Manifold Mischief

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sugar Shack 53: Sunshine: For My Spotless Mind

Some Exiles stand on dumpy street corners, like pirated DVD pimps. Others preside over even dumpier nightclubs. Some find their own venues, like Sunshine, who eschews the urban sprawl, and hangs out on the breezy boardwalks of Ikeburo (832, -10, -45). In fact, when I went to see her, I noticed she was a stone’s throw from a Machine Investigator; so I stopped to chat. But he did not have much to talk about, apart from old weapons codes. Nearby some Phoenix gang members idly milled about. So, back to business. I liked Sunshine at first sight. She was dressed in an elegantly Oriental manner: a red-gold Gi with black open-toeds. Dark hair, darker eyes, and a relentlessly upbeat disposition. What a breath of fresh air!

1. Morning Star

“Good morning!” In this curious recruitment mish, Sunshine asks you to bring in a reluctant recruit. The candidate is a Machine program tasked with managing the motion of some stars at night (nice work, if you can get it!). Sunshine explains that this work is to be rolled into the work of another program, rendering her superfluous. (Apparently the Machines have discovered re-engineering.) She scoffs at this idea when you find her, and you have to find evidence that she is scheduled for deletion before she consents. But you eventually talk her into a career change (creating art for Sunshine, yay!), and at the end Sunshine whispers “I’m glowing with pride.” Like many of her missions, this first involved the Saikung Shuffle, running back and forth to and from the area adjacent to the Saikung Center hardline. It brought back great memories of power-leveling. Good times!

2. Night for Day

The Truffaut title baffled me in this four-errand mission, which starts out with an all-too-rare “It’s good to see you”. She asks you to collect three disks from three sources, and drop them off.

The first one is a snap: you visit a nest of exiles, including one, Aiguillon, a compression sorting program. She is surrounded by Elite Guards, doing what Elite Guards seldom do: acting reflectively, gathering and sorting data. And they take their work seriously, too! One snaps at me, “No, I’m not a secretary! You think this is so easy. You file code strings all damn day. Jerk”. Aiguillon herself is more forthcoming, handing you a disk and an observation, “I hope she finds this info enlightening.” One other researcher gave me some code for a traffic disruption program. Just what I always wanted!

The next one did not go so well. That is to say, he was dead. But I found the disk in his pockets. I checked out the next room, which was an error, since a burly, sweaty Elite Guard immediately attacked me. Note to self: leave well enough alone!

The third and final pickup was also complicated. I ran into someone named Callisto, who looked surprised and blurted out, “Hey, uhh, I don’t have the date anymore. Some…uh…guys broke in and stole it. Yeah. Tell…erm…Moonshine that I’m sorry” and “So I guess we have nothing to say to each other. Why don’t you take off?” I don’t know, something just didn’t seem right… So we fought. He died. I got the disk.

The final handoff was smooth. A Merv Ravager Gofer was hanging around, wailing about how tough her job was; she was thrilled when I gave her the traffic disruption code, and gave me the contents of a file cabinet in exchange. This turned out to be a shotgun which would have embarrassed me as a raw bluepill. Thanks for nothing!

But the pay was good, the fights were not too taxing, and there wasn’t much heavy lifting or travel. And there were some interesting personalities to meet as well!

So what’s not to like? Loose ends were annoying. Who was trying to disrupt her operations? What was her own real interesting in ferreting out this and that piece of information? How did she hold together an organization when she seemed powerless to protect her own? Oblivious to all this, Sunshine beamed and said, “Thank you and may the sun light your path”. And as I walked back along the boardwalk, the breeze in my hair and the Phoenixes respectfully staying clear of me, my clan crushing our enemies, I thought it was. It was indeed.

3. One Track Mind

Cerulean, the wasted-looking Goth Exile-by-the-sea from Westview, apparently opposes Sunshine. To keep an eye on her, Sunshine asks you to insert some software into a Machine network traffic analysis node. It means popping a CD in a server. Pretty straightforward. The only mystery here is why Cerulean would find anything to contest with Sunshine; their personalities are so different, and they are almost at diametric extremes of the world. The significance of the title is another mystery.

But at the end, Sunshine remarks, “That’s a long shadow you cast. You must be growing in stature”. Say it again!

4. Out of Hand

Sunshine’s concern with Cerulean grows apace. You must steal a book she is holding, and deliver it to someone. This is _such_ a common mission trope. But two things make it memorable. First, Sunshine chirps at the end, “Thank you for brightening my day”. Second, the continuity is awry for this: after getting the book, you are told to take it to someone “who will index it for Cerulean”. The person you just stole it from! This must have slipped through the editing. Or it may be part of some vastly deeper scheme.

5. Left-Hand Path

Remember the book we stole in the last mish? Well, now someone wants it back, and you have to protect it. Unfortunately, the first custodian of the book perishes, and you have to take it to someone else. Oddnesses abound here. Why is Sunshine so interested in books? How does this relate to her character? That seems more like Hypatia’s realm. And at the end, Sunshine says the exact same thing she said in the previous mission: “Thank you for brightening my day”. Did someone run out of positivity at some point in the editing process?

Of the missions, then, the first one is the most interesting (first time I have ever written that, I think), because it seems most in character. The second mish was also very satisfying, with the backstory, the micro-arc of the traffic disruption device. But the last three kind of fall flat. The conflict with Cerulean seems to make no sense. And the continuity seems off in at least two instances. Naturally, all are worth doing, but the first two are the best. Oh, and the reasoning for the mish names eluded me entirely.

My lasting thanks go to Rifk from my clan for his help with these missions. I would never have been able to complete them without his help.