16 October, 2009

Pathologic - Of Life And Death


Whew, what a couple of days.

Notkin informed me that his gang of children were willing to scout out the spread of the infection, providing a daily map of its progress - i.e., marking out infected and quarantined zones. In the previous scenario, when I was the Bachelor, Young Vlad offered me these maps, so it's interesting to find out where they came from. The price for them was steep, at one thousand coins, but I relented once and bought one just to see what it was like. I was hoping it would be self-updating (I know, I know), but of course it wasn't. A thousand coins a day for a map...I'm sorry. So I was hoping, in this scenario, being on the inside and all, Notkin would let me have the maps for cheaper, but so far his asking price is the same (1000 coins). Little rascal.

By the way, he only agreed to make the maps in the first place after I gave him ten Twyrine extracts (so as to arm his scouts against the infection), which required me to spend my entire inventory of twyre stems - and then some. Though in the process of trading with the Gatherers, I discovered that they also take food in addition to organs. Milk seems to be a powerhouse in terms of cost-value ratio - it costs a fraction of what other, more substantial food costs in stores, but is worth as much as half of what those other foods are worth to the Gatherers. Something to keep in mind.

I recovered some dead tissue from the cemetery and delivered it to the Bachelor (funny how in this scenario I'm doing a lot of the same work that I carried out as the Bachelor previously...). It was no good, though, as we've by now found out, the disease doesn't survive in dead tissue.

Next day, I visited the Bachelor again, and he informed me that he had convinced Rubin of my innocence. He also told me that Rubin had made some discoveries I'd be interested in. So I caught up with him in one of the warehouses by the factories, and we had a little chat. He told me that he used up Simon Kain's tissue (against the Kain family's wishes) to produce a temporary vaccine, though not a full cure. On my way out of the warehouse, I was surprisingly confronted with a whole troop of town guards, who had apparently been sent to ambush me. Damn that Subarov, I know it was him!

I woke up the next day, in the afternoon. In a cell. With all my weapons gone, and my reputation once again ruined. But here's the worst part: they pummeled me with infection clouds!! You should have seen me squirming around the edges of my cage. It actually worked for a little bit, but I couldn't hold out forever. I noticed a body on the ground, placed conveniently next to the bars of my cell. I got a revolver off of him. I killed one of the patrolling guards, and the others didn't hesitate to open the cage and attack me (despite the fact that I was armed and they were not). I got out of there, but with my reputation down to zero. And very little left in the way of ammunition.

Getting across town, with guards all over, was a real hassle. Young Vlad called me over to inspect his well. Apparently he had opened a passage to a series of underground tunnels, which frightened his workers. He said something about digging into the earth being on the same level of superstition as cutting into flesh - on account of the folk religion which treats the earth as a living being. Anyhow, I agreed to inspect the tunnels. They were mazelike and sporadically lit by torches. I heard strange voices that I couldn't quite make out. At the end, which surfaced through a manhole behind the Theatre, I met a small humanoid figure with a rat head mask (or maybe just a rat head). He said the voices were part of his illusion, and that it was my father speaking to me. When I went back to talk to Young Vlad, he seemed to be unsurprised at my discovery, though he didn't quite explain it. And then he paid me 7000 coins when earlier he clearly promised me 20000. The cheat.

So I finally made my way over to the Bachelor's (you should have seen the stack of notes I stored up while I was out cold in that cell), and he informed me that he needed a living infected heart. He also managed to discover that the Butchers and the Dancers and the others from inside the Apiary seemed to possess a natural immunity to the disease - that they could be infected, but without suffering the symptoms, or eventually succumbing to death. It's a break if I've ever heard one. So I needed a living specimen.

I asked Ospina if any of the escaped Butchers were still in the area, and she led me out to one of the Gatherer's tents. I also stopped by the Tavern, where Andrei courts the Dancers, and I spoke to Vera there (the Hump's daughter, if I'm not mistaken - I trust you remember her fate in the previous scenario). I left Vera alone, but headed out to the Gatherer's tent, where a few Butchers were preparing a human sacrifice (one of their Brides), to fertilize the earth with an offering of blood. And, being the Burakh family heir, I was the one to do the deadly deed. The Butchers assured me that the sacrifice was willed by their religion, and that my reputation would only increase if I went through with it. I talked to the girl who was to be sacrificed, and she expressed a clear will to live. But, she assured me that she would abide by the will of the one who knows "the Lines" (myself). I was given the choice to kill her, or kill the Butchers instead, and let me tell you, it was the hardest decision I've made in this game so far - even harder than deciding the ultimate fate of the town. But I killed her. One shot to the chest, quick and simple. It wasn't easy, but I did it.

From the heart (which was indeed infected - without showing symptoms), the Bachelor made and gave me a sample of Blue Vaccine, slightly less effective than the White Vaccine I acquired in the previous scenario. But he said the antibodies weren't strong/fast/abundant enough for me to use in my own research. I pulled up one of the pages from my father's journal, which made very little sense at first read, and as I learn more, more of it is becoming clear. I'm sure the recipe for the Panacea is in there somewhere. For now, human tissue doesn't seem to be sufficient. So we'll have to find another source...

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