Part 64: Intravenous SolutionsPart 64 - Intravenous Solutions
Well we've made it inside, so that's the easiest part over with. From here we're going to have to step pretty lightly if we want things to remain quiet, Aztechnology security inside one of their own compounds are maybe a little harder to fool with fabricated tales as some janitor of a software company.
I have marked an elevator on your PDA. I'd start making my way there if I were you... it's the most efficient path to reach your objective. Best of luck.
The elevator in question isn't especially far, but there's an awful many locked doors hampering our progress. And as long as we're groping around in the dark, there's always the risk we'll accidentally grab a fistful of angry security guard as well. Bothersome state of affairs all around.
The southeast door leads towards the building's front which is the most likely area to house at least some level of security presence, so first we're going to try our luck with this locked one in the opposite direction which comes with its very own built-in security flaw. It's your show again, Blitz.
The Matrix alarm level here starts fairly high, though a regular dosage of Suppression will help extend it.
Having to deal with some intrusion countermeasures was pretty much a given, not that one Sparky and two melee ICs are exactly going to make anyone soil their cybertrousers by themselves. Some very juicy-sounding nodes too, the door clearly wasn't the only thing this point is connected to.
The good news is that there are no IP-boosting cybersteroids in play here and Blitz blows the whole lot into digital dust in just two turns by his lonesome. And no surprise reinforcements either, all in all a downright pleasant lil' dip into the digital realm.
He works his way through each node including a door node which was obscured from view earlier, then cyberjogs back.
Turns out not only did the node open that particular door, it opened every secure door on this floor and we now also have full security camera visibility on top. Whoever was in charge of this building's cybersecurity dropped the ball hard enough to make a hole in the floor and knock out the downstairs neighbor, but it's an opening we're happy to make use of.
We can see a couple of patrolling guards to the north and east. If anybody in our crew end up in the line of sight of these guys it's instant alarm, no question asked or pleasantries exchanged. Surprise stealth mechanics!
Other points of interest include the executive Luca wanted us to deliver a message to, and what appears to be a locker room which just might hold some much-needed disguise potential for us. Even if we could slip past the guards here, there's bound to be more below and even our famously good looks and witty personality will only get us so far in a place like this.
But first we start from the door next to the jack-in point Blitz used, leading to an empty office with a computer terminal.
No option to guess this one, it's decking or nothing. Of course since bringing a decker is mandatory for this run and one was required to enter this room to begin with, it's an obstacle in name only.
Corporate life man, can't even spit in your boss's face as a final act of defiance without them making money off of it. Perhaps we will "donate" this list back to them for a minor transfer fee once we get home, seeing as we're all in such a generous mood.
Next on our snooping list is the previously locked room close to where we entered, which likewise houses a single terminal we can interact with.
>>From: Maier, Fatima J
>>To: Lange, Katja
I've got some pretty grave concerns about this new project. I don't know what they're doing downstairs... not exactly, anyway. But I'm pretty thoroughly creeped out by some of the inventory requests that have been coming up to my desk recently.
When we decided to sign on with Aztechnology, we talked this over. We knew the company's reputation, and I said that I could handle whatever came my way. But this... I don't know, Katja. This last order crossed a line. What would the research team need with a bulk order of gags, restraints, and five hundred liters of hydrochloric acid?
Uh oh. I've gotta run... just got a message over the comm. Looks like Central wants to see me about something. I'll catch you back at your apartment, later tonight. Let's talk about this over a bottle of wine... I know that I could use it.
Somethin' tells me that she never got to enjoy that glass of wine.
"Is there a barrel of acid involved" is a pretty decent starting point when considering whether the question you want to ask is really worth the risk of finding out the answer.
Now the only remaining paths open to us are through the patrolled areas. Avoiding the northern guard watching the elevator room would be tricky as he's patrolling in a small circle, so our best bet is to make a break for that locker room behind Door 1 while the southern guard is away in the lobby.
Like so. There's a jack-in point attached to this door as well, but it has the same function as the previous one so we don't need to fiddle with it.
Here we go, good thing so many people are happy to defy the core essence of lockers by not actually locking them. There better be something we can use as disguises here because we're not going to be going much further without a stealth device, and everyone knows they never hand those out until NG+.
Ugh, of all the possible options... Sure we don't have any less objectionable choices available, maybe some overflowing garbage bins we could hitch a ride in or something?
It's like having your entire body wrapped in used diapers. We need to finish things here quickly, pretty sure you wear one of these long enough and one day it'll just never come off again.
Good evening fellow criminal stopper, it's a fine night for preventing crimes and not doing crimes like an evil crime person.
(Security) Yeah, Central wants a complete perimeter assessment. They sent me to see to it.
Pretty sure at this point we've made use of the Security etiquette more often than all the etiquettes combined in Dead Man's Switch. Charisma 5 would also be an option, lacking either would lead to a fight.
[A scowl crosses his face.]
They should know that *I'm* on that duty. It isn't like them to double up on patrols.
[Shrug.] Hey, man, it's not my call. I just do what they tell me to.
I know what you mean. Well, enjoy the rest of your patrol. Don't get your hopes up, though... it's dead in here tonight.
Don't I know it.
Couldn't get more dead even if the whole building came down and literally killed everyone inside right haha okay bye now
We take a peek at the lobby area he was patrolling but find nothing of interest, so we return and enter the elevator room watched by the other guard we saw through the cameras.
It's another fine night of ensuring no illegal activity takes place, another fine night indeed. There's "ill" in "illegal" and we are the cure heh heh, a bit of law enforcement humor there between us authentic guardspeople.
(Security) I just got the assignment myself. Central wants a complete perimeter assessment.
Strange. Did they give you any explanation for this request?
Do they ever?
[He chuckles.] No. Of course they don't. Well, best of luck. Let me know if anything's out of order... it is my sector, after all.
You got it, pal. And be careful... an intruder could be *anywhere.*
[He nods.] Yeah, tell me about it.
Oh man bet you'd really appreciate the humor in this exchange if you ever got the chance to look back at it without the punchline involving your mangled corpse being buried under a mountain of debris. Ah well, what is life is not a series of missed opportunities.
Now then, there's that elevator we'll be taking down to the sub-basement shortly but first we have some business with the owner of the room here.
Heck of a hair-mustache combo for a corporate executive, we could even respect that were you not the antithesis of everything we stand for.
[He looks surprised to see you, but not alarmed.]
Oh, hey... I don't usually see Knight Errant personnel wandering around this part of the building. What's up?
We have mutual friends. They have a message for you.
Friends? What friends? What are you talking about?
[Whisper into his ear.] "We are pleased that Project Vincent is going so well."
Our friends wanted me to deliver this message to you in person. Here, in your office. I'm sure that you understand.
Y-yes. Yes, of course.
[The expression on his face is one of pure horror.]
P-please... please tell our "friends" that I hear them, loud and clear. And tell them that I'm making the call.
Call? What call?
[He shakes his head.] You poor fool. You don't even realize what a pawn you are.
Yeah well, better to be a pawn on the winning side than the king about to be caught in an explosive checkmate. Good evening to you.
That's all our business finished on this floor. Time to head on down and see if we can't add some extra kick to whatever dark stew the Azzies are cooking in the basement.
Not much in the way of especially interesting alternate dialogue, as was mentioned Charisma can be used as an alternative to the Security etiquette to convince the guards with the same dialogue choice for both of them:
(Charisma 5) Yeah, I was just transferred from HQ. They have me walking the perimeter to familiarize myself with the building.
[He waves you off.] Best get to it, then.
[He smirks.] Well, enjoy the walk. And get used to it... they'll have you walking perimeter for the next few months at least.
Not having either Security or Charisma 5 leads to a fight and an alarm with the same dialogue for both, the best one can do in that case is to have enough Quickness to get the first turn in the ensuing combat:
I was sent to check on you. So, uh... how are you doing?
[The guard's eyes narrow. He half-raises his weapon.]
Let me see your ID. Reach for it slowly.
Uhhh... I, um... I don't have it yet.
[He shoulders his weapon.]
(Quickness 5) [Shoot first.]
Triggering an alarm by any method (including having busted in through the front door) pretty much turns the rest of the mission into one long grueling firefight and also leads to a 20-turn countdown until the arrival of the Knight-Errant, leading to a large number of extra reinforcements on top. It's not completely unmanageable but it does almost certainly make for the longest and toughest combat section in the game.
Now if the power was turned off by overloading the grid earlier, a couple of things are a little different even beyond the erotic mood lighting and minor dialogue changes. Firstly the Charisma checks for convincing the guards while in disguise are softened down some. For example:
I didn't expect to bump into any of you Knight Errant guys out here... but then, with the power overload, who knows what's happening. They tell you guys anything about what's going on?
(Charisma 4) Afraid I can't help you. They didn't tell me much... just that they were doubling patrols, and that they wanted me out here.
Yeah, I guess that figures. Can't be too careful.
You said it.
Also if an alarm is triggered with the power grid overloaded, the 20-turn countdown until the KE reinforcements gets delayed until later rather than starting right away. Lastly, while the KE disguises becomes useless if an alarm is triggered with the power on, with the power off they can still be used to avoid one more confrontation with guards later on before the place inevitably turns hostile.
Finally just a couple of miscellanous things someone might be wondering about that didn't fit elsewhere:
- You can deliver Luca's message to the executive even during the alarm and even without the Knight-Errant disguise, there's no noteworthy change in dialogue.
- You can also put on the Knight-Errant disguises even after triggering an alarm, prompting a crew member to wonder if there's a point in doing so (it can still help avoid the above-mentioned guard confrontation later on if the power is off).
- While he has the highest priority, non-Dietrich party members do also have short comments on the spots he spoke up in the update, but they're all fairly generic and interchangeable. This is true in most cases when party members have a brief comment or exchange about something in this game, with lines often being completely identical between people. Dynamic party dialogue was one of the things that was given more love in the next game.
We'll wrap things up with a third chat with the Becks:
[When you next come across the Becks, they are back to work, this time bagging litter, slowly but surely. They seem grateful for an excuse to rest when you walk up.]
Good to see you again.
We understand that you've decided to keep on. We wondered if you and the others might leave us.
I'm not one to leave things unfinished.
Neither was Monika.
Is there anything we can help you with?
Has there been any more fallout from Monika's death?
[The couple exchanges a look.]
By now, word has spread beyond the Kreuzbasar. There has been talk. Some have even seen strangers sniffing about.
It was widely known that Monika protected this place. Not alone, of course. But she was the architect of the Kreuzbasar's alliances in peace time, and defenses in war time. She was our diplomat and our general.
And now she is gone.
What about Eiger?
Eiger might serve in a time of conflict, but she was not made for peace.
Glory needed Monika as much as any of us. Maybe more.
He strikes me as one who shirks responsibility more often than not.
Then let's not dwell on it any further. I'd like to hear about your time in Berlin.
Oh, what's there to tell? Our lives would be boring when compared to, well, you know.
You were here for the first Euro War, weren't you?
Oh, my, yes.
We had just moved back a few years prior. Karin and I met in the UCAS. Got married there. But I had always promised to bring her home to Berlin someday.
Seemed that no sooner had we settled than the Russians were invading.
That was a difficult year, to be sure. But then it seemed to end as suddenly as it had started.
The assassinations. The Nightwraiths. We never saw any of it, mind you. I'm fairly certain that we slept through the whole thing.
And the next morning it was all over. The fighting, at least. There were still plenty of soldiers left in the city. German, Russian, Polish. But we had our lives back.
What about the Great Jihad?
Those were dark days.
We weren't in any immediate danger here, of course. But the soldiers who had remained to restore order in Berlin were suddenly called away.
We had grown friendly with many of them. It was sad to see them go, especially when so few of them returned.
But the bigger problem was their absence here in the city. It was anarchy, but without the F-State to keep parties in check.
We kept our heads down, worked our jobs, and waited for the day order would be restored.
Still waiting then, are we?
How about the Night of Rage?
We'll never forget it.
For years, the city had been devolving into chaos. Violence on the streets, unbridled corporate abuse, political corruption.
I was working at one of the universities at the time. They had all become hotbeds for activists. Scared lots of folks from the city. Mostly humans.
By '39, metas outnumbered humans in almost every kiez. Groups like Humanis didn't like that. They held rallies, even tried to recruit us.
But the people united against them. Sent those bigots running for the Downlands.
And some say that was the day the Flux was born.
I appreciate your willingness to share. Now, I should be going.