Part 14: Peace at Last14: Peace at Last
The story so far: Doskias, in his eagerness to reach the Core, has provoked a war between the Shell 5 nations of Ankara and Jinam - hoping that they will cripple each other and leave his path to the Core open. We have proof that he engineered this war; however, General Campbell has already been sent to retrieve the Doomsday Device, an Ankaran superweapon capable of destroying an entire continent, and use it against Jinam. Our only hope of averting this disaster and stopping Doskias's plans is to catch up with him before he can use it.
Which is how we ended up in a long, boring tunnel under the Ankaran capitol. The only point of interest is that door to the right.
There's nothing we do with it right now, though.
Before we proceed any further, let's take a look at our new party member: Led.
Stat-wise, she's Grubb Lite; the same strengths and weakness, but less extreme. She's fast and good at casting, but not as fast or as good as Grubb; on the flip side, she's also slightly more durable and hits slightly harder. And like Grubb, she levels up very slowly. She comes with a single ability, Repair, which is - again - a watered down version of Grubb's. It's less effective, but as a tier 1 ability, can be used twice as often. Note that it costs the same, so Grubb's is more core-efficient, although Led's is faster.
As far as equipment goes, pretty simple - accessory, body armour, weapon, leg armour. No module slots, so we know Led gains all of her abilities automatically as she levels. Note that she's wearing ArmourSprings; in keeping with the nature of her prosthetics, Led equips robot leg armour, not human. Valkyrie Studios have no patience for this "separation of gameplay and storyline" nonsense.
The first battle of the tunnel: a Carrion Crawler and two Maggots. The Crawler is a recolour to the Unicorn Beetles we fought way back on Shell 2 in the Desert Pipes, and has the same attack, just more powerful. The Maggots are the new Zombie; they slither slowly towards you and then flail with those tentacle things on the front for negligible damage.
Led opens the battle by leaping to the attack...
And while even her tier 3 attack doesn't do that much damage, it's enough to finish off wounded enemies.
I'll spare you the rest of this tunnel, since it's basically this fight repeated a few more times with variations in the number of Maggots and whether the Carrion Crawler is there or not.
Eventually we end up here, at a subway station. The exit to the east is the one we want, but once we catch up to Campbell we won't be coming back here for quite some time, so we should check out the southern exit for loot first.
The subway station is infested with Jinam forces, but between Led's Repair ability and their habit of politely lining up in front of Runner, none of them are a credible threat.
The south exit takes us to another tunnel, mercifully shorter than the first one.
At the end, though, we find a PsycheKnot - which confers a bonus of 10 to Psyche, and by extension, boosts Core by 2. More Core is always a good thing, as it boosts not only casting ability but also the depth of the core pool the party has to draw on, so this was well worth the detour.
Backtracking to the station and heading for the east exit, there's a few more troops guarding our path...
...and even more outside, but Led can repair them all to death.
Heading west takes us to the world map, but there's nothing of interest there except the city we just left, and Led won't let us anyways.
That leads back to the Capitol. I wouldn't go that way.
So instead we head east.
Here we are at that mysterious Ankaran base we saw earlier. Hopefully General Campbell hasn't left yet.
Daddy, you have to stop!
I'm your father, girl, not your daddy.
The Capitol has fallen. Your leader sent us to find you, and stop the doomsday weapon!
Stop?! This is war, not kindergarten! I didn't spend my life devising this weapon, only to let it rot on the words of some child!
You built this? How could you?
What did you think I was doing all those years? While your mother was dying from the plague Jinam used in during the first war, I was preparing your future, so that you would be safe from the same fate! Instead, I have a traitorous child who won't listen to a simple order to stay home!
We have a message-
It's too late for talk. Now is the time for action. I will not let them win!
Campbell strides off towards his ship. The party stands there for a moment, when suddenly...
What's meant to happen here is that everyone turns around and draws their weapons as Selina walks on screen. In practice, however, Led blinks out of existence for a second and Maya doesn't pull her gun until after Selina's done talking. At first I thought this was an issue with my screenshot program, but no, this really happens.
I no longer walk by his side.
Why should we trust you?
I can't stand by and watch what Doskias is doing to achieve his ends. He wishes to reach the Core, and knows that the nations of Shell 5 will try to stop him to protect his mining operations. By having Ankara and Jinam obliterate each other, his path to the Core will be clear...
Can he be stopped?
Right now, we must stop General Campbell, before he unwittingly helps Doskias!
Can you take us to him?
Yes. My ship is standing by.
She walks offscreen, and after a bit of hesitation the party follows, joining Selina on the bridge.
We should be there momentarily.
Why does Doskias seek the Core?
It is said that every one hundred years, at the great conjunction, one can commune with the Core and recieve the Gift of the Creator.
Doskias knows how?
He believes so...but his fellow Chosen disagree.
Wait - the Chosen aren't a unified nation?
No. Doskias's forces are but one tribe of a larger collective.
We knew this already, but to Maya it's pretty big news; the knowledge that Doskias isn't working with the full support of the rest of Shell 1 is a revelation.
We'll be back.
We're right next to the bridge, as it happens; just a few screens to the right and we're there. First, though, we have to get through these guys.
I need to see my dad! Get out of my way!
I can't let you through.
Try and stop me!
It occurs to me that if Led said "I have orders directly from General Scott, for immediate delivery to General Campbell; stand aside" she might get more traction than "I need to see my dad", and perhaps all this pointless bloodshed could be avoided.
Possibly not, though. These guys are pretty hardline, and fond of napalm besides.
They're the closest thing this chapter has to a boss fight, and they can take off a hefty chunk of your health, but in the end...
...they never had a chance.
And here we are at last. Now all we need to do is pin down Campbell and get him to listen.
Unfortunately...we're too late.
As Maya and Led look on in horror, the Doomsday Device goes to work.
The Doomsday Device (Viddler)
A missile detaches from the flagship and streaks away.
It swiftly approaches the underside of the Jinam continent...
...and burrows into it.
The tentacles grow from it with terrifying speed.
On the surface, the citizens of Jinam panic; their cities collapse and burn as the ground begins to tremor and split...
...and, finally, rise.
Jinam rises until it slams into the underside of one of the upper shells...
...and a brief rain of debris is all that remains of that once proud nation.
Victory is ours!
Play the message, Led.
It's too late, Maya.
Campbell is given no time to contemplate his sins, however, as Selina runs onto the bridge.
Heads up, Maya! Doskias's fleet is near.
No sooner has she said this than the holocomm flickers back into life.
A distant explosion shakes the bridge.
In the hold, sir - they're taking the Doomsday Weapon!
Doskias, you bastard! We've got to get out of here!
We have to go!
The last we see of General Campbell, he's standing alone on the bridge of his flagship as Doskias's fleet closes in around it.
As for ourselves - what else can be done? We flee.