Part 25: Evil Wears Rope
SHOCK WILL TELL YOU WHEN HE'S HAD ENOUGH!
And I mean this as a friend. Six energy drinks in one day?
Why can't Shock just use meth like a normal rockstar?
Couldn't you just take a nap, then? There's not much to be done today. I'd say it's a write-off -- get some rest.
What do you mean?
I tried earlier, and it's in my dreams. They haven't caught up to reality yet. He's still in there, you know what I mean?
Remember: you can kill Klace the man, but not Klace the idea, for he will always live on in your nightmares.
Shock will keep drinking these energy cans until his heart stops or beats fast enough to become a smooth hum, whichever comes first.
You don't know what it's like.
Sure I do, I just coped differently. We all handle death in different ways. Some people can even be harmful with it.
Coping -- that's what you think this is?
When I look at the brand you're drinking? I'd have to say yes -- the contest is over. There's no need to drink that many, Shock.
I don't know what you're hoping to find. There won't be anything inside those cans. You might have to look elsewhere, Shock.
I just can't wrap my brain over what the hell Rocker's trying to say here. He thinks Shock is going to drink enough energy cans so he wins the contest and gets to meet Klace?
You're reading into this too much. It's not like I drink these to honor him. It doesn't work that way for me, remember?
Funny you would jump to that conclusion. I didn't mention anything of the sort.
You might not realize what you're doing. Sometimes your body does it automatically.
It was largely the same for me, Shock. Ever wonder why I carry a bass guitar...? You know for a fact that I can't play one.
Yes -- it's a memento. But it's more permanent than a PopStarr. It'll last forever, given the right car.
Keep in mind, Rocker is supposed to be a professional goddamn guitarist. A bass guitar isn't that different from whatever stringed instrument Rocker currently plays, he should at least have an idea of how to play it. But the way the writing phrases it, he's completely clueless as if he played the triangle or something.
Honestly if Shock keeps up dunking on every character he interacts with, he can keep chugging energy drinks until he ascends flesh and becomes a being of pure sugar.
You need to cope -- not push it aside.
You said it could last forever...?
Or at least until Rocker gets coked up during a show and smashes it on stage.
You might be reading too much into this. I'm strong enough -- I don't need a crutch. A memento would just flood me with memories.
It might make it more intense at first. But eventually, you give it a new meaning. The memento becomes yours, not theirs.
I'm not sure I follow.
You'll have to see for yourself, Shock. I'm not going to force anything on you. But at least tell me you'll consider it.
And promise to lay off the PopStarr. I don't need you anxious and jittery.
Upon ingesting more than three PopStarrs in a day, please contact poison control immediately.
"But if you start having nightmares about a half-naked fox in a cheap leather jacket, sorry, can't help you."
I know you're strong enough to do this. Don't play the proud guy and go at it alone. That's the worst possible idea, man.
It ensures that the problem never goes away. You bottle it up, and eventually explode. We don't want any exploding happening here.
Well -- this time you're right. Thank you for the advice.
No problem. You know, everyone says we fight a lot. But I always say we're really good friends.
What kind of weaklings don't just throw caution to the wind and settle their differences in the MURDERDOME?
And I think we just proved that.
Well, I should probably get going. I wanted to meet with Rabies again. I felt bad for being rude last time.
At least you apologized. I didn't know you were capable of that.
Now you're just trying to start an argument.
You think if you plugged up a lamp into Shock's nose, it would light up?
Hey, at least it keeps your mind occupied.
Fair enough -- just don't turn into a jerk.
Yeah, wouldn't want to become you.
Shock's saying what we're all thinking.
No you don't.
I don't think Rock's smiling, I think that's a caffeine-stroke.
I'll follow behind. I have to stay here for a bit. I have an important meeting to attend.
Alright -- take care.
Surely the amoral arms dealer who wants to meet you alone only has noble intentions.
Klace is a trailblazer, I'll give him that. It's not easy making a game with a plot that doesn't adhere to linear time OR thought.
Max is really not having a lot of reservations about this killing thing, is she.
Which has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that there's a warrant for her arrest in a majority of countries.
Max "You Can't Prove I Sold That Yellowcake" Armstrong saving people? What kind of hippie liberal are you, Reiyo?
But everyone else in the tour must die.
All of them? How many are there?
I will give you a list. However, you have to wait before acting. The game doesn't start until the bell tolls.
And what exactly is this "bell"?
The death of Klace, of course. Let me explain this in an easier manner.
As I said, there's a special guest. I have to keep my eyes on them as well. So your test is happening close by.
Other people are competing with you, Max. We need one large event to start this. Something that everybody will know of.
Wouldn't it make way more sense to assassinate the Emperor of Japan or something? That would actually be ground for interrupting the news if it happened. Was Reiyo just counting on the Japanese media giving a shit about some random pop star with an aversion to pants?
I will give you a specific date and time. It will be up to you to kill him then. After that, you have twenty-four hours.
Alright -- that makes perfect sense. Kill Klace, and then kill the others. I'll have twenty-four hours from that point.
Yes -- but you will have time to practice. And lots of time to set things up, too. You can use your company as cover.
Max "I Once Shot A Person in Times Square and Got Away With It" would never kill someone so casually!
Yes -- I have the perfect opportunity. I'll give you free reign of Tokyo's people. But this is under one condition.
The deaths must happen exactly at midnight.
That seems rather specific.
Also, people dying at midnight wasn't from Endymion and Konrad's ritual at all. Apparently it was just Max acting on orders from Reiyo, which means those paragraphs upon paragraphs of explanations for the assassins being responsible were utterly fucking pointless.
It benefits another venture of mine. I can't say much more than that, Max.
We can only hope Max succeeds.
Until you kill Klace -- you can practice. That, and formulate your entire plan. You have a world tour to infiltrate.
But with the power to stop time...? I don't see this as much of an issue. I'm looking forward to your results.
Just make sure that the VIP stays alive. They are present, but not on the list. You can't afford to be reckless, Max.
I am certain that you won't disappoint. Especially given this generous timeframe. I hope to see you stand in my place.
I'll do my best. So -- about this list?
I like how Reiyo couldn't be fucked to just write down a list and give it to her.
Take a wild guess on how many more times the scene will hop around until we actually get control of Rabies again.
Here we see Singe, one dead idol away from going off the deep end.
And he's talking with Max "Napalm is Nature's Soap" Armstrong, inventor and copyright holder of Armstrong Inc Super White Phosphorus. Burn the Sin Away!
I'm glad it all worked out. So -- may I ask what you wanted to say? I've never had someone so set on a meeting.
You must be very passionate about this.
I guess you could use that word. Your employees called it stubborn.
You must mean Rook. I assure you, he's harmless. You'll see if you run into him in person.
He can be very rude in his e-mails. But honestly, that's what I need. He's succinct, and on the ball. He weeds out those who would waste my time. And he doesn't damage our public image. I'd say it's a win-win scenario, Max.
The threat of being dragged to a busted-ass arcade in the middle of town probably does scare most people away.
Rook must be the greatest writer of all time to be able to make that look good on his resume.
I'm surprised you were able to learn that. He's usually very secretive about his past. I've seen him take down entire websites.
I have my ways.
I'm sure -- but let's be more open. You didn't come here to talk about Rook. What are you after, Ms. Armstrong?
Don't say it like that, Singe. It makes me sound shallow. I want to protect your workforce.
"And you didn't hear it from me, but I know a guy who knows a guy that can score you some smallpox. The good stuff; none of that vaccine-grade crap."
...Oh -- so this is a sales pitch, after all. I'm sorry Max, I don't have time for this. I'm a very busy man, with places to be.
Well, let's not jump to conclusions. A sales pitch means you're able to decline. It implies you have a choice in the matter.
I already have my men arming the building. They'll be finished in a couple of hours.
Max is a businesswoman, Singe. She can't wait around for 'contracts' or 'ethics'!
"Well, at least not lethal in the first hour..."
ONLY A COUPLE OF EXPLOSIVES!
Have your men back off immediately. Max, we are in a foreign country. We don't have the permits or permission--
Already taken care of, Singe. You seem to underestimate me.
...I want no part in this. I am uncomfortable housing weapons! I don't own this place -- please, stop!
So for what it's worth, it looks like it wasn't Singe's idea to rig the building to blow. Still doesn't change the fact that everyone except Acheron went along with it anyway.
Soon home to a factory making Armstrong Inc Hunter-Killer-Torture drones!
As of this moment, you're a trespasser. In clear violation of the law, Singe. How would that look on your record?
You're bribing me...?
No, I haven't gotten to that part yet. Singe, if you don't let us arm this place? I'll have you charged for trespassing.
But I've paid for a lease! That's not how it works, Max. It's a legally binding contract.
Jokes aside, I really should remind you that this woman is supposed to be a person who likes using her company to protect people.
Do you still wish to contest this?
Yes, I do.
I was hoping it wouldn't come to that.
A picture of Max shaking hands with Kim Jong-Un?
How did you get that!? I keep it in my pocket at all times.
You don't know what you're dealing with. Forces beyond your control are at play. You need to let me do this -- and now.
The person in this photograph. They mean the world to you.
So -- if the law won't make you cave? You'll lose somebody dear to you, instead.
I demand your fool cooperation, Singe. Or else I'll take things into my own hands. And in doing so -- take your world away.
Such a classy lady.
Who are you...?
No one important. At least, not yet.
I already went through your phone. I got your number, and a few others. Expect me to be in touch.
So how is Max not a Dick Dastardly-tier supervillain at this point?
At the Hall of Stupidity,
I think a more likely scenario is that nobody wants to get roped into another four-hour quantum physics lecture by you, Jade.
You can say that again. I actually have another meeting booked. But this one took priority, Jade.
Let me guess -- Maxine Armstrong?
Yeah, bumped into her in the lobby. Best to humor someone like that. I doubt anything will happen from it.
She's definitely gone something-crazy.
But -- we're both used to this place. We've spent almost every day here. Survival of the fittest, right?
Indeed, not everybody could stand this. Makes me wonder how the lucky two are doing. We promised them so much, and they got this.
I've already talked it over with Singe. We've come to an amicable solution. The lockdown won't last much longer.
Mostly from police who will be very interested to learn why Singe's employees probably knew about the bombs and didn't immediately contact the authorities.
In fact -- I have tons of requests already. Aside from Maxine Armstrong, I mean. This is the most hectic things can be.
Meetings are no problem for me. I know this is the same for you. It's the planning and scheduling.
Yeah, we're not gonna be here forever. Do you think we can fit all these in...?
"Aw man, it's got cheeto stains on it. "
It looks achievable. It might be a little cramped. But we're no strangers to that.
We need to prioritize the biggest outlets. Talk to the people with the most reach. Nothing personal to the little guys.
I just realized that even Jade isn't wearing pants. How deep does this nudist hole go?
To [sic] much to do in a casual setting, though. Want to go grab some coffee together?
Sorry, I don't drink coffee. I'm antsy enough without it.
Well, we could grab dinner then. It's almost that time.
Sorry -- not hungry. Anxiety does that to you.
(As clueless as ever, huh? And here I thought we made a breakthrough.)
Alright. Let's just have a seat right here. We'll figure all of this out together.