| "You won't regret this."|
"I already do."
— Spoilers for the System Rift follow!
System Rift is one of two story DLCs for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided developed by Eidos Montréal. It was released on September 23, 2016. System Rift follows Adam Jensen as he collaborates with Francis Pritchard to break into Palisade Blade-01, one of Prague's Palisade Blades. They do so with the help of the hacker ShadowChild.
The official plot summary is as follows:
|"In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - System Rift, you will reunite with Frank Pritchard, Adam's friend and former colleague at Sarif Industries, and assist him in hunting down information on the mysterious Santeau Group. Desperate to get more information, Pritchard targets one of the most secure data banks ever created - the Palisade Blade. In agreeing to help, Adam may also be able to uncover hints as to who the Illuminati really are."|
Set sometime between the Růžička Station bombing and the Human Restoration Act vote, the story begins with Francis Pritchard interrupting the close finish of a ball game Jensen was watching, to cash in a favor Adam owed him for helping him escape Alaska during the events of Deus Ex: Black Light. Pritchard is "vetting" a company for a client who is hoping to go into business with them. But his associate Slaw has become unresponsive, so Pritchard tracked him to a bar in Prague, Zátopek. Francis knows Jensen is busy investigating Task Force 29, but Pritchard insists that once he does this for him, they'd be even. After giving Jensen Zátopek's location, he accepts, hanging up on Pritchard in mid-sentence.
When Jensen arrives and exits the train, Pritchard contacts him via infolink, explaining that before he interrupted him, he was going to mention Zátopek is in a part of the district that is heavily prejudiced against augmented persons. The player will either need to subdue or sneak past a group of armed radical natural women to get to Zátopek. When Jensen finds Slaw in Zátopek, he gives Jensen the Palisade Security Pass-Port Pritchard asked for, a combination employee card and VPN key, stating he has backed out of the "heist" and that the Pass-Port is useless as it has been flagged as missing anyway. Jensen asks Pritchard for an explanation, and Francis suggests they holo-chat in a new advanced Internet cafe nearby.
Once Jensen breaks into the Konverz Kafé and turns on its holographic projectors, Pritchard explains that he is performing a break-in of the Palisade Blades to retrieve and analyze private corporate information The Santeau Group is storing there. It is a freelance job he was hired for by a client considering a partnership with them, but wants to know if Rabi'ah is feasible, and if they are involved with the Illuminati. At one point during the conversation, if the player chooses a dialogue option to turn the tables on Pritchard, Jensen will identify David Sarif as his client, and Pritchard only confirms it when he explains Sarif would be willing to pay him too if he knew of his involvement. He says he will need to give the security card to a hacker friend of his just minutes away from the cafe, ShadowChild, who knows him as NuclearSnake. He states that she is only one of 50 hackers, including himself, who can recode the Pass-Port, and that she knows the Blade's security better than anyone. Though Adam is hesitant to perform corporate espionage, especially since it involves breaking into the most secure bank in the world, he eventually agrees when Pritchard alludes that the job will involve uncovering a mother lode of information on the Illuminati.
After breaking into Klímová Apartments 3A, home of ShadowChild, Adam is surprised to inform Pritchard that his friend is nowhere to be found, despite Francis giving her advanced warning of his arrival. After Pritchard insists that she is still transmitting from that location somewhere, Jensen finds her in a secret room opened by a locked keypad hidden under a picture. After lowering her defense systems, ShadowChild is excited to hear Jensen and NuclearSnake are making a run for the Blades. She recodes the Pass-Port, countering Pritchard's previous estimates by boasting that she is 2 of only 10 hackers including him who could do it, and tries to convince Adam to help them with the heist. ShadowChild explains that she and countless other special hackers called "Rippers" have been trying to penetrate the lavawalls protecting the Blades' servers for years now, using a black market version of open-sourced NSN technology. Many of them were assassinated in the process by the lavawalls' creator, Palisade's CTO Masaaki Oshiro. She adds that NuclearSnake is trying a different, more physical approach, and with Jensen's help they could pull it off.
ShadowChild tells Jensen that one of her Ripper associates, Baba-Yaga 50, runs the front desk at the Blade's lobby. If the player remembers his username correctly, he will disable the security gate on the first floor for Jensen, believing him to be a fellow Ripper operating under the handle "Classified". ShadowChild also gives or attempts to give Jensen a figurine and asks it to place it on the desk of Leona Rosolova, a former colleague of hers who is head of Engineering in Palisade Blade-01. (The figurine appears to depict the protagonist of Thief, another video game series developed by Ion Storm and Eidos Montréal and published by Square Enix.) If he succeeds, ShadowChild gives him the password "TrustNo1" for her work computer, which if unlocked displays 4 e-mails, one of which contains evidence in the death of Simona Saridakis. The e-mail is from Leona's co-worker, Dominik Jaks, giving a report of an error with the Vacuum Defense System in server Chamber 209 at the time of Simona's death, saying the toxic gas emitters were triggered by a manual override.
As Jensen approaches the Palisade Blade, he encounters the widower of Simona Saridakis, Niko. He is loudly explaining to everyone who will hear him out about how Masaaki Oshiro had her killed and covered it up by framing her as a thief. If Jensen speaks to him, the player will be given a third side-quest involving uncovering up to four key pieces of evidence in the Blade regarding her death.
After walking past the lobby, riding the elevator to the employees' offices, and going up a few floors to his next checkpoint, Jensen will find Slaw manning his post. If Jensen speaks to him, Slaw will agree to open the vaulted door which can only be opened from his security computer. But in exchange, he asks Jensen to knock him out afterwards, so it will look to his superiors like he put up a fight, rather than having colluded to the heist. During the ride up the elevator, Pritchard instructs him to find the client registry located in the office of the CEO, Ashani Talwar, and will remind Jensen again if the player approaches the funicular before obtaining the registry. Without it, Jensen and Pritchard will not be able to identify Santeau's server number, and as Pritchard puts it, Jensen will be looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack trying to find the data they need, because the player will need to check every server chamber until they find the right one. If the player does access the CEO's office computer, it will contain multiple e-mails, one of which is the client registry, and another which provides further evidence in the Saridakis death. Jensen tells Pritchard the e-mail shows the bank's founders buying and selling multiple shell companies and hiding the transactions, and that the client registry lists the Santeau server's location as Chamber 204.
Once Jensen rides the funicular up to the corporate server room, he will have to navigate past cameras and turrets equipped with HeatEye sensors, which ShadowChild explained would detect him even when Glass-Shield cloaked. After bypassing or disabling the plentiful security guarding the Server Farm and making his way to Chamber 204, Jensen plugs the Pass-Port into Santeau's server, only for Pritchard to find it empty. He says the data was recently moved to the Blade mainframe through Masaaki Oshiro's private workstation which is just nearby, and Pritchard upgrades the Pass-Port to security level 10 so he can access it.
If Jensen read Leona's e-mail from Dominik, he may also inspect Chamber 209, which is still flooded with toxic gas, and find Simona Saridakis' pocket secretary inside. The secretary contains an apologetic unsent e-mail to her husband stating she found a bug in the system that temporarily moved their client's new data to the Blade Mainframe. She concluded the e-mail by stating she found it funny that Oshiro asked her to look into a maintenance issue in Chamber 209 at the last minute because 209 was the address of their first something, but did not state what because she apparently died before she could finish it. Reading the tragic e-mail will prompt Jensen to explain Oshiro's involvement to Pritchard via Infolink.
In the CTO's private workstation, Oshiro's computer will contain three e-mails, one from Baba, one from Niko, and one from Leona, but more importantly there will be a pocket secretary in the room with a full audio recording of a worried conversation between Oshiro and his wife, Ashani Talwar. Apparently, Stanton Dowd figured out the true details of Saridakis' death, and threatened to go public unless they gave him and the people he represents access to all of their clients' files, which they themselves have been looking at when they make investments as part of a major insider trading scheme. Jensen can use Oshiro's recording, particularly the voice sample where he stated his own name, to enter the mainframe, after which he will explain the three billionaires' conspiracy to Pritchard so he can find out more when he is inside.
Once in the mainframe server chamber, Jensen will insert the Pass-Port into the mainframe, granting Pritchard access to it through the NSN. But just as he is about to extract Santeau's files, his NSN avatar is spotted, and the AI Core cuts off his communications and traps him in cyberspace, and fries the Pass-Port. Jensen contacts ShadowChild, who tells him she can open NuclearSnake a gateway out of the NSN so the Blade cannot use his avatar to pin-point his real-world location. But ShadowChild says she can only accomplish this if Jensen accesses the network himself by plugging into the NSN chair in the chamber, so she can hack the Palisade's network with his Infolink frequency, all the while bragging that she is the only hacker in history who can.
Once inside, Jensen's gold avatar spots NuclearSnake's purple one, but the Palisade's virtual defense systems launched a security program that is interfering with his communications. ShadowChild guides Jensen through extracting the program from a series of data towers to disable its hold on him. The AI Core's defenses force Jensen to solve a series of brief but increasingly challenging and ridiculous puzzles, akin to those of such puzzle games as Portal, in order to get to the towers. ShadowChild tells Jensen that the AI Core's becoming too smart for them, and soon its defenses will advance so far that they will never be able to save their friend. But she has a plan to distract the AI Core by creating a hole in the outer defenses and inviting some Ripper friends of hers to simultaneously attack the client servers, causing the AI to look away from the mainframe. Though it may be their only way to save him, ShadowChild warns Jensen that this will upset NuclearSnake tremendously, but Adam insists. The plan works, Adam frees Pritchard, and they briefly reunite before logging out. Adam is briefly incepted into a NSN simulation of the server room and Oshiro's office before finally exiting the NSN for real and escaping through the genuine article.
Though Pritchard angrily expresses his desire to have a private "talk" with ShadowChild, she opens for Jensen a maintenance hatch on the underside of the Blade so he can escape into the river below, though Jensen wonders how she can still maintain connection to the Blade's systems. The player can choose not to use the hatch and continue to explore the previously encountered areas of the Blade, and perhaps even try to leave the way they came, but Pritchard will chide Jensen for wanting to go through so much more security than he actually has to. Either way, Adam Jensen ultimately escapes from the Palisade Blade.
As Jensen returns to his apartment, he finds ShadowChild waiting there, as her own apartment will be raided by police since the bank traced the hack back to her. ShadowChild reveals their efforts have, intentionally or not, caused a permanent "Breach" in the Palisade Blades' security which she is neither willing nor able to undo, and now countless Rippers will flock to the Neural SubNet to extract the corporate data. After Jensen scolds or praises her for causing the Breach, ShadowChild says she and her partner will be forced to leave Europe, moving to either Argentina or Northern California. She concludes by expressing how upset NuclearSnake is with her for causing "The Breach", and wondering how long it will take him to get over it.
Francis video-calls Jensen right as ShadowChild left, assuring him that only she was implicated in the hack, perhaps on purpose, and that the Santeau Group appears clean. While expressing his displeasure at ShadowChild for making them responsible for "the Woodstock of hacking", Jensen reminds Pritchard that they found out the CEO and CTO of Palisade Blade murdered Simona to hide their insider trading scheme, and that Stanton Dowd is blackmailing them to get in on it. Francis could only find that Stanton was an unprofitable trillionaire from old money, but continues to keep digging. Francis also explains that they cannot personally release their evidence of the murder without incriminating themselves. The player has the options of releasing the evidence to the Darknet, destroying it to keep themselves safe, or if Saridakis was spoken to before the heist, they can hand the evidence to his lawyer. While discussing Santeau and Rabi'ah, they both express their hope that the Human Restoration Act does not pass for all their sakes. Pritchard says he has to finish his report to his client, and their conversation ends with Pritchard wondering if he will have to rescue him from half-death again just to keep this from being the last time they work together, causing Jensen to hang up on him in mid-sentence again, before wishing him goodbye.
In a mid-credits scene, Eliza Cassan is shown on Picus News, reporting rumors of a break-in at the Palisade Blades earlier that week. If the player found and chose to release the evidence of the Saridakis murder, Eliza will also report that proof of Ashani Talwar and Masaaki Oshiro's involvement in Simona's death was uncovered, stating it was brought forth by a local lawyer if given to Saridakis.