Saga: Prologue Arc
Prerequisites: Previous missions in Arc
Summary: The player's first official bounty mission takes them into a subway system, dodging trains until they reach an abandonded section in which a group of hooligans take residence. While some of them are the usual randomized rabble, several possess a spraycan + lighter combo that lends them an improvised flamethrower, making it difficult to engage them in a melee fight. Once the mission objective is completed and the player tries to leave, they are cornered by Akumaryu. While he claims to have honest, helpful intentions, Psi doesn't believe him, and a boss fight occurs. Once the fighting is over, Aku once again attempts to get on Psi's good side, and this time succeeds with the promise of information about his lost past.
[Psi and Artemis are back in the main hall, discussing their next move.]
Artemis: ..and that's all there is to it. You're both officially Intimidators now.
[This presents the first genuine opportunity to use a Topic in a conversation - in this case, the Gem of Chaos Psi had presented to Artemis last mission.]
<Gem of Chaos>Psi: Didn't you mention that this purple gem was part of a set? We're going to look for the others next, right?
Artemis: In a word, no.
Psi: What? Why?
Artemis: There's been a change of plans. I thought I might've had uses for the complete set, but now that I've seen you I wouldn't dare do anything with even one of them until I'm sure of how... stable they are. I'll have to rethink my entire approach. In the meantime...
[If the player tries to use mind reading on Artemis, at this point or any other]
Synn: Psi, what the hell are you doing?
Psi: Reading his mind. Why?
Synn: For the love of... You DO realize the reason Artemis jumped us in the first place was because he didn't trust us, right? The last thing you want to do is to prove him right. Don't do that again.
>Psi: So, what's next, then?
Artemis: Well, for the time being you can make yourselves useful. The subways below South City are infested with vandals and hooligans, and need a good cleaning. You don't have a problem with taking out the vermin, do you?
Synn: Can't say I can object. Might be a good warmup.
[The game introduces the bounty hunting mechanic. After accepting the job from Artemis, the game marks a path to South City's subway station. Although it's possible, and in fact faster and more convenient, to find a manhole that leads to the abandoned track sections the player needs to get to, using the marked path leads to its own unique dialogue.]
Psi: We're expected to go down those tracks? With the trains still running? Are you serious?
Synn: Yup. Just sprint all the way there behind the next passing train and you should be fine.
[Once the player reaches his destination, and the first bounties appear onscreen]
Synn: There they are! Let's get to work.
Psi: I dunno, Synn. They look kinda menacing.
NPC: Aww, what's wrong, little kid? Are you lost?
Psi: ...what did you just call me.
NPC: Something wrong with calling a kid a kid? You gonna cry about it?
Psi: You just said the wrong words.
[Fighting through the hooligans progresses as normal. Most of them possess mundane weapons like pipes and bats, but a select few carry a spraycan and lighter to make an improvised flamethrower. If the player gets hit by their attack repeatedly:]
Synn: Don't just run straight into it, you idiot! Either get behind them or attack beyond their reach!
[After all the specified enemies are defeated]
Psi: We did it!
Synn: Yup, that seems like everyone. Let's go collect on... wait, what's that?
[A manhole above opens up, letting in moonlight from above ground. Through it, Akumaryu enters, still hidden under the same garb he's been wearing for the past few appearances.]
Aku: Ha. I knew I'd find you if I looked down here. That tip paid off after all.
<Aku's stalking behaviour>Psi: You cling to me like a bad smell, so I know you can't possibly be here for any good reason.
>Psi: So that's what this is about? You were waiting to catch me alone, right? No witnesses?
[If Aku hasn't yet been confronted previously]
Psi: Hey, you must be the guy leading the rest of these thugs!
Aku: What? No, that's not what I--
[Psi launches a Deception attack at Aku in mid speech. Aku jumps into the air to avoid it, leaving behind his disguise in the process and allowing the attack to punch a hole straight through it. He lands a little futher back outside of the light given off from the open manhole, partly shrouding his face.]
Synn: Stow your bullcrap, because I'm not buying it. You can't just barge in here and expect us not to consider you a threat.
Aku: Please, just hear me out! I'm here to help you!
Psi: Shut up! I won't let you manipulate me! Now stand your ground or get out of my way!
[Aku sighs to himself disappointingly, and sets himself up in his standard Dragon Monk stance as his dialogue continues.]
Aku: [quietly]...she warned me he'd be like this... [normal voice] I was hoping we wouldn't have to do this the hard way, but if that's what it takes to make you listen, then so be it.
[A character VS screen appears to announce a major boss fight. The long subway tunnels give Aku plenty of room to set up the moving combos he best specializes in, and he will often use his Quick Dash special to catch up with the player after a dodge, prompting even further action to stay safe. Aku will hold off on the Climax moves at first, but after some damage is dealt to him, he'll try to level the ground with his Inazumakeri Climax.]
Psi: Woah! What the heck was that!?
Synn: Damn it, I was hoping he didn't have any moves that powerful.
Psi: Can't we do anything like that!?
Synn: Just let me focus. We'll have to wait until just the right opportunity...
[Sure enough, once Aku attempts the same Climax again, the game will pause, displaying the input for Psi's TK Shield Climax. Once the player replicates the inputs successfully, the game unpauses and Psi performs the move as usual, countering the Inazumakeri. The game then explains the Climaxes themselves, displaying both the Climax the player just used, and Psi's other one, briefely describing them and their intended uses.]
Psi: Come on! Is that all you've got!?
Aku: Heh. Not bad. I expected this much coming from you.
Psi: Coming from... what's that supposed to mean? Answer me!
[The fight continues as normal. Once Aku's health starts hitting dangerous levels, he will end the fight by performing his Kaze no Ryu, knocking a large portion of the cieling out and exposing the tunnel to moonlight once more. In the clearly smoke and rubble afterwards, both fighters are clearly tired and gasping for breath. Once the air clears, Psi gets his first good look at Aku's face, and is clearly startled by what he sees]
Psi: What the... you're human?
Aku: Umm... not exactly. That's kind of a long story.
[The camera gives brief close shots of Aku's feet and ears to better display his hybrid appearance, in case it wasn't already especially evident.
>Synn: What's going on? Can someone PLEASE tell me what a "human" is?
>Psi: Do you know where they are? Tell me!
Aku: Okay, look, you need to calm down. The reason I wanted to catch you in private like this is because the subject is extremely... sensitive among these people. I have information that can shed light on what happened to them, hell, maybe even what happened to you.
[Aku extends a hand towards Psi]
Aku: But I can't help you unless you trust me in return.
<Mind Reading>Synn: Hate to say it, Psi, but he's not actually lying. He even knows your real name.
Psi: How the hell did you know about that?
Aku: I can tell you about that later, but not here. Judging by the ruckus you've caused, we won't be alone here for long if we stay here and chat about it.
[The Jean Eric topic is expanded to include Aku's knowledge of the name]
>Psi: F-fine. I guess there's no other way about it. Let's go, mister.
Aku: Thanks. By the way, you can just call me Aku.
[Psi accepts Aku's hand, ending the mission with a close shot of their hands clasping with one another.]