So, what will I spend Akira O'Brien's paycheck on?
It should be clear by now that Neuromancer is not a perfect game. I won’t have any shortage of things to complain about when I finally get to posting a Final Rating post. However, there’s no denying that making progress in the game comes with a real sense of achievement. I’ve surfing cyberspace now, and boy did I have to work for it! Perhaps there were quicker ways to get there, but I feel like I’ve arrived fairly well equipped to continue my progression forward. I’m getting ahead of myself though, so let’s go back to where I finished my last post. I’d just gotten my hands on $10K by hacking into the Hosaka base, listing myself as an employee, then rocking up to their facility and picking up my weekly pay. This was a huge win, but it wasn’t enough to get me into cyberspace for two reasons. 1. I now had $11051, and even the cheapest cyberspace compatible decks cost around $20000. 2. The manual mentions that you can only get to cyberspace by using Comlink 6.0, which had so far avoided me. I’ve learnt to never look a gift horse in the mouth though, so I pushed ahead with my newly earned funds.
Not very professional to leave the front desk unattended!
Once I’d collected my cash from Hosaka, there didn’t appear to be anything else I could do there. Now that I was free to roam the High-Tech zone as an employee, I paid a visit to the other companies located there. I already knew that Hitachi Bio was bad news (the whole lung thing), so I instead entered Musabori. There was a cyberspace jack on the wall, but apart from that there was nothing to see or do. I couldn’t go anywhere else beyond the front desk, and there were no employees to talk to. Fuji Electric was exactly the same, making me think that either these companies were only there for cyberspace access or their purpose just hadn’t arisen yet. I’d been very interested to see where the entrance at the base of the screen would lead, since there was no logo to be seen. I’d had suspicions that it might be Sense/Net, which Lupus had tried to sell me a security card for, and that turned out to be correct. “Lobby of the Sense/Net headquarters building. There is a Librarian computer terminal on one wall. The security scanner activates at your arrival.” A message emanated from the scanner: “You have 30 seconds to produce your security pass. Failure to comply will result in your removal.”
Removal from the room or removal from this life?
I rushed off to see Lupus, stopping in at Finn’s to purchase the ICE Breaking skill chip (I was determined to implant all ten chips listed in the manual). Once I was back in the Panther Moderns base, I purchased the Evasion skill chip and the Sense/Net Security Pass from Lupus, and then made my way back to the High-Tech Zone. I was down to around $4000 at this point and figured I was going to have to restart at some point and play through in a very specific way if I was going to be able to afford a cyberspace-compatible deck. However, I wanted to find out what this Sense/Net thing was all about before I considered starting again. When the Librarian asked me for my pass, I used the “give” action to use it on the computer. “Clearance approved. You now have limited access to the Librarian. Please enter the identity number of the ROM Construct you require from the Sense/Net library vault.” Huh? I wracked my brain, but couldn’t remember discovering any ROM Construct identity number anywhere in the game. I knew from the manual that a ROM Construct would allow me to utilise the personality, responses, knowledge and memories of another human, but I didn’t understand how that might be useful or whose Construct I might want to use. I had noticed that the Zen skill chip description in the manual mentions that Dixie Flatline was a Zen master, so perhaps I’m to look out for the identity number of Dixie? Maybe I’d already come across it and not noticed?
Um...THX1138? What about HAL9000?
Since spending all my cash on the security card hadn’t really helped me with my cause at this stage, I restored my game back to just collecting my pay at Hosaka, then made my way to the Spaceport. Now that I had the Musicianship skill and the codeword for Bank Gemeinschaft, it was time to travel to Zion and Freeside respectively. I bought a ticket to Zion for $500 and travelled to see the Rastafarian old man. As soon as I arrived I used the Musicianship skill, and was given the option between playing dub, jazz, new wave or classical. I chose dub, since the guy seemed so obsessed with it. “Righteous dub, mon! You ver’ good. Maelcum will help you reach Freeside on his tug, Garvey.” Maelcum? Really? That’s awfully close to being inappropriate, particularly when the guy has a “tug”, but anyway. I was a bit disappointed that winning over the Zion leader was only going to result in me being taken to Freeside. I could have bought a ticket there directly for $1000, which would have been $500 less than it cost for the Zion ticket and the Musicianship chip. There must be another reason to go down this path, and I figured it had to have something to do with Maelcum. I appeared on his ship: “Aboard the Marcus Garvey, an ancient space tug piloted by Maelcum. The walls are covered with Rastafarian symbols. The ship creaks when Maelcum punches in a navigational burn.”
Did you just call me Garvey?
Maelcum spoke to me in the same ridiculous way that the leader did: “Maelcum a rude boy an’ a righteous tugpilot, mon. I an’ I come a spacedock soon.” I had a bunch of different dialogue options that I could use during the trip, including: 1. “How long will it be before we arrive?” 2. “What do you know about Freeside, man?” 3. “Can you help me on Freeside, Maelcum?” 4. “Have you got a jack I can use, man?” and 5. “I don’t understand a word you’ve said. I feel like I need a Rasta Language skill chip.” I asked Maelcum how long it would take to reach Freeside, to which he said “Don’ be long now, m’ seh dat. Time, it be time, ya know wha mean? Dread at control, mon.” No, I can’t say I did know what he meant! I asked him about Freeside, to which he responded with “Freeside be a Babylon port, mon. Lots of banks there, ya know?” No shit Maelcum! I hoped that asking him to help me on Freeside might bear fruit, but he responded with “You listen, Babylon mon. I a warrior. But this no m’ fight, no Zion fight. Babylon eatin’ i’self, ya know?” This wasn’t going very well, but I pushed ahead regardless, asking Maelcum whether or not the Marcus Garvey had a jack I could use: “Sorry, mon. Jack burned out when th’ Case-mon here awhile back.” Case-mon??!! Who or what the hell is that? The final dialogue option seemed to sum up the way I was feeling, so I told Maelcum how I felt about his Rasta language. “Don’ ‘stan’ you, mon, but we mus’ move by Jah love, each one.”
Don' 'stan' you eith'r, mon, but don' think be my 'ssue, mon.
I asked Maelcum about every topic that I could think of, including Zion, Freeside, Maelcum, bank, cyberspace, software, skill chip etc. etc., but he didn’t have anything useful to say. Eventually we reached the destination, and it was clear to me that I’d missed something either on Zion or on the ship. Perhaps it would become clearer later what it was. I’d been to Freeside previously of course, and checked out the three main areas. I wasn’t convinced that I could do anything further in the Bank of Berne or at the Tessier-Ashpool bust in Villa Straylight, so I made my way to Bank Gemeinschaft to try out the codeword I’d received from The Chairman on the Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority board. As you would know from my last post, I was very confident that I had the solution, so was shocked when entering “agabatur” as the codeword was met with “Security code is incorrect. Try again if you made a mistake.” This really set me back!!! Not only had my trip to Zion resulted in nothing, now what I’d assumed would be the key to me gaining the money I needed for a new deck had fallen flat too! I remembered that a message from Chipdancer to Don Quixote on the same board had said “If you’re serious about hitting Bank Gemeinschaft again, EINHOVEN should make it easier”, but using “einhoven” as the code didn’t work either.
Yes! Finally I've cracked into the...what?....WHAT!!!??? What do you mean incorrect?!
After three failed attempts (my third attempt included at least three strong swear words), I was killed by the security system and forced to restore my game. I considered restarting at this point, but spent the next half an hour going through every screenshot I’d taken since first starting Neuromancer, looking for anything I hadn’t followed up on or anything that now clicked when it hadn’t previously. One thing did! While looking through my shots from the Hosaka Corporation base, I noticed the line “Tozoku are YAKUZA, pure and simple.” It stood out to me that the word yakuza was in capital letters, which is the way link codes are generally represented in the game. So while I’d first just thought the capitals were used to emphasise E.D. Cooper’s hatred of his competitor, I now opened up my Gaijin and tried entering “yakuza” as a link code. It worked!!!!!! I used my Scout 1.0 software to find that there were two access levels to the base, and then used my Sequencer 1.0 software to find that the first level password was YAK. There were three menu items available inside, being 1. Order Status, 2. Specials Available and 3. Software Library. As usual, I started from the top.
Surely cowboys connecting from the Cheap Hotel get a discount...right?
The Order Status section reported the location of two cargo ships, named the Star of Iowa and the Popul Vox, that are bringing mutton, Johnson sweaters and a full cargo hold full of pre-Columbian artwork to Tozoku. It mentioned that some of the artwork had been damaged “because of shifting during a typhoon”, but I couldn’t see how any of this information was relevant. The Specials Available section was no more useful, listing the artwork as on special due to the damage and suggesting “many of the pieces are hollow and make for a perfect place to hide valuables.” I really hoped that the Software Library would have something damn important in it and I wasn’t let down! The library contained Blowtorch 1.0 and Decoder 1.0, both of which I previously would have had to buy from Finn, along with a copy of Comlink 6.0!!! This was massive! It meant I could finally access cyberspace, at least I would be able to once I had my hands on a compatible deck. It also meant I could go back to the Hosaka base and upload version 6.0. This got me $7500, taking my total back up to over $14000. It still wasn’t enough, but I figured if I restarted and played through as tightly as I could, it probably would be.
Someone needs to tell Hosaka about torrenting.
Before I did that though, there was one further thing I wanted to check out. To this point I’d not been able to access either the Bank of Zurich base or the NASA base, as Comlink 5.0 had been incompatible with both links. Surely I’d be able to with Comlink 6.0! I tried Bank Zurich, using link code BOZOBANK, and got in! There was only one access level too, so I was going to see all there was to see. Strangely, there was no password for the base, and I found myself staring at five menu options. 1. Open an Account, 2. Current Rates, 3. Of Interest, 4. Message Base, and 5. Account Operations. I tried to open an account, but discovered that the minimum amount I needed to upload was $1000. I wasn’t sure why I would want an account when I already had somewhere to deposit my money, so didn’t go ahead. The Current Rates were similar to what I’d seen on other bank bases, and didn’t really tell me anything of value. The Of Interest section talked about Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting, which had apparently gone up for auction at Christies in London. The Bank of Zurich acted for a potential buyer, but dropped out when the price reached 2.5 billion credits (it ended up selling for a record 5.6 billion!). The winning buyer sold a third world country to be able to afford the painting.
I'd sure feel safe if my cash was held in a bank with no online password
The section finished by reporting that Bank of Berne has had money chiselled from accounts by Cyberspace Cowboys. Bank Zurich’s security specialist Roger Trinculo was quoted as saying “that couldn’t happen here. Things are too tightly controlled at BZO.” That seemed unlikely given there was no password to access their base! There were three messages on the Message Base, and the first one was from Matt Shaw to me. “There’s definitely some strange things going on in the matrix that’s for certain. I’ve not heard from Distress Damsel or the Sumdiv Kid lately. Have you? It’s really strange not to have them out here messing around.” I hadn’t heard from either of them (although I recognised the name Sumdiv Kid), so this message didn’t really give me anything. The other two messages were a conversation between Phillip d’Argent to Thomas Cole at Graceland Foundation. Phillip informed Thomas that he’d taken steps to squash an “unauthorized cloning attempt”, but recommended he “reinforce the concrete over the grave and add cyberhounds to patrol at night to prevent another attempt at resurrection”. If I'm not mistaken, the grave in question held none other than Elvis Presley! Thomas responded by stating that they have an excellent security man named Roger Kaliban, and that they would remain on the lookout for “any strangeness that occurs in our accounts”.
I wouldn't think the Rastafarians would have much interest in The King
This was all very cryptic (excuse the pun), and I couldn’t see how any of it would be important. I therefore moved onto the final section of the base, being the Account Operations section. When I tried to view it I was informed that “You must have an account first.” I really wanted to know what would be there if I did, so I went back to the Open an Account section and uploaded the $1000 required. “Thank you for joining our bank. Your account number is 712345450134.” I was then given access to my account in the Account Operations section, with the standard Download Credits and Upload Credits options you would expect. I assume I will be able to use my account number for something later in the game, but for now I could see no benefit in opening an account. This post is getting a little long, so I might finish up here and start a new one to describe my cyberspace experiences. I thought I’d reach that stage in this post, but I’ve fallen just short. It shouldn’t take long for me to get the next post up though, as I’m very keen to push ahead and finish the game as soon as I can. It won’t be long now, at least that’s what I keep telling myself!
Why do I feel like this money might not remain in my account for long
Session Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!