Plair, I'd be dead.
Back then, he was different. He treated me as if I were a Terran native. Like I was his own flesh and blood.
I really want to know if Plair still couldn't give half a shit to make Kabu wear something other than a potato sack, though.
But everything changed -- and so fast. Politics turned him into a different man. He was much easier to coerce, and influence.
He only cared about his following. He lost sight of his true self. But I suppose it's collateral damage. Not many people stick to their views. Especially when others don't share them.
He started telling people what they wanted. No longer did he talk about what he wanted. It was all about pleasing the population.
Considering that Velasquez is an absolute monarch, why would politicians even be a thing on Terra? Even if the king allows elections, after a thousand-year winning streak you'd think nobody would bother.
You know, now that I think of it, it's never really been made clear what Plair's current political office is. He's running for Mayor apparently, which I guess he's using as a stepping-stone to being elected king, but his title of 'Lord' implies nobility.
I guess he gave in. That's when I started to feel neglected. He would rarely speak to me.
That must be hard. Having a father figure treat you that way. Is that why you decided to speak up?
No, that's a different matter entirely.
A lot changed when Riley came on board. He was supposed to be Plair's advisor.
But it was more like he "owned" Lord Plair. Suddenly, Riley was the one in charge.
And he made him do some horrible things.
What do you mean?
How did Caylen not notice this when they were dragged to their cell?
"He loved us in a seething hatred sort of way."
They were able to get a steady supply. Something about two men with connections. They came to some sort of arrangement.
But they've kept everyone alive. So it's not like they want to kill them. It's more like they want to ostracize them.
He thinks it will make Terra better. But that hurts me -- it really does. I wouldn't be a part of this New Terra.
No no no, that'll never clear PR. Label them happy camps and run ads with JK Rowling doing the voiceover though and you'll be cooking with gas!
From what we've seen of the planet so far, the galaxy would probably be a lot better off without Terra.
If they screw up again, Plair might have to build two, god forbid three, taverns.
You'd think the people running tin cans across the bars yelling they were framed would've been a hint.
But getting back on topic. All of this is Riley's doing. He makes Plair do these awful things.
But it's still Plair himself that does them. His hands have gotten so dirty, Caylen. While Riley's remain as clear as ever.
Wait -- you don't mean?
Yes, he's setting Plair up. He wants to remove Plair from the picture. Then he'll be free to usurp the campaign.
Okay, now I'm a little confused. You say it's Riley behind all of this. Then why did you frame Plair at the rally?
I wonder if there's something more direct the assassin could have done to mess with Riley's plans.
Together we created a fake manifest. That's what I submitted at the rally. And that's what started all of this.
You must have thought I was stupid. Turning against Lord Plair so easily. Especially with evidence forged in haste.
It did seem a little odd. But now I understand why. So -- what's the next step?
Hopefully Plair can realize the truth. After this -- he'll want to escape blame. Maybe he'll place the pieces together.
Hopefully, in doing this -- he'll realize. That's when the both of us come in. Assuming, he learns of your guild heritage.
He'll realize he can't escape the storm. At that point -- he'll seek protection. And that's exactly what you can offer.
He should come down here to talk. And that's when we can barter. Use your services to gain freedom.
Counterpoint: both of you are now aware of Plair's torture-dungeon, which no amount of campaigning would fix if word got out. Also, couldn't he just hire other mercenaries to protect him anyway?
I did -- sorry if it's complicated. But if we protect Plair, we can use him. His testimony will help expose Riley.
Of course -- they'll lose all validity. No one will vote for these two men. It'll secure the election for Velasquez.
I misjudged you -- I'm impressed.
Most d- -- and that makes it easier. I can avoid suspicion, and detection.
Wow -- you think like a mercenary. You'd be a great addition, Kabu. Maybe the guild life would suit you.
At least, that's the way I think. Always be steps ahead of the enemy. Then you'll be able to counter them.
I assume the first thing mercenaries on this planet learn is Hair Dying 101.
Another thing, wouldn't it have been way easier to just tell everyone about Plair's secret holding camp in his basement rather than go through this whole song and dance with faked evidence?
I'm including this screenshot because I kept accidentally bringing it up during the dialogue. For whatever reason, some scenes in this game will bring this menu up if you hit Z between dialogue lines, but not in others. Programming is hard!
Would Kabu's abs lie to you?
Nobody's really even brought up the possibility that Plair would use his presumed political connections to get off scot-free anyway.
You guys are the best. Just the best examples of bumbling fucking idiocy.
I am going to enjoy watching these two play detective.
Considering Riley very likely just dragged Rabies through the bar, wouldn't it make more sense to ask someone where he went?
Do they really not understand why the person they kidnapped wouldn't wanna stick around?
Look around for clues. There's more here -- I know it.
Oh, we're detectives now? Did I sleep through that meeting?
Sorry for yelling. Would you please help me look around?
You know what? I think I've found the perfect theme music for these guys.
Just a hard habit to kick. Especially when it's second nature, y'know?
Thanks. You start looking over there. I'll get this half of the room.
I appreciate it. They can't have gone far, either. So the faster we find a lead, the better.
Hey look, one of Rabies' teeth fell out!
Come here. I found something.
What is it?
It's -- blood.
Wait -- The Savior's blood?
I don't know. But this tattered piece of clothing. I'd recognize it anywhere, Konrad!
You're assassins! Don't you know fake fucking evidence when you see it?!
That seems unlikely, considering these two have a pretty good track record of pissing people off.
Also, Rabies cannot bleed. He is beyond flesh.
Well who else would wear -this-? There's no other explanation. I've seen him wear this many times.
That's purely conjecture. We should look around a little more.
He knew all about Lord Plair. There's no way he'd leave willingly. Yet -- there are no signs of a struggle.
From four updates ago:
Fabric was torn -- and blood drawn? That doesn't happen without a fight. There'd have to be something left behind.
But everything is in pristine condition.
Perhaps we're falling into a trap. Being tricked into thinking this way. This could be what the assailant wants.
We were just next door, Endymion. We would've heard if anything happened. Think about this logically, no assuming.
These two argue like a married couple that only got married because they lost a bet.
You mean like how you guys made haste towards Velasquez?
Watching these two stumble their way through a mansion filled with traps would be kind of funny, honestly.
We would've heard an abduction, Endymion! Think about this -- I'm begging you!
They could've spiked our wine, Konrad. I knew I slept longer than usual!
In what fucking cardboard box did Velasquez find these morons?
Now you're being paranoid.
Konrad, just stop it!
We had someone capable of saving Terra. And now they're missing -- with evidence. This is a perfectly logical conclusion.
I suppose, at first glance.
Exactly -- and there's a chance I'm right. We have to act on that, no matter how small. If we don't, The Savior could be killed.
There is too much in the balance to debate. We need to take action before anything else.
At least meet me halfway, Endy. We can't afford to be so reckless.
What do you have in mind?
Let's just pay him a visit. We can gauge how he treats us. We'll be able to tell pretty quickly.
If he tries anything funny, then we act. But right now -- it's not right to assume. We could be heading into a trap, you know.
If we attacked first, we'd blow our cover. Then everything would just fall apart. That could easily be someone's true goal.
Being threatened by Endymion is about the least alarming thing that could happen to a person, ever.
Meanwhile, in the dark basement that's pretty similar to the DARK GRAVE PHIDGET'S MOM IS IN!
That's Ada Wong. That's literally furry Ada Wong.
What do you want me to do about it? I'm one of your enemies, after all. Why would I help the competition?
You wouldn't help the competition. But you might help a -friend-.
Oh, we're friends now? When you need help -- that's how it works?
Don't call me that, it's Sam.
I know we haven't always seen eye-to-eye. But this time, I really do need your help.
I like how every single female character we've seen so far is either irrelevant to the plot or insanely oversexualized.
The irony is actually comedic.
Are you only here to mock me?
Well, I needed to check in on things. My boss needs all kinds of information.
And who is your boss, exactly?
Sorry, lips are sealed.
Sam needs all the money she can get. Poor thing can't even afford to keep herself clothed.
But I might also use this chance to spy. So don't think I'm yours for good. I could turn my back and sell you out.
I was fully expecting to pay for this. As a mercenary, I know the power of money.
Very well -- tell me the full story. I don't want any naughty little surprises. I don't get along with those, Righty.
Well, Caylen is being held prisoner. In Lord Plair's manor, actually. Maybe you've heard of him.
Of course I have -- and you're crazy. The security on his estate is massive.
That's why I've come to you.
You'll get paid in battleaxes and you'll like it.
Fine -- but it's just a rescue mission. Not much else is out of the ordinary.
But if there are any other prisoners? I think we should extract them as well.
Also, I'm open to any important facts. If you dig up dirt on Plair or the King.
Also, you may be subject to more bonuses. Especially if the mission parameters change. Do you find this acceptable, Righty?
I'd think Sam could handle this on her own. If she sees a guard, she can just crush his skull with her copy of Atlas Shrugged!
Like hell you are -- I work alone.
No -- you work with me, now.
No thanks -- we tried that once before. You said I was too reckless, I think. Chose the pretty boy over me.
This isn't an entrance exam, Sam. Lives are on the line, you know. I didn't pay you back then.
I set the mission parameters. You will charge me accordingly.
It's definitely a fixer-upper. Though, if they installed a few broken pinball machines in the place, they could call it New Arcadia!
Actually, it's the other way around. The Tavern was built over my HQ. These tunnels are deep, lots of secrets.
Remember, Velasquez funded this place. The royal treasury is nearly limitless.
Trust me, I'm aware.
So what do you think? Can we work together, Sam?
Wonder how much Sam sold the Las Plagas sample for.