Part 5: The Avatar Doesn't Know Who Any of These People Are
The Avatar Doesn't Know Who Any of These People Are
While it would be a good idea to mess around with some of the cities on Mars, we're just not going to make much progress with the planet powered down. To that end, we'll need to hit up the trading post, then from there figure out where we need to go to fix that.
These little flags serve the purpose of signposts. We're on the Terra Sirenum, which is basically a plain. Some strange tiles to the east that lead north.
It took me a little bit to figure it out, but that's the remains of a road. Presumably then it's safe to follow it somewhere. Safe is a relative term. More creepers.
Some new critters. These are called Bushrats, but they're more like giant limes with snouts that explode into sap when smashed with a crowbar.
And there's the outpost. Arsia Mons is really more of a hill than a mountain.
And there's a shovel. Not just any shovel though, a martian shovel. That is so badass that I'm having Dibbs steal it even though Warren's already got a shovel (earth variety). Collect them all!
Oh and there are some people in the trading post too.
You see a rough-looking cowboy with a short beard.
"Howdy. Welcome to Calamity Jane's Tradin' Post. I'm in charge of dispensing the ammunition and other necessary trail items. If you haven't met Miss Jane yet, I reckon that you should see her next. She's got some real useful things herself. Our main supplier hasn't been by in a spell, so I've actually got more to sell than Miss Jane."
"Are you a cowboy?"
"One might say he is the cowboy, Steve."
"My name is William F. Cody, actually, though most people call me Buffalo Bill. Miss Jane and I trade various goods for oxygen rocks."
"But you said your supplier..."
"well, our main supplier's a fellow named Cooter."
"I'm afraid I don't understand what's funny, Miss Steve."
"You'll find out in a hundred years. Well, okay, maybe you won't, but-"
"He prospects for oxygen rocks and we sell them around the whole planet. They're mighty handy. Ever since those raiders from Argyre started trouble, he hasn't been around. Mr. McGee lives over in the labyrinths of Noctis. I've been over to his place once, and it'll be quite a spell afore I do that again. You have to cross a bridge a little to the northeast of here. I think the numbers for that are about 4S 121W. Of course, with Cooter gone, trade's going to be light. No oxygen rocks, no trade."
"You think C... Mr. McGee has been captured by these raiders?"
"Yep. My guess is they've carted him off someplace." He grins and shakes his head. "Though why they'd want to keep that old coot is beyond me."
Buffalo Bill sells ammunition, primarily. It's rather expensive and we've got plenty of bullets for now, but at some point it may be necessary to buy from him.
You see a short, homely woman who could easily be mistaken for a man.
"Eh... howdy, stranger. Welcome to Calamity Jane's Tradin' Post."
"Now, is it just the way you and Mr. Cody say the word, or is it actually 'Tradin' Post' without the g?"
"Chances are if you need it, I gots it. Did you run across them critters that roam 'round the base of this here hill?"
"I knew it! It was just a hill!"
"I hope you fought some of them off. Those pesky things get into my goods and carry stuff away. Right now though, with our supplier gone, business ain't so good anyway."
"Yes, we've heard about... Mr. McGee."
"Yep, he's a wild one all right. Got him a place over in Noctis that he gets his rocks from, I suppose. You know, business would shore be better if someone like you could go and find out what's ailin' him. That way, I could start sellin' oxygen rocks again." She pauses a moment, then looks you in the eye. "Would you go and find out what Cooter's problem is and set things right? I'd be much obliged."
"Well, it's not like we have anything better to do."
"Actually Steve, we do have better things to do... however, we will need a supply of oxium, so I suppose we must."
"Good, we all need that supply of oxy-rocks. Lemme tell Bill to give you some of them oxy-rocks to help along the journey." She hollers over to Buffalo Bill. "Cody, give this'un here some of your little oxy-rocks so they can go and save Cooter's hide!"
Bill grunts his agreement and begins to fish through his stuff.
"An' be sure to tell 'em how to find Cooter's place too!"
Bill grunts again.
"That should do you. Jest you go ask Bill and he'll give you what ya need. Once you save Cooter, you can come back whenever you want an' we can talk trade for them rocks."
"So you'll be more amenable to trading, then."
"Yep. Me and Bill got the best shop on the planet. Much better than that stuffy rich fella over on Olympus. His name's Hearst."
"He's big on collectin' Martian junk, not useful stuff like our oxy-rocks."
Jane sells clothing and oxium (or will, when we save Cooter). She also sells berries. We'll get back to that in a minute. Now, let's get some stuff from Bill.
"Miss Jane said to give you a few of these to help out on your way to check up on Cooter." He opens a small strongbox and hands you several small bluish rocks. "Sorry I can't spare more than this, but we're in pretty short supply right now. I figure that everyone will run out sooner or later until Cooter gets free. You just put it behind your lip, there, and it'll give you all the oxygen you need to keep goin'. Be sure to use the spittoons when you spit though, or Miz Calamity'll have your hide and mine both."
"It must be hard, to be so whipped."
"Better take some of these here berries, too. Cooter said somethin' about needin' these to get into his place. Wish I knew what he does with 'em."
Bill gives me oxium and berries. Or rather, he would do so, if I could carry them, but instead they just vanish. Whoops, gotta reload!
That's better. This is one of the major issues with Martian Dreams. It is very important to keep plenty of free inventory slots for circumstances like this, especially towards the end of the game. If something critical is lost, it could be bad news.
"By the way, Steve, any chance Nellie and I can have a ration of oxium to operate at prime efficiency?"
"In due time, Warren. In due time."
"That doesn't even make sense."
Low-tech weaponry is also available around the trading post. There's no penalty for stealing, so i can grab the sling and bow and arrows just in case.
I also swap Steve out of lame women's clothing for a cowboy hat and a duster. The pith helmet goes to Warren, who looks like a pith helmet kinda guy if you ask me.
Sextellegers are the first sign of difficulty on Mars. They can really tear into Steve, and it takes a lot of gunfire to bring them down.
Fortunately, they travel in very small packs (1-3) and run away when they're badly injured.
Not far from there is the Martian canal. It's dried up now, but very obviously artificial. Those switches might control the bridge, but with the planetary power grid down and the canals empty, it's probably not a good idea.
Creeping Cactus. It's getting weirder out here. Not only is the catcus surprisingly strong (especially for, well, cactus), it travels in packs. Big packs. Shotguns are helpful here.
But even then, I can take a lot of damage, so it's back to the canal to unroll the tent Dibbs was carrying in his backpack. About a half-day's rest is sufficient to heal up to full (unlike U6).
Also, strange dreams for Steve and Nellie.
You can probably guess, but the two of them have gained levels. One fight later and Spector and Dibbs do as well. The book/heart/sword obviously refers to Intelligence/Dexterity/Strength. For now, everybody's getting strength.
I'm not sure if it's just easier to level in Martian Dreams, or if stuff on Mars gives more experience, but it doesn't really take a lot of killing to level up.
This must be Noctis. "Labyrinths" are canyons on the Martian surface.
This canyon is full of many monsters, like Martian Jumping Beans.
Let me say that again.
Martian Jumping Beans.
Sand Trappers that kinda resemble the Hitchhiker's Guide planet thing. You know the one. They're resilient, but can't move very well, so standing at a distance and firing works.
Everything out here leaves green sap behind when it dies. It isn't too much of a stretch to guess that most things on Mars are actually plants, albeit strange creature-like plants.
I couldn't find a cave or anything for a while, then I just happened upon this one.
The broken oxium shards in these sacks isn't the real big deal in here. The big deal is the bags themselves. More storage space, baby!
A horde of Ammonoids guards a narrow passageway that has boxes and chests shoved into it. Clearing them out, I find a man behind 'em.
You see a crusty, weathered-looking man wearing cowboy clothes.
"Thanks, pardner. I thought those gol-durned critters would eat me fer sure. How in the wide world of Mars did you get here, anyhow? Did you find my note?"
"I not only didn't find your note, I couldn't even find your HOUSE."
"Oh well, I'm jest glad that yore here! Tell you what pardner, how's about I give you a bodacious ree-ward for helpin' me out."
"Did he just say bodacious?"
"I'm honestly not sure either, on this one."
"I'll tell you where I hid a map that shows where I hid some stashes of them oxygen rocks. On Mars they're as good as gold. I buried it to keep them varmint raiders from takin' it and lootin' my stashes. It's hid one pace west of the sign left by the explorers at Corprates Chasma."
"Ah, yes madam, I was speaking to you earlier and-"
"There's three of them fellas. They run all about the planet and place markers so's peopel can find their way about. There names are Sherman, Yellin, and Major Duprey."
"Sherman, Yellin, and Duprey."
"Oh God. Oh God."
"I'm afraid I don't understand."
"It might be for the best that we don't."
"Sherman's got a sense of die-rection that makes you think he's got a compass stuck in his head. Yellin's a quiet fella. He's an ant-throw-polly-jist... I guess that means he studies bugs. Duprey shore is one rough, tough son of a gun. I'd not cross him if I was you."
"You've been prospecting this oxium material for a while now, Mr. McGee?"
"Call me Cooter. Cooter, and proud of it!"
"I'm a prospecter, an' I've done pretty well fer myself too. Leastways, until them gol-darned raiders from Argyre came and captured me."
"What are you talking about? You were trapped by some bugs. I didn't see any raiders."
"They're a bunch of low-down, good-fer-nothing varmints what hog-tied me up an' captured me."
"Again, doesn't jive with the circumstances of our meeting, but go on."
"Said that I had gone an' angered their boss, a Russian fella named Rasputin. He stowed away on Mr. Lowell's cannon ship. Turned a bunch of the hired hands against us, too. Now he's tryin' to take over the oxy-rock market, shore 'nuff. He sent a note that threatened unless I came here with the map, he'd do me in. Guess I showed him a thing or two, huh?"
"Apparently not, since he left you here for dead and Martian wildlife nearly ate you."
"Well, I gots little caches hid all over the place. Most of them are small, an' the map shows where they are. I'm still tryin' to get my hands on the motherlode that I seen, though. I was down explorin' at the station at McLaughlin. Down under in the underground, there's what's got to be a ton of more of them big oxy-rocks. If it weren't for that darned door, I'd have gotten a whole lot of it by now, an' be set fer life. The whole load's behind this dag-nabbed door that runs on eee-lectricity. Problem is, there ain't no durned power to run the thing. I jest can't stand to think about all them oxy-rocks, stuck behind that door."
"You say the door is electrically-powered?"
"Well, I aint' no eee-lectrician, but I figure that there's gotta be some way there at McLaughlin to turn it on. I'd bet that Edison fella could figure it out. He and a bunch of other well-to-do folks decided to live on Mount Olympus. I decided that I'd rather go prospectin' and make my own place than live up there. They're mighty picky about who they let in up there. Right unfriendly and stuck up."
I was supposed to find Cooter's cave and use a purple berry to flip a remote switch to lower a plank bridge or something across a chasm. When you eated the purple berries, they grant you telekinesis for a brief period of time. That's what I meant by no 'real' magic in this game; eating berries has random magic-like effects, but they're all temporary.
Surprisingly, I found this spot rather easily after leaving Cooter's cave.
There's the map Cooter mentioned. Let's see where his oxium stashes are!
Adorable. All it needs is a "Cooter McGee, Age 41" and a little stick figure drawing of a Martian Jumping Bean.