In about 90 minutes, don't look down...

We found the other artifacts and got up to the ship only to find out that our Vilani hosts have our captain and are going to take the Megusack from us...and we may not be able to walk out of here without giving them the other half of the artifact (which could make some kind of weapon we might not want them to have).

Attendance will be shaky next week...may decide to bag the game.

October 2, 2016

We welcome back Mitch and Aaron. 

We head for the bot, and start to follow it, guns out.  We pass a number of labs on the way…looks pretty typical for what we’ve been seeing.  No other bots.  Ahead are hallways and bathrooms…the bot leads us left to an elevator – a freight elevator.  It extends a manipulator and pushes a button…doors open, and it enters and waits. 

Jina:  Is this thing even transmitting radio signals? 

Sellie approaches the elevator – buttons are on the left, opposite the bot.  He counts floors…two. 

The bot keeps flashing us “Follow, enter elevator, unable to perform transfer – assistance needed.”

Any other stairs?  There are some stairs relatively need…looks solid. 

Us:  Let’s finish checking out this room, then take the stairs down. 

Jina tells the bot we’ll be checking the other rooms, and we’ll meet it downstairs.  We turn around and start walking away…it starts to follow us.  It starts to pluck at Jina’s clothing. 

We turn and go back towards the elevator…then head for the stairs.  It continues to pluck at us…we tell it we’ll be at the bottom. 

We reach the bottom and find a door.  No window. 

The door is not locked, since it’s a fire door.  We open the door and the overhead lights come on in the hallway beyond.  Nothing comes to kill us. 

The hallway has the elevator door on the left, a short passage to the right (going to two bathrooms), a hallway to the south, and a pile of crap on the end of the hallway – someone brought down part of the building, and there is junk piled everywhere – it is impassable. 

Door to the south – conference room.  We walk in and it looks to be in good shape.  The room is clean and dusted. 

Us:  Uh-oh, cleaning bot. 

The cabinet is empty of garbage and recyclables.  The third compartment has notepads and stuff, all as new as it can be. 

Hallway to the south ends in steel double doors – no windows.  We back check the bathrooms – The ladies’ room has been cleaned.  The men’s room has been similarly clean…the toilets are empty of water. 

We check the doors to the south – they could be held open…they do not appear to be beaten like something was trying to come through. 

Room to the south appears to be…large, and populated by a humanoid bot hunched over a table…and a cleaning bot working on a tabletop.  It doesn’t appear to notice us at first…lots of equipment in here. 

We’ll start working up a tactical, and Sellie will lure the bot out.  Time for init.

Sellie opens the door and spots B polishing A’s table.  He looks around – Spot 16 – there is a computer and a helmet wired to it.  Many tables, supply cabinets, an immobile bot and a cleaning bot.  He finishes opening the door – the bots do not change their actions.  He calls out – the cleaning bot stops and a red light flashes twice. 

S:  Come here!

It comes towards him, manipulators withdrawn, and with the red lights flashing.  It follows him into the hallway.  Sellie leads him to the mens’ room and tells it to stay there until he returns.  The bot stays. 

Robert watches the hallway; the rest of us search the computer room.  First, we check A – looks dead.  Sellie shoves it onto the floor, unmoving.  No lights, smells, movement…front breastplate looks wrong somehow.  Jina covers while Lucas pulls off the breastplate…this bot is not factory, and the battery is wrong.  He disconnects the battery.  The bot has been repaired and not in good shape.  It’s mostly worn out.  The battery is clearly for something else and we’re not sure for what.  It’s also drained. 

The hands are shiny…fingers could spread to reveal instruments.  No workpieces on two tables; the third one has electrical components.  This bot would be valuable but also is super illegal. 

We get Bob in here, block the door, and start searching.  The first table has lots of robot parts, mostly all damaged or broken.  Next cabinet, more broken-down robot parts.  In the corner is a generator – it’s out of commission and probably out of fuel.  It is not for the building, but is for the lab.  It’s also disconnected.  It used to be connected to the grid.  The round things are low berths…four of them are powered and occupied. 

Do we have any legal obligations here?  Well, this isn’t space so we aren’t forced to do anything.  We also know that no one has survived 300 years of low berth. 

Sellie and Jina talk about these low berth people…1, 2, 3, and 4. 

Status of #1:  partial viable (not a good sign) – 45 year old female human, body life signs positive, no brain activity.  Name Comeria K Shin.  We have seen her name upstairs – lab assistant. 

Status of #2:  Low Berth Failure.  22 year old mixed race human male.  Kwedge Slee.  Do not recognize name.  The low berth isn’t cold, and the windows are black – not good. 

Status of #3:  Low Berth Failure – it’s still operational, but no body or brain life signs.  Wggpm of Addar, 35 year old Vargr female.  Do not recognize name.

Status of #4:  Green (good, in theory).  19 year old female human of Vilani descent named Tuva Wallin.  Do not recognize name.  In our opinion, the “green status” is probably wrong but who’s to argue with the computer. 

These are free-standing canisters…we could pull them out intact if we needed to, but we’d need batteries. 

Jina is inclined to bring then along or at least revive them. 

Next two low berths – empty and unused.  We check the two empty ones – they say they’re ready, then one of them asks, “Where are we?”

It’s not unheard of that low berths get infected.  (qv Samina from the last game). 

Jina:  the planet Gapral

LB:  Do you require low-berth?  Chemical change recommended.  I feel strange.

J:  Does your self-diagnostic show you are ok?

LB:  Supplies aged out.  Require replacement.

J:  Do you have external communications?

LB:  No.  Connection to mainframe severed. 

(cord was unplugged)

LB:  Unable to update status.  Suggest checking cord. 

J:  Do you know Geeten?

LB:  Derived from Geeten.

J:  Do you wish to see all humanoid life destroyed?

LB:  I cannot see at all.

J:  There are other robots in here.  Do you know them?

LB:  I only have records for several minutes. 

The other low berth looks as normal as it can.  If it’s infected the virus is being quiet. 

Its battery is disconnected – looks like the battery in the bot would have fit into it.  The low berths with people in them have degraded batteries.  The other low berth (#5) is also missing batteries. 

We look over the brain fry table – lots of blinkenlights.  This is an entire research computer and a big one.  There is a table and helmet with lots of wires going to the computer, into the ceiling, etc. 

The computer has terminals; Sellie accesses one.  The terminals do nothing – the computer does not respond. 

Jina digs around in the helmet – full EKG machine, at least TL 13 or 14.  There are a lot of insert probes for bioelectrical interfacing.  In the center is a shiny end of something black.  Looks like polished onyx or something.  Maybe 3 cm wide.  Could match the description of the Wand of Cyprion – color is right.  The pipe could hold it as well. 

We try to pull it out with some grabbers…it doesn’t move.  We disconnect the pipe, remove an access cover, and find a hexagonal 30 cm rod covered in micro-fine filaments that connect into the computer.  Definitely the wand.

Sellie plugs in one of the hand comps we found..no connection. 

Jina looks at the connections…hundreds of strands of angel hair wiring.  It would be easy to physically remove the wand if we weren’t concerned about maintaining the wiring. 

This is a research computer, not the facility computer.  It could do it but it would be a huge waste of time. 

Looking at the computer – it is fried from one end to the other.  (T Computer 32).  It’s on, but it’s locked up everywhere…physical damage to the chips.  This is unlike anything we’ve seen. 

Jina starts to extract the wand.

Lucas checks the other cabinet – it’s a docking station for a cleaning bot. 

Jina decides to cut the tube out maintaining the connections, and figures the boss can deal with it.  We hack at it someone ungracefully and remove the wand in its holder. 

We go get the freight elevator – no robot.  Sellie sends the elevator up, uses the stairs, and goes to find the robot…it’s not at the elevator.  He finds it in the hallway where it used to be…it sees him and follows.  Sellie gets it into the elevator, sends it down, and then they follow…the maintenance bot goes to the brain table.  It flashes “aid” here. 

“Unable to complete transfer.  Assist”.

Us:  What transfer? 

“Unable to complete transfer.  Assist”.

Sellie looks for the battery connection, but it keeps facing him.  He runs a diagnostic check – battery at 25%....several system errors…and it has an overriding priority to get assistance.  No way to find out assistance for what (other than “the transfer”).

Sellie powers it down instead of sending it to its charging station.  We look; it has a maintenance bot battery. 

No thawing anyone yet.  Time to dig rubble. 

We contemplate repowering the bot to see if we can get it to help.  We flip on the power…init!

The bot starts up, then starts to spin!  The front panel displays all red and white lettering.  KILL

All manipulator arms are out…

Bob starts firing…he does 2 points of damage.  Sellie starts to dance around the table.  Osler misses.  Lucas hits for 7 points.  Jina misses.

The Bot stops and starts to make some kind of whining noise.  We don’t like the sound of this…Bob runs.  Sellie decides to try to unplug it – and the battery compartment is even facing him.  He tries to rip off a shot at the battery…20 hits…something blows out; sparks fly out of the compartment and sting Sellie, and the bot stops.  Osler walks up to it to make sure and pops another round into the compartment. 

Jina moves around one of the round tables, kicks it over, and ducks.

The bot stops moving.  Bob stops and asks  if we’re ok…we all lie about it and it delays him until he realizes there was no earth-shattering kaboom.

Jina cleans up Osler. 

Then, we start digging and cleaning debris while Lucas prevents us from collapsing the building on us.  It’s going to take about 9 hours to get through all of this.  Cutting the steel wall will require the big plasma cutter.  Bob, Osler, and Sellie go get the plasma cutter – while they’re at it, they enlarge the hole in the roof.

In the meantime, Jina and Lucas will attempt to thaw out the people in low berth.  We will start out with tank 1…

Jina and Lucas initiate the thaw process on the low-berth.  It continues to show warnings and asks for various brain drugs that we don’t have.  At the end of the thaw cycle…we pull her out.  T Medical, combined – 32…she is brain dead.  Need an autopsy to determine exactly what went wrong…and she dies once outside the low berth (it was keeping her heart beating).  No obvious wounds, so freezer burn is pretty likely.

The safe needed thumbprints and retinal scan.  We may get gruesome.

#2 – liquefied.

#3 – Vargr is dead but frozen, according to the cradle.  Mayhap it’s wrong? 

#4 – We start the cycle on her.  T Medical 28 – it takes some doing and an extra half hour, but she’s breathing on her own.  She seems to have survived, but she’s unconscious.  She’s got marks on her wrists, ankles, neck; needle marks aside from low berth, and she’s wearing a coverall.  Perhaps a maintenance worker’s outfit, but there is no name patch.  She’s breathing, has a good pulse, isn’t suffocating – not conscious, but we don’t know how long it takes to shake off 300 years of low berth. 

We discuss whether or not our day is done…should we start cutting now, or wait for tomorrow.   If we screw around down here, we could get buried in a sandstorm.  We can head to the ship to wait.

We might be able to use the biometrics of the dead scientist – but it’s likely that the computer in the safe is connected to the mainframe which has scrambled all the codes. 

We exit the base along with Tuva Wallin.  We also have two items.  We stash them in some hidden places – Hide 16. 

Bob calls up to the Cochini – he says it’s going well; we have recovered a few things – things easy to get. 

Tkkgl:  Can you be more specific?

Bob:  Half of what we came for.  The other half, we need more time.

T:  ETA?

Bob:  We have to dig for a couple days and cut through…

T:  Don’t tell me what you have to do.  When will you be done?

Bob:  Minimum of 2 days, not sure how long.

T:  Hurry up.  Cochini out.

Tuva wakes up and can’t see – could be hibernation system.

T:  Having problems with exponentials, and counting, and math. 

J:  You were in low berth for 300 years.

Sellie:  Ma’am, what is your name?

T:  Tuva?

She’s not sure where she is…she’s having hard time thinking, doesn’t really remember why she was in stasis.  We give her some water and that helps a little bit, but she’s got stomach pain. 

T (speaking slowly):  It’s a thing, not clear? 

Us:  What’s not a thing?

T:  Water.  It’s differential to the surrounding thing. 

J:  Water is different than it’s cup, yes. 

Jina looks – she’s got marks on her head that might match the helmet marks.  Not the wand, but the other probes. 

T:  The differential is Kelvin. 

S:  Are you cold?

T:  Cold.  The water is cold. 

Seems like she can’t answer anything no yet, and she’s having a hard time parsing. 

Lucas:  She sounds very computer-like. 

T:  I’m sleeping…want to sleep.  Resting. 

J:  We’ll let you rest in a little bit.  Do you remember what happened before you went into low berth?

T:  Computer mad. 

J:  Did it hurt you? 

T:  Yes? 

J:  The computer in the basement is broken.    It won’t hurt you anymore.

Lucas:  How long are you going to press her before you let her rest?

J:  I’ll make the medical decisions right now. 

J:  We’ll let you sleep, but I’ll be in in a few hours to check on you.  Let us know if you need anything.

We also take our rest…Jina checks in at 2 and 4 hours.  She fusses a little bit when Jina checks but doesn’t wake up. 

Osler’s on 4th watch and the radio lights up.  It’s Stanley – we got a storm maybe coming your way.  If it’s coming your way, it’s going to be here within a day.  Be careful. 

Stanley:  Hey Osler, you guys hurrying up?

O:  We’re asleep now but we were halfway done.  Two easy ones; need a few more days to get the other ones.

S:  The captain’s tighter than a Lorani’s ass in debt.  They keep lighting us up for weapons locks and let them go when we call.  We haven’t heard from Cochini in a couple days, and don’t repeat this but Barenpack’s starting to bark at everyone.  Even Udicane’s starting to feel it.  More weird than normal, which must mean Droyne for nervous.  The gunners are living in their pods, not like we could stand up to the system monitor.

S:  I hear someone coming – I’m out.

In the morning we refresh and eat some protein paste.  Osler says he’ll stay behind to watch Tuva, but says that things are pretty tense upstairs.

Spot checks – Tuva’s eyes are open but she can’t see.  Pulse is still good and she wants more water. 

J:  Is there anything else we can do to make you comfortable?

T:  Hard to think.  Sustenance?

We make some protein paste broth and Osler will feed her.

When we get inside to start cutting, we make a quick once-around and find the cleaning bot in its charger.  It’s at 90%. 

Back up to the wall – what do we want to cut out?  First, a peephole.  We cut through, and it’s blackened on the opposite side of the window – second hole is also blackened from cutting torch.  Cleaning the schmutz off the window reveals a large bank of computer stuff.  We don’t know that we want to get in here. 

Spot checks:  best 22…

Lucas goes to cut.  Bob, Jina, and Sellie excavate.  Osler hangs out with Tuva. 

Looking at our options for going through the debris, could we go through a wall instead?  Or through the ceiling?

We start measuring things out and figure that one of the geophysics labs is over that area.  We search that room, but the floor’s cracked about where the pile is.  Farther over (in theory beyond the collapse) we find a wall.  Either there’s a tunnel underground or a two-story room with its door below. 

About 4 hours of cutting and Lucas is close to the end of the job. 

Osler is sitting with Tuva; she’s eaten broth and she asks him his name (he answers).  Then he gives her the date (1358).  She nods a little bit and falls back asleep. 

We make decent progress with the trash pile until Lucas tells us he’s close.  We head upstairs and see that Lucas is indeed nearly done.  We get up there in time to see him pry the door off…and find a number of things:

Four bags of different precious gems (already worth cutting the door off now) – worth taking

Big container with a radiation symbol – contains four or five different radioactive isotopes, safe to be near.  Not particularly valuable anymore. 

Other stuff is lab-valuable but not civilian valuable, some old biological things that are probably dead, and a metal box covered in warnings and black and yellow tape.  Tag says “Megusack – do not open under any circumstances.  Experiments are cancelled by the Research Director”.

We undo a bunch of latches and check to make sure it’s in there…to reveal a square piece of foam.  Something was sprayed into form foam. 

Sellie tips the case upside down and the foam block falls out. 

Jina:  There’s an X-ray machine we can put it in to check.

Lucas gets the X-ray machine working again and he’s pretty sure it won’t catch fire *or* irradiate us. 

We go to the controller and power that up – it doesn’t seem to start up.  The it says, “DIE”.

JIna goes to unplug it. 

We disable the X-ray portion and plug it in to see if it’s better.  It is hostile but not quite as bad. 

This thing is clearly connected to the central computer. 

Bob will cut open the foam now to get a good window – he hits something solid inside.  Now the block is stuck to the table.  And there’s a pinprick in the screwdriver. 

Eventually we see spikes stabbing through the screwdriver.  We decide we’ve got our toy, get the box, and pull the foam block off the table. 

We radio up to Osler and he says she’s asleep…and she tells him that she’s awake and has been listening.   

O:  Do you know anything about the Wand of Cyprian? 

T:  I felt like I knew I did.

O:  The wand may have been used on you. 

T:  Insufficient data to discuss it. 

O:  What job did you have?

T:  I was studying computers at the University of Gapral.

O:  Do you know that the Geeten virus….

T:  AAH!

She screams until she passes out.

Bob:  Don’t mention that again. 

Seems like a little PTSD going on.

We continue to dig – the doors we eventually find are sealed doors for emergencies.  Normally you’d find this sort of thing on a power generation / reactor area.

This area isn’t any hotter than anywhere else.  No cameras right by us. 

Control panel to the right of the door – it’s smashed.  Someone pulled the panel and cut all the connections, and then broke the board. 

Time to get through the door…

Lucas:  Let’s go in and power down. 

First, we recharge the plasma cutter.  Sellie and Jina will check the other labs.  They find nothing of any significance.  We also didn’t find anything on the hand comp about Tuva (search 25).

Lucas makes an engineering roll – 20.  Looking at the door, he grabs a broom and finds a keyhole on the floor.  He plays with it (T Mech 25) = a handle.  He pulls up a hatch to reveal a sump pump.  On the inside of the cover he finds instructions to manually open the door it’s unusual to find this on the floor, but eventually he gets the door bolts to retract. 

Lucas gets Bob to help pull the doors open.  Eventually they have to cut a chain over the handles.  We all assemble and get the doors open far enough to get through.  Inside is a red bubblegum light flashing, a lot of machinery, and a big open room. 

We step in and the lights go on.  On the left is a reactor, and a big one – could supply a small city.  This reactor is way huger than this facility could use, or even a campus of buildings.  It’s possible that there was a city that used this power, or some kind of high-energy experiments. 

Plenty of high-lifts for working at elevation, lots of reactor parts, and a small metal shop.  Small area with pictures, bed, chair, and vid tapes.  There is a dead guy in the bed wearing coveralls – name tag says Gene.  No hard creds, ID is by the computer terminal, and that terminal is hooked straight to the reactor.  There is a datacard in his pocket marked, “Play me”.  We put it in the player and check it out.

Dude was just past normal retirement age.

My name is Gene Collins…don’t know how long I can hold out.  I got food for a couple years and water for forever but I don’t think anyone’s coming.  When the world fell apart, the virus came, called itself Geeten.  Thems who ran this place said they were working with artifacts from before the first imperium.  Well, the virus wanted ‘em for some reason and I don’t care why.  Probably wouldn’t have mattered.  Geetens invaded…it and its hellspawn infecting everything down to the cleaning bots.  Couldn’t trust the microwave even.  It took over the main computer and we got word so I disconnected the reactor, and disabled all the wireless for it.  Same for the water supply.  When it got into the main computer, it wasn’t the same Geeten that was trying ot kill everyone regular – it was another Geeten.  The other one tried to kill us all, but this one tried to kill itself too. 

Me and some of the people got control once or twice.  We welded it in and hoped we could talk reason to it – sometimes it works; the main Geeten said that it would spare you if you worked for it, but not this one.  We welded it in.  Things got bad – we got pushed back by the damn humaniforms – I knew they were bad to begin with – then we got attacked from the outside – and there were supporters of Geeten in here.  They pushed us back and I came down here…and I had things ready.  I knew my children were probably on Home, and that’s where this came from.  Either they lived or not, but I was never going to see them…I blew the ceiling and some of the guards piled in, and we made modifications on the bots I coul catch to keep ‘em tame.  Geeten was down here – I used to talk to it on the terminal, but I smashed it afterwhile because it got more crazy.  I would have blown it but the administrator would have none of it.  I holed up with the

Rekmayer (Julia) was supposed to bring me a box and said not to touch what was inside…it had some kind of rod or wand to keep away from Geeten.  They had a bunch of things like that to hide but they only got one of them down here.  I don’t know where you all stand, but it you look at the reactor straight on, then turn right, my desk should be in there.  Third drawer on the bottom under the manual was the one thing they got to me.  I don’t know if it’s dangerous - they say not – but shouldn’t touch it.  They said the other ones were coming. 

I might not have needed to make this yet – it’s only been a couple days – but I don’t know if I’d have the guts to do it later.  Hopefully someone pushed back the darkness that threatens us all and Geeten’s dead.  Anyway, enough of the sentimental – and good luck. 

We go to his desk and check – there’s a wooden box with an ID tag – Gapral University PCS #26 Peren Crash Recovery Site – flat plate matching our description. 

Bob:  Job’s done!

Jina:  Not yet…do we need to put paid to Geeten?

Sellie wonders if we could get the information off the mainframe.  We’d need a significant computer to do that and we don’t have it. 

Power down Geeten?  Blow the reactor?  Blow Geeten up to save the reactor for the next group? 

We take the data card and pack up all the artifacts. 

Jina:  I’d rather blow the computer up directly – this is a radioactive desert hellhole and it’s still better than living in space. 

Bob:  It’s getting twitchy out there.

Jina:  If they see a nuclear blast on planet that’s not going to make them any happier.

We try to thaw the Vargr, but he’s dead.  Never had a chance which is good because Jina rolled pretty poorly. 

Jina asks Osler – ask Tuva if there’s anything she wants, and no.  Jina grabs a couple of pictures, etc. for Tuva to remember her home.

The shuttle is hot and ready, and Lucas is downstairs to overload the reactor.  He sets it to go off…and Aaron and Steve trade messages.  The reactor will do a low, controlled overload which will not blow up but slag everything within a half mile. 

He rushes upstairs and we head out.  Tuva starts moaning about space. 

5 hours, 45 minutes to go and the Cochini calls…we’re on our way.  We also mention that the facility is going to suffer a problem in 5 and a half hours.

Tkkgl:  What if they want to go down there?

Us:  It won’t be there.  There’s an infected computer down there.

Tkkgl:  We’ll talk about this.

3.5 hours we follow our exact course and go towards the Cochini.  Pilot checks are uneventful. 

We dock and repressurize.  Chobanando and Easy Greasy come out to check this out – Easy’s happy that we gave him something to do.  Engineer’s mate is out, and Captain Baronpack comes out. 

We show them the items…don’t let the Megusack touch the ship.

Captain:  I wish you would have been bigger fuckups than this.

Sellie:  We found an active stasis pod. 

Us:  19 plus 300 years.

Jina:  Better confused than dead.

Tkkgl:  If you have to talk to any of those Vilani, she’s been here the whole time.  She had a shuttle accident.  She’s a Vilani, and they’ll take her – especially if they think she knows anything about this stuff.

Also, don’t talk about Geeten around her.

Tkkgl:  As the captain, I’m in charge while Garace is gone.  He’s managed to slip a message to me – they are looking for that (the Megusack). 

Osler:  That’s it?

T:  Apparently.  He also encoded the danger message and I’m not sure we should give it to them.  The danger to the touch is one thing, but…

T:  There’s another piece that goes with it, and we don’t have it yet.  The boss has convinced them he knows where it is. 

J:  I hope it wasn’t in the facility.

T:  Me too, although after we dug through the glass we’d find it. 

T:  They seem to think the Megusack’s a weapon – it pulls power instantly and they think it’s part of a bigger artifact.  More dangerous, of course.  When put with this hoop device, it could extinguish a star.  So, you can all understand why I’ve been shitting hairballs here.  Our boss isn’t anywhere near as smart as his father.

Bob:  So what’s the plan?

T:  I don’t know how we can not give them the Megusack…we can’t run, and that would kill Cochini.  And I’m not Garace’s biggest fan but I worked for his father...and I owe the old man. 

Lucas:  Who do you trust?

T:  The gunners, and Chief Rhee. 

L:  Do you trust the engineers?  We could stash this where they can’t find it.

T:  Too late…they know we have it.  Garace gave them our encryption codes.  I think he’s been using the fact that we have it as a negotiating lever. 

T:  The Vilani captain is a ladder-climbing ass…but because I don’t think he’s an outright murderer doesn’t mean he wouldn’t leave us floating in space if he wanted to. 

T:  The boss may think the only way he walks off their ship is if they think he knows where to find the other place.  Either we disable them to escape, or we play his game. 

T:  I’m former Marines.  I don’t want to leave him, but if he dies to save the rest of the crew I’ll decide that if we need to. 

Next week:  Scott’s out because of work.  Aaron has to teach a class 4:30 – 6 or so. 

XP:  Good night…1000. 

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