The Let's Play Archive

Shadowrun: Dragonfall

by Kanfy

Part 65: A Lethal Incision

Part 65 - A Lethal Incision

We've officially hit the bottom, and not just because we're still stuck looking like a wasp fetishist's sexbot. If our intel is accurate then this sub-basement is where we'll find both the generators we're looking for, and the heart of this project that our client was so desperate to see wiped out.

Beyond that what were going to find is anybody's guess, which is not really a great arrangement in a place where guessing games are played exclusively in sudden-death rounds.

I've located a new exit point for you. A security door, conveniently located near the generators. I will mark its location on your PDA. Keep up the good work, Rosa. I'll contact you if anything changes.

You're an angel Paul, where would we be without you. Although...

...that door sure is a distance away. Hopefully we'll still actually be in Berlin instead of Poland when we make our exit, they're not big on heavily armed Germans making unannounced border crossings over there.

Guess we'll just have to take it one step at a time. First one being getting out of this elevator.

Correction, first step being not blowing this before even getting out of this elevator.

This'd be our chance to get the drop on her were we in a fighting mood, but unlike the esteemed owners of this facility we have no particular affinity for bloodbaths. We've talked our way this far, and we can do it now. Confidence remains key.

Calm down. My name's Müller. Knight Errant sent me.

[She sounds suspicious. On edge.] Let me see some ID.

I don't need to show you anything. Central has some concerns about your loyalty.

[Her eyes go wide.] *What?* We've never done a THING to--

I'm sure that you haven't. Probably just another screw-up at Central. But if you don't get this cleared up, it will bite you in the ass.

If what you're saying is true, why haven't we heard anything over the comms about it?

Beats the hell out of me. I'd suggest that you go ask Central about it.

[She pauses.] That isn't protocol. This entire story is suspe--

(Security) Are you going to report to Central, or do I need to go back there and tell them that you refused their order?

Charisma alternative:


(Charisma 6) Look, I'd love to chat, but you should really get moving. I've seen Central come down on people for insubordination... it isn't pretty.

If there's one thing we've learned about dealing with security personnel, it's that there's no power word mightier than "Central". Nobody in that line of work especially likes their bosses, but they like the idea of risking their job even less.

Cushy-looking chair, shame we don't have time to sit down and relax for a spell. It's not going to take long until people will start putting the pieces together about this unannounced Knight Errant visit and we'd better have blown this joint by then.

A locked blast door, some drone-sized vents we can't make use of, and a couple of barrels with a decidedly explosive glow to them. Had we at any point gotten caught with the building's power offline, this is as far as we'd get before power was restored and with it would come an alarm and a 20-turn countdown to a visit from the real Knight Errant.

Fortunately we've managed to avoid all the pitfalls so far and are free to proceed in peace and quiet. Bold choice to choose a deity responsible for guiding souls to the afterlife as your safety override password by the way. It's kind of like naming your parachute "Infallible", you might feel clever about it at the time but you shouldn't forget that the universe has a dark sense of humor.

This'll probably get us through that door. Hop in there, Blitz.

It's no surprise that the resistance here is a touch heavier than it was upstairs, four IC to deal with this time. This also marks the return of some toughened-up basic IC, but fortunately not in very large numbers overall.

The Attacker ESP's Tar Bomb locks down grouped up melee IC nicely so this bunch is taken care of with relative ease despite their numbers. As a sidenote Blitz retains his digiwarrior -esque Knight Errant outfit even in the Matrix which actually looks kind of cool, a term we've rarely associated with either of those two things.

That's laboratory access taken care of. "Blast Lab Door" would've made for an objectively cooler method of entry though.

As for the two other paths, the northern one leads to a lightly guarded node labeled Facility Operations Records. This is the one we'd need to hack in order to save the cafe workers we met outside from getting tracked down had we used their tap to power this place down.

As we didn't end up doing so, there's nothing to be found here but wasted cybertime.

The southern area is a practical mirror image of the previous one but houses a somewhat more relevant node.

Another quick bout of IC-deletion later, Blitz takes control of the cameras and cyberboogies back out.

Let's see now, the camera coverage is not quite as complete as it was upstairs but there are some interesting things here.

There's a room with a group of hooded people and at least one person locked in a cell, a scene which has remarkably low odds of having a wholesome explanation even at the best of times.

A little further ahead we can also see exit Paul marked for us. It's definitely bit of a jog from here, but it's very close to the generators themselves which appear to be in an adjacent room. If we can get at least close to that general area without getting discovered, we should be able to book it for the door pretty quickly even with some angry Azzies nipping at our heels.

For now let's move on ahead. We can't see behind the laboratory door but we'll give it about 85-15 odds of there being another angry guard behind this thing who's going to bark something about restricted areas or whatever.

Yeah we kind of figured as much already. Sir.

(Security) I just got word from Central. Our comms have been compromised, and all authorizations are being threat-stacked. My orders are to proceed to a primary defense point and await further instructions.

[He holds out his hand.] I need to see your ID, then. You know how Omega-level clearance works. So hand it over. NOW.

Aw c'mon, we said the magic word already, you're supposed to be like "did you say central whoah okay please proceed my queen" here.

I'm not handing you anything until you show me *your* ID.

[His eyes widen, then narrow to slits.]

You think that this is some sort of *game?* Hand me your ID, or I *will* shoot you.

Crud, this guy is a tougher cookie than most. It's looking like we have no other options but to bet everything on the forbidden desperation technique, handed down in school playgrounds since generations ago. Brimming with potential power yet wholly unpredictable in its result, it can only bring total victory... or total ruin.

(Charisma 6) You do that, and you'll spend the rest of your short life wishing that you hadn't. My uncle runs this facility.

Bless you, uncle Huitzilin.

It's worth mentioning that dialogue checks have become very strict now - without the building power disabled, there is simply no getting past this guy without this exact combination of both the Security etiquette and 6 Charisma. With the power off things would be considerably more forgiving here, but even though it might not be evident from our smooth progress so far, this run is riddled with opportunities for things to go sideways and the cost of failure is not insignificant.

This stuff looks like expensive cryo equipment, which seems like a questionable place to store multiple explosive barrels in. But then we're not the ones running one of the most powerful corporations in the world, so maybe they're in the know about some barrel feng shui that mere runners like us can't comprehend.

Agreed, it's like we've walked into the spawning grounds of explosive barrels. Although these holding tanks with humanoid-looking shapes in them do raise some questions too.

And this appears to be that infamous door our client made a pirate copy of our voice for. Not seeing any alternative paths though, so if this whole thing turns out to be an elaborate trap then they're about to get us good here.

Okay, open up... Authorization Rosa.

Huh, would you look at that.

It's funny how you start missing things you took for granted once you lose them, such as the ability to open doors without someone on the other side glaring at you like you farted in an elevator.

A blood mage with a portrait, this guy's definitely going to be trouble.

One of the potential options here actually includes the use of a specific piece of cyberware which is a real rarity. Not one we have obviously, nor would we be inclined to use it even if we did since people in most cultures don't consider temporary blindness a friendly greeting, but it's cool that it's there.

We're your new security detail. Central sent us down here to familiarize ourselves with the lab.

[He pauses for a moment, inspecting you.]

Well, you certainly look the part, and more security is always welcome. But you understand, of course, that I can't just take your word for it.

Sure you can! I mean, if you can't trust us, who can you trust?

Nobody, I suppose.

[The blood mage smiles graciously.]

But then, I have never been a particularly trusting individual. You needn't trouble yourselves with fishing out your IDs. Just stand there a moment... I know a better way of determining the truth.

You know, self-harm is not a healthy outlet for... wait, this is gonna be something sinister isn't it. It'd take 6 Quickness to attack him before he could finish, so it's not looking like we have much of a choice but to find out what he's up to the hard way.

Not cool not cool, why does the hard way always have to suck so much?!

If only we were an Adept, we could make use of our extensive... yoga training or whatever the heck it is those guys do. No magic or mental trick is going to save us here, but if we succumb and talk it's going to be a shitshow at best.

But our fortitude is titanium-grade, tempered by long days of working for asshole clients and listening to Blitz's endless self-aggrandization. This is the only possible option to try and get through this for non-Adepts, it's 6 Body or nothing.

We could use our Willpower to take him by surprise, but between the mages and the guards behind us this is about the worst possible place to end up in a fight.

(Charisma 4) We... are... your new... SECURITY DETAIL!

So sorry about that. But now there can be no question... you do belong here.

[His smile could curdle milk.]

Welcome aboard.

An... impressive display, sir. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Uh-huh. Ever consider that competent people probably have workplace options that don't include sociopaths going all sith lord on them out of the blue? Just putting that out there.

Callous bastard. Still, we've now made it all the way to the Azzies' main lab and still haven't gotten caught, certainly not something your average runner could've accomplished. Let's see if we can't find answers as to what exactly we're here to bring down the building for.

Let's see now...

Damn, doesn't look like we'll be able to maintain our cordial relations with the locals if we want to see what's in this thing.

That being the case, it seems prudent to try and find out as much as we can first. There's no sense in getting bogged down in a fight prematurely now that we're this close to our objective, so if we have to trigger an alarm then we should do it at the absolute last opportunity.

There is a jack-in point in the panel to the left there and we could probably come up with an excuse to make use of it without raising suspicion, but for now... who exactly are these people in the cells?

Damn, this guy looks like he's both seen and been through some shit. Considering how these people seem to treat their co-workers, one can only imagine the kind of abuse they'll happily heap on prisoners.

New enough. Want me to get you out of there?

[He continues to stare at you, bug-eyed and unblinking, his mouth agape.]

Me? Out? How could I go out? It is my place to be in this cage.

[He shakes his head.]

I can see that you don't understand.

Meeting a *new* person... it's a novel experience. Nothing is ever *new* to us. The sensation is strange. How to describe it...? It's...

[He opens his mouth soundlessly, then closes it again. His brow furrows.]

It's like... like a waking dream.

Sorry about that, from our experience no dream which involves Knight Errant is an especially pleasant one. Implanted memories, huh. Think we're starting to see what's going on here.

(Intelligence 5) You're vat-grown, aren't you? You and your brothers are clones.

Yes. We are grown in the labs. We live in these cells. And when we are killed, others are grown to take our place.

What does Aztechnology need with a bunch of clones?

Homegrown human lab rats, by any measure an abomination of morality which also makes it the wet dream of any morally bankrupt scientist. Now the question is, what exactly is the research necessitating something like this?

What can you tell me about the Bloodline project?

The mages wake us from our slumber... sometimes in twos, sometimes more. One is taken to another part of the facility. The testing lab. The rest remain in their cells. The mages run their tests, and the entire group dies.

So the mages do something to one of you, and the entire group feels the effects?

[He nods.] Yes. They haven't chosen a subject from my group yet, but when they do, my death will come. I won't hear the chanting. I won't see the mage. But I will share in the suffering, and I will die. And then another will be grown to take my place.

So, something about sharing pain between people? Don't think we'll be getting any technical details out of this guy. Still, this by itself seems like fine enough a reason to bring this place down, but burying these unfortunate... souls? doesn't really sit right with us.

That isn't gonna happen to you. I'm busting you and your brothers out of here.

[His eyes go wide. It looks as though he's having difficulty processing what you've just told him.]

Out? But... our purpose...

From now on, your purpose is to do whatever the hell you want. Get ready to run... I'm gonna bust you out of there.

Admittedly the prospects or mechanisms of lab-grown clones integrating into society is beyond our expertise, but leaving them to be crushed by rubble can't be the better alternative. But as good as we are, even we can't hope to open these cells without the mages immediately noticing it, so we'll leave that until after we're done with everything else.

For now we continue our scouting ahead. Both of the northern doors connect to a room with our big bulky prize - the generators.

And, of course, a pair of guards. One is hidden by the fog but he's back there somewhere.

Yes, yes, of course it is. How many times do I have to go through this? Use your eyes, pal. We're with Knight Errant.

[She looks skeptical.] You're wearing the uniform, but *I've* never seen you before. Identify yourself!

Sigh, you people are such sticklers for this whole ID thing. Imagine how much valuable work time we could all save if we just had a bit more mutual trust for each other.

(Security) I'm here to conduct a spot inspection. Just keep doing what you're doing, guardsmen.

[The guards exchange glances.]

Whoa, hold up. Inspection? What are you talking about?

(Charisma 6) Do I have to spell it out for you? Central wants to be sure that you're not sleeping on the job. They sent me to check up on you.

Again (or perhaps for the first time on the power-off path) the Security etiquette and 6 Charisma is the only acceptable combination here. Very strict.

Think before you respond. I'm taking notes.

[The guard straightens. Her voice carries an edge of nervous tension.]

Well... um... very well! Ma'am! We will continue to man our posts with diligence, ma'am! As you'll see!

I hope so, guardsman. For your sake.

With the last guard-shaped obstacle out of the way, our goal is now quite literally within arm's reach. From here it should only take a couple of button presses and we'll have achieved what most would've considered impossible. Ourselves included for a bit there, in all honesty.

And in the next room is our exit, with one last twist - it's not actually open.

Or a twist it would've been had we only found this out with the entire facility at our heels, but this is where our earlier prudence and caution pay off as we can now take our time and get it open ahead of time. See this is why we're professionals. Do your thing, Blitz.

Simple enough a setup, just a couple of puny melee IC watching the node.

They are quickly wiped out and our escape path is now secured.

And that's another mission in the bag, executed with the pin-point precision we're

Oh right, heh, sorry about that Paul. It's easy to get swept up in patting yourself in the back sometimes.

Now we could wrap things up quite easily here by just overloading the generators and bolting for the door, but we still have these clones to free. Plus despite getting all the way here we still don't know what exactly this project is about. The keys to both of these things are likely located in the main lab, so we return there for the jack-in point we saw earlier.

Well aren't you a veritable eagle eye. Just focus on your job of being an evil asshole and let us do ours, yeah?

Verifying that all security protocols are in place. It's all a part of our sweep, sir.

[He eyes you skeptically.] Very well... do your job. But do it quickly, and mind that you don't touch anything you're not supposed to. If you do, I will know it. Am I making myself clear?

Crystal, sir.

Yeah, this is going to be as far as our guile will take us, therefore we'll aim to achieve all our objectives in one fell swoop. We'll free the clones, unlock and grab what should be the project data from the panel we saw earlier, break through the generator room guards to overload the power and run for the exit. All good on paper at least.

Starting off with three different paths this time, many are the lanes on the information highway.

The western pathway leads to the node for the cell in the same direction, guarded by one single ranged IC.

It obviously fails to offer any resistance and the node is rendered vulnerable. However there is zero chance the blood mage won't raise an alarm the moment the node is tampered with, so instead of having Blitz hack it now, we're instead going to once again plan ahead and have him clear all the IC in this entire Matrix section first.

The east area sees a repeat performance, with the cell node being watched by a single melee IC that's swiftly disposed of. Not sure why they even bothered, really.

And it's the same deal in the north as well, though this one also has an additional connection leading further on. Blitz's Fairlight Excalibur which we picked as his level 5 perk has once again done a ton of work in this mission, making all this Matrix work far faster and smoother.

In the meantime the rest of the team starts getting in position in the main lab positively lit up by ley lines, the main blood mage occupying one of the heavy ones.

Back in cyerbspace the next area offers heavier resistance, with two ranged IC and one pesky Sentry to buff them. It's proving to be the right call to not rush things here either, these things are not a huge threat but the basic IC are still IP-boosted and Blitz working his way through everything does take a bit of time. Time which we certainly prefer spending not fighting for our lives in this hell basement.

Blitz's ever-fragile Exploder ESP goes down to a ranged IC shot, but the opposition is quickly routed afterwards with the Sentry falling to a point-blank hit making it look like Blitz just straight-up punches the countermeasure out of existence.

One last melee IC guards the final node, linked to the project data terminal which we couldn't access. This is the final stop, and there's nothing to do now but to light the fuse and hope we manage to outrun both the figurative and literal explosions. Chiefly the literal one, though.

Blitz hacks the node and starts legging it back towards the cell door nodes while we quickly access the terminal on our end, knowing things are about to get hot.

Figures, not that we'd exactly have the time for in-depth reading here anyway.

At least we have the smarts to try and make some basic sense of it, with multiple approaches even. Let's see now...

We've risked a great deal coming here and doing this job, think at the very least we deserve a shot at finding out what exactly it was all for.

If it really does turn out to be as bad as it seems, we can always get rid of it and the Schockwellenreiter are just going to have to deal.

These aren't Knight Errant! They're intruders! KILL THEM!

The jig is officially up, and the mages begin scrambling for combat positions. But they don't get a turn just yet, and things are now happening fast.

In the time it's taken for them to process what's going on, Blitz has already blazed through the Matrix (remember that every turn in the real world is the equivalent of three cyberturns) and has not only opened all three cells netting us 3 Karma for freeing the clones...

...but with one cyber-AP remaining he's already out of cyberspace before a single combat action is taken by anyone. As a side note a game crash forcing a reload gave Blitz a digital mohawk instead of his KE suit for some reason.

The clones bolt for the exit the moment their cell doors are open, and only now do we come to the first actual turn of combat with us going first.

Blitz, temporarily even faster in the real world than the Matrix after a bit of Cram assistance, teams up with Eiger to quickly take out the guard we'd chatted with only minutes earlier. To be fair this is how we usually end up identifying ourselves, so request granted.

As our team evacuates the laboratory and we rush for the generator controls, the blood mages start making chase and the second generator room guard scratches Dietrich with a pistol shot. This first instance of damage inflicted on our team by the Azzies on this entire run would also be the last.

Not for lack of trying though, because there's now a veritable army looking to add our blood to the swimming pools of the stuff they probably have somewhere on the roof. Every single guard we slipped our way through is now rapidly converging on our position, and that's without the tidal wave of Knight Errant reinforcements that could be joining in had things gone bad earlier. In a way it can actually be preferable to fail things early than late in this mission, since it at least means one doesn't end up having to immediately fight hostiles from both sides.

As it stands the KE don't have even the remotest of chances of making it here on time though, and the facility guards are several turns away as well.

All the clones in the meantime have with commendable hustle already reached the escape room.

Assisted by Eiger and her fancy new assault rifle, perfect for mid-range engagements like this, Dietrich uses his own fancy perk-boosted 1 AP Electro Core to take out the other generator guard.

Our own path now clear, we get to work on the generator controls themselves.

Glad they went for something so simple, don't really have the time how start figuring out how to spell out b00bzl0l in ancient Nahuatl.

Y, Y, Y, we're kind of in a hurry here okay.


That's done it! C'mon, chief... let's listen to the nice lady and get the hell out of here!

Now there's one Blitz plan we can get behind.

The timer would actually be relatively tight had we stumbled our way through like some kind of amateurs. Since we've already taken care of everything, seven turns is more than enough to cross a couple of rooms.

The blood mages have caught up some in the meantime, but they too are running out of time as by now everyone's nearly to the exit.

And in the end, thanks to our foresight in making sure the door was open in advance, they can only watch helplessly as We. Are. Out!

Goddamn, we actually did it. And with a surprisingly controlled explosion, in the end.

Look who's acting big again... well, guess we can let him have it this time. He did a lot of good work in there.

All a part of the job.

If you say so.

[He eyes the crater.]

...But next time, let's try to find some work that *doesn't* end in a giant fireball, okay?

Not gonna make any promises we can't keep. You know how we roll. Hell, you know how you roll, right?

Looks like I was wrong. The Azzies *are* bogeymen, just like the stories say. It's enough to make a man rethink some things.

Do we have anything to worry about, Dietrich? Any chance that Aztechnology corporate could use blood magic to track us?

After an explosion like that?

[He brushes an errant flake of ash off of his shoulder.]

Nah, boss, not a chance. Anything we might've left behind - any blood, or skin, or hair - has been cooked right through. We'll be fine after we clear out of here.

Right, nobody spit on the ground before we're out of the premises. Which actually is what Dietrich does on a different dialogue choice. C'mon, man.

We can talk about this later. We don't want to be here when those response vehicles arrive.

Right, these guys. Their immediate problems are solved, but this is about all we can do for them.

Whatever you want to. You're free now - you're not "supposed" to be anything. Find yourselves a new purpose, and make it a good one.

[The lead clone stares into the crater, trembling.]

We... we will try.

Yeah. Let's get back home, and more importantly let's get paid. If Frau Müller keeps her end of the bargain, and she'd damn well better, we'll at last have the funds together to pay Alice and with her help, start getting to the bottom of this dragon business.

We've got this and that here. We'll start with the blood mage, firstly blinding him with the Cybereye:


[The blood mage doubles over in pain, clasping both palms to his eyes.]

Aaaaah! What have you DONE?!

[Seizing the opportunity, you attack.]

Then resisting his spell with an Adept skill, which allows either passing peacefully with the same Charisma check we used (except in pretend pain instead of real) or alternatively going for the violent but undeniably cooler alternative:


Your magic is weak, blood mage.

[His eyes widen in surprise, and he takes a step backward. He points a crooked finger at you.]

This one is dangerous! Kill her!

And finally failing to resist the spell, which obviously ends in a fight in a very unfavorable position between the mages and the earlier guards while grouped up and with the enemies getting the first move:


Well, that was *very* enlightening. Thank you for your cooperation, Rosa. I'll be sure to tastefully memorialize you in my report.

Next let's go over the more significant changes on a power-off run. There's no major difference with the elevator guards, but in the room where Paul calls about the override password, power gets restored and the guards from the cryo room will actually enter the room afterwards:


Crazy night, huh? I still can't believe how badly that power overload messed up the system... someone in Maintenance is getting reamed over this one, I'm tellin' you.

[He shakes his head.]

I've never seen Central in such a panic.

[The troll standing behind him cuts in.]

Are you our relief? We've already been here well past the end of our shift.

Sorry it took so long. I've been having a rough time getting through to Central myself.

Well, you're here now.

[He flashes you a smile.]

Thanks. Gotta get home to the wife... she's going to give me hell enough as it is. I was *supposed* to be home an hour ago.

Instead of the Security etiquette and 6 Charisma, here one can pass with Security or 4 Charisma which is obviously a lot more forgiving.

(Charisma 4) Don't worry about the scan, I have a friend in payroll. She'll take care of the record-keeping for us.

Sounds great to me.

[He looks at his PDA again.]

Another text. "You're late, you're late!" Gods, but I need a drink.

This path also clears the cryo room of all guards so they won't be immediately charging you from behind should things go sideways later on.

That's the extent of noteworthy changes on this path, but to wrap it up here's using the node we didn't need to alter the facility operations record to put Danni and co. in the clear:


A couple of random notes which didn't fit elsewhere:

- The blood mage still talks to you if you've triggered an alarm, but aside from calling you an intruder and asking for your purpose there, the conversation isn't especially different beyond a fight being inevitable.
- The clones can die in the escape but they're not a major AI priority. If only one clone is saved, he expresses shock that it's wrong that he lives despite all of them having been supposed to die together.
- We opted to free the clones and unlock the data first but there's actually an achievement and a bonus of 2 Karma for overloading the generators without having gotten caught, which causes Paul to express his surprise as he didn't consider it possible.
- In battle the Blood Mages have normal mage skillsets, but have slightly higher defenses and each can summon an Apocalypse spirit just like Dietrich using the summoning spot in the lab. The KE reinforcements are normal KE grunts, just in large numbers entering from multiple sides.
- Glory doesn't have much to say at the end as usual, just that Aztechnology needed to be stopped.

And we'll finish things for today with the next chat with the Becks couple.


[The Becks are listening to a local news feed on an ancient receiver patched into the telecomm grid. Seeing you approach, they dial down the volume.]

Something tells me you'd be a better source of the latest news.

I don't know about that.

Such modesty. So what brings you by?

What's the chatter on the radio?

It feels like there hasn't been this much activity since the Flux first began.

Something big is happening, but nobody seems to understand what it all means.

And if the F-State doesn't know how to react, everybody gets paranoid that they may be next.

Corporations, political groups, gangs. Everyone is on edge.

What have you heard about the megacorps?

More than a few have been hit recently.

DeMeKo, EMC, Fuchi, Renraku, Teltech. The list goes on. No real rhyme or reason to it.

What political groups are involved?

Nearly all of them, from the sounds of it.

NAP, the Lisbians, ORC, Royal Blue. We even hear things about groups that aren't supposed to even exist.

What's the word with the gangs?

It's hard to tell with them, if they're being hit in the same fashion or just attacking each other out of fear.

But the list is just as long. The Horde, Red Skins and White Skins, the Green Bards, and on and on and on.

We should all be on guard.


Anything new happen while I was gone?

You could say that.

The Kreuzbasar has been positively buzzing. Perhaps not as evident now, but you can still feel it in the air.

There have been more incidents. With the vendors, Samuel's people, even the children.

What about the children?

Scare tactics. Gangs, from the sounds of it. Intimidate the children to intimidate the parents. Despicable.

We never had children of our own, so we think of every child in the Kreuzbasar as our grandkid. And it kills us to be so helpless to protect them.

We see them crying. We see them run to their parents. And we see the worry in their parents' eyes, but what can we do?

Families just don't feel safe anymore.

Safety should be the priority for everyone.

We couldn't agree more.

What the situation with Samuel's people?

Agitators. Targeting the younger, more brash members.

Those young men and women have already suffered so much. Now they feel threatened, as if they'll lose everything Samuel has provided them.

Could also be related to whatever happened with Mr. Laine before.

(This is obviously tied to the conversation with Laine about how he was attacked from way back when)

They all need to keep their heads.

Easier said than done when you're young and feel immortal.

What's going on with the vendors?

Aggressive competition. It was well known that Monika favored the vendors who called the Kreuzbasar home. But now, outsiders are making inroads.

We've heard Gunari grumbling, more than usual. We've seen worry creasing Maliit's normally happy face. And there's already been violence in Zaak's area of... interest.

Some would say this is the way of the F-State. It is the ultimate free market. But there are those who would do great harm in the pursuit of profit.

I suggest we all look for the Kreuzbasar label.

Support our local economy. Indeed.

Now, I'm sorry but I really should go.

Take care.