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On the Threshold

«A Scandal in Komra

An Academic Dispute»

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By the by─haven't seen Anogg and Konogg, have you? Usually when they go this long without getting underfoot, it means they're up to something.
I'd be grateful if you'd track them down again and send them my way. They're peskier than a pack of pixies, but even so, I'd rather keep them where I can see them.
Sooner you can track down the wee scoundrels, the better. It's too quiet...
Nice work in trouncing those brutes earlier. You're so easy to push around, I had almost forgotten your vocation!
That's the watch taken care of, but we never did get that key...

You mean to say that you picked it up? And no one's even noticed it's missing? Splendid! I shall open the door, and then you may escort us on our foray.


After all, everyone knows that the only thing that brings you more joy than being of service to your fellow man is...adventure! Indeed, your adventurous spirit calls you toward ever greater challenges, no matter how staggeringly ill-advised or outright suicidal!
What will you say?
Rude but fair, I suppose. But the chief says we're not allowed. No, no, I couldn't possibly.
Isn't it just?
And after we've made it sound so very appealing!
How truly, madly, deeply you wound us, sir!
I see that we have no other choice but to drag you on this adventure against your will. Never mind the how─we'll come up with something on the way.
Hurry along, now! There are secrets to be found here, and we'll be the ones to bring them to light─and possibly to market, depending.
Maybe we'll even give you a share of the spoils! A small one, mind.
Locked. Which bodes well for us finding something worth our time within, assuming we can get it open...
The moment of truth, then.
That was easy.
Intruders sighted. Eliminating with extreme prejudice.
What have you done!?
Wicked white...
The...the machine lifeforms...
“Machine lifeforms”? What are you talking about? And why didn't you blow up?
I am numbe─ 2P. Call me 2P. The rest can wait.
The machine lifeforms must be stopped. To do that, we must reach the heart of the ruins. Come.
Anogg! Konogg! Don't you dare!
How bloody stupid are they!? <sigh> Listen, sinner─I know we've put you to plenty of trouble already, but...I need you to stop them before they dig themselves any deeper. At this rate, someone's going to get hurt.
Not a thimble's worth of common sense between the two of them, I tell you. And once they get going...<sigh>
They don't make this easy, do they? These machine-whatsits.
If we can't unlock it, we'll need to break it down.
Another door! Who needs this many doors?
Sealed per defensive protocols, I believe.
Protocols, shmotocols! We've got something for this immovable object.
Unstoppable force!
Mwahaha! How'd you like that?

I'm sure you were told to keep us from getting into trouble, or some such nonsense, right?


But who took care of those machines? Us! Who got the door open? Us! Who's going to find out what's in there? Us!
That's the means of ingress secured. Onward.
Aha! Hahaha! Mwahahahahahaha...<cough> <cough> <cough>...<wheeze>... Remind me to save the maniacal laughter for after the dust clears, next time.
Smell that? That gentle scent carried with the draft? That's the smell of secrets!
If you won't stop them, at least keep those two from getting themselves killed. I've got enough problems without adding funeral arrangements.
There may be others lying in wait. We should withdraw.
They're both all right, by the looks of it. Didn't expect that. Well done.
...
Ah, danger upon danger! Mystery within mystery! How invigorating, this...invigoration!
She just collapsed! One minute she was walking ahead of us, the next─well, as you see here.

Though after all of that, perhaps the greater shock is that you're still standing. I'm impressed. And a little bit scared.


Truly, you're wasted on the petty errands that everyone else puts you up to.
Oh! Are you feeling better?
More importantly, who was that boy in black? How was he controlling the machines?
Not a boy, an android. An advanced machine designed in imitation of mankind. Same as me.
...You? You're a machine?
But that's impossible! It's hard enough to make a fully functioning ironbeard, or a wind-up automaton that bears a passing resemblance to a real person. To create machines that look and act and fight like you two... Who could possibly have done such a thing? And how?
But─fine. Let's say, for the moment, that I believe you. Why would one of these androids want to attack us?
I don't know. But he's not the only one out there.

And if the other androids come looking for these ruins, I can't promise they won't be just as...aggressive.


Anyone who gets in their way could be in terrible danger. This whole place could be in danger...
If they're anything like what we just saw, I don't like our chances...
Don't be silly. We have our clever minds! We have loads of explosives! We have an exceptionally violent assistant, and we even have an android of our own!
I'm sorry...

My systems took too much damage in that battle. I don't...think I'll be functional for much longer.


I can only tell you what you need to do.


Deep within the ruins lies the key. Find it.


With it, we can stop them. The machines, the androids...


With it, you can restore...
Restore... Restore her to functionality, maybe?
What in the hells was that about?
Ohoho...

A very promising discovery, is what!


So we must persevere! Onward! Inward! Awaaay!
Hmm...
So there're androids, which are machines, but also other machines, and also...
Look, all I know is that I'm not keen on anything that gets Anogg this excited. Not bloody keen at all.
Having seen all of that from 2P...what else sleeps within those ruins, I wonder?
I knew that there was something of value in there! Mwahaha...

And once we get our hands on it, they'll see. They'll all see!


Oh! Nothing! What? Did you hear something?


Ahem. The real question is, do we pack more explosives this time? Maybe we can fit some in your pack, as well...


You are coming along, right? Oh, who am I kidding─I know you wouldn't miss it!
What will you say?
Oh, I'm sure I won't be given the choice to miss it. How charming that you continue to pretend to care about my opinion.
Yes, yes, we both know that you're loving this.
Yes, yes, we both know that you're loving this.
And I have a present for you! Feast your eyes on this!

It's a one-of-a-kind recording device─the portable archive! If you spot anything odd, aaanything at all, march right up to it and let this collect its data. Then we'll have a nice little set of records to review.


I know, I know, we're brilliant. Anyway, find a place for that in your pack, and do take care of what other preparations need doing. We'll be ready to go when you are.