Manifold Mischief

Mission reviews, essays, and documents of record regarding The Matrix Online. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Sugar Shack 13: Mission Reviews: Hypatia: Sultry Bookworm Gone Nuts

Sugar Shack 13: Mission Reviews: Hypatia: Sultry Bookworm Gone Nuts

Over this series we have encountered Hypatia before: she stole journals from the Coroner, and caused trouble for Sister Margaret and the Sculptress by withholding resources. Having seen her handiwork from afar, I decided to explore her first hand. Unlike many Exile, Hypatia does not work the streets, looking for rubes and noobs. Instead, she may be found in Chelsea, at 63/-6/-583, in the basement of the dumpy Club Messiah, where, like Lotus and Argon, she quietly, watchfully holds court. Appropriately, the streets outside the Club Messiah swarm with bookwyrms. Nice design touch! Some see coincidence; I see purpose.

Shockingly, there was something familiar about Hypatia. The dress, the hair, the specs, the saucy pose…I was flabbergasted! She looked just like me! And maybe this is why I felt drawn to her and her magpie acquisitiveness. She must complain about her inventory too. I felt a connection with her that I have felt with no other Exile contact. Was this coincidence? Or was it providence? Was I meant to do these missions?

1. Past Due

But enough of me! Like so many people, Hypatia lends books and has trouble getting them back. Of course, it’s not the book is important or anything, it’s just, you know, the principle. So she tasks you with getting it back at all costs, killing anyone who resists, and leaving one witness to spread the word. Just, you know, on principle. Every bibliophile out there will warm to this.

In this mish we learn of a rogue group of Exiles who style themselves “The Book Club”. They’re former academics, though you sure couldn’t tell from looking at them. Their leader claims the book is awesomely valuable and rare, and no way is it going back! Well, a polite word and a Devastation Field gets you more than just a polite word. The volume is then returned to another of Hypatia’s flunkies; apparently she does not want you to know its ultimate destination: her kitchen table. The Exiles here have some great lines, and some pathos at the end. A tough, good mish on solo.

2. Thieves in the Night

This mish is deliciously ironic. After recovering a notebook for the Coroner just a few days ago, now I’m tasked with stealing one from him! Hypatia is curious about his “Frankenstein” experiments on reviving bluepills, and would like to study his journal. Along the way, you might as well kill his scientists, she adds as an afterthought. Note to self: stay on her good side.

3. The Wrong Hands

An exile named The Collector has a book with dangerous information; Hypatia tasks you with replacing it with a safer, dumbed-down ersatz copy, and destroying the original.

We pick up the ersatz book from an Exile counterfeiting expert who is currently trying to copy herself. One copy gravely asked us “Do you like pie?” Then Hypatia, apparently as an afterthought, directs us to kill everyone at the site with the book, “to make it look good”. So on we go to slay and mislead for our patroness. But in the end she praises us, saying we have made the Matrix a better, safer place. But be careful to destroy the real book, and place the genuine fake back. Or something like that.

4. Pre-emptive Action

This mission is uncharacteristically simple. Hypatia has learned of a plan to attack her (so she says, anyway), and directs us to disrupt it. This involves two groups of Exiles, all of whom must be wiped out. Again, carnage and blood; in the end Hypatia is quietly gleeful that her books are safe. Inside a safe, we found a gold coat!

5. In Pursuit of Knowledge

An Exile named Alvarez has infuriated the phlegmatic Hypatia. He not only acquired a rare book of Exile lore which she does not have, the fiend destroyed it before she could read it!! But he memorized the content, or at least all the important parts. We must guide him to a meeting with Hypatia so they can have a conversation about this.

This is more complicated that it seems. When we go to get him, we find he has been kidnapped. Then we fight our way to him, only to discover he has been killed. But Hypatia is nothing if not resourceful, and she will not be denied his knowledge….

Intelligent and bookish though Hypatia is, she seems like one of the easier ones to manipulate. Her thirst for knowledge would be easily kindled and directed against almost anyone. It is best to satisfy her when you run her missions; I would hate for my name to be written down in the wrong book of hers…..

Ages and ages ago, in Beta, Tyndall wrote on the MxO site about one Exile called The Librarian, whose Library included many a rare volume of arcane lore. Today, there seems to be a Library downtown, which is never open. There are many “bookwyrms” but with no known leader. There are certain rare texts for sale which transport you to the constructs. And with Hypatia we have an Exile who will stop at nothing to get books, or get them back. It’s hard not to wonder if in Hypatia we have the debris of The Librarian, recycled for some reason from a major figure downtown into an Exile contact. Why this may have been done is another mystery for the ages. In other Exile contact mission suites, Hypatia is similarly acquisitive, but without this bibliomania focus. At some point she seems to have been re-done. Or perhaps merely progressed in her personal evolution.

Of the various Exiles with their missions some, like Argon, are just self-seeking egos with no depth of their own. On the other hand, ones like Hypatia and the Sculptress are well-characterized with individual motivations, and their mishes have real content. This group is definitely worth doing, and soon!

Many thanks to Sattakan, Illyria1, Ebola, and Roukan, whose help made these missions so enjoyable.

This review maybe found at manifoldmischief.blogspot.com, along with other reviews and writings relevant to MxO.