Having been dropped off on a helipad in the middle of the city, I really have no idea where I am or what I should be doing. I elect to sort of... generally head for the objective, but wander around a little and dart off towards interesting things along the way. I have no doubt I'll stumble into sidequests that will take me all over the place, because that is how games like this work.
The first thing I find is a restaurant with no one behind the counter. Curious, I check the back room. Nobody in there either, but I get a big hunk of "traveler" experience. Curious. This proves a running theme, I find a second down some stairs. Okay. Apparently the shopkeepers here have all buggered off to nowhere-land and left their pill storage rooms unlocked. I wish I could take some of these, they look expensive. And a third... and door #4 has a candy bar behind it. WORTHWHILE SIDE-TRIP.
Change districts, keep looking for that objective marker... break into various back rooms... Where the HELL are all the shop owners? Oh my god, that is an awesome motorcycle. Can I have that? No? Okay. Ah, here's the apartment. It's under lockdown by "Belltower", who are the Chinese police force now I guess. I will have to break into the apartment building to get what I want.
Oh damn. Wasn't gonna do that anyway. There's some scaffolding around the corner of the building, I clamber up that and listen in on a conversation. Oh hey, they "give one warning then shoot on sight" because they believe someone might try to infiltrate. WHO COULD DO THAT. Me. I am doing that right now. Hack a door, leap up the elevator shaft (thank you, spring legs) move a vending machine, through an air duct, into the apartment I want. Which is mildly on fire and has big holes blown in the walls, also there are Belltower goons in here. I slip in and access the computer. This nets me the "Ghost" bonus for doing something without being enormously bloody obvious about it. Go me.
Okay... the hacker who accessed all our crap is known as "Windmill" and they are on the run from the mercs, naturally. Malik knows of a place called the Hive... Wait, really? ... Okay. Which is a nightclub where the Underground teems with life and stuff. Sounds like a hip happening party groove. I'm sure Adam "Iron-Fisted Authoriatian Dancebot" Jensen will fit right in on the dance floor.
Man, Would you believe you CANNOT find a decent quality version of that on Youtube? Just one taped off someone's TV. Not that this one is all that great, but you get the idea! ...I love that song. If there's ever a new Jet Set Radio, I kind of want some remix of this song in there.
...let's keep moving.
Malik calls to give me a head's-up that the owner of the Hive, some fellow named Tong, is tied to the Triads. Because you know what? There WEREN'T ENOUGH FACTIONS INVOLVED HERE. Let's add a few more. I yutz around the apartment building for a while but there isn't much to find beyond a praxis kit. Using this Adam sprouts a force-field generator called the "Icarus Landing System" out of his back, because LET'S KEEP THOSE MYTHICAL ALLUSIONS COMING. Adam can now fall any height without worrying about damage, so I can leap off rooftops and powerstun people to say hello or fuck around doing jumping puzzles with complete impunity.
I casually leap back to street level. Sweet. Humdeehum. Rob a warehouse, wander into an apartment building, hack a door. There is a guy inside browsing the web on his PC. He doesn't seem to care (even says Hi) as I casually take his credit card, read all the books in his house, steal some ammo and leave.
I am glad everyone is cool with this. I would feel bad if there were objections.
The next apartment I wander into is owned by a complete slob who reads beauty magazines and owns more bottles of shampoo than I have ever seen outside of a store setting. Live the dream, whoever you are. I head back to the other district and towards the Hive. On the way I notice a sewer, so I climb down and break through a few walls, finding a bunch of ammo, some more Praxis and a "Mine Template" I can combine with a grenade to make more explosives. Adam becomes more bulletproof. I eat a candy bar.
When I pop out of the sewers, I'm in the back room of the Hive. Wow, not very well defended for a superhacker haven or whatever this is. ... Nightclub. I wander around behind the scenes a while. Dead guy. Great, killed trying to negotiate. Yeah, this'll go well. I get up to the club floor and ask for Tong. "VIP lounge, upstairs." Right. Here goes. First a conversation with the bartender, a scarred man I suspect is Tong but can't prove it. In another one of those boss-battle conversations, I carefully pluck his ego until it hums, then cut across with an offer of help. He agrees to let me downstairs into Tong's office.
Oops, I didn't have to come upstairs... well, better sanctioned than shot. Also, the bartender downstairs gives me a hacking side mission which sounds boring but profitable, so I mentally mark that for later. Naturally, downstairs is... the scarred guy. Yeah, that's Tong. How does he get down here so fast? Does he have an escape chute/elevator?
The hacker I want is in the "Alice Garden Pods", 301. I assume it's a hotel. Well, off to there! ... No, first, off to hack some rooftop antennas for spare change and rewards. Boop boop blip... Man I LOVE the hacking interface in this. Okay... back to the Hengsha Court Gardens, the first apartment building I was at. *facepalm* I bust back in and find "Jaya", who owes the Triads a lot of money in exchange for an augment they helped her buy. And naturally, it's more money every time.
I check my options. I can deck her and take her stuff. I can talk to her about it and suggest a variety of solutions. Or I can offer to try to buy out her payments back at the bar. ... it doesn't feel like there's a right answer here. In the end I convince her to give her augment chip back. They can't charge her for something she isn't using. Back at the bar they're furious for exactly those reasons.
"THIS ISN'T HELPFUL AT ALL, YOU MORON!" Oops, did I innocently obstruct your plans? That's the expert service members of organized crime syndicates get with Sqrl Sidequest Handling! Thank you, please drive through.
Okay, NOW off to the Pods to find the hacker I actually want to find. On the way I bump into Malik, who is visibly rattled. It turns out a friend of hers died, and she thinks there's been a cover-up. I agree to look into it, and she sends me to read about her friend in some files, and then visit her contact, "Anonymous X". That's a pretty badass name. ... I wonder if he's just Anonymous Ten. "There are Nine Stronger Anonymouses than me, cyberman!"
Naturally I agree to all of this, because Malik is one of the few people who treats Jensen with any kind of respect or friendliness and ... damn it, I like her. Unfortunately, "Anonymous X" had some kind of elaborate code phrase he wanted me to contact him with and I have already forgotten it. I'll worry about that later.
Meanwhile the elite hacker "Windmill" reveals that the ones who hired him were Sarif's biggest competitors, Tai Yong Medicinal. Y'know, I can just IMAGINE the many many medicinal uses for a Typhoon Antipersonnel Explosive System implant. Doctors could stand in the middle of a hospital ward, spin around in circles and dispense high-impact medicine capsules in all directions at once. REVOLUTION-ARY.
(Wait, is this why the game is called "Human Revolution"? Because it's all about the fucking Typhoon being AWESOME?)
Okay... Do my actual job, or run down this lead for Malik? Malik. Dehr. Malik is WAY more important and interesting. Let's see if we can find ANONYMOUS X. He's in the local LIMB clinic, so I buy a bunch more Praxis and Adam gains the ability to see through walls. Oh man, the keys for "see through walls" and "activate Typhoon spinning death mode" are like RIGHT NEXT to each other. That's gonna cause hilarity and reloads later.
Let's see. Not the police officer, not the guy playing the PSP, not the ... oh. It's the guy in the #CHAN hat. I tell him I'm there for the autopsy report and he flips out. "YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO USE THE CODE." Then he gives me the report. Then he makes a speech about communism. Then he tries to charge me for the report.
"Piece of advice. Don't hand people something -before- you try to rip them off for it."
"WHAT? You... But... I, but... YOU! MARK MY WORDS, YOU WILL REGRET THIS!"
"Sure thing. Bye, "X"."
Man, I'm half convinced he's going to show up later and spectacularly fail to get revenge on me for this. The autopsy report contridicts the police report naturally, and shows that Malik's friend was in the early stages of pregnancy when she died. By this point, Malik is sputtering for revenge, and I have my shotgun just sort of HANDILY OUT AND READY as I head to the suspected killer's apartment. Unfortunately, he's not home.
A CSI-style forensic analysis of the place (amateur) finds a broken clock with the hands stopped at Evelyn's time of death, a baseball bat, an email from Lee's father (Lee being the suspect) threatening to disown him if he doesn't stop sleeping around, and an answering machine message from a girl calling to meet Lee at the Hive. So if Lee knew she was pregnant and didn't want to get disowned...
Unfortunately the Hive is a public place. I can't shotgun Lee in the head two or three times. Instead I use Adam's masterful speechcraft and my own basic powers of reading comprehension to convince Lee to blurt out a full, detailed confession to the murder of a pregnant woman for no reason besides money and panic. Then I step outside, and what do you know? Malik has plastered the details all over the enormous video screens up and down the Hive building, as well as sent all the details to every authority figure and news station in town.
I want to claim credit for Sherlock Adam "Scooby" Jensen-Jones-Doo... but no. For solving this mystery and kicking this jerkass in the face a few times, all credit goes to Faridah Malik. At best, I'm her partner and legman. I would've shot him boringly, she showed genuine creativity and I -salute- that. (Gotta learn from her example, this was a good one.)
Satisifed with the evening's progress, I save and call it a night.
This entry was originally posted at http://xyzzysqrl.dreamwidth.org/327369.h