DAY 5: FULL HOUSE; HEARTS OVER ACES

   

Day 5 completes my descent into utter sociopathic ruin. I merely have to cut the still-beating heart out of an innocent girl, extort large sums of money from a lonely cripple, and bribe the local constabulary into releasing a jail full of potential criminals. All in a day’s work in Pathologic.

 

Closed districts eventually become clean again.

The plague has spread to the middle and southern parts of town – the Spine, Kraney and Muzzle Districts specifically. The Rib and Vein Districts are now closed. Traversing the town becomes a serious challenge from Day 5 onward due to there being so many infected or closed districts. Spillover into clean districts is common; knifebums, rats and occasionally plague clouds will accost me in clean areas adjacent to infected/closed districts. I try to avoid altercations as much as possible since all it amounts to is a waste of ammo and weapon deterioration. Killing knifebums awards reputation but my reputation is rarely below maximum at any given time.

 

Anna is easily the most improbably-dressed character in the game.

The first letter I receive is from Anna Angel. It contains no details but she insists I come speak to her immediately about an urgent matter. She has all but succumbed to fear and paranoia concerning the plague and believes if she pays Vlad Sr. enough money, he’ll let her leave town. She enlists me to blackmail a former business partner of hers, a humpback named Var (I am amused yet not entirely surprised Pathologic has a deformed gimp-man as a stock character model). Sounds simple enough, I just have to tell him I know about his past – so Anna says.

Blackmailing Var turns out to be unnecessary, as he immediately accosts me with a problem of his own and he will pay handsomely for me to sort it out. His daughter is missing and he is offering 60,000 coins for anyone who can find her. He’ll even front 10,000 of it. How convenient!

 

OK, I admit I was wrong about Anna's attire being the most ridiculous.

Even more convenient, Anna knows where Var’s daughter is (and that she isn’t actually his daughter by blood). She’s a dancer at Andrey Stamatin’s pub. She agrees to meet me at 21:00 behind Isidor’s house so I can take her to see her father and protect her from him if necessary. Not really caring about how this awkward situation will eventually work itself out, I return to Var and he forks over the cash. See there? I didn’t even have to extort from the guy. It might be the nicest thing I’ve done since I hit town! More on how utterly wrong I am about this later.

Rubin sends a letter and upon speaking to him, he informs me he can make significant headway towards analyzing the Sand Plague if he has a fresh human heart actively infected with the disease for experimentation. He refers me to Burakh the Haruspicus (Isidor’s son and the second playable character in the game) for acquisition of said heart, but he has been jailed as you might expect of someone who is known for procuring fresh human organs. Saburov had Burakh imprisoned and has no interest in releasing him for any reason. However, Kapella and Lara spill the beans that he is being held in Building 3 of the Plants (the looming block of buildings in the southeast part of town) under constant guard.

This part of the game is pretty dicey. The guards won’t release Burakh for any reason since Alex Saburov won’t give the order and they are a group of real hardasses. Worse, were I to kill both deputies and the sheriff I’d lose 100% of my reputation (25% per deputy and 50% from the sheriff). Desperate, I talk to Gryph the thug leader to see if he has any insight.

 

Gryph is rather effeminate for a crime lord.

Does he ever. For 40,000 coins he agrees to head down to the Plants with some of his goons and kill the guards for me. Not a problem. Gryph tells me to meet him and his posse inside Plant 3 for the takedown. I’m not killing hobos! This is so refreshing! I swear by this time I’ve killed more hobos than tuberculosis. I of course allow Gryph’s thugs (he doesn’t actually come along) first crack at the guards. They manage to take down all but one deputy who charges me with his knife. I blow him all over the wall with my rifle and loot the bodies mercilessly.

 

Reaping. Excellent.

Burakh is more than happy to commit murder and corpse violation in the name of sketchy science. He agrees to meet me in the Tanner’s district at 21:00 whereupon he will find a sick townsperson and perform an emergency cardiectomy.

As it happens, Burakh was far from the only person whom Saburov had incarcerated. Indeed, he has issued mass arrest orders and the town jail is busting at the seams with townspeople, many of whom were taken under dubious circumstances at best. Alas, the power has gone to Alex’ head a bit. Both Victor Kain and Vlad Jr. are certain that many are completely innocent and merely in the wrong place at the wrong time – indeed, the fact that the town guards didn’t kill the people on sight is reason enough to believe they are innocent.

 

 

There is no chance Alex will be convinced to release any of these people either, so I go to the courthouse in the middle of town and see what’s what. On a side note, I am a little crestfallen that the interior of the courthouse consist of only an empty lobby and four large cells. In a game of peculiar attention to detail such as this – where houses have kitchens, bedrooms, and so forth – I am dismayed that the courthouse was assembled in such a rudimentary fashion (I will discover why later in the game).

An executor serving as a warden offers release of the prisoners if I pay a stiff bribe – 60,000 coins! Again, I could possibly scrape this up but it would clear me out. I go back to Victor and Vlad and inform them of the bribe and they front me 45,000 of it. I can handle the rest without too much difficulty. I also get a 30% bump in reputation for it, which counteracts the hit I took when I shot the deputy.

 

 

After a short nap I scoot up to the Tanner’s District behind Isidor’s house to find Var’s daughter’s corpse with her heart laying atop it. Evidently the poor girl was infected. Thanks, Burakh! Is this guy a pal or what? I take the heart to Rubin and he examines it, offering insight into the disease that I really can’t fathom. On the way I stop by Anna’s place and inform her of the outcome of Val’s situation and his daughter’s grisly fate. She seems relatively unconcerned and neither asks me for her share of the money nor speaks any further of bribing Vlad Olgimsky for safe passage out of town. Rather disappointed in the resolution of this quest, am I.

Well, I have to say at this point I feel like I have a firm grasp on what this game is all about. All it took was a little debasement of morals and a proactive hobologistical plan. I think I can plod my way to the ending of the game without much further ado or frustration. I mean, things have gotten relatively easier aside from the occasional bump (mostly due to the terrible combat mechanics) here and there. I have all the money and items I seem to need, I know the back alleys and shortcuts through town, this should essentially be a lead pipe cinch until Day 12, right?

 

NEXT: WRONG.