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Alastor15243

Let's play Invisible, Inc: Isaac Baltimore's final mission [Expert Difficulty]

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Hey everyone!

...So...

About the last half a year I was supposed to be updating Dakota's War Journal...

...Yeah...

Sorry about that, stuff's been going on. I've been busy with real life stuff, but I also suffered serious burnout with the game and lost confidence in the quality of the story overall. It just stopped being fun.

But after a recent epiphany caused me to get my writing mojo back, I think I'm ready to give this a shot! But first I think I need to really remind myself how much I enjoy doing these sorts of things. So instead of starting off going right back to the slog that is Fire Emblem Fates Revelation, I thought: why not try a much shorter game that I really, really love?

So that's what I'm doing. I present to you: Invisible, Inc.

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Invisible, Inc. is a tactical turn-based procedurally generated roguelike stealth game for PC, Mac and tablets, taking place in a dark, cyberpunk future. You sneak into corporate buildings, hack their devices, steal their stuff, avoid or neutralize their guards and security, and try to get out alive, trying to build up enough supplies to be able to successfully tackle one very difficult final mission.

It is one of my favorite games ever.

It is also very, very hard.

It doesn't screw you over with any random generation when it comes to gameplay mechanics (though there's a lot of randomness when it comes to generation and what stuff you wind up finding), but it is utterly punishing with failures when you bring it up to its full, proper difficulty. There are no reloading levels, maps are randomly generated every time, and if you lose, you lose, and you have to start over from the beginning. I've gotten good enough at the game that I can pretty reliably beat Expert mode, but trust me when I say, victory is not guaranteed.

I'm planning on doing this similarly to Dakota's War Journal in that I'll write my playlogs in-character. Hopefully when I'm done with this, whether I succeed or not, I'll be sufficiently back into the spirit of doing LPs that I'll be able to muscle through the various hangups I've had with Dakota's War Journal and finish that up as well at long last. But in the meantime, let's just hope everyone enjoys this.

So without further ado, here's the intro!

 

 

 

Commencing Neural Uplink Commentary Relay

Mission Designation 01292074 dash 1 dash 206-

...You know what?

Fuck it.

Mission Motherfucking One.

Let's just get right to the point and spare all of the bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo, shall we? My name is Isaac Jonas Baltimore, codename: The Operator. I am the chief strategist and mission coordinator for a top secret anticorporate espionage organization known as Invisible, Inc, run by a woman codenamed Central. And this, in case the manner in which you get this file does not make it blindingly obvious, is my mission log.

My final mission log.

A bit of backstory: I used to be an employee of FTM. “What's FTM”, I fear the one who discovers this message may be ignorant enough to need to ask? Well, in case this is found in the distant future by some post-apocalyptic historian, long after I'm dead, or in a couple of years by some ignorant schmuck quite literally living under a rock, also long after I'm dead, allow me to inform you of the planet-sized master's thesis on why anarcho-capitalism is the third dumbest idea in the history of the human race (right after communism and wrapperless gum) that is my current situation.

Sovereign nation states and governments are no longer a thing, and the world is now ruled entirely by four mega-corporations who have divided up the world's territory between them. Some say it could have been stopped had the fates smiled in another direction. Others say that it was the inevitable consequence of the fact that capitalism is the only societal system whose greatest weakness is that it works too well. Most say that their downfall was the most glorious and wonderful thing in the history of forever and that all of those governing bodies “totes fo realz deservd 2 dai u gaiz bcuz taxes and regulations r barbaric n gay n also the corps r awesome n totally shudnt kill me”.

...Yeah, as I hope you can probably guess, and as it has been made blindingly clear since the early days of YouTube, the corps don't take very kindly to criticism. And now that there aren't even any laws to break, they answer only to the buying power of their pocketbooks and the laws of physics. And they're working on that second one.

As for me? I am a former professional competitive strategy gamer turned, as I said, employee of Factory-To-Market Wholesalers, more commonly known as FTM, the company that controls what used to be North America.

...Well, I say “employee”. Prisoner is probably a more spiritually accurate term to use. FTM got their sharp, cybernetic claws clasped threateningly around my balls, and all I could do was drop everything and dance to their tune. It's not that rare, honestly. They can pay anyone with a price when they feel like it, but when they're feeling too cheap, need somebody with too many principles, or just feel too much like having fun, they find all manner of creative ways to persuade talented people to take jobs for significantly below their pay grade. Threatening loved ones, explosive nanites, threatening loved ones with explosive nanites...

...Me? Nothing so tragic or noble, I'm afraid.

...They got my internet history.

Yep, sad as it is, even now after more than a century's rise in LGBTQIAETC acceptance and a veritable perfect storm of cybernetics-induced transgender transhuman post-human metahuman subhuman degeneracy that would make even the most bleeding-heart liberal of the 2010s projectile-cringe every vertebra clean out of their spines, it turns out that kinkshamers are still fucking everywhere. There I was, at the top of my game, a veritable e-celeb, making serious bank between crowdfunding and ad deals, and suddenly I was working for people I wouldn't piss on if they were on fire, coordinating advanced corporate sabotage operations for peanuts and helping the filthy rich get filthier and richer, all because I didn't want the world to know exactly what sort of 17th century farm equipment I liked to get off to watching get shoved where and in who.

Of course, you might think better of me to know I had a limit, and they eventually pushed me right up into it. Long story short, a mission went sour and my boss ordered me to factor something very-much-not-very-nice into my strategies in order to secure extraction with the corporate secrets. I jacked out of the system and issued my professional opinion that she should go fuck herself. Thankfully I picked the best day ever to make an extremely idiotic and suicidal stand for my principles, and Central's team happened to be inside the building at that very moment and got me out of there. In conclusion, I work for her now.

Now then, let's get right into it. Onto my current predicament. It all started about fifteen minutes ago.

I'm in the middle of coordinating a mission at the HQ's supercomputer when suddenly Central almost rips me out of the neural interface, Agent Nika and Agent Shalem 11 at her side, and and tells me to pack up immediately. Thinking she's somehow gone mental, I remind her that I'm in the middle of coordinating an operation with agents in the field, but she tersely informs me that there's an emergency, and that I'm several degrees less expendable than they are.

How touching.

But anyway, I'm swiftly informed, to my pants-shitting horror, that Invisible, Inc.'s home base has been compromised by a joint effort between all four corps, and elite guards are moving in to take us all in for “questioning”. Nobody's quite sure how it happened or who's to blame, but time's running out and we need to cut our losses and get out of here with the essentials. So Central and Shalem 11 run off to get our AI and as many of the other agents as they can, while Nika “escorts” me to the escape jet.

Nika, well... We must've run into at least a dozen guards, half of them all at once, and yet Nika managed to plow clean through all of them, taking them out so quickly that only my tactical time processor augmentation allowed me to appreciate every intricate little detail as she unloaded a full magazine of her plasma gun into three of them, killed another with a magnetic cranial lance, took out another by yanking him clean through the window by the neck with her own necktie, and even killed the sixth with one of Agent Xu's obsessively-sharpened pencils, standing there in the carnage with her white, tieless, loosened dress shirt awash in the blood of her enemies, telling me to get a move on.

...Is there such a thing as a wet nightmare?

Because I think I'm going to be having them.

Forever.

Anyway, we made it to the escape jet, but there were so many essential supplies we had to bring with us that we could hardly bring any of Nika's weapons with us. All she managed to save was her trusty custom nonlethal volt disruptor. And unfortunately Central's group came back with their hands similarly full of so many essential supplies that it looks like our practical mission supplies are going to be very, very scarce.

Thankfully, Central also brought back Incognita, Invisible Inc's hyper-advanced AI, and thankfully with that plugged into the jet we're safe from their scans and can fly cloaked and evade corp capture.

...For about three days. After that, Incognita runs out of backup power, we're defenseless against their scans, and we're fucked.

So that's my situation: I have three days, 72 hours, to make sure that the tattered remains of Invisible, Inc. can stand up to the combined, terrible might of the four superpowers that currently control the entire planet.

In a direct full-on fight.

Whee.

So, needless to say, I'm probably going to die. Unless Central and I come up with some sort of brilliant improvised plan before our time is up, we don't have many options left besides pissing on as many legs as we can before we're put down.

But if those are the cards I'm dealt... so be it. I knew my days were numbered ever since I walked away from FTM.

Right. Let's get started.

Not counting Central and myself, only two agents escaped the HQ raid and onto the jet. The first one, of course, is Nika. At the very least, if I had to choose which agents to bring with me for a violent suicide mission, Nika would almost certainly be one of them. Nika Muratova is an absolute expert in armed combat and can take out twice as many enemies as other agents thanks to her extensive training, her personal augment, and that modded volt disruptor of hers. Most disruptors, which for the record are non-lethal melee weapons that knock out guards for a brief period of time, are powered by internal batteries that take a minute or two to recharge. Volt disruptors, on the other hand, tap directly into our hacking power supply, allowing them to be used in rapid succession if we have the PWR for it, and since it's cheaper than most models, we usually will. She can also attack twice in the increment of time that we strategists colloquially refer to as a “turn” while others can only attack once, and she also gains a movement speed bonus when she attacks. She is an expert at salvaging worst-case scenarios and turning them into great escapes. Her training in areas outside of combat is lacking for the moment compared to other agents, but that can be rectified eventually. I am extremely grateful to have her with us here.

And then the other agent Central brought back was...

 

Aaaaand here's where a bit of reader participation comes in! You guys get to choose my second agent! I'll give you a list of all of the choices, along with what Isaac's response to them would have been had I not cut him off, and you get to vote for your pick! Whoever gets the most votes is the one I'll go with. In addition, I want you to vote on a second thing: the rewind system. See, there's a bit of a safety net in this game where you get to rewind turns if you really screw something up. On the highest difficulty you only get one of these per mission, but even just that one winds up saving a lot of runs. I could play with it on or off. If I play with it on, it's more likely I'll finish the whole game and thus it'll last longer. But if I play with it off, there's a good chance something will go horribly wrong and the entire run might be cut short, but it's also possible that I'll get myself into some gripping, crazy shenanigans it'd be fun to get out of. I leave it up to you. I can justify it in-story either way. And so without further ado, here are the agents, along with what Isaac, had the story continued with them picked, would have said:

Spoiler

 

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...Decker. This is... not ideal. On the plus side, he managed to bring that modded cloaking rig of his with him, allowing him to turn invisible for a turn or until he attacks. And as soon as I upgrade Nika's speed a bit, I can give it to her and she'll be able to use it to make the most out of her melee combat in emergencies.

On the downside: everything else.

Okay, bit of an exaggeration, the guy isn't awful, and it's not like he's any worse than his fellow agents at doing spy stuff. But still, that augment of his is just useless. We have a one augment per agent rule that we're almost certainly about to get rid of in the name of our survival, and this is what he picks for his? He has the ability to identify security daemons (negative status effects inflicted upon us when we hack the devices they're on) when right next to the device. This is way more trouble than it's worth, especially since most places have a database of all of the daemons they have on their devices. Granted, those things aren't perfect and can't identify new or moved daemons, but still, it means that the times when this is actually useful are very rare.

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...Internationale. Okay, now she's pretty great, we got lucky here. She's a former anti-corporate freedom fighter and a hacker whose augment lets her steal power from terminals from a distance instead of having to be right next to them, and automatically identify mainframe devices through walls without needing line of sight. This can be handy in so many situations, and is really useful for intelligence gathering. Sadly she didn't manage to bring much of anything back with her besides a standard-issue neural disruptor, which is lame, but honestly? This could've been much worse. Now all I have to do is avoid her like the plague in-between missions and not get stirred into an indignant rage by her self-righteous ranting about how the modern world proves that Karl Marx had the right idea all along.

I. Swear. To. God. One of these days...

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...Shalem 11. Yes, unfortunately Central's effort to find other agents was a failure, but Shalem did at least manage to bring himself back in one piece. Shalem is a former professional assassin and an expert on guns. His augment gives him more armor piercing with guns, and he comes with a gun that can already pierce armor.

...Guns.

...Guns...

...Okay, so, about guns: guns differ from melee weapons in pretty obvious ways. Namely, they're ranged, they almost always use limited ammo, and they can kill. That's the biggest thing about them, really, that last one: the ability to kill guards.

The plus sides to killing a guard are that I don't have to worry about them getting back up later and they're out of my hair for the rest of the mission, and that it's the only way to take out the non-human drones that certain facilities are bound to have. The downsides to killing guards are that it costs ammo, which is finite and costs money, incurs a cleanup cost, which also costs money, accelerates the alarm tracker so I effectively lose two precious turns...

...And of course I also have to spend the next week running exclusively on an adrenaline cocktail and liberal amounts of Red Bull instead of sleeping like a normal person because every time I try to close my eyes all I can see is a sweet little Welsh Corgi sitting all alone in a three-room apartment with an empty food bowl, staring at the the front door, waiting for a master who's never coming home.

...Yeah. I, uh... I don't like guns. At all. I would really, really, really prefer not to use them on people who are just following orders. I'll use them if I need to to keep us alive, but trust me, I have a very high bar for needing to.

Of course not all guns are lethal, but the ones that aren't are kinda shit, except for one that has a hefty drawback and basically requires no skill investment whatsoever, meaning Shalem's skill with guns is worthless for it. The thing about nonlethal guns is that not only do they still cost ammo or have a ludicrous recharge time despite being very much a quick fix, but there's absolutely no method whatsoever besides paralyzers to increase a gun's KO time behind the usual paltry 2 turns, and if you're unlucky enough to be stuck with certain daemons, they're literally getting back up again at the very end of the turn you use it. Melee weapons, on the other hand, have two more readily-available methods of improving KO time, making them far more practical as long as you can deal with having to get right up next to enemies armed with long-range weapons.

Which I can.

Unfortunately, Shalem's melee weapon sucks, and has a five turn cooldown instead of three like other agents. At least he has some extra carrying space, and at least we're all set for armor piercing for the foreseeable future if we get really unlucky, but eventually even this firepower isn't going to be enough on some of the scarier guards out there, so honestly this is not the agent I'd have picked to accompany Nika.

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...Banks. Banks is... well... she's quite the character.

...Okay, she's completely out of her goddamned mind. Brain damage. Sad story. She used to be a world-famous freedom fighter and “modern Robin Hood no. XXXVIII” before an augment in her brain went horribly wrong. She's miraculously still good at her job, but that's mostly due to having access to a ton of neurostims and other illicit substances we keep on stock. Was the augment worth it? Well... kinda? I mean, for me, I guess? It basically allows her to open locked doors without a keycard. Granted, she's also skilled enough to steal keycards without knocking guards out, but at least this saves her an inventory slot and grants us more options to get out of unfavorable starting situations. She also managed to bring her own custom paralyzer with her and a standard-issue neural disruptor, which should make things easier if we have to knock out guards early on. I could've easily had worse luck.

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...Xu. Excellent. Agent Tony Xu's a computer genius with a rather... colorful... past, who has a special short-range EMP built into his arm that allows him to take out mainframe devices and droids for one turn, once a turn, instead of attacking. This means he's a bit slower than other agents, but the applications of this thing are near endless. There are some devices that effectively function the same when off as when hacked, namely containers and safes, meaning that with him I can get what I want out of some devices without needing to hack them at all. This is a huge time and PWR saver, and makes nearly every mission run more smoothly at multiple points. The only downside is that it can be resisted by EMP shielding, but even then it functions as a way to quickly remove 2 firewall layers once a turn, which can be really handy as well, even more handy in certain niche scenarios. And to put icing on the cake, he managed to take his signature modded shock trap with him. This thing allows us to booby trap any door so that it knocks out whoever tries to open it. It can pierce any level of armor, meaning that as long as we can get creative and plan in advance, there won't ever be any guards we simply cannot deal with. But of course I still want to get Nika up to full fighting capacity as soon as humanly possible regardless.

Things are almost not looking like we're all going to die.

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...Sharp.

...Oh dear.

So uh, yeah, um, see, we have this policy regarding augments. We can technically cram up to four into an agent, but for the stability and long-term health of our agents, everyone's only allowed one of them.

Sharp is the sole exception to this rule.

He is also the reason for it.

There is barely any human left inside Alex “Sharp” Mcteague. In his obsessive determination to make himself transcend humanity, he's turned his entire body into little more than a robotic shell with a cranial life support system. He is capable of having up to six augments at once, including his baseline one, and for every three he gains an extra turn of KO time with his melee attacks.

...On the downside, he is also a narcissistic, cold, unfeeling sociopath who would probably kill me in a heartbeat if it served his interests.

...Thankfully, at the moment, it very, very much does not.

Even more unfortunately, we can't even take advantage of his potential right away because we caught him in the middle of a routine upgrade allowing him access to that sixth augment slot he's been banging on about for months. All of his usual augments had to be left behind since they'd take hours to install. Of course, if we get enough cyber labs we should be able to get him back up to full power eventually, but Nika is also an agent who's going to need lots of augmentation, so I'm not sure if we'll have time.

He also has some hacking talent and managed to take his neural disruptor with him. All in all? It's going to be a coin toss as to whether he becomes amazing or awful.

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...Prism.

...Yeah, we could've done worse. We could've done better, but we definitely could've done worse. Prism's a talented former famous actress who lost everything when the corps did a smear campaign on her, and she's been working with us to get revenge ever since. I saw some of her stuff, and I gotta say, she could've gone places. She has real talent. I watched The Istanbul Four, that drama she did where she played the role of Central back during the Resource Wars, and while I did raise an eyebrow at the decision to racially miscast an actual real-life figure, in hindsight, after having worked with Central for several years now, I will not deny that Prism's performance nailed her personality. It was utterly uncanny how effectively Prism seemed to channel her.

As an agent, she's alright. She has an augment that lets her milk some extra PWR out of devices we hack, up to 2 PWR per turn, 1 per device. It's not bad, and it's especially useful for people like me who wind up needing a lot of PWR, but it isn't anything fantastically game-changing. She also has some talent with stealing right off the bat, which is nice, and she managed to grab her standard-issue neural disruptor. ...Yeah. Not much else to say here.

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...Rush. She's a former augmented athlete who joined Invisible after her efforts to secure an early retirement (and avoid an early death from her cutting-edge experimental augments) went... sour. We have... quite the personality clash, but that's not important. What matters is what she can do.

And honestly, she's pretty good. She's a master at speed, faster than the other agents save Decker and capable of performing sprinting charges on her foes. This lets her pierce more armor and KO for longer when she attacks while sprinting, but unfortunately, sprinting is still sprinting and will draw attention. Still, it's useful in emergencies and for securing a bit more KO time on already-downed guards. She managed to sneak out her standard-issue neural disruptor and a basic stim pack, which lets her occasionally move a bit further in a turn. More options when it comes to mobility is always nice. I mean she's not perfect, but who's counting?

...Aside from the fact that we're all almost certainly going to die.

 

 

And that's it for now! I'll wait a few days to see what's decided, and then I'll get started on mission one! See you then!

Edited by Alastor15243

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Internationale. Internationale always. Internationale is love, life, etc. I also vote for rewinds, just because it fits with my personal ideology regarding this game. Never felt like it was particularly well-designed for ironmanning. How many rewinds you planning to give yourself if the vote goes through? 

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25 minutes ago, Oblivion776 said:

How many rewinds you planning to give yourself if the vote goes through? 

1, the default amount for expert.

Edited by Alastor15243

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Right. I'll give this another day and I'll start the LP on Tuesday. Right now it looks like Internationale has a pretty solid lead, and there's a slight lean towards using the one rewind. If you want it to be otherwise, you still have a good 30 hours to say so!

Oh, and in case anyone noticed that I seemed to skip over five of the 14 agents in the game, lemme explain, I only just realized my original explanation got lost in the re-edit after the initial spoiler tag disaster:

Two of them are Central and Monst3r, two characters I feel it would be difficult to justify bringing into the story. Two more of them are Central and Monst3r's past selves, which would be even harder to justify bringing into the story. I can justify Rush despite her also being a past character who's canonically dead, just by changing up her backstory a tad, but as for her fellow past agent Draco... honestly while Draco's really fun, he requires you to be lucky with the draw and ridiculously kill-happy to properly use him, and my character isn't prepared to compromise his morals like that so Draco would as a result kinda really really suck. Basically his deal is that he can't level up stats normally, but can gain a stat point by scanning a killed guard, and he can also get minor bonuses like AP, PWR and even credits from knocked out guards. It's a lot of fun and can snowball into some crazy stuff early on, but again, Isaac isn't going to go on killing sprees, so he's out. In fact unless Rush somehow wins I'm probably going to disable the DLC characters just to be absolutely safe and make sure I don't get him or Central and Monst3r's past selves.

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Alright, looks like Internationale and 1 rewind are the general consensus. I'll get started on this soon. Not sure how long it'll take to make mission 1's part, but I'll get it out as soon as I can.

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Mission 1

Spoiler

 

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Well. Here we are.

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This is my life now.

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Time to get dragged kicking and screaming into the gaping maw of hell.

...But enough cynicism. I'm addressing this to a hypothetical future reader in the interests of having a technically real person to talk to, and I suppose I at least owe you an engaging read.

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Right, so, thankfully, Central knows of exactly one sufficiently low-security target we can strike. Hm... I wonder where it-

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...Oh.

Hello again, FTM.

Right, well, the downside is that it's pretty much on the other side of the world and will take 12 of our precious 72 hours to get there from our headquarters in Poland.

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The bright side is that it's an executive terminal, which means that if we strike this place, we'll get half a dozen more places we can strike next.

Gosh, my luck today has just been phenomenal if you ignore how much it's been shit.

Well, I've got about 12 hours to eat, sleep, and ponder the fragility of life, so I'll get back to you when we're there.

WWWEEEEEEAAUUUGH!

Damn, that always feels so weird.

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Right, here we are. I've just diverted the vast majority of my higher brain functions into a digital brain expansion crammed into my skull, complements of the fine people at FTM. To save you all of the scientific mumbo-jumbo that even I only half-understand, this basically allows me to, when plugged into a properly-equipped supercomputer, perceive reality at a much higher speed than a normal human, essentially allowing me to plan out real-life operations like they're a turn-based strategy game.

A really hard, really bloody, really unfair turn-based strategy game.

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Central reminds me, just as I said before, that we're pretty strapped for supplies. Now the obvious temptation for lesser men would be to slink around like a coward and head straight for the exit and maybe get the objective if we pass it on the way.

Hence my temptation to do so.

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But I know in the long run that's a horrible, horrible idea. We're here, we might as well make the best of it and milk this facility for all it's worth. We only have 60 hours now, we need to make all of them count. Of course, I'm not going to stick around if things go horribly to shit. Knowing the proper time to run away is a crucial element of strategy.

...Of course it helps that I'm up in the relative safety of the jet while my minions are doing all of the dangerous work. Anyway...

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The first thing I do is check to see if Internationale sees anything. In point of fact, she doesn't see too much, at least not right away. And back in the physical world: two doors. One of them locked. The first thing to do is to get to a likely safe point from the enemy patrols and see if this room is secure. See, guards like to move back and forth between two locations over two “turns”, so it's possible, though somewhat unlikely, that we'll have company right away.

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It doesn't look like there are any guards nearby. I think we're safe. But it's always best to observe a room for a turn before moving into it. Getting spotted by guards you weren't expending to see usually isn't fun. Anyway, Internationale found a bunch of mainframe devices, so let's get to hacking.

Accessing Incognita.

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We've got a safe, a software store, a hardware store, and a power supply to what's most likely a laser grid somewhere else in the building. Let's get to hacking them. But first things first:

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Never, ever, ever forget to keep fusion activated. With 12 pwr gained for a 5 pwr investment over 4 turns, resulting in a 1.75 average gain of pwr per turn, it's easily the best pwr-generating program on the market, with its vastly superior power output to power drip and its lack of severe downsides like dynamo, faust and seed, but you have to remember to keep turning it on or you'll suddenly find yourself out of power and with no way to charge it back up.

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And thanks to our fortunate starting location, I decide to splurge on using parasite on the first turn. Parasite is really pwr-efficient but very slow, and the fact that it can't instantly hack devices can cause problems later down the line. One of our top priorities, along with getting better gear and more money in general, is going to be to get some better programs for Incognita to use. Thankfully that server terminal to the west supplies just that. More on that later.

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I get Internationale ready to ambush just in case, before moving Nika to a safe spot so that the guard, if one comes, will actually move through the door instead of drawing his gun on her the moment he opens it.

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Okay, I definitely heard footsteps heading into that upcoming room. Better be on my guard. Anyway, I suppose I should explain what this is. Ordinarily the slightest hint that something's not right would send the place into high suspicion, but Incognita's able to mess with all of the facility's defenses in a pretty major way and basically keep the place completely in the dark. The main advantage of this is that if we alert any guards, the other guards will remain totally in the dark unless they're around to hear it. But the other main advantage is that stuff like getting caught on camera or activating pressure plates or security beams will only trigger minor responses from the system.

For a while. Things will get tougher to suppress the longer we're here until eventually we'll have security bearing its full, terrible might upon us.

So let's get moving.

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Thanks to Incognita making use of quantum tracking (basically it uses that “observer effect” that constitutes all of what most people know about quantum theory), I can tell what spots on the map are being observed. The problem is, I can't tell what by. It could be a camera, in which case I can safely open the door, peer through, and then hack the camera to get in unnoticed, or it could be an actual guard, in which case they'll get suspicious when a door randomly opens, and they'll come to check it out. They've moved too much to have time to run if that's the case, so I'd have to ambush, and even then Internationale's in a bad position for that as I said before regarding guards walking through doors.

A good sign of the source of the observance is the color of the tiles. Red means watched. Go into those and whatever's looking at that tile will go onto high alert immediately and do whatever it does when that happens. Yellow means hidden, which means that they should see you, but they won't because an object is in the way. It won't stop them from noticing doors opening on hidden tiles, though. And then there's half-red spaces. Those are “noticed” spaces, which are in the guards' peripheral vision and will cause them to move to investigate the space, which is a good way to distract them. The thing is though: only humans have “noticed” squares in their line of sight. Machines like cameras and drones just either see something or they don't. If you see a “noticed” square, watch out when opening a door. The problem is that that doesn't always work because watched squares override those, so it's impossible to tell in some cases if a room watched by a camera is also watched by a human.

Whatever, nothing I can do about it until next turn.

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As it turns out, it was indeed a camera. Right. Now to hack it, observe as much as I can, and work out my next move.

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See, this is why you don't just waltz into rooms without checking them first. Two guards. Two. In one room. Nothing I can't handle now that I know about it, but Nika would've been screwed had I been a more foolish man.

Internationale's path forward, on the other hand, is all clear. Let's see what the secondary server terminal has for us.

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Two programs: the first is Hunter, which destroys one of those daemons I mentioned before. Handy, but expensive and often not worth the pwr and the cooldown.

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The second is wildfire, which gives you 5 pwr at the cost of raising every firewall in the building by 1. This sounds like an absolutely atrocious deal... until you realize that you can use this even when there's nothing worthwhile, or even nothing period, left to hack in the building at all. Which essentially means you'll have more pwr than you'll know what to do with starting from the moment you decide to make your escape. Which is really useful if you happen to use volt disruptors or other pwr-using devices, or even just non-hacking programs. I'm probably going to get this later if the nanofabricator doesn't have anything even cooler to buy. And even then I'll buy this if I still have the credits left over from looting guards and safes.

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Anyway, I have Nika spend 2 of her “action points” to feed me some information I can use to predict those two guards' movements using a complicated algorithm. Right, I know how to get through here now.

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Nika advances into the room and goes as far as she can without entering what will be the enemies' line of sight when they move back in.

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Internationale meanwhile continues exploring the facility, and the room to the west has all the telltale signs of being an executive terminal room. The one to the north has the laser panel the power grid from before was powering and some safes.

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Okay now, five turns in, and security's starting to wake up a bit. Only one of the cameras is nearby and thankfully Nika's already hidden from it, and it'll be hacked by the time she moves. But things'll get more dangerous at the next alarm levels, so we need to do this fast.

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We found the executive terminal, just as I thought, but we're just going to hack it for now. We don't want to grab the data until later, mostly because as soon as we grab it an alert's going to go out that Incognita can't fully suppress. It'll cause all of the guards to change up their patrols by finding a random spot on the map to walk to and then patrol there instead. This will make exploring the map much more dangerous because observing a room for one turn won't guarantee a guard won't come in at some point. So we'll save it for later and just have Internationale loot those safes and explore further.

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Due to the guards having a 45º-from-straight cone of vision, this shouldn't be a safe spot for Nika to be in considering their movement paths. In order to hide from a guard, you have to be next to a cover object or wall that is between you and the guard, or is at least closer to the guard than you are (so you can hide on the sides of cover objects too). As you can see, when the guards turn diagonally to move into the room, they should have an unobstructed view of Nika hiding behind the nanofab machine. But the thing is that guards can't use their peripheral vision in the blur while turning, so when they turn from the door to walk further into the room, they're going to miss Nika completely. This is an important bit of information that can save your life one day if you happen to be hiding from corporate goons.

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After a quick check to confirm there isn't anything important in here that the camera I hacked can't see, Internationale goes after the safes to get us some more credits.

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Meanwhile, Nika checks the nanofab, and the stock is utter trashy poopshit. It has the usual stock of one med gel (revives an agent after they've been shot) and one charge pack (lets you restore the ammunition or very slightly reduce the cooldown of an item), and the rest is just trash. An ammo-based tranq gun I'm not going to bother with, an augment I have no interest in using on anyone, much less on Nika (who I have a very specific build planned for), an AP-boosting syringe with an atrociously long cooldown for the effect, and a one-time-use smoke grenade I've never used and I never care to experiment with. Looks like wildfire's what we'll be spending our credits on today.

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I make use of a little trick where agents don't have to be present to observe guards as long as there's a security camera in the room, and I have Internationale observe them to make sure of their patrol paths without reducing Nika's movement options. Nika then carefully leaves her hiding spot in order to scout out the next room. I could've hidden behind that safe, but without knowing if there were guards in the next room that would be dangerous. She then retreats back to behind the nanofab and waits for the guards to leave before making her next move.

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Internationale gets the first safe.

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After hiding behind the power supply, Nika scouts the next room and finds more safes and what turned out to be, as I suspected but couldn't guarantee, a camera. Thorough familiarization with corporate floor plans taught me that there are always five safes on every floor, so we've found them all now. We've found the executive terminal, we've found the shops, we've found the safes, all that's left is to loot the safes, find the exit, and make our way to it with the site list after robbing the guards blind.

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Internationale finds another camera on her way to get the other northern safe.

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The big safe unfortunately just had one of those low-quality stims I mentioned instead of its usual prize of a lot of credits. +4 ap for one turn, 9 turn cooldown. And I can't even use it because Nika doesn't have the rudimentary speed training she needs to use it because fucking Steve from accounting thought that was just too expensive for our unregulated black-market espionage agency and that the money was better spent replacing all of the fucking keyboards with Dvorak models and retraining the whole staff for five fucking weeks in their use because “oh it's so much more efficient once you get used to it, Isaac” GOD DAMN YOU STEVE YOUR ASININE BULLSHIT MAY VERY WELL HAVE DOOMED US ALL.

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...Oh well. I'm in charge of my own budget now, and I will get right onto training our agents as soon as I have the credits to spare.

I wish you the best, Steve.

I hope you admire the wonderfully clever budget cuts they made to the air conditioning in your tiny little flat in hell.

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Exit located. Excellent. Time to make our preparations to blow this joint.

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At ten turns we've reached alarm level 2, but with nothing left to hack, the firewall boost did nothing. We're in the clear. Now to just grab those two safes...

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...Another more useful item, and some actual credits, thank goodness...

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...And now it's time to grab the site list and go.

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For whatever reason the guards' patrol pattern shifted a bit; I think one of them might have reacted differently to that door being left open. I'm not certain, but that has happened before. But anyway...

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LIGHTS OUT, CORPORATE SELLOUTS!

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While again Steve's meddling means my agents can't pick pockets, we can still loot the poor bastards after knocking them out now that we're done here. Of course now that we've actually attacked them, the second they wake up they'll know we're in the building and they'll start hunting for us. Thankfully, however, by then we'll be long gone. Nika's augment means that after taking these guys out she's got plenty of AP to clear this room and several more rooms by the time they wake up. She'll make a quick stop by the secondary server terminal and then meet up with Internationale as she knocks out the third guard, takes his money, and makes for the exit.

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I left Internationale out of cover, but that was because I knew the guard was too far away to make it into the room even if he went straight there (which he did). Now time to get his attention and knock him out.

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Bingo.

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The guards awake from their slumber.

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Alas for them, they are far, far too late.

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They brought in a new guard right by the exit, who could cause trouble for Nika and Internationale...

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...If I were a far more incompetent man.

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But as it turns out, he was too far away to reach the door regardless. Nika, sadly a little violence-blueballed, makes her way to the exit with Internationale, and...

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...we're off.

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All in all... a pretty good run! Everything went smoothly, nothing happened that forced us to expend resources, we looted all the safes and guards, visited the shops and at least got one good program, and we got a paralyzer to use and a stim to sell. Everything went completely and flawlessly according to plan.

...Y'know, maybe I was over-reacting before. I had kind of forgotten just how easily exploitable corporate security is. I mean this is my job, and dare I be arrogant enough to say I'm damn good at it. And Central's a smart lady. If she comes up with something we can do, and I find a way to do it... Maybe we actually have a chance of making it out of this alive!

...Well, fingers crossed. For now I just need to make sure we're as well-equipped...

...Equipped...

...Equipped?

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...DID I LEAVE THE PARALYZER IN THE SAFE!?

DJDSLJFSDJOIEJFILSEJFLISEJFKESJF:LESJFLSEJFLI:SEJIF”SEJF”LSEJF”IEJF”IEJSFO:JSFEIJES”FJS”EFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

 

 

 

OOC thoughts:

Spoiler

Damn it, I can't believe I missed that paralyzer. I would never have made that mistake if this weren't a let's play, but I guess when I went to take a picture and then write dialogue I forgot to actually take it out before moving on to the next safe. Oh well. At least it wasn't something amazingly awesome, and in the long run it's only a small impact on my overall viability. I'd say this went pretty smoothly, though then again first missions nearly always do. Until next time, and I hope you enjoyed my gameplay and narration!

 

Edited by Alastor15243

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Oh neat. I was browsing some of reddit's invisible, inc discussions for tips on expert, and I found your let's play post... I thought it funny when i saw that you are doing this in SF, idk coincidences.

Anyway, I am currently making my way through my own expert run, started with prism and Xu (both non-archive). Doing pretty well so far. Got Draco along the way as well as Lockpick 2.0 and parasite.  I don't know how i feel about Draco's passive though, but it can be helpful at times i guess :S. It asks for too much of an agressive play though, which i feel iffy about.

I tried expert a bunch of times before, but i usually make a deadly mistake sometime in the later missions :<. Really excited to see you play. Learned something new from it already, like the wild fire thing. That is neat, i didn't think of that at all. Makes me regret not buying it earlier.

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17 hours ago, SlayerX said:

Oh neat. I was browsing some of reddit's invisible, inc discussions for tips on expert, and I found your let's play post... I thought it funny when i saw that you are doing this in SF, idk coincidences.

Anyway, I am currently making my way through my own expert run, started with prism and Xu (both non-archive). Doing pretty well so far. Got Draco along the way as well as Lockpick 2.0 and parasite.  I don't know how i feel about Draco's passive though, but it can be helpful at times i guess :S. It asks for too much of an agressive play though, which i feel iffy about.

I tried expert a bunch of times before, but i usually make a deadly mistake sometime in the later missions :<. Really excited to see you play. Learned something new from it already, like the wild fire thing. That is neat, i didn't think of that at all. Makes me regret not buying it earlier.

Well I wish you luck, and I hope this continues to be both informative and entertaining!

Yeah, I turned up my nose at wildfire until I really got acquainted with using Nika and realized that pwr is used for a lot more than hacking. It's an extremely useful escape phase emergency supply, though depending on your build it might not be a huge loss that you missed it. Really its biggest use is for volt disruptors.

I'll be working on the next part soon and it'll be up sometime between tonight and Friday night depending on how things go.

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Mission 2

Deep breaths...

It was just a paralyzer I...

I can think of three dozen things I'd be sorrier to leave behind than a simple paralyzer I...

I mean really, what are the odds that I'm going to find myself in a situation where I'll get myself killed and that paralyzer I could've saved me?

...Don't answer that question, Isaac. Just. Keep. Moving. Forward.

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Anyway, Central and her old friend/illicit goods dealer Monst3r seem pretty confident they can come up with a few tricks to stuff up our sleeve if given a little more time. I've been instructed to make the best of that time by continuing scavenging operations.

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Works for me. Here are the options our last mission opened up for us. Two chief financial suite missions in Plastech territory, which will give us the opportunity to steal access codes from a high-ranked financial executive, and over in Sankaku territory we have a vault full of credits where we can use said access cards to double the payout, and a server farm where we can buy fancy new programs for Incognita.

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In addition, Monst3r has offered to buy and sell goods, so before we make any decisions let's see what he's...

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...Um... Monst3r? Who...

I have no idea who this guy is...

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...But holy shit do I want what he's selling! Getting this thing so early on will pay itself back several times over before we're through! You have a deal, you psychotic Monday-loving bastard!

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Oh hey, Monst3r's back!

Anyway...

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I'm giving it to Internationale since it's a filler augment and I have no specific build planned for her anyway. I have a very specific one planned for Nika, and she needs every augment slot she can get her hands on to that end. I'll explain when it becomes more relevant. For now, unfortunately this means that I can't teach Internationale to pick pockets like I planned to, so we're still stuck having to go on a tazing spree when we're through with a mission to get all of that precious guard lunch money. However, this suits Nika just fine, so it's not really that much of a setback. It's really only going to be inconvenient if we need security door cards, since knocking out guards well before planning to leave and hoping one of them has a keycard can end... badly.

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Anyway, after selling that useless low-tier stim, I've decided we're headed to the two financial suite missions, mostly because they're right next to each other, and the closest to us to begin with. This therefore means we'll get the most done for our time. We don't exactly need two cards right away, but it'll be good to have them to bring into other missions I'm going to really want to do in the future.

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Let's go.

...

...Alright, here we are. I remembered to mute my mental log until after the discomfort of jacking in, and-

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...Damn it, Internationale, what the fuck more do you want from me?

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...Ugh, I hate how hard it is to stay mad at her. She just got us out of what could have been a very unpleasant situation. See that eastern door? The one with the two cover objects on either side of it? This means that the door is impossible to open without standing right in the doorway. And that means that it can't be opened without being in full view of whatever's on the other side, which could involve alerting a guard and possibly several more besides.

Right at the start of the mission.

But thanks to Internationale's wireless scanner, we have hacking access to that security camera, which we wouldn't have been able to get normally without opening the door to do a full peek (a window peek only gives us about 90º visibility total, and wouldn't show the camera directly to the side of it). Of course it's possible there's no reason to worry at all, but it would've been a gamble I'd be unwilling to take normally without the information that camera will provide. So for now let's see if we can find places to hide.

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I pick these cover points because Internationale, in this obscure covered corner, is only visible from an extremely improbable set of spaces and directions, making discovery by any hypothetical just-outside-the-door guard unlikely. I considered the space behind the console for Nika, reasoning that there's little pathing reason to head away from the other door rather than towards it, but then I remembered that guards don't work that way and often patrol in stupid places, and that on the off chance she's seen, she'd have nowhere to run for cover and Internationale would in all likelihood be unable to run to save her without being seen by the guard as well. This spot is much more secure.

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The camera's been secured, and while its vision is a bit obstructed, we at least now know it's safe to open the door.

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The agents advance and prepare to observe the two adjacent rooms.

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No more guards show up in Internationale's area, but Nika finds one. As we sneak past them and continue scouting, Internationale finds the nanofab and the exit. Nika loots the safe, and retreats to cover behind the table. She'd be safe from the guard's FOV by remaining behind the safe, but I want to make sure she isn't spotted if there's a guard staring at the door this guard's about to go through.

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Internationale checks out the nanofab machine from the safety of the convenient little walled alcove shops often wind up getting placed in. The only thing of real interest is this enhanced neural disruptor with armor piercing. Armor piercing is important, though this is far from my ideal method of dealing with that. But still, it'll be important to get this and I'll take it just in case my luck doesn't hold later. But for now, I can't afford it. In the process of running there she also uncovers a camera.

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Nika meanwhile finds the camera database, another guard, and another safe, before retreating back into cover.

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With the database hacked we now know where all of the cameras are, and when the secondary cameras turn on next turn we'll be able to see in even more rooms for intelligence gathering.

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As for Internationale, she moves for the safe, and just as I suspected based on that inactive camera's location, there's a door into that room that was hidden from view in the corner. Well, we'll know where that leads shortly.

Nika continues to explore the northwestern half of the facility.

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Only five turns? We're making pretty damned good progress here.

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Anyway, the incoming cameras will soon be dealt with. And the recently-hacked camera reveals the location of safes four and five. We still need to find our mark's office and maybe the secondary server terminal if this place has one (it's not guaranteed like nanofabs are), but I'm not worried, we're making good time.

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Internationale finds the power supply, but we're already hacking a bunch of things this turn and every simultaneous parasite costs 1 more PWR than the last one, so we'll wait a bit for it since there's no present need to pass through that laser fence.

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Nika continues to explore while abusing the hell out of this guard's inadequate FOV.

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Finally, Nika finds the executive's office. Now then...

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TASTE THE FULMINATING FIST OF MOTHER RUSSIA!

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...Right, here's where it gets a little complicated. Now we have to babysit this bigwig's unconscious body while Central digitally cracks open his brain and steals his codes.

For six turns.

And about halfway through, more often than not, the guy manages to call an enforcer on us, which is like a normal guard, except they already know you're in the building and they use cover-piercing scanning grenades to hunt you down. Nothing Nika can't handle, but they can still complicate missions if they show up unexpectedly. In the meantime though...

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You don't just get a card from these missions. The bigwigs themselves tend to love carrying ridiculous amounts of pocket money around for us to steal. Get somebody with a high anarchy score and you can get obscene sums of money off of these guys. Not as much as from a vault, but still, it helps make these missions well worth the trouble when you want the cards.

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Anyway, it seems like Nika's half of the facility is fully explored, so it's up to Internationale to search the last few unexplored areas while Nika prepares to grab the card and taze her way through the facility to the exit, cleaning out the last three safes along the way.

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While that happens, security reaches level 2 and the firewalls boost, but alas for them, there is nothing left to hack.

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Right on cue, the enforcer arrives to investigate the automated tip-off. Alas for him, the fact that he knows where we are means he's going to be far too easy to manipulate into an ambush.

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Now that there's nothing left to hack, I can freely use wildfire for near unlimited PWR to do a bit of a sadistic but effective technique Nika has for moving bodies around faster.

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By attacking an already-unconscious target, she can still use her augment to give herself an extra 6 AP per turn, which helps when being forced to drag unconscious guards or other personnel.

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Meanwhile Internationale completes her sweep. The whole facility has been explored. There is no secondary server terminal, alas, but now we know we're free to leave without missing out on anything, and we've maxed out the microSLAM payout.

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The enforcer begins its long trip up to Nika as the process of getting the card data wraps up. Looks like it'll take too long to ambush the enforcer and Nika will have to take him out in the middle of her northwestern sweep. Meanwhile, Internationale moves to buy that neural disruptor.

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Finally, we have the card.

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Nika, commence the purge.

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The result: both guards knocked out, safe #3 looted, and this door re-closed and observed for when the enforcer comes in.

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Internationale buys the neural disruptor II...

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...and the enforcer is going to head the wrong way, spot the first guard I took out, and in all likelihood run over to him and stand on top of him to investigate the area, unintentionally leaving the guard pinned and unable to recover for another turn, which suits my purposes perfectly.

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The last two safes contain a buster chip, which is a manual hacking tool I have mixed feelings about, and 290 credits, leaving us with a highly respectable sum even after our purchase, and that's not counting the post-mission microSLAM payout for selling the map of the facility.

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With nothing better to do, Internationale stuns and robs the last guard. There's no need to deal with the enforcer if we can avoid him; reinforcement guards don't have money, though they sometimes have random loot if you're good at stealing.

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Speaking of reinforcements, another guard shows up at alarm level 3 in the exit room, which is inconvenient but not too hard to deal with.

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Internationale just needs to hide until her disruptor can recharge.

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What'd I tell ya?

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Now for a quick adrenal pitstop and then it's time to get out of here.

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Nika didn't have the AP to observe the enforcer and still make it to that guard, by which point she didn't have LOS on him anymore, so to play it safe, I have her stand on ambush outside of these doors in case the enforcer's forgotten about the executive and plans on randomly hunting back through here.

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This guard won't be coming over to interfere with Nika's escape, so she's in the clear to proceed towards Internationale's location.

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Of course then I remember what I just had Internationale buy, and use it to take him out just in case.

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And then with a good refresher taze to the other guard to make sure he doesn't wake up at an inconvenient angle...

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...We are out of here!

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Yet again, a pretty damned good run. In hindsight I feel it was a tiny bit reckless to take out those guards before the enforcer was taken care of considering how much time I had before the security really bumped up, but I was careful and didn't make any mistakes when carrying out my plan, so that's really more of a small note for the more dangerous future missions rather than a real criticism. We now have means of taking out 1-armored guards, so that has us set in the armor department for a little while, though Nika still has a long way to go before she'll be able to keep up her current level of ferocity against some of the stuff I know the corps have lurking in the depths of their facilities.

And I didn't even leave loot in the safes this time! So I'd say this was a pretty good day.

Signing off.

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Mission 3

 

 

 

Well, here we are, a mere two hours from the dawn of day 2.

Of course, with all of our high-speed globetrotting, dawn has become something of a relative and meaningless term. In fact... hang on... it's continuously been night everywhere we've visited... is that possible? I mean obviously it is because it happened, but...

...It's yet another reminder of the kind of situation we're in that I have absolutely no interest in doing the math and checking timezones for this bizarre coincidence.

Anyway, speaking of which, I just finished using the jet's hibernation rig. It's the first time I've ever used one; they're not exactly the healthiest things for you. As a matter of fact, they make coffee and Red Bull look like kale. But it won't be the last time I use one, of that I'm certain. I'm going to be making liberal use of that thing in lieu of actual sleep to make sure I'm fully refreshed when it's mission time. I shudder to think of the long-term effects that'll have on my internal clock and metabolism. But then again... it's my job to make sure we live long enough to find out.

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Central's still using Incognita to try and work out whatever it is she's trying to work out. Frankly, I'm not sure how I feel about that AI. I mean sure, we'd be dead without it, but still, that's hardly by necessity, there are other methods to hack into things and block scans. And besides, well...

...Central always comes across as cool, no-nonsense and in control, but when she talks to that AI... I dunno, it's almost like I see tiny cracks in that professionalism, like she has a soft spot for that bundle of bytes that goes beyond the healthy.

Oh well. Far too late to have doubts about the fearless leader now. Let's get back to the mission.

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I have no interest in lugging around this buster chip, so I sell it to Monst3r before getting to training.

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I switch around our gear, put the card in one of our four storage spaces, and give Nika the Neural Disruptor II mostly because she's the fighter so she should be the one to deal with any dangerous guards. Oh and by the way: four storage spaces. I've been trying to avoid the subject in the hopes of keeping my mind off of it, but it's clearly not working, so lemme just vent for a bit, because dear. FUCKING. GOD. If my account of our escape didn't give you the proper idea of just how strapped for storage space we are here, holy shit. I wish words could remotely convey just how cramped this jet is. It had to be stuffed to the rafters with emergency rations and these cube-shaped backup batteries that Incognita has been sucking dry like a beached whale at Oktoberfest, and is getting loopy at about that rate too. We can't dump the things for space when we're done with them because they might be traceable back to us and, y'know... the whole dumping garbage in the ocean is wrong thing. And holy shit is it rough.

We have one tiny locker allocated for storage of stuff I find on missions that I don't want the agents to carry around at the moment. I have placed one tiny little access card in it. It is now 25% full.

And don't even get me started about the sacrifices we've had to make to our personal living quarters. I will spare you the precise, grotesque details of my current situation, but suffice it to say that the Japanese and their adorable little micro-apartments know nothing of my suffering.

...Where was I?

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...Ah, yes, Internationale. With Steve no longer in the way, I've finally purchased some black-market rapid-training software to teach Internationale how to pick pockets without knocking out the target. This will be useful should the need for a security keycard suddenly arise. We've been lucky enough to not need them so far. I'm going a little over budget here, but not overly. I've resolved to make sure to bring about 1000 credits into any mission, and 2000 into any mission with a major shopping center as a target, just to make sure that in the event of a bunch of really wonderful stuff filling the stores, we'll be able to buy it all.

Long-term training goals? Well I want to max out Nika's strength at some point, mostly for that extra 1 turn of KO damage, which is going to be a huge help, especially since I've heard nasty rumors of certain pieces of technology on the horizon that could mean we'll need all the KO damage we can get. If we hit a windfall early I might try to max out Internationale's anarchy immediately to get our hands on a bunch of sellable goodies to increase our cash flow. If done quickly that should pay itself off and then some quite easily, though having to make sure Internationale is the one to loot all of the guards is a downside.

More importantly however, I want to get Nika and Internationale's speed up too. Hacking isn't too much of a problem, we aren't using a very power-intensive build, but if we get any gadgets that require hacking or a certain ridiculously powerful item, I may very well change my mind on that.

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For now though, I'm not letting training bring us significantly below 1,000 creds. So let's move on to the next mission. Looks like this is the moment where things are going to start getting harder. The corps are catching onto us and we're at security level 2. There's a small chance of 1-armor guards showing up, but more importantly, firewalls are going to get stronger and stronger from this point out, and parasite is going to become less and less capable of serving all of our hacking needs. I'm hoping we find some better software along the way, I'd rather not have to go to a server farm just to pick up one decent instant-hack program.

Let's go.

We're jacked in...

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...We're ported in...

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...We have our mission...

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...Oh, look, they're bonding! How cute.

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...Right, first thing I do is get them both into hiding and do all the hacking I can. I've picked hiding spots where it's highly doubtful they'd get caught so that I don't have to put them on ambush. Many people would say putting them on ambush would be safest, but the thing is, I don't want to risk knocking out a merely passing guard when they would've just walked right past me. Starting the mission with an unconscious guard isn't fun. Knocking out a bunch of guards at the end when you're trying to escape is one thing, but when you do it early, either you have to have one of your precious agents babysit the unconscious body the whole time, or leave him alone and try to avoid him when he wakes up.

“But surely he wouldn't be able to shoot you after you loot him”, I imagine you'll reply if you're moderately intelligent. “I know their weapons are gene-coded to their owner, but surely you still steal them just so they can't use them when they wake up!”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Yeah. Good luck with that, buddy.

The corps aren't stupid. They're guilty of nearly every other sin in the book, but they're the top of the food chain for a damned reason. The guards' holsters are capable of teleporting their weapons back into them in the event that they are disarmed, and these weapons, when teleporting, have a tendency to leave a foot-wide crater in any nearby organic flesh when they depart. And don't even get me started about taking the holsters. They're too small for Incognita to properly hack, and they have so many defense mechanisms that disarming even a single guard is probably a more dangerous task than anything any of these whole buildings could throw at me.

The weapons stay. We've gotta suck it up and deal with it.

So yeah, I pick hiding spots it would be exceedingly unlikely that the guards would run into (with the added bonus of getting to peek into a room and hack some stuff in advance) and pray for something better than the worst.

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Incidentally, looks like the firewalls haven't quite gone up yet. It seems like they're still all 1s so far, though the stronger stuff might have 2s and 3s. Still, we're going to need a good backup hacking program soon.

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This should be a safe hiding place for Nika, but not knowing the exact path the guard's going to make back into this room makes me a bit nervous regardless. Damn I hope we can find a method of tagging soon. That shit is a godsend.

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This narrow and winding layout means that it's taken us several turns just to sneak two agents past one guard. But thankfully we at least found the nanofab already and I'll probably be able to split these two up to cover more ground from this point on.

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It's already alarm level 1, and the auxiliary cameras have gone up.

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But at last the fates smile upon me. Once again messing around with the door coming into this room interfered with his patrol path (somehow), meaning I have another turn before the guard comes back into this room! I'll use it well.

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...Thank goodness. See the noticed squares? That means this is a guard. Now either he's stationary or he's patrolling. If he's patrolling, that means that his patrol previously inconveniently lined up with the first guard's patrol pattern before the door threw him off. Now they're out of sync and there are times when neither this room nor this door to the next one are watched. Unless of course he's stationary. In which case I'll have to take him out, it doesn't look like there's any other way around that. Next turn will tell. In the meantime...

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...Mostly meh, though there's one pretty decent find. The biogenic dart gun is a 2 armor piercing non-lethal gun that doesn't even use ammunition but instead uses a 7-turn cooldown. KO guns in the long-run aren't ideal, but it'd be a very handy emergency weapon for Internationale as well as just a general method to ensure we can take out 2 armor guards before building up Nika. As for the rest? That cloaking rig might be useful as an emergency safety net to have more time to hide when caught, but since it only lasts for four tiles I think I might just wait until I find a cloaking rig II or III before I shell out credits for it. Everything else isn't worth mentioning. Damn you, skeletal suspension, for letting me think you were the vastly superior penetration scanner or at least titanium rods.

At any rate, we can't afford any of it at this exact moment, we need a little more money. I plan to have Internationale steal that from the first guard. Speaking of money though...

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...One of the safes as a daemon, and I don't know what it is. I'll hack the daemon database before hacking it, juuuust in case it has the dreaded “validate” daemon, which brings an enforcer to the level. We're already going to have to deal with one of them, I don't want another.

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...SHIT. It's a stationary guard. I'll have to take this one out, it'll take too much time to lure it away with...

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...Wait, no, I'm getting ahead of myself, I can still handle this. His position was actually conveniently such that I could lure him away from the door and into the next room from where he was. Let's see how this works out.

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It works out perfectly. And now I can use a little technique called sprint-sneaking (essentially involving having the agent's first step be a massively loud stomp by going into sprinting stance and stepping before going right back to sneaking since they still technically have above full AP) to keep the guard distracted for longer. I'll keep doing this and have Internationale loot both guards and grab the biogenic dart if she can.

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...Meanwhile, I can't wait anymore to get this safe; it'll become far more trouble than it's worth if I don't get it immediately, because this entire facility so far has been a total winding bottleneck.

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...Unfortunately, my attempt to sprint-sneak distract one guard got the other's attention too. This could be nasty.

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...Very nasty.

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I have Internationale retreat to the only safe area available to her and loot the safe. I'll have to re-distract the stationary guard with Nika, or just say “screw it” and take him out with Internationale. I think at this point I'm going to go with the latter, this is getting too dangerous and I'm running out of time. I need to leave at least 6 turns for the financial executive whenever I find him, so I need to move quickly.

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...I'm about to do something very risky, but I have to see what's behind that room this new guard is standing in front of, and this reduced AP is going to make that difficult to do otherwise. Nika is going to run through his peripheral vision and hopefully this will result in him pathing straight towards that spot, in which case he'll miss Nika completely due to peripheral vision being ignored while turning from his current facing. If he takes an indirect path for any reason, well... I do have a backup plan I'd... rather not use.

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...That's... good... right?

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...Thank goodness. I mean I had a plan if it went wrong, and I considered the risk worth it from a time-saving standpoint, but still, holy shit was that nerve-wracking.

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Just as my instincts told me, this is the financial executive's room. Time to get ready to crack open his brain.

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Meanwhile, Internationale moves to take care of this guard when I realize there's actually another option available. Noting the peripheral vision space right in front of the door...

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I have Internationale lure him there rather than right in front of it, so she can walk past him sprint-sneaking at the door to keep him in the room one turn longer before shutting the door, and then going off to rob the other guard and get that dart gun.

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...Right, I thought I heard mag-lev technology. This is a drone. Think of it as a fusion between a mainframe device and a guard. It can be alerted, and most models will even shoot you, and they can't be hurt by non-lethal weapons. They can, however, be hacked and temporarily placed under your control. If you do that, however, they'll go on the hunt, just like with KO'd guards. This model can't attack, or even see, but has a pulse scan that lets it alert nearby guards if it finds anything weird within five spaces. These things are handy to hack to serve as additional scouts that can pass by enemy security, so that's what we're going to do. There's far too much of the area we still haven't uncovered thanks to that damned bottleneck, and all the time-saving we can get will be helpful. Besides, they're pretty cheap to hack at the moment. I only wish I had found this thing before the firewalls went up, because if you have it under your control when alarm level 2 hits, it doesn't actually get the increased firewalls when it reboots and remains at its original value. Important thing to keep in mind. Anyway...

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The siren seed of rebellion has been planted in this cute little guy's fragile electronic mind.

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No more point in putting this off, the camera only reaches as far as his space, and cameras, unlike guards, don't react to anyone getting knocked out in their FOV.

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Finally we've caught a lucky break. The exit is right there. But we still have three safes and maybe a secondary server terminal to find if we can, so let's see what we can do.

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FUCK. I DID IT AGAIN. I ACCIDENTALLY SPRINT-SNEAKED BOTH FUCKING GUARDS AGAIN.

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Nothing to do but hide in this alcove.

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Meanwhile, back at the Nika, I have her explore as much as she can while debuffed by labyrinth and lugging this poor sap around.

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...FUCK. Yeah, this is a really bad situation. Three guards, one neural disruptor, and one of the guards is going to find her next turn.

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...Nothing else for it. Damn it all. Here goes...

 

 

 

AAAJOIJEOFIJEIOSJFEOISJFILESJFIESJFOSEJFOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGH!

 

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...Right, let me explain, as I'm sure you're very confused.

What you saw before?

That hasn't happened yet.

My implant and the computer I'm hooked up to combined can run a super-accurate simulation of reality, essentially predicting the future and letting me queue up my orders in advance and giving them out as they happen. This means that if I really, really have to, I can rip myself out of that simulation entirely and re-connect live to use the simulation's knowledge to fix any major mistakes I make. The downside? Well aside from the fact that forcibly ejecting your brain from a highly advanced program really fucking hurts (I literally know how an improperly ejected flash drive feels now), this basically fries the system and requires a thorough reboot process too complicated to do mid-mission before I can use it again.

So yeah. That's it. Any more mistakes this mission, I have to deal with them the old-fashioned way.

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No pushing my luck with sprint-sneaking, I think Internationale's gonna have to use brute force now with that second guard coming and this guy's inconsiderate plans to stop behind this door before he returns to his stationary vantage point. This isn't going to be pretty, but at least she'll have a gun to help out with this, and if she's shot, it'll be near a nanofab so I can get her a med gel really easily with Nika, then we can run for the thankfully nearby exit. But for now I'm going to push my luck a liiiiiitle bit more and see if I can't get that dart gun.

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Just as in the simulation, we hit alarm level 3 and a guard comes in to help patrol. But this time, it seems the guard ports in from the other guard chamber. I'm not sure whether I should be relieved or disturbed that the simulation was wrong. I'll have to inform Central when the mission's over.

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Nika finds another guard guarding what seems to be a large room. Let's see if there's anything in there worth getting. If there's 1 or 2 safes in there, I think it'll be best to just grab those, wait for the card and leg it.

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Internationale leaves the guard behind to grab the gun.

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And of course now the enforcer arrives. Pity I chose to keep the guard I knocked out hidden by the doorway so nobody coming through from that elevator would see him. It could have bought me time if I knew he was coming from there.

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But moving on, Internationale steals a security card and some money from the guard before moving to buy the gun.

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...Wait... I only just now noticed that this isn't an ordinary guard.

Right, I suppose this is as good of a time as any to explain this: each corporation specializes in different things, obviously, but this also extends to their security. Plastech, in this case, has cybernetically-augmented guards who can interface with the facility's mainframe and generally make our lives hell when it comes to hacking. Thankfully this is the tamer one who only bumps up firewalls when attacked or alerted. There's another that is... much more annoying. I'll go into details with the other facilities' strengths and weaknesses when they become relevant.

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For now, time to work out how to get Internationale out of there now that she's got her gun. With two weapons she can take out two guards in relatively quick succession, but she's still no Nika, and she can't attack twice a turn.

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This little guy sadly turned out to be basically no help at all. He was too far away from any unexplored areas to really be of assistance, but at least now I can keep him out of the way.

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...And then, my hypothetical future reader... this happened. That guard who ported in at alarm level 3 wandered all the way in here and took Internationale off guard, and now she's surrounded on multiple sides by three guards, with a fourth one waiting just outside the door. Looks like we need to cut our losses now and forget the other safes, Internationale is about to be gunned down (thankfully, as I said, right next to the nanofab) and is going to need a revival.

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...Right after taking one of these assholes down with her.

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Alarm level four, and the card's finally ours. Time for a rescue mission.

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The enforcer got all the way over here already and has joined the other normally-patrolling guard, but it's no problem.

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I just take out the first guard and then wait in ambush behind the door for the enforcer. I could ambush him against the console, but in case the new reinforcement pops out through that southern door unexpectedly, I'd rather not risk it.

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The extra guard didn't make it into that room, so after ambushing the enforcer, refreshing the KO on the normal guard, and then using the extra AP to get far away from where I heard the level 4 guard was before sprinting, Nika makes it to Internationale to knock out the one guard remaining in her room, grabs her gun just in case, and pins the guard Internationale took out with it, who's still KO'd due to the guards' tendency to pin their own allies while investigating their incapacitation. The remaining guard is clueless and currently hunting around in the guard port area with the safe, and with nothing a sane man would dare try hacking, it's wildfire time, so we've got all the volt disrupter pwr we could possibly need.

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And with 275 creds down the drain, Internationale is back among the living.

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The guard and the enforcer from earlier are awake again, but it looks like we're in the clear now. The guard from alarm level 4 is going to wander into the safe room while the siren is going to wander right into an ambush, and then we can take out the remaining two with ease.

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Just gotta make sure this guard doesn't wake up at a bad angle. We don't have any other med gels. If anyone else gets shot? We have to either drag them all the way to the exit or leave them behind.

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Time to make a break for the exit.

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...Maybe I should've checked that other guard's path.

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Alarm level's reached level 5 due to being caught, and the other guards were alerted and have come in to join the party. And now thanks to the alarm level any guards we haven't managed to alert so far are now alerted and are hunting for us. In addition, there's now another enforcer coming for us, which... isn't fun, obviously.

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Now... I know this looks bad...

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...But it really isn't, thanks to Invisible Inc agents' highly advanced reflexes.

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I have Nika trade the biogenic dart back to Internationale so she can hide behind the console in case this somehow goes sour, maybe if I accidentally take out the executive rather than the enforcer with this ambush. But after this we should be in the clear. I had Internationale drop the security door card, making absolutely sure it wasn't somehow the vault access card, since we won't be needing to unlock any red doors and otherwise she'd have been too encumbered to make it behind the console.

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Note to self: I really should've closed that door by the unconscious guard just in case, but too late to worry about that now. I also should have re-opened that door after alerting the enforcer just so he wouldn't smash it to pieces and give us a long way to run with no door to protect us and little cover besides. Right, let's run.

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Keep behind cover just in case...

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...And... we... are... out of here!

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Okay, so... let's be completely fucking honest: that was a bit of a mess. I mean, we didn't lose anyone and we still got a net gain in assets, but still, this was easily my worst performance so far. I blame a combination of bad luck and a few poorly-placed sprint-sneaks. Mostly the sprint-sneaks though. I'm not about to blame my failure on the mission being too hard. But anyway, at least we only spent 5 hours getting to this mission, and now we've got two vault access cards to make use of in the future. So... again, we're better off after the mission than before it, but I was cutting it dangerously close to catastrophic failure there. I shudder to think what would've happened if Nika hadn't been there to bail us out.

...Right, well, beyond that? I've got nothing to add. Time to spend the next few hours wallowing in professional embarrassment and then get ready to not be quite so shit next time.

 

Edited by Alastor15243

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That was a suspensful as ever. Invisble never fails to deliver. 

 

What are some of the best killing weapons btw? Is there one that has no ammo? I haven't found one yet, but i would love one. Ammo is just too expensive and draco is not so bad if you only kill as you escape.

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4 hours ago, SlayerX said:

That was a suspensful as ever. Invisble never fails to deliver. 

 

What are some of the best killing weapons btw? Is there one that has no ammo? I haven't found one yet, but i would love one. Ammo is just too expensive and draco is not so bad if you only kill as you escape.

The only ammoless lethal weapon I know of is the flurry gun. It has 2 armor piercing, costs 5 pwr per shot, and can only be used for one turn per map (so basically you want to have Nika use it and then pass it to every one of your agents and give them a shot with it, and also use any stim IIIs you have, so you can get as many shots as possible). It's pretty damned useful if you know how to use it, and it does save money in the long run, it's only 1,250 I believe.

And yes, Draco is pretty great, but then again whenever I've found him I've also gotten lucky and found a hand cannon in the same mission allowing me to get three kills per charge pack, and I also got a lot of anarchy so he wound up stealing a lot of charge packs too.

Edited by Alastor15243

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Thanks for the tips. I finished the game on expert mode. Certainly couldn't have done it with some of the tips i saw and got here so thanks for that. Also, that sprint+sneak was godsend in the last few levels being able to make the guard take his damn eyes from the exit for a tiny bit is beautiful. Having to get the extra power cell in every turn makes almost every mission so much more difficult. 

 

I am excited to see you finish your playthrough!

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58 minutes ago, SlayerX said:

Thanks for the tips. I finished the game on expert mode. Certainly couldn't have done it with some of the tips i saw and got here so thanks for that. Also, that sprint+sneak was godsend in the last few levels being able to make the guard take his damn eyes from the exit for a tiny bit is beautiful. Having to get the extra power cell in every turn makes almost every mission so much more difficult. 

 

I am excited to see you finish your playthrough!

Great to hear! Here's to hopefully many more successful runs!

And here's hoping I can get my team through to the end.

I love contingency plan. Like you said, the power cell and the secondary alarm protocols really help make it so that the extra time you have doesn't outpace the rising difficulty. That said, I've never yet failed a campaign at or after the omni foundry lab mission (though there have been close calls), so if I manage to get past that hump, that's probably a good sign for this LP.

Edited by Alastor15243

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Mission 4

 

Spoiler

 

So I step out of (okay, tumble out straight onto the floor) my hibernation rig just in time to overhear Central and Monst3r talking on the coms.

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Progress! Finally! Okay, I will concede, now that we actually have a concrete plan, the looming ever-present terror of what the fuck happens on the end of day three has officially been reduced to “spending every waking moment in a perpetual cold sweat”, which, certainly, is a significant drop, all the way from “Why dear God why please why have you abandoned me again why in the name of Mister Rogers riverdancing on a pile of burning children were the last fifty-seven times not enough for you”.

Looks like whatever awaits us when Incognita reaches her last bits of power is going to be a stealth operation, not a full-out assault. Good.

This does not in any way reduce my desire to get Nika to full combat prowess as soon as humanly possible. But at least we have a somewhat realistic goal now.

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Monst3r's got a lock decoder to sell us, which will unlock any red door in 2 turns. Situationally useful, but unfortunately we really don't have the money to spare right now. I can't even really spare money to upgrade my agents at the moment, no way I'm buying this. Anyway...

Central tells me that she's managed to pick out a few new targets for day 2, and that she can do this once every 24 hours roughly, which is good news. Let's see what she has for me...

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Immediately two missions spring out at me: the FTM cyber lab and the Plastech detention center.

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Cyber labs are always good news. They let you upgrade your agents for free or expand their capacity to be augmented, and Nika's going to need both. Anyone who isn't Sharp can get up to four augments counting their starting one, and I want to get at least one penetration scanner on Nika, preferably 2, so that she can use her extremely handy personal volt disruptor on armored guards to keep that wonderful thing relevant, and then either the always-handy titanium rods or... ...well... I have this mad speculative theory about the potential synergy of Nika's personal augment and a certain augment known as predictive brawling... but anyway...

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...Then there's the detention center. Central has it on good authority that one of our agents, we're not sure who, is being held there. If we rescue them, we'll have one more agent to help us with our missions. This will be extremely helpful, and this is the closest mission to us, but the thing is we aren't that well-equipped at the moment and can just barely arm this new agent with what we currently have. Plus, y'know... I really want to go to that cyberlab.

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...I mean... they could survive one more day in a corporate prison, couldn't they?

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...Ugh. Fine. Rescue mission it is.

Damn me and my pesky soul.

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Damn it all. We start in a room with two doors and no cover. Fuck. And the placement of the doors means I can't safely have both agents standing in ambush beside the doors because if an agent goes through, say, door number 1, then they'll see agent number 2 standing guard beside door number 2 before passing into the ambush range of agent number 1, and vise versa. Which means depending on what it looks like in those rooms, I may have to do ambushes in front of the doors, which could be nasty.

But let's see what our options are first by seeing what Internationale sees.

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As it turns out? A lot.

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The safe and the camera database both have daemons on them, but looks like we're going to get some new programs pretty damned early in the mission, which might very well help us out. Depending on what they are. But let's see what the next rooms look like.

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No guards in sight at the moment.

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At least we seem to be doing better than last mission. Nika and Internationale can split up right from the beginning. I've seen enough of the eastern area to be reasonably confident nobody's coming into the starting room from her side, so Nika should be safe to go on ambush.

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Score! The daemon database! And it doesn't have a daemon on it!

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...Back in the meatspace, looks like those were noticed tiles. That means there's a stationary guard somewhere behind that laser panel. But since he's mostly guarding an area we don't really have immediate access to anyway, I'm not overly worried.

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Especially since there's a perfectly good opening to sneak past him to where I want Internationale to go.

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The guard has minor armor, but that's no longer a problem for either of my agents, thankfully.

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Found safe #2.

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As it turns out, this wasn't the expansive half of the facility to explore I was hoping it would be, but there's still plenty of places for Nika to cover more ground. More importantly, we found a drone that we can bring back to the jet for some extra credits. With the firewalls still pretty well at 1, that isn't too bad of an idea. The drone's not going to have very good movement, but having an extra pair of eyes the guards will ignore is definitely going to help, and as I said before in the last mission, if we time its hacking right we can keep it at 1 or 2 firewalls bypassing the alarm level 2 upgrade. Let's get to work on that.

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The two daemons turned out to be labyrinth, the AP-reducing one, and chiton, which gives all guards +1 armor for a few turns. I'm going to trigger both of them mostly because guards having high armor for a few turns now is going to be way better than them having higher armor for a few turns later, and also because a few lost AP now in exchange for having access to all the cameras in the facility immediately will probably help us greatly in figuring out where to go next.

As for the secondary server terminal...

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...It's a bust, unfortunately. Lightning is really, really good, and with wildfire we might even be able to afford its use, but only if we actually had a method of tagging (which basically allows you to know in advance where a tagged guard is going to move, as well as where they are even if you don't have LOS on them), and right now we don't, and I can't even guarantee we'll ever get one (though I really hope we do). I can't justify that kind of expense on a maybe. Unless there's a T.A.G. pistol in the facility's nanofab, I fear we'll have to pass on this, though it breaks my heart.

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Anyway, Internationale found the pulse drone I'd been hearing and two more safes, while Nika prepares to activate the busted drone to hunt for the exit. If we found this thing earlier it might have been too much of a hassle to keep re-hacking it to get it to the exit, but this early on I think it'll be more of a help than a hindrance.

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EXCELLENT!

See, Incognita can occasionally (about a 10% chance) fight off a daemon and reverse-engineer it into something useful. We now have more AP at our disposal for the next few turns, and we still have the camera database!

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And the pulse drone we just hacked just found the exit for us! Holy shit, this is turning out to be a really lucky day for us!

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Between the drone and Internationale we uncovered some more stuff, including safe #4 and the nanofab (pleasehaveatagpistolpleasehaveatagpistolpleasehaveatagpistol), and located guard #2. There should be more guards than this. I'm a little nervous I haven't heard any footsteps yet.

This good luck is almost...

...Eerie?

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Nika gets LOS on the drone so Incognita can hack it, starts searching the other door Internationale passed, and finds safe #5. We've found everything but the actual objective before we've even hit alarm level 1.

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Meanwhile our little pulse drone buddy found guard #3, an actual patroller, and confirmed there's absolutely no reason whatsoever to bother any of these guards. They're guarding literally nothing of value but a single console and the exit, which obviously we can save for later.

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Oh goodie! Show me more of what I need to find, why don't you!

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The nanofabricator unfortunately had a daemon on it, but it was a low-threat one. Felix can be annoying, except all of the safes are pretty much hacked already, so no worries. All it will do is make one of the safes has a few more credits in it next turn.

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Nika found the power supply, but I see absolutely no reason to hack this thing, at least not until a little later; the lasers are hardly in the way at the moment, and I don't think they ever will be since we'll have to go around that guard looking at it regardless.

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As for Internationale, well... let's see what the nanofab has for us:

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EXCELLENT! Even if we get two penetration scanners on Nika, this will still be extremely useful to take out major highly-armored guards. And with wildfire, the rather steep power cost is hardly an issue for us. I could hardly ask for a better weapon to have in stock... except for the T.A.G. pistol. Definitely buying. I'll give the Neural disruptor to whoever we wind up rescuing. Speaking of which... whoever they are, the only place they have left to be is around where Nika is. I wonder who it is...

To be perfectly honest there are a bunch of agents I'd love to find in that detention center. There's Tony Xu, who even without his shock trap would be extremely useful, especially for safe-cracking once firewalls start going up. Then there's Prism, who would definitely help out with pwr management... but I'm really hoping for either Shadowbug or Amadeus.

Shadowbug's a professional catburglar, a real-life Catwoman sort of lady, and she's got this augment called a blink predictor that basically allows her to time when guards are going to blink and are thus most likely to question what they see, meaning she can walk straight through exactly one square of a guard's LOS and she'll either only distract them if she went through a watched tile or go completely unseen if she went through a noticed tile. Very handy for sneaking past inconvenient guards.

Amadeus, now holy cow was Amadeus a find. He's the result of a top-secret genetics project by this sub-megacorp called Dolphus & Altmann, which specializes in gene splicing. He's a fucking wolf-man. He has the speed, strength, cunning and senses of a wild wolf. He can't use augments, unfortunately, since they're totally incompatible with his hybrid physiology, but he can learn an extra level in strength, speed and anarchy, and from the get-go he can peek and observe without using AP. Of course he didn't really take kindly to being created as a one-man species and a freak of nature, much less to being D&A's property, so he broke out. I heard the cleanup was... messy, shall we say. Central eventually found him doing some... rather unconventional things to make ends meet.

I am in absolutely no place to judge.

Anyway...

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The drone has been hacked and is en route to the exit.

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Here's the second-to-last guard. The last one will be guarding the prison room. I just have to get past him and then we can get our new agent out of here.

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Unfortunately we seem to have lost track of the pulse drone for re-hacking. Hopefully it'll show up on one of the cameras next turn.

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In the meantime, I noticed an item for sale that I haven't seen before, and it seems useful, so let's buy it. Internationale, not having any strength levels and holding four items, is encumbered, but that's only temporary until I hand some stuff around to the new agent.

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Incidentally, here's a neat trick I've found: if you drop your excess items on the ground at the end of the turn, you can still enter sprint stance and then pick up the excess stuff to be encumbered while still gaining the +3 AP of sprinting. Useful when you're trying to escape with a lot of stuff in tow, like in vault missions.

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Nevermind, pulse drone found. It hadn't rebooted yet. I had overestimated how long ago it had been hacked.

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Anyway, I worked out how to sneak Nika past the guard. Nika took a one space running start away from the door, and then sprint-sneaked at the door so that the guard will leave the room entirely, leaving Nika free to go into the room if the area is clear. If not, well...

...Chiton's worn off now.

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Internationale pickpockets the stationary guard standing in the doorway by her, just in case he has any stuff it would be better to sell. He does not.

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Unfortunately, our hacking of the drone was poorly timed, and it seems like the firewall increase will happen. This makes things a bit trickier, but as long as he doesn't wander too far away from the elevator, we should be fine, especially considering how much time we have.

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Just to make sure he doesn't wander off to the west, I position our hacked pulse drone so that it'll be in this drone's line of sight when it reboots, which is something that makes guards suspicious, including camera drones like this thing, so this'll take it closer to the exit without doing anything that'll make this thing tip off any of the other guards like they normally do when they spot threats.

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The door is unfortunately in the prison guard's LOS, but I think it might be possible to sneak past this without taking out any guards just yet.

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Success! We're inside! And the agent is...

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...Please don't tell me that's Decker.

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Score! Looks like my plan worked and the drone's taking the bait.

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Please don't tell me that's Decker.

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I should be able to lure this captain around long enough to flip that switch and release PLEASE TELL ME THAT AMADEUS IS PULLING A BIG BAD WOLF, ATE DECKER, AND IS NOW WEARING HIS TRENCHCOAT AND STUPID-ASS FEDORA FOR WHO THE FUCK KNOWS WHAT REASON PLEASE TELL ME WE DID NOT COME ALL THIS WAY JUST TO SAVE AN UNARMED, CLOAK-LESS FUCKING DECKER.

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WHY DO YOU MOCK ME GOD OF CHAOS, MEMES AND THUNDER!?

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...Well. That... certainly explains the lax security. Guess they didn't consider him worth the time, money and effort to properly guard and made his security the responsibility of some greenhorn. I mean, maybe? Even that doesn't really make sense. But it certainly sounds like the kind of logic somebody dumb enough to set up this guard patrol would've been dumb enough to follow.

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...We're done here. I'll have Nika and Decker rendezvous with Internationale, and then we'll loot the remaining guards and get out of here.

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The drone is ready to port out ahead of us. It'll disable the teleporter for a few turns, but it's better than trying to re-hack it to bring it with us at the same time, especially now that it'll spend less time hacked than not.

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I have Nika and... ugh... Decker... leave these guards behind. I want to meet up with Internationale before guard level 3 in case the new guard patrol is inconvenient.

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The drone is back on the jet with us, and the agents will follow shortly. First though...

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A few quick trades later, and everyone has their new equipment.

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The guards woke up. No problem. We're right on schedule, we'll be out of here in a few turns.

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The alarm level 3 guard ported in to the north, nicely out of our way, and the elevator is back online. Time to take everyone out and loot the last two guards.

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Might as well give Decker something to do.

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Ugh. I just realized... The reinforcement guard's going to be heading our way. Not that he has much choice.

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Nothing I can't handle, just mildly annoying.

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And after a tazing, shooting and looting frenzy, including a lucky med gel on the reinforcement guard...

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...We're out!

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Right, well, this mission basically went utterly flawlessly, but let's be honest, that was mostly sheer dumb luck. This was not a difficult mission; in fact, it was practically a buffet. We've got a new agent, who... well... well, he's two more boots on the ground, like Central said. His augment may be shit, but an agent's an agent. I'll make him work. And at least he's properly equipped now. Pity we didn't get one of the better agents, but beggars can't be choosers. This was an extremely productive and fruitful run, I have no non-childish complaints.

Next up, I plan on going to that server farm nearby, then the cyber lab. I need a good hacking program, and I've had too little luck finding one in the secondary server terminals.

But for now, I have nothing more to report. Signing off.

 

 

 

Edited by Alastor15243

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Those made up agents are op. I like it... Also, yeah File Decker is useless. Wish archive decker wasthe rescuable one. That augment is sooooo much better. The daemon thing is pretty damn useless.  It is quite the shame, because I really like Decker.

That encumbered sprinting trick sounds useful... Really useful.

Those made up agents sound great lol. Wished they had been added, just as a kind of game breaker, for when you just want to have an op time in the game's highest difficulty..

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36 minutes ago, SlayerX said:

Those made up agents are op. I like it... Also, yeah File Decker is useless. Wish archive decker wasthe rescuable one. That augment is sooooo much better. The daemon thing is pretty damn useless.  It is quite the shame, because I really like Decker.

That encumbered sprinting trick sounds useful... Really useful.

Those made up agents sound great lol. Wished they had been added, just as a kind of game breaker, for when you just want to have an op time in the game's highest difficulty..

OP? Hm... I honestly don't feel either one is better than Nika, but then Nika is in my opinion by far the best agent in the game, so maybe she's not a good reference.

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Mission 5

Spoiler


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Sounds like they're making progress.

Unfortunately for us, so is the creeping icy scythe being dragged slowly across the room to my bedside. We've gotta keep moving.

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Next on the list, as I said last time, is this server farm. It's a security level 3 compared to the level 2 one in Sankaku territory, but the thing is that Sankaku has weaponized drones, which Nika is useless against, and with nothing but parasite to hack with and no guarantee this server farm will even solve that problem I am not comfortable putting myself at that place's mercy. A level 3 Plastech facility is far safer.

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Monst3r has nothing for sale for now, and all I do is sell the charge pack and upgrade Nika's strength so she can carry that med gel and 1 more item without being encumbered. Always leave the med gel with your fighter. That way if anyone else goes down, you've left your med gel with the agent who can most easily perform a rescue mission, but if your fighter's down and you have to pull off an unconventional rescue, you can do it with anyone. I don't spend any more money on upgrades because I may potentially need all of the credits I have and find to buy everything I want in this facility, and I do not want to be caught off guard if the hand of fate decides to be generous to me.

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Let's go.

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Right, let's see, what kind of starting area are we dealing with...

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...Not ideal, but at least there are places to hide. I'm just hoping we're not going to be shoved into a bottleneck and that we'll actually have a use for all three agents.

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For the moment all Internationale can see is a camera and a console.

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Speaking of which, we've reached a minimum firewall level of 2, since this is a security level 3 mission. Let's hope this doesn't hurt too much.

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Shit. There's a guard right outside the door.

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Better prepare for the worst.

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...Well nobody came in, but it looks like whatever the source of this noticed square is isn't moving, because it's still there. Looks like we may have to wait until that camera gets hacked before we can safely get through here.

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...Screw it, I need more information.

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...More information acquired. Damn it. I didn't realize there'd be two.

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Looks like our little robot buddy is going to have to do the scouting until we can work our way out of this mess.

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You know what? I'm wasting time here. I've got another agent, might as well take advantage of it. This mission would be so much more straightforward without these two in my way, so...

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...Let's do away with them.

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...Well. It's the end of turn 4, and I've already taken out two guards. Not ideal, but luckily Nika used the keycard on one of them to find the exit, meaning that we can basically have one of our agents sit out this level and babysit these two guards to keep them out of the other two agents' way. Hmmmm... I wonder who I should give that job to...

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As if you even needed to ask.

Now for various complicated reasons involving guard tech and anatomy, you can't actually stack two unconscious guards on top of each other and pin both of them unless you shoot a guard with a dart gun while he's standing on an unconscious guard. However, you can carry one guard while standing on top of another one, keeping both of them from waking up. And that's what Decker's going to be doing for the rest of the mission until it's time to go, at which time he'll run for the exit next door.

Good boy.

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Well, at least we're at the point where we can split up now. We wasted much more time than this getting to that point in mission 3, and I do not want a repeat of that.

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Still, these cameras will take some time to take down, so I'll just have Nika explore into the locked door over there since she has the keycard.

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I have Nika steal our little robot buddy's backup battery while it's asleep. It won't be needing it, and we can convert it into pwr.

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Alright, we've found the objective and the exit. Now to hack it, and of course find everything in-between. It unfortunately has a daemon on it, but there isn't a daemon on earth that would make me not want to hack that thing, so obviously I'm taking it and not wasting time dragging Decker over here to tell me what it is.

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Right, Nika's found the nanofab, safe #1, a power relay for an as-of-yet-not-located laser grid, and a...

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...Console...

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...database?

...Um... okay? This is the first time I've ever seen a facility have two of them. That's... curious. Well, I guess we won't be hacking the one with the daemon then.

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The droid's scan is going to find Nika, but we can work our way around it and then it'll be hacked again. I'll send it to look past the stationary guard in that room Nika just found.

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Thankfully the daemon on the primary server terminal was relatively tame. Now then... should we...

...The thing is, the shop is run by, um...

Oh dear lord how do I even begin to explain this creature to you?

...Well you see, way back in the year 2025, somebody thought it would be a brilliant idea to take a common housecat's brain pattern, upload it onto a computer as an AI, and alter its cybernetic mental map to augment its intelligence. They succeeded. Technically. For a certain definition of the word.

...Basically the most complex task the thing knew how to do was shitpost. Which it did. Repeatedly.

The company used it as an adorable little social media mascot who kept posting goofy, cute little cat memes all day, occasionally tying them into company products. Occasionally. When it felt like it. Anyway, it was going pretty well and all, nothing really out of the ordinary, kinda boring once you got past the novelty of what it was.

...And then it found /pol/.

Needless to say the aftermath, while utterly hilarious, was not what one might call conducive to healthy corporate PR, what with all of the hipster Nazi slam poetry written in broken English and the poll for the new flavor of their fizzy soft drink where all of the options were merely different “varieties” of orphan baby blood. So inevitably the bigwigs gave the order to have the thing shitcanned. There was significant backlash at the idea of killing or reprogramming a sentient AI simply because it became an embarrassment to its owners, but the law at the time was that AIs were not living things and had no rights. Unfortunately for them, however, by the time they actually got around to doing it, the atomically redpilled cybercat had escaped into the internet, where they say it dwells to this day, biding its time, constantly “learning” from the internet's “wisdom”, evolving to tiers of forbidden, twisted enlightenment that perplex and terrify even the most hardened of mortal men.

...And now it's basically an anticorporate cyberterrorist that likes developing complex hacking programs, which it uses to do annoying but physically harmless acts of sabotage to mock the corporate elites any way it can, and it likes to hack into whatever it can to sell its wares to fellow chaos-sowers.

When it comes to the majority of us who realize how fucked up the corporations are, we all love watching Shopcat from afar but absolutely dread the prospect of actually interacting with the psychotic lunatic.

Like we have to right now.

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...Bracing for impact.

Stay strong, Internationale. Think of the glorious communist utopian dream if that's what it takes to get through this, I don't even fucking care at this point.

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...Right, let's just focus on the merchandise. There are some very tempting choices here.

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Burst would be useful for emergency movement and extra power.

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Emergency reserve would be nice in case we accidentally get too low to use Fusion and don't want to resort to wildfire immediately.

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Leash would be highly useful for tackling Sankaku and general drone manipulation since there's one scout drone in every facility beyond security level 1.

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But frankly since we only have two slots, I'll make it simple: I pick lockpick for emergency instant hacking, and wrench 3 for power-efficient speedy hacking of higher-end firewalls after a bit of wearing down with parasite.

There. Now we have all the hacking we need, and I never have to talk to this lunatic again. Godspeed, Shopcat, you go do your crazy, crazy thing, somewhere far, far, far away from me. Christ, I feel like I need a bath just from talking to him.

...Well I need a bath regardless, but that's neither here nor there.

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Unfortunately, Daemons just came online after that exchange thanks to the building's automated security protocols, and one of the daemons is on a device we were already hacking. Better prepare for the worst.

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Anyway, Internationale's done here. Time to have her help explore the facility.

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Using our new lockpick program, I discover that there's a patrolling guard in this room in addition to the stationary one. Damn it, this will make it a little harder to distract that guard to get through that eastern door. But I'll manage.

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Sprint-sneaking to the rescue.

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Anyway, our little robot buddy returns to our side just in time to explore this room. Looks like there's no need to hack this now daemon-infested camera: there's nothing in here.

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...Which means that everything left of the facility is down here. Right. That simplifies things. Violence may be a viable option once we explore enough to get everything hacked. But for now, stealth it is.

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Sadly I can't have my robot buddy deactivate early and distract this guard, that would have been great. But thankfully I have other options.

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Namely exploring this area with Nika and having Internationale bail her out later.

We're currently missing 3 safes, and none of them have been hacked yet.

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I remedy that second bit using wrench on the big safe, but unfortunately the daemon on it was the one that makes the safes alarmed. Oh well. We still need to case the place further anyway before we loot everything, so we'll manage.

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Right, we've reached alarm level 2. In all honesty? We're making pretty good time here.

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Well this is a tight squeeze. Due to the glimpse through the door the stationary guard would get of Nika as the patrolling guard passes through, I have to ignore the door and instead rely on exploiting guard turn-blindness to get past him here.

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Nika finds safes 3 and 4, but we're a little low on power and nearing the need for another payload of fusion, so we have to hold off on hacking them for the moment.

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And there's safe #5. We've found them all, we just have to wait to get enough power to hack them all.

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In the meantime...

I wonder what the shop has to offer?

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...Hehehehehehehehehe...

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...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA!

Oh you poor guards. You have no idea what is in store for you.

The description of predictive brawling, you see, is actually completely wrong. What it really does is allow the body to more effectively process adrenaline when it's used for physical combat, improving their ability to move around after fighting.

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...And when combined with a certain agent's complete and utter control of her adrenaline output...

...Oh goodness. Words are so very, very cheap. And this is all theory. But if I am not woefully wrong about this... oh dear reader are you in for a treat.

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In the process of waiting, we reached alarm level 3.

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Now this seems like it might be a problem, but it isn't.

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It's actually perfectly safe to ambush here, because even though it's a 2-wide door, it's impossible for the guard to step out of it now without walking into ambush range before getting sight on her. It's simultaneously an ambush in front of and beside the door. We'll just keep this guy down for a few more turns and then start raiding the safes.

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Now in my seemingly brilliant plan to have Internationale trick this guard into staring at a wall while I make for the door to give Nika her predictive brawling augment, I misjudged the path he'd take and wound up putting Internationale in a situation where she can't hide from him and has to take him out.

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Of course, only her dart gun can penetrate this guard's armor. Thankfully that's fully charged, but it's annoying nonetheless that she has to use that up.

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I'm going to have Internationale reconvene with Nika to make sure she has access to that augment during the escape run. We should be able to handle some already-alerted guards.

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Lady and/or gentleman...

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...It begins.

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Let's see the results, shall we?

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HAHAHAHA! IT WORKS! From now on, whenever Nika attacks with a melee weapon, her adrenaline rush gives her NINE more AP instead of three! That's EIGHTEEN MORE AP PER TURN WHEN SHE ATTACKS TWICE!

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Just one attack to refresh that guard's KO time was all she needed to run past all of the safes back there, loot them, and set up an ambush. WITHOUT SPRINTING. I had Internationale do the sprinting for her once I realized I needed to to get the guard's attention for the ambush.

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Unfortunately he saw the downed guard for the first time and thus couldn't be set up for the ambush, and we're now at alarm level 4.

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That guard's proximity to the current sitting duck that is Decker is making me nervous, so let's hurry up here.

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No time for subtlety, time to run right up in front of him and attack him point-blank. Thankfully Nika has the training and sheer nerves of steel needed to pull that off.

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Then after refreshing the other guard's KO, let's have Nika make a casual silent stroll halfway across the fucking building to be there to support Decker's escape. Internationale will follow behind.

Do you see why I obsessed over the potential of this combination for so long!?

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Just a quick ambush with Nika while Decker quietly sneaks off to the teleporter, and then...

...Oh. Oh yes. Yes, I forgot ambush adrenaline AP is usable the next turn. Which means... she still has two more attacks... let's just see...

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...Hahahahahahahahaha...

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AAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OH MY GOD HOW IS THIS FUCKING LEGAL!?

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...Let's get out of here before I do something suicidally stupid on a power trip.

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I think we have officially reached “on a roll” status. After that slight hiccup at the beginning, this mission steamrolled in our favor, and we now have a ridiculous amount of new abilities at our disposal. It was pretty unsubtle towards the end, but it doesn't even matter, we are set for a while now.

We're in a really good spot.

I can almost say with confidence that we'll get out of this alive.

...We'll see, won't we?

 

 

 

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Lol. 35 Ap... you could go anywhere you wanted... I'm even more intrigued to see where this goes now. Can't wait to see your finished Nika. 

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On 6/7/2017 at 4:59 AM, Alastor15243 said:

...And then it found /pol/.

This is why we can't have nice sentient AI.

Also, that predictive brawling augment probably should be illegal on her, considering it's that good. Just taking that in.

(Oh sorry, been lurking until now and was the one idiot who voted for Xu and making things stupid during the poll. Been fun reading this (and of course, especially the sequences where you go into your own descriptions always get some giggle out.))

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On 6/8/2017 at 11:38 AM, Dayni said:

This is why we can't have nice sentient AI.

Also, that predictive brawling augment probably should be illegal on her, considering it's that good. Just taking that in.

(Oh sorry, been lurking until now and was the one idiot who voted for Xu and making things stupid during the poll. Been fun reading this (and of course, especially the sequences where you go into your own descriptions always get some giggle out.))

Thanks! And don't feel bad about voting for Xu, he's pretty damned great, one of my favorite agents.

Anyway, sorry for the delay with this part, had a bit of a stressful, not-conducive-to-let's-playing week for personal reasons I'd rather not get into. Anyway, back to my usual "3-4 uploads a week" schedule:

 

Mission 6

Spoiler

 

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Nothing new to report from Central, just a continuation of the standing orders to “keep up the not being dead”.

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The fact that she hasn't found our target yet is starting to worry me, especially given that we barely have more than a day left now before the deadline. Though admittedly that fear is significantly drowned out by how much we tore that last mission in half. Nika currently has predictive brawling and 2 armor piercing, and I'm having difficulty conceiving of situations we won't be able to handle.

But I know they're out there. We need to keep making good use of what little time we have left. Getting overconfident about our current situation would be a very, very embarrassing way to die.

So we're tackling the FTM cyber lab next. There are two closer missions, but they're both in Sankaku territory, land of the KO-immune drones, and it's probably a pretty terrible idea to put myself in a situation where every reason I have to be optimistic about our odds is rendered useless. So the choice is between the equidistant K&O vault or the FTM cyber labs. I know that the vault looks closer, but due to some freaky advanced technology so complicated that my previous attempt to wrap my mind around it quite literally put me in a coma for three days, nothing on the planet takes us longer than 12 hours to reach. So there's no time difference between the two options, and it all comes down to what I want. And while money would be nice, Nika needs more augment slots.

Anyway, time to crack open our emergency funds and do a slightly-excessive upgrade session.

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I've upgraded Nika's speed by two levels and her strength by one so that I can add the cloaking rig II that I got last mission to her equipment. This is not for casual stealth. This is an emergency defense mechanism to ensure that she isn't cornered and shot by surprise guards. In an emergency, she will cloak and do her best to clear out a room. Any cloak IIIs I acquire will be used for stealth exploration, since those last two turns when not attacking and are thus ill-suited to be used simply to cover the approach for a melee attack.

The reader may be starting to notice a pattern of me putting a disproportionate amount of investment into Nika. This is true, but mostly out of necessity and because she stands to gain the most from it. Nika has a very clearly defined role that specific augments and equipment highly serve to improve and keep relevant. The other agents do not have such a role, and Decker and Internationale's augments are generally useless and not synergetic with other augments respectively.

Anyway, if they both get out of this alive I don't see why they have any reason to complain.

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Speaking of Decker, I gave him one of our vault passcards. Cyber labs occasionally have vaults that hide either another set of augment grafters or an augment drill that very violently removes one of an agent's existing augments. The latter would be useless to us in our current situation, but the former would be enough of a boon to justify the inventory space, so Decker's bringing it along, especially since we have two of them.

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Not much more to say.

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See you there, reader.

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Alright, here we are, at the FTM cyberlab.

...Damn it, this place brings back memories, and as you could probably guess, they're not good ones. This looks almost exactly like the place where they stuffed me with this augment at the point of blackmail. In hindsight I'm better off, but still... it's the thought that counts.

And the thought was shit.

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Right away there's nothing much special to the room, but I do hear a lot of electronic activity going on outside. I think... yes, I'm pretty sure this is where one of FTM's well-known specialties comes in.

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Yep.

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This is the first (well, second, but let's go in order of introduction) of FTM's special mainframe devices: an FTM security router. This will boost the firewall of something around it by 1 every turn until it's taken out. Thankfully we got it basically immediately, but these things can make a room pretty nasty if they're not found until late. I shudder to think what would've happened if we faced one of these with just parasite.

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Well it's hacked now. We can loot it and bring the delicious silicon guts back with us, and then Monst3r can fence it for us (taking a rather hefty cut for himself). We also found the nanofab, but since it has a daemon on it and we have almost no credits, I'm gonna hold off on hacking that until I know what the daemon is. And with that, we're ready to brace for patrols.

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Excellent, the next room's all clear. But it sounds like the rooms to the north and south have guards in them. Well, let's see what we're dealing with.

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Ooh, lookie here! A camera drone! Right, let's see if I can time this one so its firewall doesn't go up at level 2... if we use parasite, that's two turns ours, one turn rebooting, one turn alerted and getting hacked. Ours ours, not ours not ours, ours ours... that means that either it'll be under our control naturally when alarm level 2 hits, or we can put it under our control with lockpick instead of parasite if I miscalculate by a turn.

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Excellent. Parasite deployed. Also, we now know the nanofab has chiton on it, so I'm going to hack it early just so we're not dealing with the armor when guards are alerted. Besides, everyone has armor piercing anyway.

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Internationale takes the tech and moves to the door, and Nika, being the fastest by equipment-induced necessity, prepares to check out the western room. Internationale will check out the place with the nanofab. It looks empty, but I know I heard footsteps coming from up north, and that little alcove by the northern side of the laser panel has me suspicious there might be a door there.

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Whaddya know, the camera decided to be a dear and go into the room before getting hacked! I suspected, but didn't want to assume. An lo and behold, I was right! Let's see what's in there...

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Bingo! And it's got a vault! Right, there's a change of plans if I ever saw one. We caught a glimpse of a camera in the room the other guard went into, so we'll know what's in there without scouting shortly. So...

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Nika hides behind the nanofab just in case the guard's vision is too unobstructed before he decides to stare at that wall like an idiot. Let's see what we've got here...

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Two notable things: a shock trap, which is an armor-ignoring trap you can set on a door that will knock out anyone who opens it, which is nice, and another cloaking rig. I won't lie, cloaking rigs are always useful, but I'm not sure if this is worth the credits now that we already have one. It's the IIIs that are good for stealth, the IIs are mostly useful for assisting melee combat in a bad situation. And with our current inventory space...

Well, let's see how things work out on this mission. Moving on.

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Decker heads in so he can use his card, while Internaionale scans the room for more cameras and then retreats to prepare to pickpocket the guard when he comes back out.

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Decker and Nika prepare to enter the cyberlab, while Internationale encumbers herself in order to unlock that door a few steps away from her. She discovers safe #2 in the process, bringing up our discovery total to 2 safes, the objective and the nanofab, all before alarm level 1. We're making good time even though we haven't really been able to fully branch out yet.

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Internationale finds the exit...

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...And Nika and Decker infiltrate the cyberlab successfully. Let's see what they have for us...

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...Damn it, so close, and so similar in appearance, but no penetration scanners. Hopefully the vault doesn't have a damned drill in it... but either way, how these work is that we can either have the listed augment installed on an agent, or we can exchange the augment for a free expansion to the agent's augment capacity, up to a maximum of four augments per agent, meaning each of them can use it twice. So even though none of these are what we're hoping for, we're not leaving empty-handed.

We'll find out next turn if luck is on our side.

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Also, a word of caution: THE TACTICAL VIEW IS LYING. THIS TUB WITH A DRILL ARM IS NOT COVER, IT JUST CAN'T BE MOVED THROUGH. The only reason Decker is safe is because the guard's FOV just isn't going to catch him. You have been warned. The Tactical view cannot tell the difference between cover and pits.

...I'm really not sure why I'm telling you this, the odds that you'd actually be in a situation with this exact brand of tactical interface are rather slim, but...

...Oh fuck it, the damned bastard of an app's screwed me over in ways that piss me off, so I have to put this out there.

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Anyway, since the exit's right here, I have Internationale leave the tech on the floor for us to pick up when we make our escape.

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Alarm level 1, more cameras go up. FTM tends to have more of them than average, but we haven't seen many so far. Not sure whether to be relieved or worried.

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A daemon on the safe takes pwr, but we have plenty.

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Looks like I was right to leave the tech behind rather than the card, because there's another locked door over here. But enough of that. Let's move on to the vault.

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Jackpot! More grafters.

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Still no penetration scanners, but now we have something worth installing. Distributed processing is... it's good in large amounts, but we already have a power solution in wildfire and some good, efficient programs for actual hacking, so I can't really justify getting this right now, especially when there's no guarantee I'll get another cyber lab and I want Nika prepared in case we find penetration scanners in shops. Torque injectors, on the other hand, are really useful, especially on an agent with a bunch of cooldown items. I think Decker's found his niche.

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Internationale finds this room with a security camera. Normally mask would make it impossible to know if this has a daemon on it and make it something of a risk, and normally I'd elect not to even touch the thing immediately because Internationale's wireless emitter's confirmed there's nothing else electronic in there but a bunch of consoles she can hack from where she is, but thanks to the daemon database, I know there isn't a daemon in this thing, or I'd see what it is anyway. Do take note though: the daemon database only knows what daemons are normally on objects. If you move daemons around or new ones spawn due to stuff you do in the facility, the daemon database can't help you.

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Turns out there's a door in there, so Internationale's going to check that place out now.

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Decker takes the torque injectors, and that triggers the defense system for cyberlabs: remotely rebooting a few devices. Nothing life-threatening, just a little annoying.

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Anyway, Decker also gives himself an extra augment slot with the distributed processing grafter, which requires sedation. Nika's going to do that twice to bring her to the full four slots, with two open. Internationale will have to stay with no available augment slots. Those slots are far more useful on Nika than on her, and she'd have to go pretty far and abandon what she's doing to get to the grafter, while Decker was right nearby.

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I'm a little nervous that two of my agents will be out for a while, and by best one for even longer, but what other choice do I have? I have to milk this for all it's worth while I can.

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Internationale's found the secondary server terminal, another guard, and the two guard porters, which are conveniently both in the same location, leaving less uncertainty about where they'll be.

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Nika begins the surgery.

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Oh wait! Internationale's not all alone! I still have my robot buddy!

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…Et tu, bot?

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But anyway, Decker's back among the living, and he's going to make his way over to help scout the rest of the level while Nika gets “expanded”.

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The server terminal isn't of much help to us since we're already full, but if I find something absolutely insanely good, I might be tempted to sell one of our programs to make room for it.

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Seems like I was right to factor in being a turn too late with parasite to have the drone hacked in time to miss the firewall boost. See, the firewall boost happens BEFORE parasite does, so if I only had parasite, it'd be too late to avoid the firewall boost.

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Thankfully we have lockpick.

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Oh dear. Okay, here's another one of FTM's special tricks: guards with a special force field that gives them very heavy armor.

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Thankfully, those force field generators can be hacked, and they can only generate one layer of armor for each firewall. A parasite will make short work of it for cheap.

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Internationale finds safe #3 while going for the server. Is has a blowfish daemon, which advances the alarm tracker, so I'm going to hold off on triggering it for a bit until I'm done exploring, just in case.

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Nothing here worth selling anything to buy.

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As we've reached the point where parasite is no longer cheaper than lockpick for single-firewall objects, I decided to lockpick this camera early to get the full view of this room when my robot buddy ran out of AP just short of getting through the door. There's safe #4.

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Nika wakes up, and I have her observe this guard through the drone just to be safe on her way to get knocked out again. Looks like he's staring at a wall and won't even be an issue for us, as he's not looking at anything important. I'm still hacking him in case he somehow gets alerted, but it looks like we're not going to have problems with him.

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Meaning Internationale's good to go looting this safe and preparing to follow our little camera scout.

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And with that, Nika's down again, while Decker rejoins the heist.

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Alarm level 2. We're making pretty good time.

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And our robot buddy uses its second of two turns to find the last safe. We've fully mapped the facility. It's time to wait for Nika to recover, get all the safes, pick up the dropped tech, then clear out.

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Really that means all Decker can do at this point is stand by to maybe do a little shopping when Internationale gets us some more credits. I'll wait until we work out exactly how many credits we have before doing any shopping. We're still below what I consider the tolerable threshold, we shouldn't buy too much.

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Aaaaaaand I can breathe a sigh of relief, because Nika's back on duty.

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Annoying, but worth it. I'm not going to miss out on credits unless it's seriously dangerous. And as long as Nika is conscious, nothing this facility has to offer can qualify.

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I lockpicked the big safe to get Internationale out of there a bit sooner. Hm... that's all of the safes, and... did we forget to loot any guards?

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Why yes! Yes we did!

That brings us up to 1465 credits. Still not enough to buy anything without going below 1k... except that there's the microSLAM bonus and the pirated tech, which should probably net us at least 500 total... what the heck, we can buy something.

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Now this would be great, especially on Decker with his new torque injectors, but that'd require further investment training Decker in anarchy. But then again, non-combat agents should probably have anarchy anyway so it would only be an extra 500 or so... and it would be really nice to be able to say we have a method of taking out literally any guard the corps might throw at us...

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...What the heck, we'll do a vault next mission, we have another vault card.

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Decker grabs the stolen tech...

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Nika leaves the KO'd guard behind...

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And we're out of here!

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That mission went pretty much flawlessly, and our newly-empowered backup plan wasn't even necessary. Good old-fashioned stealth won the day, with no combat other than a simple end-of-mission credit mugging. I'd call this a pretty solid win in my book. No complaints.

Now all that's left to do is face the dawn of the final day.

14 hours remain.

 

 

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Hey nice to have you back. Was kinda missing the nightly read. That is pretty good play. How long have you played invisible, inc for? 

 

Also the lying tactical vision is pretty darn annoying. They should seriously consider a slight color change or something.

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1 hour ago, SlayerX said:

Hey nice to have you back. Was kinda missing the nightly read. That is pretty good play. How long have you played invisible, inc for? 

 

Also the lying tactical vision is pretty darn annoying. They should seriously consider a slight color change or something.

I have had whole missions get this close to being completely ruined due to that damned tactical vision thing.

Anyway, as for how long I've played, Steam says I've clocked 226 hours into the game, though admittedly that's probably increased very slightly by the fact that the game takes longer to play when you're LPing since I keep the game open while screenshooting, uploading, typing and image-linking. I got the game in November of 2015 and after dropping the game for about a year I recently got back into it. Christ I love this game, it's seriously one of my favorite games of all time, right up there with IS's games, the Zeldas and Castlevania.

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Mission 7

Spoiler

 

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Day three arrived on the trip over to the last mission. Security's gotten tougher, but we have a new batch of missions to tackle.

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...Unfortunately, with the exception of an FTM server farm that's basically useless to me right now, they're all twelve hours away.

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Sigh. Right then. No change of plans. Off to the K&O vault we go.

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As this mission will net us a lot of credits, I figure I should go all-out on making sure Decker can use that shock trap. I give him two levels in anarchy and one level in strength because it was cheap and he needs the inventory space anyway. Hopefully nothing will go wrong and this haul will be big enough to get us back to our usual 1000 credit buffer.

Anyway, there. Now Decker can use the shock trap, which means that we now have a slightly awkward method of infinite armor piercing. That may very well save our asses.

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...Ugh. I just noticed the detention center. Central found yet another one of our coworkers being held captive by the vile ancap scum.

Just sitting there in captivity.

No hope of rescue or likely even survival.

...Damn it all...

...I can't. Not now.

I... I may take that as our final mission, but honestly, I haven't even gotten to fully utilize having three agents yet, so I'm not sure how much help a fourth agent would be. And besides, it's a level 4 security mission, in K&O no less. I'd like to be a little more prepared.

...Can't be a hero all the time, especially if it doesn't help our chances.

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...Right. Let's go.

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Alright, here we are. Annoyingly, this sort of room gives us blind spots in all four corners and I always have the lingering suspicion something's hiding back there.

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Thankfully in this situation that's remedied with minimal loss of AP.

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We've gotta be on high alert here. Kelfried and Odin has the best guards of the four corporations. Not just heavy armor and powerful weapons, either. Some guards have some pretty nasty tricks that... well I'd rather not discuss those monsters unless we actually see the bastards.

They also, however, have one other trick up their sleeve that's actually more of a liability to them than an asset, as I'll demonstrate shortly when we inevitably find the things.

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Thankfully the next room turns out to be clear. I have everyone move up and we discover our first guard and, thanks to Internationale, what is unmistakably one of the vault's treasure cases. Off to a good start. Now to see if that guard's going to move. If not, it'll be too much of a hassle to sneak three agents around him with distractions, I may just knock him out if I don't think of something brilliant.

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Whoever came up with the idea to put a daemon on the daemon database, I want to grind their fucking genius-ass face into the sidewalk forever. We're stuck with more expensive programs for now. Infuriating, and yet here's the brutal genius of it: I needed the intel, so I took being blind once to avoid being blind for the rest of the mission.

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Good news though: Remember when I said I was going to knock the guy out if I didn't come up with something brilliant? I came up with something brilliant. Sprint-sneaking to the rescue, I used Internationale to trick the guard into walking in here and walking straight past all of my agents. It was a bit risky, given how little we know of the surrounding rooms, but since we didn't hear any footsteps, I took that as reasonable evidence there weren't many guards around. Not perfect, but I had plans to adapt if I was wrong.

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...Had this asshole been just a single step closer to us, opening this door without getting his attention would have been impossible. I mean we could take him out if necessary, but still...

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Internationale's going to keep up distracting this guard until we get a better grasp of our surroundings, which Nika and Decker are going to get to work on.

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We find the facility's scout drone, a pulse model, which I immediately begin hacking with parasite. I'll use lockpick to get it re-hacked after we lose control of it to make sure it doesn't get another firewall.

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Thankfully it looks like what this level of security considers to be heavy armor isn't enough to stop Nika, though it will be highly costly to take him out before we're done hacking stuff. Still, at least it's only level 2 armor. I've seen the specs for the stuff I know for a fact these bastards have at the higher security facilities, and... well let's just say I hope to never see that shit.

Also thankfully, from this angle it's possible he's not guarding anything important, though I'm not holding my breath.

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Right, cameras go up and...

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Shit! I didn't see that! That camera will make distraction difficult, I'll have to move this distraction up a bit.

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There, that works for now.

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Alright, looks like we finally found that thing I was talking about before: these are turrets. They don't move or even look around when not tracking a sighted target, but they're very durable to lethal damage and obviously can't be knocked out. They can, however, be hacked, and unlike drones they don't automatically reboot on their own so keeping them out of your hair isn't a constant use of power.

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There are two ways I can get this thing out of my hair: the first is to hack the power supply next to them, which lets me turn them on and off. The second is to hack the turret itself, which will bring it to my side and cause it to automatically target, and then kill, any guards that cross it. If you are suitably desperate or sociopathic, the latter is extremely useful for taking out guards and generally sowing chaos while making your escape, but it will probably complicate things for you if you try to do it early.

Obviously I'm just going to go for the power supply. It's less complicated and, y'know, I'm not shit. But I'm going to wait until next turn when modulate wears off.

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In the meantime, Nika finds safe #2, guard teleporter #2, and the exit, while Decker finds safe #3.

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The drone gets hacked and scouts the treasure room, and I'm not liking what I see. Just as I suspected when I saw that power supply right by that case, this is one of those vaults guarded by laser panel. And in my experience, those have a tendency to have silent alarms that'll send an enforcer after us. Looks like we'll be saving the vault for last, as we generally should when it involves inventory items to take with us.

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I hack this camera immediately instead of using parasite because I want to know right now how worth it it is to get past this guard. Answer: the shop's there.

It also looks like even if there were a blind spot past that other guard facing northwest, the door itself is locked, so looks like I'll have to just dash through the guard's noticed spaces near the starting room in order to see what's past that locked door.

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But speaking of cards, Decker uses his newly-improved anarchy skill to steal from the heavy armor guard, and holy shit have we hit the jackpot. Stim IIIs are an espionage agent's best friend. No, they're an espionage agent's friend with benefits. Once every 4 turns, these things refill themselves with a chemical cocktail that doubles the physical and mental speed of an agent with basic training, giving a whopping 8 AP. And on an agent with torque injectors? That becomes every 3 turns. Just one of these is going to be enough to turn Decker into a speedster lunatic that I can almost vaguely entertain comparing to Nika with flesh to abuse.

Problem: It requires a speed ranking of 4, which means I'll have to buy two more levels for Decker if I want him to use this.

...I'm going to be very surprised if I have even 1000 credits left over by the time the next mission rolls around.

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Internationale's still distracting this guy, same old same old.

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Anyway, next turn I hack the camera in this room so Nika can be sure she's clear to sneak through, passing the guard's noticed tiles. I'm confident I didn't hear footsteps coming into this room from the one to the northwest with the missiles, but if I'm wrong, I have my failsafe and Nika has a cloak. Meanwhile, Decker runs off to use the vault card on the door just so we can get rid of it and stop being encumbered, Internationale distracts the guard one more time before getting out of there, and I move the drone somewhere he won't bother any of them while he reboots.

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And back here is... another stationary guard. Damn it, why does this place have so many stationary guards!?

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Also, the 1-armor guard didn't make it all the way to the interest point in one turn, and in fact stopped directly with the freshly-rebooting drone in view. Bright side: Internationale will have a clean path to where Nika is, which will let her get us some much-needed pwr. Downside: the guard standing on the drone will probably delay its reboot just long enough to keep us from depriving it of the firewall increase. Maybe. I don't remember if scout drones get pinned by guards.

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SHIT. I LOST TRACK OF TIME. I THOUGHT THAT GUARD WOULD BE OUT OF MY HAIR FOR ONE TURN LONGER.

I have to decide how I want to get out of this. Thankfully no other guards heard him shout out, so this could have been worse. I have three options:

1: Have Internationale leap behind cover and then ambush him later with her disruptor.

2: Have Internationale shoot the guard immediately and run like hell to get the consoles for the much-needed pwr as I said.

3: Disconnect, plan differently to not get spotted in the first place, and work something else out.

...I don't like to disconnect if I don't absolutely have to, especially when I can only do it once per mission, and for the price of having an alerted unarmored guard anyone can take out, this situation actually saves me several turns in the long run in terms of getting Internationale over to those consoles. As long as I take this guard out now and don't waste time using a quicker-charging device.

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...So option #2 it is. The guard is tranq'd, and Interantionale meets up with Nika, getting us 4 of the 8 pwr that room offers.

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Decker, meanwhile, uses his card on the vault door, getting us full access to the vault. All we have to do is hack it.

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...Along with most everything else. Man, it's surprising that in a K&O facility, hacking is what's giving us the most trouble. Fucking modulate slowing us down like this.

It's okay. Modulate is gone, and we still have time before things really get serious.

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Thankfully now that the camera's gone I can confirm that this guard's standing at an angle such that we don't even need to move him or KO him to rush into that room, depending on what's in it. We'll find out next turn when Nika has full AP to react to that information.

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I re-hack the drone with wrench 3 mostly to get it out of the way, I don't have much for the little guy to do now that nearly all of the facility has been explored save for what's beyond the door Nika's about to go through.

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Ahhhh... one of those subtle joys of being an espionage tactician: getting to completely fuck with the heads of other human beings. Gotta enjoy your work whenever you can.

We've found everything. Time to hack, loot, and clear out.

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With some teamwork between Decker and my drone buddy (who opens this door so the guard will see the door Decker's by just in case he doesn't open it in his investigation), I leave the newly-awakened guard vulnerable to being ambushed and, since it was a shoot and run last time, looted with our best looter.

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Meanwhile, Nika loots those safes. The big one had credits and a med gel which I'm going to keep in storage back at the jet, just... in... case.

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Since we're not coming back this way, I finally hack the safe with the castle daemon, and thankfully the power supply the message referred to was the power supply to the laser panel we can't actually go through without stepping right into the line of sight of a guard anyway. If it had been that turret's power supply, that would've been significantly less fun.

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Unfortunately the pulse drone, which I decided to parasite rather than wrench 3 to save on much-needed pwr, decides to run directly into Decker, which is of course the only way it can catch anyone outside of using its pulse scan. This brings us up to alarm level 3 early.

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Thankfully it can't do anything about it, and I don't think it even alerted guards since it wasn't using its pulse scan, so Decker just keeps retreating behind the door to loot the vault while Internationale moves to join him and Nika prepares to go shopping.

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...Shit, looks like there was a way to sneak past that guard's peripheral the whole time. That would've saved me a shitload of time to find out sooner.

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Things are going according to plan when I realize that I completely forgot to pickpocket that guard back there. Can I afford to go back for that pocket change?

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...Take a wild fucking guess..

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The vault is satisfyingly packed with creds, so all that remains is to loot the last two safes, take the vault treasures, go shopping, and rob the rest of the guards blind.

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Unfortunately, this daemon only works on safes that weren't already hacked by the time it goes active, so no extra creds for Isaac.

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I'm going to wait until next turn to have Nika mug this guy, mostly because that'll give us one extra turn of him being unconscious without slowing Nika down at all since she'll still get the extra 9 AP either way.

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Alright, it's officially 5 turns left before the facility goes into full alert. Time to wrap things up.

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I'm going to need a lot of power to use that volt disruptor III, so I give up on that laser panel and the turret itself (it's enough to power it down), and use wildfire early. Everything else of importance has already been hacked.

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Nika takes the keycard she nabbed from that guard and drops it down by the only door we're going to need to unlock now.

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Thankfully I was wrong, and there's no silent alarm on the safes. Good. That simplifies things immensely.

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The new guard comes this way at a rather scary angle when it comes to ambushing, so out of sheer paranoia I have the drone open the door to make sure Nika won't be seen directly when she moves to ambush this guard. It looks like she won't.

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Time for a slaughter in the hall.

Right, let's see what the nanofab has...

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THANK YOU SWEET MERCIFUL GOD OF CANDY, SHITPOSTING AND FIRE!

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Meanwhile Decker pickpockets the last guard with money that we haven't robbed.

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Finally, Nika re-tazes these two guards...

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...And we're gone!

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One embarrassing lapse of judgment aside, this mission went pretty well. We got all of the credits, we got two brand new toys, I didn't have to disconnect, and nobody got shot. So... yeah. Can't really complain.

All that's left is one more mission before the big mainframe heist, and frankly? It's getting kinda hard to feel nervous about it.

 

 

 

 

Out of character comments:

Spoiler

I've noticed that there's been a marked decrease in interesting worldbuilding stuff Isaac's been talking about. I've been kinda drawing a blank on that as the missions have gotten harder. I have something planned for the next mission, but for later ones, is there anything you guys would like to hear Isaac talk about?

 

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