Part 83: Denouement in the DarkPart 83 - Denouement in the Dark
Alright, time for one last walk through these familiar streets to see who's up for trading some final words with us.
It's actually not that many all in all Majiit, Samuel, Zaak, Ezkibel, Gunari and Lucky Strike are all busy with their own stuff but Laine continues to be almost disconcertingly chatty for an old and grumpy Finnish man.
Mission accomplished, colonel. Those that attacked the Kreuzbasar won't be troubling us anymore.
Just don't salute me, pup.
This place may never be the same without Monika, but we will carry on.
Indeed we will.
[The old troll claps you on the shoulder and then steps back.]
So what's next for you then? Moving on?
Not sure. I'll have to see what the F-State throws my way.
This is the closest thing we have to a home right now and we don't have any immediate plans to abandon it, but you can't do this kinda work in this kinda town without a certain degree of flexibility in your long-term plans.
If it keeps you here in Berlin, we'd be happy to have you stand with us. The Flux is always changing, and we'll need someone here to help us change with it. But whatever you decide, we will understand. And you will always have our thanks.
Kim's up next.
People were saying you were going off to do something dangerous. Or more dangerous than usual, I guess. They weren't sure you'd live through it, or if you'd come back even if you did. But I knew you'd be back.
Of course I'm back, this is home. And it should be safe again.
I do feel safer. And I feel better, thanks to you. The truth is, the Kreuzbasar is better with you here. And everyone in it is better.
It's hard, but it gets easier if I'm keeping busy. And I'm trying to keep REAL busy.
Good on you kid, it's pretty damn understandable wanting an escape from this reality considering how many times its already clawed at your throat, but maybe a chance to look around with clear eyes will reveal some new roads to better places, yeah?
I'm proud of you, Kim.
Any chance of us conveniently forgetting to go see Abby & Al are trashed when we find them waiting for us right outside the cafe.
To be certain. This human is to be heralded with much praise, Aljernon Half-Dream, though her release of the Great Wyrm will have ramifications, to be sure. This day is full of portent.
Do you two ever speak plainly?
If you two ever get married, please never invite us to the wedding.
Portent? What do you mean, portent?
The Feuerschwinge Wyrm is not a minor player in the great cycle. The effects of her release will resonate across time and space.
Is that good?
[Aljernon smiles.] For some.
"Good" is a childrens term in a world without connections. Without nuance.
[Aljernon purses his lips, annoyed.]
You make it sound like a bad thing.
Tsk tsk, "bad" is a children's term, Aljernon. What happened to you man, you used to be so *nuanced*.
Do not jest, Half-Dream. We must be going, and soon.
Going? Where are you going?
Machu Picchu. It is in South America. I have business there that has become urgent.
...There's something superbly irritating about him seeing the need to specify which continent Machu Picchu is located on. Like really, not even "in Peru" but "in South America"?
It will not be urgent till tomorrow, Half-Dream. You have time to pack up your wares.
There is more to it than that, woman, and you know it.
Is there something I should know? Some last words of I dont know wisdom?
Always... no. Never...
Shine, runner of shadows. Glow bright, and show what is hidden in the places Power wishes to remain dark. That is Absinthes wish for you.
Good lord, we can count ourselves lucky that we only ever had to deal with those two separately in the past or all the brain matter we'd have lost through our ears would've left us pretty ill-equipped to deal with the whole Feuerchswinge crisis.
Help us Altuğ, please talk to us about something normal and comprehensible.
I have a proposal for you that could prove most lucrative to us both, efendim. Most lucrative! Fortune will surely smile upon our blessed partnership, if you will only accept.
Im listening, O Master of Hyperbole.
With the passing of Herr Amsel - may God bestow His mercy on him - you find yourself without a Fixer. I wish to offer my services to you in this regard. You will find that Altuğ Burakgazi is a most connected and business-savvy partner.
Well, why not? We've been too busy dealing with Vauclair to think about this stuff, but we undeniably need a Fixer and can't really think of anyone as competent and trustworthy as him.
Sounds like a match made in heaven, Altuğ. How do we start?
Brandenburger Tor. Got it. As soon as I finish up here, Ill go meet him.
And we are indeed finished here. We did tell Dietrich we weren't going to think about work today, but this is just how things go sometimes. No rest for the wicked and all that.
One thing we're definitely looking forward to is the return of peaceful train rides, started feeling like we deserve a discount for how often stops seemed to come with someone looking to put a bullet in our head.
Looks like we're not the only one here. That's nice, at least we have company if this train gets hijacked or something dramatic like that. Although...
...something about this guy seems awfully familiar.
Vauclair? Never heard of him.
Yes, of course. In your line of work, discretion is required. That is good.
Do I know you, friend?
No, but you are about to.
Does this interested party understand that information is a commodity?
[He continues.] My employer also wishes to hear about the Lady Feuerschwinge. A fascinating creature - so unlike her brothers and sisters. It is a relief that she is now free, dragons are not meant for captivity - the Lady Feuerschwinge least of all. She was special in this world. I am sure you would agree.
This guy definitely knows more than we're really comfortable with. Doesn't seem like there's much point in feigning ignorance here.
Dragons are no different from anyone else. There are those who take and those who get taken. A dragon is just another taker.
[He purses his lips. Considers.] Just another taker. Interesting. Dragons take, this is undeniable, but they cannot be considered just another taker, as you put it. They are the ultimate takers. It is their reason for existence. The Great Dragons are very old and very powerful and very, very cunning. A cunning unknowable to you.
I dont give a crap about dragons, Hans.
[He inclines his head, and the corner of his mouth curls into a bit of a smile.]
Of course not. You have your own important business to consider. Who to rob, who to kill, where to get your next packet of soy-jerky. That sort of thing.
You are no more interested in the dealings of the Great Dragons than a moth is interested in your bank account. Yet one day, that moth might be squashed under your foot without your even noticing.
[He leans forward.] You will live and die between the beats of a dragons heart, meine Freundin. What hope do you have of understanding them?
Great, seems we've ended up on the same train car with the biggest dragon fetishist in Berlin. But we did take a brief astral ride with Feuerschwinge, if that counts.
No kidding. Insane dragons are even harder to understand, but I was able to get through to her. For a moment, at least.
[Brackhaus studies your face closely.]
Were you? Were you indeed... I am pleased to hear it. And what did you learn?
That Feuerschwinge had a reason for her attack.
That is true. No ancient dragon acts without reason.
And now she is free again... and insane. The perfect addition to the Sixth World.
You seem to know a lot about dragons, Hans. Think your employer wants you telling me all this?
I am sure of it. You may consider this conversation an employment interview for a very influential client. One who pays extraordinarily well. Now listen.
These are some heavy questions for a job interview. Would we have genocided the dragons if we could've done it without harming humanity, huh?
Like most people, we don't have a very positive impression of Great Dragons and everything they've done, but we've learned enough during these last couple of weeks to say that this shit's clearly all one big tangled up mess and we're a little uncomfortable with the idea of trying to unravel it by simply taking a sword to it and hoping for the best. That's just not how we operate even on the field.
I dont think so. Who knows what would fill the power vacuum left behind?
Indeed. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Things you do not wish to know.
Well, on to the business at hand. My employer wishes to secure your teams services for a series of operations that will likely require the remainder of 2054.
I dont know. After Green Winters, I need to have a better idea of who Im working for these days.
Yeah, we kind of figured as much considering the nature of these topics being brought up. But you know, there's this one saying in our business circles, perhaps you have heard of it.
What makes you think Im going to make a deal with a dragon?
[His eyes glint.] Because you have already been working for him for some time now, meine Dame. Or did you think Green Winters found the Harfeld Manor on his own?
Hold on, is he implying that the big bad Lofwyr actually knew about this whole thing from the start? And still risked the literal extinction of his own species?
Nice try, but I don't buy it. If Lofwyr knew what Vauclair was planning, he'd have handled it himself.
He would, would he?
[His eyes twinkle with mirth.]
I shall have to share that opinion with him. I think that he would be most amused.
Allow me to share a truth with you, shadowrunner. The truly powerful do nothing themselves unless they absolutely have to. Instead, they delegate. Others do the work for them, and they reap the benefits.
Well... yeah okay, that is how things turned out in the end, sure, but surely that still meant him placing an unreasonable amount of confidence in the abilities and decisions of us and our team. Realistically speaking we could've died a dozen times over just during the Harfeld assault alone, or maybe even figured Vauclair had the right idea and let him go forward with Panacea voluntarily. No way was it all just part of some big plan when there was this much luck and chance involved. Nuh-uh!
It's easy for you to say that, but I'm still not buying it.
That would be a mistake. Underestimating an ancient dragon is never wise, shadowrunner. My lord Lofwyr never makes a move without anticipating the next three. You will not know what his endgame truly is until it has already come to pass. But you *can* choose whether to be on the right or the wrong side of it.
Dragons and their machinations, always playing some game of eight-dimensional chess... Man, we've so had enough of this already. Maybe this all really is just one big game board for them and all we are expected to do is humbly play the role of the pawns, but if they want us to dance to their tune then at the very least we need to choose our own steps, not just give up and surrender to the puppeteer's strings. Plus we made a promise to Eiger and we intend to keep it.
But how do we communicate this with the tact the situation calls for...
I'd rather floss my teeth with monomolecular wire.
Colorful. But as you wish. Auf Wiedersehen.
Just like in the previous game, the ending proper is one conscise screenful of text. Nothing fancy like ending videos until the next one.
Undoubtedly the main thing of note here is that this story has actually taken place during the last days of the Flux State and the great anarchist experiment, before corporate might begins crushing it to dust the following year (justified by, amongst other things, the large-scale operation against the Universal Brotherhood and the insect spirits). Whether this is a foregone conclusion you knew from the start or a major last-second twist of course depends entirely on your prior familiarity with the setting.
Past 2060, most of west Berlin would be divided into corporate-controlled districts, while the anarchist remnants in the east would remain under what might be considered a permanent state of siege. This divide would, in turn, come to an end 12 years later after a nanoweapon attack by a sprawl guerrilla cell in 2072 would prove to be the last straw for corporate forces to move in and at last put the final nail in the coffin for anarchist-controlled Berlin, re-re-unifying the city once more.
The Firewing for her part has never been seen again. Guess she was a wyrm of her word, in the end.
And with that, we have reached the conclusion of the main part of this LP. Thank you very much for reading, and once again I'm truly grateful to all the people who have been posting in the thread and somehow making it even more amazing than the last one, even through some real bad stretches that caused this to take way longer than it was ever supposed to. The amount of people and encouragement in the thread has way surpassed all my expectations, and I'm glad we could see this dumb thing through together. Eventually.
Obviously big thanks to Harebrained Schemes for making such a great game as well, they really knocked it out of the park with Dragonfall and especially the standalone Director's Cut, and its status amongst modern CRPG classics is certainly well-deserved. And it's not even the last one of these! Can you believe that they actually made one more and it's really good as well? Pretty wild.
Now all that said we're not actually quite done here yet, so do stick around for the alternate ending showcase if you're curious how things would've ended up had we made some different decisions along the way.