Saga: AotD arc
Prerequisites: Completion of previous missions in arc
Summary: After exploring the mall for a few minutes, the Psi and Mimic realize that they aren't alone. While this isn't particularly surprising, as they were counting on being able to overcome the smaller numbers of Hive Mind inside, they ended up locking Techron in with them, who is possessed, frighteningly powerful by comparison, and capable of ambushing at the most unexpected times thanks to his cloaking ability. After fighting to get to the higher floors and enduring repeated Techron ambushes on the way up, Kit manages to break in from the glass roof, claiming to be in search of Techron. The three of them take a fortified position and manage to damage Techron together, making him immobile. After burning the Black Life off him and doing some hasty repairs, Kit manages to boot him back up... although his personality construct turns out to be irrecovably corrupted afterwards. What they DO manage to get out of him, though, is the source of the outbreak and how to stop it.
[Psi and Mimic are standing at the mall entrance. The camera pans across the level to show a small amount of Hive Mind still inside.]
Psi: I thought you said it'd be safe here?
Mimic: No. If you remember, I never said "safe" and "here" in the same sentence. Once we clear it out, though, it'll be safe enough to host a dance-off in.
Synn: Well, there's two of us and not many of them, so how hard could it...
Psi: ...why a dance off?
Mimic: Wouldn't you dance after clearing a room? Red-eyes is right though - if we get started now, it'll be over before you know it.
[The level progresses as normal, thought Techron will appear in a random position with his cloak already enabled - either directly in the player's path, or sneaking up on the player from behind. Once the player comes within close proximity, Techron emits a loud shriek and runs away. Though this can happen at nearly any time early on in the level, the stairs up to the next floor will trigger the event if the player hasn't bumped into him yet.]
Psi: WOAH! What was that!?
[As the player continues to clear the next floor of Hive Mind as normal, again, Techron will randomly appear to confront the player. This time however, he decloaks once he approaches melee range, revealing a Black Life coat on top of his armour. He attacks specifically with his melee moves and nothing else, but cloaks and retreats after sustaining a small amount of damage.]
Psi: That... that was a robot of some kind... What the heck? Zombies aren't allowed to be robots!
Synn: They're not zombies, Psi.
Mimic: I wonder if they can do Thriller.
Psi: Is now really the best time to be thinking about MJ?
Mimic: Please ..... there's always time to think about MJ.
[The route to the third floor is a functioning escalator. Some of the more exotic ranged types of Hive Mind are introduced en route - specifically the tendril type, which will either grapple up from below or stick to walls and pillars in the background and launch tendrils from above. These extra enemies are joined with the standard mooks on the third floor itself, and may jump out in ambush from random background stores to catch the player off guard. Techron himself doesn't make a personal appearance this time, but instead utilizes his targetting laser from offscreen close to the end of the floor, launching several lockon missiles before disengaging yet again.]
Psi: Zombies definently aren't allowed to have rocket launchers! That's just not fair!
Mimic: We've passed the fair about a few hours ago. We're in improbable grounds now. All we're missing is zombies with machineguns.
[Techron fires several machinegun bursts from offscreen, narrowly missing.]
Psi: STOP GIVING IT IDEAS!
[As the player reaches the end of the third floor, Mimic places a bomb on a background wall, similarly to the previous mission. Apon reaching the top floor, a glass roof offscreen shatters, and Kit rappels in from above alongside the falling glass shards. When he sees the player's group, he draws his AR on them.]
Kit: Where is it? Where's the damn robot!?
Mimic: ...you mean the damn robot that's covered in black stuff and keeps chasing us like a bad cartoon character? It's coming up the stairs right now.
[The previously planted bomb explodes offscreen, causing Techron to shriek in pain, also offscreen.]
Mimic: -and there it goes.
Kit: What did you just do? That's government property you just damaged!
Synn: You have no idea what's going on here, do you?
Kit: What do you mean?
Synn: Shut up and get going, you daft bastard! It's coming this way!
Kit: Where are you all -- woaa!
[The group runs into the closest store left on the floor, and Mimic drags the reluctant Kit along with them via tendril after he hesitates to follow them. Once inside, Psi starts telekinetically dragging the store shutters down into place to barricade themselves inside.]
Kit: Wait, are you saying Techron caused all this?
[The music cuts out. Just as the shutters are nearly closed, Techron jams his tail between the opening, attempting to force the shutters back open again. Psi struggles against the robot's strength and eventually wins out, causing Techron to withdraw his tail again to avoid getting it crushed underneath. Meanwhile, Kit backs away to the rear of the room and draws his AR. After a tense delay, Techron starts pounding on the shutters until he creates a breach, then widens it and leaps through in order to enage the player again, this time using all of his moveset like that standard AI would. Kit, having not joined the party officially yet, simply stays back and provides supporting fire, completely avoiding attention. Once Techron has been weakened again, he bails the same he came in, only to be damaged further by another offscreen explosion and thrown back down to the first floor. Said blast also blows the shutters wide open, allowing the player to exit again. Apon leaving, the camera pans back down to Techron, who is too damaged to move. The group moves down to get a closer look.]
Kit: What have you done? You've gone and hurt the poor thing!
Synn: It's not like you weren't shooting at it yourself.
Kit: I'm not the one trying to blow it up!
Mimic: Now see, I have a certain passion about my life. Losing it would put me in a bad position. Specifically six feet under, if you catch my drift. Unless you have an unhealthy disposition towards masochism, I'd say I was doing you guys a favour.
[Kit starts kneeling down to fix Techron, but the Black Life surround him grabs Kit's hands when he approaches. Mimic saves him by lighting a flare and throwing it beside him. After taking a moment to compose himself, Kit gets back to working on Techron]
Synn: ...how long have you been holding onto those?
Psi: You had flares this whole time? Why didn't you use them to help clear the mall out in the first place!?
Mimic: I'd prefer something that can actually cause body harm, like a flamethrower.
Kit: ...aaaaand there. It's rebooting now. Luckily the armour took most of the hit, but the blast triggered an emergency shutdown to preserve the data and OS. It doesn't look like there's any major prob--
[Everyone staggers baack in surprise.]
Kit: Techron, begin self-diagnosis.
Techron: But I don't have a mirror!
Kit: ...what's your status?
Techron: Well, let's see... I'm very big, I'm green, I've got glowy red eyes and a great big horn and...
Kit: Great, looks like this black stuff's corrupted the AI construct.
Synn: Does it at least know where these black things are coming from? Maybe you should check if the memory banks are intact.
Kit: Good point. You know something about that?
Techron: OOOOOOH! You mean the cute little blobby things that like to jump on you and tell you to do things? They told me they have a hive inside The Vault! We were gonna make a niiiiiice big group and give those cute blobs to everyone!
Kit: ..."cute"? CUTE!? Are you for real!?
Techron: You just jelly 'cos you're not cute.
[Kit visibly fumes at Techron.]
Mimic: It's like they're a married couple.
Synn: Indeed. I know exactly where he's talking about, too. We should get going right away to prevent the spread from getting any worse.
Psi: Aw man... we have to go back there again?
[Mission ends as normal. Screen doesn't fade out, allowing the player to make their own way back to the Black Hive for the next one.]