Part 39: The Not-So-Great Space RobberyThe Not-So-Great Space Robbery
When we last left our collection of stereotypes, they had made a deal with the information dealer Dracogen to get a navigation computer from a bunch of space marines, while also providing a way for the space marines to return home. We nearly ended things violently but then my computer crashed.
Anyway there's one thing I want to address before we do the great Space Robbery.
No, not this.
These guys! Three of the lascars are sitting in the Bloom lost.
: At your approach, she gives you an irritated glance. "You address the jemadar Arechi. Speak what you need, or begone."
: [Raises Gold Tide] I found a Maw in Little Nihilesh. It looks like it leads to your anchorage.
The Changing Tool is legitimately perfect for cheesing the skill checks to use the cortex, which is why I forget all about it like a moron.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: What do you want, asshole? Sorry, I'm stressed because I can't get home.
: It's literally two blocks that way.
: Wow, you own! Take this multitool that would be excellent for, say, stealing our prized navigational computer that holds the history of all our people!
Seriously, I'm not kidding. That's enough uses to get past either cortex verification or mashing the control button.
Let's try this shit again!
The plan is as follows: Castoff and Callistege will go to the cortex room to
Oom will follow Genjes around and ask deep-seeming questions to waste his time. Hey, wait a minute...
You can't see Matkina, but she is rushing the control panel.
The Last Castoff smashes the door down.
This is what Genjes says if you try asking him another question. You have to find the questions that stump him so he continues to waste time.
Like every single NPC in Numenera, the Cortex is a chatty asshole.
How does a sphere turn "thoughtfully?" I'm serious.
: Use the control console.
I just want to point out we're not supposed to be here and we're on the clock to steal this thing, but we can still ask it for a ton of exposition and not be penalized at all.
: Ask for basic information on the helmet you found in the Bloom.
: Have the Cortex analyze the data on the helmet.
: Request information on the home planet of the lascars.
: Ask the cortex about itself.
...Jesus Christ, who cares? I see the authors are indulging in their unbridled lusts for transdimensional phenomena.
Basically it's a nav computer built by some guys who lived three thousand cycles ago.
: Examine the station's personnel history.
: Thousands of records - perhaps tens of thousands - scroll past your eyes, appended with arcane time-keeping, name changes, dates of birth and death... all the personnel who have ever lived, traveled, or otherwise passed through the Anchorage, no matter how brief they stay. The sheer amount of information is overwhelming.
I just want to point out this is supposed to be a vast starport and we only ever see the circular area, the cortex area, and the door.
: Ask for a historical overview of the station.
Honestly a mutiny on an abandoned space station sounds more interesting than the events of the main plot.
You might be asking "does any of this ever come up? Do we need to do more with the lascars after this?" The answer is no.
: Request information on recent occurences.
Just so you know, no time has passed in the crisis outdoors. The Last Castoff can receive exposition so quickly it doesn't phase her at all.
: Review the records for missing personnel.
Cortex: A single lascar remains unaccounted for.
: "Jemadar Achilli passed through the transdimensional gateway approximately..." The voice pauses, as if calculating "...15 years of your time ago. She has not returned."
I'm not sure what's less believable - that a future computer stutters through such a trivial calculation, or that the intended audience would be unable to determine that an ellipse represents a pause.
So this was the lady whose hat we found in the trash.
: Ask for more information about the missing Jemadar Achilli.
We will not interact with any of these people. Why is this here?
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Hey, I'm trying to steal you quickly without being noticed. Could you provide any exposition?
: Sure! Have oodles and oodles about these space guys you will never see or interact with again. Did you want the name of their home planet? How about the dead woman whose helmet you have, and her family who are not appearing in this game? Maybe an allusion to fake history? Transdimensional technobabble? Have it all!
: Crap, we're in a realtime "crisis". I just lost three turns, didn't I?
: Ha ha hell no, talking is a free action! This is Monte Cook, after all!
Anyway, screw that. It's time to begin the Cortex removal process!
Ha ha! It's a captcha, get it! Ha ha!
You guys have seen this before.
And here's the big problem with this sequence. You're on a timer to make these skill checks, but it's entirely possible for you to fail one and keep losing turns. This, of course, eats your stat pools like there's no tomorrow and wastes your time having to sit through more words, slow NPC movement, and clicking through the initiative order because certain characters aren't at the right station. It's bad!
The highlighted question is the correct choice. Much like the rest of this game, it seems really deep and introspective until the slightest bit of analysis is applied, at which point it crumples into a mess of pretense and sadness.
Like I said in the last update this is another wonderful last minute objective change that can totally fuck you over. If you didn't assign multiple people to tail Genjes you have to zerg someone from the control room over to the center panel. You may not use abilities or items either because while this is a "crisis" it is not combat.
This is the first of four checks you need to make here. The first is Deception, the rest are Stealth and Quick Fingers. Split them up on two different characters on different teams? Well, that sucks for you, doesn't it? Shut up and take the "interesting consequences" of failure.
She passes, but I have to wait for yet another combat round to make the quick fingers check.
This is a lie. We can dick around this control pit for hours.
When Genjes waits a turn then throws another wall of text at you you know you're doing it right. Also Oom learned English for all of this encounter, which I find hilarious and why he's on talking duty.
The Cortex will happy dump text on you despite you being unable to interact with it.
Matkina mashes the confirm button on stage 1.
Castoff for step 2.
Matkina mashes the confirm button again.
Anyway we try to smash our way through this one last piece of bullshit. It fails, so Callistege has to pick up where I left off.
Matkina fucks up a 75% chance of succeeding and drains her stat pool down to one. She only has 1 edge. We can't really get another good shot at this.
This, right here, is the problem with this encounter.
I have TLC make a mad dash for the control panel.
Fuck all of you assholes who designed this encounter.
We need two more rounds - one for Callistege to process the helmet data, and one to remove the Cortex.
Once this is done we can have Matkina run over to Captain Janur.
: [Raises Blue, Gold Tides] I have uncovered the location of Ishtrinu, your homeworld. The Bloom lives in that world. You just need to go through the portal and you'll be home.
So, notice how TLC's intellect pool is gone?
: [Persuasion, Deception][Raises Silver, Blue Tides] I have told you the way home. Why do you need the Cortex? Just gather your people and leave.
: [Raises Indigo Tide] (Lie) I did not realize it was so important to your people. I return it with my apologies.
: Very well.
ARGH OF ALL THE DUMB BULLSHIT! This fails both quests.
Yea I'm not taking this shit.
I got your transdimensional fuckery right here!
I use the same strat, but if you check closely the Last Castoff's int pool is healed up to twelve. You can't actually use these healing items once the crisis starts because...fuck it. We need three in the pool by the time we talk to the good captain.
I took a screenshot here because I'm literally not sure what the fuck happened. This was a strength check. I burned strength points. They get restored, but my intellect pool gets filled as well. Maybe it's the level four Silver Tongue ability?
See those sparkles around The Last Castoff? That is the Charm ability, which, 1/day, lets us autopass any social check. We cannot fail now.
So, yup. We just convinced her to give us the nav computer because the lascars can just go home through the portal.
You might be thinking "wow, a whole space station that was just abandoned! Let's go grab some laser guns and grav grenades! Or like a battle robot! Or literally anything!"
Unfortunately this is Numenera, and things are not allowed to be good.
Let's go back to Dracogen. Unfortunately, this will progress the main quest, but it also gives us 100 XP we can use to get stronger before we do the rest of the sidequests.
: Let's talk about returning the Annulet.
: I've brought the Cortex and wish to trade it in place of the Annulet.
XP! Yes! Yes!
I guess Dracogen has some evil mind master or something. I don't know, and I don't really care. Literally every time we've seen this supposedly ominous mastermind in action his enforcers have gotten killed by newborn castoffs or killed by space marines.
Dracogen: This concludes your part of the transaction. Let me honor mine. Come with me.
The screen fades out and we teleport into the Memovira's palace.
They animate the party marching up to the Memovira's Imposing Staircase.
Remember how Gar-koto implied the legitimacy of the Memovira was linked to their ability to control the Bloom and stop it from eating people and crap?
This is probably bad for her.
I don't like "piercing" and "sweep" in the same sentence.
: Is it where you hid your honor? Your loyalty?
: What's she talking about, Matkina?
: The First is alive then?
I have no idea how you pretend to hide a facial expression.
Another fucking fetch quest.
: I had a few questions, actually...
Let's get the damn exposition train over with.
Holy shit! The Memovira is my new favorite character.
Unfortunately, this doesn't extend to the author's inability to trust readers to parse their dialog.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Dracogen said you were cool. You made the Bloom do what you wanted! Shit if she can do that I'm going to have to get a real job. Anyway, I know where the First Castoff is hiding.
: Is she up your ass you fat skank?
: Ha ha, you treacherous ho.
: Uh, Matkina, what the fuck?
: I'm not saying shit, but if you read my mind you'll discover she's a TOTAL BITCH.
: Look out, castoff, she's a backstabbing woman of loose sexual morals! Anyway, you need my help to find the First Castoff.
: Oh, she's really alive huh.
: Ha ha, yes, Dracogen lied to you lol. Anyway, I have another fetch quest for you to do. I need you to go into the Bloom and rescue my scholar buddy Ishen, but then I'll gladly betray the First Castoff.
: Ok, let's just get the exposition out of the way...
: No. We're not doing that. Go do the damn fetch quest, and don't come back till you do!
Decisions lie before us!
We have a few more quests to do before we can close out this game. Pick two for the next update.
Hang out with Tybir
Hang out with Aligern - I may have missed the stuff in Part 2 to start this.
Help a weirdo find hot people to stuff in his house
Find some missing soldiers
FIght a deathbot
Free a slave and get him a job
Once all of these are done we will finish up the main quest and end this game!
No, we are not doing Erritis' quest. I'm not sorry.