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"Independent Variable" is the third episode of the VR game Westworld Awakening.
Kate is seen inside the elevator Hank tried to break into. She wonders how he's able to find her, and Chelsea tells her he has an innate ability to track her down. When the elevator stops, Kate walks out on a new floor filled with dead human bodies. Brannon tells she went up instead of down. On the reception, Kate can find a figurine of a black woman in a white modern dress. As Kate goes forward, her earpiece starts to malfunction and Brannon's voice cuts out. As Kate tries to open a door but fails, it suddenly goes green and opens. A man, who was probably responsible for cutting off Brannon's line, tells Kate to hide. In the room adjacent to the one Kate steps in, Westworld QA Security Force members kill a female host. The man on the line tells Kate to hide behind the table. He reveals his name is Jay. The soldiers break in Mesa's room maze, and Jay says Kate has to sneak past them to a door.
The QA will rotate their flashlights and roam, and if Kate gets caught in their lights, she is shot dead and the scene begins from the beginning.
After the door there's a big floor Kate needs to pass. While sneaking past the soldiers, Jay tells Kate he's a mole, but she doesn't get what he said. He wants her to help him in return for his helping her. Kate asks if that place is really the purgatory, and Jay claims it's not. Kate notices that Brannon talks with her as with a child while Jay speaks head-on. As they talk, Kate runs out of spaces to hide and Jay hacks QA's devices to alert them about a fake ransom which distracts them temporarily.
When Kate moves forward to another room, Jay orders her to hide quickly in a room to her left. He closes the doors remotely just as the QA Forces break in. Kate finds an active host, Tobias Anderson, perplexed behind a table. The host becomes a problem since his rant about the war he was sent on in his narrative starts to draw QA's attention. Jay points out he's a big threat, and Kate uses her tablet to modify the host's emotions. She brings fear down, courage up and paranoia down. This, however, makes him stand up and long for fighting with the QA to defend Kate. She once again alters his mood, bringing complacency up, and anger with courage down. Tobias lies down and the soldiers leave. Jay tells Kate to head to the Control Room to destroy the counter-hack acting against his malware, but just before she leaves, Tobias states that they all were made to die. Kate can't find a word and abandons him.
Kate finds a room with pipes she has to squeeze through. Steam is released from them which may hurt and even kill her, restarting the chapter. In the process, Kate talks with Jay about his job and her abilities. He points out she's special since she can subconsciously utilizes the Host mesh network (which implies she's reached the center of her maze at least once) while other hosts would've gone crazy and broken.
Kate uses an air duct which leads her to Executive Offices on the top of the Control Room. There, on a coffee table, she can find another figurine of a woman in a white dress. Jay asks Kate to scan the computer she sees to transfer is malware to it.
After doing so, Kate walks into a corridor with QA Offices. She asks who they belong to, and Jay straightforwardly gives the answer. Kate wonders what's the park the QA guards, to which Jay replies it's the Sweetwater, Escalante and so on. He explains the guests come to play with her in her world.
Kate reaches a big cluster of glass rooms. At the entrance, she finds a bizarre door which requires a pattern to be drawn on a pad to get opened. She scans a piece of technology on a wall which highlights an orange obscure wire on her tablet. Jay asks her to find a breaker box which later appears to have 3 levers in it with each powering one of the adjacent rooms at a time. Kate may visit each of them in order. Jay says that her job is done for now, and as he's safe and has nothing to do, he can get her anything she wants from her files. He notices she misses 2 years of her builds, which seems to be shady. Jay says she'll get more info if she gets to the Control Room.
Kate can open a door with a line starting at the upper-right dot and ending at mid-left dot. Inside it, behind a red power supply, she can find a briefcase with a red hybrid control unit. She can touch the fork and take the red one, which will result in her tablet going buggy with a "???" message on its screen.
After activating the power, a new door gets open. It leads to a huge lounge room with a reception near the Control Room. Below and behind the stairs, there's the third and last statuette on a coffee table.
At Control Room, everyone is dead on floor. Jay says she can scan control panels if she wants to find out more about her past, just as he promised. There, Kate can learn about her previous builds and narratives, also about the changes Reveries update brought to the place and so on.
After Kate leaves the room, she encounters more QA soldiers. She finds a utility key for a vent to cut her way. When she crawls, people's death screams are heard. Jay says someone's cutting their way through with an axe, and Kate realizes Hank found her again. When she comes out, a dead body breaks glass door as Hank steps in. Jay tells Kate to find a generator to power. In her search for utility key, Kate may hide under the tables to evade Hank. The tablet will highlight his aura with red whereas heartbeat is heard when he's close. After finding the key, Kate has to pump the lever. When she does so, it makes sound which attracts Hank. He might check under tables if he sees Kate getting under a one. If Hank manages to hit Kate with his axe, she will die and the scene will start again. Crawling muffles Kate's sounds while running draws villain's attention.
After pumping the lever, Hank starts to chase Kate. Jay tells her to run in a door with red line below it, and when she does so, Kate starts to glitch. The Mesa transforms into the Biltmore Manor, namely Rockwell's office. Hank comes out of the front door and is preparing to get his revenge. Despite Jay's pleas to run, Kate tells she can't move. However, a QA member come from the front door, and Hank throws his axe at him, telling Kate not to leave.
Wesson flashes back to the Biltmore Manor, where she's standing near the stairs with Hank as her husband. He tells that "they" (presumably hostile guests, plotted hosts or QA Security members) surrounded them and they will be safe in the attic. Strangely enough, Kate still wields her tablet, which won't highlight anything but active items. Kate goes up, opens the door to the attic which dazzles her with lucid light.
When Kate snaps out of it, she finds herself at one of Robert Ford's hidden Remote Diagnostic Facilities. Jay's happy to hear her since he started to believe Hank killed her. Kate wonders how she got there but Jay claims he lost her track because the place she's in now is off grid and uncharted. The room is stuffed with blueprints, books and early sketches. Kate discovers Ford's working table with a computer which Jay suggests to scan to get missing files about her and track the counter-hack that doesn't let him steal needed files. Kate wonders who Ford is and Jay explains he created the park. He doesn't mention Arnold Weber, which once again proves that Ford worked hard to cover his death. She tries to scan the computer but finds nothing in it. Jay infers that Ford would've made a backup for his files before wiping them out. Kate stumbles upon an antique safe which contains multiple items, including a flash drive, a maze toy, couple of figurines, if Kate scans it with her tablet. In a back room with Dolores' and Old Bill's sketches, Kate finds a vinyl she has to insert in a gramophone to get the safe open. After inserting the flash drive in computer, she partially gets some of Ford's saved files. That allows Jay to track the counter-hack down -- it is coming from the Cradle. Kate can also get a file which implies that Dr. Ford was responsible for Ashley Stubbs' appointment as Westworld QA Security Force's head.
Jay explains that the Cradle contains hosts' backups, which Kate interprets as hosts' souls, and the counter-hack he needs. As he tells her to leave, a phone rings. Brannon's voice is heard and she seems happy to reunite with Kate. She explains something's blocking her from calling her earpiece and Ford's private line was her last hope to reach her. However, Kate starts asking about her previous builds. She claims Chelsea was lying to her all the time. Chelsea replies she's trapped and is going to be killed by the hosts and that Kate's purpose is to help her. The host says she doesn't want to be the person she made her to be. Chelsea claims that she made her a survivor whereas others wanted her to be a victim just as Jay cuts her line off. A wall opens up, leading to a corridor with pedestals with early builds and posters of Kate, Hank and Old Bill. Kate starts to remember everything and gets shock by her robotic first-generation head opening up. Jay informs her they're on a top of a large facility that predates Delos Destinations. An elevator opens and Kate walks in to learn her past.
- "Independent Variable" is a term in mathematics referring to an input which always changes other variables that depend on it. This refers to Robert Ford, who was completely independent and fearless and yet managed to affect a lot of lives even after his death.
- There are 3 collectibles on the level to be found.
- The first figurine is at the reception table, in the beginning of the chapter.
- The second one is located in Executive Offices above the Control Room.
- The last one can be found under the stairs that lead to the lounge room. One should head to the space under the staircase.
- The file found in Ford's computer implies that Ashley Stubbs was created and appointed by him.
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