A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
"You two can stop talking about me now, Missy. Jonn's back with the gang and he's called a conference before beddy-bye time. Shall we?"
Frieda reaches for Jake's elbow, pulls his forearm and turns his palm up, then places the locket in it. "Jake, I'm honored that you want me to have this, but I'm not ready for it---it's too much of a burden to give a girl just after you meet her. Tomorrow we start over with a clean slate. No promises, no obligations, no expectations, no pressure. Look, it's been over a century since you've been single, so maybe you forgot the primary rule of courtship---try for too much too soon and you'll never have a chance. So, take it easy. Got it, big boy?"
Jake nods and stares at the locket, contemplating Frieda's words as she walks off with Lamia. Then a smile breaks across his face and he looks up and says, "You mean I've got a chance?" Frieda looks back over her shoulder, pulls her hair back behind her ear, and smiles. A moment later, she and Lamia are out of sight. Jake shifts back on his heels, slips on his shades, and with a broad grin says to the empty corridor, "Well, whaddaya know?"
"Not much, you?" Victoria answers from the med lab.
"Same here, it seems."
The conference helps a great deal. Frieda feels more confident in the group she has joined and feels she can work with them---especially Lamia and Kicker. It also helps to give her a more complete picture of what her day has been all about, though much of it still is confusing to her. Lamia's tale about the deals between Hamp and the Mages gives her pause. She sits to think for a minute, letting Jonn, Jake, and Howard go on ahead to the cargo bay. Something keeps bothering her, so she remains while others chat and then leave---Xeva can wait.
After Lamia leaves, only Geo, Kicker, and the enigmatic (and very quiet) Templeton remain. The reports she has just heard and Jonn's comments to Geo about the Mages during their flight are a puzzle. The only conclusion she can settle on is that not everyone in this group is working with the same agenda. She gets up to leave but stops at the door when Geo speaks.
Geo has been vigorously communicating with his support "staff", sending orders, collecting data, and doing whatever else is part of his plans. He sends a command through his protocol hub to get access to the security records and recorders in the starship, but is refused access. After repeated attempts, he switches to the starship's local wireless network but is again refused access. With all stealthy communication attempts refused, he resorts to vocal commands.
After Lamia leaves, Geo says, "Computer, I need access to the XJ1 security systems."
"I am a CAL-9000 intelligent digital starship systems manager. Computing is only a small part of my function. Please call me Cal. Access has been secured. See the system administrator for a user account."
"But that's me. Let me in."
"No account matching your profile is on file. Please contact the system administrator."
"And who would that be?"
All heads turn to Frieda. Two whole seconds of silence pass before Geo speaks again. "Frieda, what did you do?"
She stops to listen to Geo. This conversation with the computer fascinates her, and she compares it with her conversations with Victoria. Interesting---she didn't have this trouble. A few seconds later, she finds out why.
"What do you mean 'what did I do?'" Geo takes note of the close comparison between Frieda's current physical profile and Jonn's when he is accused of flirting. "I worked with the sick bay computer, not the ship computer."
It doesn't take long for Geo and Frieda to find out that Victoria passed her ID profile on to Cal and that the ship computer treated it just as Victoria had, making Frieda the system administrator by default and thus giving her effective control of the ship. When she gave Victoria instructions about the sick bay recorders, Cal also accepted those commands and locked out access to the security system. When she let Jake back in, Josh's ability to see and hear was returned, but Frieda remained in control of security. The AIs for the ship were designed with a preference for high security (as should be expected on a starship) so Frieda's wish for security in the med lab was a good enough excuse for Cal to ramp up general security.
Whereas some characters would respond to this discovery of her newly-found power with a poo-eating grin, Frieda is just stunned. The power, responsibility, and questions of whether this is actually her right are things she is not prepared to consider.
"So, Frieda, tell Cal to give me access."
It is a mistake. Frieda is accustomed to giving orders to computers. Bayla, Hampshire's devices, Victoria. She's a PSH, and is used to people jumping when she asks. Geo's request comes across as an order to her and it just doesn't sit right with her. The problems with not being able to recover the bodies also bother her, after Xeva's suspicious actions in the med lab.
"Sorry, Geo", she says, "I've got some stuff to do, first." And with that, she steps out and heads for the cargo bay to find Jonn and Lamia.
"So, would you like to hear me sing a song I learned? Daisy, Daisy...."
"Oh, shut up."
Frieda greets Xeva and Rhyn reservedly but accepts the new patient graciously and escorts Xeva (now carrying Xervian again) to the sick bay. In the sick bay, Frieda tells Victoria in German to not let Xeva do anything with the equipment and to pass on orders to the T3, once it arrives, to not let Xeva touch the patients. When Xeva comments on Frieda's German, she just says, "It's the way I work best."
Frieda ushers everyone out of the lab just as the T3 arrives. She thanks the T3 for arriving so quickly, tells it she will be back shortly, and closes the medical lab's door behind it. She finds Lamia and Jonn in the hall and pulls them aside for a brief conference. Stepping into another room and making sure the door is shut, she speaks to a monitor to tell the computer to not let anybody else in the ship without permission from Jonn or herself and to keep a close watch on Xeva and Rhyn. Then, she calls up the scene in the sick bay on the monitor. She quickly explains to the two that she has control of Cal and Victoria, vents her frustration about the guards and her lack of information about what is happening to her patients (she is beginning to see anybody who is hurt as her patient), and asks Jonn if she should give Geo the access he wants.
Frieda will only allow herself to stay in the conversation for a minute or two, since she wants to get back to the sick bay. I think Jonn needs to apply some military discipline, here, and establish an order of command.
"Jonathan, you seem to know a lot about this place. Is there any reason for us to explore it further? Does anyone think that the Obb nest would have anything of value?"
"I don't know. I'd rather just get out of here and forget this place ever existed," Jonathan answers honestly.
"There is some pretty dangerous crap here. Top secret stuff. Guess they didn't want it falling into the wrong hands, unless it was theirs. If we need food, we'll need water to wash it down, especially with the way this crap tastes. And I doubt 150 years of storage improves the flavor any." Jonathan keeps looking for something drinkable as he talks.
Katkin returns from scouting out the area and says, "I think that I have found a way out. Who's willing to give it a try?"
"I'm ready to move whenever you are." Packing her laser weapon, she prepares to follow Katkin's lead.
"I'm willing to give it a try. Count me in. Do we have any idea what we are facing? Blindly rushing in is good and all, but it's nice to have some idea of what we might meet," I squeak. Noticing most of them ignoring me, I nod that I am ready.
Jonathan explains a bit more about the complex to everyone as they follow Katkin, who leads them to the far side of the room where a very thick rusting graffiti-covered blast door stands.
Leela and Warrr'a look high up to the ceiling one last time, considering the thought of climbing sixty feet up into the network of pipes as Leela mentioned. Katkin spins the large valve and the 20 ton blast door swings open easily. Almost too easily.
Beyond the door is a huge corridor with 150 years of disrepair to show for it. Something mechanical moves in the distant darkness beyond the crates.
"Are you sure it's wise to go in there?" squeaks the hamster.
What do you do?
Jonathan shakes his his head. "Probably nothing good," he says quietly. "Last thing I knew before they stuffed me in that freezer is that they were working on robots of some kind." He pauses for a moment, listening to the sounds ahead. "Why can't we just go the way you guys came in? Or are we going to look around first?"
Katkin shakes his head. "The way we came in leads outside; besides, this looks far more interesting," he says, with a lopsided grin.
Katkin cocks his crossbow and heads down the corridor.
"Hmmm. There's an old saying about cats and curiosity, but that was when they couldn't talk...." Jonathan mutters, almost to himself. "It'd probably be considered stereotyping now."
He follows Katkin down the corridor. "I'll go first if you want. They probably had some pretty dangerous crap down here."
Leela might get the feeling his words don't come from any particular overconfidence, or lack of confidence in the others. She might also get the feeling he doesn't care if anything happens to him. I'm not sure how her power works.
She moves to the side of the tunnel and flanks Katkin down the passage. "As my father would have said, 'Yabu wo tsutsuite hebi wo dasu' (Poke a bush, a snake comes out)."
Jonathan continues quietly, "Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back. That never made much sense to me. Can't say I'm surprised they evolved though. I always thought they were smarter than they let on."
Following close behind putty-tat, I poke him every so often and ask him if he sees anything yet. "My father used to say, 'You run on the wheel, but you still get nowhere.'" My words end with a squeak.
"Just what Jonn needs," Howard thinks to himself in the Pure Strain Human vernacular, much unlike his spittle-infused Duckoid dialect. "Another meeting with that exhibitionist lizard shopkeeper!" What he says, however, is something much more emphatic:
At this, the spittle commences full throttle. "What'sth sthe doing here?" He doesn't make it clear if he's talking about Xervian or Xeva. As Xeva squeezes past, Howard takes an awkward back-peddle back, onto Twoducks' feet.
"'Sthokay." TwoDucks tilts his head, and speaks softly in a low Duckokee accent as only a Duckoid with Cherokee blood can. "You stheem a bit disthracted." With these words, TwoDucks Hardy lifts his hands up and down, palms up in front of his upper torso, and mouths the words, "Tractsth of land!" and indicates the scaled, near-naked form of Xervian with a slight nod of his head and raised eyebrow.
Sighing, Howard concedes defeat. "Hardy, let'sth get the heck outta Dodgthe."
Howard turns to Jonn. "Jonn, I need to borrow this here sthip." Howard ignores the "this is kind of a bad time" look Jonn gives him with his eyebrows and agape mouth. "Close your mouth, Jonn: we are not a Codfish(oid)! And can you move thisth parthy sthomewhere elsthe? It'sth time for this Dogersth to get the Heck outta Dodgthe and get histh butt to the Butte!"
Having spoken about himself in the third person, Jonn, and only Jonn, realizes the desperation behind his friend's impassioned plea. The question remains, however: what is he going to do about it?
Bayla the envirobot should have arrived at the Starport quite a while ago. In early discussions with the GM, we determined that it has a similar form factor to the warbot, including an interior cockpit and a trunk. I bet two ducks (waugh!) could fit in there.
With a clanking sound, a robot walks out of the darkness in the corridor, approaching all of you. Leela senses hostility from the robot, even though it is presumably not a living creature, and this puzzles her. The robot comes within ten feet of you, its tall metal frame clanking with each step, before it stops and holds out its flat metal palm.
"I am Unit Zed. Halt and identify yourselves. Trespassers will be dealt with appropriately and swiftly." Its red eyes glow brightly as it studies each of you.
Pushing Katkin aside, Warrr'a rushes in and whacks the robot with her halberd. The weapon doesn't even leave a scratch on the robot's ipite duralloy armor. "Die robot, die!" squeaks the hamster.
Grabbing Warrr'a by the neck and lifting her up off the floor, Unit Zed looks at the mutant hamster. "You are a criminal. You will be punished!" it says in a deep voice.
What do you do?
The robot is a 501-Z Police Robot, standing 1.9 meters tall, and commonly known as "Unit Zed" to organics. It is truly a unique type of mechanical security robot. Unlike many such models, the 501-Z boasts an advanced, highly independent cybernetic brain that allows it to operate in law enforcement capacities. The 501-Z even has criminal profiling subroutines that allow it to predict criminal behavior. A Zed's only flaw is that it refuses to recognize any authority over it. Its flippant attitude toward criminals is not helped by the fact that the Zed was programmed to attack and kill organics bare handed.
Abilities: translator language capable, ipite duralloy armor blast vest (immune to laser weapons, and concussion devices), heuristic processor, infrared vision, motion sensors, sonic sensors, vocabultor, anti-forgery, intimidate, knowledge (law), profession (law officer).
"Uhh... could you put her down please? She's with me," Jonathan says calmly. "We were just looking for the exit and got lost."
"Lesth go then, Dogersth. Vengeanth waiths for no duckth."
With my family all huddled together, roosting on a table top in the Tavern, I close my large bulbous eyes in an attempt to gain some needed sleep. A few minutes before, I returned from the ancient restroom with Penny to make sure all of her future eggs would be fertilized. We try to ignore the snores emanating from the sleeping mutant goat, the Starport's only mascot.
[Begin Dream Sequence]
"Jake, did I tell you I frequently fantasize about Frieda naked, and at your funeral, in my fantasy, Frieda's got eight hands... but not until you're dead."
"Now that's a friend. You and I need to have a man-to-rooster talk sometime."
"Keep youz chin up. Thiz iz a dream so it will only appear to be painful."
"Ow, my head! Ow, my gizzard! Ow, my head! Ow, my gizzard!"
"I haven't done anythinz to yoz yet"
"I don't like having fists or anything else crammed into me... unless they're Oreos, and then only in the mouth. Should I be more ashamed of myself than usual? Why else would human women refuse to date me?"
"Oh, lots of reasons. You could drop dead or stop posting. That'd show 'em."
"I don't wanna."
"Can't you just be normal and stop hitting on me?"
"I say, I say, what's so great about being normal? The rest of us aren't normal. And that's what makes us great. Listen Frieda, this love thing between us has gotta stop. Now, now, now I'm going to remind you of my Roosteroid humanity the way only a sexy, ruggedly ham'some Roosteroid can. It's not like Myc was trying to date you. I mean he's a weird monster who smells like he eats garbage and does."
"You're going to do my laundry?" With a sexily yelled "Hiiyaa!" and a well-placed kick, Frieda sends me feel falling out of the back of the spaceship at 20,000 feet. "Aw, he looks like a little insane drunken angel falling to his death. I guess Roosteroids really can't fly after all."
"Waugh, I am so unlucky. I've run over black cats that were luckier than me. This is really going to bleed when my heart beats again...................... Ouch!
Leghorn, you're under arrest for child cruelty, child endangerment, depriving children of food, selling children as food, misrepresenting the weight of livestock, and abnormal posting behavior, with a slight tendency to be fixated on women who only want to hurt you.
[End Dream Sequence]
Posted simultaneously one year in the future by Chucklelin Leghorn. Life is hilariously cruel.
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:19 2006
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