Part 40: Bits and PiecesPart 40 - Bits and Pieces
After a very thorough sweep of the building and all the desk- and garbage-related goodies within, we've finally reached the server we were looking for. Time to install this bypass so that Blitz can advance on his end.
That is, if we can figure out how. With Decking 4 we could simply plop in the cable and move on right away. Unfortunately we slept through computer class and barely know our USB from our RGB, and as a result we're forced to take an unpleasant path indeed asking Blitz for help.
Uhhh... Blitz? There's an awful lot of cables back here...
Oh, for Christ's sake. Quit preening and walk her through it.
Hate to say it, but he's right. If you want me to get you around that firewall, you're going to have to give me instructions.
[He sighs.] All right, chief. I'll take you through the steps. First, find the main Matrix line. It'll be the heavy duty optical cable that's wired in through a wall from outside.
Okay, got it.
Good. Now find the first box that cable connects into. It'll have three cables plugged into it - one power, and two optical. Connect the ends of the bypass to the two optical cables.
All right, that's done. What's next?
Nothing! I'm in. That wasn't so hard, now, was it?
Heh, guess not. Though, you ever wonder if you could connect these cables if, say, you didn't have your thumbs attached? Just as a hypothetical scenario.
Just get us into the vault, Blitz.
I'm on it.
We're back in Blitz's cyberskin, now finding the path ahead clear. As a neat little touch, installing the bypass didn't cause the firewall to vanish but rather it created a new path which allows Blitz to literally pass by it.
Quite a bit going on in this next area. The door node for the bank's teller area is visible but blocked by no less than three obstacles of some vague cybernature. In addition there's a couple of small pod-like objects labeled "bits" which can be picked up. More on those later.
Heading further north leads to some more bits, a pair of unlabeled data nodes (one of which is the main objective but inaccessible), and finally the way ahead which is obstructed by a firewall identical to the one from earlier.
Let's just start from the things we're already familiar with.
All right, chief... it looks like there's another firewall blocking me from the vault controls.
I'm gonna try to get you limited access to the facility. You should be able to find a terminal in there that can bring the firewall down, and from there I'll get you access to the vault.
Next up is the eastern data node which is not blocked off.
Hey, chief...? I found something here that you might want to have a look at.
What is it?
All right. So what's interesting about that?
Well, there are three names on this list that I recognize. One of 'em is mine, naturally... the Landenbergs and the Schwarze Herzen never did get along. Another is Hasenkamp's...
[He scoffs.] I'm not surprised. These bastards would just love my head on a plate.
...And, chief... the other one is yours. They've got a whole dossier on you. No idea where they got it from, or why, but they have it.
Say what, why would we of all people be on anyone's shoot on sight list? ...Alright, don't actually answer that.
I'd never even heard of these bastards before tonight. So how the hell do they know about me?
No idea. Looks like a new file... it was just uploaded about twenty minutes ago. Hang on a second, there's an attachment. I'll send it to you.
[Blitz's voice falls silent. A few seconds later, a brief message appears on the screen of your PDA.]
Well ain't that something. But unless Blitz has been blabbering around again, a possibility we'd be an idiot to dismiss offhand, almost no one should know about this thing. Hmm...
Another message for Plotz.
I'm not surprised. He tried to micromanage everything when we worked together... everything had to be exactly how he wanted it, all the time. I can't imagine that's changed now.
Well. That was very enlightening. Want me to delete the files, chief?
[A few seconds pass.]
Done and done. No need to worry about that anymore!
That's very reassuring. Thanks, Blitz.
Wouldn't the original files still be in the possession of whoever sent them in the first place, I mean you would assume they simply sent a copy. Well whatever, if someone wants to kill us they can just go right ahead and take a number. Wouldn't recommend trying to cut in line either, there's probably a dragon back there somewhere. Hell, might be a couple for all we know.
Setting that aside, let's find out what's with those mysterious bits scattered all over the place.
Hmmm... an activation bit. Time to go find a socket to plug it into.
Exactly what this business is supposed to represent in actual computer terms is beyond me. Either way, a number of detachable bits similar to this one are attached to sockets here and there. Picking up this one...
...causes a wall identical to the ones in front of the teller and objective nodes to block the path Blitz took to get here, effectively locking him in. As you may have surmised, we have a small cyberpuzzle on our hands. Each socket is connected to a nearby wall which vanishes when an activation bit is attached to that socket.
What we want to do here is to take the northernmost bit and plop it into the central socket here, clearing the southern path to another socket currently holding a bit...
...then pick up the bit from that socket which subsequently blocks the passage south...
...plop that bit into the northenmost socket which reopens the northern path...
...which then lets Blitz pick up the middle bit and carry it out in order to help open up the other nodes. You get the idea, this is by no means a difficult puzzle so I'm not gonna bother with a step-by-step guide of the whole process here.
A bit of bit playing later, Blitz opens up the path to the teller door node which takes three bits in total. This is entirely optional as far as our objective is concerned, but since it's there...
Hey, chief! I just cracked open a security door somewhere in your area... it might be worth checking out.
Will you please tell him to concentrate on the job? We're here to settle his debt, not to hunt for souvenirs.
You're a big boy, tell him yourself.
Blitz, you need to--
Yeah, yeah. I heard you the first time.
We'll ignore Blitz's griping and have him open the path to the objective node which only takes two bits rather than three, meaning that reaching it is only a matter of ferrying over a couple. One might say we're making progress... bit by bit.
Blitz hacks the node, we're returned to the world of flesh once again.
All right, you're clear into the secured area. Keep your eyes open, chief. There's a tiny chance that you might bump into some physical security from here on out.
Other than the crazy guy in the server room, you mean?
You should really know better by now, old man. Besides we just found out someone straight-up told this Plotz guy that we'd be here, so the real mystery is how we even got inside the building without anyone trying to stop us.
Yeah, well... the situation has changed. A bit. Look, I'm not saying that you *will* hit security. I'm just saying that you *might.* So just keep your eyes open and lower the next firewall, okay?
We'll keep our eyes peeled.
First things first, hacking the teller area door finally allows us to reach the tantalizing crate from earlier.
Within we find... a grenade launcher? Geez, this neighborhood is even rougher than expected if regular bank staff have to carry this kind of hardware. We've neither the skill or space for this thing, but it is a pretty sweet toy since it holds 6 grenades which only cost 1 AP to fire and to my knowledge they don't even hurt your own party members. Maybe we should invest a couple of points into Ranged Combat later, I bet carrying a grenade launcher works wonders for your street cred.
The actual way forward is through the door at the end of the northern hallway.
The room beyond is almost suspiciously empty. Bank lockers line up one of the walls but there's nothing for us to snatch which is just disappointing all around. Let's just move on.
Look sharp, security... doesn't look like they see us.
Sure enough, we can see people in the adjacent rooms through the windows. All they'd really need to do to spot us is to very slightly turn their heads, so if we'll really be able to just waltz through undetected then these guys just might win the highly contested trophy for the most incompetent security guards we've met so far.
That said they clearly have stuff in those rooms with them, so their days may as well be numbered. But since we can't get in at the moment, our only option is to try and move forward through the door ahead and see what happens.
...Alright, this is now officially too easy. Something has got to be up, the last time we walked through this many empty rooms littered with waist-high cover was back in the Humanis compound and we all know how that return trip went.
Not much we can do about it though, so let's just stick to the plan.
Glad they had the sense to have a dedicated terminal for disengaging firewalls this time, nobody likes messing with cables.
That's done it, chief! The final firewall just went down. I should be clear to access that secure node now.
Get to it, then.
Done and done. This'll be easy as pie, you wait and see.
That's all fine and good, but be quick about it. There were some guards in the other room, and I don't want to be here if they decide to come exploring.
Since this firewall was actually disabled rather than just bypassed, it's straight-up gone. Onwards!
Another pretty vast cyberarea, this is not making things feel any less ominous. The vault node is right ahead, but naturally the two other pathways come first.
Alas, the only thing in there are a pair of mysterious door control nodes which can't be interacted with at the moment. Really, at this point they might as well write "you're gonna have to fight your way out of here" on the screen and be done with it.
Guess we'll find out what they have in store soon enough as Blitz has reached the end of the road. The vault door node is hacked and we switch back once more.
All right, chief... that should do it! The vault's open, and I'm suppressing the alarm. Easy as pie, just like I said.
Yes, yes, we're all very impressed. Now let's get this show on the road, shall we?
Let's do it.
Sure enough, the vault door opens without a hitch. Blitz is lucky these guys didn't get their security systems from the same place as a certain other "vault" door we were tasked to open... Actually thinking about it now, for all the stuff we've managed to piece together about the events of that unpleasant night, we still haven't even the faintest clue what exactly ended up frying Monika and Winters, and potentially those other vanished deckers as well.
As soon as we step inside, Hasenkamp walks on ahead. Also the doors kind of slam shut behind us. Surely nothing to be concerned about.
Well aren't we proactive all of a sudden. Planning something?
I don't think so, Chuckles. I don't trust you.
Well, unfortunately for you, Mr. Grinder *does* trust me. That's why I'm here, to make this transfer. Now, if you want Blitz off of his hit list, you'll step aside.
Fine. Go ahead. But I'm watching you.
Knock yourself out.
Next time someone tells you that you can't achieve the impossible, you just remember this moment right here.
Very good. Only one more thing that needs doing, and then we can get out of here.
What "one more thing"? The deal was that we'd get Grinder his money transfer. We've done that.
That took care of Blitz's debt to Mr. Grinder. Consider this the interest.
Hey, whoa, hold up. I don't *owe* any interest! Grinder didn't say anything about interest! If you're grabbing things out of safe deposit boxes, we want a cut.
[Hasenkamp ignores him.] Just wait here for a minute. I'll be right back.
Yes, Mr. Grinder. The package is secure. That's right, I'm holding it right now. I'll have it in your hands within the next fifteen minutes.
[Whisper.] Do you even know what the box is, Blitz?
Well, no... but I still want it.
And what do you want me to do, steal it from him?
Well, no, of course not... I'm just saying...
Remind me, Blitz: what was the purpose of this run?
To get me out of hot water with Meat Grinder.
And Meat Grinder wants the box, right? What do you think he would do if we took the box from Hasenkamp?
[There's a long pause, then a sigh.]
He'd take my thumbs off, wouldn't he?
I think that's the safe bet.
If it keeps him from complaining then Hasenkamp can play with his boxes all he likes. It's not like we would've gotten that safe open by ourselves anyway.
All right. The deal is done. Let's get out of here.
Now that's the first part of this entire plan we're 100% onboard with.
We'll just open the door here and...
Hey, Blitz? Open the door.
Huh? What do you mean, chief?
The vault door, idiot. There's no way to open it from in here. You *did* account for that, didn't you?