Today’s the start of a brand new feature: NPC’s I HAVE LOVED, featuring those loveable oafs that are too often thrust out of the limelight. Today, in honour of Deus Ex week, I’m beginning with an NPC very close to my heart: Miguel, the captured spanish terrorist of my dreams. A man who had me covered.
Warning: The following post may contain spoilers for a ten-year-old game. Just to let you know.
We first met in a maximum security prison in the depths of a secret MJ12 facility. It was a classic story, really: I’d just been kidnapped and locked up by the agency I was working for, before being freed by the mysterious machinations of an omnipresent hacker. I was scared, confused, lost in an impenetrable cobweb of lies. I didn’t know who to trust. I needed some stability.
That was when I met him.
I released him from the prision cell next to me and he gave me a med-kit he had smuggled in. I can’t even remember what our first conversation was about. But at the end of it, we had decided to team up and bust out of this joint. He had a pistol, I had a riot prod, and there was one med-kit between us. It was five kilometres of steel and secret laboratories between us and freedom.
“Let’s go!” Miguel yelled.
We busted out of the prison into the corridor beyond, leaving the guard with a combat knife sticking out of his shoulder blades. I quickly opened a handy vent concealed nearby and ducked down into the cavity beneath the floor, leaving Miguel to guard the prison entrance. I crawled slowly through the under-dark, keeping an eye out for rats. A voice popped up in my headset: My mysterious hacker friend, informing me that I was under the Command centre. Perfect.
Popping up a grate at the other end, I found myself behind a desk in some sort of complex, undetected by the idiot guards nearby. I snuck up behind him, waited for my chance, and unleashed the perfect silent takedown, sending him thudding down to the floor. Now, if I just hacked into the security console at the door and took out the guard at the desk, I could leave without a single-
Suddenly the alarm went off and guards came streaming out of the walls towards the front entrance. Miguel had followed my route over the vent and was making an assault on the complex, with nothing but a pistol in hand.
“I’ve got you covered!” he yelled.
Swearing, I grabbed an assault rifle from the desk and reloaded it as I smashed through the giant window beside me to stand at his side as the guards attacked. I headshotted the guard next to him, he took out a dog racing for my tender loins. Just when I thought it was over, Miguel swung around and crashed straight through the window behind me to shoot a guard point-blank in the face.
“I’m ready for business.” He growled.
We came out of it sweating, low on health, and with our last med-kit gone- but alive. It was clear that Miguel was a loose cannon. Out of control. He’d be lucky if his overenthusiasm didn’t kill us both. Deciding not to go through that again, I told him stay back and wait for my signal and infiltrated the vents towards the nanotech labs, exiting in the perfect position to zap a man in black unconcious before he could say a word. I stole his stealth pistol as the scientists blabbered hysterically about endo-nucleaseys and vivo, and made for the door.
There was a big red button at the door.
“No, don’t press that!” shrieked a scientist. “You’ll release the greasels!”
Suddenly, I spotted Miguel running toward me, obviously having gotten bored with just standing around. Saving the reprimand for later, I ushered him in, shut the door, and released the Greasels.
It was carnage. The alarm went off, the cage doors opened, and huge packs of genetically-mutated monstrosities came pouring out of the cages. The guards were no match for them, plowing away at them haplessly with their assault rifles before being taken down by their toxic spit. It was glorious.
Until my terrorist friend opened the door, yelling “I’m ready for business!”
“I’m going for a stealth run, you idiot!” I yelled at his back.
Cursing my companions over-enthusiasm, I took out my stealth pistol and jumped out the window all over again, struggling to take down the monstrous chicken-lizard creatures before Miguel succumbed to them. Running out of ammo and cornered like a rat, he switched to a knife and began trying to cut the creatures apart by hand.
One quickload and a succession of hilarious mishaps later, we had slaughtered everyone in range and found my brother Paul’s body. He was lying face down on a slab, the scientists cutting him apart like day-old leftovers. I took a moment to stare at the body. Now it was just me and Miguel, my only friend in the world.
“Stay Alert!” he yelled. “I’m ready for business!”
The relationship between us was getting strained. I was sick of saving his overconfident rookie ass, and the trash-talk over my brothers dead body didn’t help anything. Fed up and feeling alone, I decided to sneak into MJ12 secret army without him. I told him to make his own way back to base- I would take him no further. This was the end for the crime-busting duo of Denton and Miguel. With a single sad half-cry of “I’ve got you covered,” he obeyed.
Having snuck in to MJ12’s secret armoury, still downcast, I was suddenly surrounded by a Bot- a giant attack robot, so big that a single one could surround you on it’s own, with rocket launchers primed and aimed at me. I’d let Miguel go, and there was no-one to save me now. I activated my agressive defense system aug as fast as I could. It detonated the first rocket before it got into range, but I knew my bio-energy wouldn’t hold out for long. As soon as one hit me, I was dead. I crouched down into the fetal position and waited helplessly for the game over screen…
Until Miguel came charging through the door with a GEP gun. Blasting at the mech without a sound, he blew it to pieces with a well-timed rocket to the head.
“Mi-Miguel!” I gasped. “You came back! Where… where the hell did you get a GEP gun from?”
It was hard to see through the stiff, emotionless, face mask, but I thought I saw him smile.
“I’ve got you covered.” he told me.
From then on, we were unstoppable. Raiding the armoury, we decked ourselves out with every weapon and ammo mod we could find and carved a bloody swathe to the front door of the facility. The final obstacle was a giant steel door, the only thing between us and freedom.
“You lead.” Grinned miguel.
I took the first steps through- and what did I see, but the UNATCO headquarters. This was what my superiors had been hiding from me the whole time. I’d been betrayed, manipulated, made a fool.
I turned to miguel, to see what he thought- only to see nothing but the mirror reflection of perfect glass.
“Miguel!” I screamed, and pounded back to the entrance. The door had sealed shut behind me, and now miguel was trapped in the facility- unable to handle the door lock. I could hear his feet helplessly pounding as he ran into the door helplessly, trying to get through to me- but it was too late. I couldn’t open the door from this side. He was trapped. There was nothing I could do. Nothing but my cold reflection stared back at me.
I was a broken man, unable to save even one poor rookie in this world. Morose, I plodded out through UNATCO headquarters, barely caring enough to utter Anna Navarre’s killphrase. I reached Jock’s escape helicopter without even being aware of the space in between. I listlessly climber onto the helipad and got ready to escape.
But as I did, something happened. I heard a sound.
Just as Jock finished talking, before he began to lift off in the helicopter, some dialogue scrolled across the bottom of the screen. No voice, just text, the way Deus Ex does when someone says something out of range of your hearing.
“Good luck, JC.” it said. “I can make it on my own from here.”
And somehow, from then on, I knew: Miguel was going to be all right.
I think he might still be out there, somewhere. A dark alley, a ruthless mugger, someone in distress, and a strange, vaguely-foriegn figure swoops down from the rooftops.
“I’ve got you covered.” it says. And the city knows: He’s right.
–Jack McNamee has attachment issues, but don’t hold that against him. He just wants to hold you. Is that so wrong?