Part 80: The Final PushPart 80 - The Final Push
(Oh hey, Shoot Straight is back from Returns. This part first played in the Mercy Mental Hospital. Still kinda sounds like a Skyrim cave in parts.)
Where the hell are we, boss? It looks abandoned.
I think this place is military. Judging by our depth and the markings, Im guessing its an abandoned missile base. That would explain why the late Doctor Vauclair chose this place for his operation. Cant be easy to find a secret underground base big enough to house a dragon.
Lets move. I owe Audran a bullet between the eyes, and I mean to pay up.
We've got no choice. If we dont stop Audran from releasing that dragon, everyone in the Kreuzbasar is dead.
Well, the good news is that we've officially met our original objective of finding and stopping Vauclair. The bad news is that his violent henchman appears to have been taking his Nihilis-M supplements far past the recommended dosages and now we have to find and stop him instead. But first we have to navigate our way out of this lightless pit we find ourselves in.
You might think that as a mage we'd have a variety of ways to light this place up, but such mundane use of magic is clearly below a master of the hermetic arts such as ourselves. Stumbling in the dark is making it a little hard to get anything done though, gotta get the lights on somehow.
A gas can seems like a good start, all kinds of potential ways this stuff could help us in this predicament. If nothing else the fumes will help pass the time if we can't find a way out of here.
But maybe that won't be necessary as short ways to the west we do find a promising exit candidate in the form of a locked door, though without power its operating panel remains as dark as the rest of this place. We also find a small generator attached to a larger diesel generator.
We don't have diesel for the big one, but the regular stuff we just picked up should do the trick for the little guy here.
Hard to believe this thing still works, they really knew how to build 'em to last back in the day. Whenever that was. Now we just need to hook up its big brother with some diesel fuel.
...Although gotta say, after all that excitement of assaulting a mad scientist's secret lab and confronting him in a dramatic verbal showdown with all kinds of shocking twists and revelations flying around, this kind of mundane busywork is something of a momentum whiplash.
Our epic quest for diesel fuel takes us to a larger room east from where we entered, containing what even in total darkness we can sense to be the correct flavor of power juice we're looking for.
Turns out this place isn't inhabited solely by a diverse community of gasoline cans though, as evidenced by a lone scorpyrine emerging from the darkness.
Sorry pal, we know how it feels when a bunch of armed people suddenly come to make a ruckus in your home, but we need that canister and really don't have time to learn Scorpionese for proper trade negotiations.
Here we are. We'll just take this...
...we'll bring it back to the large generator, and...
...we have achieved light! A little bit of it at least, still pretty dim in here but this should at least be enough power to get us through that door.
Out of curiosity though, what were those papers from earlier about?
Sounds like they might've been in the process of expanding the missile base or whatever this place is. And something about a glowing rock, disease, and monsters... If this were some cheap horror movie, it'd definitely turn out that their excavations hit a mysterious radioactive stone which started making people ill and mutating animals into giant monsters or something along those lines. Let's at the very least hope we're spared from that sort of nonsense.
At any rate, the door onwards now opens with a simple press of a button and we're free to start looking for a way back to the whole saving Berlin thing.
Past the doorway is another small room, its only noteworthy feature being a hole in the floor large enough for us to peek through into the floor below.
These guys again? Guess they've realized the firedrakes didn't do the job.
[There's a pause, and you hear the sound of a throat clearing.]
So... uh... think we can stop them?
[The second voice is dismissive.]
With two whole strike teams already set in ambush? I don't see what chance they have.
Well, you're the one who's gonna have to explain it to Audran if they get past us.
Which is why we're not gonna screw it up! Got it? As soon as any of these doors open, you shoot. Got it?
Oh yeah, I got it.
Can't you people just take the hint already, that hint being the part where everyone trying to stop us is extremely dead. Maybe we can gleam some good news from this too since unless these mercs were dumped down here through a laundry chute, there must be a way back into the facility proper on the floor below.
So we're now looking for a way down, and continue on to another dimly-lit room with more doors and a bloodstain on the floor.
Wherever the owner of all this blood ended up, they didn't bring their PDA with them. Terribly careless, we all produce blood for free but these things cost real money.
So if scorpyrines and firedrakes are ever in the same room, they'll fight each other? This seems like it might be relevant later. But it won't be.
The door to the right here appears to be level-gated, please look forward to the rest of this update consisting solely of us running in circles grinding random battles until we've collected enough EXP to proceed. Or maybe we just need to find the appropriate key card.
Joke's on you sign, for us that's every area.
Seems they really did have a whole operation going here, hopefully we won't have wander around in these tunnels for very long before finding a way down.
First following the path west, we quickly find some of those missing Firedrakes just hanging around in a corner.
Eiger suffers a decent fireball crit from one of them, but otherwise they're not much more than a mildly explosive speed bump.
On the ground here we find the key card to the door earlier, present and fully intact even decades later.
Another boarded-up hole on the floor for us to peek through here as well, these are turning out to be something of a staple feature for this area.
Ceiling Rosa is watching you sniff that tray, lizard.
Past the firedrakes, we follow the tunnel north and east and come across an intersection, with paths leading further to the north and east and also back towards the entrance.
In this area we find yet another peeping hole, this one surrounded by a set of intact blasting charges drilled into the ground.
Don't know why they keep claiming we can't make anything out when these guys might as well be standing under a spotlight.
So here we have the second ambush team looking to ruin our night, and by proxy a lot of other people's nights too. ...Say, wonder if those blasting charges attached to the floor here are still functional. One man's floor is another man's ceiling after all.
To investigate the matter, we use the foreman's ID card to get through the locked door from earlier, finding a terminal within.
Technically there's no guarantee that the explosives we're arming here are the same ones in the other room, but something's probably going to blow up and is that not good enough a reason to try? Of course it is.
Well, it definitely detonated something. Let's go have a look.
Yep, that seems to have done it alright. Made a nice and angular hole too, kind of satisfying to look at.
What a tragic workplace accident it would've been if someone had happened to be standing down there when this thing went off. No shortcuts to be had here, but maybe it'll have saved us some time and effort down the line.
Next we return to the intersection from earlier, following the path further north which eventually leads us to a chamber with a fancy-looking stone and some remarkably chill scorpyrines. We'll have to deal with them if we want to look down the local floor hole they're standing on, but for now let's investigate what this rock mentioned in those old papers is all about.
A stone that grants fetishes, huh. Guess those concerns back in the day weren't completely unfounded after all, rock does corrupt your mind.
We're not much of a fetishist ourselves, so we let Dietrich do the examining.
This nets him two Earth Elemental Fetishes, one Level 4 and the other Level 6, on top of the one he already has. If being able to auto-win one fight with Shield wasn't good enough, now we can do it thrice!
We take advantage of the combat mode used for the examination to also take out the trio of unusually passive scorpyrines which fail to put up much of a fight after our initial barrage.
And what of the hole they died for?
It doesn't turn out to show much, just a large room with a bunch of tanks and pipes populated by yet more of their stingy bretherin. By now it's pretty clear that this is not the most exciting locale we've ever visited, it's a lot of non-descript rooms and almost an equal amount of trivial fights against the same generic foes.
Back at the intersection again, we next follow a tunnel east and come across yet another floor hole. They really love their floor holes here, love 'em in all shapes and sizes.
And the views they're giving just keep getting less interesting too, this one's literally just an empty room. Glad we're not paying money for this show.
Around the next corner we encounter, what else, more scorpyrines and one final hole in the floor.
Incidentally this is also where the door near the blast zone from earlier would've led to. And what's below this room?
A generic storeroom! And a firedrake trying to hide behind some crates. You're no snake, drake.
Past the west door here we finally discover a potential way to go and experience all those exciting sights we've witnessed by ourselves.
(This one goes even further back than the other half of the track, in Returns it first played in the Royale Apartments when rescuing Coyote from Stevie J.)
Alright, now we're at least on the same floor as the exit. There's also some kinda diagram on the wall here.
There is something distinctly puzzle-like about this seemingly innocuous ventilation diagram.
Outside the small room we have a variety of directions to choose from, and there's also a jack-in point here we once again can't make use of. Inability to access this one locks us out of two door nodes and some security logs which would probably read something like this:
Okay, Günther, we have our orders. Remember, those stims are for emergency use only. Don't distribute them unless absolutely required. Access code for the case is 3971.
Strike Teams Bravo and Charlie, you have your orders. We know that they're in these tunnels somewhere. Watch out for "wildlife," and ATTACK ON SIGHT. If they escape and you are still breathing, expect repercussions.
Intrusion in the courtyard - Alpha team respond. Watch your ass around the statues as usual.
In any case, the door next to the jack-in point leads to the small empty room we saw from above earlier, and from that room we proceed into a small firing range wherein we exterminate a couple more scorpyrines.
The wall of the room is lined with loot, but they're all Russian Military Grenades (25 DMG, -2 armor) and we've already established that us and hand-thrown explosives just aren't compatible. Locked door here too, one of the two operable from the Matrix, but we already saw an open one to the same room earlier so we simply go back around and enter through there instead.
This is the store room we also peeked into earlier and this one comes Firedrake flavored, so probably like, overcooked chicken or something. Had we opened the door between here and the firing range via the Matrix, the drakes here would've started fighting the scorpyrines on the other side. As it is, it's just yet another generic room with nothing of note inside.
Past this room we discover the results of our unsafe excavation practices, namely the buried corpses of ambush team two. Doesn't look like even safety helmets would've be saved them from this one, but we're more than happy getting to skip this particular confrontation.
From here we take the northwest door which brings us back to the corridors outside the small room we started from, near the infirmary where we observed the tray-sniffing lizard in.
It also turns out to have a buddy sharing in its degeneracy, but when you've seen one Firedrake fight you've seen 'em all.
From this room we pick up a couple of Advanced Medkits, using our old stuff to heal the bits of damage our group has taken during the clashes with the local fauna.
Continuing north from the infirmary, our next stop is the large pipe-filled room we saw through the hole near the glowing stone. We give the three scorpyrines here the usual treatment.
There's another Advanced Medkit on the shelf here, but this room also has something of actual interest for us to examine.
Gas! Not really our preferred way of doing things, but we're kind of past the point where we can afford to get picky about our methods.
We've now officially explored all the rooms in this section, so we return to the room with a collapsed roof and take the west door there.
Not that it matters which door we take as they both lead to the same hallway which continues on to the east. There's a dead end in the corner we're going to investigate first though.
This turns out to house the ventilation controls, and in kind of a grim but thankfully not very complex puzzle we can direct the nerve gas we picked up into one of four rooms. As per the diagram we copied, the buttons correspond to "Firing Range", "Bulk Storage", "CIC" (Combat information center) and "Administration" respectively.
We know that there's a whole roomful of Audran's goons waiting to put bullets to us in a room, so the trick is to figure out which one it is that they're in. The firing range and storage are obviously not it so it really only comes down to the CIC and Administration. The main hints here are the fact that there was a briefing table in the collapsed room earlier, and that Administration was noted to be located away from the others. So we press button 4...
...and then we pull the manual bypass lever, after which we add something a little extra to the mix.
Not exactly heroic, but then we're not exactly heroes.
Afterwards we return to the hallway, following it east until an intersection. The door here is one we could've opened remotely from the Matrix, but our options are limited to just the one.
Going through that door confirms that we indeed got the room right. Shit luck, friends. Incidentally the Matrix-openable door would've let us bypass this room entirely and just walk past this bunch without any conflict, ultimately making them just another victim of the abominable party limit.
But we've no time to mourn the grim fates of those who wanted us dead anyway, because past here we at last discover the way out these gloomy tunnels.
Had we (legitimately) acquired the code from the security logs in the Matrix, we could also open the footlocker here for 5x Kamikaze stims (+2 Body, +1 Strength, and +1 Willpower for 5 turns). Not bad, but we really have no need for them so who cares.
On the other side we find ourselves in what could only look more like a pre-final boss room if it had a glowy save point right in the middle.
The large crate contains two Gold Trauma Kits, while the medical cabinet in the corner is so advanced and luxurious that it actually lets us distribute a Premium Medkit for every party member instead of forcing them all on just us. Can't believe they've been hiding this kind of power from us all this time...
Not only that, but we could use the miraculous device here (actually referred to internally as "Magic Healing Machine") to immediately heal the party to full were we not already in tip-top shape anyway. We can still check the logs though.
Guess that about checks out, all things considered.
Let's face it, this whole stretch really kind of dragged, though at least it wasn't quite as bad as a certain other final dungeon slog. Maybe the third time'll be the charm?
But whatever, that's all behind us now, because this is it! The final confrontation! The grand showdown! The finish line is so close we can almost touch it, the only thing remaining now is to break the knees of the one guy still in front of us and we'll soon have brought this tale to a close.