So this'll be a
short update, mostly to clear out a couple of side trips before dealing
with the Chastity Bene sidequest. Oh god the Chastity Bene sidequest.
First off, we'll finally catch up with Nick Cannon at Voice of God
Voice of God
Radio: News reporters of the future have become more
plugged into technology than ever before; they are literally plugged
into their desks, with headsets that can spool information coming in
from field reporters around the country via tele-links and vid-graphs.
Cannon: Nick Cannon is jacked into a news-gathering system, a complex
telecommunications console that allows Cannon to monitor global
information services. Data flows directly into his suit's computer, is
sorted and indexed, and then is displayed across a holographic
interface before his eyes.
Talk to Cannon
Hey, Cannon, the
world can wait. You've got company.
No...wait a second. Is that you, Gideon Eshanti? Then Rachel Braque
must be there, also. The news waits for no one. Be with you; I'm
assigning stories. French authorities probe latest report of a hell
portal opening. What else? A minor demon named Morax is elected to the
Georgia state assembly. That's it. Download and assign; hold the rest.
...Sorry to make you wait. Too much news streaming over the lines. Too
much happening. Speaking of news, what's the buzz with you two?
Transgressions put out a wire a few nights ago that had you two
scrubbed. They don't usually make mistakes about who's dying. You two a
couple of ghosts?
No mistake, Nick.
They wanted us. They just didn't get us this time.
Wire said that you two were running virtual pornography with a demon
called Mr. Beautiful. I've got two reporters on it right now, getting
the details from Transgressions. Planning to run a sidebar on
We got lucky and got
the drop on the scrubs that came to do us, but luck won't keep us
Whoa! Something's coming over the wire that would have interested you
when you with ARC. Gang of kids in Judiciary Square calling themselves
the Phreakbeats. They're a bunch of fourth-generation deck babies with
a serious hate for anyone associated with artificial realities.
Warrens around the
Square are rife with outlaw techs. They've picked their hunting grounds
Yeah, we've been covering their activities. Hand likes to report on
techs getting scrubbed. Censors pass that stuff through almost without
comment. Phreaks' current rant is that they're drawing a bead on the
whereabouts of an Acti-Deck pioneer.
If you didn't catch
this from the manual excerpt at the beginning of the thread, the
Acti-Deck was an early VR game system which screwed up the genetics of
its users, leading to mutations down the line. It's one of the things
that lead to widespread public support for the ban on VR, and the
formation of ARC to enforce such bans.
He's gotta be a
thousand years old by now. I thought they were all dead.
Phreaks think he's there. Who cares? The only reason I'm telling you
this is because you're gonna need a hiding place, and the warrens are a
good place to disappear into. Phreaks'll like that you were ARC. They
might put you up. They sound kinda crazy, but you can't be too picky
Talk to Cannon
Too much news, too
much news! Even with these machines, it's too much for one person.
Well, we've got a
pretty good hideout in Dante's place, but it never hurts to have
backup, right? Off to Judiciary Square we go.
Hangout: The remains of holovid and various sim-stim games stand in
various states of collapse around the hull of this derelict arcade. As
old as the place is, though, a lot of the damage seems recently
Stick (at game): Venom seems to leak out of the pores of this kid's
acne-ridden face. He's got a buzzcut that makes it look like his hair
is standing up out of fear of the noggin below.
Schmyber (on box): The only thing betraying the outward sangfroid of
this attractive teenager is the fact that her hair appears lifted with
a static charge, and the fact that she seems to eat nails for
breakfast...her own, which are bitten to the quick.
Indeed. This is just one of many indications that Hell's creators
subscribed to the Things to
Do in Denver When You're Dead school of character naming.
Extinguisher: Fire hasn't changed any over the years, nor has the quick
means to extinguish it.
Talk to Wicked
machine! I am, like, jackin' out of this bitch.
You aren't jacked
into it, dirtbag. You're in an arcade, not surfin' the net.
Rach, this place may
not be the ideal hideout we heard it was. I mean, you think these punks
could outwit a scrub team?
I'll say. If these
kids had dynamite for brains, they wouldn't be able to blow their
They're with ARC,
they're with ARC!
Will you disconnect?
They're not ARC. If they were ARC we'd be cranked by now.
Wait a minute! That
was pretty good, kid. You must have read my mind. You psionic?
I'm a lot of things.
You better watch your friggin' step, even if you are with ARC!
Were with ARC. You're good, kid, but you're not perfect. We're on the
lam, trying to avoid ARC just like all of you Generation Experimental
kids. I guess that part didn't get through to your receptors.
Probably a good thing I don't know what that means, punk.
You don't know about
Well, kid, here's a
novel opportunity for you. Enlighten us.
Julius Crankauer. He
invented the friggin' Acti-Deck.
Is he here?
He's totally dead,
man! Crankauer got cranked by Phreaks just like us! Happened years ago.
If he'd known the
Acti-Deck was gonna lead to kids like you, he probably would have
Wait 'til we get his
little employee! His blood's gonna be all over the place!
What are you Phreaks
talking about? Man, these Gen-Ex kids give me such a headache.
We're gonna kill
him, that's what!
Wicked, man, you're really starting to drool. These two morons don't
know anything. Drexler used to work for Crankauer at Vesuvius Labs,
back in the 30s, back in the friggin' dark ages. They were making
games; now we're gonna play a little game with Oscar.
Wham, bam, bam, bam! Oh man, it's gonna be beautiful! We're gonna crank
it up! We found out he lives over by Union Station, and we got it all
planned out. Just a few more hours, and we're taking him out.
You're gonna murder
this guy in cold blood?
Yeah! And if the Phreaks kicking in the door miss him, there's gonna be
two more outside his window, flying with low-grav jet boots. He won't
even see it coming, damn freak maker. You two wanna watch? The deal's
going down soon!
Wait a minute. You
two and the rest of your gang are gonna kill an old man for something
he did sixty years ago?
What's that supposed to friggin' mean? You think we can't do it? You
think we shouldn't? His damn invention made us freaks! Oh, man, I
should be the one to kill the old bastard. I wouldn't even need a
He's killed people
with his friggin' brain!
C'mon, Gid, let's
get out of here. I'd rather take my chances on the street. They don't
call these kids Phreaks for nothing.
Talk to Cyber
You got a problem,
vibrating like a tuning fork. What's wrong with you?
I heard the Phreaks
had some weird manifestations, but this isn't quite what I anticipated.
What'd you expect?
You think we all had two heads or something?
Look, kid, just relax. The more excited you get, the more you seem to
vibrate. Maybe we should talk to somebody else. Where is everybody?
There's a bunch of
us around, so watch your freakin' step!
Let's move on, Rach.
There's something going on around here; the natives are restless.
I grabbed the fire
extinguisher here, though I'm pretty sure there's nothing you can do
with it. Maybe it was important to some puzzle that got chopped in the
editing process, but I can't remember ever using it for anything.
Anyway, the whole business with Oscar and the Phreakbeats (note to
self: band name) is a completely optional sidequest. Once you activate
it, you have a VERY short window in which you can warn Drexler and get
him into hiding, but there's no penalty if you let him get killed. No
reward for saving him, either, for that matter. I'm just doing this for
completion and karma. Either way, after talking to the Phreaks, you can
travel to Drexler's apartment via the DC Map. Also: Friggin' friggin'
Apartment: Small and cramped as it is, the occupant of
this attic apartment seems to be pretty relentless about stuffing it
with homemade toys and inventive projects.
Those little red
RC-car things toodle around the floor while you're on this screen.
That's the sort of thing that makes me more than happy to rescue
Drexler: he's the sort of dude that builds tiny cars and lets them
cruise around his apartment, just because he can. That, and Stick and
Cyber are just kind of dicks.
Oscar Drexler: A
nervous old man surveys his cluttered apartment that serves as both
living space and workshop.
Talk to Oscar
So, there really is
an old man here. Maybe the Phreaks are onto something.
Whazzat? I don't know any Stick boy, wicked or otherwise, and don't
mention history to me. Can't barge in here talkin' about history. I'm
just an old man down on his luck.
Whatever. Maybe you are just some guy, but there's a gang of deck
mutants called the Phreakbeats who are convinced that you were Julius
Crankauer's right arm, and they're on their way here to get revenge for
all their genetic misfortune by killing you.
Dammit! Dammit to hell all over the place. I was just a punk, a kid. I
never even met Julius Crankauer or even made it inside Vesuvius's main
lab. Didn't design the stuff. It's not my fault the damn machine
corrupted the gene pool.
We can talk later.
The Phreakbeats are on the way, and they're taking no prisoners. C'mon,
we'll take you someplace safe.
Ennh. I'm not
budgin' anywhere. You don't know how many times I've outwitted punks
like this. Maybe it's time I was caught.
Listen, we've talked to these Phreaks, and they're whacked. This Wicked
Stick kid's got them wilded on getting you. I'm certain they'll try
again. You really should go somewhere safer, at least temporarily.
You got a deal.
Besides, be nice to have someone to talk to for a while.
Gideon and Rachel
then stash Oscar at Dante's. Fortunately Dante doesn't seem to mind,
though we'll be sticking him with some much less acceptable company in
the reasonably near future, the poor bastard. Dante doesn't have
anything new to say yet, but you can get a new line from Drexler.
Talk to Drexler
What'd you say? Time
to eat? Oh, good! Them refried beans and pan-fried quails went right to
Next up, Dr. Clean,
who appears to have been the victim of a recent raid.
The full-body surgi-seat next to the toolbox on wheels
reveals what goes on in this room, and the fact that it can be moved at
a moment's notice. It's a cramped, back-alley location, but the
technologies for cyberlimb and ocular enhancements, although outlawed,
have been in use for so long they've become fairly miniaturized.
Dr. Clean: The
woman known to you only as Dr. Clean surveys the mess that was once her
illegal pawnshop and surgery.
Copper Tubing: A
fairly long length of copper tubing.
If I've taken
anything away from the wisdom of Bubbles,
it's that scrap metal is an excellent source of income for the down at
Talk to Dr. Clean
modification as performed by a blood-spattered back-alley doctor who
apparently practices surgery with some sort of pizza cutter? Surely
nothing regrettable can come of this.
What happened here,
Doc? You never were much of a housekeeper, but man, this is ridiculous.
Assessment finally caught up with me, sent a goon squad over here to do
What now? You're not
crazy enough to restock, are you?
What's with the
questions, Rachel? You two looking to set me up a second time?
What's that mean?
You think we caused this?
Somebody sure as
hell punched my ticket!
Not us. We struck a deal with you, and we stick by it. Damn it, we came
here to see what you were stocking; thought you might have something
that could help us. The Hand's come down on us too.
Look, I...I apologize. I know you wouldn't sell me out. I don't know
what I'm gonna do. Head west? Maybe get my face reconstructed again,
new identity and start over. Not that I have much left to start with.
Look at that pile of junk there! This Preston Tensile Picklock's about
the only think I'm certain will work, and that's 'cause I was carrying
it on me. Listen, I can use the cash; I'll sell this to you and install
it for $6000. That's a steal, guys! No cutting involved! Simple skin
graft. The lockpick folds on itself when not operating. The whole
mechanism only weighs half a pound, and you can have the graft removed
anytime. Nobody'd know you ever had it. Whaddya say?
Think we'll be
needing that lockpick implant? Come on, what kind of game is this?
Unfortunately, we're short a full 5 grand at this point, so we shall
have to respectfully decline.
Man, you guys are
tough, but I'm not lowering the price. I got some pride left.
important, but might as well get it out of the way before the
text-and-fetchquest flood that makes up the Chastity Bene arc. Besides,
we're going to need that copper tubing soon enough.
Next time on IPAT: Hell...Gang Alley! Aiee!