Part 19: PosthumanismPart 19 - Posthumanism
We emerge from the compound to find the previously quiet courtyard infested with Humanis. Seems our smuggler buddies could use a hand.
With the ongoing survival of Dietrich's nephew and er, Blitz's drone...? at the forefront of our minds, we jump into the fray.
Whether or not Maxim feels like surviving is largely up to the infamously spiteful gods of RNG, but first sniping off one of the enemies closest to them will go a long way toward turning the odds in his favor.
Maxim's group gets to act after us, and in the distance we see a Humanis mage quickly fall to a hail of bullets flying from the darkness like a swarm of sentient pieces of anti-racist liqorice.
In return they attack the darkness, and we can only hope that isn't an elf in front of them or Maxim might already be in dire straits.
Alexander once again ends up being our team's punching bag as he gets tag-teamed and suffers a nasty burn from a mage. Maybe he deserves to be knocked around a bit for his poor decisions anyway.
Eiger on the other hand is in her element in the open battlefield, delivering further assistance to our pals with speed and precision. Some people prefer giving her an assault rifle since they deal the most damage, but the satisfaction factor of snipers is on a whole different level.
As Alexander pulls back, Dietrich takes some revenge on the jerks bullying his nephew. Weird uncles get a lot more intimidating when they can throw magical balls of lightning around.
Blitz then hogs the glory as he and Max finish the two off. SMGs might not be the strongest weapon type but at close range they'll chew through unarmored targets just fine.
This woman spent the fight Mind Wiped so we clear her out of the way before she manages to cause trouble. I don't bother pointing it out each time but you can assume there's always one enemy wandering around drooling all over themselves in most every fight.
As we rush in to help the smugglers, we find Maxim bleeding out a defenseless pile of crates. He's having none of this Solid Snake bullshit today.
The mysterious box man (who was actually just out of our line of sight) ends up prolonging this fight by several minutes all by his lonesome by having too much cover and HP, but eventually he goes down to a death of a thousand cuts and blessed silence returns once more.
[Maxim looks up at the sound of your approach. If he's surprised to see you, he doesn't show it.]
No money. But there *are* a few less racists in the world. All in all, I think that we can call this one a win.
[He nods.] I can live with that.
Thank Christ that's over with. You okay, Alexander?
Actually you didn't get a single finishing blow at all, so that's a factually incorrect statement IMMERSION RUINED FOREVER THANKS HBS
Couldn't be helped. If you hadn't, he'd've killed you. Believe it. We're gonna take you away from here. Back to the Kreuzbasar. Get you the help that you need.
Yeah... okay, Uncle. Okay.
[Dietrich glances over his shoulder. Locks eyes with you.]
Thanks for this, boss. My nephew is safe, and I owe you. One other thing - the Dragonslayer is happy, too. We just did a ballsy thing, protected my family, and gave a monster a bloody nose in the process.
Glad to hear that He approves.
I don't mean to break this up, but we need to get moving. Kid, you're with us... the rest of you, pile into that other van. You can continue having your moment when we get back to Schattennest.
And so we get into the car and head back home, apparently leaving the terrifying rage gas in the supremacist compound because nobody involved was paid to do anything about that part. Ah well, someone else's problem now...
Always good to be back. We get a very respectable 8 Karma for this one, but we get a call before getting to properly savor it.
Paul's news are going to have to wait for a bit because in total there's about two updates' worth of talking to be had in the Kreuzbasar now, and I think we should properly wrap up everything related to the Humanis run first before jumping into that seemingly bottomless well of personal problems. Makes it a bit easier to keep everything straight, y'know?
We will go over these crew level ups we got though!
Frag Grenade Boost: Eiger now carries a Cavalier Frag Grenade instead of a Fichetti Frag Grenade, dealing +4 damage.
Flashbang Grenade: Eiger now carries a Knight-Errant Flashbang grenade which deals 2 AP damage and makes affected targets easier to hit.
The perks offered at this level are mostly pretty boring. In Eiger's case the choice is pretty easy as well, flashbangs are simply far more useful than ordinary grenades and in most cases two shots from Eiger will outdamage even a Cavalier Frag Grenade anyway.
Earth Attunement: Dietrich now carries an Earth Elemental Fetish.
Fire Attunement: Dietrich now carries a Fire Elemental Fetish.
Dietrich increases his kink repertoire with an extra fetish. Free and automatically replenishing elemental fetishes are an easily overlooked but actually pretty nice bonus - the biggest issue playing a shaman PC is that fetishes are single use and buying more quickly gets expensive, in practice meaning you almost never use them. Dietrich always buys his own so you can be pretty liberal with them.
That said like fishnets or cheerleaders these are both low-level fetishes and thus neither spirit is super useful in combat, meaning the choice pretty much comes down to which skill you like more - Fire Elemental's Blind or Earth Elemental's Guard. Blind is identical to the mage spell with slightly shorter cooldown, knocking out one enemy for a couple of turns. Obviously useful, though the effect disappears if the elemental leaves the group which makes it somewhat less reliable than our version.
Guard meanwhile is something new entirely, a 3-tile radius group buff (not an aura so it "sticks") which gives everyone organic affected Medium cover bonus for 4 turns no matter where they are for as long as the spirit stays in the group. To reiterate, Guard makes everyone unflankable, uncrittable, harder to hit, likely to take only 50% damage and even provides cover bonus against melee attacks which is something not even normally possible.
What I'm saying is that Guard is mad balls amazing and its only weakness is being tied to the elemental's ongoing existence which is never 100% guaranteed. Still, Earth Attunement is the winner here.
Medical Specialist I: Glory now carries a Premium Medkit (+30 HP) instead of a Basic Medkit (+10 HP).
Trauma Specialist I: Glory now carries a Gold Trauma Kit (Revive at 50% HP) instead of a Basic Trauma Kit (Revive at 30% HP).
Glory gets a simple upgrade choice between two healing items. Since Basic Medkits are junk, people getting wounded is much more common than people getting killed, and being better at the former also safeguards against the latter, the Premium Medkit is another easy choice.
She also continues to grow the fastest, once again getting the largest amount of skill ups. Unless Blitz who is now joining us in the level up club for the first time can outdo her efforts?
...Blitz what the hell man
SMG Upgrade: Blitz's trusty submachine gun now pierces 1 point of Armor.
Augmented Vision: Blitz's basic cybereyes are upgraded to a deluxe model. Accuracy increased by 3%, for a total of 6%.
The team redhead's bonuses are as half-assed as his stat-ups. Accuracy is more universally useful than measly 1 armor penetration on a gun he doesn't even use full time so we'll go with that, but I find no joy in making such a choice.
With our self-improvement out of the way, it's time to bring the good news to Samuel.
Hello again, meine Freundin. What can I do for you?
I've uncovered what Humanis is up to. You'll find the details on this data pad.
[Beckenbauer eyes the plans on the datapad, then nods grimly.]
This fits with Humanis' established pattern of behavior. Horrific and vile. According to this datapad, Humanis compounds all over Berlin have received similar shipments. They are planning to deploy the gas tomorrow morning.
Good thing Stahl left those plans on his desk for us to pick up before confronting us instead of running off with them when we let him live. Boy would that have been a whole chicken coop's worth of acid-filled eggs on everyone's faces!
[He exhales sharply, then nods again.] I have a feeling that the Flux-State will have a thing or two to say about that.
I owe you a great deal, Rosa. We all do. I will wire your payment to the account number that Amsel provided.
Pleasure doing business with you. And while I'm here, is your organization accepting new donations?
Trodes are head-worn devices which allow for direct neural interfacing without the need of a datajack, for example allowing non-deckers to accompany actual deckers in the Matrix.
With 400 nuyen, we could make the purchase. Whatever you could spare would be most appreciated.
I think we all know the deal by now.
Here, just take what you need. I've got you covered.
That's incredibly generous. Thank you, meine Freundin.
It was my pleasure, Samuel. Anything to help.
[He nods.] You are a true friend of the Kreuzbasar.
Next we make a quick stop to deliver the donor list.
Our reward is 500 nuyen and 1 Karma. Not bad at all for such an easy task.
Let's get our business with Luca out of the way too.
Welcome back, runner.
The Humanis leader is safe. Hope that pays off.
It does, for you. Here's your pay.
1,000 nuyen, which is probably the most we've ever been paid not to do something. Duerr has a lot more to say if you kill Stahl and fail his task, but we'll cover that in the next update when we redo the mission with a hmm, different approach.
Like I said there's a lot of dialogue to cover but we'll leave the rest of the tour for later.
Likewise all our crew members are willing to continue their life stories, but let's deal with one thing at a time. For now let's get some opinions on the Humanis run, starting with this slacker. +1 Quickness, Lord have mercy...
[He stubs out a cigarette.] Rosa. I was hoping I'd see you. Do you have another run lined up for us yet? I'm strapped for cash.
Don't worry, we're doing fine on the job front. Amsel's been working overtime.
Oh, thank God. And thank *you,* chief. Thank Paul, too, come to think of it. So, uh... did you have a question for me? Or was this a social call?
Any thoughts about that last run that you'd like to share?
Never been a big fan of policlubs in general, let alone a bunch of swine like Humanis. How an idiot like Stahl could attract so many followers is beyond me. I wish that the bastard hadn't gotten away, but oh well. We did what we went there to do.
We'll have to inquire more about his money problems later.
It's our fearless leader. What do you need?
Any thoughts about that last run?
After all of the moral ambiguity that we've been wading through, hitting Humanis was *incredibly* satisfying. What they had planned... it makes my blood boil just thinking about it.
Aside from Dietrich (obviously), Eiger is the only one who has different dialogue if Alexander doesn't survive the run. Spoilers, Alexander's 100% not going to survive the run next time so we'll see it then.
I still wish that I could've put a bullet in Stahl's spine. But if the fallout from tonight's run is as far-reaching as I think it's gonna be, he's probably going to wind up wishing that he were dead, and that's almost as satisfying.
Have you ever heard of an organization called "The Lodge"?
We can now also bring Luca's organization up with everyone rather than just Blitz.
Afraid not. If it's a Berlin thing, you might be better off talking to one of the others. They've all been here longer than I have.
Going down the list...
I sense character development... which we'll ignore for now.
Any thoughts about that last run?
I have no strong feelings about the run one way or the other. Humanis is, of course, a horrible organization... but then, so is every other target we've run against. To say that they deserved it would be redundant.
[She pauses for a moment to consider.]
I suppose that it would have been nice to see Stahl die. But his days are numbered anyway. When the F-State discovers what he was planning, he's going to wish that he was never born.
In Hong Kong only people who actually took part in the run will comment on what happened, which probably makes more sense. Bane of any dialogue completionists though, not that these games are good for such people's sanity in the first place.
Have you ever heard of an organization called "The Lodge"?
[She shrugs.] I've heard of a lot of lodges. Shamanic lodges, nature lodges, hunting lodges. Can you be more specific?
A secretive organization with a lot of pull. Not big on telling the truth. Any of that sound familiar?
[She pauses for a moment, considering. Finally, she shakes her head.]
Nothing is coming to me, sorry. Dietrich might be able to help - he's been in Berlin longer than any of us, and if this "Lodge" does have shamanic connections, he'd be the most likely one to know.
I'll ask him. Thanks.
The rest of the crew didn't have much to say, but Dietrich of course is a different story.
I'll be taking you up on that before this thing's over.
[He grins.] Wouldn't doubt it. I'd take a bullet for you, boss... I owe it to you. For Alexander's sake. He's a good kid, that nephew of mine. Give him some time, and he'll shake Stahl's programming. It might take a while, but he'll adjust to life here in the Kreuzbasar.
Saving Alexander means we're now best buddies for life with Dietrich, which is undoubtedly the most valuable reward for getting the good ending for the Humanis run.
In the meantime, I've found a good home for him. Samuel's agreed to take him in.
Is that wise? Samuel's employees have no love for Humanis... most of them don't even like humans.
First few days'll be rough, no question. But he'll make it through, and come out the other side a better man for it.
Like with Silke, we can ask Samuel about how he's doing later on.
He seems like a tough kid. I don't doubt that you're right.
[He claps you on the shoulder.] You're a good woman, boss. On to other things... remember what I was tellin' you, back before we climbed into the van?
Yeah... you were saying that the Dragonslayer was happy, and that you'd been given a reward.
That's right. Thanks to our - let's not mince words - *heroic* actions back in that swine pit, the Dragonslayer has seen fit to grant me His favor.
[His grin widens.]
And now I know what that means, and what I can do with it.
Well? Don't keep me in suspense.
[He gestures at the ground near his feet.]
You've learned to release psychedelic gas from your shoes? I mean I can see the recreational uses but...
Ah nevermind, it's just the usual raw magical power deal.
[He crosses his arms.] Not bad, huh?
What about another mage or shaman? Could someone else benefit from one of these channels, too?
[He shrugs.] Don't see why not. Like I said, it's basically a ley line... as long as you're on the Dragonslayer's good side, I don't see why you couldn't use it. My idol, He isn't stingy with His gifts.
So yeah, Dietrich now has the ability to create a Light Leyline on any nearby tile for a couple of turns. Light Leylines only provide +5% accuracy to Mage spells which... really isn't much and were we not playing a Mage ourselves, would benefit practically no one in the crew. It's only when it eventually gets upgraded into creating a Medium Leyline that it becomes something worth spending AP on.
Anyway, boss. I want to keep fiddling with this... learning to properly control it. And I'm sure that you've got things to do as well. You take care of whatever else that needs doing, and by our next run, I'll be ready to use this.
Sounds good. Before I go though, any other thoughts on that Humanis run?
We hit Humanis hard, we stopped 'em in their tracks, and we got my nephew out of there. Fuckin' *great* work in there, boss. My only regret is that Stahl got away. But at least we knocked him down a peg.
Not even Dietrich is too upset about Volker getting away, which says a lot about how significant that guy really was.
Have you ever heard of an organization called "The Lodge"?
[He freezes up.] "Lodge." Uh, boss... do you mean the *Black* Lodge?
I don't know. Maybe. "Lodge" was all that I heard.
Um. Lemme describe 'em to you, and you can tell me if what I'm saying fits.
That's them in a nutshell, yeah.
Well, if it's them - and whoever you're talkin' about, I ain't sayin' it is - then I'd advise you to stay away from 'em. Stay far, far away. And whatever you do, don't take their money. If you do, they'll own you.
Heh yeah sounds like you'd have to be a real idiot to do something that irresponsible just for an easy payday
Um. Dietrich, I have something to tell you...
If you're about to say what I think you are, don't. I don't wanna know.
Well, tell me what you've heard about this Black Lodge, then. I need to know.
Well, the story is that the Black Lodge is the mother of all conspiracies. Supposedly, they've been around for hundreds of years, and they've been practicin' magic since well before the Awakening. Impossible, I know, but I believe it.
Amongst other things the Black Lodge would eventually go on to directly attack Lofwyr himself, solidly landing them as an enemy of dragonkind, but last I checked even the dragons have not yet managed to rid the world of them for good.
I didn't realize that you were a conspiracy theorist, Dietrich.
I ain't. But I've been around long enough to know that I should trust my gut, and it's tellin' me that the Black Lodge is real. Your mileage may vary, of course... believe whatever you want. You already know what I think.
The last thing to do for now is checking out our mission computer, first putting up the paydata we grabbed for sale and then submitting the Humanis job as finished.
Of course we don't just get to pocket the full 22k, but even after the various deductions we find ourselves with a pretty good chunk of spending money all in all. Good thing too, because we have some serious shopping waiting for us in the near future.
For now though, we'll close this brief-ish update off by partaking in the pastime of kings: Browsing message boards. See you next time when we make one more (strictly non-canon!) trip to the Humanis compound and ruin everything for everyone.
- WraithLike44 <21:25:06/11-05-54> [The specs on that thing look impressive, but I'm an Allegiance man. Does the comfort really make that much of a difference? My decks are generally beaters anyway.]
- Tolstoi <21:30:18/11-05-54> [Allegiance? What are you doing with that thing, playing videogames? Any serious decking is going to require way more horsepower than that thing can push, even overclocked.]
- WraithLike44 <21:31:02/11-05-54> [Only a crappy decker blames their gear. I do just fine, thanks.]
- Maelstrom <21:35:59/11-05-54> [RE: LUMENS: How much is Transys paying you to post this scheisse on here?]
- WraithLike44 <8:24:10/11-13-54> [Great. Another newbie who thinks he's on a tech support board.]
- RollinTHUNDER <8:26:05/11-13-54> [Hey stuff it! I wouldn't ask, but I'm desperate! I can't deck like this!]
- The Smiling Bandit <Strikes Again!/Ha-Ha-Ha> [All right, Thunder, calm down. It sounds like an adbot is keyed in to your deck... been poking around anywhere sketchy lately? I don't need details, a simple yes or no will do.]
- RollinTHUNDER <8:31:10/11-13-54> [No, Bandit, I haven't been anywhere like that! I swear! Please help me!]
- WraithLike44 <8:35:25/11-13-54> [Whatcha wanna bet he gave his personal info to some scam-site? I'll give you 10-to-1 odds.]
- RollinTHUNDER <8:36:19/11-13-54> [NO! I ... don't think so? All I've done was make an online dating profile!]
- The Smiling Bandit <Strikes Again!/Ha-Ha-Ha> [Let me guess. Meet n' Mate?]
- RollinTHUNDER <8:45:22/11-13-54> [How did U guess?]
- WraithLike44 <8:46:45/11-13-54> [That's not a real dating site, Thunder. It's a place where desperate people go to get infected with malware.]
- RollinTHUNDER <8:47:52/11-13-54> [But what do I DO? HOW DO I MAKE IT STOP?]
- The Smiling Bandit <Strikes Again!/Ha-Ha-Ha> [I dunno. Buy a new deck. Best of luck.]