Part 46: A Toxic Work Environment (Part 2)Part 46 - A Toxic Work Environment (Part 2)
When we last left off (which was a little while ago if you're following this live) we were in the middle of exploring the fairly spacious 24th floor of this AG Chemie corporate building housing the enigmatic prototype "MKVI" we've been tasked to bring back to our employer. We cleared a gas-filled laboratory wherein we found the personal passcode of a Senior Executive, mentions of something called "Formula 17" that's probably related to the aforementioned prototype, some cool drugs and a dead scientist, in roughly that order of importance.
We were also contacted by the Schockwellenreiter via a screensaver who asked us to gather a variety of data about these same things for them, an offer we couldn't refuse because yelling at a random office computer to do its own damn dirty work would definitely make us lose face in front of our team.
We also still need to find the passcode for the executive elevator connected to the floor above. The senior executive's office seems like the place to find some if not all these things.
Stromberg's office is locked with a code but it's the one we learned from the laboratory note, so it's no real obstacle. That being said, as a spellcaster we do also have an alternative approach available.
Neat trick, huh? We're just showing off of course (it's a requirement for being a wizard after all), the correct code is 54139 so we punch it in and head through to the secretary's room.
Your Johnsons might betray you and your friends might fall in a run gone sideways, but random desks will always be there for you.
The dead scientist's notes did mention something about Haushofer and a secretary having a thing... though that was "Giesbrecht's" secretary. There actually is no Giesbrecht, somewhere along the way the name was changed to Stromberg and someone forgot to fix that note. They really had a hard time keeping names straight here.
Anyway, let's get rummagin'.
Reorganizing the bottom shelf
Addressing an acute screw shortage
Waltz of the printer ink fairies
Haushofer's personal code could be big, his is the office on the 25th where our target is located according to our intel. This should at the very least get us up there.
And this is that Stromberg guy's office. In the dead plants at the back we can observe the tragic effects of prolonged exposure to corporate executives.
Nothing we can look at here except the desk.
Aha, here we go.
Damn, foiled by the ongoing progress of digitalization yet again. We did see something that looked like a records archive on the cameras when we entered this floor, we'll have to stop by before heading on up.
That's the offices covered. Let's next go ask the security if they've seen any intruders lately, wouldn't want to bump into any unsavory characters on our way towards our goal.
Haha, right right.
Like the hustle and all but immediately rushing out and punching us in the face is kinda rude. And a 3 damage crit is just embarrassing for everyone involved.
The security guards' lineup is about as basic as it gets, a Mage, a punch-happy Conjurer and a few gun-toters. Decent amount of HP but low armor except on the Captain, nothing that stands out as particularly alarming. At least it's not Knight-Errant for a change.
Blitz cuts the Conjurer's dreams of a boxing career short, saving him from any further humiliation on that front.
We move in together with Max and go for a Lightning Ball in an attempt to stun the Mage and Captain, but it's not quite enough AP damage to do either. Focusing down the Mage would've likely been smarter, Lightning Ballin' is addictive but also a lot more effective with Leyline backup.
Fortunately the Enforcer kindly helps us out by fumbling a flashbang and finishing the stunjob. The dwarven Guard also tosses an ordinary grenade our way for some minor damage, but leaves himself pretty exposed in the process.
We fortify our armor and this time focus on grilling our fellow Mage who just barely lives through the fire and flames, only to succumb to the lingering damage from the lightning at the end of the turn.
Glory beats the living daylights (and AP) out of the grenade-tossing Guard and Max cleans up after her. Routine procedure at this point, really.
The Enforcer who doomed his partners with his terrible flashbang aim flees out of either shame or fear, hiding behind the screens in the middle of the room.
It does him no good of course, you can only run so far from Glory's claws in a room this small. Not even gonna leave a pretty corpse after that one, oof.
The Captain recovers just in time to find everyone else dead and soon joins them in the great security detail in the sky. Or wherever it is that corporate security end up after death.
Alright, now let's see what we killed all these people for. You'd imagine the security consoles would be of some use but no, the only thing here is this weapons locker.
...Yeah there's no one who can make use of this thing. People are so selfish these days, you go through the trouble of breaking into their workplace and tearing them limb from limb and they can't even bother leaving behind anything useful. Tsk, back in our day even rats had the decency to leave behind at least a gold coin or two, or maybe a leather helmet or something.
Well, one last room to go. If that note was to be believed, this is where they moved the elusive Project Atlas data. Probably have a decent shot at finding the information the Schockwellenreiter were looking for while we're at it.
Large room with a bunch of shelves and whatnot but the only thing of interest here is the records terminal itself.
There's no preset list to choose from here, it's a matter of typing in the right keywords. For example, this is where one could find out about
COCl2. Commonly known as phosgene gas. A highly toxic, colorless gas that gained infamy for its use as a chemical weapon during the First World War. It is also valued as an industrial reagent, and as a building block from which pharmaceuticals and other organic compounds can be synthesized.
In low concentrations, its odor is reminiscent of freshly cut grass. The odor detection threshold for phosgene is 0.4 ppm, four times its threshold limit value. Phosgene-related deaths are generally caused by the interaction of the gas and the proteins of the pulmonary alveoli. The end result of this interaction is the destruction of the blood-air barrier, preventing the transmission of oxygen to the blood. Death by suffocation inevitably follows.
It is highly recommended that any employee working in or around this gas wear a detector badge. A suitable supply of NaHCO3 (sodium bicarbonate - for liquid phosgene) and NH3 (ammonia - for gaseous phosgene) must be kept on hand to neutralize spills and leakages.
We can also look up some of the names we've come across such as
Employee: Annika Schroeder
Position: Secretary to Executive Stromberg
Born: Frankfurt, Deu
Hiring Date: July 14, 2054
Employee Schroeder was hired as a secretary for the Berlin office on the recommendation of Senior Vice President Haushofer. She was assigned to Executive Stromberg, and has remained assigned to him for the length of her employment at AGC. Since being hired, she has maintained an acceptable to above-acceptable performance rating.
Employee Schroeder's primary skillset is administrative/secretarial. She has been labeled minimal-risk by AGC Security and is to be considered a Grade 1 expendable employee. She holds a "secret" security clearance.
Albrecht Haushofer (or Vice President:)
Employee: Albrecht Haushofer
Position: Senior VP, Berlin Facility, Cyberware R&D
Born: Seattle, UCAS
Hiring Date: December 22, 2029
Senior VP Haushofer has worked for AGC for 25 years. The son of Heinrich Haushofer, the former head of the Berlin branch of AGC. Spent time with AGC Security before making the move to Executive status. Led several projects at the head of *REDACTED* branch.
He is currently considered to be one of the most influential employees of AGC, and is currently leading Project *REDACTED*. He has been labeled low-risk by AGC Security; despite the sensitive nature of his knowledge, he is considered to be absolutely loyal. He is to be considered a non-expendable employee, and holds a "Top Secret" security clearance.
Employee: Lennart Stromberg
Position: Executive, Berlin Facility, Pharmaceutical R&D
Born: Hamburg, Deu
Hiring Date: April 07, 2034
Executive Stromberg was hired as a Laboratory Technician at the AGC Berlin Campus, with a specialty in Metahuman Pharmaceuticals. He holds several advanced degrees, including PhDs in Metahuman Biology and Chemistry. Hired shortly after completing his second doctorate, he was immediately assigned to Project *REDACTED*.
Upon the successful completion of Project *REDACTED*, he was promoted to Laboratory Supervisor and transferred to the Berlin office. Here, he has succesfully led the development of several Class 'A' projects, receiving a series of promotions.
He currently holds an executive position in the Berlin office, overseeing Project *REDACTED*. He has been labeled a moderate-high risk by AGC Security due to the sensitive nature of his knowledge. He is to be considered a non-expendable employee, and holds a "Top Secret" security clearance.
Digging into people's personal information is all well and good, but we're after juicier targets.
Entering either Project Atlas or MKVI givs the same result:
Stromberg's code should work here too, 54139.
Normally this is incomprehensible enough to be unreadable, but corp-speak just happens to be amongst the languages we're fluent in.
Getting around the negative effects of essence loss is not a bad goal in theory...
...but there's probably a limit to how many eggs you should break in your attempt to make an omelette that defies natural laws.
Vice-President level authorization means Stromberg's code is not gonna do it.
Luckily we learned Haushofer's from the secretary's desk. Horniness, that ol' reliable master key to even the most well-guarded secrets.
Alright, let's see now.
Starting to get a bad feeling about this prototype we're supposed to lug back downstairs... That's all the info we can find with these search terms, but the Schockwellenreiter wanted these visual records so might as well bring them with us.
Last term to search for is Formula 17 which is also locked behind executive lever clearance. We re-enter the code and start digging our way through the resultant information wall.
Between this and that footage the picture's starting to become increasingly clear, and it's not looking like a pretty one either. What we were tasked to retrieve is sounding less and less like a simple machine and a lot more like a slave, someone stuffed to the gills with combat hardware and kept under control by this experimental drug.
One that a lot of people are interested in too. Might have to make some calls depending on how things develop, but we'll stick to the plan for the time being.
That's the shockwave riders' shopping list completed, though how this information ultimately ends up being used should we hand it in is something worth thinking about. Or not, it's unlikely to be our problem after all. Regardless, there's nothing else for us on this floor so time to finally get a move on. Feels like we've been here for months.
The executive elevator requires a passcode, and big man Haushofer's should work nicely. It's also possible for us to repeat our little trick from earlier to peep at which buttons have been pressed recently, but we'll give our third eye a rest this time and just punch in the numbers.
We can confirm the exact nature of this prototype with our own eyes soon enough, and we'll figure out things from there like we always do.
For now, it's onwards and upwards.