The Let's Play Archive


by slowbeef

Part 18: Retrace Your Steps

Well, we're still at AMM, but something's a little different about this exhibit. Can't quite put my finger on it...

We're back at the Space Corner.
What's that doing here?
It's a Lunar suit. This is the Space Corner.
I... I think there's someone inside.
Like an actor for an exhibit?
I don't think so. Looks like our date didn't stand us up.

You the guy from the phone? Show us your face!
Keep your voice down! This is how it's going to go. Just act casual.
He won't even let us hear his voice.
So it was you who called us here?
Yeah. What took you so long? I expected better from you guys.
Just thought we'd enjoy the museum, that's all.

Nine Stars' comment there will differ depending on how long it took you to get to him. Honestly, AMM's a small place, so you're likely to run into him at some point, even if you don't immediately make the Pioneer connection.

Also, strangely, his conversation is in a separate script file from the rest of the museum. Not really sure why that is, honestly.

So you want to talk Hojo?
You know where he is?
Where is he? Is he alive?
One at a time, alright?

Well, meet Nine Stars. Sorta. (Maybe!)


Look at this guy. Calls us out here then turns up in this.
It's a spacesuit from the Apollo program. The museum probably uses it for events.
It'll be easier to move in than the displays at the Moon Corner.
Yeah, the real ones weigh well over a hundred pounds.

...Yeah, but who cares? Even if this thing is a costume, he's not getting away anytime soon. This was a poorly thought out plan, Nine Stars.


He's just stringing us along. Let's bring this guy in already.
Chill out for a second, will you?
There are things in this world you're better off not knowing.


Alright, what have you got for us?

Ask About; His identity

Why can't you tell us who you are? Whose side are you on?
I can't reveal my identity. Not yet, anyway. My life is in danger. As I said before, you can call me Nine Stars.
Nine Stars?

Ask About; Hojo

What happened to Hojo?
He betrayed them. He started selling it behind their backs.
"Them"? "It"?

Ask About; "Them"

Who's "them"?
I can't say. Not out here, anyway.
Is it Tokugawa?
Is Home's Mafia involed?
It's not that simple, okay?
We saw a politician at Tokugawa's party. Are guys like him involved too?

...I guess "informant" means something different in 2038, because that is the least informative response we've gotten yet. Nine Stars is a little better with other pronouns, though.

Ask About; "It"

What's the "it" you mentioned?
Narc, the semi-synthetic drug. They've been using DDSes developed at Tokugawa Pharmaceuticals to float Narc onto the market. That's the real purpose of the K Series - to get Narc out there without anyone knowing. The newest one is K-9. I'ts nothing more than a vessel for Narc.

Ask About; His identity (again)

I can tell you I know a lot about both of you. You'll know who I am soon enough, provided we survive that long.
You expect us to just accept that and move on?
I can walk away right now, if that's what you want?
Notice he doesn't have an accent when he gets mad either.
What kind you mean?
A Home accent. You're a Beyond, aren't you?

Ask About; Hojo (again)

So where is Hojo?
He was eliminated a long time ago. That's what happens when you cross these guys. I'm going to end up just like Hojo and that woman!
You're saying Hojo's dead?

Ask About; "That woman"

Who's "that woman"?
Hojo's wife. I think her name was Lorraine. Nobody's safe with these guys.

Ask About; Lorraine

Was Lorraine involved with drugs?
Hojo probably told her something he shouldn't have.

Ask About; K-9

I thought the selling point behind K-9 is the even dissolution of a drug in weightlessness?

I like to imagine at this point, Ed quizzically looks over to Jonathan.

That's the official story, but a capsul with an osmotic pressure system is nothing special. K-9's real purpose is carrying and concealing Narc. Hojo and I started selling it on our own. It was my idea. Everything was going to plan. Nobody should ever have suspected what we were doing.
We don't believe you. We didn't find anything in the capsules we got from Hojo.
And who's to say it couldn't somehow be traced back to you?
You guys aren't seeing the bigger picture. Look, I don't want to end up like Hojo, alright? I'll point you in the right direction. I'll let you in on the secret behind Narc. To be more precise, where that secret is.

Ask About; The capsules' secret

Hojo made a copy of the CD-ROM containing a video on Narc. He created the original to show to the Mafia and other organizations.
So this CD explains everything about them?
Right. Including how to use them.
Why a CD in this age of optical computing?

But...! CDs are optical! Argh! I'm getting a major nerd fever from this!!!

That's the point - to limit where you can read it.
It wouldn't stand as evidence in court either.

Ed Brown. His motto: "Just to remind everyone, I know nothing about the judicial system."

That's why Hojo used a CD. It's an archaic data format.

Ask About; CD-ROM

Where is this CD-ROM?
I bet they don't even know that copy exists. If I had to guess, I'd say his house.
There was that CD that didn't have any music on it. Could that be it?

Ask About; CD-ROM (again)

The CD can only be read on a T-Gear99, Tokugawa's network terminal. In addition, it works off a special boot method. You can't load it on any other read device. The CD's got state-of-the-art data encryption too. You guys get most of your technology from Tokugawa, don't you? Whatever you have, they're already on something else.
Yeah, that is true. Almost all our equipment is patented by Tokugawa.
They own the know-how as well. None of it's public. You'll need to go to a Tokugawa facility to load it.
We can't just waltz in there and expect them to help us.
Who says we're gonna ask?

Ask About; The boot method

There are a few steps you have to go through to get into the system. You'll need a Tokugawa ID card and employee ID codes for all this. First it'll do a card check.
We have Hojo's card. So then what?
Then it'll run a check to see if the person using the card really is a Tokugawa employee. Every employee has an ID code given to them based on family crests.
You mean those Japanese things?
Right. Select the one it asks for and you're in.

Ask About; The boot method (again)

After that, insert the CD. This is how they protect their data.
So you can't access any of their files if you're not an employee, supposedly?
Exactly. If you don't clear the checks you'll be staring at a blank screen.

That's all the info needed to end this scene.

Got all that? Pass the crest check and you gain access to the T-Gear. After that, load the CD. I'll contact you again. You can trust me. And don't try to follow me or anything.
Hey! I'm not done with you.
Hojo's the tip of the iceberg. This isn't even the worst of it.
The worst of it?
This thing's a lot bigger than you think. They've infiltrated BCP too. Watch yourselves. I'll be in touch.

Hold on, Jonathan. First comes this CD. We need to see if what he's saying is legit. Then we'll worry about who he is. Like I said, he doesn't have a Home accent. He's clearly a Beyond. Meaning he ain't running anywhere. Wait a minute....
What is it?
I smell cigarette smoke. You weren't smoking, were you?
Oh... no, I accidentally lit it, that's all. It's already out.
God damn, man. That a bent cigarette?
Yeah, you light it just by bending the end. Putting it out's just as easy.
Someone sees you doing that and they'll report you.
Maybe I'll show it to Marc sometime.
Like hell you will. Anyway, back to business. Time to search the house.

Let's get out of here.

Whoever he is, we better keep a closer eye on Tokugawa. I'll get Meryl and Dave on it.

Move; Hojo's House

Hojo's house it is.
You think that's where it is?

Jonathan, you really are an idiot.

Hopefully this is where he's got it.

Suddenly, Jonathan groans.

Was that your stomach?
I knew I had too much milk.
You gonna be okay?

Go inside

You ready?

What is it, Jonathan?

There's something else we'd like to borrow.
Sure, like what?

Like TV!

Turn on TV

No large flares are expected today, with only trace amounts of radiation throughout the day. Furthermore, shield warnings have been lifted, so get outside and enjoy the nice weather!

I wonder how long you can keep fooling everyone.

Who cares?

Turn on TV

Another refugee ship from Earth arrived at Beyond Coast Spaceport this morning. Most of its occupants were day laborers from the Near and Middle East. All were granted asylum and sent to immigration for processing. Terrestrials who illegally enter Beyond, known as neo immigrants, are fast becoming a problem on the colony.

Turn on TV

Earth aid talks were held on orbiting station Freedom II yesterday between Beyond's foreign minister and the director of the United Nations Environment Program. However, the meeting collapsed when Secretary Titov proposed that Earth drop its aid to Beyond in response to Mr. Finney's proposal to raise required aid to Earth
by 60%. Both officials declined to comment on the conversation.

Enough of that.

Look; CD Case

No, we didn't come here to sample BGMs.
The CD the informant was talking about should be here.
Which one was it again?
Try to remember. It was definitely here.

Come on, is this supposed to be a puzzle? It's that white CD in the lower-middle shelf, on the left.

Play; CD

You mind if we put this on?
No, not at all

It plays, but it's mostly noise.

Ed, this is it! This has to be the CD. Look.

There's a family crest on the label side.
That's the Hojo crest. I wonder what it means.
Karen, is it okay if we borrow this for a bit?
Of course, if it'll help.
Let's get over to Tokugawa Pharmaceuticals.
Good thing we took a look at that chart. We should have no problem passing the ID check.

I believe you, Jonathan. I'll put my... feelings about you behind me for now. You can count on me for help. You look like something's bothering you.
Yeah? Must be your imagination.
Oh. Well, see ya.
Bye, Karen.
See you later, Jonathan.

Well, we know there's a T-Gear99 at Tokugawa Pharmaceuticals to run this CD-ROM, so let's go there.

Ready to go... borrow this computer of theirs?
Provided we can get in there.

Here we are. I don't see anybody.
No one's crazy enough to be working this late.
Not necessarily. It's pretty common in Japanese companies. They usually operate on a 24-hour schedule.
So what about today?
Probably closed in preparation for the anniversary celebrations. Meryl said they were behind with their preparations. Maybe there's a connection.
What do you say we get this over with?
Now, we are only loading the CD, comprende? None of your bullshit in here.
Yeah, yeah. Not like we'll be hanging around.

Jonathan groans again.

Was that your stomach again?
I... I didn't hear anything.

GI problems aside, it's time to do some light breaking and entering.

Go Inside

We can go inside anytime with Hojo's ID.

Just so we're clear, I don't need to tell you what'll happen if someone sees us, right? We are trespassing.
So we just make sure no one sees us... right?
The number of times I heard that in LA....
You can always wait here.
Hell with that. And let you go running around on your own?

We're at reception. No guard.

Go Inside

Try Hojo's card on the door.

Let's see if this works. In she goes...
Beep beep beep.
She likes us. Let's go.

I can barely see shit.
Let's load this thing already and get the fuck out of here.
I hear you. I ain't happy about this either.
Ed, look! The T-Gear's gone!
Son of a bitch! All this risk for nothing!
Wait a minute! I remember seeing one of them somewhere else.
You're right! Let's go!

This is one of those lame "The characters get it, but the player doesn't" type of moments. We have to use Ishida's T-Gear99 at BCCH. But before we leave...

Look; Whiteboard

Look! The whiteboard's been erased.
Something tells me it wasn't the cleaning lady.
That photo Hojo had on the table is gone too.

Off to BCCH then.

Here we are. Shouldn't be as many people around this late.


You sure you're okay?
I told you, I'm fine.

Go Inside

Let's head inside.
Keep it low. Remember, we don't have a warrant.
But we do have an excuse.
You must have something wrong with you at your age. Time to bend over for the rubber glove.
I'd rather go to jail than wind up in the hospital. What about you and your stomach?
Don't tempt me. Let's go!

Just the way we want it.
I don't think they'd let us do this at this hour anyway.

Move; Director's Office

We have to go through the director's office to get to the pharmacy.
Hope you don't mind, Chris.
Let's go.


You... think I can stop at the little boys' room first?
The bathroom? Fine! Just make sure no one sees you.
I'll try.
I'll wait here. Try to be quick.


Muuuch better.

So much for stealth.

Coming up, a Hospital Director joins the party!