How to unlock: The quest begins automatically when you get to Bloom and speak with Dracogen in Memovira's Courtyard (M15.1).
This is the first quest that you must complete during your stay in Bloom, which is a gigantic living organism. The goal of this quest is to get an audience with Memovira. But it is only possible with Dracogen's help, who is an info broker. To complete this quest you must deliver him Magmatic Annulet (this is the more obvious variant of the quest) or Navigational Cortex (it's an alternative variant of completing this quest, but it needs to be unlocked first). Both methods are described below.
Variant 1 - Bring Magmatic Annulet to Dracogen
Getting the Magmatic Annulet for Dracogen is the main way to complete this quest. It should be mentioned that even if you prefer to bring Navigational Cortex to Dracogen, you could still visit the locations connected with the Annulet. It is possible, because when you meet Dracogen and want to finish the quest you can decide which artifact you want to give him.
Arriving at Trade Post
Use the northern passage leading to Vast Interior. Once there, talk to Grisseler (M16.4), who'll tell you that the passage leading to Trade Post has been consumed by the Bloom and relocated. Your next task will be to find an alternative route to that location. Head east and go through the passage leading to Chiurgeon Slump.
In Chiurgeon Slump you can find an inactive Maw (M18.1), which can be seen on the picture above. You must feed it. Doing this will create a portal to Trade Post.
"Feeding" the Maw is not that easy because even if you interact with it, the Maw is not very interested in eating the main hero. There are three ways to do it. The first method is to make the Maw eat Artaglio, who can be found nearby (M18.4). Speak with Artaglio and discuss the Maw. You can use Persuasion or Deception or challenge Artaglio to a rum drinking contest. In the second case, if you want to win you must pass an Endurance check with each round. When you win, you can ask Artaglio a favor - ask him to face the Maw.
The second method is to make the Maw eat your character. To do this, meet with Sheen (M18.2) and speak with her about a way to open (activate) the Maw. After hearing her plan, go to Artaglio (M18.4). Do not challenge him to a drinking contest but ask him for a lock of his hair. Go back to Sheen with this quest item and wait till she prepares Artaglio's Essence. After that, you can go to the Maw (M18.1). During the interaction with it, drink the essence and allow the Maw to eat you. Do not fight because you want the main hero to be eaten and killed. After death, you will be back in the Labyrinth. Leave it and return to the world of the living.
The third method is only available if you own the Transdimensional Scalpel. This item is awarded for completing a side quest - A Hilt Without a Blade, which is available in The Vast Interior (M16.6). You can use the scalpel to make an incision and open the Maw. Note, however, that it will make The Bloom angry and can have consequences in the future.
All methods unlock the portal to Trade Post. Use it.
Finding the Annulet
There is nothing interesting in Trade Post so go straight to the portal that leads to Ascension (M20.2). The location is rather linear. Follow the only available path (on your way you'll come across a cultist encampment but meeting them is optional) until you reach The Speaker (M20.3). Speak with this creature about every possible topic. (+5 XP).
When you finish the conversation, go east. You must reach the crystals presented in the picture (M20.7) that became active after your meeting with The Speaker. Interact with those crystals to create a bridge that allows you to proceed.
A few steps further and you'll find more crystals - interact with them. Now, you can go south. On your way make a stop when you encounter a creature called The Builder (M20.5). Discuss every topic, especially the one about unlocking the entrance to Crystalline Cavern (map M22).
After that, go west and use the newly unlocked entrance to the cavern. Now you are in Crystalline Cavern.
Getting the Annulet
Go to the central cavern. The Annulet is in the room on the side but the access is blocked by a force field (M22.1). Interact with the main machine to deactivate the field (M22.2). You can deactivate it in two ways. The first method is to choose the fourth or fifth dialog option. In both cases you successfully deactivate the field but a few crystalvores will appear. The game allows you to partially protect yourself from those creatures. You can do this by going to the emitter (M22.4) and interact with it. You can choose which party members are protected by force fields that neutralize the creatures' most devastating attacks. Now, you can go and get the Annulet (other characters must not leave the protective barrier!).
The second method requires a better knowledge of the machine and by doing this you can deactivate the field without stirring up the crystalvores. In this case, during your first interaction with the machine choose the third option from the list. This will activate the pod (M22.3). Go to it and examine it carefully. The most important thing to do is to check all of the experiment notes. After that, you can go back to the main machine (M22.2) and use the newly acquired option (the action is based on Anamnesis skill). When you choose it, you deactivate the force field, which means that you don't have to fight with the monsters (you will also receive 4 XP).
Regardless of your choices, you can now go to the device behind the, now deactivated, force field (M22.5). Interact with it using your main hero and touch the symbol in the center. By doing that, you'll get the Magmatic Annulet.
Returning to Dracogen
Now, you can go back. Leave Crystalline Cavern and when you are back in Ascension, go to the portal that connects this location with Trade Post (M20.2). There, you are stopped by Doran and other cultists (you may have met them before), who won't allow you to use the portal. This situation can be solved in two ways:
- Attack and kill the cultists. The fight is not very difficult.
- Use Intimidation to chase the cultists away. If you pass the test, you can avoid the fight.
During the meeting with Doran, do not choose the option where you end your life. This means a permanent death that will end the game.
Warning - If you've solved this conflict by using force then you should examine the bodies of the dead cultists. One of them carried Gauntlets of Murder. Examining the gloves and putting them on will permanently increase your Speed by 1 point.
When you solve the problem with the cultists (+100 XP) go to Trade Post. Here, you have to deal with a new problem because the portal that can take you back to Chiurgeon Slump is closed. If you want to deal with this problem you should check the previously ignored Tongue Cluster (M20.1). You can try to communicate with the Tongue Cluster and then choose one of the two options:
- Reopen the portal to Chiurgeon Slump
- Have the Trade Post moved inside the Bloom, which opens a new passage in the south, leading to Vast Interior
Regardless of your choice, go back to Dracogen and give him the Annulet. You will receive 100 XP. Now, you must attend the audience with Memovira, which ends the quest. You have no control over how the audience plays out. A new main quest appears in your journal - Into the Depths.
Note - If you have also done the second approach, and you have the Navigational Cortex, you can offer to sell it to Dracogen (meet him again). As a payment, you can choose shins or an Ovoid merecaster.
Variant 2 - Bring Dracogen the Navigational Cortex
Giving the Navigational Cortex to Dracogen is an alternative way to finish this quest, of which you have no knowledge when the quest begins. If you want to learn that Dracogen wants the Cortex, you must do the steps described below and steal the item (you can do it in two ways). Warning - Even if you go with this variant, you can still get the Magmatic Annulet. You can get the artifact and decide which one to give once you speak to Dracogen.
Finding the Navigational Cortex
Navigational Cortex is in the location known as Lost Anchorage (map M21), a futuristic port, which is initially inacessible. In order to deal with this problem, first, you must go to one of the Bloom's districts, called the Small Nihilesh (M19.5). In the southeastern part of the map you can find the inactive Maw, the one shown on the picture above. Feeding it opens the portal to te Anchorage.
To feed the Maw you must start a side quest called The Newborn Maw. The quest is given by a creature called Gar-koto (M19.2) and the details for this quest can be found in the page with the description for this optional quest (the quickest and easiest way to feed the Maw is to sacrifice Herja, a nearby NPC).
There also is an alternative solution, available only to the owners of the Transdimensional Scalpel. The item is awarded for cempleting a quest called A Hilt Without a Blade, which is unlocked in The Vast Interior (M16.6). You can use the scalpel to make an incision and open the Maw. Mind you, however, that doing so will anger the Bloom and can have consequences in the future. The upside to this solution is that you don't have to worry about Gar-koto's quest at all and can go straight through the portal.
When you get to the Anchorage, speak with Captain Janur (M22.1) and bring up every single subject. The most important question is to ask about the reason why no one can go to the room with the Cortex. From him, you learn that someone had already tried to steal it in the past.
You can immediately start the preparations and proceed to steal the Cortex (you can do this in two very different ways) or go back to Dracogen (M15.1) first and get his confirmation that he is interested in this artifact as a replacement for Magmatic Annulet. By doing this you get an "official" journal note that you can get the Cortex for Dracogen.
The aggressive variant
The first method to get Navigational Cortex is to fight with lascars from Lost Anchorage. The door to the Cortex room (M21.3) is closed but you can unlock it by using one of the abilities (e.g. smash them). This action alarms all of the nearby lascars, which initiates a crisis. Theoretically, the game would allow you to simply take the Cortex and make your way to exit but it would be a very complicated procedure. It is better to kill all of the lascars that are on the map.
The battle with lascars is not easy but it is also not among the hardest hard, especially when your party is well developed and rested. First and foremost, you must know that these enemies prefer ranged combat. Their main attacks are lasers that deal energy damage and gravity grenades. Those grenades can knock down your party members and "ground" them. Try to neutralize those states or use your own ranged attacks (by using ranged weapons and cyphers).
When it comes to attacking the enemies, you should go for close-combat attacks because, when it comes to melee, lascars tend to miss a lot. You can also use the fact that after about 2 turns into the battle, they gather near the entrance to the corridor with the unlocked door. You can use powerful area-of-effect attacks to weaken/kill several enemies at the same time.
After you win the battle with the lascars, you can search their bodies (which is optional). The most important thing to do is to go to the room with Navigational Cortex (M21.4), interact with the device and steal it. Now, without any problems, you can head to the exit.
The second method of getting the Navigational Cortex is to steal it without making a fuss. This variant allows you to avoid the battle with lascars as long as you do all the steps correctly, share the duties among your companions accordingly and steal the item rather quickly.
To initialize this method you must go to the locked door (M21.3) and speak with Major Genjes. During the conversation, ask him for a tour around the port. Warning - Don't worry when a crisis starts. There won't be any fight, unless you are caught trying to break into the room with the Cortex or taking it.
As it was said before, you must share the duties among your party members. You need at least three people (of course, one of them can be the main character):
Person 1 must unlock the door to the Cortex room (M21.3) and interact with its consol to issue several subsequent commands (three in total). It is recommended to use a character with the Smashing skill, so it can open the door and pass each test while operating the consol.
Person 2 must confirm the unlocking commands by using the main control panel in the observatory terrace in the center of the map (M21.1). It must be a character with the highest level in Quick Fingers skill (and a lot of points in Speed stat pool). The ability is needed to pass the checks. Also, you must have a good chance of success if you want to pass the checks without being caught during the process.
Person 3 needs only to accompany Major Genjes during the tour. It can be anyone from the team because that person only has to follow the Major and speak with him when they stop in a new place (remember that conversation uses action points in turn). When the Major gets to the main hall, he starts to walk around its outskirts counter-clockwise so you must get everything done before he ends his tour and returns to his post.
Here are the next steps that must be done correctly if you want to succeed:
1) Send person 1 to open the doors to the Navigational Cortex room. During the next turn, this person must get back to the Cortex consol and choose one of the actions connected with issuing the first unlock command.
2) Send person 2 to the main control panel and wait for person 1 to issue the first unlock command. Then, use the main console to confirm this command (requires Quick Fingers skill).
3) Person 3 must stay close to Major Genjes and interact with him each turn to look interested in the tour he's giving you (otherwise he will return to his post before the theft is done).
4) Use person 1 to issue the second unlock command and person 2 to confirm thie command by using the main console.
5) Use person 1 to issue the last, third, unlock command and person 2 to confirm it by using the main console.
6) Steal the Navigational Cortex by using person 1 (interact with the panel and choose the right action).
7) Order all of your team members to head for the Lost Anchorage exit. You must use the exit before Major Genes returns to his post.
Returning to Dracogen
Regardless of how you acquired the Cortex, when you leave the Anchorage you must go back to Memovira's Courtyard and speak with Dracogen (M15.1). During the conversation, speak about the Annulet first, but then choose the option where you give him Navigational Cortex instead. You will receive 140 XP. Now, you must attend the audience with Memovira, which ends the quest. You have no control over how the audience plays out. A new main quest appears in your journal - Into the Depths.
Note - If you have also done the first approach, and you have the Magmatic Annulet, you can offer to sell it to Dracogen (meet him again). As a payment, you can choose shins or an Ovoid merecaster.