January 3rd, 2014
|04:33 am - Nancy Drew: The Final Scene -- Day 2|
Welcome back. Last time...
...yeah that guy happened. Also, is it just me or was the "locked down" theater the least-secure place in history? First we've got Nicholas wandering out to his van to poke his laptop, then Joseph actually sent Nancy back to her hotel room to sleep. By the time she returns, a screaming crowd has surrounded the theater in a protest line. Which, again, Nancy passes right on through.
I'm not sure anyone in this game KNOWS WHAT SECURITY IS. Except J.J. Thompson, and then only because he had the most elaborate puzzle lockbox on the planet. (Which Nancy still unlocked with all but a wave of her fingers, but let's be fair, no security system ever built is a match for Puzzle Goddess Nancy Drew when she takes up her full aspect.)
Anyway it's back to the theater for DAY TWO of "where the hell did Maya go", and as Nancy strolls into the lobby there's a big wreath sitting there waiting for her.
"Planning a funeral is such a dreadful pain. Wouldn't you rather just stop the demolition?"
How do you even order a card that says that without tripping like fifty alarm bells? I also check in the main office, where there's a big stack of these:
Which at least is a nice gesture. Somebody's looking out for Maya here. I take the time to dial the police (and get routed to a "non-emergency hotline" that loops hold music forever), the County Admin office (rings forever), the other lines written on various notes (ditto) and then dial the River Heights Gang.
First off, Bess and George!
-- Actual Phone Dialogue --
Re: The wreath -
Bess: "What kind of kidnapper takes the time to special-order a flower arrangement?"
George: "At least if you find out who did place the order, you'll have your culprit."
Re: The plans being missing -
Nancy: "How am I going to find all the secret passages and hidden rooms in this theater NOW?!"
George: "Pfft. Nancy, you can probably find a secret passage in a paper bag."
Bess: "C'mon, George. Nancy could find a secret passage hidden in a blueberry muffin."
(NANCY DREW AND THE PUZZLE OF THE PASSAGED PASTRY)
Re: Falcone -
Nancy: "...so he says his goal is to "slay the dragon of corporate Generica."
Bess: "ALL IN FAVOR OF MEN WHO SLAY DRAGONS SAY AYE!"
George: "Bess no. Meanwhile, what's a 'Generica'?"
Nancy: "Like if everything in the country suddenly became the same."
George: "Oh. Ohhhh. It's like... when you have, uhm, bars of soap. And they're just called... uh, 'soap'?"
(Poor George. Her voice actress reads this like she has no idea what the context is and it's the least intuitive thing she's had to read all day.)
Nancy: "Anyway, Sgt Ramsay at the police station said if I joined forces with him it would really hurt my credibility."
George: "Who said anything about joining forces? He can be a prime suspect AND a source of information."
Bess: "Just let him keep shooting off his mouth -- and be prepared to take plenty of notes."
Eventually, Nancy wraps up the call.
Nancy: "Talk to you soon, you two."
</b>Bess, George</b>: "WATCH OUT FOR WEIRD PEOPLE!"
Then we get on the phone again and call Ned to see if he has anything of interest to say! Unfortunately, because it's Ned Nickerson, he has nothing interesting at all to say. Talking with Ned is like eating plain dry bread: All substance, no style.
Let's check on our suspects. Nicholas is nowhere to be found, but in the Ladies Dressing Room, Simone Mueller finally introduces herself. Vanishing Destiny's been called off, so she has bigger fish to fry. She's got to get the press into this, so they can see Brady Armstrong heroically rescue a kidnapped girl!
Nancy kinda flips out here. It's not a MOVIE, Simone! Simone shrugs. Yes, of course not. If this were a movie, the heroine would have a more memorable name than "Nancy Drew". Her opinion is that it was probably Joseph. "That boring grey troll probably did it himself to keep from dying of boredom in this dump." The only thing she seems at all interested in is Brady, who she refers to as "The prize jewel in my crown."
Let's see if we can locate someone who isn't a sociopath to talk to. Brady, you're up -- Nope. Brady isn't at his usual perch. Maybe Simone has him crammed under her desk. Instead we head upstairs to see Joe. ... Head u...
...what is WITH some of these movie posters? ... Anyway. Up to see Joe.
THESE MOVIE POSTERS I SWEAR TO GOD okay okay okay Joe time. Joe is pissed off by the posters (not the movie posters, the Maya ones) (which promote Brady as the go-to contact for help on finding Maya) and irritated by Simone in general. "This is all wrong, like it's all backwards." he grumps. That feels like kind of a weird reaction.
Nancy presses him on his life (he plans to retire out to Arizona and open a movie theater with his brother Jake), JJ Thompson (the old owner, who basically loved money and magic and that's it), the theater (the Historical Society would love to preserve the place, but "someone downtown's stallin' em") and Falcone, who it turns out has been at the theater almost daily since he was a little kid.
Speaking of Falcone, now that we've hung around talking to Joseph a while he's back down in the theater lobby. Nancy confronts him about the police thing, where they're refusing to take things seriously because he's involved. He's quick to assure her that he wouldn't "disappear" anybody who wasn't already down with the cause and agreeable.
"Have you ever heard of the Wrath of Nancy Drew, Nicholas? It's not pretty. Not at ALL." Nancy fumes at him, and he disclaims that at the time the kidnapping happened he was busy "harnessing public outrage". As is his wont.
Unfortunately it looks like we're not getting any more out of him, so Nancy trudges off to see if Brady's in yet. He's not, but Simone is, and Nancy goes off again.
"You knew Maya had been kidnapped. Held hostage. You KNEW every HOUR counts. But instead of turning that pass over as evidence, you photocopied it so you could PROMOTE YOUR STAR first?!" -- huh, I hadn't noticed, but yeah, that photo on the poster is the one on Maya's press pass. Ow.
Simone shrugs it off. At least it's being promoted! And now Brady's off hanging posters all over every town inside a fifty mile radius. He'll be back soon for the press conference though.
"The press what." Nancy flats at her.
Y'know, so she can push Brady a little harder as the hero of this story. She even had that wreath moved out into the lobby instead of behind the theater, where it was delivered, so he can pose in front of it for the papers.
Simone, I think you're my least favorite suspect of any character so far and I'm including that lady from the other game who tried to beat Nancy to death with a femur. Let's get the hell out of here before I try to scratch her to death with this key in Nancy's inventory.
...wonder what that opens, anyway. Wasn't there a drawer back in the Men's that we couldn't open? Let's head back there. As I pass through, I notice something. Brady was apparently reading a book. Let's see...
It's a lot of stuff about how you have to use appropriate body language and commanding statements to "take charge of your own life" and "stand up for yourself" and "be the Captain of your own destiny" and such. ... Thinking about Simone, I can kind of see why. Good luck, Captain Armstrong.
Key doesn't work in the locked drawer, though. Mmh. Must go somewhere else. Is there anywhere in this building I haven't been? On the way through the lobby, Falcone calls me over. He got a number for one of Houdini's cousin's widows! It's not much, but it's the only person he could track down directly related to Houdini! He left the number in the office, so Nancy trots in there and phones up Eustacia Andropov in Florida.
"Excuse me, are you Eustacia Andropov?" Nancy asks as the other party picks up.
"I must be." grumps the old lady on the other end. "Everyone else is DEAD."
Mrs Andropov is not exactly excited to help out, but Nancy coaxes her into remembering that Houdini once told her husband that he'd give the theater to a young magician he was pleased by. Unfortunately she doesn't recall anything else, but does dig out the phone number to the desk of the Harry Houdini collection at the Library of Congress.
"Can you remember anything else?"
"I'm 96 years old, I don't have time for remembering things."
"You've been a really big help, Mrs. Andropov!"
"Save it for the funeral."
So Nancy phones up Washington DC (hell, why not, either the theater gets saved or it doesn't, but either way it's not HER long distance bill) and talks to a Mr. Trout there. Unfortunately, the Library of Congress holds millions of items split into over fifty thousand collections. There's nothing a clerk like him can do.
Nancy lays it on thick. He might be saving an innocent life! This document about Houdini's ownership of the theater could be the one thing that stops the building from being demolished, preventing Maya's death!
Trout hesitates, then promises Nancy that he'll look around and see if the building was mentioned in Houdini's papers. He'll overnight her a photo-slide of anything he finds. There's the strong implication that he's going to do this after work, on his own time. Social engineering saves the day! That and good-hearted librarians, the strongest national resource.
(National Library Worker Day is April 15th this year. Give tea or coffee and a good spillproof cup.)
Nich is practically squealing as Nancy informs him that we might be getting a package tomorrow -- if it gets here in time. Unfortunately he can't talk long, since he has to prep for the press event too. "This cowboy'll stride in with a bullhorn in each holster. The press won't know what hit 'em."
Oh, this is going to be a fun conference.
This time, Brady's backstage. Nancy asks where he found the press pass.
"It was in the basemen-- uh, the balcony. It was in the balcony." he says, completely unconvincingly. Yeah that's subtle. I'll check the basement in a few.
"Sure. Basement, balcony. Whatever. It's just my friend's life I'm playing with here." Nancy snaps back. Wow, she's -bitter-, but I can't really blame her.
"I'm sorry, Nancy, I really am. It's... it's not me." Brady mopes.
"Really? Somebody driving you around by remote control then?" Nancy hints, and Brady nods. Simone's been feeding him lines and pushing this whole "hero" thing on him since yesterday. "I'm just a hostage on her runaway bus."
...yeah, you... you look real busy there Brady. Very occupied. Wouldn't wanna disturb you.
As I leave I can hear the press conference starting up in the lobby, complete with "opening remarks by Simone Mueller". ... You know, if she's OUT THERE, then she's not... I spin around and make a dash for the dressing room she usually occupies. Bingo. Now I can snoop through her stuff.
Let's see... ooh, digital camera in her purse. Let's see...
Oh my god Brady I am so sorry. What else we got on here...
Uh-huh. Brady finding the press pass in the basement.
Brady finding the press pass in the middle of the theater.
Brady finding the press pass in the balcony.
And Brady finding the press pass in the balcony and wishing someone would shoot him in the head to release him from his contract with Simone.
I just want to rub him behind the ears and let him out to play in the backyard. You're a good boy, Brady. Yes you are. Okay what else we got here... Personal organizer. Business cards, business cards, business cards, "24 Hour Flowerama" receipt --
Yeah I don't think anyone's ... anyone surprised by this? Show of hands? Anyone? Simone... there's just NO WORDS, Simone. ugh. Nancy also cracks into Simone's little digital assistant thingie and discovers -- a lot of fan mail to Brady. Nothing of great interest, except that Maya wrote in and was excited about the interview beforehand.
We're coming, Maya, I swear.
We also snag a bobby pin, which lets us unlock that desk in the other room, which gives us a book of tricks Houdini used. Like the old "slide down a trick seat in the audience, go through a secret room, come back up on stage" gag. Hmm! Let's head up to the projector room and see if we can trigger th--
"YOU'RE WASTING YOUR TIME. GET SMART, NANCY DREW. STOP THE DEMOLITION OR YOU'LL NEVER SEE HER AGAIN."
The voice of -Satan- comes over the PA system. Unfortunately racing up to the projector booth doesn't let me catch him. However for a change Joseph's not up here, and Nancy pokes around a little. Hey, THIS is interesting.
Joe's brother is... dead? So why would he lie about that, exactly?
Anyway, we punch in a code on the keypad, accidentally start playing circus music, have Nancy talk into the PA system, activate the "faders" and "magnets" and such, and eventually get the stage set up the way Houdini would've had it: With a pair of big iron cages onstage. Then we tromp on down and -- huh, there's a mirror reflecting the stage so you can't see the trap doors inside the cages.
"It's done with MIRRORS?!" Nancy gasps, in a kind of faintly offended way. I'm sorry, Nancy. That's just how magic works. That's why they call it a "trick". Anyway, she slips into a cage and climbs down the ladder into a dusty passageway. Nancy peeks through a peephole and sees...
It's Maya! Hi Maya! We're here t--
Someone closes the trapdoors leading to the stage. Luckily, Nancy remembers the SECOND half of that trick and pats along the floor until she finds another trapdoor. Down we go, into another passage. Now we just have to ride this lift up into the audienc--
The hatch up into the fake seat is locked.
Well shit. What else is down here?
You've got to be kidding me. But they're stuck in place, so Nancy goes back and hammers on the hatch a while until Joseph shows up. "How did you get down THERE?" he asks, so Nancy explains.
"The Magician's room? ... I never was able to find a way in there from the stage."
"Well, there's another door, but the puzzle pieces are stuck!"
So Joe lubes up the hatch and pops it open, then tosses the oil down to Nancy and tells her to try that on the pieces, because doors locked with slider puzzles are a thing we accept in this universe. Whatever.
Joe won't let us up through the hatch until we go WD40 the slider puzzle and solve that, so I sigh and trudge off to do it. Happily I can solve Ridiculous Slider Bullshit in my sleep by now...
...and we're off to the races. Sadly all we can find of Maya is her shoe and her previous meal.
Someone got here before we did! There's a secret door in here that leads out into the basement -- but we're stuck behind an electrified door.
The door's locked with a keypad, so I grab some nearby rubber gloves and futz around. As I'm prodding it, I notice one number sticks down instead of going BZZT. (7.) So I push a few more, and get a couple more sticking down. (72.) By trial and error I guess the passcode eventually.
Nancy pops out of the trap door to the basement directly behind Brady, who jumps about three feet.
"Nancy! Hi!" he enthuses.
"I think the kidnapper just moved Maya to a new location! Have you seen anything?"
"No! Wow, kidnapper? Really?"
"I've got evidence that proves she was being held here! I've got to get to the phone!"
"Oh! ... Okay!" he beams, and gets out of the way.
So Nancy calls the police, and given evidence of the Secret Kidnapper Pizza Base under the theater they agree to send someone out to have a look and actually do their ACTUAL JOB.
Oh this is fuckin' fantastic.
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This may be the most unpleasant ND game yet. It's a good thing that Brady is halfway sympathetic and that Nancy is reacting appropriately to the goings-on around her.
Also, I am anticipating Brady, when all this is done, getting a really big perm and starting a questionable fad exercise regime revolving around eye health.