Manifold Mischief

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

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sugar Shack 56: Grace in Furihata: Intriguing Loose Ends

Sugar Shack 56: Grace in Furihata: Intriguing Loose Ends

Unlike the run-of-the-mill exiles who lurk in seedy bars or tony nightclubs, Grace stands proud and tall in the open, in Archer Square, of Furihata (-541, 1, -255). It’s a photogenic spot: a fountain gurgles at her back, and a gracefully whiplashing access node snaps in the breeze behind her. The square itself has lovely trees and red brick pavements. Catch this at sunset for a real treat. The recent red-tinged skies add a reflective, somber tone; let’s hope Sati’s sabbatical lasts a little longer.

Speaking of things red, redpill Grace is all in dark, with corncob hair like Stanislava and a bandana like Ebola. She does not stand alone. Around her mill a swarm of bristling Silver Dragons, argent from head to foot. They were not friendly to me, but ignored her. Reading their details, I was surprised to note that this gang was composed not only of Exiles, but Zion-rejecting redpills! This is unique for gangs, so far as I know. Not only that, Grace herself is an Exile! Like some members of the Dragons, she fell out with Zion, and subsequently partnered with the Dragons, eventually splitting with them as well. She claims to have helped their leader Long (different, by the way, from the leader Ginjiro listed in the gang’s details) set up his current network, and she wants a piece of it. Her preoccupation could be from love, or could be from hate; who can tell the difference?

1. Hell hath No Fury

Grace seeks to penetrate the Silver Dragons organization through you. You will achieve this through successfully completing a mission for them. This task is to kill an enemy of theirs, one Arabis. This is easily done, and you are soon accepted into the Silver Dragons organization. You have, in effect, been blooded. At the end you discover that Arabis was a well-known software security engineer, who specialized in the detection of malicious software. This was one nice touch- when resisting me he used hacker attacks. The Silver Dragons, as we shall see, have a pronounced sense of humor; my Dragons contact initially gave me a folder with the identity of my target, and I saw my own name! She got a good laugh out of this, and soon directed me to a nearby computer which held the information I needed. This was an interesting feature- Exiles with a sense of humor.

2. Inside the Action

This seems simple. Pick up a disk, take it to an exile with information Grace desired. The site for the pickup was a Zionist extraction point, a nice nod to Grace’s background. Several redpills there, allied with Grace, shared misgivings with each other about the wisdom of this project. I felt reassured. Then I went to drop off the information with one Zyskin, a blood-drinker-looking sort of guy with four or five burly bodyguards. Prast, one of Grace’s staff, was there to help. After I dropped off the information and prepared to leave, she revealed she was a captive now, and appealed to me for help. I did, and soon all lay waste around me. With this part of the mish screwed, I was told to drop off Prast, and took her to a safehouse. “Safe” house might not be the right word for it though, since the folks there started speculating on the terrible things Grace had in mind for those who screwed up missions….”Hah! I heard that she’s going to make her clean her hovercraft with a toothbrush”, and “Hah! She’s in for a world of hurt, that’s for sure!” I bid Prast a fond farewell, put her out of my mind, pocketed my consultant’s fee, and was on my way.

3. Second Time Around

After intervening to rescue Prast last time, there seems to be some uncertainty in the Dragons about where my loyalties lie. In this mission, I kill an enemy gang leader, making sure to leave a witness so the word gets around. This proved easier than I thought; even my operator commented that maybe this guy just sucked. Grace tells us that this gambit seems to have worked and my star with the Silver Dragons is on the rise.

4. Dark Side

This mission is billed as an effort to “delve deeper into the Silver Dragons’ network”. It involves having me “distribute and maintain network connections for the Silver Dragons secret network”. Sounds like a good deal, but it translates into helpdesk work! This has two parts. In the first one, all you have to do is mix around parts from each of three computers to re-establish their network connectivity. There are two “perimeter monitor devices” and one “computer parts”. The Silver Dragons may know a lot about networking, but when it comes to networks, they’re hopeless! Perhaps they disdain such “mere hardware” issues and leave them as an exercise for others.

In the second part, I swing by another Silver Dragons site, and as I started to examine the ailing hardware, the elite guards and pale blood-drinker there all attacked me! They’re Black Moons, and held me responsible for killing their leader las time! Eventually I put them down, and went back to my original mission, checking their computer. Its message was a dull, blinking “connection missing”. You can say that again!

I was puzzled, to say the least. So was Grace, who rambled disjointedly as she counted out my consulting fee. She looked confused and said, “I didn’t think any of the Black Moon gang would find you. We’ll have to be more careful in the future. But I don’t know what the Silver Dragons will think of all this”. We will find out soon enough!

5. Password: Dragon

It seems that I have been promoted again, at least this is what Grace tells me. On the strength of this, she sends me to obtain a password from Long, which will give her access to their system. Simple enough, and builds on the goals she shared in the very first mission.

When I went to meet the Dragons, I talked to the ones there. One said, “You’re here for the password? Ah, good!” and started laughing and laughing. And did not stop. This gave me cause for concern… Sure enough, Long springs his trap as soon as I talk to him, and a long fight ensues. At its conclusion, they are all dead, and Grace is furious: “Grr! Tricked me again! I’ll show him! Someday, somehow, I will get my revenge!” Classic! At the end she gave me some level-50 clothes as a consolation prize, so it could have been worse. However, it could also have been better. Frankly, considering the loss of resources across these five missions, one might think that Long came off much the worse for wear. But Grace has a new reason for the anger and jealousy which propel her. As if she needs one!

Conclusion: I like a suite of mishes with character, and we certainly have that here, with an ex-Zionist handing them out. Mysteries abound. Who supports her logistically? What draws people to her side? How does she always seem to know what the Dragons are thinking and what there are concerned about with me? Does she have other sources in place already, perhaps? Despite this. She does not seem to be a good judge of character; misjudging the intentions in missions repeatedly, with the result that I walked into traps more than I expected. And as we see the Silver Dragons play her for a fool all along. How could she ever have reached her present station in life? All mysteries worth exploration. Why did the Dragons need her help, when no other gangs seems to have? Who leads them: Long or Ginjiro? All questions remaining for future elucidation.

I like the character of the Dragons, with their Chinese-style triad cloisteredness, and their odd sense of humor. They all make these missions memorable. And then loose ends offer promise for future missions and background exploration. What’s not to like?

Special thanks to Blazinwolf and Idalia who helped me with these. I never would have been able to them so well or so pleasantly without them.