Three Eye Detective Agency/A Manufactured Conspiracy
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
After a long haitus, the Three Eye has some new faces... and uncovers a conspiracy that stretches from Paragon City to the Rogue Isles and beyond.
Trent returned to his office in the Three Eye Detective Agency, finding this hat laid upon his computer's monitor. This raggedy, faded-brown fedora is unnaturally icy to the touch, and is the only remains of the apparition he encountered.
It all started in Cap au Diable. Trent's activities in the Rogue Isles had taken him past a particular spot where he suddenly found himself entering some sort of bizarre dreamlike state. He floated along to be met by a ghostly man who couldn't even remember his own name, only that he had been murdered. And he wanted Trent's help in bringing his murderer to justice.
The name of the alleged murderer was Leonard Harrison and he was a high-level employee of The Centari Corporation, but he also apparently had ties to someone else called "the Manufacturer". The ghost assured Trent that he could return to the spot at anytime to keep in touch and then he gently returned the officer to the world of the waking.
Later that night, Trent had a dream where he saw himself running down a seemingly endless stone hallway. Every so often he passed by a pair of unlit torches. Eventually, he stopped by a pair of torches and examined them for a moment before feeling compelled to fall to his knees and pray. The torches lit with an unearthly green light and then Trent continued down the hallway, more confident that he would reach his destination...
Trent had not yet told anyone about his encounter with the ghost, instead opting to do the investigation alone. After touring the main office building of the Centari Corporation in Cap au Diable, he decided to take a closer look at one of their facilities, so he was pointed to the Steel Canyon branch.
He was met by one of the agents of the company and while the tour was already underway, the facility was attacked by unknown assailants. Their mission was a kidnapping, and their target appeared to be the Centari tour guide. Trent relentlessly dogged their heels until PPD could arrive on the scene to put down the fighting. The identity of the attackers was not established; however, the bodies recovered from the scene revealed that they were androids.
A short time later, Trent received a message from the CEO of the Centari Corporation, Evan Rengada, asking him to meet at the Centari office in Atlas Park. Though Trent was suspicious, as Rengada was Harrison's immediate superior, he decided to play it cool. His suspicions were immediately justified as Rengada remembered Trent from the Cap au Diable tour and demanded that he explain his involvement in the Steel Canyon attack. Trent, of course, denied any wrongdoing. Rengada knew that Trent was hiding something and then threatened him if he didn't come clean. Trent finally relented.
Rengada didn't seem all that surprised or even angry that Trent was investigating Harrison. In fact, he had been looking for a way to get rid of Harrison for quite some time; and if Harrison was guilty of murder, this was it. They decided that it would be better if they worked together on this, and Rengada agreed to provide everything he knew about Harrison, which unfortunately didn't turn out to be anything useful.
Trent later then received an anonymous package. Inside was a file written by a Longbow officer regarding a meeting with someone who claimed to be "the Manufacturer." The Manufacturer provided robots to interested organizations, and Longbow had requested one for their own use. The meeting took place on an island somewhere near Nerva, and the description of the Manufacturer seemed to match the description of Leonard Harrison.
Because Trent had been acting secretive as of late (which also piqued the curiosity of one of his associates, a ex-Nemesis cyborg named Rachel, who began following him), R-31 Protector, a humanoid robotic detective also in the Three Eye, confronted him on his activities. Trent admitted that he was conducting a murder investigation on the side and that he was looking for any information regarding the Manufacturer. Protector seemed surprised as the Manufacturer was supposedly the man who created him, though he was not programmed to know much more than that. Trent confided to Protector his intention to investigate the island facility with the help of an old friend in Longbow, Rose the Rook, and left Protector his notes in case anything should happen to him.
He never arrived, however, as he was ambushed and kidnapped by the same unidentified androids who attacked in Steel Canyon, despite Rachel's best efforts to stop them.
Rose, worried that Trent never showed up for their meeting, made her way to the Three Eye building in Kings Row to dig up some answers. Rachel was already there as well as R-31 Protector and another Three Eye worker named Asrail Steele. Rachel reported what had happened to Trent, and Protector turned over the files that had been given to him. They immediately decided that they needed to check out this facility.
While Protector stayed behind to hold down the fort, Rose was able to provide the heavy equipment needed to transport herself, Rachel, and Asrail to the island facility. It seemed unremarkable at first, but upon further investigation, they managed to gain entry to a massive underground complex. They were immediately attacked but the three of them managed to destroy the opposition and dig even deeper into the facility.
They encountered one room which appeared to be a panic room. Covering one wall were dozens upon dozens of monitors displaying images from what appeared to be security cameras. Upon further inspection, however, they noticed that one of the screens was showing the inside of the Three Eye facility. Not only that, it appeared to be from the perspective of R-31 Protector!
There was one person in the room, who turned out to be the leader of the base. Using her telepathic abilities to interrogate the man, Rose managed to pry from him the name of the man who would know where Trent was. The base leader loudly protested and, to prevent himself from giving up any more information, activated an explosive in his head, killing himself instantly.
The trio returned to King's Row to confront Protector. Protector seemed genuinely hurt that he was unwittingly used to betray Trent. He had no idea how to deactivate the surveillance systems in his body, so he recommended that he himself be deactivated so that the Manufacturer could no longer receive intelligence from him.
It was done, but the Three Eye Detective Agency still had another lead to go on. The man who knew where Trent was Evan Rengada, CEO of the Centari Corporation.
Rengada spent most of his time at Centari's main office in Cap au Diable, and so the Three Eye decided it was time to pay him a visit. Since Rengada appeared to be the man who was responsible for Trent's disappearance and they weren't expecting a friendly reception, the plan was to drop in via helicoptor, provided by Rose's comrades in Longbow, and force their way into his office.
They got more than they bargained for, however. The plan fell apart almost immediately as they vastly underestimated the technology company. One group managed to land on the roof while another group lost control and wound up on the ground level before the helicoptor was destroyed by the building's anti-air defense system. To make matters even worse, Arachnos security forces were responding to the situation. Separated, the Three Eye was quickly rounded up and taken to detention cells where Evan Rengada met them personally.
Rengada was not terribly pleased at the motley group and their assault upon his building and said there was little stopping him from turning them over to the Arachnos authorities. Though the Three Eye were loathed to work with the arrogant CEO (and Rose even flatout refused to cooperate) and they scarcely believed that Rengada and Trent were actually working together, they finally relented.
Rengada revealed that he did indeed know where Trent was being kept. He was on an island controlled by the Manufacturer. There was a slight problem with getting there, however, so he told them to come back in one week's time and by then he should have a method of transportation ready for them.
Meanwhile, somewhere out there, Trent was awaiting interrogation by one of the Manufacturer's agents. In walked a tall robotic individual named Cask. Under threat of torture, Trent only revealed that he was investigating Harrison in regard to a murder. Cask pressured Trent to give up how he knew about the murder or the identity of the victim, but Trent adamantly refused.
Cask returned a few days later with a more forceful means of persuasion. Trent was hooked up to a machine that was able to extract memories directly from a person's brain—even from the victim's earliest moments, even things he had forgotten—and store them on a computer hard drive. In a few short hours Trent relived his entire life, with complete audio and visual and emotional recall. Cask finally came to that day in Cap au Diable when Trent met with the ghostly man and was tasked to bring Harrison down, and that was all he needed to know. Trent, deeply shaken, was returned to his cell to prepare for the next stage in the Manufacturer's plans.
Back in the Rogue Isles, however, plans were already in motion and by a seemingly unlikely source. While relaxing by himself in Pocket D, a certain mercenary known as Rook the Vaulted mysteriously fell into a sort of waking dream. He found himself carried along through time and space to a small, enclosed room where he was met the same ghostly figure who initially appeared to Trent.
The ghost pleaded that he himself was in imminent danger. While Rook was miffed that he was being "kidnapped" and nearly refused to help, the ghost tried to explain that the Manufacturer knew the meeting point between himself and Trent, and Trent was going to be used as bait to draw him out. That caught Rook's attention. Rook had had previous encounters with the Manufacturer's mysterious R-series, including R-44 Enforcer who had been sent on the orders of the Manufacturer to test Rook for some unknown reason. That test resulted in the destruction of R-44 and Rook had been investigating the Manufacturer ever since.
The ghost gave Rook an EMP emitter as well as the location of the meeting point. All Rook had to do was get close enough to activate it and it would disable any robots and devices within a twenty-foot radius, effectively letting Trent off the hook. There was no time to waste, however, as the trap would spring very soon. Rook then "woke up" on the floor of Pocket D. The whole thing seemed like a dream if it weren't for the EMP emitter sitting in front of him.
Rook quickly made his way to the spot in Cap au Diable where Trent was expected to be. Trent was seemingly alone. However, invisible to the naked eye were a half-dozen androids watching Trent from under the cover of their cloaking devices. Trent was unaware of Rook's presence, as Rook himself was concealed by his own cloaking device. Rook activated the EMP emitter, and the teleportation beacon implanted in Trent's body as well as an android that had been standing next to Trent immediately short-circuited. Rook's own cloaking device malfunctioned; and the next thing they knew, they had a fight on their hands.
Fortunately, the androids were easily dispatched. Rook gave Trent a pass to board the Asgard, the home base of the Shadow Spiders; however, before they could leave the scene, a vile mechanical laughter filled the air as Rook was tagged with a teleport beacon by an unknown assailant and Rook vanished before Trent's eyes. Trent quickly fled to the Asgard to report what had happened.
The Shadow Spiders, as well as Rook's fiance Sarah Nightingale, were deeply upset by this turn of events. They vowed, however, to find the Manufacturer and bring Rook back. But there was only one man who could help them find the Manufacturer, and that was Evan Rengada.
The Shadow Spiders went to Rengada, and the Centari CEO agreed to loan them a submarine to get to the Manufacturer's island. The island existed outside of the normal plane of space and could only be reached by approaching it in an exact manner. The Shadow Spiders mustered their forces—as well as the help of Lucius Schwarzhelm—and boarded the submarine, along with a team of Centari enginners led by Agent Jacobson.
They arrived at the island surprisingly without incident and quickly split up into two groups. One team would guard the submarine while the Centari engineers set up a post to attempt to hack into the base's defenses. The other team would then infiltrate the base and shut down the rest of the security systems so they could regroup.
Both teams immediately faced stiff resistance. While the defense team held the beach, the rescue team happened upon a field where they saw a fierce battle taking place—security drones attacking one another—the handiwork of the Centari engineers. They had not much further to continue when they encountered a camouflaged entrance. A hidden elevator took them deep into the Manufacturer's underground facility.
The doors opened to reveal a seemingly normal-looking lobby attended by a single receptionist who immediately sicced a half-dozen turrets on them. Despite taking a few of them out, the Blood Red Rook sustained serious injuries and had to be teleported back to the submarine. Finally Aria Mk. II was able to hack into a computer and disable the security systems, thus paving the way for the second team to enter, which had been under heavy assault until that point.
From there, Jacobson pointed the team to rest of the way to Harrison's office, but then they hit a snag. His maps appeared to be outdated and the Shadow Spiders found themselves in a long, dark, and seemingly unending hallway, marked occasionally by dim LCDs. At first they were puzzled, but then Trent suddenly remembered his dream, and he fell to his knees and prayed. Miraculously, the LCDs came to life and the rest of the hallway was illuminated. Harrison's office was just beyond the blast door at the end.
Harrison was sitting in his office, non-chalantly reading a newspaper. He did not seem the least bit bothered by the Shadow Spiders or their threats (or Lu's shooting). They demanded that he release Rook; however, he only retorted that Rook "no longer prefers to be called by that name."
Rook the Vaulted entered, his goggles glowing with an eerie mechanical light and his usual 3/4-length's shirt showed not skin, but cold metal. He was the newest member of the Manufacturer's R-series, R-101 Swashbuckler. The Shadow Spiders were stunned and they immediately retaliated against Harrison. However, Harrison was merely speaking to them through a holographic projector, and he commanded R-101 to kill them all.
Rook's fiance Sarah was in a near-catatonic state of grief, with Akdor trying vainly to bring her back to her senses. In stark contrast, Rachel was going completely berserk, seemingly under orders from Eshleen Wintersmith to kill Rook as he was the Manufacturer's analog of the Nemesis-created EKW units, and all such technology to convert a human being to an automaton had to be destroyed. As Aria fought off Rachel, Firepaw and Nyx tried their best to restrain Rook.
In the meantime, Trent, Mr. Black Hood, and Executioner Demi went after Harrison. They managed to find a secret door which took them even further into the bowels of the complex, and the sight that greeted them was perplexing. The Manufacturer's hideout wasn't a factory—it was a ritual chamber. Robed men standing on suspended platforms chanted around a crystal pulsating with dark magical energies. Harrison stood on one of the platforms, glaring down at them. In the center of the room was a stone altar with runes. As the three of them rushed toward the center, they were accosted by the robed men.
Trent already knew what to do, thanks to a second dream he had had, and he sliced his hand and touched one of the runes. The dream had ended prematurely, however, and Trent was stunned to discover that he couldn't pull his hand back. The altar was draining him of his life force. Hood and Demi tried to pull him away, but a forcefield prevented them from ever touching him, and Trent bled out on the altar. The ritual was completed, the dark crystal exploded, and the suspended platforms came crashing down all around them. Harrison was defeated.
Back in the other room, Aria and Nyx finally managed to get Rachel and Rook respectively subdued. Rachel, (literally) unarmed and remorseful over her actions, fell into an even greater despondancy when Demi carried Trent's body back into room. Not too far away, Rook laid in pieces; however he was still functional enough to taunt the Spiders. Sarah, recovering from her grief, tried to speak gently to Rook, however he coldly turned her away. He couldn't even remember Sarah... much less any of his former comrades.
Meanwhile, Trent's spirit wandered unseen until he was met once again by the ghostly man, who seemed very remorseful. The ghostly man admitted he had made a deal with the Manufacturer. He would get his revenge against Harrison, and the Manufacturer would gain her freedom. The Manufacturer was gone now, and Harrison was abandoned to his fate. What he didn't know, however, and what he couldn't tell Trent was that the process required a sacrifice... He promised to make it up to Trent by way of exchange. The ghostly man passed on to the other side, and Trent was returned to his body fully healed.
Harrison now seemed more than willing to cooperate. Completely and utter defeated, he told Hood that there may be a way to reverse the process. He led Hood to yet another chamber where he collected a single scroll and two chests. One of the chests contained a series of microchips. The other chest contained many, many vials of blood. Taking the two that were marked "R-101", he gave the three items to Hood.
The Shadow Spiders met up again with Black Hood, and Harrison explained that the microchip would restore the R-unit's memories, while the blood was a required component for the ritual contained within the scroll. Trent confiscated the two chests containing the rest of the samples and the Shadow Spiders gathered up the rest of their people to return to the Asgard. The island complex was completely destroyed behind them.
(( Getting there... <_<; ))