A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
I just love a nice joy ride in the gama [sic] rays of the afternoon.
Having finished eating the powerbar, I dig into my pack and withdraw a set of mirrored sun-glasses. I offer them to Jonn to use. "If that warbot left the factory compound, where would he be going? Following us maybe?" I ask, looking out the tinted window but not seeing it.
Pushing a button on the dash, Geo turns on the air-conditioning. "Better, humanoids?"
As your grav-car speeds along swimmingly, Geo points at something off in the distance, and Gallus 5/13 beeps in comfirmation before it can be seen clearly. Still over a mile away, Howard sees the warbot hovering near the tunnel entrance about 40 feet in the air, as if waiting for you. Brimstone growls.
(Do you continue toward it or turn and go off road?)
"I say, I say there Howard, this doesn't look very good!" I peck at my shirt nervously, letting out a low "Broooock."
Is this warbot hovering 40 feet in the air near the tunnel entrance the same warbot from the factory? If so, how'd he beat us to the tunnel? DANG!
Jonn, fishing in his pack for his own pair of sunglasses, gives up, and accepts Lamia's offer, "Thanks, shugah! I must've lost mine."
He dons them and turns to face her with a wide grin, "Sexy, dontcha think?"
Howard adds to Lamia's comment, "He wasth heading thowardsth usth, buth I donth sthee him anymore!"
"How did he move stho sthwifthly?" Howard splatters all over the inside of the windshield.
"Uh, Dodgers, evasive maneuvers, dude!" Jonn exclaims.
Seeing as how a warbot can fly faster and turn quicker than our best modern-day fighter jets, you take a guess as to how he got there first! Doh!
Quoting the movie Speed (the first one). "What do you do?"
I smile at Jonn's humor, "You are that indeed," I agree. Just the mention of the warbot's return causes my smile to change into fear almost instantly.
"Yo Geo, thisth thing got any firepower? We're gonna need it! Sthee if you can't look up the sthpecths on thisth thing."
Howard turns to Gallus. "Think you can override his input codesth to sthend him a mesthage? I'd kinda like to not get into a firefight, if it'sth all the sthame with you guysth."
In the meantime, Howard slows the car a bit to give their group time to plan their action. Surely the warbot knows where they are, since he knew to head to the tunnel in the first place. So, turning around or finding a different route doesn't seem to be a logical course of action.
Jonn shakes his head, and climbs over Lamia's lap to get closer to the front seat. "S'cuse me, pardon me, coming through!"
"Dodgers are you loco? You're not seriously considering taking on this behemoth! The only thing we got is Brimstone's pulse rifle, and even that isn't guaranteed to take T-Rex offline!"
Turning to Geo, Jonn continues, "Hey, you said a while back that T-Rex was set to patrol a specific area and could not leave it. Instead, could it be possible that it is set to guard the reactor, or the laptop? If so, I agree with Dodgers in one respect: we'll never shake it, and since we have little chance of destroying it, I fear we'll have to confront it again."
Brimstone translates, "'We' meaning 'you,' right, Mr. Pure Strain?"
Geo adds, "Let me warn you Jonn, T-Rex, like most warbots of his vintage, has probably been adversely affected by radiation. His logic circuits may not exactly be running on full thrusters, <beep-beep> as may his safeguards against harming your ilk. Heh-heh, always wanted to say that word. Ilk. Heh-heh."
Jonn glances back at Lamia, hiding his fear as best he can underneath a carapace of bravado growing thin with every passing minute. Lamia sees her fear reflected in her mirror glasses. "So be it," Jonn swallows the words as if they were a road pizza.
Whoa, road pizza sounds great, especially a nice ripe opossum. <shaking head> Sorry, too many characters... Brimstone had me in a brainhold there for a moment. Can you tell who in this group saw the movie Chicken Run? <NAA> Wrong answer, it wasn't Kaz... heheh... get it? Kaz/Leghorn... heh.
"Does the cigar lighter count?" Geo shakes his head. "I could put the headlights on high beams, but it's not dark yet. Would that help?"
"Cool, give me the lighter!" Leghorn lights his cigar and puts it back in his beak.
"I'm attempting to make contact... nothing yet!"
Geo agrees with Jonn. "Unless you have a death wish, I wouldn't even consider taking it on! I think you need to get out of the grav-car and talk to it. Just don't go to far, as the warbot might just blast us like he did Blackbeard's mutant friends. As far as my being wrong, that is explained in the definition itself, post-nuclear of course."
Here's a hint: "I don't want to be a pie! I don't like gravy!" <said with Lady Di accent :)>
Jonn agrees, "Right, Geo. Dodgers, pull up on the other side of that boulder and let me out. You guys can take cover there... and Brimstone, whatever you do, don't point that thing at T-Rex!"
As if it were watching Jonn, Brimstone's rifle emits, "Red Elf now has reflective shades!"
"Ah say boy, good luck!"
"Yeah, don'th thry anything heroicth!"
Jonn crawls back in his seat, thinking about what he will say, and if T-Rex will buy it or reduce him to ground round.
You're going to make guessing difficult aren't you! <Pondering your gravy>
Coming to a stop, you climb out of the grav-car and approach the hovering warbot. Small red targeting lasers move past you to the grav-car behind you. The warbot lowers to a height of about one foot above ground level in front of you. None of its weapons are aimed at you. A door pops open on the front of the warbot and you see a small room inside, with a chair in the center.
Your recorded voice echos back to you from inside the warbot (think the movie Predator), "Right, Geo. Dodgers, pull up on the other side of that boulder and let me out. You guys can take cover there... and Brimstone, whatever you do, don't point that thing at T-Rex!" Then Howard's recorded voice says, "Yeah, don'th thry anything heroicth!"
As Jonn's own voice beckons him inside the giant warbot, he wonders if Gallus' head is bugged. Without pausing in his gait, he steps inside the warbot as if it were an everyday occurrence. "Nice to see you again T-Rex," Jonn states, keeping his fright locked down and stowed away. <click-sploosh> "How can I be of assistance?"
Dodgers' replayed words echo inside Jonn's (mostly empty) head.
"Ah say, Jonn, can you microwave me a burrito while yer there?" yells the Captain in a crowing type voice.
"Captain, please... Jonn's probably dead meat anyway. Let's at least let him go out with some dignity, and not a burrito on his mind!"
The doors behind you (Jonn) suddenly close making a "Swissssshing" sound as they seal airtight. Looking around you see a large comfortable captain's chair in the center of the warbot. If you were seated in it you could easily reach the multitude of buttons and switches which line the walls and ceiling, many of them lit up in a variety of colors.
"Please Jonn sit. May I call you Jonn?" Before allowing you the time to answer the warbot continues. "I require your assistance Jonn, will you help me?" Looking at one of the small green screen panels on the wall you see numbers counting down from five minutes. Below the numbers you see it says "Mini-Missile Launch Sequence, Mutants Targeted."
Turning to Howard, Geo states, "A well placed grenade inside that cockpit would destroy that warbot, you know."
Leaning over the seat to Howard, I hug the mutant duck. "What are you going to do if it opens fire or if Jonn doesn't back?" I rub Howard's ruffled feathers smooth.
Jonn removes his shades, and wonders if Lamia ever expected to get them back, while answering the warbot with a question, "Whoa, T-Rex. May I call you T-Rex?" He continues before the warbot can respond, "I may be able to help if you don't harm my friends. And yes, you may call me Jonn."
Still standing, Jonn looks around for any important-looking buttons (particularly ones that would open the door or shut down the missile launch sequence) or communcation consoles (particularly ones that would link T-Rex to Gallus' head), and feels the weight of his frag grenade and vibro dagger within easy reach at his belt.
Surrounded with unfamiliar and lethal technology, Jonn struggles to keep his hopes alive, one hope in particular: that Dodgers has enough sense to abandon him.
Howard shivers at Lamia's fluffing of his feathers. He watches as Jonn climbs into the warbot....
Howard hopes Jonn has enough sense to cut the blue wire, not the yellow one. But just in case he doesn't, and knowing his lack of mechanical knowledge of how to tinker with high-tech things, Howard polls Geo and Gallus for an alternate solution. "You guysth need to come up with sthome kind of way to reach that robot'sth sthensthe!" His own words give him an idea. "Assthuming the robot has a sthensthe of sthelf presthervathion, what if we remind him that we have a nuclear reactor in our handsth? That might give it sthecond thoughtsth on whether or not to fire on usth!" He looks to the group for ideas, and doesn't quite yet try to get out from underneath Lamia's fingers.
Great reflective shades comment, D!
I'm out of town until Tuesday. Try not to get us all killed in the meantime! Or at least, use Brimstone for a mutant shield?
[The adventurers have split into two groups:
"No, you may not call me T-Rex. My name is Rex-Ten-Thousand. My bio-scans of you show you are considering something you should not be. Attempts to destroy me will only gain you a very painful punishment. A demonstration is possible if you are interested. Sit down in the chair Jonn, that's an order. If you agree to help me I will stand down the missile launch sequence and let your very unworthy mutant friends leave alive. If you don't agree in less than 2 minutes they will all die! My missile range is 7 miles. Of course I would never hurt you intentionally Jonn. As for your voice, I have very sensitive listening antennae, and I could record your voice from a mile away if I wanted to." Slowly you feel the warbot start to move. "What is your decision Jonn?"
A small palm sized drawer pops open on the side of the chair. Inside you see a small metal badge. Taking it out, you see it is made of gold. "That is a comm-badge so I may communicate with you Jonn. Put it on!"
Once Jonn enters the warbot, the doors close behind him and the warbot lifts high into the air. Slowly the warbot moves off until you can no longer see it in the distance, heading southwest. What do you do now?
"T-Rex's receiving computer is no longer accepting my commands. It is possible we could jump a carrier command module into his weapons systems. We would of course have to build such a module, which I could do if I had a body," explains Gallus 5/13.
"I say we just shoot the bastard and screw the GM, uh, er... I mean T-Rex." The Cougaroid growls at his misspoken words.
"I could build such a unit, but it would take some time, maybe two hours. We would also need to return to the factory. One of those remotely controlled ID Card units, like the one attached to the gate would work, and since the power is off, it shouldn't be a problem to take."
Puffing on my cigar, I look at the duck. "Howard, even T-Rex needs service by repair robots occasionally. My having never seen his service robots means they are not at the factory, but probably hidden in the desert somewhere nearby. My guess would be they are within a mile circle of the factory. If we found and destroyed them, T-Rex would certainly be doomed to a robot death eventually. That's my 2 cents." I blow several smoke rings.
Thinking about Jonn and his current troubles, I realize I am rubbing Howard just a bit too much. Not wanting to give Howard any ideas, I release him and sit back in the back seat and cross my arms and pout.
Jonn is amazed at the adaptability of this robot; indeed he can't help but feel a sense of pride in his race, its creators, but then he remembers the unspeakable horror this warbot had accomplished, effortlessly, and without hesitation.
He reminds himself that Rex-10000 could be listening in on his thoughts. "Frak!" he thinks. "Did I think that aloud?" he rethinks. "Frak!" he re-rethinks.
Jonn snaps out of the feedback loop: "Rex-10000, I will help you, on the condition you not harm my friends. Unworthy as you may see them, I owe them my life, and I actually think I..." Jonn sinks into the chair, realizing he really has no choice.
Jonn pins the comm-badge to his plastic armor's left breastplate, then removes it to the right breastplate. He puts Lamia's glasses in a pocket underneath his left breastplate, and exhales slowly, as Capt. Leghorn might puff a smoke ring.
"So, where we headed, Rex-10000?" he eyes the countdown to confirm that it stops.
Will!! We miss you, dude!!! [Brimstone was at this point more or less an NPC. --ed.]
The countdown continues until the missile launch stops at 07 seconds. Studying some of the console switches, you see some of them have small name tags beneath them. You read things like; ADT Door, External View Screen, Full System Diagnosis, ID Card, Surface Hatch, External Lights, Internal Lights, Internal Computer Access, Depressurize, Silent Running, Service Required, Core Shut Down, Helmet Navigation, Ordinance Check, Holo-Mapping, Receiving Link (which is blinking off), Raise Antenna, Eavesdropping (which is blinking on), and Internal Provisions.
Suddenly two metal rings snap around your wrists as you sink into the chair (after you add the comm-badge and put the glasses away of course). "Sorry Jonn, I'm only doing this for your protection. We are headed to Gamma Base Alpha, a military missile base." Looking around, you realize you could flip any of the switches with your feet if you wanted to.
Jonn is not at all surprised by the restraints, but he refrains from playing footsy with the controls, especially since Rex would presumably be taking the precautions to bioscan his thoughts continuously. He memorizes the locations of the more interesting controls, just in case.
"I thought that base was nuked during the war, Rex-10000. Won't there be lingering radiation hazardous to myself and to your circuitry? And now that I've pledged to help you, how exactly will I?"
Can I assume that all of Group 2's statements are being broadcast over Rex-10000's eavesdrop link?
No, T-Rex was only listening while he was waiting for you. Plus T-Rex is out of range now (i.e. 1 mile maximum range). The reason I listed it as Group 1 and Group 2 was because it appears your group will be split up for some time... you never know how long.
Speaking in a voice that sounds like Hal from the movie 2001, Rex-10,000 says. "Most of the military bases were destroyed. The one we are going to was not. You will help upgrade my systems and do the needed repairs that I ask you to do. You will also help me get automated control over the base. What you do not understand, I will teach you, Jonn."
You feel the turbulence as T-Rex speeds away.
Nervous, Jonn finds courage in mindless chatter. "Right-o, Rex-10000. Just to warn you up front, I don't know much about recent technology. It got all confusing after the war. S'why I team up with Dodgers all the time. It's a different story when it comes to stuff the ancients had."
Silence. Not even a song in his head.
Jonn bites his tongue. His momma always told him that talking about himself would get him in trouble. He begins to feel that constricted-neck feeling he always got when he sensed someone was watching him. "But I'm a quick and eager learner!" he adds.
More than an hour passes uneventfully. With out warning you hear very heavy caliber slug throwing weapons pinning off the exterior hull of Rex-104. You then hear the launch of two of Rex-104's missiles, several lasers firing and then the mini-rail gun firing in a few short bursts. "Nothing to worry about Jonn. Just relax." A few minutes later you feel Rex-104's landing gear open up and then feel it land.
The wrist bands holding you in the chair unlock. The door in front of you de-pressurizes and then pops open like a clam shell (half going up and half going down, with steps on the door itself).
A drawer pops open below the console to your left. Inside you see a small fist-sized blinking electronic device. "Take the mobile emitter with you Jonn." You wonder what the hell a mobile emitter is.
"What the hell is a mobile emitter?" Jonn thinks, rubbing his freed wrists. He snags the blinking contraption, turns it over in his hand and, with a shrug, stuffs it in a pocket. As he walks down the warbot's steps, his ears still ring with the staccato of Rex-10K's rail gun, and he wonders whose death-wish just came true.
Exiting Rex-10K, you find yourself on the roof of a six story building within a complex of about twenty black buildings, all of which are at least as tall as the one on which you stand. Other than a tall perimeter fence like the one which circled the Oad-Ck-Factory, you see nothing but wide open desert. A black/white faded circle painted on the wall of a distance building says "Area 61". Smoke rises from behind a building to your left. A greeting from Rex-10K, you guess.
Looking around on the roof top, you see that the landing pad also doubles as a huge floor elevator (almost 50 by 80 feet). Off to your right you see a small building, most likely a stairs going down into the building. Walking over to the door you notice the door requires an I.D Card. "Place the mobile emitter on the ID Card unit, Jonn," says a voice from your comm-badge.
Taking the unit from your pocket, you put it on the ID unit. The mobile emitter begins blinking faster and a tiny readout panel on it displays thousands of 0's and 1's in no particular order. "Come back to me, Jonn," orders Rex-10K. As you return to the warbot, the floor elevator begins lowering into the building very slowly.
Jonn looks around at the vast expanse of sand and scrub that fades into the glimmering horizon. The San Matoe Mountains, whose foothills abut Albuquerque, are nowhere in sight. An unsettling tremor ripples over him, an amalgam of homesickness, agoraphobia and desolation. "Frak, I hope Dodgers...." but he dropped the thought where it started, fearful of the warbot's snooping.
As the floor elevator lowers Rex-10K and Jonn into the bowels of Area 61, Jonn peers at the so-called mobile emitter curiously. "Dude, I gotta get me one of these," and, through the tenuous wisps of vapor still wafting from the warbot's rail gun, he allows himself a smile.
The elevator lowers into a huge maintenance bay with hundreds of robots of all shapes and sizes moving about. The only light within the structure shines through the very, very dirty windows along one wall. All of the robots have their own light sources.
Like a bunch of insects, hundreds of robots swarm around Rex-10K and begin working on him from top to bottom. You see new and unusual missiles being added to Rex-10K as well as many other things. Standing not too far away in the darkness you see a man-shaped robot (think Terminator 1). Its eyes are glowing and you can see that it holds a laser pistol in each hand.
Walking over to the window, you rub some of the dirt away and look outside. In the alley of the building next to your building, you see rows upon rows of white human skeletons, and many bullet holes in the wall behind them.
"Frak!" Howard emits fowl-ly, as he spies the warbot head off. "We gotta track 'em!" He suggests Gallus and Geo put their heads together (an easy thing for Gallus to do) and get some kind of tracking going. "Maybe sthomething Jonn has on him, we can track? Or the robot itsthelf?" Once they know where the robot is going, he reasons aloud, they can better figure out how to follow and meet up with him.
"By the way," he explainsth to the backseat. "Any of you want out know, sthay stho. I'm going after Jonn." He says this last part especially to Brimstone, whom he feels was just in this caper for the money and figures he won't want to go along for the ride to find Jonn.
He peers at Lamia, his neck turning effortlessly 180 degrees to face her. "We'll go get him, don't you worry sthweetheart!" And then, back to the robot duo. "Stho, we heading back to the chicken factory or what?"
Jonn quickly turns away from the grisly scene, feeling queasy. Stumbling back to Rex-10K, and dodging a few maintenance robots, he asks the warbot, "What the frak happened outside, and who's bright-eyes over there?"
Letting out a low growl, the Cougaroid opens his door and steps out, slamming the door behind him. "Tell GM...er, I mean Jonn he can kiss my furry ass! I'll be waiting at the Starport for your return!" Turning away Brimstone heads off into the dark tunnel alone.
"What's his problem? It seems like he hasn't been himself lately. He seems to have lost his good WILL."
"I say there boy, maybe it's mating season for him?"
"I can track T-Rex; he just won't answer me. He's heading southwest. If you're going to follow him, we best get moving now Howard!" Some urgency comes from the bodyless-robot.
"We have 3 hours 17 minutes and 4 seconds of daylight left. That means punch it Howard.... snap out of it! We're not on vacation in some park!" [Gammaben was actually on vacation at this point! --ed.]
I guess knowing the GM does have its perks. Some information below was gained through secret methods best left unmentioned in this post.
"Oh, why do you always get yourself in so much trouble, Jonn?" Taking the laptop from my pack, I turn it on (literally) and bring up all military bases to the southeast. The computer shows two. One is called "Ops One" and the other is called "Area 61". I show both of their locations to Howard and then sit back in my seat.
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:17 2006
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