Part 27: Blackmail?
Gotta put yourself in Singe's position. His morally dubious, explosive position.
Such as putting in the disarm codes and letting everyone just walk away?
In this case -- plotting with Acheron.
Regardless of how I feel about Singe's current plan. I know that Acheron will keep us all safe. And talk some sense into him if he's off track.
It wasn't my place to decide what they did. But it wasn't my place to defy Acheron's orders, either.
They definitely hired the best in the business.
Please, call him Mr. McFutts.
As if on cue, he approaches me.
I saw the paramedics carry out a body bag. I was terrified, wondering who it could be. But I got a text from Singe right away.
I'm glad to see you're safe.
But in light of what happened...I think some changes need to be made.
And then you'll have the knowledge of the detonation sequence! Just think: they can't kill us if we're all dead!
If it wasn't this, the dude would've somehow accidentally killed himself trying to learn how to play that bass guitar of his.
In another entry in the long, long odyssey of Klace not knowing words, here's him using 'fervor' in a way that doesn't make any sense.
He said Rocker's dead. They'll be calling this the Bodycount Tour in a few years!
I--I was just saying...
It's a tragedy what happened to Rocker. He was so young, as well...
Shock's hands turn to fists. He trembles, clearly fighting off tears.
Tell me what happened.
Acheron looks at me, unsure of how to respond. I shrug. Dealing with this is not my expertise.
"Dead, with only a note saying 'I, Max, am the killer'. A complete mystery."
Rocker died in the same way...? I guess Singe gave Acheron more info than us. But if this was true, then-
The person texting me. They killed Klace. But not only that. They were The Midnight Killer...Using their power from The Ark for nefarious purposes.
Why would Rabies be afraid of someone having power from the Ark? Rabies themselves has demonstrated no actual power from the damn place, and it would make sense that anyone else equally "blessed" would be about as much of a threat. Then again, Reiyo just straight-up admitted that he lied about giving Rabies powers, so who knows.
It's all connected, more than I thought...I wouldn't be surprised if Terra was involved, too.
How could you let this happen?
"Best in the business." "Perfect track record."
You're supposed to be here to save us. What were you doing instead? Do you even know where Rocker was...?
He was probably having a nice chat with Maxine "Totally Not the Killer" Armstrong. I wonder if she knows who the killer is.
I don't care about "judging by"! Your stupid deductions won't save anyone. Two of my friends are already dead!
Now I can't help but wonder at the potential/horror of a Mortal Kombat visual novel.
But Acheron doesn't move from his place. He stands his ground. Reaching out a paw, he catches Shock's punch.
Acheron squeezes Shock's fist. He trembles in pain, trying to break free.
But Acheron's grip tightens. It looks like Shock's fingers might snap at any second.
It's clear that Shock is starting to panic. Perhaps he thought less of Acheron, or more of himself.
Says Mr. Perfect Track Record Please Ignore the Pile of Bodies Behind Me.
Instead of releasing his grip, he tightens it further.
Don't place the blame of this on me. We're dealing with a serial killer here.
And if I am supposed to protect you? You don't want to be on my bad side...
He releases his grip. Shock flies back and lands on the floor. The momentum of his attempts to escape used against him.
He quickly pushes himself up and runs away. He covers his face, as if in shame.
After a few moments pass, Acheron turns back to me.
Acheron claims Shock is irrational, but has there been any time in this entire game where a character acted anything approaching rational?
Well it was kind of, you know, the thing you're specifically being paid to do to protect Shock and everyone else. Great job so far!
He might as well be saying 'welp I tried' here.
I'm afraid that now I'm self-conscious.
I must not let his thinking dissuade me.
He rests his paw on his chin. In deep thought.
Perhaps it would be best if you followed after him. I think in his situation, he might do something we consider "stupid".
God help us if he pisses off Singe.
This guy is just really work-shy, huh?
"Oh huh, someone died. Couldn't be helped!"
"Dang, hurt that guy's feelings. Why don't you be a pal and fix that problem?"
Especially with what just happened...I don't want to do that to him again.
Of course, I'm sure he'll find a way to twist my actions against me. I'm only one man. We're not gods. We're limited.
Can we truly be held responsible for something we never had the power to stop in the first place? This, I'm not sure...
Either way, you should get going...I have a meeting with Singe as well.
I promise a change for the better. I'll be in touch as soon as I'm out.
Why do I get the feeling Acheron's "number" is just 911, since he obviously doesn't want to deal with anyone's safety?
He gives me a nod and slowly walks away. I suppose he's right -- I should check up on Shock.
I notice Kila exiting Singe's office. He runs downstairs without even seeing me. I wonder what's on his mind. He's been acting a little off lately.
Acheron shrugs as he enters the office.
I do the same, as I follow after Shock.
Not the greatest when it comes to listening skills, eh Kila?
Be nice if he found a sense of shame.
Lines like this make me think Klace is at least partially aware of his tendency to drag on on dialogue, but being Klace does nothing about it.
Remember Kila, this is a sneaking mission.
Why cluster-bomb my school and call it self-defense, it's Maxine Armstrong!
Me too, actually. I didn't think Singe would ever shut up. He's really determined to catch this killer.
Yeah, I could tell. Good thing my weapons are here. I doubt Acheron could stop himself.
He's too infatuated with Dazz.
Really? I didn't figure him the type. He seemed all business and no pleasure.
It's hard to get a read on him sometimes.
Please ignore the dried blood and claw marks on Max's arms. You wouldn't believe how big mosquitoes get in Tokyo. The size of dump trucks!
Well, of course. I'd never leave someone like you hanging. It's not every day that a billionaire--
Just call me Max, Kila. My money does not define me.
Oh, of course! I didn't mean to offend you, Max.
It's okay Kila. You didn't know. But I'm here as Max. Not as the CEO of Armstrong Incorporated.
Preeeeety sure being Kila puts you a level below most people.
What did you want to talk to me about?
About everything that's going on right now. Sorry for just assuming a moment ago; But are you thankful for the weapons here?
I'm not sure. I know Acheron isn't. But...He's also not doing his job. I mean, if he was -- Rocker would be...
Alive, right? Glad you see it my way.
But your weapons didn't help, either. So I can't say for sure.
Fun fact: every time Max laughs, a child soldier loses a limb!
Singe is the one responsible for that. He has the key to detonate the weapons.
I do too, but...It's not my job. He bought them -- so he should use them.
A very well-armed drama queen.
Insanity can be quite liberating, if you know how to use it.
Is that so...?
Yeah. So maybe his judgement will be more clear. It's still no excuse for Rocker though.
I just like how Max is openly hoping for her weapons to go off and nobody bothers calling her out on it.
I guess. I'm not gonna be here for much longer anyways. I'm flying home later...But Singe wants us to keep it secret.
He says if the killer knows what we're plotting, they might take rash action.
Thanks for keeping that info on the down-low, Kila.
Thank you for sharing that with me. Wouldn't want you to get caught in the fray.
Yeah, exactly. So whatever happens here -- I'm out. I didn't want to come here to begin with.
Wow, can't believe you said that. You must trust me if you let -that- slip up.
So Kila secretly hates Tokyo, and I'm assuming by extension most otaku crap. If that's the case, why on God's green earth did he ask Rabies to the maid cafe in the first place?
I know, I know. I dug into your history a little bit.
You're just so interesting, Kila. Did you tell anyone else? I mean, the real reason you're here?
So the shitty otaku nerd schtick is a front? For what? Is Kila a trekkie under all those layers?
Hey! You keep that to yourself, Max!
Perhaps I will. Or perhaps I won't...
I'd be more inclined to keep it to myself if you were to do me a small favor, Kila.
Fine...Checkmate, I guess...
Oh, not quite yet. But I'm afraid I have to go for now.
My favor involves another meeting. At about seven o' clock tonight. Are you down for that?
Sure, where at?
"Please come alone in the room I've probably had soundproofed."
Now if you'll excuse me...I have another meeting to tend to.
Oh, that Maxine. What antics will she get up to next?
[Laugh track, bomb explosion]
Have you considered keeping it shut forever?
At Furryworld, Velasquez wonders if there's anything he can do to recover from the fact that he's not building enough bars to cover for the famines sweeping across the planet.
Now Dusk, some rumors are helpful. Can't let Velasquez's enemies think he doesn't impale those that displease him, can we?
Yes. But I've thought of something else.
Oh? And what is that, my King?
That hurt they'd be feeling would be hunger pangs.
This would be like a pompous display of ownership, in the way I don't intend...
Would you like me to prepare a new outfit? I could allocate funds from the treasury.
Something more...rustic, perhaps. Maybe not fully intact. With holes.
And the general populace of Terra is so poor they can't even adequately clothe themselves. Velasquez is good king!
No, Dusk. I must not disguise myself. Hiding who I am also gives off a bad image.
Then I'm afraid I don't follow. What else could you be planning, my King?
It may be risky, but...I want to open the doors of my castle.
I want the people to come to -me-. They will be able to walk these halls as if they were in their own home...
This will give off the image I intend. That Terra truly belongs to its people. And that I don't hold back from them.
Do nothing and let the masses lynch you?
Use this opening to plan an attack? Trust me, I've considered all the avenues.
Let me describe my plan in more detail.
Of course, my Lord. I did not mean to be crass.
When everyone has arrived, I will have them gather in the atrium. At this point, I will address all of them at once...
I will be fully forthcoming. This is where they will learn what I have planned for myself, and the future of Terra.
And that point, we will open our grand hall. We will have a feast for the ages. A ball that will be etched in time...
Finally, some good news!
You can't be serious, Velasquez!
It needs to be done, Dusk.
If my enemies still wish to attack me after hearing everything I have to say...Then I will accept my appointed fate.
For the repercussions of my death will be negligible compared to what comes next.
Isn't the monarchy an elective one though?
However....If my plan comes to fruition...I will leave to them a beautiful world. In much better shape than it is right now.
The mumblings of this "New Terra"...Perhaps they are not as off as they think. We can only hope that--
Your local doctor recommends that you not stab yourself at least once a day.
My Lord! Are you okay...?
And clearly Velasquez is not following that recommendation. <>
I--Yes, I'm fine.
Please, do not be alarmed. And old wound must have re-opened. I am capable of tending to it myself.
You are dismissed.
Yes, of course. Please call on me if you need any aid. If it gets worse, we must take action.
Nah, I think that scepter of yours did its job.