Strafe: Lethal Forces is a summer 2016 open world third-person shooter/action-adventure game developed by Inora for the The V². The sequel to late 2015's Strafe: Lethal Seven, the game draws on both various Strafe games, as well as Leah Needlenam's lore with various new spins on previously established mythos, being the second installment in the Lethalverse.
Following the events of Lethal Seven, Strafe is caught up in a battle against a mysterious terrorist organization known as the Lethal Forces alongside a psychotic woman named Leah Needlenam. The two form a reluctant alliance in order to stop the organization, but the authorities intervene and things quickly get very complicated.
The game was announced under the working title Strafe & Leah: Lethal Forces at the Fantendo Carnival Showcase 2016. Reception for the game has been (TBA).
Chapter 1: Hold On
Strafe has a few meetings. None of them are for the better.
The game's opening chapter begins with a wide shot of New York City, the bright and bustling streets providing a nice contrast to the previous game's setting.
- ???: I'm doing okay. It's a nice change.
The next shot shows Strafe, wearing a jet black leather suit that is rather different from his other outfits, driving down the street on a motorcycle. He puts on his helmet, obscuring his face, and revs up his motorcycle.
- Strafe: This place isn't as bad as Noah, not by a long shot, but everywhere has it's problems. And that's where I come in, because I don't think I could live in a place where everything was completely right, honestly.
The player is then given control of Strafe in a driving tutorial where he must drive through the city, without breaking any laws, and use the new mini-map to reach a dilapidated hospital on the outskirts of the city.
Strafe dismounts his motorcycle and parks in front of the hospital, his motorcycle the only sign of recent activity. On foot, he heads to the hospital up the hill, teaching the revamped climbing system.
- Strafe: Not getting paid for your good deeds is something hard to get accustomed to, sure, but at least the jobs I get are a little more varied. Not sure what I'm getting myself into this time.
Strafe gets out his Colt Defender handgun and fires the lock off of the hospital's door, slamming into the door, shoulder-first, to break through it. Inside, dried blood stains line the wall and the lights flicker on and off.
- Strafe: A woman lives here. From what I hear, she's lost her mind...totally holed herself up in this ratty hospital and is stockpiling drugs and weapons. No matter what she has in mind, I know from experience that it's bad to let people have a lot of either of those things.
Strafe navigates through the labyrinth like hospital, solving puzzles, climbing, and picking up some goodies to prepare him for the journey ahead. Upon starting up and reaching the elevator, he heads for the basement, where he finds the mysterious person, a purple-haired young woman in a white jacket, injecting herself with a syringe.
- Strafe: Look, lady, I don't want any trouble. I'm here to help the police, so if you can just turn over the weapons and drugs, there doesn't have to be a fight.
- Young Woman:...Who the fuck are you?
The young woman then picks up a scalpel and tosses it at Strafe's head, but he creates a Light Shield around himself just a second before it hits him, causing the scalpel to fall to the ground. The woman gets up, clearly agitated, and pulls the syringe out of her arm, setting it on the table.
- Strafe: So you want a fight, then?
- Young Woman: Not really, Anime Hair, but if I must...
- Strafe: My name isn't Anime Hair! And...who the hell are you?
- Young Woman: Leah Needlenam. I don't need to know your name.
Strafe shrugs and the two get into fighting position.
Although Strafe defeats Leah, she's clearly not your average person, having enhanced strength, reflexes, and speed, as well as being armed with a large arsenal of dangerous weapons and medical tools she improvises with.
- Strafe: I have no interest in killing you, Needleman-
- Leah: It's Needlenam, prick.
- Strafe: Whatever, the point is that-
Strafe is interrupted again by an explosion that destroys the ceiling, various troops dropping in and attacking Strafe and Leah.
- Strafe: You know these guys?!
- Leah: Fuck no!
The two then reluctantly fight against the soldiers, the player getting to control Leah and learn her own abilities and playstyle as they fight the seemingly never-ending hoard of mysterious assailants. After a while, Strafe creates a Light Portal and motions for Leah to jump through it.
- Leah: Wait, hold on, I'm not using your magic bullsh-
- Strafe: If you wanna live, go!
Leah groans but hops through the portal and Strafe follows, closing the portal behind them. They come out in another portal outside the hospital, where they see a truck with the icon of a cross on it. Leah looks visibly shook.
- Strafe: Leah, you okay?
- Leah: Fuck...d-don't worry about me. We need to go.
- Strafe: Wait, we?
Leah gets out a syringe and injects Strafe with it before he can react, knocking him out cold. She sighs and looks at his motorcycle.
- Leah: I could leave him here...
She sighs and lugs his body over her shoulder before getting on the motorcycle and putting on his helmet.
- Leah: Smells like cheap cologne...ugh.
She drives off, ending the first chapter.
Chapter 2: Call Me Jack
Strafe and his new pal get somewhat acquainted.
Strafe wakes up on the cold hard ground, in a dimly lit room. As his eyes slowly open, he looks around to see a staircase leading up and out of the dark room, a table where Leah is sitting, and several cheap bottles of beer on that table. He gets up and groans, glaring at her as he does so, and she yawns.
- Leah: You're finally up, holy fuck! You're a heavy sleeper, blueberry.
- Strafe: How long have I been out? Where are we? Where's my motorcycle?
Strafe aims his hand at Leah threateningly and she snorts, taking a swig of beer before putting her feet up on the table.
- Leah: I don't answer questions on command, douchebag. And I don't take orders, either.
- Strafe: I wouldn't have any part in this if you DIDN'T kidnap me and steal my fucking motorcycle!
- Leah: Kidnap you? I saved your life, you idiot.
- Strafe: Oh thanks, I'm very grateful.
- Leah: Look, I didn't do this out of the goodness of my own heart. If those assholes got their hands on you, a ton of people would be super fucked.
Strafe rubs his head and tries to take an unopened beer bottle from the table. Leah swats his hand and he growls at her.
- Leah: Oh, fine, take a beer. Just with the hair and all, you struck me as more of a Strawberry Daiquiri person.
Strafe looks at her, confused, and screws off the bottle cap with his hand, taking a sip of the cheap beer. He paces back and forth.
- Strafe: Those people, who are they? You clearly know them, by the way you talk about them.
Leah looks uncomfortable and mutters to herself before chugging down some of her beer.
- Leah: They're called the...the Lethal Forces. They're like a freaky cult and black ops team had one shitty baby.
- Strafe: Who are they after, then, me or you?
- Leah: Me. But now that you killed some of their soldiers, I'd guess that they wouldn't mind having your head too. Sorry 'bout that.
Strafe groans and looks at the staircase. Leah pulls out a Browning Hi-Power pistol and points it toward Strafe's chest. He sighs and heads to walk away anyways.
- Leah: The syringe I stabbed you with? It didn't just put you to sleep, it got rid of your magic temporarily too. If I shoot you, you won't be making any special magic light shields of life, pretty boy.
- Strafe: You're bluffing. You saved my life, you wouldn't shoot me now.
- Leah: Sure I would. I know how to get rid of a body, then the Lethal Forces never get you in their hands. I move somewhere else where they won't find me for a while, everybody wins.
- Strafe: I know how people like you think, Leah. You would've already killed me if you wanted me dead.
- Leah: Fine, whatever. But you're not leaving. They're out for you, and they're not going to stop hunting. You'd be valuable to them.
- Strafe: Why? To torture me? To tell them where you are?
- Leah: Both of those, yes, but they'll also want your blood. Granted that your magic isn't bullshit. At this point, I'm not too fuckin' sure.
- Strafe: Unfortunately, it's real.
The two then hear a gunshot and quickly look at the ceiling above them. Strafe runs up the staircase and Leah follows, getting her gun out.
The slightly tipsy Leah with a handgun and an unarmed Strafe with no magic walk up the staircase and enter a quaint little bar. Strafe looks unnerved as he sees three soldiers pointing their guns at the two, and the bullet riddled bodies of the bartender and patrons scattered across the tiny building.
- Strafe: My god...
Leah runs over to the bartender and looks shocked. The soldiers keep their guns out and aimed at the two, but don't fire just yet. Strafe stays still, presumably planning his next move.
- Soldier: Come with us.
Leah looks down at the bartender's dead body and her face gets red. She grips her gun hard and turns to them, her eyebrows starting to furrow.
- Leah: You...you fuckers killed Tracy. No more.
Leah shoots the soldier at the head of the trio in the head, piercing his helmet and causing him to fall to the ground, lifeless. The other two fire at Strafe and Leah, who duck behind a bar table.
- Strafe: When's that serum gonna wear-
- Leah: Shut the fuck up and fight them!
Strafe sighs and nods, and the two, both against the armored soldiers with guns, engage in a bar fight with them. Strafe can't use magic here and Leah is a bit wonkier to control because of the beers she's had, but the two end up suceeding by using their enviorment and it's objects (the tables, beer bottles, and chairs) to kill the soldiers.
- Strafe: We just murdered three people and everyone else here is dead. What the hell do we do?
- Leah: This isn't a "we" thing. Leave New York. I'll leave too. They'll probably forget about your ass and end up leaving you alone. And I...I'll keep moving. You don't fight them. These dead people, here? That's what the fuck happens when you fight them.
- Strafe: I'm not leaving, Leah. I don't run from my problems.
- Leah: Jesus Christ, you don't get it. They have bases all over the world. These soldiers are just disposable lackeys, you haven't even seen their REAL soldiers! Your friends, your family, anyone you love, will die. I know.
- Strafe: I don't have anyone to lose, Leah. And after this, you don't either.
Leah angrily throws a punch at Strafe, but he steps back and looks to her. Leah sighs and looks down.
- Strafe: You don't like me very much. And I don't like you, either. But we both have a reason to take these guys down. And if we die, then at least we'll have taken some of them down along the way.
- Leah: Two people who dislike each other, have no safe place to go, and are against a giant terrorist organization. Great fuckin' odds.
- Strafe: You in?
- Leah: I know a place to start.
Strafe walks out the door and Leah does the same. The bar's glowing sign provides some light as we see the city at sunset, and the abandoned bar's name is shown to be East Pine.
- Leah: Hey, I just realized, I don't even know your name. What is it, something like Stephan? Brad? Marcus?
- Strafe: Strafe Lockborn. Just Strafe to you, though.
- Leah: Oh my god. I'm not calling you that anime shit, if this is gonna work out. Are you for real?
- Strafe: Completely. And your name is Needlenam, how is mine any more silly?
- Leah: Regardless, Strife. Pick a nickname, something I can call you when I'm making fun of you.
- Strafe: Ugh, I dunno...how about, Jack? Yeah, call me Jack.
- Leah: Alright, Jack, let's go.
Strafe sighs and Leah walks off, motioning for him to follow. They walk off to an uncertain future, ending the chapter.
Chapter 3: A Place to Start
Strafe and Leah get to work.
From here, players are given complete control of Strafe and Leah and are allowed to roam around and complete side missions. Upon arriving back at East Pine, Leah pulls out a piece of paper from her pocket. Strafe looks intrigued.
- Strafe: What's that?
- Leah: Our place to start, Jack.
He reaches to take it from her and she swats his hand, growling.
- Leah: You'll probably wrinkle it.
Strafe rolls his eyes as she shows him the paper, an address written down on it in permanent black marker. He hops onto his motorcycle as she ruffles through her shirt pockets.
- Strafe: What's the address for?
Leah pulls a car key out of her shirt pocket and clicks the button on it as Strafe looks over to see the lights on a large, rugged jeep turn on. He looks surprised.
- Strafe: Why didn't we just use that the whole time?
- Leah: It's a spare. I didn't expect having to leave my hospital, but because of a certain blue-haired monkey-
- Strafe: Wait, how did you get enough money to buy a spare je-nevermind. I'll stop asking questions.
Leah nods and hops in the jeep, starting the engine. Strafe revs up his motorcycle as she sets the scrap on her dashboard.
- Leah: It's for a shelter of sorts...other people that the Lethal Forces fucked with live there. Some of 'em I know, some I don't...they might know where we can find one of those chucklefucks.
- Strafe:...That sounds like a logical thought process. Still new to the city, I'll follow your lead.
Leah scoffs and drives off before Strafe can even get going.
- Strafe: Hey!
Strafe dashes off and catches up with her, looking annoyed. She shrugs and turns the radio on.
- Leah: I take offense to your comment. I'm crazy, not stupid.
She then speeds off and Strafe groans, following behind her. The two can explore in their vehicles, but must follow the mini-map to a run down, but rather large house in the middle of New York. Upon arrival, they park outside the shelter.
Strafe dismounts his motorcycle.
- Strafe: Took you long enough.
Leah picks up and throws a shotgun to him, getting out of her jeep and looking skyward at the building.
- Leah: Snarky and rude doesn't look good on you. Stick to the gruff, straight man persona.
Strafe opens his mouth to reply, but then just shakes his head.
- Strafe: What's the gun for? I thought you were friendly with these guys?
- Leah: As friendly as I get with people. The gun's not for them, it's for any thug around here. These are slums, thus why they could afford to live here.
Strafe grunts as Leah walks up the steps to the house's door. She loudly knocks on it repeatedly, as he covers his ears.
- Strafe: Jesus...
A woman who's a few years younger than Leah answers the door. She's holding a switchblade just in case, but backs down when she sees Leah.
- Leah: Holy fuck, is that how you greet everyone around here?
- ???: Nah, only the people I like.
The young woman puts the switchblade away and hugs Leah. Leah looks uncomfortable as Strafe snickers to himself. The woman stares at Strafe.
- ???: Who's the ding dong?
- Leah:...That's a good one. His name is Jack-
- Strafe: It's Strafe.
- Leah:...And we're trying to take down the Lethal Forces, Emmy.
Emmy opens her mouth but then covers it, looking around and motioning for them to follow her inside. The two do so and find a number of poor people walking around inside. Leah sits down on the couch, while Strafe opts to stand.
- Emmy: This is a...change of heart, Leah. To say the least.
- Leah: You always were the responsible type.
Emmy chuckles and looks around the house. Strafe looks like he's full of questions as he taps his foot.
- Emmy: I used to think about fighting them...but you wouldn't come. You didn't.
With a guilty expression on her face, Leah looks down. Strafe idly inspects the raggedy wallpaper.
- Emmy: This is a house for people looking to move on together. Leah...we'll always be friends. But I'm not gonna fight my past. I can't lose anyone else.
Leah stands up and sighs. Emmy looks to her, disappointed.
- Leah: Where's the bathroom?
- Emmy: To the left, down the hall.
Leah walks over while Strafe leans against the wall. Emmy looks him over.
- Emmy: Why are you here? You're not one of the test subjects.
Strafe shakes his head.
- Strafe: No. But they're after me, because I helped Leah out. I used to run from threats...but I learned that that's not a solution at all. You have to confront your past.
Emmy nods and picks a picture up off the table, looking at it.
- Emmy: Tell that to Leah. I was willing to fight. I was willing to love her. But she gave up on both of those things after they killed the person she cared about most.
- Strafe: Who?
- Emmy: Her name was Moni-
Leah comes back from the bathroom and looks at them, her eyebrows narrowed. They quickly shut up.
- Strafe: But anyways! We're not asking you to fight. We just need to know where to begin.
- Leah: Thought you might know where we could find one of their bases, Em.
Emmy shakes her head as they hear a car drive by.
- Emmy: It's been 3 years. Too long to remember.
Strafe grunts and begins to walk for the door, Leah sadly following behind him. Emmy begins to speak when their door is smashed down, knocking Strafe to the ground.
From outside, they see Lethal Force soldiers at their doorstep, guns in hand. At the front of them is a large, imposing woman in a suit of black armor. An icy blue bandanna covers the bottom half of her face.
- Emmy: It's Kireth.
Strafe then teleports away suddenly, Leah and Emmy looking frustrated.
They put up their hands as the people behind them run away in terror.
- Kireth: Those soldiers you killed, Leah, were part of my division. The Twisted Cross doesn't forget such a betrayal.
- Emmy: Twisted Cross? Is that what you call yourselves nowadays?
- Leah: Fucking Winter Pact bastards...
Kireth aims her gun at Leah's forehead. Leah begins to reach for her pistol as Kireth then pulls out a second gun which she aims at Emmy's chest.
- Kireth: I'd kill you if it was up to me. But according to the High Priestess...you're the savior. So I'll kill your friend instead...but any carnage can be avoided if you simply rejoin our holy cause.
Leah groans and Emmy shakes her head.
- Emmy: Leah, I'm so proud of you fighting back. Let me die. Fight her.
Kireth growls, when Strafe reappears behind her, smashing her in the head with his shotgun. She falls down and Strafe tosses Emmy a pistol.
- Strafe: Had to make a supply run.
- Leah: You sly fucker...
Emmy nods in gratitude and runs off to help her fellow victims. Strafe runs over to his motorcycle and hops onto it, Leah following him and hopping onto her jeep. The Twisted Cross soldiers look around, baffled. Kireth gets up and shakes with rage.
- Kireth: Follow them, idiots!
The soldiers pack up into an armored truck with the Twisted Cross icon on it, and Kireth hops into the driver's seat, getting her phone out as the duo escape.
- Kireth: We need backup. Big backup.
Players are given control of Strafe and Leah once more as they race through the city's streets, trying to escape the massive armored truck trailing them. Upon evading them for a period of time, the two spot a jet black helicopter armed with a turret flying towards them.
- Leah: Fuck this day!
- Strafe: Yeah, that describes my feelings too!
Leah's jeep swerves around and crashes into the front of the armored truck, sending them both spiraling out of control.
- Strafe: You take the truck, I'll take the helicopter!
- Leah: I don't take orders...but that's probably a good idea.
From here, players are given control of Leah, who has to ram into the side of the armored truck and dodge it's attacks to damage it, while the player controlling Strafe has to evade the turret and use his light magic to destroy the helicopter. The truck speeds off as it catches fire, while the helicopter explodes in mid air.
- Strafe: Sorry about that...
They both park and step out of their vehicles. Panting, they look around to see that the roads are mostly empty.
- Leah: Is it election day?
- Strafe: We didn't have those in Noah, so I'm not entirely sure.
- Leah: I was being sarcast-
The two then hear sirens as police cars surround them.
- Strafe: Oh, shit.
Strafe grabs Leah's arm, and as she begins to yell at him they teleport away in a flash of light. The duo then reappear inside the hull of a truck, knocked out soldiers around them.
- Leah: First of all, tell me about that magic shit if you're gonna involve me. Second of all, where the hell are we?!
Strafe motions for her to be quiet. She begins to snap at him when he snaps and points to the driver's seat, an injured Kireth driving the truck. He whispers to her.
- Strafe: We're following her straight to their base.
Leah grins and stretches out her feet as they ride the truck to the Twisted Cross base.
Chapter 4: Hello, Leah
The two confront their enemy, and learn new things about their plan.
Kireth parks outside the Twisted Cross base, a large secluded fortress on the outskirts of New York City. She grunts and turns her car key when Leah conks her on the head with a soldier's helmet.
- Leah: You're lucky I didn't kill you, bitch.
Strafe shudders and opens the truck's door, climbing out. He offers to help Leah out but she swats his hand away and follows behind him.
- Strafe: Remind me not to get on your bad side, Leah.
- Leah: You'll know, Jack.
He raises his hand to ask what she means, but Leah is already at the doors of the fortress. They find it locked, and Leah gets out a needle.
- Strafe: Need a hit? Couldn't this wai-
Leah sticks the needle inside the lock and twists and jangles it around, picking the lock and opening the doors. Strafe looks stunned.
- Strafe:...Nice one.
- Leah: You learn things when you're a soldier.
- Strafe: A soldier? Maybe I don't know you as well as I think I do.
She shakes her head and laughs, walking into the building. He shrugs and enters the base, while we go back to the truck. Inside it, Kireth groans and stirs.
As soon as they get inside their headquarters, soldiers confront them on both sides. Leah sighs and Strafe stands opposite of her, preparing for a fight.
- Strafe: Never a moment of rest...
- Leah: That's how they train these fuckers.
One soldier steps forward and offers a hand to Leah, while the other soldiers all aim their guns at Strafe. He shakes his head and sighs.
- Soldier: Ms. Needlenam, I presume.
- Leah: Yeah, G.I. Joe, what's it to you?
He laughs and takes his helmet off. Strafe looks behind to see the Twisted Cross icon branded onto his head, causing him to wince.
- Strafe: These are some fucked up people, and I say that as a former citizen of Noah.
The soldiers step forward towards Strafe and he puts his hands up. Leah looks over the soldier.
- Leah: Yeah, they really got to you...
- Soldier: I bring a message from your mother-
- Leah: Syringe is NOT my mother.
- Soldier: High Priestess Syringe apologizes for any unpleasantness...she wants you to come home. To stop this nonsense and join her in the search for the box, taking your rightful place as the savi-
Leah slams her fist into the soldier's face, knocking him out, as she takes the pistol from his belt.
- Strafe: No pistol for me?!
- Leah: You'll manage!
The two then break out into a fight with the soldiers, taking them out using what resources they have. They turn to the left hallway and start to walk forward.
- Strafe: The lady who runs this group is your mom? Jesus, Leah, you're not very good at sharing information!
- Leah: Mother's not a great term for it...think more of a hypocritical, narcissistic psychopath baby stealer.
- Strafe: Yeah, I got problems with my dad too.
- Leah: Feel much like sharing?
This shuts up Strafe, who quietly follows behind her. The two navigate the Lethal Forces base, taking out the guards and navigating the labyrinth like structure, using subtle clues in the environment to guide themselves to the center of the maze. Inside, they find an office with a picture on the desk. Leah looks down at it and gasps.
- Strafe: What's so special about it?
Leah picks the picture up and looks at it, showing a young woman with blue hair. Her name is shown to be Monica Salvirr, with a codename under it adressing her as X-Ray.
- Leah: Why would they have a picture of h-
The duo hear footsteps behind them and turn around to see Kireth, who has a gun aimed at the both of them. She laughs to herself.
- Kireth: Hello, Leah. I knew that little trap would work, you always were over-emotional. I liked it when you were out of the picture...Susan always loved you the most.
- Leah: Gee, I'm so glad. Is that head wound gonna bruise?
- Kireth: Bruises are nothing. I'm not weak like you.
Kireth pulls out a syringe and injects it into her neck. Strafe creates light in his hand, as Kireth blasts ice at the two. They jump out of the way, but only narrowly evade her attack.
- Kireth: Soon I'll kill you both...as far as everyone will know, you attacked me and I had to kill you in self defense. It'll put an end to your story...and only begin mine.
- Leah: You really are insane, Kireth.
She creates ice over her hands as the two prepare for a battle.
They defeat Kireth, who falls to the ground, near dead. She breathes heavily, and motions for Leah and Strafe to come close. Leah pulls out a pistol to kill her, but Strafe stops Leah.
- Strafe: We should hear what she has to say.
- Leah: Fine.
Kireth's skin slowly starts to turn blue from the chemical as she gasps and grabs Leah's leg. She whispers something.
- Kireth: I'm...I'm free...my...my desk...
Kireth chokes as her body freezes up. Leah steps away and kicks her body out of the way. Strafe looks confused.
- Strafe: Look, Leah...I need to know what she meant. If we're in this together, I have to know the whole story.
Leah sighs and sits down in Kireth's chair. She hesitantly nods as Strafe leans against the wall, intently listening.
- Leah: You know how the American government did some fucked up shit during the Cold War?
- Strafe:...I'm an immigrant, Leah.
- Leah: The point is that the American government did some fucked up shit during the Cold War.
He nods and Leah idly spins around in the chair as we see a baby with a full head of purple hair laying and screaming in a house alone. Gunshots are heard as a young woman with dirty blonde hair walks into the room and grins, picking the child up. She runs her hand through the baby's hair.
- Leah: A little known faction of the government during this time was called the Lethal Forces. The CIA was interested in psychological warfare, but this organization...they wanted to use science to attack the enemy. Serums and chemicals that gave people unnatural abilities...creating super soldiers out of children stolen from their parents.
We see the baby being placed in a crib inside a cold, harsh base with a gray and black color scheme. Slowly, the child ages, and the crib changes into a bed. The child eventually turns into a teenaged Leah.
- Leah: Fuckheads that they were, the group used manipulation and psychological conditioning to create devout soldiers. But the Lethal Forces had alternative plans, one besides serving their government. The leader, a woman named Susan Philth...she and a close inner circle had a plan to use the soldiers for their own plan.
- Strafe: Which was?
The scene snaps back to reality as Leah glares at Strafe.
- Leah: Let me tell the story, asswipe.
He nods and the scene goes back to the flashback. Leah is training, and is shown sparring against a younger Kireth as well as operating on a fellow soldier.
- Leah: Philth and her cronies were deeply religious...in some kind of twisted, fucked up way. They thought the entire world was made of sinners. Shit like war and murder and rape...the entire planet was like a festering hive of sin to them. So they planned on using the soldiers to peform coups on the governments of the world and enstate a new world order of peace and prosperity...as long as everyone followed their orders like mindless slaves.
- Strafe: Sounds kinda fuckin' hard to pull off.
- Leah: Yeah, she knew. Apparently they had heard of a treasure, some kind of box they called the Ark, that would grant them the power to mind control people on a massive scale. Make them follow her every order. I always thought it was some bullshit. But she believed in it, at least, and she thought I was some kinda savior, according to a fortune teller lady she met.
- Strafe: What a nut.
- Leah: You think? I had subscribed to all this crap...because I was told to. Because they scared me, and they scared me into believing they were doing the right thing. My final exam, to join her inner circle, was to kill a test subject they had found.
We see the younger Leah and Monica talking, the blue haired woman in a cell while Leah sits against the bars.
- Leah: Monica...Monica Salvirr. They called her X-Ray. We weren't supposed to talk with the test subjects...but I took a liking to her. We started talking, and we became friends, and one day...I fell in love with her. I couldn't do it. I freed Monica, and a couple of people, the people you met, escaped with me. But Syringe...she killed Monica. I was helpless to save her. A gunshot to the throat...only God, if he even really fucking exists, could've saved her. I never wanted to love again...I wanted to hide away and die. Emmy offered me a place at the house...but I decided to settle in an abandoned hospital. A constant reminder of my failure to protect Monica.
Monica is shown bleeding out, desperately gripping onto Leah's hand. Leah sobs while Emmy tries to pull her along, the Lethal Forces in pursuit of her.
- Strafe: Oh my god, Leah...I'm so sorry.
We go back to the present, as Leah holds in tears and turns away. She clears her throat and Strafe stands up, walking over.
- Leah: But you, Jack, as much as I hate to admit it...got me caught back up in this stupid fight. So...thanks for that, I guess.
- Strafe: Thanks for trusting me.
Leah wipes her eyes and takes a deep breath, opening the cabinet on Kireth's desk. She pulls out a folded map, as Strafe raises his eyebrow.
- Strafe: What's this?
A devilish smirk comes onto Leah's face as she unfolds the map, showing various points across the globe, one of them being New York City. The other points show London, Tokyo, Paris, Mexico City, and a city nearby Noah named Talis.
- Leah: Up for a trip to London, Jack?
- Strafe: Sure, why the hell not.
Leah sighs and gets out of the chair as they look to the door. Leah folds the map and sticks it into her pocket as they run off out of the base.
Chapter 5: Dead on Arrival
Strafe and Leah's flight to London goes awry.
The duo make it out of the now abandoned Twisted Cross base, when Strafe stops in his tracks. Leah, map in hand, turns around once at the door of Kireth's armored truck and glares at him.
- Leah: Look, Tall, Blue, and Stupid, we have a place to be and not a lot of time to be there.
- Strafe: Insults aside, Leah, how the hell are we going to get to London?
Leah hops in the driver's seat eagerly and motions for him to follow. He sighs and hops in the passenger's seat, as she starts the vehicle up.
- Leah: I know this crazy chick-
- Strafe: That's not a surprise.
Leah rolls her eyes and pulls out of the base. He shrugs and smiles a little.
- Strafe: Just trying out the sarcastic thing.
- Leah: Please, leave it to me. Or never speak, either works. Anyways, this crazy chick...
The player is then given control of the armored truck and they're allowed to explore New York City while their conversation plays out.
- Leah: She's an engineer who owns a cargo plane, we get along pretty well.
- Strafe: You getting along with someone?
- Leah: I know, it's a miracle. But she's a...decent pilot. It's also free, which given both of our finanical standings, is damn good news.
Strafe raises his eyebrows as he looks over at her.
- Strafe: You hesitated before you called her decent. That sounds bad.
- Leah: You have any better ideas?
Strafe raises his hand, but as Leah looks at him, he sheepishly lowers it. From here, the mini-map shows the two their next destination.
- Leah: Just a warning, she's a bit of a nut. Actually, that might be an understatement.
He shakes his head and the two are allowed to explore, stock up on weapons and items, or complete side quests before they follow the mini-map to a junkyard on the outskirts of the city. A small barn is next to the heaps of garbage, as is a runway with a small, rusty cargo plane. Leah gets out of the truck, and Strafe cautiously follows.
- Leah: It's a junkyard, you must feel at home.
- Strafe: I was just going to ask you the same thing.
Leah smirks at Strafe and is just about to come up with a witty retort when a woman walks out of the barn. She has dark blue hair and eyes, as well as a black top and shorts. Besides the tattoes on her stomach, her most interesting traits are her rabbit ears and tail. She has a shotgun pointed at the duo when she recognizes Leah.
- ???: Oh, hi Leah!
- Leah: Hey, Rabbit Ears.
The woman twirls around her shotgun as Strafe looks uncomfortable. She walks back to the barn, and motions for them to follow.
- ???: Come on in, Leah! Bring your lackey.
Annoyed, Strafe mutters to himself as Leah, with a proud grin on her face, quickly follows behind the woman. They walk into the barn, a cluttered and messy makeshift house with the walls covered in posters and and news articles about an android terrorist named Cura. Strafe looks around, both intrigued and disturbed.
- Leah: This is Jack-
- Strafe: My name is Strafe.
The woman enthusiastically shakes Strafe's hand before turning around and going back to her desk. Strafe wrings his wrist.
- ???: Well, Strafe-Jack, my name is Chelsea. Chelsea Rench. What's up, Leah?
Strafe mouths "What the fuck?" to Leah, who ignores him and leans against the wall. Meanwhile, Chelsea is hard at work.
- Leah: We need fast, no questions asked travel to London.
Chelsea turns around, a wild grin on her face and a newly made wrench in hand. Strafe eyes the wooden door, as Leah covertly swats his hand.
- Chelsea: I'm your gal! Long as you don't mind a bit of a bumpy ride...food's not great either...
She trails off into a conversation with herself as Leah holds the door open for her. Strafe walks up behind them, but Chelsea lets the door close behind her. He grunts and opens the barn door, following the two to Chelsea's cargo plane.
- Strafe: Can't be worse than Noah's flight service...
The three hop into the cargo plane as the cutscene ends.
As Chelsea walks into the plane's cockpit, Strafe and Leah sit on top of two crates in the back of the empty and cold steel cargo hold. Smoke starts coming from the controls, but after Chelsea hits it with her new wrench, it stops leaking out. Strafe laughs to himself at the absurdity of their current situation.
- Leah: Y'know, I'm no psychiatrist, but being around so many crazy fuckers can't be good for your mental health. Not like I care, but still.
Strafe waves her off as the plane starts to stutter down the runway, bumping around. Strafe clings onto a bar on the wall to hold himself still, while Leah analyzes him.
- Strafe: It's been like this my whole life, Leah. I don't really expect change.
Leah seems intrigued by this as the plane barely makes it off the ground, turbulence rocking the plane side to side. Strafe idly twirls his thumbs.
- Leah: And here I was thinking you had no hidden depths.
- Strafe: Despite my simple, rugged appearance?
Leah chuckles as they hold onto anything they can find to avoid sliding into the back of the plane.
- Strafe: Noah was a bad place. People would fight and die just so their children could escape slavery or worse. They'd steal from their friends and their family just to get some kinda last meal. There's only a few people I know who could brighten up that shithole...my mom was one of them.
- Leah: What about Jack Senior?
Before Strafe can respond, the plane is violently knocked around, sending the two flying back. Strafe grabs onto a crate and Leah just barely takes his hand before slamming into the steel wall with a quick button press.
- Leah: Rabbit Ears! What the hell is going on up there?!
Chelsea is busy softly caressing a picture of Cura when she looks up to see missiles flying towards their plane. She sighs.
- Chelsea: Well, on the bright side, we're going to get there faster. On the less bright side, we're going to be dead on arrival!
Leah turns to Strafe to ask what they should do next, as he teleports away in a flash of light. She groans, and grabs onto the box he was holding onto.
- Leah: That fucker REALLY needs to start warning me when he's going to do that!
Strafe appears above the missiles and starts to freefall, as players regain control of him. He narrowly grabs onto the three missiles headed for the ship and destroys them, but the plane is still careening down past the clouds. He dives down beneath the plane and uses a Light Shield to slow the plane's descent, before teleporting back inside the plane.
- Leah: Thanks for the warning!
- Strafe: There was no time!
The two bicker while Chelsea steers the plane as far right as she can, causing it to roughly land in an open plain miles off from London. The plane's exit hatch makes a creaking noise, before slamming down onto the grass.
- Strafe: That was DEFINITELY worse than Noah's flight service.
Leah shrugs it off and hops off the crate, walking out onto the plains. Strafe and Chelsea follow behind her, Chelsea trailing her hand across the steel surface of the cargo plane. It's clearly in a bad state, parts of it smoking and other sections of the plane either burning or mangled by the crash. She sighs and puts her hands on her hips.
- Chelsea: I can fix this...but it'll take time, Leah. I reccommend that you and Strafe-Jack check out the sights. Maybe bring me back a souvenier!
Chelsea excitedly gets to work on the plane as Leah and Strafe look out at the city in the distance. Strafe wipes the sweat off his brow and Leah sighs.
- Leah: Let's make ourselves busy and find those Twisted Cross bastards.
- Strafe: Y'know, Leah, that's something I can get behind.
Chelsea retrieves tools from the cargo boxes while the two begin to walk off towards London.
Chapter 6: Jack and the Rippers
The two turn to an expert for information and encounter a violent gang.
Once in London, the two look up at the massive city's skyline. Leah takes out her phone and snaps a picture of the Elizabeth Tower in the distance, while Strafe sighs.
- Strafe: Leah, this city is gigantic. Where the hell are we supposed to even start to track down the Twisted Cross?
Leah smirks and looks down at her phone, typing something. Strafe puts his hands on his sides.
- Leah: I know a guy.
- Strafe: Look how that turned out last time!
- Leah: Hey, this one isn't crazy, I swear!
Strafe sighs and Leah shows him a news article about Doctor Martin Metil, a middle-aged chemist who has won awards for his work in medicine and pharmaceuticals. He raises his eyebrows.
- Strafe: You're right, he looks pretty sane. What's so special about this Dr. Metil?
- Leah: He went to college with Philth and her minions...they used to be friends, before they went crazy. If anyone in this city knows about her plans, it's him.
- Strafe: Where does he live?
- Leah: Metil Manor, he comes from a rich family. Went to America for his studies, but nowadays, I hear we'll find the guy living in his estate.
Strafe nods, impressed. Leah puts her phone in her pocket and looks around.
- Strafe: Nice job, but...
She points to a car lot and he sighs.
- Strafe: And I thought was I going to be able to stop stealing...
- Leah: Don't get soft on me, Jack!
She runs off to steal one of the cars and he shakes his head, reluctantly following behind her. From here, players are allowed to steal the car of their choice and drive off to Metil Manor with the mini-map. At the gates of the mansion, a security guard waits outside and stops Leah and Strafe from driving in.
- Security Guard: Excuse me, 'mam, but who are you?
- Leah: Leah Needlenam. I'm here about the Twisted Cross.
The guard speaks to Dr. Metil from his earpiece, and within seconds, returns to the gates. He opens them up for Strafe and Leah, who drive in and park next to the mansion itself. Strafe and Leah hop out of their stolen car.
- Strafe: That was fast.
- Leah: Mrs. Psycho always did seem to elicit strong reactions in people...
As the duo walk forward, Dr. Metil swings open the massive, wooden doors of the old manor. He looks shook and disturbed, but also intrigued as his focus turns to the two.
- Dr. Metil: Excuse my manners, but who ARE you two?
Strafe shakes Metil's hand, while Leah stands back with her arms crossed.
- Strafe: Strafe Lockborn. She's-
- Leah: Leah Needlenam.
- Strafe: And we're trying to track down the Twisted Cross. We have a lead that they might be here somewhere in London.
- Dr. Metil: Hmm, so you're working for the American government?
Leah opens her mouth to lie to him when Strafe interrupts her.
- Strafe: Not exactly. But we hear you knew them, once.
Dr. Metil sighs and looks down, slowly nodding. He motions for them to come in and they do, Leah jauntily skipping behind Strafe. Metil closes the doors behind them and sits down in his leather chair.
- Dr. Metil: I hate to dig up the past...but I am no liar, my friends.
There's a coffee table and chairs in the center of the room, surrounded by a fireplace and a staircase to the second floor. Around the room are trophies and plaques from Metil's accomplishments and paintings hung up on the wall.
- Dr. Metil: Susan and I went to the same university. As hard to believe as it may seem, she was once a motherly woman with a kind heart.
Leah scoffs and rolls her eyes as they sit across from the doctor. He continues on nonetheless.
- Dr. Metil: A great mind, too. I always had the regular ambitions, improving medicine, developing cures for illnesses...but Susan was disinterested with dealing with humanity's problems. She wanted to improve people.
- Leah: Funny way of showing it...
- Dr. Metil: She wasn't always like that. But she was troubled. Her parents were abusive, she told me, to what extent I'm not sure. But I saw sides of a hurt, tormented person at times...an angry woman.
Strafe looks around the room while Leah seems caught up in the story of her "mother".
- Dr. Metil: A young man at our campus...he was a wretched, misogynistic man. He took an interest in Susan...and disappeared soon after. No one saw him again. No one missed him, of course, but it always bothered me. She had the motives, and given her brilliance, the means to do it.
- Leah: That's when she snapped...?
- Dr. Metil: I can only assume. Her work in serums and biology caught the interest of the government, and soon after she and her clique disappeared. I moved on with my life...when I caught wind of their exploits so many years later.
Dr. Metil picks up a coffee mug and sips it, before sighing and setting it down on the table.
- Strafe: Have you ever seen her since?
- Dr. Metil: Not personally. But I hear rumors of a group experimenting in the same field as she did somewhere here in London. Apparently, they're being given test subjects from the Rippers...
Leah raises her eyebrows and sets her feet up on the coffee table nonchalantly.
- Leah: Explain like I'm a foreign dumbass.
- Dr. Metil: The Rippers are a violent gang of hooligans. Their name comes from the fact that they prey on the poor, the defensless. Those society would not miss.
Strafe looks personally offended by the sound of the gang, and narrows his eyebrows.
- Strafe: The Twisted Cross have sunk to working with serial killers...
- Leah: Pff, I'm not surprised.
Strafe, with a new level of determination, stands up and looks over to the door.
- Strafe: Thank you, Dr. Metil. We have the lead we need.
- Leah: Jack, all we know is that some assholes are killing prostitutes and shipping them off to some group that may or may not even be the Twisted Cr-
As Leah reasons with him, Strafe is already out the doors. She groans and shakes Metil's hand before running off, the doctor left speechless. As he searches for words, he simply shrugs. Leah grabs Strafe's arm as they run out.
- Leah: What the hell are you pulling?
- Strafe: Stop.
Strafe glares at Leah, who backs up, hands raised. He gets into the driver's seat of the car, and Leah hops into the passenger's seat next to him.
- Strafe: This...it hits close to home, alright?
Leah begins to respond, but considers how he respected her wishes, and silently nods. Strafe drives off away from the mansion, ready to find the Rippers.
With the sun set, the two are searching the dim and dreary streets for any sign of the Rippers to no avail. Leah sighs and looks all around.
- Leah: Look, Jack, I get goin' a little crazy over something, but-
Strafe suddenly parks as Leah looks ahead to see a bunch of scruffy thugs armed with spiked baseball bats and pistols harassing a young woman.
- Thug Leader: Mmm, treacle like 'er would be worth a Pony, right, boys?
The criminals holler as Strafe gets out of the car, slamming the door behind him. Leah follows, as the thugs seem unfazed by their presence. The woman trembles in fear as the thug leader wraps his hand around her neck.
- Thug Leader: It's easier if you don't struggle, luv.
- Strafe: Hey!
The thugs all turn their attention to Strafe, drawing their firearms on him. He growls at the criminals, while the leader sighs and drops the woman, who gasps for breath.
- Strafe: Leave her alone or so help me god, we'll hurt you so hard that you'll regret ever being born.
The leader scoffs and throws the woman onto the ground. He then pulls out a switchblade and smirks.
- Thug Leader: Get 'em, boys.
Leah and Strafe take on the Rippers, who are armed to the teeth and large in numbers. However, the two utilize their abilities and wit to take down almost every gang member, knocking them out. The leader runs for his life, when Strafe blasts a scorching beam of light at him, burning his back and causing him to collapse onto the ground.
- Leah: Nice one. I'll get the cops out here, they can make themselves useful. You...do your thing, Jack.
Strafe gratefully nods while Leah pulls out her cell phone, the accosted woman running off in relief. The leader crawls forward, as Strafe picks him up by the back of his raggedy coat and curls his fist into a ball.
- Strafe: I know people like you. I grew up around them. You take advantage of those who are weaker, less fortunate than you. And you do it HAPPILY. But there's no way in hell I'm ever letting one of those monsters slip away ever again. Where do you take the people you assault?
The leader sneers at him and begins to taunt Strafe, who slams his fist into the thug's gut, causing him to groan in pain.
- Strafe: Tell me, or I'll give you just what you deserve.
The cowardly thug whimpers and quickly nods, his whole body shaking in terror.
- Thug Leader: Alright, alright! We...we take 'em to a lab. Little place in Westminster, by the old clock tower. The freaks over there pay us for 'em. God knows what they do with those losers...
- Strafe: Are you their leader?
The thug shakes his head quickly, as Strafe looks into his eyes to size him up.
- Thug Leader: No, no! The boss...he's at the Neon Ruse...
- Strafe: What's that?
- Thug Leader: Lotta questions, huh?
Strafe lights up one of his hands with light magic as the criminal yelps in a high pitch.
- Thug Leader: Alright! It's a nightclub! The alley there's where we get most of our t-targets...that's all I know, trust me.
He nods and punches the thug in the face with his energized fist, knocking him unconcious. Strafe throws him over onto his lackeys, while Leah gives him a thumbs up.
- Leah: These guys are FUCKED!
- Strafe: Hmm...good to hear it.
Strafe and Leah hop back into the car, the purple haired woman rubbing her hands together for warmth. As Strafe pulls out of the alley, he looks forward into the blackness of the night.
- Strafe: We're going to a club.
- Leah: Didn't think you were the dancing type, Jack...
They drive off, Strafe rolling his eyes. Leah looks over at him.
- Leah: Wait...isn't it kind of ironic? Jack beat up the Rippers? Get it? Jack and the Rippers? It's like-
He sighs and shakes his head as they head towards the Neon Ruse to track down the remaining Rippers, Leah talking at him the whole way.
Chapter 7: In Foggy Old London
The duo face off against the gang in order to track down the London branch of the Twisted Cross.
Strafe and Leah arrive at the nightclub, a sign lit up in neon pick identifying it as the Neon Ruse in capital letters, and park next to a large white truck. Strafe looks around at the alleys nearby the club while Leah looks behind her.
- Leah: Damn, no dress wear...
Strafe raises an eyebrow as he looks over at Leah. She shrugs nonchalantly.
- Leah: Being a soldier kinda requires you learn about blending in, Jack.
- Strafe: Well, I'm sorry I didn't bring any...what do people wear to dances?
- Leah: Man, Noah really is a shithole...
The two hop out of the car and Leah brushes off her jacket. Strafe opens the glass door for her and she smirks.
- Leah: I didn't know they taught manners to street rats.
- Strafe: Helps you seem more upper-class, then you stab them in the back when they're not looking.
- Leah: You might not be hopeless after all, Jack.
He scoffs as they walk into the nightclub, and find it to be suprisingly classy. In Foggy Old London is playing over the speakers as Strafe looks around the massive room.
- Leah: Who exactly are we tracking?
- Strafe: A guy.
Leah raises her eyebrows and grunts, annoyed. She looks over at the bar as Strafe eyes the upper floors of the club.
- Leah: Thanks a lot, Detective Poirot, maybe next time you won't go full bodybuilder on our only source of intel.
- Strafe: I'm new to this, my role usually consisted of shoot first, then think when I was a bounty hunter.
- Leah: The Rippers pray on the weak and the defenseless, the poor. I don't think many poor people would hang around here, it's too much of a snob act for that. There's an exception, and that's hookers. My guess is that we find a rich asshole with some thugs and scantily clad women around him, and that'll be our target.
- Strafe:...Nice work.
- Leah: You're welcome.
Annoyed, Strafe mutters to himself as the two split up, going around the nightclub looking for the Ripper's boss. They eventually find him hanging around the back door leading into the outside alleyway, an obese man in a suit.
- Strafe: Let's take care of this asshole...
- Leah: Too many people around to draw your gun and start shooting. It causes chaos, and it gets the police on our ass even more than they already were. We need to draw him out.
- Strafe: We both look like hell, but I'll go...
As Leah opens her mouth to protest, Strafe steps forward, the boss raising an eyebrow. In an upper-class accent he barks at Strafe.
- Boss: Whaddya want, pretty boy?
- Strafe: I have some product that I think you'd be interested in, Mister...
- Boss: Randall. You're from Noah, the accent gives it away. What brings you here?
- Strafe: Business. I hear we're both businessmen.
Randall raises an eyebrow and shooes away the prostitutes around him. He looks around and gets out of his chair slowly, walking out the back door and motioning for Strafe and his guards to follow him.
- Randall: Alright, where are the bodies?
Strafe then jabs the gang leader in the jaw, sending him reeling back. He spits blood onto the ground as the thugs draw their guns on him.
- Randall: Ugh...competition?
- Strafe: Someone who cares.
The boss chuckles and gets up, taking an old-fashioned pistol out from his dress pants' pocket. He prods Strafe's chest with the gun and laughs to himself.
- Randall: Charming. Too bad you're surrounded. They'll pay top dollar for a foreigner in good condition.
Leah suddenly slams the door open and quickly draws her gun, shooting the guns out of every thug's hand. She steps next to Strafe, who lets out a sigh of relief.
- Leah: Good thing I have your back, Jack.
- Strafe: You could've gotten here earlier...
Before they can bicker, Randall runs off and gets inside the truck next to their car. The thugs attack the group, and they begin to fight. They're more heavily armed and protected than the previous criminals they've fought, but the duo make short work of them. When they finish, Randall has already started the car and driven off.
- Leah: Oh great, the Incredible Blob escaped.
- Strafe: You have any experience with car chases?
- Leah: Yeah, of course...like uhh...
Strafe jumps into the driver's seat and starts the car up, Leah hopping next to him. He puts the key in the ignition and narrows his eyebrows.
- Strafe: Good thing one of us knows how to chase this jerk...
- Leah: Bragging doesn't become you, Jack!
He grins and drives off, chasing after Randall's truck through the streets of Westminster.
Strafe and Leah pursue the leader of the Rippers, chasing him throughout the streets and avoiding the gunfire he blasts at them, while avoiding damaging his truck too much so that he can lead them to the Twisted Cross.
- Leah: I can't wait to beat up this asshole...
- Strafe: You and me both, but-
Randall swerves his truck, causing Strafe to crash into a small brick building as they both slam into the car's dashboard. Strafe groans and kicks open the broken car door.
- Strafe: God...damn it...piece of...
- Leah: Shit, that hurt!
Strafe limps out of the car, grunting. Leah follows behind him slowly, a cut on her face from the impact. He looks around at the destruction and sighs.
- Leah: So much for keeping a low profile, Jack.
- Strafe: I hope they have insurance...
Leah runs off towards Randall's truck while Strafe throws a stack of cash onto the wrecked building before quickly catching up with her.
- Strafe: You see his truck?
- Leah: Over there, by that clinic...
Strafe runs his hand through his hair and looks off in the distance. Leah puts her hands on her hips.
- Strafe: What is it with you people and hospitals?
- Leah: Crosses just look really cool, what can I say?
They dash off towards the clinic in the dead of night, where they find that Randall is already inside the building. Leah shakes her head.
- Leah: He's probably told off whoever's running this branch, the fucker.
- Strafe: You have any better ideas?
Leah shakes her head and they walk into the clinic, as a lightbulb blows out. The last light on in the lobby illuminates Randall's dead body, his head decapitated from his body and a trail of blood leading into a doctor's office.
- Strafe: I didn't know you people decapitated your enemies too!
- Leah: On second thought, America is also sort of a shithole.
Disgusted, Strafe looks away as Leah looks down, analyzing the crime scene. He looks around to see that the clinic has gone without maitenance for a long time, and that the walls are peeling off.
- Leah: Decapitation...that's Olivia's calling card.
- Strafe: Olivia?
- Leah: She goes by Olivia Blade, I don't know her real na-
Leah suddenly falls to the ground, unconcious, as Strafe turns around to see Olivia, armed with a dart gun. She fires a tranquilizer dart at Strafe, causing him to dizzily stumble around.
- Strafe: Ohhh, no...
Strafe passes out in one of the lobby's chairs as Olivia smirks down at them. She whistles, and a brigade of soldiers and scientists from the Twisted Cross come out from hiding.
- Olivia: Don't kill them. But we need to move, quickly. Our work isn't finished.
They all nod and Olivia kicks Randall's body to the side, wiping the blood off of a meat cleaver with a towel as the others escape with files and test tubes in hand. After they're all gone, she slowly follows behind them.
Chapter 8: The Art of Science
Strafe and Leah venture inside an abandoned clock tower to confront a new villain.
A bright ray of sunshine peeks through a crack in the blinds, as Strafe slowly gets up, groaning. As he makes it onto his feet, he falls to the ground dizzily and grunts.
- Strafe: Note to self...don't get up so quickly after getting shot by a dart...fuck...
Strafe carefully stands up again and walks over to the blinds, pulling them open. He covers his eyes from the sun glare, as Leah yawns, rubbing her eyes.
- Leah: Oh man, that was the best sleep I've had in years...
- Strafe: Hilarious.
- Leah: I take pride in my sense of humor, Jack.
Strafe reaches out his hand to help her up, but she ignores it and hops up, before tripping and falling down onto her backside.
- Leah: This is why I rarely sleep.
She reluctantly takes Strafe's hand and he pulls her up. Strafe looks around the clinic, to find every file cabinet raided and all the equipment gone. Leah impatiently sits down and taps her foot on the ground loudly.
- Strafe: They're gone, and they were thorough too. No research left, no weapons left, the only thing is Randall's rotting corpse.
- Leah: That's what you get when you go up against former government operatives.
- Strafe: The rotting corpse or them being thorough?
- Leah: Both.
Strafe sighs and looks out the window to the ratty buildings down the street. In the distance, he sees an abandoned clock tower.
- Strafe: Any idea on where they could be?
- Leah: Besides her fondness for big knives and her lack of a moral compass, Olivia is the brains. She needs a wide open space, somewhere she can work. Shuttered buildings that no one visits anymore are what they occupy, it's why you found me in an abandoned hospital. Old habits die hard, I guess.
- Strafe: Like a clock tower?
Leah scoffs and stands up, walking over next to Strafe. She looks around at the other buildings and sighs.
- Leah: As stupid as that sounds, she does like theatrics. They're working on something...and a high place is the best place to dispense chemical weapons. Maybe that's Nutso's plan?
- Strafe: You bring any climbing gear?
- Leah: Yeah, along with my grappling hook and boomerang.
Strafe raises an eyebrow as Leah walks to the door, realizing she was sarcastic. He grunts and follows her out the doors of the clinic.
- Strafe: You can be obnoxious, Leah.
- Leah: What can I say, ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.
The two are then turned loose and are allowed to explore, but must go to the front of the abandoned clock tower for the next cutscene to trigger. The front door is under a lock, and Leah sighs.
- Leah: Got any lock picks?
- Strafe: I left mine at home.
- Leah: Two sarcastic people really shouldn't work together...
- Strafe: No, I was being serious.
Before Leah can answer him, Strafe points to a broken window a few feet above the entrance.
- Leah: On second thought, climbing gear might be good.
The two then must climb up the old clock tower, pieces of it falling down as they scale the walls in order to get inside the fortress' window. Strafe climbs in first, and hurdles the window sill to find three Twisted Cross soldiers with their aiming sights on him.
He sighs and puts his hands up, eyes wide. Strafe stutters at the armored guards.
- Strafe: Uhh, just here to inspect the building, good si-
Leah then pulls Strafe down by his leg and dangles him upside down over the building, causing him to scream. The soldiers look around confused as she throws a scalpel that tears through one soldier's chest, killing him, and ricochets off a gear to slice through the other two. They all fall to the ground at roughly the same time as Strafe pants.
- Strafe: How did you do that?!
- Leah: Ehh, I work out.
Leah tosses Strafe back into the clock tower and climbs up after him. He picks up the bloody scalpel and hands it to her.
- Strafe: I believe that's yours.
- Leah: You really need to work on lying, Jack.
- Strafe: Thanks for that, Wednesday.
Leah grunts and nods, stepping forward and sitting on top of one of the massive, rusted gears. Strafe crosses his arms.
- Leah: Pretty good, Jack, keep working on those nicknames.
The two look up the clock tower to see the stuck gears and ropes surrounded by soldiers on patrol. Leah gulps.
- Strafe: Not a climber?
- Leah: Pff, I can climb fine...
He shrugs and climbs up the gears while Leah looks at him fearfully and shakes her head.
- Leah: Well, falling is a pretty good way to die.
Strafe and Leah scale the abandoned clock tower, using stealth, climbing prowess, and solving puzzles in order to manipulate the gears and mechanisms so they can reach the very top of the clock tower, where a massive bell sits. Olivia is standing there silently, looking out the window at the city below them.
- Olivia: For all their sins, man's hubris is impressive. Look at all they've built, Leah.
- Leah: Don't get preachy on me, Liv, we're here for a reason. What are you up to?
Olivia turns around and clenches her fist, mangling the bell into the shape of a giant blade and drawing it into her hand. Strafe charges his hands with light magic and she raises her eyebrow.
- Leah: Metallokinesis? That's a new one.
- Olivia: You deny being like us, Leah. But you murder. You tease, you taunt. You steal, you destroy. You even have your own little minion.
Leah tries to deny it but only stammers, as Olivia steps forward. Strafe dashes toward the two, but she wrenches a gear from the tower and knocks it into Strafe's gut, slamming him back and falling on top of him.
- Olivia: Our work requires sacrifice. Our missiles, our guns, our atomic bombs, the greatest inventions of all time, they required sacrifice. But I kill to create a better world. Why do you?
Leah freezes up as Olivia takes her makeshift sword to stab her through the chest when she's distracted. In the nick of time, Strafe punches through the gear with light magic and strikes Olivia in the side, knocking her away from Leah. Leah blinks several times and snaps out of it.
- Strafe: Leah?
- Leah: I...I'm okay.
Strafe nods and Leah narrows her eyebrows. Olivia growls and spits blood onto the cold, metallic floor before drawing the bell blade.
- Olivia: If you won't join us, Leah, at least you'll die witnessing the art of science!
The two charge towards Olivia, as a battle begins in the top of the clock tower.
The duo defeat Olivia, knocking her to the ground as she drops her golden sword. She pants as they quickly walk over to her.
- Olivia: Hahh...it's...too late...my scientists are already gone...all our research, our serums...will survive. I was merely a...distraction...
Olivia smirks and grabs the blade, stabbing herself through the stomach and sharply groaning. Leah looks down at her and clenches her fists.
- Leah: Fuck! Where did you send them?! Olivia! Liv! Liv...tell me...
Olivia closes her eyes and bleeds out as Leah slams her fist into the floor, frustrated. Strafe steps towards Leah, concern on his face.
- Strafe: Leah, it's over.
Leah looks up at Strafe and swallows, tears in her eyes. She nods, her whole body shaking, and Strafe pulls her up. She leans against the walls of the creaky building.
- Strafe: You're not like them, Leah.
- Leah: You don't know me.
- Strafe: I know you better than you think. I know that you risked everything to save the life of a woman you loved. I know that you could've left me for dead, but you dragged me along anyways. I know that when they died, all of them, you hated yourself for it. I know that we're trying to save the world from a group of people who are selfish. But all you've done? That's not being selfish, Leah. Trust me.
Leah shudders and wipes her eyes, her eyeshadow running. She nods and lets out a sigh as Strafe looks down.
- Strafe: We've got a long climb.
- Leah: Oh, don't be such a sissy about it.
She hops down onto the gear and begins their climb down. Strafe grins to himself and follows behind her to their next destination.
Lethal Forces is an open-world third person shooter/action-adventure hybrid. The game, fundamentally, plays similar to it's predecessor, being a fast-paced game where Strafe, and the new character Leah, can explore large areas, complete both story missions and side missions, utilize vehicles to get around quickly, brawl against enemies with a combo-centric hand-to-hand combat style, or engage enemies with weapons in the style of a cover shooter.
Both characters have new skills that allow for many more gameplay possibilities, the climbing system is greatly improved, allowing the two to walk along ledges, swing from bars and ropes, and quickly jump from platform to platform, as well as use scenery to solve puzzles. In addition, the duo also have many options on how to kill enemies with stealth, including aerial kills, sneaking up behind them, or shooting them with a silenced gun when they're alone.
Having a partner now, either two friends or the player and a computer can control Strafe and Leah. This is necessary to complete certain puzzles, reach new heights, or revive your partner with a healing item. Scattered across the world are various Orbs, which are split into Healing Orbs, Magic Orbs, and Duo Orbs. Healing Orbs will heal the player, Magic Orbs will fill Strafe's Light Magic bar so he can use spells, and Duo Orbs will fill up a bar that when full, will allow the two to use one of a few Team-Up Attacks to devastate enemies.
A few old features have been improved or added to, like character progression. As enemies are defeated and missions are completed, Strafe and Leah will earn Lethal Energy that will allow them to level up, increasing their stats and giving them Lethal Points that can be spent on new moves or upgrades. These moves and upgrades are split into various branches of a Skill Tree, so the two can be customized, moveset wise, to be a healer or tank or whatever you prefer. In addition, the game features a separate currency from the Lethal Energy now, which is just plain and simple cash.
The mission system and equipment system are pretty unchanged, but have minor additions. For example, the two can not only equip armor, accessories, weapons, and tools but also change the entire control scheme rather then just what buttons are used for what tools/weapons. The mission system also allows Strafe to drop missions, measure his progress on any mission, or view hints to help them out. Another small change is the new map which allows for easier travel and lets the player set markers anywhere they like.
Besides the story mode, there's also a section where players can buy bonuses with currency, view cutscenes, and look at collectibles and conversations they've collected. The multiplayer mode is also back and allows for more players online, new maps and characters, and new modes with Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, and a mode called Lethal Forces where players must work together to kill as many enemies as they can before dying.
|This status effect slowly drains Strafe or Leah's health until it wears off or is cured. Not too bad, but it's rather common and can be annoying when combined with strong enemies. There are a lot of cures for it though.|
|This status effect chips away at Strafe or Leah's health constantly until the wound is patched or they die from it. This means it NEVER wears off naturally, making it a very dangerous ailment that should be taken care of quickly.|
|This status effects constantly burns Strafe or Leah, setting them ablaze and doing a few big hits to their health until it's extinguished or wears off. They'll also be slower and less accurate while burning.|
|This ailment leaves Strafe or Leah dazed and confused, making them have half the accuracy and reversing their controls for a period of time. Nothing cures this once it's set in, so you'll just have to wait it out if you don't have anything to preemptively block it.|
|This ailment leaves Strafe or Leah frozen solid. It's a wonder that they can survive all this stuff! While frozen, they can't do anything, so you'll just have to wait until it melts, unless your partner can break you out of the ice. It can be quite dangerous if you're low on health as it leaves you vulnerable for attack.|
|Being drugged makes Strafe and Leah incapable of using their unique special moves, including magic and Team-Up Attacks. Guess they can't seem to focus, drugged and all.|
|A positive status effect. Strafe and Leah will have increased attack power temporarily, although weapons will do the same old damage if you're playing as Strafe, and Leah's special abilities will do no more damage than usual.|
|A positive status effect. Strafe and Leah will take half the damage they normally do for a period of time.|
|A positive status effect. Strafe and Leah will continuously heal over time until the move runs out or they're hit.|
|NON-LETHAL||The easiest mode. Enemies are weaker, Strafe and Leah have boosted stats all around, and items are easier to come by. Great for new players.|
|This mode is closer to an average difficulty but is still rather easy, being intended for casual players. Enemies are weaker and items are easier to come by.|
|PROFICIENT HERO||This mode is good for a first playthrough of the game, having no major difference from Lethal Force except the fact that items are more plentiful. Just a fun mode for everyone.|
|LETHAL FORCE||The average mode for intermediate games. Everything is at it's base, nothing making it harder or easier than normal.|
|DEMIGOD||The first mode in the harder section and the final default difficulty. Enemies are a bit harder then normal, but that's all. Good if you like a little challenge.|
|WHITE GODDESS||This mode can be bought as a bonus after completing the game once, for a decent price. Enemies are harder and items are rarer, making it good for skilled gamers.|
|BLACK GOD||This mode can be bought as a bonus for a high price after you've completed one of the harder difficulties. Enemies are insanely tough, items are never dropped randomly, and Strafe and Leah aren't as strong as they usually are. The mode for people who love a lot of difficulty.|
- Special Attack
- Ranged Attack (This stat is exclusive to Leah, and the higher the stat is, guns and other ranged weapons will do more damage when she is wielding them.)
- Light Magic (This stat is exclusive to Strafe. It determines how large his Light Magic bar is, and the bigger it gets, the more spells he can use.)
- Ranged Defense
- Special Defense
- Blessing (This stat is exclusive to Strafe. The higher his blessing, the more likely it'll be that enemy attacks will miss him entirely even if they hit him.)
- Rage (This stat is exclusive to Leah. The higher her rage, the more likely it'll be that she'll do a Critical Hit to opponents to do double the damage she normally does.)
Enemies & Bosses
- Assets from this game were reused in GHOST SMILE III, another Inora game being developed and released around the same time as this game.
- The game's original title was Strafe & Leah: Lethal Forces, but the game was given a name change in order to accentuate that the game was a sequel to Strafe: Lethal Seven. The logo was reworked, but the Leah part of the logo can still be seen in game in the menu, whenever players are managing Leah's stats and abilities.
|Strafe: Lethal Seven | Strafe: Lethal Forces | Fantendo Smash Bros. Lethal|
|Strafe | Lock | White Goddess | Leah Needlenam | Aran Leverletto | Rachel Harel | Volt | Cura | Melissa Dust | Hein | Amy Jackson | Krystal Perez | Crow | Fera | Endal | Zerita|