Part 15: Turnabout TrialPart 15 - Turnabout Trial
The fancy-looking penthouse floor appears dark and quiet. If luck's on our side there won't be anyone for James to antagonize up here. Aside from ourselves of course.
Yeah, I've got it.
Okay. Once I'm there, I can put the penthouse door in maintenance mode. That'll set its key code combination to "11111," so we shouldn't have any trouble getting in to plant the cameras.
So first to room 303 for the access panel, then to the penthouse apartment for the cameras. Clear enough.
We've been making halfway decent time - not good, but not terrible. But I can't afford any more delays.
[He cracks his knuckles.]
I hope that no one else gets in our way, for their own sake.
This conversation is supposed to be slightly different since we didn't make the first floor hostile, but it's not a major difference.
You aren't hurting anyone unless I order you to. You got that?
Yeah? Well, you are, so shut up and deal with it.
[She shakes her head in disgust.]
God, I wish that we didn't need you to finish this job.
Jana, the voice of the people.
[Another sneer.] Sadly for all of us, you do. Oh, and by the way... we're going to have words when this run is over, mouse.
[A stream of caustic syllables pours out of the elf's mouth. His back is stooped under the weight of his pack, but his hands have clenched into fists.]
I want to get this over with, Rosa. I want to get away from these people and go home.
You can say that again. If nothing else our own team will feel like a well-oiled machine where everyone gets along swell after we're through with this.
Passing through the penthouse suite for now, we find ourselves in front of rooms 301 and 302, both locked tight with door codes. Access to these rooms isn't necessary to finish the mission, and depending on how you do things it's entirely possible to never find out the codes for either of them.
Thanks to our little deal with the stressed-out ork downstairs who told us to pick up the money from his room, we do have the the code for 301 in hand. Feels kind of wrong to be honest, entering someone's apartment completely legally and without any kind of deception involved like this.
Just like the man said, there's a credstick worth 200 nuyen on his table. We paid 150 for that Jolt but hey, profit is profit.
A more interesting aspect of this room is that it's the only one connected to the fire escape we spotted from street level. Makes you wonder if "increased odds of not dying horribly in a fire" is a feature you have to pay extra for.
But as tempting as it is we can't leave this place behind just yet, so we back out and return to the hallway. We lack the code for room 302, so we check out an unlabeled door further in, also locked tight.
Unfortunately, the only way to do anything here is with decking which nobody in our group is capable of. With a cyberdeck and 4 Decking one can take a Matrix run here which ultimately not only yields the codes for rooms 301 and 302 but also lets you open a utility hatch which allows for an immediate exit back to the mission's starting point. This is the only way to acquire the room 302 code and to open the hatch, so we unfortunately have no choice but to forgo them both. Decker privilege strikes again.
But, for the sake of completion, I'll show off the contents of room 302 regardless. The code is always the same - 38297 - so it's easy enough to cheat your way in by looking it up if you are so inclined. Still, the following section should be considered strictly non-canon. If anyone tries to claim otherwise, immediate legal action can and most assuredly will be taken.
Just like with 301, there's something interesting on the room 302 table. Not money though, but instead a letter of some kind.
...You know in hindsight, maybe we would've been better off ignoring this room like we were supposed to.
Even if you look up the code to this room, getting anything of actual value here still requires 4 Decking (but no cyberdeck) in order to access the locked down bedroom computer.
Yep, stealing a sex tape in order to sell it to the highest bidder is how you get the pay data for this mission. Classy as hell. But we won't, because none of this ever happened. The unexpectedly steamy but strictly non-canon zone ends here.
Here's our destination, room 303. We punch in the door code 14291 and step inside.
Pretty large place, but none of the rooms hold anything of value or interest. According to the almighty golden handprint the access panel is located behind this large painting, and so far it has given us no reason to doubt its directions.
Okay, I guess that this is me...
[She pulls a multi-tool from her belt and uses it to loosen the bolts that hold the panel in place. Pulling up a schematic on her PDA, she examines the terminal's wiring.]
Hurry it up, woman. The clock is ticking.
Don't rush me. This is complicated.
[She taps the elf on the knee.]
I'm gonna need that... thing... now.
There you go, you dumb ox. Do something useful for a change.
Stay cool, man. We're almost done.
[If the elf understands you, he shows no sign of it. He continues to stare James down, and the mage continues to ignore him.]
Good thing we're almost done, this sexual tension is getting unbearable.
[She taps the screen of her PDA.] According to this, yes. The penthouse's security system should be inactive.
Let's move, then. To hell with the cleanup, we'll be gone before anyone notices anything anyway.
Maybe it's time to bring up the incredibly obvious question on everyone's mind right now.
Just a second. What was that canister that you put into the terminal?
[She shrugs.] Beats me. For all I know, it could be full of pixie dust. They said that I had to wire it into the wall at this junction, so I did.
I'm not comfortable with how little we know about this run.
Wow, how intimidating. Sure wouldn't want to be in the neighborhood when things heat up with their sworn rivals The Barn and The Nursing Home.
[His eyes widen incredulously.] You don't even know who you're working for, do you? You're leading this team, and you don't have a clue--
You! The lady from the cyberware kiosk! What the hell is going on here?
[He advances on you, full of bluster and bravado.]
This is my apartment! I own it! You can't just waltz in here and start pulling the walls apart without my consent!
We're maintenance. Look at the uniforms.
Yeah, I *see* that. But that doesn't give you the right to force your way into my home and start tearing up my walls! At the *very* least, you should've given me advance notice.
[James shoots you an irritated glance.]
This is a waste of time, and I'm already running late. If you don't take care of this idiot, I will.
[The elf barks something out at James. The sound is uncharacteristically ugly, all harsh consonants and sibilant hisses.]
Keep your mouth shut, James. I'll talk this out with our friend here.
[He bristles.] Talk this out? The hell with that, we have a job to do and he's in the way. Deal with him, and do it fast so that we can get back on track!
You sure are making things easier by saying all of this extremely loudly right in front of the guy you man-shaped blob of living garbage
[The mage raises an eyebrow, smiling.]
Do you now?
I'm a member of the Homeowners' Association for this level. You know what that means? I have a *lot* of pull with building management.
[He thrusts an outstretched finger at James.]
Your days wearing that uniform are numbered. I promise you that!
Calm down, sir. There must be a problem at Dispatch. You should have received a work order last week.
I didn't receive a *thing* from Dispatch, or from anyone else for that matter. My wife and I are entertaining guests here in an hour and a half, and our living room is *ruined.* I need to know that you're going to *fix* this, *and* that you'll clean the place back up, *and* that you'll put a new coat of wax on the floors. I need--
James! Stand down! We do NOT need to kill this man!
Ah for fuck's sa-
Oh wait, that's right, we rerouted the alarms on that security console downstairs. Maybe we still have a chance to salvage this despite James' best efforts at ruining everything.
[The homeowner backpedals, trying to put a wall between himself and James. He's moving too slowly - much too slowly.]
Everybody STAND DOWN!
Welp nevermind, it's all gone fucked now.
Stop, damn it! We need him alive to complete the run!
The elf's finally had enough and as a consequence we now have to make a choice - either we protect James against him or help him kill the mage, in effect abandoning the job and cutting our ties with the Lodge. The most classic of shadowrunning dilemmas, doing what's necessary for the job versus doing what feels right.
So what do we do? It's ultimately not that hard of a choice - at the end of the day we're still a professional, and while we're not averse to making changes to the plan if necessary, James being an idiot scumbag is simply not enough a reason to throw an entire run away. Plus if we fail, Jana will also fail right with us and for her the consequences are likely to be worse than for us.
Worry not though, we'll come back later to check out the alternative path as well.
[You step between the elf and James.] I hate the bastard, too, but Jana's right - we need him.
[The elf comes up short, staring at you. He sweeps his vision from you to Jana to James. Then he exhales heavily and spits out a jumble of broken German.]
And so despite our best efforts, things finally reached a breaking point. Really though, with Mind Wipe we could take the elf on by our lonesome and with two other people with us, this can hardly be called a fight. Now this would be a very different story had we not managed to avoid an alarm thus far as we'd now also be facing a sizeable squad of security guards in the hallway which, depending on your character, can be a pretty rough and prolonged battle with just Jana and James (or the elf).
Between the decision of who to side with and the alarm situation, this entire section is a pretty good example of how much more your choices and actions matter in Dragonfall compared to DMS.
Sorry, pal. If only you could've waited until after we placed the cameras...
You've been insulting him ever since we arrived here. What did you think was going to happen?
[His face flushes red.] If you'd been a better group leader, you wouldn't have let that happen. You'd have--
For the love of God, shut up. Just stop talking. We're both sick to death of you.
You *need* me to--
To finish the mission, yeah. That's true. But if you don't shut that smug mouth of yours right *now,* you're gonna arrive at your meeting without a tongue.
Ah, that felt good at least. In hard times you gotta enjoy the small victories.
We're one man down, but the show must go on. Instead of a security guard bloodbath our stealthy approach allows us to just waltz on over to the penthouse door and punch in the override code, 11111.
Right, we're here to place three cameras, one in each room. Might as well start from the closest one.
Done. Get moving on to the next one.
At least he seems to know what he's doing on this front. Lucky for him. Bedroom camera's next.
While we're in the kitchen for the third camera, we also relieve the owner from the burden of a single Advanced Medkit.
You don't seem to realize you're no longer indispensable as of about five seconds ago, buddy.
This entire run is a test. I think that you're here to tempt me into losing my cool. That isn't gonna happen.
[That infuriating smirk returns to James' face.]
Yeah, that's right. This is all about you. Just keep on believing that, and see where it gets you.
Well, we almost got through this thing without having to kill anyone except for our angry friend. Case you're wondering, there's no way to avoid this particular alarm no matter what you do.
You can, however, make dealing with it easier for yourself. Deckers have it easiest - they can simply take the utility hatch they opened in the earlier Matrix run straight back to the beginning. Bastards. Anyone with access to room 301 like ourselves can take the second easiest path, namely this fire escape which leads down to street level. Otherwise the only option is to take the elevator back down and fight your way through the building, potentially for a second time already. All in all we get off pretty easy, managing to skip the vast majority of combat in this mission.
Having made our way down, we're immediately thrown in combat mode even though there are no enemies visible in the immediate vicinity.
That obviously doesn't last as we're greeted by a pair of Knight-Errant Enforcers and a Captain having a nice company picnic in the park.
(Unlike the other two composers, Everist always does completely separate ambient and combat tracks. I kind of liked having combat and ambient versions of the same track so it's a slight bummer, but luckily they're always good stuff.)
This is a remarkably annoying spot to fight in, with the enemies entrenched behind both walls and cover while our only hiding place is behind the pair of statues outside the building entrance. You'd think the park gate where Jana is positioned would count as cover but nope, you can't take cover behind corners unless they're specifically meant for it.
Both sides exchange potshots for a while but it's very slow going, so we instead get in position to rush through the gates and into the park itself.
James bravely volunteers to shed his blood by going in first and eating all the bullets. Such an honorable guy, didn't think he had it in him.
Now in a much easier position, he puts on a light show with Mana Ball and finishes off the first Enforcer.
We're still in the backlines, doing the things we usually do from a very safe distance. With one guard down and the captain rendered helpless, life has already become a lot easier.
The remaining guard promptly gets a taste of Jana's taser which manages to crit hard enough to knock out a small elephant. Must've hit a sensitive spot.
The tenacious captain manages to live through the wiping session and puts our recently purchased suit to the test.
We pay back in kind, proving that at least on the heat resistance front their armor fails to get a passing mark. Too bad.
James wrap things up with Acid Bolt. This might very well be the only time you'll get to see this spell at least from our side, so savor the moment.
The only thing left standing between us and freedom now is the humorless guard from the beginning of the mission. As a 50 HP grenadier this guy could be pretty nasty with some backup, but by his lonesome he's nothing more than a final speed bump.
At least now he'll never have to do paperwork again.
And that's it. We're done at last.
For once, he and I are in agreement. I can't put this place behind me quickly enough. All I want to do is go home, hug my cat, and forget that tonight ever happened.
There are some variations in the conversation here depending on who's alive and who isn't. Should James die in combat during the escape, you get this exchange instead:
I can't believe it. I made it out alive. The elf, and James... seasoned professionals... they both died screaming. But I made it out, thanks to you.
Don't thank me. You got yourself out of that building.
I can't believe that... not really. But thanks for saying so. Now please, call your contact and tell him that the job is done. I want to be on the next train out of here, and after that, I never even want to *think* about the Lodge again.
Had Jana died but James lived, you simply jump right into making the call. And if both Jana and James get killed, you get an internal observation from the player character about the mission being accomplished but "at a heavy cost." Regardless they all merge here.
Rosa. The job is done, I trust?
Yes. Everything has been completed to your specifications.
Very good. Now, if you please: give me a status update on the members of your team.
It probably goes without saying that this entire scene is rather different if you blow the run and help the elf kill James, but we'll get to that later.
The elf from Tir Tairngire turned on us. We had to put him down. But Jana and James are both alive and well.
[You hear Luca cluck his tongue softly.]
James' continued survival, on the other hand, was not expected. You are a very patient woman, Rosa.
This has been most informative.
Again, we have some variations depending on who's still around and breathing. If Jana survived but James died:
I trust that James suffered his "accident" on the way out of the building. Very convenient, and very much as we expected. You are performing exactly as we'd hoped that you would.
And if Jana died but James survived:
I trust that Jana suffered her "accident" on the way out of the building. I am surprised, truth be told. I had anticipated that you would place a premium on protecting the dwarf.
Ultimately, Jana's death is of course immaterial. The important thing is that you got the job done, and that you walked out intact enough to work with us again in the future. And all of this despite being saddled with a crew that was deliberately selected to hinder you.
Should the whole team be dead you basically get Luca's second line above, claiming that their lives weren't particularly important and you completing the job is what counts.
Now. Let us see how adequately you completed the task that I set before you. Enter the following code into your PDA, if you please: 5256719.
...You're sure that this room is secure? You've done a full sweep?
Absolutely, sir. We've run multiple sweeps with a complete sensor package, and we brought in a mage to search for signs of astral tampering. It all checks out clean. You're completely safe in here.
[He lets out a heavy sigh.] Thank God. Call downstairs and let my wife and kid know that it's safe to come up.
Will do, sir. Is there anything else that I can do for you tonight?
No, thank you, that will be all. You have a goo--
...Now hold on a minute.
...And that takes care of that. Please return to the Kreuzbasar; the remainder of your post-run interview will conclude upon your arrival.
Hang on! What the hell was *that?*
This run wasn't a surveillance operation. It was an assassination.
It was both. And both tasks were carried out to the letter. You should be pleased, Rosa. The run was a resounding success.
When you described this run to me, you left out the part where we planted a bomb. That's a hell of an omission.
I told you what you had to do. Your job was to plant the bugs - a task that you succeeded in admirably, I might add. Jana's was to plant the bomb. But we can discuss all of this upon your return.
One cold son of a bitch, this guy.
[Jana covers her mouth with her hand, a horrified expression on her face.]
Oh God. I killed someone. That man is dead because of me.
Say it louder, why don't you. I don't think they heard you in France.
I haven't heard a response from you, Rosa. Shall I make the preparations for your post-run interview? Are you ready to continue your test?
You're damned right we're going to talk about this, Luca. I'll be on the next train home.
And so thanks to our skill and competence the job was finished to the letter with (almost) minimal casualties - meaning in the end the seemingly enslaved elf is dead, the racist asshole is paid and gets away scott-free, Luca gets exactly what he wants and Jana's ordinary life with her cat and her boyfriend is probably ruined forever.
Welcome to the Sixth World, enjoy your stay. Time for us to return home.