Friday, September 23, 2011

Pathologic: Day Four, by the end of which it will be evident to the Bachelor that the Town is not ready for an epidemic of such scale.

At 7am:

The morning of the fourth day has come.
Infected in the past 24 hours: 53 ppl.
Died in the past 24 hours: 51 ppl.
Gone missing: 30 ppl.
Number of dead at the moment: 204
Number of infected: 58 ppl.

The anxiety of the Powers is growing. Less than nine days remain.

I think I'm making some mistakes.

I have to confess: I feel jealous of the Haruspicus. I'm not jealous of his reputation, or his inheritance, or his organ-stealing. It's mostly that his world seems a bit more clear cut. There are mythological figures: a "Cult of Bulls", a Hunchback and bulbous-headed worms who live in yurts out on the steppe. Strange characters like the Butchers and Ospina trust him. He has to deal with more visceral moral questions (like: do I kill this innocent person walking down the street or not?). And in the end, I expect his conscience--and Kevin's--will be tainted, permanently skewed.

I, on the other hand, am stuck running errands for squabbling nobles. Rather than research, I have to organize, rally and section off the town. I have to assure them that they are all of one mind on how to combat this plague. I write letters to the executors and townsfolk about how to stave off infection. And I feel increasingly uncomfortable, because sooner or later either Olgimskiy or Saburov or Kain will unwind my lies. Not huge lies--just enough to placate the three families, to assure them of my authority. Until today, I haven't had to really back up my words with any sort of force.

The Town Map – infected areas are red, and the dead zone is black.
Sanitary Measures
The sand plague burned out in the Tanners District, and moved south. This isn't my primary concern, however. The infection is spreading rapidly, and the town hall isn't large enough to contain the bodies piling up. We need a hospital and a mortuary. Lara Ravel, who relocated her ill-fated "House of the Living" to her own private residence, has been forced to open up her home, but the water supply has run dry. Apparently it was destroyed.

According to Fat Vlad, two buildings have their own independent water supply: the Cathedral and the Theatre. I'm sent to inspect both buildings and bring back their keys as assurance. I go to the Rib district, overrun with plague, to find the Theatre locked. A tragedian is cowering in the middle of infected district; I ask him for the keys, and he asks me to lead him out.

I feel like I’m in Pan’s Labyrinth
Now I have to relay an accidental discovery. I spent about an hour searching for the tragedian in the ruins of a burnt house, to no success. Scattered in the grass around the house, in the fetal position, were several men and women moaning. I tried to talk to them and instead found a small menu open: a "Pain" bar, and beneath it a list of all the medicines I owned. Selecting several bottles of meradorm, a sedative, I successfully soothed their pain. With a sigh, they relaxed and died.

I found I could do this to multiple people and then take what I wanted from their corpses. The loot did little to justify the procedure: medicine costs money, and they all had very little money. So, stepping from one to another, I was faced with a crisis. I wasn't sure how to find the tragedian, how he would appear, but I assumed that since I had been led here I would need to do something with these poor, tortured people. Yet I didn't have enough medicine, let alone money, to properly euthanize the whole lot.

So what did I do? I shot the remaining three in the head.

Yeah, this is kinda screwed up.
That didn't summon the tragedian, of course. I climbed to the top of the stairwell, looked around, and saw him waiting patiently at a street corner just opposite the broken house.

I collect the keys, inspect both water sources at the Theatre and Cathedral, and return to Olgimskiy with good news. He then tells me to choose which building will become what. Will the theatre be a hospital or a mortuary? The thought of a cathedral filled with corpses disgusts me, so I tell him the theatre will have to be the mortuary. One of my adherents (the people I have to protect) is the theatre director, and putting his space up as a morgue is perhaps unwise, but I'd rather see the church filled with living people rather than the dead.

Rubber's Own
The guards have begun to rebel. I don't know if it's a glitch of the game or otherwise, but they've begun to randomly kill citizens in the streets. Alexander Saburov tells me his men have begun to turn, too, and that Gryph, who sells bootlegged weapons in the southern warehouse, is to blame. He offers me a handsome sum to dispose of the gang. So, steeling myself, I head to finish off Gryph.

Gryph, of course, doesn't want to die. He, in turn, offers me a large reward to kill Braga and his men, who have hidden out in a smaller warehouse close by. Thinking I might be able to play both sides, and get the reward money from Gryph, and then later from Saburov, I play along and head to the warehouse.

My quest journal says that this is, perhaps, the most decisive moment for me as a leader. That this is my final chance to show my quality: killing 12 rippers in a locked warehouse in close quarters.

Killing is fun!
The mission is hell. Not only do I have exactly just twelve bullets--one for each knife-wielding maniac--but the door locks behind me as soon as I venture inside. They attack in a group, slashing away, no hesitation, and within moments I go down. So I reload. Same thing. Reload: same thing. If I am to kill them, my form must be perfect. A headshot apiece--no mistakes. I figure out how to sneak in and kill three before the rest are alerted, and finally after maybe an hour of reloading and retracing my steps, I finish them all and return to Gryph back at the warehouse.

Something tells me Gryph would not put up much of a fight.
I don't have the heart to kill him, really. And what's more: I need him in the coming days. Nobody else will have the supplies I need when the going gets rough. He has boots and cloaks, and even though I can't afford them yet, I know I will someday. So I take my reward, both from him and Alexander, and wait out the rest of the day, somewhat frustrated with myself. When are they going to call my bluff?

The shops say the cows’ milk has been laced with ichor lately.
This does nothing to help my appetite.

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