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|“||Like you have the moral high ground here? Did you even ask yourself what your people were up to out here? And the girl. Don't tell me there's any possible justification for that. Fuck you, though, because I don't have whatever it is you think I have. And if I did... I'd take the bullet before I gave you the satisfaction.||„|
|~ Lidiya, during her face-off with Dragan|
Lidiya is an agent of the Brotherhood of Phoenician Sailors (more popularly known as the Phoenicians) and a minor recurring antagonist in the Funcom MMORPG The Secret World. An ex-KGB operative and a former associate of Dragan Dzoavich, she has since parlayed her skills into a highly-successful career in securing artifacts on behalf of the Phoenicians and their clients. Unfortunately, that particular client list happens to include the vampire army currently occupying the Carpathian Mountains, eventually getting the attention of the players towards the end of the "Mortal Sins" arc.
As with most agents of the secret societies, Lidiya's past is largely unknown, her dossier being kept well out of enemy hands. What little is known has only been conveyed through conversations between her and Dragan, and in occasional snippets of information delivered by faction contacts. According to the Illuminati handler Kirsten Geary, Lidiya was once a KGB operative, though it's not known when she joined or how long she served before the organization was formally dissolved. At some point, she also ended up in a relationship with Dragan Dzoavich, a near-legendary operative popularly known as "Ghost," and for a time, the two of them fell in love - though Dragan freely admitted that "Liddy" was a thief by nature.
However, the relationship didn't remain pleasant forever: at some point, the two were meant to rendezvous in Bangkok, apparently to discuss their future career paths in the wake of the KGB's dispersal; when Dragan didn't show up, Lidiya assumed her lover had been killed in action and decided to join the Brotherhood of Phoenician Sailors. When the two finally met again, Dragan had been hired by the Orochi Group as a security specialist, and neither of them were on especially good terms; Lidiya resented Dragan for making her think he was dead, while Dragan considered Lidiya a sellout for having allied with the notoriously self-seeking Phoenicians.
With the Orochi Group intent on securing rare artifacts for their R&D departments and the Phoenicians determined to retain their monopoly on supernatural relics, it wasn't long before the resentment between the two operatives erupted into open conflict; while on separate missions to Khartoum, Lidiya and Dragan fought at length over the artifact they'd been sent to acquire, the legendary Ghost being bested in combat for the first time in his career. However, regardless of how fiercely they wounded one another, the two agents were always able to survive and go their separate ways.
During the months leading up to the beginning of the game, the Phoenicians were approached by a client of unprecedented power and influence, namely the near-mythical figure known only as Lilith. On the client's orders, Lidiya was dispatched to Transylvania and charged with maintaining surveillance on an Orochi research project situated deep within the Carpathian Mountains: here, the group's highly-ambitious Prometheus Initiative was hard at work utilizing the powers of Emma Smith, a child with the rare magical ability to manipulate and project raw Anima. Lidiya and her team were to keep watch on Emma at all times, bugging the heavily-warded cabin where she and her foster parents had been billeted and tracking her movements whenever she left; on Lilith's signal, the team was to move in and capture Emma alive and unharmed. Unfortunately, it so happened that Dragan had been assigned to the Prometheus Initiative as a bodyguard, ensuring that the two agents would once again cross paths.
Soon after the events of the Tokyo Incident, Lilith made her move, sending her army of vampires on a rampage across Transylvania in a frenzied attempt to seize control of all Orochi operations in the region. Safely protected from vampire incursions, Lidiya and her team waited until Emma had been returned to her cabin, preparing to extract her once they had found a means of breaking through the Manticore occultic defenses.
The Girl Is Gone
Having been sent to Transylvania in order to investigate the activities of the vampire army, players eventually make their way into the Carpathian Mountains, and while exploring the long-abandoned Red Hand outposts, discover Lidiya's hidden base of operations.
Through a two-way mirror contained in one of the outpost's interrogation rooms, players are able to spy on Lidiya, thus providing the impetus for the missions associated with her - beginning with "Selected Memories": here, Dragan arrives in the building and puts a gun to his ex-lover's head, claiming that she stole something from one of the abandoned Red Hand facilities; in the ensuing confrontation, the two argue at length over their past, until Lidiya is able to get the upper hand by snatching a handgun off the table and pointing it squarely at Dragan's groin. Though the two end their contretemps alive and unharmed, the player is inspired to investigate the facility in question and find out what Lidiya has been smuggling out of the area.
In the following mission, "The Girl Is Gone," players return to the outpost to discover Lidiya being approached by a mysterious woman accompanied by a vampire supersoldier bodyguard. Throughout this introductory cutscene, the bodyguard is blocking the player's view of the woman's face, and her voice cannot be heard; however, it quickly becomes clear from the operative's reactions that this is none other than Lilith, having arrived on the scene in order to check on her investment. Unfortunately, Lidiya reports that "the girl is gone," Emma having mysteriously vanished from the cabin not long after the Phoenicians were sent in to retrieve her. Though Lilith is apparently angry at this, Lidiya assures her that her team will be able to retrieve the runaway test subject with little difficulty. Apparently placated, for the time being, Lilith departs, leaving the terrified Phoenician operative to call in the rest of her team in a desperate attempt to capture Emma before the situation gets any worse.
The players are then prompted to follow Lidiya via a signal tracking device, tailing her via the radio transmissions she's sending to the Phoenician wetworks team. Though the pursuit is delayed by the scrambling devices Lidiya has arranged, players are eventually able to catch up with her and infiltrate the secondary hideout where the team will rendezvous. Soon after, Lidiya herself arrives on the scene and a battle ensues between the two Secret Worlders; though a skilled combatant of impressive prowess, the Phoenician is ultimately overwhelmed and forced to retreat via her team's helicopter - whereupon the players are able to blow it up with an explosive charge.
However, Templar handler Richard Sonnac suspects that Lidiya is still alive, remarking that she "has even more lives than the likes of you." Sure enough, Lidiya is later discovered to have survived the destruction of her helicopter and made it back to civilization.
After her failure in Transylvania, Lidiya is transferred to a surveillance operation within the walls of the Sunken Library, home of the once-mighty Council of Venice: having numerous operations in Tokyo they would like to complete and erase before outside agencies take interest, the Phoenicians have decided to keep an eye on Council representative Arturo Castiglione - the only official with the authority to grant or deny access to Filth-infested Tokyo. Eventually, through careful observation, they are able to learn of Arturo's attempts to locate his missing protege, Sarah, who has been missing ever since the Tokyo Incident - and that his efforts have strayed into the realms of illegality. With this information, Phoenician representatives are able to blackmail Arturo into withholding the right to enter Tokyo from any Bee-imbued agents sent there. However, Lidiya and her team are careful to keep the Council representative under close watch in case he suffers any sudden attacks of conscience.
Over the course of Issue #8, players are given a series of training missions in the Sunken Library's virtual reality machine, ostensibly in order to ensure that they are trained and capable of withstanding Tokyo's dangers; in reality, Arturo has set up these tests as a delaying mechanism to ensure that the players cannot achieve certification to visit Tokyo until such time as the Phoenicians are done - though he secretly hopes that they benefit from this excessive training. Even after being granted certification, players are still delayed up until the events of Issue #9, when Arturo summons them to his office at the Sunken Library in an attempt to covertly reveal his blackmailers to them: over the course of the side mission "Spy Games," players can find that Lidiya and her team have planted no less than seven listening devices in the office, whilst in the main mission "Venice Sinking," players discover that they have even installed a secret passage hidden behind a painting - allowing them to infiltrate Arturo's private quarters whenever they feel like it. Upon opening the painting and venturing into the passage, the players unexpectedly bump into Lidiya. Recognizing them from their previous encounter in the Carpathians, Lidiya activates a series of laser tripwires and flees into the waterways beneath the Sunken Library; over the course of their pursuit, the players are delayed by automated turrets, explosives, sewer gates, and the other members of Lidiya's team - ultimately allowing Lidiya herself to leave the sewers via boat and escape the players entirely. However, she also leaves behind a letter sent from Arturo to the Phoenicians - hard evidence of Arturo's corruption - evidently hoping that it'll be enough to turn the players and the Council against one another.
Unfortunately for Lidiya, Arturo has just discovered that Sarah is still alive somewhere in Tokyo, and is now willing to allow the players into the city - even if it means defying the Phoenicians to do so.
The Christmas Conspiracy
Lidiya appears once again in the 2014 Winter Holidays mission "The Christmas Conspiracy." Now assigned to the role of retrieving powerful magical items for the Phoenicians, she has set out on a mission to obtain an item that her masters have sought for many years: the other half of Saint Nicholas. Having been divided into two halves, the long-dead saint's body has been sought after for many years by various secret societies for the mystical properties associated with it: however, the Phoenicians have already acquired one half of the corpse, which produces a deadly poison known as Aqua Tofana - so named for its most famous user, Guilana Tofana. Though they have profited immensely from their ownership of the poison - even using it to assassinate Mozart on behalf of Lilith - the Phoenicians now want the other half of Saint Nicholas, believing that its value eclipses their current segment: according to legend, this half of the corpse produces the Manna of Saint Nicholas, a holy elixir capable of miraculous healing feats.
Recently, an archaeological dig in Venice has uncovered the legendary Tomb of Saint Nicholas, and Council-sponsored researchers have been working around the clock in their attempts to unlock its secrets. Unfortunately, the tomb is protected by a number of esoteric security measures designed by none other than Mozart himself; doubly, unfortunately, the archaeologists are soon targeted for assassination by Phoenician hit squads - presumably under Lidiya's command. In their attempts to eliminate anyone who knows of the Tomb, they not only kill the researchers, but they also kill anyone they informed of their findings - even going so far as to have the boyfriend of one archaeologist shot dead on stage in the middle of a performance of The Magic Flute. It is this assassination that gets the players' attention.
Following the trail of clues, players make their way back to Venice and follow the trail of clues to the Tomb of Saint Nicholas, gradually navigating their way through the security measures. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the burial chamber itself, players find that the Phoenicians have taken the more brutal and direct means of reaching their objectives by simply blasting their way through to the chamber. After fighting their way through progressive waves of Phoenician hitmen, the player is finally confronted by Lidiya - now armed with a device that can temporarily disable the player's abilities. Nonetheless, after a difficult boss battle, Lidiya is once again defeated and forced to flee the area.