Part 25: The Well of HealthPart 25 - The Well of Health
Another day, another local problem requiring that famous Rosa touch. Let's hope these people will hand over our weapons quietly, we're not exactly running with an army this time and wiping out yet another gang with just the two of us would probably take all evening.
You'd think whoever went to the trouble of setting this whole thing up would've also bothered to clean the place up a bit. Those thorny messes down there don't look very edible though, maybe they make some money on the side supplying instant death spikes for 2D platformers.
Whatever lies past here will remain a mystery for all time. Cute graffiti on the wall over there though.
Enough gawking, this tunnel is the only visible way forward so that's where'll go.
Judging by these guards we seem to be on the right track. Hope these guys are feeling cooperative, if shit does have to hit the fan it'd be nice for it to at least have some air time first.
We don't get many visitors down here, these days. And you'll forgive me for saying, but... well, you don't really look like the type that usually comes through here.
She looks fed, for one thing.
[The older man snorts.] Indeed. So what brings you to Gesundbrunnen, stranger?
Sounds like they have a bit of a food shortage, guess it's not easy anywhere. In any case, let's bust out our Charisma 4 (lies) right away.
I'm visiting from the Rhine-Ruhr-Megaplex, and my friend Hans said the market here is second to none. I had to come see for myself!
Oh, and talk to Quorin if you want to hear some good stories about the market, back in its prime. He's always happy to share a tale or two.
[The older man steps aside.]
Watch your step on the ladder there. Some of the steps get slippery when it's cold.
Thanks for the warning. Say, have you heard anything about a gang hiding out around here? A group calling themselves the Rabengeister?
Aw crap, should've figured that's a touchy subject. Right back to square one, not that it's much of a return trip.
Now look, we don't want any trouble around here. On second thought, maybe you should just move along and catch the next train back. Come to think of it, the market's closing pretty soon, anyway.
If youve got nothing to hide, why don't you let me in?
[He fixes you with a hard stare.] Not going to happen, stranger. Now I think it's time you let us be.
Now we have to find a way to get through, again. As usual we can opt to take the violent route and blast these guys to hell, but that's unlikely to win us any diplomacy points with the locals. With Strength 5 we could intimidate them (were we less skinny) or we could bribe them (were we less stingy), but instead let's turn up the charm again with Charisma 3.
Look, the last thing I want is to cause any trouble... You look like you have to deal with more than enough of that. Do you mind if I just take a quick look around?
[The guards exchange glances again. After a moment, the old man steps aside once more.]
Well... all right. I suppose theres no harm in that. Just watch yourself, okay? If you cause a scene looking for this gang of yours, there's more to our little militia here than you want to mess with.
Alright, crisis averted. Would've been downright amateurish to mess up this early.
Feels like we heard a similar complaint somewhere earlier... Well, all we have is some days-old Turkish coffee somewhere at the bottom of our bag that's unlikely to be very refreshing, so just hang in there buddy.
The dark tunnel we find ourselves in eventually opens up to a larger corridor with a doorway on each side. One of the locals is lounging around nearby, so we chat him up first.
I'm looking for information. Ever heard of a gang called the Rabengeister?
Certainly! They've been spinning quite a tale in these parts, of late. Hard to know anything for sure, though. One rumor says they hijack freight out of Frankfurter Tor. Then the next day, you hear about a sighting down in Alexanderplatz! Hell, just yesterday I heard someone claim they saw a member of the Rabengeister speed by in the U-Bahn tunnel, clinging to the side of a train car. Ha!
[He leans closer.]
That Rammbock boss lady from the Humanis run said those Spider-Man wannabes got wiped out though, right before she herself violently exploded. Heh, gang life sure is something else.
[He shakes his head in amusement.] That's the Flux State for you though, full of the strange and unexpected.
Right. Have you seen a shipment of weapons pass through here recently?
[His face falls.] Wish that I had, friend. It's too bad. This place used to be *soaring* with commerce. But now... now hardly anything passes through here, I'm afraid. Folks around here are lucky enough to have a full meal at the end of the day.
I'm sorry to hear that. I hope things turn around for the better soon.
Yeah... me too. Thanks for the friendly words, though. Most folks that come through here are either looking to bum a quick handout, or steal what they can before disappearing down the line.
Can I do anything to help?
Maybe a little buttering up will help us find what we're looking for.
No... I don't think so, friend. But I thank you for the gesture.
[The man squints at you. He looks thoughtful.]
Say, have you ever heard the story of Schinderhannes?
Uh... I'm not sure.
He was stealing from the French, you see.
[He chuckles, then continues.]
At any rate, the point is this, friend: I think that maybe, if enough people believe something to be true, it can change the truth of that thing. Perhaps if enough people here in Gesundbrunnen have a hope to believe in, then our fate will change as well. Until then... well, we continue on.
With Intelligence 3 we could ask him if he's confusing the story for that of Robin Hood, but that's almost a reverse intelligence check since Johannes "Schinderhannes" Bückler was indeed an actual outlaw and he'll just say as much.
You seem like a pretty well-educated man. Why choose a life underground, here in this place?
Ah, a fair question. Let's just say it was the best option at the time. At any rate, this is my home now, and I won't abandon it simply because it has grown somewhat older and poorer. Now, is there anything else I can help you with?
What can you tell me about this place?
Gesundbrunnen? Well, it's my home, for one. And we've got a small bar set up over there. But of course... you'll want to know about the market!
[His eyes light up.]
It used to be something to behold, my friend. One of the grandest markets in the city. You could find nearly *anything* in these stalls, for the right price. It's a real shame. But little by little, things slowed down. Folks stopped taking this subway line so much. But, I guess that's the way of the Flux.
Thanks for the info. I'll be going now.
The shoddy living area to the northwest contains nothing of interest, just a couple of folk and their (t)rusty drawers trying to make it through the day. No sense in bothering them.
On the opposite side is a small bar, with a blonde woman at the counter. Bars have historically been good sources of information, perhaps that holds true here as well.
That's certainly a look. American fashion sense is weird.
Sure, if youre buying.
Awesome! Unfortunately, there arent a lot of options here: theyve got beer, a home-brewed gin, and schnaps. Pick your poison. Ive been drinking gin and tonics - the tonic cuts out some of the gas flavor. I think theyve been distilling in old propane tanks. Yech.
Okay, we're not THAT thirsty. "Pick your poison" is meant to be figurative, y'know.
If that's the case, I'll pass.
Suit yourself, dude.
So, whats a girl like you doing in a place like this?
I'm just traveling through. I heard there was a market, but... well, just *look* at this place!
[She waves her arm around in a wide circle, taking everything in from the sadly shimmying woman to the near-empty corridors outside.]
So. Im just having a drink with this fine gentleman here and then moving on.
She's either referring to the elven bartender or the dead animal on her head depending on how many drinks in she is by now.
Where are you from?
How do you mean?
Its just the things like the turf wars and the racists and junk. You know, like those Humanis assholes? Unnnn-pleasant. But that shit aside, I like the idea of a state without the Man.
So why haven't you left?
I'm about to! There are more places in Germany than just Berlin, and more places in Europe than just Germany! Im thinking I should head to Madrid next.
[She takes a swig from her glass, then eyes it suspiciously.]
Theres *got* to be better boozeahol in Madrid. Anyway, my names Goldfish. Whats yours?
Where'd you get a name like Goldfish?
Oh, you know the saying memory like a goldfish? Because I'm blonde, people think I'm just like that. Plus they call my twin Guppy, so Goldfish made sense for me.
We could end the conversation here by saying we have "bigger fish to fry", which elicits a compliment from her.
I see. Call me Rosa.
Nice to meet you, Rosa. Now that Ive said my bit, what are you doing in a place like this?
I just came here for the market, like you.
[She laughs.] At least theres alcohol--
Going near open flames is probably gonna get hazardous if you drink much more of that stuff.
So what were you hoping to find down here? Robin Hood? [She laughs heartily.]
The Rabengeister, actually.
Raben Raven ghosts? Might be anything in Gesundbrunnen. Seems like everyone and everything down here is a ghost. Ghosts of the past, ghost trains, ghostly thin folks pale for lack of sunlight
All right, thats it, Fräulein. Youre officially cut off. Your total is 36 nuyen.
Can I at least buy something for my friend here? shes been talking with me a bit and hasnt had anything.
No, you're cut off. I don't want you even sipping out of it.
About time we moved on anyway, those weapons ain't gonna return themselves. Good luck with the continental tour lady, don't drink yourself into a stupor now.
We return to the corridor and continue on, ending up in more unremarkable metro tunnels which would feel right at home in Fallout 3. No angry ghouls here which I'm totally alright with though, they'd be even more annoying to deal with in this game.
There isn't much else worth seeing here either, not that we expected to find any great treasures in a place like this anyway. Overall this and the previous sewer mission are not the most interesting runs this game has to offer, which is one reason why I wanted to get them out of the way early.
Anyhow, moving on.
Here's the main market area it looks like. Not exactly a bustling mall right now, but a few traders are still holding down the fort. At least we won't have to wait in line, that's just the worst.
Let's start with this odd-looking merchant (as she's referred to in-game) first.
Hello there, newcomer! I have many exciting and rare weapons for you to peruse! Instruments of death of the sort you'll not find anywhere else in Berlin. Care to take a look around?
I don't know... doesn't seem like there's much here that would interest me.
Well, it's been lean pickings lately around these parts. And on top of that, there's the militia. They need most of the best pieces to help keep us safe. Still, I've got some reliable weapons for home defense.
Alright, let's see what you have.
She carries a bunch of unremarkable low-level weaponry and one incredibly expensive handgun whose stats don't exactly seem to match the price tag.
See anything you like?
What's up with the shoddy-looking pistol?
Exquisite, is it not? The work of a master craftsman who used to live here. Forged some of the finest slugthrowers you'll find this side of the Atlantic. And at that price? A steal!
It's definitely a steal alright. Intelligence 3 gives us further insight.
It looks like some of those parts are hot-glued together.
As I said, the work of a master craftsman! A weapon made by any other would simply break after being fired!
I'll just be going now. Thanks.
Actually, there's a hidden property to this seemingly useless gun which I totally forgot about until the kind poster "I dont know" pointed it out:
I dont know posted:
For anyone wonder if the slapdash pistol is secretly a super weapon as RPG often like to do, yes it is. The damage is what it says on the can, but it also has a sky high crit rate and a crit multiplier that is set several times higher than normal. So long as you only shoot a people out of cover (cover provides crit immunity) than a pistol sammy is set for the rest of the game.
Indeed, the Slapdash Pistol has a crit multiplier of 5 and crits with practically every shot, making it a legitimately useful weapon for handgun fans.
No way a junk-ass gun like that's worth anything, small wonder this place is doing so poorly with scammers like that around. There's another merchant nearby who... hm?
Well, well. I think we should definitely pay a visit to this fella's store.
Just looking for information. Ever heard of a gang called the Rabengeister?
[The troll's eyes flicker back and forth.]
N... no... can't say that I have.
Then have you seen a shipment of weapons pass through here recently?
I... I dont know anything about weapons. I just sell scraps of salvage and home remedies.
You can't fool our Biotech 3 trained eyes that easily.
Home remedies, eh? Those milspec medkits and drugs in the corner there are some pretty fancy home remedies.
Well I, uh... sometimes I get a lucky salvage.
There's also a crate behind your shop that looks like it was marked for delivery to the Kreuzbasar. You wouldn't happen to know about that, would you?
[He looks around nervously.] ...No? I don't know anything about crates.
Of all the bad liars we've met, this guy takes the cake. The whole damn birthday party really, starting to get second-hand embarassment here.
Looking for some backup? It's just us here, friend.
They leave me this kind of score, I'm grateful. Already sold most of it in less than a day. Plenty of folks around here in need of real medical supplies. All right, I've told you what I know. So we're cool, right? I don't know anything else!
We could demand him to give us "our" money back which'd net us 400 nuyen, but doing so leads to a confrontation with a dwarven guard and his buddies who just demand we return it. Refusal there would lock us into the violent route of this mission, so we won't bother with that whole song and dance.
Alright, relax, I believe you. Times are tough. I'm sure these people needed that stuff.
You... you're not going to hurt me? Thank you, stranger. Not everyone's so understanding around here.
He won't share this bit of knowledge if you're rude to him, but seeing as the room with the information kiosk is the only place we can go from here anyway it makes remarkably little difference. Also you can shop here but he just carries a few very basic items which we have no use for.
One more person we can talk to here, though these people don't seem to be in the merchant business.
You look like you keep a close eye on this kiez. Have you seen a shipment of weapons pass through here recently?
No. I would have noticed that.
I'm looking for a gang called the Rabengeister. Ever heard of them?
[She frowns slightly.]
And I wouldnt suggest asking questions about such things around here.
And that's all she'll ever have to say, aside for one more optional conversation. Makes you wonder if this mission exists mostly because they realized they couldn't otherwise fit in all these portraits.
In any case, here's the information kiosk the troll mentioned. For a gang hideout the place looks a lot like just a dead end with a dirty bathroom though.
Let's start by checking out the most obvious thing in the room, the kiosk itself.
A variety of clicking and chirping sounds later...
No "open door to gang hideout option" in sight. Guess we'll just start pressing buttons, the ones that aren't messed up anyway.
>>You have selected: Station History.
Gesundbrunnen Station opened on April 18, 1930, as the final stop along the U-Bahn's U8 line. It was designed by prominent U-Bahn architect Alfred Grenander.
Construction on the U8 line began in 1914 under Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft, but labor shortages and the First World War put the project on hold for over a decade. The eventual completion and opening of this "home line" between Neukölln and Gesundbrunnen in 1930 represented a major step forward in connecting Berlin's working class districts to the city center.
During World War II, many unfinished tunnels and stations along the U8 line were converted into air raid shelters, including parts of Gesundbrunnen Station. In the decades following the war, the station also served as an emergency fallout shelter in the event of a nuclear attack.
During the Cold War, the U8 line continued to run between Neukölln and Gesundbrunnen, taking it under the wall and through parts of East Berlin. The train would skip all East Berlin stations until it emerged on the far side, near Gesundbrunnen.
Today, the U8 line continues to operate, carrying thousands of passengers through Gesundbrunnen station on a daily basis. In addition, the former bunker at this location has been transformed into a popular museum exhibit showcasing the history and development of Berlin's "underworld".
Please inquire at the information kiosk for current museum rates and hours of admittance.
Well, that's today's dose of German metro tunnel history taken care of, but this doesn't seem very relevant to the Rabengeister.
If this were an adventure game we'd definitely have to pixel hunt for this thing, and it'd probably involve a combination of a coat hanger, some glue and a handful of pine needles to accomplish the task. But we're not, so let's just move on to the next key.
This seems like it might be relevant, but we've heard no mention of a password of any kind. We try "Rabengeister" and "Gesundbrunnen" but to no avail. Maybe there'll be a clue somewhere in the room?
Maybe we should ask around. This looks like the place, so I'm sure someone might spill the beans.
At this point we could go back to the militia captain from before, but they're sure to have better things to do so let's take matters into our own hands instead.
Nice work, Eiger. Forcing the wall open is a Strength 4 check but one that can be delegated to a teammate. The door can also be opened by entering "SCHINDERHANNES" to the information kiosk, and if you go back to the militia captain she'll eventually escort you inside by force.
Knock knock, you can call us Venkman & Stantz 'cause we're here to bust some gun-snatching ghosts.
You should have stuck to the market, stranger. If the Rabengeister wished to be found, we'd open a fucking cafe. Now what do you want of us? Say your piece.
Had we started shooting upstairs, Quorin wouldn't be in a talking mood and we'd have to wipe out everyone down here as well.
Wait, I just saw you upstairs. And I didn't see you on the way down...
[He chuckles, the cold stare evaporating.] You think a gang like us, we've only got one secret passage? There's all *kinds* of fun hidden passages down here. This place is over a hundred years old, y'know. During the Second World War, they converted this part of the station into an air raid shelter. Made it nice and secure in case anyone spotted bombers over the city.
[Quorin appears more relaxed, his tone more friendly. He seems to enjoy relating the history of this place.]
We're given an opportunity to attack while his guard's down, but since we've already managed to come this far without having to resort to violence we'll just let him finish his little history lesson.
This isn't a tour, I'm afraid. So. You're from the Kreuzbasar, and you're here to get your stolen shipment back. That about right?
That's about right, yeah.
Which I *completely* understand, stranger. Believe me. But unfortunately... we need those supplies more than you do. So I will have to graciously decline your offer to relieve us of your property.
Yet another opportunity to go violent here, and a pretty good one too:
And I will graciously give you one chance to turn over those supplies before I shoot you in the face.
[Quorin rolls his eyes suddenly, then turns to his crew.]
Did you imbeciles *really* not search them for weapons? For fuck's sake. ...Regardless. I had hoped to avoid bloodshed, but we cannot back down on this. Sorry, stranger.
I can see things are hard around here, Quorin. But I have to look out for my own kiez, and that shipment belongs to *us.*
Not from where I'm standing.
A rough situation for sure, but what if we had felt less diplomatic and decided to solve this problem by coming here with an armed group capable of wiping out this entire sorry lot in response? Even the Schinderhannes didn't get to see his 30th birthday before being executed by the French, y'know.
So, I'm prepared to let you leave. Just like that. Knowing our little secret here and everything. In return, all you need to do is walk away. Just walk away, and forget this ever happened.
What do you think, stranger?
If you've completely neglected Charisma up until now, at this point the only choices left are to either leave without Gunari's supplies or to finally start shooting. With Charisma 3 we can go for a third option.
I think in the Flux, folks like us need to stick together. Why stay strangers? Maybe we can come to an arrangement that can benefit both of our kieze.
[He raises an eyebrow.] I'm listening.
You return our supplies, we send you a shipment of extra rations in exchange. We agree to a truce of sorts.
Having Decking 3 here allows for trading the supplies for access to Burakgazi's data taps instead, but to my knowledge it makes no difference beyond flavor.
I see. That's... an interesting offer, friend. The rations alone probably don't match the price of the weapons, but... Well, food *is* in short supply around here. And this alliance? What do you propose?
We agree to stay out of each other's way. And maybe we find opportunities to help each other out, in the future.
And you'll deliver those rations?
Take the tunnel to the Kreuzbasar and talk to Paul Amsel. He runs a import-export shop not far from the U-Bahn station. Tell him I sent you, and he'll take care of the rest.
[Quorin looks thoughtful.]
Maybe things are looking up around here. I suppose friends and enemies both can be found in strange ways, here in the Flux.
Yeah wow, making an enemy out of someone by stealing their shit and then threatening to kill them when they come after you for it, a real Flux State special right there.
Glad we could have this talk, Quorin. I'll be going now.
In the end diplomacy wins the day. Indeed, this is one mission that can be passed without a single fight, a practice that became even more common in Hong Kong.
We can look around the room a bit but there's nothing of value here either. If you take the violent route an extra room becomes accessible here which contains a computer that gives you the location of the shipment. This also means the only way to "fail" the quest is to take the peaceful route but without making a deal with Quorin.
Before we leave we can talk to this nameless militia member standing next to a cooler box.
Hey, wanna beer?
Sure, I'll take one.
We could drink this right away, but I think there's one more good deed we can do today.
Otherwise we're done here, so we make our way back to the entrance and climb up to the... well, up closer to the surface in any case.
Before boarding the train, let's help a man in need out shall we?
Hey, is that a beer from... downstairs?
Yeah, brought this up for you. Keep up the good work, buddy.
Ahhh... Really hits the spot. Gets so muggy down here. See you around.
That's a free karma point for the price of a beer, and even the beer was free. That's the same amount of Karma we got from saving Maxim the smuggler during the Humanis run, implying his life is worth about a single can of cold beer. Pretty dark.
If only all runs were this smooth, not only did we get what we came for without anyone having to die for their bad decisions, but we also made some potential allies and may have even saved some lives. Still, this hasn't helped us get any closer to our long-term goal so we should probably go for a run that pays real money next time. Paul is sure to have something lined up for us on that front.
For now, let's head back to bring Mettbach the good news.