Saturday, July 21, 2012

Deus Ex Training - Part 10: Snippets of information

[This is part of a series of posts about the game Deus Ex, which, for the record, I recommend buying.]
[The series began with this post.  The first post in this section is here.]

Part of the reason I decided to do posts on the training mission were the little bits of information you get here and there, mostly here.

There's also the fact that you see Walton Simons watching you from various viewing rooms (including the last one, watching your final test) and just general stuff.

But like I said, mostly the little bits of information here and there, and most of them here rather than there.

Walking away from your final test leads you to a room with some holograms in it, Jamie will explain why they're there:

Step up to each hologram for more info.  When you're through, go out the opposite door.

Six holograms, six bits of info.

These can be taken in any order one pleases, or skipped altogether.  The far door isn't locked, you can finish the level without stepping up to any of them, anyway, let's step up to some.


First on the right:

The NSF: the biggest terrorist threat in the U. S.  This national militia group thinks it is fighting the Second American Revolution.

The NSF, we will learn, has an interesting history.  It started as the Northwest Secessionist Forces and its goal was to break away from the country to do their own thing (sometime after the 2030 quake) but then it nationalized years later and reformed as the National Secessionist Forces.

At first it seems incoherent, how can an entire nation secede from itself?  Wouldn't you be left with the exact same nation?  Under new management perhaps, but not a lot of secession going on.  What we will learn is that they are only united by their desire to be disunited.  If they succeed they will not all live happily ever after together, they'll each go their own separate way, federal government will definitely be gone, probably state too.

The US will not be a nation but a collection of very small, very local, libertarian communities.

That is the NSF plan.


First on the left:

A deployment of UNATCO troopers is the central component of all UN peacekeeping occupations.

Did you catch that?  I don't remember if I did when I first heard it, but I definitely did when I first heard it doing these posts.  "Occupations" does not belong there.  "Occupations" doesn't sound right.

If I wrote, "UN peacekeeping o-" the assumption would be that the word was, "operations."  You expect operations and occupations just strikes a dissonant chord.  It says something that you don't expect to be said and has larger implications that reverberate through everything else.

However many months ago it was when, after starting these posts, I first heard that, I knew I had to write about it.  And then I looked in the game files and found this comment attached to the dialog:

"occupation" used on purpose.

So lets talk about the word occupation.

Operations, the expected term, has an implied objective, an implied end date.  Something is wrong, the UN peacekeepers go in, they fix it, they get out.  It often doesn't work that way, but that's what operations implies.

An occupation is different.  With an occupation you're talking about taking control.  You're talking about seizing the land by military force because let's remember, we're talking about troops here.  This is not someone occupying their home, or some people occupying Wall Street, this is the kind of occupation in which the central component is a soldier with a gun.  (Usually an assault rifle.)

This is not what the UN is supposed to be doing.  The UN is not supposed to be occupying land.  They're not supposed to be occupying places so much that it makes sense to talk about something as the central component in all UN peacekeeping occupations.

Occupation isn't how you keep the peace, it's how you take over.

If you came to the game not realizing it was built on a foundation of 90s' conspiracy theory, if you came to the game not realizing that there was something rotten going on in the UN, let this be your first indication: their idea of peacekeeping is military occupation, and they've got a military with which to do it.

This is the UN of the fevered dreams of Birchers, this is the UN Nicolae Carpathia wants to take over so he can rule the world.


Hey, is that an out of place brick I see?  *push*

*opposite me a section of wall opens up revealing a hidden room*

*cautiously I approach*

Step over to the communicator.  There's someone who wants to talk to you.

Ok, Jaime, I wonder who it could be.

*Steps over to the communicator*

Jamie, you're the one who wanted to talk to me?  Why didn't you just say you wanted to talk to me?   What's with the whole "someone" bit?  Ok, fine, what did you have to say?

Manderley likes to hear which agents find this area.  They're usually the ones who take terrorists by surprise in the field.  Your brother, Paul, for instance.  All right, carry on.  Don't let it go to your head.

That's nice.

Ok, I guess we can move back to the non-communications holograms now.


Middle right:

An inexpensive security bot, a favorite of Third World countries and corporate security divisions.  Not so mobile, but don't be fooled: we've lost plenty of agents to its well-armored assault gun.  Like other bots, it's difficult to damage with ordinary bullets.

Combat bots in Deus Ex come in three sizes: small, large, and "Oh my god the ground is shaking, I think T-Rex is on the way."  This one is a small one.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a time you went up against corporate security (leaving aside those corporations that are front companies for the conspiracy) and I don't know that you go to any third world countries.  Which could explain why in the game files this bit of dialog was labeled, "DL_terrorbot" (DL for Data Link).  This is what the terrorists can generally afford.


Middle Left:

This Page Industries walking turret, marketed to governments worldwide, is the workhorse of most national military forces.  Due to the heavy armor, they take little damage from ordinary bullets.  If you come up against a bot, you should use an EMP grenade, scrambler grenade, or some kind of explosive.

This is the kind of bot you just outwitted.  Note that it's considered military grade.  Also take note of that name, Page Industries, they've got their fingers in everything.

For whatever it's worth, this bit of dialog was labeled, "DL_unatcobot," because this is what the UN can afford to deploy against its enemies in Deus Ex.

Of the previously mentioned categories, this would be the large bot.


Last on the Left:

This is the old augmentation technology, hopefully about to be phased out.  Notice the reliance on electronics and servomechanics.  A maintenance nightmare.  If I had two credits for every repair manual they've made me file in my office in the Med Lab...

The hologram is of Anna Navarre, the agent who walked you through stealth.

This isn't just hopefully about to be phased out, it's almost gone from the game as we see it.  I could go on in great detail about the opportunities lost there, but for the moment let me simply reiterate:

In the game we will meet four mechanically augmented people.
1 Gunther Hermann, active agent.
2 Anna, active agent whom I've already linked to.
3 Jordan Shea, retired agent.
4 Sam Carter, not an agent, needed part of his body replaced for what appear to be medicinal purposes.

The evil conspiracy has already moved passed mechanical augmentation in favor of various other things.  None of the police or military forces you meet other than UNATCO will contain a mech.  One mech laments that in the future he'll have nowhere to go but to a freak show where his life will consist of being used to scare children for cheap thrills.

This technology is definitely on its way out.

On the other hand, you only see a very small slice of the world, maybe if you'd gone other places you'd have encountered more mechs.


Last on the right:

The Coalition's new nano-augmented agents are nearly indistinguishable from the general population, except that you and your brother don't know how to smile, even for a picture.

The hologram is of JC's brother Paul.  That smile thing is a joke on Jamie's part, and not a very good one.  I'm tired, I have a headache, I'm not going to get into the great debate over whether or not he was somehow being serious.  He wasn't.

If JC and Paul couldn't smile because of their augmentations the phrase wouldn't be, "don't know how," it was a joke, it was a bad joke.

Want to know how bad of a joke it was?  When JC was a child and Paul was almost an adult their parents were murdered.  Then, sometime in the last couple of years, their adoptive parents were murdered.  On top of that they, along with the rest of the world, have lived through catastrophes piled on top of each other.

The first decade of JC's life was with the backdrop of the largest die off in human history.  They have seen their country fall apart, they have seen the world dive toward chaos, and they have personal tragedy piled on top of that.  They've lived through the violent deaths of twice as many parents as most people have in the first place.

Maybe, just maybe, Jamie, they have reasons not to smile all the damn time.  Jerk.

I generally like Jamie, but that's seriously in poor taste.  At least it seems that way to me.


Holograms done we go to leave and what's this?  Another hologram.  Like the thing with Jaime in the secret room, this is a communications hologram and it's going to be used for a real time chat.

Bob Page: Sufficiently impressive.  An early success for the whole organization.
JC Denton: Thanks.  You from the United Nations?
Bob Page: Your augmentations are a-go.  The real test comes next: active duty.
JC Denton: I'm ready, sir.
Bob Page: Yes.  Yes, you are.

Remember how I said to take note of Page Industries?  Well now you've met its owner.  Trillionaire (with a T) and leader of an evil conspiracy.  That's Bob Page for you.

Note how he completely ignores the whole question of whether or not he's with the UN. Presumably because saying, "I'm with the organization that uses the UN as a puppet," isn't the best answer at this point in time.

Also "early success" would be for the re-formed UNACTO, the organization has been around for an unclear amount of time not less than ten years at this point, it has been around in its present form for at most a year.

And with that, we move to the exit and training is over.

Only took six months.  A bit surprising that it worked out to be six months to the day.


No comments:

Post a Comment