Part 18: To Err is HumanisPart 18 - To Err is Humanis
Hello uh, we've got a delivery of Real Bad Shit addressed to Fucked Up Scumbags waiting outside, anyone wanna come and sign the papers? No? Okay, well we're coming in then...
Oh one moment, gotta take this call first.
Another optional objective gets added to the pile as Look-A-Twerp orders us not to kill the supremacist leader. Man, why'd we sign up with these guys again? Bah, well, we'll see I guess.
A surveillance camera? No chaff grenades required though, these aren't the alarm-sounding type. They just like to watch. The creepy uncles of the camera world.
The northern door leads to a treasure trove of personal lockers which means their contents rightfully belong to us, but they're all locked with keypads that can't be bypassed. What a tease.
Same goes for this armory door past the northwest doorway, though this one takes a password rather than a number. We try "admin" and "password" but no dice. Guess we'll have to look around for it.
Northwest from the hallway is an old old-school school cafeteria where someone has left a handwritten note on a table.
With this we could open one of those lockers from earlier, but let's keep exploring a little longer. Excessive backtracking is a known mental health hazard after all. We return to the hallway and continue through the door at its northern end.
Another gun turret, Germans really love these things. This one doesn't seem activated though, and while in a blatant bit of foreshadowing a closer inspection reveals that 4 Drone Control would allow us to turn it on our side, no one can actually pull it off.
Everyone throws disappointed glances towards Blitz as we check the southeast doorway next.
Not a soul in sight here either, buncha defenseless computers though. Let's start from the nearest one.
All the computers are locked with a password, the same password in fact, and one a bit tricky to figure out too. This time Blitz does come through however, having enough Decking to bypass the login process.
The first computer holds the paydata for this mission. We missed out last time, a tragedy we must avoid repeating at any cost.
What about the next one?
Recruit List posted:
All right, here's the latest group of recruits. Some of them are already showing signs of promise.
Make sure that they get assigned to their bunks in alphabetical order this time, Sayed. I kept losing track of who was who in the last batch.
As always, I am changing the code for my office. The new code is "Pride."
- Volker Stahl
It contains nothing less than every single locker code AND Volker's personal office password. Computers really are a girl's best friend.
One more to go.
That's a good souvenir for Sho... Soc... Schockwellenreiter as well. Humanis is really making it easy for us, at this rate we're probably going to find their super secret plan just lying on a desk somewhere. Either this is all a clever trap of some sort or they're even dumber than expected.
The last thing to look at in this room is this file cabinet, containing several propaganda pamphlets:
Pamphlet 1 posted:
You work hard. You play fair. And still, you can't get ahead. But have you ever wondered why? The answer is simple. The ELF is using the ORK and the TROLL as muscle against you. Think about it. When you turn on your trideo after a hard day's work, who do you see? The pampered ELF, basking in the lap of luxury. Squandering the money that YOU could be using to feed your children!
When you walk through a dark alley on your way home from the market, what do you fear? The mongrel ORK and the savage TROLL, lying in wait to rob you of your hard-earned gains. THE ELF. THE ORK. THE TROLL. All are parasites, leeching away at your prosperity and happiness. It's time to WAKE UP and DO SOMETHING about it! So what are you going to do, HUMAN?
SUPPORT THE HUMANIS POLICLUB! Together, we will show PRIDE in what we are and DEFEND OURSELVES from the jackals at our door! HUMANIS FOREVER!
Pamphlet 2 posted:
They say that you can't get a job because of the economy, but you know the real reason. METAHUMANS.
The ELF, with his pretty-boy looks, takes the high-paid corporate desk job, rises to the top, and blocks the top positions forever - NEVER aging, NEVER retiring. The ORK is willing to work for table scraps, driving the cost of labor down and depriving YOU of a decent wage. The TROLL takes all of the manual labor jobs. That's right, not even the sweat of your own brow can earn you a living these days!
JOIN HUMANIS and TURN THE TIDE on economic repression! HUMANIS FOREVER!
Pamphlet 3 posted:
Ever wonder why DWARF shops are all family-run? Free labor. And whose businesses suffer? You guessed it! We, the HUMANS, wind up paying in reduced sales and lost wages. Every day, another DWARF-run store opens. And every time that happens, more DWARVES flock to our neighborhoods, driving good, honest, HUMAN businesses OUT.
They say it's for "community." They say it's for "protection." But why can't they keep to their own neighborhoods? WHAT ARE THEY HIDING? Stand up for your people. Stand up for what's right. JOIN THE HUMANIS POLICLUB! HUMANIS FOREVER!
These guys are definitely bad news, though the Blues Brother reference is at least appreciated. Also this is the source of the computer password - it's Humanisforever. No one ever said the supremacist types were particularly creative.
With keycodes in hand, we return to the locker room. There's a minor puzzle here where you have to arrange the names in alphabetical order in order to figure out which locker belongs to whom, but since you can't fail it mostly serves to make the whole thing more annoying than it needs to be.
Starting from the left, the first locker contains a bottle of Nitro and the second one a note:
The third one likewise contains nothing but a note:
We already knew that, but without access to the computers this is the only locker you can open and thus the only source of Stahl's personal password.
The fourth locker contains a credstick worth ¥284 which we pocket for the common good, while the fifth also turns out to be a member of the note club:
This ongoing tendency of everyone writing physical notes holding critical passwords and then storing them or just leaving them around on kitchen tables sure is convenient. The sixth locker turns out to be empty, so we head on to open up the armory.
Now that's a sight for sore eyes. Guess no one told Humanis that turrets make for better guards if you actually activate them first. No one ever said the supremacist types were particularly smart either.
We accept all these kind donations, which includes 2 Advanced Medkits, a Gold Trauma Kit, three grenades (including a very nice -3 AP Renraku Flashbang), a Mossberg CMDT shotgun and, of course, an Ares Predator of the smartlink variety.
The final storage room to the northwest contains nothing whatsoever, so we enter Stahl's office using the seemingly worst guarded password this side of Berlin.
Not even the man himself is around. Maybe his car got Stahled in traffic on his way here.
Searching his desk, we find the super secret plan just lying on top of it. The moment we pick it up however...
Well finally. What, mommy didn't let you go out this late?
Lower your weapons, girls. We have a guest.
[The soldiers exchange glances, then lower their sidearms. They look at you, their stares full of hatred and bile.]
We could try and pretend that we're here to join Humanis, but he doesn't buy it. Non-humans can try it too, to even less success. As a nice little touch his reaction to the request is slightly different depending on whether or not you have at least one metahuman party member in the group, but the outcome is ultimately the same regardless so we won't bother.
I'm here to shut you down, Stahl. Confronting me in person was a bad move, by the way.
[He visibly struggles to keep his cool.] You've got balls, stranger. I'll give you that. No brains, though. It takes a special kind of fool to threaten me in my own compound.
In general Stahl has a bunch of slightly different reactions depending on your race, mostly in the form of different slurs and insults. For example you can threaten to "break him in two" which he'll mock a weak elf for while an orc or a troll instead gets called out as a typical violet brute. A real piece of work, this guy.
Whatever you have planned, I'm going to put a stop to it.
[He gives a broad grin.] You just watch and wait, traitor. It'll be a bloodbath.
This is sick. You really think that gassing a bunch of metas is going to make people think that you're a hero?
We *are* heroes. We're protecting our race when nobody else will.
[Stahl gives you a derisive sneer.]
I don't expect you to understand. When we bring the world around to *our* way of thinking, people like you will be the first up against the wall.
I know where you're keeping the gas, Volker. I'm going to put a stop to this.
So they did have people around all this time, but purposefully let us get all the way to their leader while looting all their stuff and stealing all their sensitive data including their operation plans? We sure do seem to be dealing with humanity's best and brightest here...
Two more armed people enter the room. So far this convergence is about as threatening as my grandmother's sewing circle.
[Dietrich's eyes go wide. He takes a step toward the nearest Humanis gunman.]
Shoot him, Alexander. This man is an intruder and a traitor, come here to do us harm.
If you're gonna put a shell in someone, put it in Stahl. He's a monster, Alex... I know that you can see that.
[The Humanis gunmen flanking Stahl exchange uncertain glances. One begins to raise her pistol, but hurriedly lowers it when the Humanis leader steps forward.]
We can interject here, and what we choose to say will decide how this situation ultimately plays out. Like with Coyote's cousin Gino back in DMS there are no skill checks involved - the outcome depends entirely on word choice. Back then the key was to take it careful and slow, here it's to avoid disrespecting and talking down to Alexander while letting Volker do exactly that.
Listen to Dietrich, Alexander. He's a good man.
Is he? Where the hell was he when my dad used to beat the shit out of me? Where was he when I got tossed out on the street?
I didn't know, Alex. By the time I found out, the damage had already been done.
ALEXANDER! You will LISTEN TO ME AND OBEY YOUR OATH!
I... I don't know. I don't know what to do.
Doing this right is easier than it was in Gino's case as the wrong choices are more obvious and there are fewer of them as well. So let's not screw this up on purpose.
If you side with Humanis, I'm going to have to kill you. I don't want to, but I will.
[Dietrich nods.] We're gonna have to fight our way out of here, Alex. And I don't want to fight you.
If you don't pull that trigger RIGHT NOW, we will PUT YOU DOWN with the rest of this filth!
[Shakily, Alexander raises his rifle. Levels it at Dietrich's head.]
Uncle Dietrich, I...
One final choice - We can either attack Alexander right now, or wait and see. The outcome of picking the former is probably obvious and one Dietrich really doesn't appreciate, so let's just wait instead. Should the worst come to pass that rifle's only going to do like 11 damage to Dietrich anyway, a bit more on a critical hit.
[The barrel of the rifle trembles in Alexander's arms.]
Do it, you stupid boy. DO IT.
Good man. Ultimately all we had to do was let Stahl dig his own grave with his threats and shouting.
Now, it's time to finally get loud.
(The start of this track always reminds me of one of the battle themes from Heroes of Might and Magic IV thanks to the identical drums.)
The moment the fight starts Stahl immediately craps his pants and bolts for the exit like the proud 10 HP übermench he is. Being about as tough and threatening as an unusually frail child means a single shot would likely rid the world of him for good. Alas, we can only afford to miss one Lodge objective if we want their final reward and loathe as I am to admit it, making a martyr out of this bastard is ultimately not worth using our "free ticket" on.
Instead we'll focus on the three remaining Humanis members, all of whom are basic 30 HP grunts. Alexander will fight on our side, equipped with a Semopal rifle.
Dietrich shows off his personal Electro Core spell which looks a whole lot like Manaball but is quite a bit more devastating, now even removing 1 armor thanks to the perk we were forced to pick due to the alternative being broken. Silver lining to everything I suppose.
Max on the other hand brings in that DMS nostalgia with some good ol'-fashioned robotic murder.
Meanwhile Stahl leaves his buddies to die and flees through the exit, never to be seen again. Let's at least hope the Lodge has something even worse in mind for him.
The two remaining guards are so outnumbered that they don't put up anything worth calling a fight, and are quickly gunned/knifed down.
Before we start making our way back towards the entrance, Blitz gets to fulfill his main purpose in this group and experiences the excruciating ecstasy of jacking in for the first time.
He comes more or less with everything you need, a cyberheal, alarm state reduction, AoE and single target burst damage on top of one Attacker ESP.
He immediately comes across a cybercrossroads, first heading right.
This area contains a single ranged IC which gets fried in no time at all together with a camera control node. This oughta bring us some extra visibility.
Heading north from the crossroads only leads to a node used to unlock the armory door, but since we've already done that we take the west path instead, finding some guarded turret controls within.
Blitz summons an Attacker ESP for extra cyberhelp, only to find its damage output to be almost non-existent. Either they got nerfed or scale harder with ESP Control, but either way summoning one is barely worth the AP right now.
It's weak enough that it doesn't even survive the cyberfight against the three ICs, forcing Blitz to wrap things up personally.
This should make things interesting. After hacking both turrets, he promptly jacks off. Out.
Hacking cameras gives permanent visibility over the area they oversee, and this one shows that there's quite the surprise party in the large storage room we passed through earlier. They're about to get a little surprise of their own though.
Cameras 1 and 2 show more enemies lying in wait near the entrance. Glad these people are willing to make things fair and didn't all just rush us in the office.
The warehouse party starts before we even get there as the Humanis members charge the turret which has suddenly started putting holes into them.
The surprises keep coming as a hasted Eiger lands two perfect shots from the hallway, instantly destroying one of the supremacists who thought standing back would be safer.
They pay back in kind with a double crit of their own as I almost get Dietrich's nephew killed by accident. He was behind cover, but a problem that never really goes away in these games is that it can sometimes be darn hard to tell which angles you're exposed from. Ah well, only storyline bullets are instantly fatal so we patch him up and pull him back a bit.
Meanwhile Eiger continues to be figuratively on fire as she lits four racists in a decidedly more literal version of the stuff with a phosphorus grenade, killing one of them outright and leaving the other three in a pretty bad state. Not like, Mississippi, just wounded and actively burning to death.
I just want to highlight this guy doing his best to punch a metal turret to death. Good hustle.
And it does finally go down after, but by now its already served its purpose anyway.
One enemy manages to bonk Eiger with a baseball bat crit, which only serves to make his end in front of her shotgun extra gruesome.
And another one goes down right after. The graffiti behind her really ties it all together, like a beautiful poem verse.
We've spent most of this fight supporting from the backlines but do manage to get one finishing blow on a woman hiding behind some shelves.
And Dietrich finishes things with another stylish knife throw. Never gets old.
En route to the next fight he summons up a Typhoon spirit from a kitchen sink. Being a plumber comes with all kinds of extra occupational hazards in the Sixth World.
It's immediately put to good use as it brings down a lone hallway lurker who no doubt had some genius plan trying to take our group on all by herself.
This next fight can be a little tricky due to cover being almost non-existent when going in from this side, a problem the enemies don't have at all.
One of them even has a grenade launcher, though this particular shot did little more than stain the floor.
To make matters worse, three more supremacists enter the room right after the fight starts, meaning they also have the numbers advantage.
A "professional" way to handle things would probably be to lure them back to the range of the turret in the armory, but we take a faster approach and send the water spirit to act as a distraction while the group's most heavily armored member, which is us thanks to that suit we bought, takes advantage of the sole piece of available cover near the entrance.
Careful with that shotgun by the way.
Max also goes in, being the most disposable member of the group. Meanwhile Eiger takes a spot back in the armory with the intention of taking sniper shots from back there, but again the unclear angles cause her to have some trouble getting line of sight on anyone.
We weather the enemy assault taking some minor damage in the process, and start thinning them out one at a time.
I have no idea how you crit with a taser, but I can't imagine it being a particularly enjoyable experience. 8 AP damage is the definition of overkill though.
In the end we don't have too much trouble here, mostly since the AI is not very good at taking advantage of its superior positioning.
And so we're back to where we started today. All that's left now is to make our way back to Maxim and hightail it out of this depressing place.