Part 48: Prisoner of BloodPart 48 - Prisoner of Blood
Despite some Knight-Errant goons' poor life choices resulting in a minor delay in our efforts to get the MKVI out of the building, we are back on the 24th floor and the elevator to the basement should be right around the corner.
Should be and would be, if not for the fact that simple way through has been very inconveniently blocked by a cyberzombie-proof security door. And boy will this door have a lot of blood on its handles before this day is done.
And so we are forced to take the long way around which predictably goes through as hostile a neighborhood as they get, with angry bee cosplayers eager to swing their toy stingers at us at every turn.
Well, nothing to it but to start working our way through 'em. The first attendees to their own funeral are a trio of basic grunts and a rigger whose odds against the MKVI are roughly one to lol
As long as that last guy doesn't get to pull off their usual dirty tricks, obviously.
The start of the fight is uneventful, our team makes their advance with the MKVI in tow and gets some damage in while the KE squad fumbles all their shots, likely from the sudden realization that they're all about thirty to seventy-five seconds from a variety of increasingly grotesque deaths.
To even the odds at least a little bit, more KE arrive on the scene at the end of the first turn. Hey, points for not waiting until all their comrades are already dead before charging in.
The newcomers have a little more going for them than the sacrificial first line of defense, namely a bunch of bothersome spell slinging and a Captain in their usual extra hard shell.
The first body hits the floor felled by one of Dietrich's humble shurikens which the punk shaman upgraded to from throwing knives at some point. The satisfaction in taking someone out with one remains unchanged though.
Now here's some more Shadowrun Returns -brand cover weirdness for ya, you can clearly see the MKVI standing literally next to the KE rigger, and yet the Rigger is considered protected by Medium cover. Between this phantom cover and an unforunate missed axe swing, they actually manage to live until the third turn which brings with it an obvious inconvenience.
For now, Glory shows off the grenade launcher we packed with us. I mean really, if you bring a damn grenade launcher somewhere you gotta fire it off at least once or twice.
The Knight-Errant turn brings with it yet another conjured Inferno, and both the spirit and most of the enemy team focus their attacks on Blitz's drone. Max has been getting a disproportionate amount of attention in these runs which is of course only a good thing, fixing drones is a lot easier and cheaper than fixing people. Plus they complain a lot less while on fire.
Our previous complacency and cover issues come back to bite us as the Rigger actually manages to finish their dark work this time, and for a moment it seems like we're about to have a big and gruesomely tormented problem as control of the MKVI slips over to the wrong side.
It takes much of our turn to correct this little mishap, but the pesky hijacker does go down before they get to turn the cyberzombie's minigun against us. We've been on the wrong end of one of those before and it's not a good place to be. Sadly this does still cost the MKVI his turn which is a lot of missed firepower.
During the KE side of things, Dietrich takes a couple of minor hits and the Conjurer loses control of their spirit again which then predictably proceeds to burn... wait no, to strip everyone of their armor apparently. Dirty little bastard, this ain't that kind of game.
Seriously though, whoever's in charge of training Knight-Errant's conjurers seems to have really been half-assing it because they sure can't seem to be able to keep spirits in check for their lives.
Not that they'll have any conjurers left at this pace, that's another one axed.
Enforcer's out too, knocked out by Dietrich's Electro Core and gunned down by Max. That's karma for you. Not the kind you improve stats with, the kind that gets you shot to death by robots.
This measly pistol hit is the most the Knight-Errant can muster on their turn, which says more or less everything about how this fight is going for them.
Interestingly, the Inferno spirit also realizes it has better things to do than to get chopped in half and vanishes from the battlefield on its own. Not sure what caused it since removing the original summoner certainly hasn't gotten rid of berserkered spirits in the past, but it saves us some trouble.
It's time for the usual clean-up phase, and lightning makes for excellent detergent.
Oh and Blitz is here too, hi Blitz. In all fairness fighting with 1 AP from a distance with an SMG is not really an optimal spot for him, but that's what drones are for.
The MKVI turns the last remaining schmuck into unrecognizable paste and we are free to move on.
We don't get very far until our way is stymied by yet another security door that wasn't there before. This one feels especially silly since there's a very obvious path around it, but our tingling runner senses tell us that we should probably try and see if we can get through this thing before opting for the longer way around.
Luckily unlike that last one, this one has a convenient control console installed.
A skilled decker? Damn, guess we're out of luck after all.
Alright alright, just making fun. Do your thing so that we can leave this place already.
So yeah, that room we would've had to go through had we not had a decker? Bad news. Mostly for the KE squad stationed in there of course, but if there's any mission where getting to skip a fight is welcome it's this one.
But cosmic balance dictates that for one fight we can avoid thanks to decking, there's another to take its place instead. The security room which earlier saw a few murders that one could've mayhaps considered entirely unnecessary and avoidable has lured in more victims, and its door is also one only accessible with a decker. In other words, if you're forced to do that last fight you likely won't be able to get in there.
Just like before we don't really need to go in there, but resisting the siren call of successful skill checks is too much to ask, so...
All that being said there are only four guards in a room with very little cover and none of them can even threaten to take control of the MKVI, so seeing as we just took on a much more sizeable group without much effort, how about we just skip to the good parts this time around?
Poor Glory constantly getting splattered by everyone's comical blood showers feels like a running comedy sketch at this point. Such are the career downsides of a claw fighter, though she probably doesn't really care one way or the other.
Since we already looted the useless gun that was stored here before, the only thing of interest in this room is a jack-in point that wasn't previously accessible. Might as well take a peek.
Four melee IC, fairly heavy-duty for a single camera node. Good area attack targets though, just gotta get a little closer.
Okay that's definitely a little excessive, we're not exactly stealing government secrets here or anything. Now it's a downright juicy area attack spot though, let's have Blitz get an Exploder ESP in there before they have the chance to spread out.
For the love of... It's a camera node! To hell with this, let's just blow them up.
Highly satisfying, that shiny Excalibur is paying off once again.
With the larger cluster decimated, the remaining stragglers are no major obstacle. And no more pop up afterwards from whichever digital clown car these things spawned from either, thankfully.
Kind of unfulfilling, going through all this trouble just to get back the same visibility we already had earlier.
And what else do we find waiting ahead of us but Knight-Errant in the main hall...
...and yet more Knight-Errant watching the elevator.
Max's scouting trip to a nearby vent reveals even more behind that first group. That's like 30 people on this floor alone, we sure seem to have gotten their attention this time.
They've got a rigger in there, we'll have to make sure not to repeat our previous bumbling around. Mages are always bad news of course, and they even brought a sniper which is probably the first appearance of one.
There's enough combined firepower in this room that we want to make sure the MKVI with its iron constituation takes most of the heat. He's definitely not the type to go unnoticed in a room.
We have him immediately charge the Rigger and punch the living daylights out of them, hopefully eliminating that problem right off the bat. Punching is actually a pretty good alternative to the axe due to the latter's low weapon damage, like all unarmed fighters the MKVI has an ability to rip armor with his bare hands and the potential AP damage is considerable.
Glory's flashbang veers a little off course, but it still hits well enough to knock out both the Grenadier and the Mage. That's all the biggest threats out of the picture right away, not a bad start at all.
Since this is likely to be our biggest and most dangerous fight here, we have Dietrich bring out the biggest of all guns. Or rather, shields. Being universally protected by Medium Cover allows for a lot more freedom of maneuvering.
The KE accomplish little on their turn, unless you count the single saddest sniper shot in history an accomplishment. This is one of those areas where the Armor spell is incredibly good since we're in permanent combat mode, meaning it lasts indefinitely.
Okay, calling bullshit on this one. Being so good at something you can do it in your sleep is not meant to be literal.
This is how we deal with filthy cheaters around here, and no second chances either.
Might as well keep the party goin' while the barrels are still spinnin'. No magic tricks outta you today, we don't like competition.
Dietrich's Earthquake lumbers over to one of the more aggressive Enforcers to show that stone fists do the job just as well as cybernetic ones.
Blitz finishes what the mobile cliff started. Meanwhile we remove one of the two Captains from the equation with Mind Wipe.
As a hasted Glory slices open the other Enforcer in a storm of guts and gore, the aforementioned Captain comes to their senses for long enough to shout that everything's fucked. An accurate assesment of the situation by any measure.
This brings in the elevator crew we saw on the cameras earlier, returning the numerical advantage back to team KE. May these idiots be the last we'll have to grind through today.
Pretty unpleasant bunch all in all, Enforcers are just grunts as always but the other four all have the potential to cause some trouble. They're all pretty grouped up, but we're not quite close enough to hit them with anything good.
The earth spirit continues its tour of knocking people down like a secret superboss from Punch-Out.
Double kill! Not sure if its come up since the prologue mission, but miniguns are amongst the weapons which can hit adjacent targets if there's enough range between the shooter and the target. The MKVI is of course incredibly accurate from any range, and a couple of well-landed bursts takes out both the newcomers' Mage and Grenadier from full health.
The increasingly disorganized Knight-Errant get their turn but accomplish little beyond chipping off small bits from Earthquake's stony surface.
Even that actually kind of works to our advantage because this time it's our turn to suffer a spirit going berserk at a 25% chance. Its largely done its job though, and it's closer to the KE than us so it's a minor inconvenience at worst.
Meanwhile we reach the room's sole Heavy leyline and quickly put our empowered magical might to work with an extra spicy Flamethrower.
In the backlines Blitz has put Max back on auto-follow since the drone was getting pretty busted up and so has 2 AP to work with again. This allows him to finally land an actually successful Hijack Commlink on one of the Captains, causing them to switch sides.
A KE Conjurer (who never actually conjured anything up) is the next one to succumb to the minigun's rhythmic beat. It's one of those tracks you just can't help but dance along to, y'know?
At this point the tides of war have turned pretty decisively against the Knight-Errant, if you consider them to have ever been on their side to begin with. Of the people left standing only the Captains can even remotely be considered threatening, and one of them is literally working for us at the moment.
This Guard was unusually aggressive with their positioning, but Glory and Blitz work together to calm them down.
In what onlookers would later describe as "one of those things that's kind of grim and fucked up when you think about it but also pretty hilarious", a KE captain finally lands a legitimately good shot... right in the back of their own co-worker, killing them on the spot. You're a monster, Blitz.
Blitz then brings Max back online and uses the drone to do some clean-up. You did good work before getting all mad upset, rock-bird-spirit-thing. Let's hope no one holds any grudges here.
The MKVI chops and bops the remaining pair of Captains into a messy pile, and finally, finally we are done. One can only pray the Knight-Errant at last take the hint from this latest horrifying massacre and we'll never have to cross paths again.
The doors to freedom at last. There better not be some final surprise ambush waiting us down there after all this...
Well alright then, good. Also nice work finding such an inconspicuous escape vehicle Schmidt, thanks a lot man.
Two different clients, and two different paydays. Decisions, decisions, huh, chief?
We're not talking about a piece of merchandise, Blitz. There's a living troll buried under all that chrome.
Well, it's your call, boss. Can't say I envy you the decision.
Yeah, time to make a decision. Now I could put this up for a vote and let the thread decide, but I suspect this is one of those times where the outcome is already incredibly obvious to everyone.
Yeah screw Schmidt and the Lodge both, even a runner's gotta draw a line somewhere.
God, that's eerie. It's almost like it's waiting for something.
We could just put a bullet in him and let that be the end of it, but it's not like we're putting down an animal. There's likely no miracle happy end to be had here, but after all this time in forced servitude, it seems right to give the man an opportunity to finally take control of his own fate.
Since she's the one who offered it earlier, we'll let Glory do her thing.
All right. I'll see what I can do.
Uh, no hard feelings over all those bullets we had you take in our stead, right?
[Blitz stares down at the MKVI's ruined skull, his eyes wide.]
Well. That was... unexpected. And also disgusting.
[Dietrich shudders.] What was disgusting was what the bastards here did to that troll.
[Glory looks into your eyes, and you can see a flicker of warmth.]
That was the right choice, Rosa. He clearly wanted to die.
Didn't bother mentioning the "alive" part to begin with in fact, so that's on him. Duerr meanwhile did specify that the prototype was to be returned "undamaged", so that arrangement's off the table for good now. Too bad, guess the Lodge'll just have to deal.
Sorry things ended up going like this for you big man, scarce few people walk away a winner from these tables but the hand you got dealt was still definitely worse than most. Hope you're in a better place now, as low a bar as that is to clear.
The work of the living goes on though, our own time to rest is not here yet. Well okay, one good night's sleep definitely wouldn't hurt after a run like this.
Time to go home and bring Herr Schmidt his accursed prize.
-- EXTRAS --
Since today was all fighting all the time, the only alternative bits are from the end of the run. If the Lodge objective isn't active, or if the team wasn't told that that the other client is the Lodge specifically there are some minor dialogue changes upon entering the garage but nothing particularly significant. If Eiger's around, her comments mostly boil down to killing the MKVI being the humane thing to do but the job's the job, fearless leader.
There's also no extra dialogue should the MKVI be handed over alive to either Schmidt or the Lodge, so ultimately the only missed thing that's really worth showing off is the choice of unceremoniously executing the MKVI with the almighty Ares Plot Pistol instead of having Blitz or Glory (or yourself with enough Biotech) disable the control circuits: