A Rock and a Hard Place is the first chapter of Among Thieves. After awakening inside a railcar dangling precariously off a cliff, a severely wounded Nathan Drake had to climb his way to safety or risk falling to his death.
Story[edit | edit source]
Cliffhanger[edit | edit source]
Upon waking up, Nate looked around, unaware of his surroundings. After feeling some stinging pain, he looked below to find himself bleeding heavily from a wound in his abdomen. As several objects began falling down toward him, Nate's bench fell down, forcing him to make an upward leap to a higher one, only for it to fall down as well, sending him falling down as well. Fortunately, he broke his fall on the exterior handrail at the lower end of the railcar. After gaining a firm grip on the rail, he carefully climbed the wrecked carriage to reach safety at the top of the cliff. This carriage was being held up by a second carriage, which sat atop the cliff edge. As Nate entered this second carriage, it began to slide off the cliff, prompting Nate to make a quick run toward the cliff, narrowly escaping death at great heights.
The Lost Fleet[edit | edit source]
The story flashes back to an earlier time where Nate was drinking at a beach bar, before being approached by his old colleague Harry Flynn. After the two shared a brief hug, Flynn offered him a part in a job in which they needed to acquire a certain object for a client, who was willing to offer a huge sum of cash in return. Knowing that Nate would not like the kind of work they would have to do, Flynn presented Nate with a historical document from the Travels of Marco Polo exhibit in the Istanbul Palace Museum. Nate initially refused, pointing out that the both of them knew two people who were killed pulling off this kind of work, with Nate himself making out alive, barely. Flynn was in desperate need of Nate's assistance, reminding him that he was the only one who attempted this heist, and further mentioning that it would be a two-person job, with Nate correctly pointing out that it would be a three-person job, seconds before Chloe Frazer joined them. Nate, who knew Chloe as an old flame, was a bit surprised to see her but kept quiet about their history when she pretended that they never met.
Flynn began laying out the plan, in he and Nate would venture through the sewer before climbing up to the museum's courtyard. From there, they would have to climb to the rooftops, which they would then need to scale across to reach the exhibit hall. Chloe would aid the two by switching off the museum's floodlights, allowing the two to approach the building without any risk of detection. At this point, Flynn revealed what they were after: a Yuan Dynasty celadon oil lamp. Claiming that the artifact was worthless, Nate saw no point in going after it until Flynn showed him a 13th-century Latin journal entry, which he "borrowed" from his client's files. As Nate translated the entry, he realized that it was written by Marco Polo. As he translated the rest of the document, he and Chloe realized that it referred to the "lost fleet".
Flynn, initially believing it all to be gibberish, had no clue what they were talking about, therefore Nate filled him in on the details of Marco Polo's voyage. He explained that Polo left China with 600 passengers and fourteen ships loaded with treasure from Kublai Khan. A year and a half later, he arrived in Persia with one ship left and only eighteen passengers. Despite recording every detail of his journey, Polo never revealed what happened to the thirteen ships, the passengers, or the treasure. Nate then discerned that this oil lamp was what Flynn's "client" was after. Examining the lamp image closer, Nate realized that it must have been a gift to Polo from Kublai Khan. Flynn and Chloe pieced it all together as they recited a line from Polo's journal: "The light of the great Khan shelters the fate of the thirteen." Nate pointed out that Polo hid a clue inside the lamp, something that pinpoints the site of the lost fleet. As a final thought, the three decided that they were going to betray Flynn's client and go after the treasure for themselves. With the plan in place, Nate agreed to partake, convinced that nothing could go wrong.
Back in the present time, Nate awakened atop the cliff and proceeded through the wreckage of the train, somewhere in the mountains, trapped in a blizzard. The wreckage was strewn around a snow-covered plateau. Throughout the wreckage, he passed the bodies of dead soldiers, and at one point, encountered a live one, who was quickly killed from an unexpected blast. As Nate proceeded through the wreckage, the fire around him caused a fuel carriage to explode. The explosion dislodged another carriage, which barreled down a slope and hit the carriage Nate was in, causing it to tumble over several times, knocking Nate unconscious.
Mostly Professional[edit | edit source]
In another flashback, Chloe arrived at Nate's hotel room, shortly after their beach bar meeting. They alluded to a past relationship before Nate questioned her about her current relationship with Flynn. As the two shared an intimate moment on Nate's bed, Chloe assured him that her relationship with Flynn was "mostly professional". Nate then inquired about the plan, which was just like they discussed before—split the treasure three ways, before disappearing together, abandoning Flynn. Before the two made out on the bed, Chloe warned Nate that Flynn could not find out about them until after they had found the treasure. Nate knew that Flynn would be upset about it. Before she leaned in to kiss Nate, Chloe assured him that Flynn was going to be "fine".
The Phurba[edit | edit source]
Back at the present, Nate regained consciousness and proceeded on his search through the train wreckage, constantly hindered by his wound. He eventually came across a Phurba dagger sticking out of the snow. It was clearly of some importance, as he clutched it tightly within his bloody hands. The story then flashes back four months to the museum heist.
Nate, Flynn, and Chloe, having acquired an inflatable speedboat, sailed towards the Istanbul Palace Museum. Flynn expressed his concern about not having a gun, but Nate assured him that they would not need them since they were only going to be dealing with museum guards, and they had their patrols all mapped out. Flynn, however, reminded him of the consequences of them getting caught, which would involve them getting locked away in a Turkish prison, which Nate realized better than him.
Chloe pulled the speedboat right below their entry point into the sewer. Once inside, Flynn led the way until they reached the passage that would lead them into the museum. Chloe, shining her light in the opposite path, decided that was her way in. Before splitting up, Nate made sure they were clear on the plan, by reminding Chloe that the tower's floodlights would need to be off before he and Flynn could get close. Chloe assured them things would go as planned and told them to meet her at the rendezvous point, where she would have the van waiting, provided they make it out in time.
Walkthrough[edit | edit source]
Climbing the train[edit | edit source]
The first part of the chapter involves a climbing sequence that re-introduces some of the basic movesets from Drake's Fortune. To have Nate jump or pull himself up ledges, press , and to move in either direction, press .
Once you have control of Nate, move left along the yellow rail to the left to make it to the rear end of the dangling railcar. Begin ascending up the train along the right side. As you climb up, a boulder will fall down from the top and knock Nate down to a lower section. From there, continue climbing along the right side of the train. You will be prompted to jump () when you can no longer climb up. Press the same button again to grab the ledge, then again to grab hold of another yellow rail. Move along the rail to the left. When you are in the middle of the rail, an object will fall, halting you for a second. After it falls, continue moving to the left until you grab a tall, yellow rail. Climb up until it becomes severed. The force of Nate holding onto it will cause it to give away and slam against the side of the railcar. You will then be prompted to hold in the direction you want to swing and jump. After grabbing hold of the ledge, shimmy over to the left, then climb up to where you will be standing somewhat inside the railcar. Press forward on , and then jump to grab onto one of the benches.
Pull yourself on top of the ledge, then jump to a higher bench. Upon grabbing it, pull yourself up and make another leap. Keep pressing until Nate stands up. Now hold down and press , and then again. Now hold to the right and climb along the train. Grab hold of the yellow rail here and ascend to its top or you can just jump up the rail. When the rail gives out, leap to the left and quickly pull Nate up. Continue climbing until he is at the very top of the dangling railcar, and then jump to the yellow ladder, which he must ascend to pull himself up onto the train. The second he makes it inside the second railcar, he must now run forward, as the train will begin to slide off the cliff. The second you reach the very end of the railcar, make one leap to the cliff ahead, and Nate will pull himself up.
Searching the wreckage[edit | edit source]
After the flashback, Nate will wake up, and gameplay will continue. Head forward into the wreckage. After Nate squeezes his way through the narrow spot between two trains, look for a 92FS - 9mm near the dead soldier, then approach the door on the railcar near the dead body and press to open it. Once inside, climb over the trail, and pick up some additional ammo for your firearm. Upon reaching the other end of the railcar, you will find a locked door. Hold and then aim at the lock and press to shoot it off. You can also press to reload your gun.
When you exit the railcar, head forward and you will encounter a soldier. He will spot you and prepare to fire at you. You can either shoot him back or just wait for an explosion to strike him. After this, continue moving forward and pick up the ammo the soldier left behind. When you enter another railcar, head to its back end and push through the slightly damaged door. Head forward and climb up the boxes. When at the top, climb up the rails to the top of the train. Jump off the railcar and onto the other one. Walk to the end of the railcar and upon reaching the door, climb out of it. The railcar you are in will get knocked over by another railcar that comes tumbling over and over due to an explosion. Nate will be left unconscious, and the game will begin another flashback. Once the flashback ends, move around to wake Nate up. Look for the opening in the train and jump to the yellow rail. Shimmy to the right and pull yourself up into another railcar. Head forward until Nate falls down, after which you can continue heading forward until you reach the Phurba sticking out in the snow.