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Saga: AotD arc

Prerequisites: Completion of previous missions in arc

Summary:

The gang chases Dread outside to the sight of the rising sun as dawn slowly breaks. The celebration is very short-lived, however - under Dread's watch, the Black Life goes into precipitation and starts forming dense, black, light-blocking clouds, obscuring the sun and making it almost as dark as night again. Worse still, the clouds start to rain Black Life all over the landscape, making the area virtually un-traversible and effectively trapping the party back inside the derelict complex. On the brink of giving up, Mimic discovers a set of old Christmas lights, and the gang uses it as makeshift armour against the constant black rain as they sprint between spots of cover in pursuit of Dread. Eventually they're led back into the city as the rain breaks - it's literally flooded with Black Life, and the player must use floating debris to make their way across it whilst avoiding an unpredictable sea that threatens to consume the player.

The player eventually makes their way to an open window, leading to the top of a skyscraper where a boss fight with Dread occurs. At first he fights as himself, occasionally letting his lackeys do the fighting or using Black Life from the lake around him in special attacks, but once defeated he plummets inside, using the vast liquid to change into a gigantic, truly monstrous form, with multiple tendrils that attack very frequently to keep the player on their toes, and two massive claws that deal heavy damage both to the player and the structure of the skyscraper. After a certain amount of damage has been dealt to the monstrosity, Dread himself is ejected from it, at which point the player can deal direct damage until he disengages and re-assumes his giant form again. On the brink of defeat, Dread attempts only to destroy the ground beneath the player's feet, leaving just one opportunity to stop him short and finish the fight. In the aftermath, just before dying outright, Dread reveals that the Human race isn't as dead as Psi was led to believe - and just to reassure this, Mimic takes his mask off, revealing that he is human.

Script:

[The party is seen running out through the front vault doors, stopping to check which direction Dread went. After a closeup of Psi looking back and forth, a single drop of Black Life drops from the sky onto Psi's face. After a moment of confusion, Psi holds his hand out, and a number of small black dots appear on his glove as more droplets begin to fall. He then looks towards the sky and adopts a horrified look on his face.]

Psi: I think... we should go back inside.

Kit: What? Why would we do that after all the trouble we... hey, is it just me or is it raining?

Mimic: Yeah, but I don't think rain is supposed to be that color....

[The rain slowly starts to increase in intensity.]

Kit: ...everyone back inside! Go, go, go!

Techron: YAAAAAAY BLOBBLY BLACKY THINGY PARTY!

Psi: GET OVER HERE!

[Everyone runs back inside the Black Hive complex. When Techron refuses to follow, Psi pulls him inside telekinetically. They manage to shut the door from the inside just in time to guard against the harshest part of the rainfall, and as such preventing too much of the Black Life following them inside. Mimic lights another flare to dry himself off, while Kit and Techron shine their torches on each other to clean up. Psi, staying in the background for the remainder of the scene, eventually and reluctantly resorts to bonking himself with his own light ball toy from the previous mission.]

Kit: Ugh... what the hell do we do now? It's probably a literal sea of black stuff out there, we don't have enough light to cut through, and he's probably bagged everyone in the city with it by now. We don't stand a chance.

[Mimic starts walking offscreen, further into the complex.]

Techron: Aww, don't be like that! We might as well try taking on that mean blobby person anyway, right!

Kit... that's easy for you to say! You're a robot, and one with some sort of sick facination with this stuff at that! Hell, you probably don't even care if they take you! You'd probably just think of it as "OMG BLOBBY HUGZ" or something.

[Mimic runs back onscreen in a hurry, across to the other border of the screen.]

Techron: BUT THEY'RE SOOOOOO CUUUUUUUTE! You're just grumpy cos you need a hug! Here, take one from the cute blobby thingies on me!

Kit: AAAGH NO GET THAT THING AWAY FROM ME

Mimic: Fire in the hole!

[A massive explosion occurs from the offscreen border Mimic just fled from, knocking the rest of the group off their feet. The camera pans offscreen long enough for the debris to clear and observe a big hole where the door for a supply closet used to be.]

Kit: Are you crazy!? Are you trying to get us killed!? Do you not see the big concrete cieling that could've just collapsed on us!?

[Mimic is spinning a grenade on one finger, basketball style, as the camera pans off the other side of the screen.]

Mimic: Hey, relax. I know how to work an explosive device. It's like handling a woman.... just as likely to explode.

[Mimic heads into the supply closet, with the rest of the gang following behind. He re-emerges with a large cardboard box with indistinct writing on it.]

Synn: You can't be serious.

[After a brief transition, the scene shifts to back outside the vault door, still "raining" heavily. The vault opens back up again to reveal the gang standing at the entrance, wrapped in an assortment of christmas lights as light-based protection.]

Psi: How did you even come up with this? You're, like... some kind of moronic genius or something.

Mimic: That's like saying Techron is a sophisticated child.

Techron: Yay! Disco parties on the move!

Kit: You know, even with these silly lights on, do you think it's gonna get us all the way through in one sitting? It's still really thick out there.

Synn: Then we run hard, and get under cover to dry off when it gets too much.

Kit: Sounds about right... better get this over with, then.

[The level starts. Even with the extra lights, characters will still slowly lose health when exposed to the rain, and regenerate it under shade. There are plenty of enemies along the way back to the city, but mostly act as obstacles - their health regenerates even faster than usual in the rain, meaning that getting past them is far more practical than defeating them (these effects wear off under cover, though, but you're generally required to run past them to lure them in anyway, with few exceptions). The rain finally lets up once the gang gets close to the city, at which point their batteries run out, forcing them to ditch the lights.]

Psi: ...That was close. Why'd the rain just stop?

Techron: We defeated it with the POWER OF DISCO!

Kit: I swear to god, I'd rip your speech conduit out right now if we didn't have more important things to do.

Techron: You'd really do that...? Then you can take my voice with you wherever you go! Kit, you're a genius!

[Kit facepalms.]

Mimic: That's very enlightening and all but....

[Mimic gestures downwards, at the Black Life that has already settled into the ground from the rain. It's still moving, along the ground in the direction of the city. The camera pans over to reveal the city already flooded several stories high in Black Life, and still rising gradually as more joins it.]

Mimic: ...I think we have worse problems than the rain now.

Psi: Woah, damn... we'd be completely screwed if we fell into that!

Mimic: Thank you for stating the obvious.

Synn: Then we'd best not fall in. Let's go.

[The gang enters by way of rocky debris floating on the surface. Should the play actually miss a jump and fall in, they'll take heavy exposure damage as well as find it difficult to jump back out due to the Black Life constantly pulling them downwards. Throughout the debris-hopping process, the black lake itself will attack the player, either by launching tendrils to try and pull them underneath, or by launching large globs of it from the background to knock them about and cause exposure damage. Eventually a massive wave appears from some distance behind the player, forcing them to speed up and stay ahead of the current. The player avoids it by coming across an open window in a nearby skyscraper, at which point they're forced to climb higher into the building to avoid it. The flooding stops just short of the roof - outside, Dread is standing atop the lake in the background, treating it almost like a solid surface.]

Dread: You came... unexpected. But not inconvenient.

Mimic: You were actually expecting us to sit on our asses while all this was happening?

Kit: Well, we're here now. You know as well as I do that there's only one way this can end.

[Dread chuckles.]

Dread: Think you stand a chance...? Look around. Adversity everywhere. Everyone. Everything. See only a speck of light, waiting to be swallowed up by darkness that surrounds.

[A pair of Hive Mind climb out of the lake on either side of the player.]

Dread: Fight us, and fight everything you once held dear.

Synn: No need for that. We can just cut your strings and the rest will dissipate. This isn't the first time I've had to topple a regime, you know.

Dread: Indeed? Then see if you still can, little one.

Psi: Don't. Call. Me. LITTLE.

Mimic: Don't sell yourself short.

[Dread clambers onto the rooftop from the lake, and the boss fight begins proper. At a basic level it consists mainly of Dread's standard attacking behaviour with the added bonus of having to deal with his respawning mooks crowding the platform. The difficulty comes from the fact that the platform is still surrounded in Black Life. The player is still disadvantaged the same way they were back in the platforming segments, but Hive Mind peons are completely unaffected by it - unless the player gets back to safe ground quickly, they can get crowded very fast by enemies that can still move as normal. Worse still, Dread gets additional benefits if he happens to fall in - primarily, he can sink underneath, appear in the immediate background (though not so far back that he can't be attacked) and summon massive waves from the lake that can drench both the player and large areas of the platform for extended periods of time, in addition to causing the player to gravitate towards the nearest opening in the lake whilst standing in the affected areas. Dread will even jump into the lake deliberately to use these attacks, on occasion. Once close to defeat, Dread will do so and stay on the lake until defeated, at which point he'll fall and sink in.

After a delay, the black lake will start to drain, only for a second form to emerge from it - a massive black spinal column with long, whip-like tendrils on each disc. Near the top, a skull appears, followed by two large, scythe-like claws. Dread himself resides as the monster's tonsil, controlling it from within. The second form attacks by using several of the smaller tendrils continously to keep the player off-balance, then striking with the claws to deal heavier damage. Claw strikes secure the monster's head in the foreground briefely, allowing the player to deal damage - on the other hand, it causes the roof to collapse apon removal, slanting it depending on where the claw impacted. As there's no longer a lake to catch the player, this adds to the risk of a lethal fall by way of influencing the player's histun momentum to one side. Once the monster's health is drained, it collapses and expels Dread back onto the rooftop, giving the player an opportunity to deal damage until the monster regenerates again. After Dread is defeated completely, he remains on the rooftop whilst the monster falls to the pavement below.

His defeat causes the clouds to begin parting, exposing the sun. Despite the exposure, Dread attempts to approach the party before collapsing just short. He begins reaching out towards Psi specifically.]

Dread: You... little one...

Psi: Don't call me --!

Dread: Listen... saw your past, in the short time you were with us. Not always so little? So out of form? Long to find the rest of your kind?

Psi: ...how did you know?

Dread: No matter. All you need to know... is more of them left than you think. The Humans... just know how to hide well...

[Dread becomes limp and lifeless. His Black Life coating evaporates to reveal the dead, vaugely human-like monstrosity underneath.]

Mimic: Well I'll be a monkey's uncle. He was one of us humans at one point.

Psi: One of... wait, what!?

[Mimic sighs loudly, before slowly removing his facemask and revealing his human face.]

Mimic: What'd you think I was, a monkey? The lack of a muzzle was a dead giveaway.

Psi: Where's the rest of them? Where are they!? You have to tell me where they are!

Mimic: Woah, easy there. Look, you know I run a nightclub, right? I've got contacts. I'll just let 'em know you're cool with them. That's the best I can do.

Psi: ...thanks, Mimic. I really appreciate it.

Kit: Well, that's all over and done with. I guess I'd better go back to base and report.

Techron: Is it second base? That's so kinky!

Kit: ...and get this damn robot fixed while I'm there.

[Everyone else bursts into laughter as the screen fades to black, finishing the level.]

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