Broadhead Journal #10: "I’m in hell. Literally. I suppose I deserve it. I wish I hadn’t broken the party VR, but I didn’t have a choice if I wanted to help the Heechee AI destroy the Assassin. Now I’m paying for my choices and I’m not even allowed to die."
As they say, "out of the frying pan into the fire." This time it's almost literal. I'd just destroyed the Assassin's distraction through VR contradiction. The destroyed party scene dissolves into a new VR scene, a conversation with a huge demon who threatens me with eternal torment instead of pleasure and then throws me into a flaming hydra lair.
|How many ways can I find to die?|
|The result of failure.|
|The frenzy dust causes temporary rage and hatred.|
|Watch how the image in the mirror changes as the frenzy dust has more effect.|
|The hydra doubles its severed head.|
|Collecting the demon's trash.|
|Acquiring frenzy dust.|
If I wait long enough, I can tell it jumps onto a stalagmite stump or shelf. I can put the sack on the stump, with or without the dust, but that doesn't seem to help. I can throw the empty sack at the stump when the demon's on it, but the sack just ends up on the stump as if it weren't there. I die again and again trying different things.
I go away for awhile and think about this. The dust doesn't make the demon visible, but something else might. I realize the hydra room is full of fire, so it also ought to have some ashes. I go back to the beginning and re-examine the rooms and discover that yes, there is ash available. I also discover I can take the net with me after I cut it too . So after I brave the demon gauntlet and get the sack and the net, I go fill the sack first with ash instead of dust.
|The invisible demon is revealed and caught.|
|I throw the frenzy dust...|
|...and the hydra tears itself apart.|
|Now I win, right?|
I'm given control back in the Blue Hell Bar after midnight. Oddly enough, while the score says 1425 out of 1600, it also still says "You have twenty hours and eight minutes until the Assassin's message is sent." What? Have we missed something? Well, I go to sleep, expecting to receive a message in the morning about what to do next.
|Bad news, we're not done yet.|
I'm actually really confused about how a VR could simulate a flight back to Gateway as well as dozens of conversations with Gateway scientists over the course of a week, all within less than an hour of real time. I can only speculate that this kind of VR can act like a dream where it can summarize activity and make the brain think that it's experienced more than it really has. I mean, at this rate, it would have to simulate months of activity to occupy twenty more hours of real time.
Anyway, I head over to the VR terminal to do as the Heechee AI asked. The tech is gone, but he left his manual, which I take . I sit on the couch and try to start the Deep Psych program, but it still requires a password, and I don't have the current one. There should be a way to determine it from the manual. I read it and find the list, but it requires special light to see it. Let's see, where can I find the right kind of light?
|Activating the Deep Psych program.|
But the Assassins are still out there, watching. "...the WatchTower itself is only an outpost - an active probe ending back daily reports to the most destructive race the universe has ever known..." And the Heechee AI seemed to think the Heechee were still alive too. Watch for the exciting conclusion when we get to Gateway II: Homeworld!
Somehow I managed to miss a single action somewhere, because I initially completed the game with 1595 points out of 1600. I check through a walkthrough and find that I needed to throw ash on the stump first before catching the demon in order to see his footprints. That's easy to fix, so I replay the ending just so I can get the final screen with a perfect score.
|If you wait long enough at any time after arriving at the WatchTower, the Assassin's message is sent. (#16)|
Status: Orion Program (green badge)
Shield Generators: 4 of 4
Activated the Nexus and destroyed the Assassin.
Session Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 15 hours
That's it for Gateway! Next time will be the final rating. We'll see how well the game stood up to my nostalgia for the series.