So we'd scotched Scarlet's Knights one more time and in we all went. Hung around for a while waiting for her to notice. Whittled away at the over-sized hologram, split it into three. Kept on chipping til the place was nothing but holo-fragments. Cleaned those up, chased Scarlet out. It gave me time to think about what was coming next.
Behind that door, when she's down and all those alarms go off, when the place starts shaking, that warning message pops and the whole crew runs back up the ramp, even Braham with his "broken" leg, and before you know what you're doing you're back in the Arch? Now that's not how I'd normally do things.
I like to go through a villain's writing desk just on a point of general principle. Check out the bookcase, maybe even look under the pillows. You never know what you might find. Scarlet's Lair, I must've spent an hour. Well, half an hour.
That was running through my mind all while we were fighting and rolling about and now here I was, going in again, so I thought I'd take the chance, do it my way this time. So we danced the dance again but after all the yelling and spiking, when the rest of them all ran off, I went the other way. Into the room with all the machines.
Same flashing. Same buzzing. Same lines of gibberish scrolling away. And something new.
|No, that's not a Charr of the Ash Legion. Well spotted. |
Or then again, maybe it is. Ash Legion, masters of disguise, after all...
Three panels that didn't do much of anything before, now you could touch them. The control board for the Marionette, a diagram of the Drill and the Leylines and the last, a map of those damn Energy Probes. I couldn't make much sense of any of 'em. It positively demanded an Engineer's eye.
Now, I'm no engineer. More the outdoor type, me, tell you the truth of it. Ash Legion, sure, but the scouting end of things, not so big on all the Secret Plans part. But there's an Engineer I know owes me a favor so I called him and in he came.
He came out looking pretty shaken. Well, he did get hit by a laser going in but it wasn't that. It was what he'd found, examining those panels through his fancy Rata Sum College of Dynamics panscopic monocle.
That giant drill? It runs on magic. Well, I could have told him that. But it comes with a dead-man's throttle set in reverse. It won't stop, not for anything. That's how she designed it, he said. What was she drilling for, anyway? Now that's the question, isn't it?
No surprise to anyone that tapping the flow from the ley lines would give someone more power than they knew what to do with. Not that Scarlet ever seemed to run short of ideas. The surprise is, she wasn't tapping it, he said. There's no pump, nothing. All the drill does is break the flow.
Break the Flow, Wake the Foe. Didn't used to be a saying. Is now.
I can't claim it was all my own idea. There was a thread on the forum called *Spoiler*: After the final cut-scene. I hadn't read it, just the title, but it planted the seed and spurred me to go back for another look. And I wasn't smart enough to come back yet again with my Engineer until I read the first post in that thread, thinking I was safe to compare thoughts since I'd now seen it all and had nothing left to be spoiled. I know, what a noob!
It's such a fine example of what I was praising yesterday. An entirely undirected fragment of narrative, an important one, too, waiting just out of sight to be discovered. First you have to be curious enough to wonder what happens if you don't do what the game tells you to do. Then you have to be reckless enough to risk staying in a building on fire to find out. If you do that you make a discovery but only if you're playing a class with the requisite background and training do you get, fully, to understand and interpret what you've found. And even then you still end up with more questions than answers.
That's how it should be done. No clues, no pointers, no hints or nudges. Just you and the world and your eyes and ears and imagination. Someone in the thread congratulated ANet for planting a nice Easter Egg for Engineers. I congratulate them for understanding at least a few of the possibilities of the medium within which they work.
Oh, and one other thing. Scarlet in that death pose? She doesn't look defeated. She looks ecstatic.
Don't have nightmares.