Part 10: Shower Mechanics
Welcome to Episode 2 of The 3rd Birthday. Time has changed. I guess! Somehow. Stuff is just going to sort of happen and well need to look in datalogs to see the specifics. As you do with time travel focused tales, right?
We find ourselves back with just a few minutes to spare before Christmas Day arrives. I suppose its a good thing the only member on staff with any family is dead, otherwise making everyone work on the time travel project on Christmas would be kind of a dick move.
Music: Investigation of the Past
That's it. You got it?
Understood, sir. The goal is to save Cray, and to destroy the Big Orb.
I thought there was only supposed to be one goal. Ugh. If I only understood the organization like I understand codes.
Up, up, down, down, left, right, B, A sometimes you have to hit Start. Thats the most complicated it gets. Boom. Done. 30 lives. Simple
You can complain when you're the boss.
Will I get a second health bar?
If what Aya says about a previous timeline is true possibly. But thats a big if.
*turns to Aya* Can you handle it?
No problem, sir.
The boss wants this place to fall apart so he can go back to his real job. He doesn't really believe that the past can be changed.
Then let's prove it. Or I should say, have Aya prove it.
So if the past changes and nobody remembers it but me, how are we supposed to prove things are different?
Hmm That is a good question. Blank?
*shrug* I dunno.
There you have it. Dont worry. I have full confidence in your abilities to solve this problem.
Aya looks to Crays empty chair
What will we do without Cray and his support in umm Let me consult the first missions script here for Crays inputs... Lets see Telling Aya to run when its a mandatory boss fight. Explaining the concept of a safe room. Informing Aya there are Twisted everywhere when she is looking at a hallway full of Twisted. Mansplaining Ayas own Overdive ability. Telling Aya there is a Reaper and she should run, after she has already been chased through several blocks of the Sacrifice Club mega complex. Telling Aya she ought to shoot a boss she had already fought once.
Jesus Christ, we need that man back on the team stat! The entire operation is in jeopardy!
Nobody called for you, Boss. Get out of here you lousy clip-on tie of a man.
As it turns out, we changed the past so Gabrielle is also not dead. If youll recall, she originally got aced three months ago when The Twisted attacked an army training facility. So by murdering a teenager turned off-brand Kingdom Heart Heartless creature in a concert hall, Aya has somehow prevented two Twisted massacres of government facilities. Sure, why not?
Blank scoots between them with his chair
Yeah, she took one from me.
Well, at least Aya managed to resurrect the one person she seemed to be friendly with in the earlier flavor text. At least thats something going for her. Its a shame the entirety of her NYPD and FBI friends and colleagues dropped off the face of the earth once she got amnesia. But its been a weird few years here in the post Parasite Eve universe.
Music: Wait for the Combustion
We once again find ourselves with some downtime back at the Counter Twisted Investigations Headquarters. This goes much the same way as the lull between the tutorial and the first mission. We can chat with the named members of staff, upgrade Ayas abilities/weapons, and get a bunch of mopey flavor text by scoping out much of the exact same stuff as last time.
For starters, lets see how everyone is doing in this new timeline. Hyde is being a wallflower along with Blank, as apparently nobody is capable of using a chair between missions. Also note that Crays chair has evaporated into the ether between scenes, much like his life.
The mission objective is to find Thelonious Cray and destroy the Big Orb located in the Spanish Harlem, three days ago. The first thing you'll do is dive into a SWAT officer.
You mentioned before that you changed the past and that was what led to Cray's death. Is that true?
Yes. It was my fault.
I guess I am still trying to process what happened here. Like how Gabrielle was denot present previously.
In the previous world, this incident never happened and Cray never died, right? And this part's the hardest to believe, but... the boss died instead?
Yes. That's right.
As well as everyone in the FBI. I guess that didnt happen either?
I think we would have heard if the entirety of the Federal Bureau of Investigations were killed. Plus, what would they all have been doing in the office on Christmas Eve?
There's no reason for her to lie. However, the boss is more alive than ever, and Cray's gone. Blank, what do you think?
Hmm CTI without the boss would be heaven. An endless budget for my research...
No more nasty HR e-mails about my bandwidth usage for non-work related recreational videos. Those were entirely for research purposes. Uptight jerks.
That's not exactly the answer I was expecting.
Also, oversight would not simply vanish, even if the boss were killed. He would have a replacement. The budget would still exist. As would HR complaint filings. That is how these government institutions work
I know. She could be right and our memories could be rewritten along with the time-space alteration. Another explanation is... it could also be that Aya was dreaming.
I dreamed an entire scenario where I dived into a concert incident from a year ago, with exact time-stamps of my progress. I could even tell you the exact members of the National Guard I jumped into and civilians I encountered.
You could have just read an old report and gotten the details mixed up. Dreams are weird like that.
One man was named Bernfried Rockel. Im fairly certain he died in the long connecting hallway between the three dance floors of the night club.
See A name like that could easily been made up by your subconscious.
Alone in a world where no one, not even you, knows your past a soul, lost in time. I believe you when you say you've changed the past. And I trust you can do it again.
I want Cray back, whatever the cost. I have faith in you. I know you can do this, Aya.
So, as of right now, The 3rd Birthdays time travel works on overwriting the previous timeline as soon as the timeline load bearing boss of a mission is slain. Everyones memories are instantly rewritten to reflect the new timeline. Except for Aya Breas, as her consciousness is technically floating around outside of the timeline. Dont worry about time paradoxes, since nobody on the writing staff looked up what that meant. Great!
Despite butting into the conversation with Hyde and being kind of a dick, Blank has his own conversation we may as well listen to.
It all started when the Babel in the Spanish Harlem was attacked. Actually, we still don't know who was behind it.
The military and the FBI thought this was our chance to retaliate, so we agreed to cooperate.
That's how Cray got involved.
We were totally unprepared. There was an unknown species. We ran it through the database with no hits. But by the time they were ordered to retreat, Cray was dead.
Were hoping we can get more information on this new species in your Overdive. Plastered Cray isnt exactly an in-depth analysis
I'm sorry you got roped into this mission. It's, uh, not gonna be an easy one. I hope you can help Cray, though.
Why is the FBI involved in a combat operation, again ? Even in dopey fiction versions of the FBI, its not exactly like you saw Agent Mulder suiting up for a ground war alongside the National Guard when the monster of the week was getting uppity. Then again, apparently the NYPDs SWAT team was also involved. Apparently Manhattan still has a functional police branch a year after the city got torn apart and infested with monsters ?
There is a very confusing mix of agencies involved here. Its like they didnt do a lot of research or something Nah. That couldnt be it. Not this stellar work of fiction.
Thats Blank and Hyde chatted up. The duo of previously dead characters have taken station up by the Overdive machine. Which is apparently named Aya too. Clever title. Lets see how the boss is doing. Perhaps hes lightened up from his previous attempted murder of an employee/imprisoned enemy asset. At the very least, hopefully he wont pull any other stunts that ought to have gotten him unbelievably shitcanned if anyone dropped a dime on him.
You can go running back to your den with your friends.
What are you talking about?
Your den - the Babel. The nation grants the CTI enough of a budget to hire federal police officers and engineers by the thousands. We're using the money of three million taxpayers to fund your delusional operation to change the past as you call it. Keep that in mind.
Yes, this mans motivation is entirely being a huge wanker because he wants to go back to his office and be lazy at his desk job. Great addition to the cast. Lets avoid his walking ornery middle management cliché of an ass and see what Gabrielle is doing, now that she is back from the dead.
I-I don't know what you're talking about.
I can't quite put my finger on it... Ah, well. I won't be there to back you up with my rifle, but I'll be here to navigate you.
I was at the Spanish Harlem three days ago. I know the situation better than anyone. I'll be your eyes; you pull the trigger.
So you WILL be there to back me up with your rifle.
Well I mean yes, I technically was there. But I will not know you from any other SWAT member and This time travel stuff is complicated. You know what I mean.
I want you to go and succeed where I failed. It's time for revenge.
Thats it for chats. While were in the neighborhood, we may as well get Ayas upgrades out of the way.
Our Over Energy options are still fairly limited this early on in the game. Weve picked up a couple of new abilities.
Odds Up increases the chance of slain Twisted randomly dropping an OE node to stick into the DNA board. Yes, the upgrades dropping in the first place are also up to the RNG. Sure.
Power Surge will up Ayas attack power when she kills an enemy. Its not bad.
Energy Defense just gives Aya a buff to her ability to tank hits. Better than nothing.
As far as our weapon loadout is concerned, weve unlocked a SWAT issue off-brand M4. Apparently the NYPD is better armed than the National Guard. Its more or less a better rifle across the board.
Since Aya has reached Level 2 with her Assault Rifle proficiency, we can get the second tier of upgrades for the new rifle. Which includes a bunch of buffs to the weapons Impact (stunning enemies) stat. Thats always nice to have on hand. The only change to Ayas loadout will be swapping rifles. The magnum will still be our secondary. Im not a fan of the shotguns.
Now that we have reached Episode 2, a medley of datalogs have unlocked in the database. Each episode will update the timeline, revise or add to the character profiles, update information on Twisted, and throw in more jargon terminology. Well look at that junk in a separate update. There is one new tab that we will check out here: Mail!
Aya is free to violate all sorts of co-worker privacy by sifting through (mostly Dr. Blanks early on) e-mail exchanges. Lock your stations, idiots. You work in a high level government organization. Sheesh!
Maybe this means Aya will get some cool abilities like a Zero-Shift or gravity manipulation. Nope! Why do you even ask.
Look, it isnt really time travel. Its altering history via a disembodied consciousness that can fully manipulate events that have already transpired. Completely different. Dont worry about stuff like maintaining continuity of rules or time paradoxes. This is something completely outside the norm!
E-mail number three seems to be caught in the wrong timeline. Additionally, Blank maybe you shouldnt be using your work terminal while contacting some sort of international wet works operative, celebrating your bosss demise and suggesting you were considering the possibility of having him assassinated. That doesnt seem particularly smart. Especially when just anyone can walk up and read it from an unlocked terminal.
As before, Aya has a mountain of flavor text voicing her thoughts (while audibly grunting and sighing suggestively non-stop.) All the triggers are in the exact same spots, unless otherwise noted. Im not going to fill out two dozen screenshots as reference points. So lets just condense the proceedings here. Though do remember, every other sentence is punctuated by a button prompt and Ayas heavy breathing. Every. Single. Time.
Inspect > The mini-fridge
This is the communal fridge. I see Gabrielle's cake is in there today. The world may change, but there'll always be cake. It's full of Blank's fizzy drinks. He said something about it being hacker fuel.
I think I hate Blank.
Inspect > Notice Board next to desks
Magnets Strictly Prohibited! Wouldn't want them to affect these precision instruments. Lost: One handheld game console! See Blank. When does he have time for games? I expect restraint! -Chief Bohr. Looks like the boss chewed him out.
Please do not look in Blanks PSP video storage. The debauchery stored there is not for the faint of heart. The guy is really into researching tentacle monsters for a reason
Inspect > Behind the computer consoles
Blank sits here and writes codes deep into the night. I wonder if I can do what Gabrielle couldn't in this awful mission. The chief is tough, but kind. He helped me when I'd lost all my memories.
Inspect > Railing facing the computer consoles
The boss is always angry. Maybe I can change the past to put a smile on his face. Gabrielle, three days ago... What would it feel like to dive into her? I can see Cray in the past - alive. But seeing him isn't the same as helping him.
Yeah, Aya. Im sure sorting around a few recent events will completely alter the personality of an angry middle-aged white guy. Please refer to all examples such as _______
Inspect > Railing facing the stairs
Chief believes in me. That makes me feel a little better, anyway. This is my first rescue mission. Failure is unacceptable. No time to sit around being scared - I have a mission to complete!
I mean technically, you could retry as many times as it takes, as long as you dont die. So failure is, at most, an inconvenience. Though what would happen if Aya dived into the same place and time she had already Overdived into. What happens if you were to cross the Overdive streams? Dont worry, the game wont ask any challenging questions like that.
Inspect > Railing facing the wall
I'm so glad Gabrielle's alive, but I can't just sit around and be happy. Cray's not around... Am I the only one feeling uneasy here? If the past changes, so will everyone here. I want to come back here alive, I felt that way even before my mission.
I dont feel like getting myself killed in action. Thats being positive, right?
Inspect > Overdive Devices right side
My mission is to rescue Cray. I've got to do my very best. Being able to see Gabrielle again is like a dream - but it's all real. The boss coming back to life is all thanks to my having changed the past, too. Can I make a world where no one dies?
Inspect > Overdive Device front
I want to prove that the past can be changed - for myself more than anything. The terrifying power to change a person's fate... I want to believe it can save people, too. I'm responsible for Cray's death. Will I be able to wipe out my guilt? Thinking of the past is painful somehow. Does that prove I had a past, too?
Im not sure why everyone is guilt tripping Aya for Cray dying. Its not like she shoved a Twisted out a time window and it landed on Crays head. It sounds like he fucked up and got himself killed all on his own accord. But hey, cannot make Aya feel positive about any of her accomplishments. It would tarnish that refreshing vulnerability.
Inspect > Overdive Device left side
I feel uneasy in here, and not just because it's so dark and cramped. I can't warm up to the whole Overdive sensation, no matter how many times I do it. I really shouldn't complain, but this isn't exactly conductive to a great night's sleep. I don't feel like I'm myself in here. It's like I've commandeered someone else's psyche.
That is literally what you are doing. So that would check out.
Inspect > Overdive Device back side.
This device is our last hope... If only we could snap our fingers and have our wish come true. The world can change - again. Please let that be true. Are my memories in the past, too? Even if no one leads an ideal existence...
Its a shame we cannot have Aya Overdive into her Parasite Eve self and let us go play a HD remake of that game.
Hmm On second thought, I dont think Id want The 3rd Birthday Aya overriding her Parasite Eve incarnation
In any case, that is a wrap for happenings in the Overdive room. Lets move on to other parts of the building. A new option, the Rooftop, has appeared this episode. Well check that out later. For now, lets move to the Weapon Locker.
Ah yes. The Weapons Locker. Where we can upgrade our loadout and fire live rounds into the immortal undead husk of a former CTI employee, shackled in secret, limited access test chamber. Were the good guys!
Gabrielle has migrated over to the Weapons Locker along with Aya. Apparently, Boss wants her to keep eyes on Aya. Which means she will proceed to teleport to each new area ahead of Aya. Thats kind of weird, Watson.
Our newly revived CTI buddy doesnt have anything to say. But the surrounding area has some new text to absorb. Lets take a quick look before moving onward.
Inspect > SOFT DRINK
I prefer lower-calorie products. They're always out of the things you want most.
Inspect > Recycling Bin
I'm sure we're not supposed to throw these bottles out. The past may change, but this place always stays the same.
I cannot believe the state of vending machines and recyclables in this mid-apocalypse Manhattan. This world is finished.
Inspect > Fire extinguisher
In case of fire. The fire stations must be short-staffed, too.
Inspect > Magazine on bench
Weapons Monthly, July Special: The Bismarck. 31 Ways to Zero In On Your Ideal Man. Report: Battling the Twisted.
Gun magazines have always been weird as hell. Never trust anyone that subscribes to em. Always a major warning sign.
Inspect > Notice Board
CTI Marksmanship Tournament. I doubt I'd even make it past the preliminaries. Marksmanship Exam: Gabrielle Takes the Lead. Changing the past really does change the future. ''Cash Reward for Unseating Gabrielle.'' I did happen to win once during maneuvers... accidentally.
Reminder: Aya Brea has in the past fought an undead T-Rex and a genetically enhanced cyborg army. What happened ?
Inspect > Bench
I'd always sit here before training and take a deep breath. Training sure wasn't easy, but it saved my skin dozens of times in the field. I owe Cray my life. I want to show him what all that training accomplished.
Inspect > Weapon Locker Clerk
That's Nelson from the security department. He's one of the few people left here at the CTI. This place used to be positively teeming with staff members and researchers. Cray's the one who got me to start training. Every time I pick up a weapon, I feel like I'm losing something.
I dont think they ever actually mention why CTI went from having thousands of members, according to the big timeline breakdown, to like 10 people total. Besides it being a PSP game and they couldnt render more than about 8 human sized models in a single room.
Thats it for the Weapons Locker. We wont bother using our undead slave former co-worker as target practice this go around. He can have the day locked in a dark, solitary room in the attic. Sure hope the human transformed Twisted dont retain cognitive functions, like Emily Jefferson clearly did. That would be kind of fucked up!
New Music: Angels Time
The Locker Rooms. Here we are again. I hope youre ready for things to get real classy. First of all, Gabrielle has teleported to the corner opposite the Mens Locker room for whatever reason.
Oh Thanks for the permission. We wont let the boss know Aya is keeping up her personal hygiene. Thats not weird at all. Were we to change Ayas outfit and return here, Gabrielle will comment on it. For reference, she says:
(Default or Business Porn Shoot) Hmm Looking good.
(White Eider or Sexy Santa) Oh, thats cute!
(Maid Fetish or Swimsuit) Youre going in that?
(Playboy Bunny or Chinese Escort): Looking hot.
(Perfect Waifu Lightning or Overdive Suit): Futuristic.
(Knight Sans Pants): Oh, is that new?
Im fairly sure this is the only time anyone acknowledges Ayas dumbass alternate costumes.
While were on this side of the area, we may as well get the flavor text for the Mens Locker Room out of the way. No comment on why the Mens area has a spade symbol, while the ladies a heart. Perhaps Vassel has a club symbol Twisteds Locker Room off in an unseen corridor.
Inspect > Mens room notice
Physical Ability Exam: Gabrielle Takes the Lead. Looks like guns aren't the only thing she's good at. Scribble Pad / Communication Notebook. It's full of gripes about work. Physical Ability Exam: Top Ten. Did the top dog walk around pasting these up?
Gabrielle is weird.
Inspect > Newspaper on bench
US Destroyed Within Four Years. Didn't it used to be two? NY State Casualties Top Three Million. This must be an old newspaper. The city's completely shut down.
Or, you know, you did change history and had a positive effect overall on the battle against the monster race. Not that youd know it with everyone being down that Cray got his dumb ass killed being the topic of the day. And of course, the game failing to convey any other meaningful changes other than some flavor text and actively going off to read datalogs.
Inspect > Movie poster
A poster of an actress. She seems to be popular around here. Not many new films are coming out these days.
I never watched the Parasite Eve movie. I heard it wasnt very good. And the summary of the novel the games were based on is uhh Japan is real weird about organ transplants, huh?
Other than a dirty towel still being stinky, that does it for the Mens Locker Room snooping. Lets see what is crackin in the Womens Locker Room.
Inspect > Newspaper on bench
Under-Construction Aircraft Carrier Sunk. Did I know about this? This isn't the same article I saw in the old world. I wonder what incident this one replaced.
Im fairly sure originally it was about Air Force One getting shot down and the President being fucking dead! Of which you were rather blasé about, I might add. You saved your best friend and President Obama. Lets just call Cray a loss and say we came out ahead of that last mission, eh?
Inspect > Cracked open locker
This locker's always open just a crack. When it's open, you either want to close it or open it wide. What's it going to be?
You need to work on your comedy act, Seinfeld.
Inspect > Another open locker
A photo. It must be someone special to them. A souvenir of some special day? I wonder if I have any of those.
How special are we talking? You had a really rough week the end of 1997 and a very bogus weekend September of 2000. Your birthday is November 20th. Not that this game, despite the title, will ever bring that up.
Inspect > Notice
Company Physicals: Employees to be Retested. The chief still hasn't gone. They check my vital signs and God knows what every time I dive.
How do you know Hyde hasnt had his physical? Youre locked up in a prison cell when youre not training or Quantum Leaping into the past. Beside the point this is a new timeline. Thats very presumptuous of you, Ms. Brea.
Of course, we have the Womens Bathroom to inspect before we can move on. Welp
Inspect > Towel hamper
This is where dirty towels go. The world might change, but not this place. Maybe I've just gotten used to this life.
Seriously, dont move the laundry hamper in the workplace if people are bathing there. It really does just throw everything into chaos.
Inspect > Mirror
Was someone here? Or are my eyes playing tricks on me? Sometimes I look at myself and see a stranger.
We get it! You have amnesia! Youve had amnesia for three years. That excuse has a shelf life of like a month, tops, in most fiction.
Inspect > Recently used shower
I can still smell someone's shampoo. This might have been Gabrielle's. Someone taught me that taking care of your grooming is part of a pro's job.
Are we positive Aya doesnt have any long, lasting mental damage beyond the memory loss ?
Ugh So, one of the shower stalls is now open Remember the Feats from the mission? They do serve a secondary function, beyond dumping a load of BP in Ayas account upon completion. On each difficulty level, there is a particular feat that can be accomplished in order to unlock a shower scene for Aya. Yep. This is one classy game. On Easy, it was killing all the Slackers in Chapter 1. Normal is the Wad eradication in Chapter 1. Hard is saving all the civilians in Chapter 2. Deadly is escaping the Reaper quickly in Chapter 3. Insane is escaping the reaper unscathed in the same chapter.
Since we did, in fact, kill all of the Wads in Chapter 1 on Normal welp!
Fun fact: Square-Enix has a copyright block for visual content of this scene (and the ending) on YouTube. And boy do I not give enough of a shit to reverse the footage or add a filter or anything to bypass it and risk a copyright strike over this fucking game. Im already annoyed I had to re-render the video to cut it out and re-upload it for the highlight reel. So go look it up yourself if you want some PG-13 Aya Brea CGI boobs!
After completing her shower, Aya will reflect on recent events. This, too, changes depending on the difficulty. They really expected people to replay this game multiple times.
(Easy): Why did my memories return when I dove into Emily?
(Normal): Its up above in the screen shot!
(Hard): I changed the world and Cray died. So if I change it again...
(Deadly): The boss sure is intimidating. He hates me so much, I may as well be a Twisted.
(Insane): So the past really can change? Does this have anything to do with that girl?
Thats all very insightful. The shower mechanic crops up in most every chapter, with different feat requirements per difficulty. Theres only the one shower scene CGI, though. Before you bring up Parasite Eve 2 had a shower scene as well. Yeah, it did. It was 15 seconds long and you saw Aya from the neck up. It was interrupted by her fighting a 50 foot tall mutant flamethrower. It was not... this.
Yeah... Moving on... Lets check out the Rooftop.
New Music: Memory II -for The 3rd Birthday-
Welcome to the rooftop of the CTI Building. This area serves no function, other than to house a few future cutscenes and for Aya to deliver more depressed teenager inner-monologue. Gabrielle has teleported up here as well, just to our right. She has an additional conversation out in the fresh air.
N-no, of course not!
Then why are you so flustered? Hehe. If there's anything you need to know, you can ask me.
Cray used to come here all of the time. This place - it's just not the same without him.
Aya is too bashful to discuss timey-whimey issues with Monsigny-senpai. Oh well, we may as well see Ayas thoughts on the ruined cityscape while were up here. Remind me again why CTI is operating in the middle of a devastated city?
The roof's the only place to catch a breath of fresh air. The city looks different from here, too.
Yeah, the skyline hasnt been the same since
Where does this go, I wonder? The CTI still has its share of unfamiliar places.
Into a cramped air duct, Aya. Youll only need to worry about that if it turns out CTI is actually a front for Majestic-12 and you need to exfiltration out of the building and flee to Hong Kong.
Theres no comment for it, but if we look down at the city below, the streets are a right mess. Again why are we operating here? At the very least, there wasnt an office space in Queens or Brooklyn? Manhattan real estate wasnt what it used to be.
Can it really be the Twisted's nest? I wonder if the Babel is going to keep growing. I can't believe this is New York. Was New York. Why would they make something like that? I can't remember the skyline without that Babel.
The Babel in the distance is a cool looking visual. Hey, just a note. Isnt it MIDNIGHT?! Why is it a bright and sunny mid-day sky? Oh continuity You have such a flirtatious relationship with The 3rd Birthday.
Some parts of town are still okay. What a lonely Christmas Eve. The vents It's a little noisy. I can barely hear myself think. I remember crying here.
Okay, thats enough out of you for one session, Aya. Lets head back indoors.
Thats a wrap for our second session of farting around the CTI building. Tune in next time, when Aya dives back in time three days to the body of SWAT Member Tomas Araya and cocks up history some more in Spanish Harlem. It will be a time.
Video: Part 10 Highlight Reel (The original upload included the stupid shower scene, but Im afraid Square-Enix has a copyright claim block up for six year old, PG-13 caliber depictions of CGI boobs. Shucks )
Gabrielle Monsigny That's a cute outfit and all, but please tell me you're not wearing that in the upcoming sniping mission...