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Deus Ex: Hard Line is a science fiction novella set in the Deus Ex universe and written by James Swallow. The storyline follows Alex Vega between the events of Deus Ex: The Fall and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, as she begins working for the Juggernaut Collective.

The novella was originally available as part of the Collector's Edition and Day One Edition of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.[1] On January 6, 2017, Square Enix made the novella available for free, along with the mini comic Deus Ex Universe: The Dawning Darkness and the mini art book.[2] Currently, the novella is available for download from the author's website.


In the dark backstreets of Prague, activist Alex Vega falls foul of a group of corrupt cops preying on the city's oppressed population of augmented humans; and her past and future collide when she is forced to weigh the choices she has made in opposing the plans of the Illuminati.

— Synopsis on author's website


Alex Vega finds herself captured by several Prague police officers in the middle of the day with no one bothering to help her due to being an Aug. As she periodically regains consciousness from the stun attacks, she realizes that they have driven past the nearest precinct and are therefore taking her somewhere where she will most likely be killed. With her infolink malfunctioning, she is unable to send for help before blacking out once more.

She wakes up again to find herself in a jail cell and an inhibitor unit on her, preventing her from accessing her Glass-Shield Cloaking System and other augments. As she takes in her surroundings, she realizes she is not alone. Across from her is another Aug, and she can make out more in cells further down the corridor. Before she can ask what is going on, two of the cops walk in, their badges and faces hidden. They demand to know why she is in Prague. Alex explains she is a cargo pilot for Lebedev Global, which is part of the truth. The cops do not care about this though, and when Alex tries to offer them money to let her go, they scoff and say that no one is going to miss her before walking off. The man across from her explains that they want their augments, not money, and that they are being held in an abandoned police station that was once the location of Prague's augmented cops, now burned out from what happened during the Aug Incident. This causes Alex to reminisce about an event that happened in New York City after helping Ben Saxon in Australia. Saxon had pointed out that Alex was not the type to hide, and decided to introduce her to Janus.

Back to the present, Alex learns that the Aug across from her is Ivan and that he had been caught two nights earlier when he was out after dark without special documents. There used to be an augmented doctor in Alex's cell, but he was taken to the back and killed for his augments because they sell very well on the black market now that regulations are in place. Alex and Ivan have a heated discussion on whether peaceful or violent approaches are better for augmented people, reminding Alex of a conversation she had with Janus. Janus, who was cautious, had dug up as much information on Alex as possible, including past social media feeds, employment files, and photos of her when she was a child. Previously, Janus had explained they have to pick their battles and not act on impulse, before agreeing on her readiness for bigger assignments and introducing her to Garvin Quinn.

Three of the corrupt cops return and take Alex to the remains of a medical room. She notices more of them through a hole in the wall, some with their faces uncovered. However, when they see her watching, they quickly put their masks on. One comes over to talk through an encrypted radio channel to the ones holding her. With no other option, Alex reboots her infolink implant in hopes of getting it up and running. As another cop scans her to get a better idea of her implants, her infolink comes back online and she is able to access the radio channel, revealing their connection to the Dvali, who fence the augments harvested by corrupt cops. As the cops discuss their plans to harvest the rest that night, Alex attacks and is able to escape up to the top of the building. There, she makes a desperate bid to contact Janus for help, but gets no response before being knocked out by the cops who have caught up to her.

In another flashback, Alex recalls how, shortly after she was paired with Quinn, she flew him to Detroit to get a potential recruit - Adam Jensen. Quinn explained that he and Jensen had some history and that Jensen was a lot like her: driven, committed, and sarcastic. He further explained that it was important to get Jensen on their side because he could otherwise cause problems as a rogue element. Alex pointed out that if Jensen is like her, Quinn would need to convince him that working with the Juggernaut Collective would allow him to make a difference in the world.

Back in the present, Alex finds that she was dragged back to her cell. With Ivan yelling at one of the cops, she attacks the one holding her, knocking him out while Ivan restrains the other through his bars. Alex knocks the second cop out as well, before using the beam key to take off the inhibitor and releasing Ivan from his cell. Ivan says that they have to run, as no doubt the other cops would have heard the cries for help, but Alex refuses to run until they release the others. Despite his protest that they cannot save everyone, Alex unlocks their doors and they take off downstairs into the parking garage with the cops on their heels. However, before they can make it to the only open gate, a group of the corrupt cops appear in front of their path. The cops close the gate and start shooting. Janus contacts Alex and tells her that help is on the way, but she needs to open the gate as it is off the grid and cannot be hacked. Alex uses her glass cloak to get closer but runs out of power, exposing her to the cops. With no other choice, she lunges at the panel and the gate opens, letting in several drones that release taser darts on the corrupt cops, knocking them all out. The other Augs are able to escape but Ivan picks up one of the guns, ready to kill one of the cops. Alex is able to talk him out of doing so, revealing she used herself as bait to find out the cause of the missing Augs in the area. Despite not killing the cop, Ivan tells her that the peaceful approach is wrong before running off.

The next day, Alex goes to a meeting spot to talk with Janus, who was concern for her when she went missing. Janus did not want Alex looking into the disappearances and explains why the risk was not worth the reward—a few lost souls who fall through the cracks can’t be measured against the scale of the Juggernaut Collective's work. The Illuminati would not have been involved in something as small as a local harvesting operation, thus, the Juggernaut Collective needs to pick their targets carefully for maximum impact. In response, Alex criticizes Janus, telling him, "You’ve been fighting the Illuminati for long enough that you’re starting to think like them. Remember what is important." Janus responds, "Yes. You’re right. Sometimes it is hard to see…Where the line is drawn."

Janus says they recovered enough video footage off the corrupt cops' bodycams to bury everyone involved. With that, Alex asks what her next assignment is. Jensen walks in to greet her, the two having not seen each other since Detroit.

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