Manifold Mischief

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

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sugar Shack 28: Exile Contact Missions: Nicky G.: Sociopath

Sugar Shack 28: Exile Contact Missions: Nicky G.: Sociopath

For me, just finding Nicky G. seemed like the first mish in itself. Her last reported location, outside Club Paradise Hampton Green, was occupied by a Holiday Helper, so after loading up on cake for The Collective, I sauntered on in to look for her. Much rummaging turned her up on an upper floor above the Club Paradise, at -76, 275, -213 (take the elevator to the 31st floor). Red from her tinted hair to her pumps, she stands waiting to greet you as you walk in. Her office recalls the Jeweler’s almost exactly: the same kind of crowded bookcase, the sumptuous couch, the classy Ikea-style end-tables, and the moody lighting. Even the broken ceiling fan was the same!! The only real difference was the absence of a “Free Zion” poster; perhaps she did not feel she had to make a statement. She made up for this with a painting of dogs playing poker. Maybe that was her statement. After the racket from the Zionist party downstairs, the quiet was a pleasure.

Nicky G. is cagey, her eyes opaque. She assigns missions, but says little about why they matter. With the Jeweler (the comparison is inevitable) I always knew what he wanted and why. In contrast, there seems to be no “why” with Nicky, no drive, no purpose. Her goals were inarticulate, perhaps even to her. Her mayhem seems pointless.

1. Paper Trail (or was that “Paper Trial”?)

“There’s a piece of paper I need very much. It’s a page from a book.” Well, I thought, it doesn’t get much more trivial than this. I sighed and took it anyway. And was I surprised. Reader, I died, and not just once. However, a few Devastation Fields later I was in and had the document. Oddly, I noticed Agents and Blood Drunks on the same force, which I do not think I had noticed before. Overall, a simple mish with a single object at a single location, leaving me wishing there had been more depth: some sense of what was on the page, why it had been separated from the book, who had written it, why Nicky wanted it, etc.

2. Blue Book

Nicky craves a book owned by Mr. Black (this sounds like Hypatia!). First break into an office to sabotage a security feed going to Mr. Black. While looking for Nicky, I happened to interrupt a Zionist party with the FinkGothics and their hangers-on. Sorry, guys! It was for a good cause! Anyway, the first step is to disable Mr. Black’s security feeds with a virus. Then get the book. Finally, I took it to a specialist to vet its authenticity. The volume seems to be quite the hot potato; your operator says to get rid of it before it is traced to you. The expert wants you to leave before you are traced to him. It’s quite a paranoid world that the subdued, intense Nicky G. inhabits.

3. Betray an Exile Code Dealer

The book I stole was exactly what she wanted, but it needs a signature manipulator to unlock it (damn DRM!). Naturally, the Exile who has it (and who first sold the book to Mr. Black) expects a great deal for it. But Nicky has “an alternate plan. Kill him and take it”. The course of this mission is predictable. The interest, part from Nicky’s disturbing callousness, comes from the Exile and his colleagues, one of whom cries out “He was my brother!”. Things went kind of downhill after that.
But Nicky felt upbeat about everything. “Very very good, Sugaree. You might be one of my most effective freelancers.” As if there were any doubt!

4. Leaves

This seems inevitable: Nicky has reached out to supreme bibliophile Hypatia, who’s agreed to give her a few pages missing from the Blue Book. Someone failed to keep a secret, though, and the meeting location is jam-packed with Mr. Black’s folks. Of course they didn’t accept my story about selling Girl Scout cookies and tried to kill me. Hypatia, being no dummy, blew off the meeting. Total accomplishment: zero.

5. Bound for Success

Since last time, Hypatia’s got cold feet, and now we have to steal from her. After killing everyone in the first office, you discover the pages are not there! The second location is more fruitful, and then you simply drop them off with a cut-out. As I got in the elevator, feeling bad about crossing Hypatia, I got a call from Nicky: “You truly are amazing, Sugaree. I think I’m going to curl up with that book for a nice, long read. I’m afraid I won’t have any more work for you for the time being.” And that was it. The falling snow outside felt soothing and cleansing; I stood in it catching snowflakes on my tongue.

In the past I have done a lot of things for a lot of Exiles that I’m not especially proud of. But Nicky seems to me to be the first sociopath I have worked with. She wanted an Exile killed because she didn’t feel like paying him. A couple of dozen Exiles and guards die because she wanted a nice book to read. And rather than cajole Hypatia, she directed me to steal from her. All for a good read! What, haven’t the Exiles access to the Gutenberg Project? The irony in her casual cruelty is that any book could simply be photocopied or snap-lifted with a cell phone camera. Why the death? Why the theft? More on her backstory and the background of the book/pages would have been a superb pleasure.

Her repugnant character aside, she’s pleasant enough to interact with, as long as she doesn’t think you have something she wants. In addition, there’s a pleasant progression to the missions, from a few torn pages to entire texts to a few pages. And it’s cool to see the interaction between her and other Exiles. Also, the mishes avoided being too simple, as some of Sammy’s were. But maybe I’m just partial to bibliophiles. Or sociopaths.

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