A Gamma World Hell Hole

A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm

Chapter 54: Apocalyptic Revelations

freya_dragonbane

Killaria

"Kicker? This Jake, I take it he's a good guy? So what's the plan now? Do we try and warn him? I'm thinking those flashes of light may be the opposition searching for our little surprise... in which case we probably have a very narrow window of opportunity to close this tunnel. Sorry, I seem to be running off at the mouth---something I'm prone to do in tense situations. Whatever you choose, I've got your back!"


two_ducks_hardy

Twoducks

Seeing that I've kept quiet to myself this entire time, I assume I'm going to continue going with the flow, preparing for the battle. I find a nice open space and practice with my weapon, the polearm.


gammaworld_gm

OOC: G1 Cast List

GM: Ancalagon, Inc.

Jonn

"Geo, how 'bout you and the Captain scout ahead while I stay here 'til the others are a hundred percent?"

Rhyn

"What, don't trust little ol' me?"

Rhyn's smile has subtly changed, the rest of you observe. Wider, or something. Almost vicious. And it persists long after she clams up. It's just plain eerie.

Geo

"Right Jonn, we'll be back. We go straight down the hall, into the area listed as 'D' and straight through into area 'R'. There is a high probability that my serial number will get us through this door too. I'll lead, you follow, as always, Leghorn."

The door does indeed open. As you (Geo, Leghorn, Rhyn) walk through the door, you see that your path lies exactly where the map that Geo found portrayed it: the well-lit hallway through which you proceed extends 10' to another door identical to the one that seals shut behind you. The corridor walls boast odd geometrical etchings, many of them running in staggered lines parallel to the corridor. These grooves in the walls carry the glint of gold plating. Your hallway is bisected by a longer 80' hallway perpendicular to the first, capped with familiar doors at each end, and sporting an alcove entrance off to the left to a stairwell going up.

The third door you encounter has the same access panel and screen. At Geo's first keypress, the screen glows in now-familiar electrophosphors:

-------------------------------------
Decontamination Chamber

All employees must be scanned and
cleansed of harmful biotics before
entering clean rooms.

Especially you, Anslo!
-------------------------------------

Captain Leghorn

"Huh. Harmful biotics, my ass."

Rhyn

"Really, Red? In that case, you better take a double-dip," you quip, pushing the Roosteroid into the spartan chamber whose walls, floor and ceiling are fully lined with what looks like banks of deep blue solar cells. The door closes automatically behind you.

Captain Leghorn

"I say, I say there Quills, my biotics just add character to my charm. Ain't nothin' wrong wit 'em," you say, jumping slightly when the room starts to glow in pulses and your body is bathed in ultraviolet light.

Geo

"Your biotics have biotics, Colonel."

Captain Leghorn

"Am I getting through, I say, through to you, my mentally challenged walkin', talkin' toaster? It's Captain, C-A-P-T-I-N. Were I not the Southern gentleman that I am, I'd'a likely kicked your Kentucky-fried kiester here to Kalamazoo by now."

GM

Ding! The room returns to normal luminance, and after nothing happens for a moment, Geo enters his number at the opposite door panel and the door slides open.

Captain Leghorn

"I say there, Tin-head, you're batting a thousand with that there number. Doesn't that strike you as...." Your words drip out of your beak and onto the floor like Podog spittle as you are confronted with the view of the room beyond.

Geo

Inexplicably, you feel your "bad vibes" again.

GM

The vast 70' by 90' by 30' room (marked 'R' on the map) is lit by bright fluourescent lights above, and packed nearly to the ceiling with a snaking robotic assembly line that extends up, down and crisscrosses the entire expansive space, save for a honeycomb of office cubicles sprawling below a sealed observation walkway that spans the length of the room 15' up, overlooking the incredibly complex machinery. A banner below the plexiglass viewports that dot the observation tunnel reads, "ZedWerks. Putting the Force Back in Law Enforcement Since 2309." The room is immaculately clean and so quiet that you can almost hear Rhyn's unnerving smile.

A quick tour around the room to get your bearings yields no sign that the room is inhabited, though many systems are still operating on low power mode. You find no admittance to the observation walk, but there are six storage closets, three bathrooms ("Men," "Women," "Other"), a veritable maze of thirty hexagonal offices packed with Ancient computers and other electronics, and a door without an access panel on the far wall, opposite the door to the decontamination chamber you exited.

From the history of the installation, which Lamia read to you from the foyer wall, you realize that Ancalagon may have stashed its genetic stores anywhere, so you split up to cover more ground.

Geo

At the fringes of your positronic matrix, you sense patterns in your neural net processes that you are almost sure you have experienced before. It's an odd sensation, if a robot can even call it that. You and the Roosteroid search the thirty hexagonal prism-shaped offices for any clues. There were definitely some Ancalagon employees working here, judging from the letterhead on some scattered papers. You find two small mirrors strategically placed atop the computer monitor in one office. Finding this odd, but nevertheless convenient, you pry them off and position them facing eachother on opposite sides of your head so that you can to see your serial number on the back of your neck for the first time. Yep, there it is. More "bad jibes" wash over your circuits.

As you put the mirrors down, something near the keyboard of the computer catches your photoreceptors. No, it's on the keyboard---specifically, the Caps Lock LED indicator. It's flashing irregularly, too fast for the casual eye of the naked (human) observer. Quickly, you search your databanks for any binary codes that might have been used by the late Ancients. Your first choice, minimum-entropy Huffman encoding of the English alphabet, spells out over and over again, "DERTHEDESKGEOUN," which, when rotated and properly blocked....

You stand there, dumbfounded. Then, slowly, you drop to your hands and knees.

Rhyn

Drawn to the unfinished hulks (evidently called "Unit Zeds") lying in various states of assemblage, you head for the manufacturing line after slinging your fully loaded NARC-issue Mark-VII blaster rifle over your back (when asked by Abe back at Haven if you could spare your second NARC blaster, you acquiesced in a momentary lapse of reason, but at least your other wimpy brain didn't confess to the big lug that you stood around while Xeva killed the guns' former owners).

You poke around for a while, over and under the machinery, the robotic arms, and the unfinished security robots. The condition of the facility is immaculate, and looks like it was only shut down yesterday. Some of the immobile robotic arms wield hypodermic needles and medical scalpels, which you think is out of place for a police robot assembly line. You unfortunately find nothing salvageable, save four hydrogen energy cells, which you pocket, and a breastplate of mirror-smooth duralloy that might make a good handheld shield. But certainly no bugs. And no weapons of mass destruction. "Damn."

Captain Leghorn

The desks in the offices are invariably messy, as Ancient programmers were an untidy bunch: the horizontal filing system apparently was quite alive and well in the 24th century. Some of the computers still display screen savers, as if the Apocalypse were only yesterday. One so-called "SETI" screen saver is frozen on the display of a 3D digitally enhanced slice of galactic radio spectrum showing a strong spike in the direction of 82 Eridani. A dialog box informs you that sorry, the "Server is down. Packet upload aborted. [Ok]" You hear Geo mucking about in another cubicle nearby, so you go over to heckle him.

But as you pass along the small offices centered along the left wall, something catches your eye. It's red lettering on a white background on the wall, but mostly covered by office dividers. Why would someone place a sign behind the cubicles? You look up and can barely make out the faint outline of the top of a doorway above the sign.

You pull back the dividers and whistle. "Geo, getta loada this!" When Geo doesn't answer, you pull the dividers back some more, and expose a large double-sized door---a door that wasn't on Geo's map. An access panel similar to all the others lies flat on the wall to the right of the door, previously hidden by the low office separator walls.

The sign reads "Prototype Storage" in large red stenciled letters. Underneath, the words are more humble: "Another Quality Vault by Isenguard, Inc." and "Can't Beat This Safe With a Proton Axe!"

"Geo? Hey Quills, get your spiny ass over here. I think I found where they could be hiding our bugs," you say, keying Geo's serial number into the wall panel.

The door goes through a lot of rumbling and cranking, then sinks into the wall and rolls away effortlessly. A sinister hiss escapes as the seal is broken on the vault, to reveal a 30' corridor lit with glowing strips that lead like runway lights to another door, which starts rumbling and cranking. You turn around at Rhyn's approach behind you, but her eyes are frozen wide with alarm.

It's the last thing you remember that night.

GM: Back in the Foyer

After several hours, Jonn, Lamia and Mycinod conclude that the others have run into some trouble. Unfortunately, they can do nothing but wait, for they do not know Geo's access code, a grievous oversight on Jonn's part. Lamia tries to recover the code from the door panel's psychometric signature, but the visions fly by too rapidly for her to get more than a few digits.

While Lamia sleeps and Mycinod meditates (Fungoids don't sleep), Jonn paces the floors, tries his vibro dagger on the door seams, cleans his trusty auto rifle, scrutinizes the pictures of the Ancients on the wall, and tries to glean more information from the computers behind the secretary counter. An ominous rumbling jolts the complex half past midnight and wakes up Lamia, who tells Jonn and Mycinod of another nightmarish psychometric vision from the Apocalypse. Jonn spreads his parka out on the floor so the sensitive Gren doesn't have to suffer any more visions from the floor emanations. Both eventually fall side by side into a fitful sleep.

It is nearly an hour later when Mycinod wakes Jonn with a tendril on his shoulder.

Mycinod

"Jonn, it's your radio!"

Jonn

"Wha-huh?" he mumbles, struggling to escape fully from slumber's tentative grip. The NARC standard-issue lightweight secure field radio in his pack is blinking, indicating an incoming signal. "Frak!" he blurts, and stumbles over to his pack to pick up the radio. He verifies that it is his personal NARC secure frequency, Delta Upsilon Kappa Epsilon, and dials in his private decryption key.

"Odysseus. Talk to me."

There is nothing but muffled breathing on the other side. Then a throat is cleared, and Jonn hangs on a bit longer.

"Circe?" he whispers. "Is that you? If this is another.... Frak." Jonn ends the transmission and stares at the radio. He is clearly shaken.

Mycinod

"Could it have been Howard? He's got your other radio."

Jonn

"Had to be a NARC radio, but that breathing sounded humanoid. Only Xervian, Stiles, Dodgers and Gallus know my frequency." The thought occurs to him that if any one of those individuals were compromised, he may have just given away his position. But to whom? He looks at Mycinod with his bloodshot eyes for an answer.

Mycinod

"Try getting back to sleep, Jonn. I'll keep watch."

Jonn

"How are we going to get out---" he protests, half-strength.

Mycinod

"We'll try something more drastic in the morning, when you two are more awake. Look at you, man, you're trembling," he points with a tendril to Jonn's hand, still grasping the radio with white knuckles.

Jonn

"Frak. You're right," he says, replacing his radio. "You're a good Fungoid, Myc."

Captain Leghorn, later

You wake up groggily, painfully. Your bones feel like they support a crash test dummy. Dozens of sharp needle-like pangs afflict your first movements, and that's when you realize you're on top of Rhyn. You both look like you've seen better days. Doubtless, your Regeneration mutations have saved you. You pry yourself off carefully, bleeding in several places where her quills punctured you. Around you is a massive mess of several office cubicles, like something huge stomped right through them. Geo is missing. The doors in the vault are wide open and you cautiously peer over Rhyn around the corner into the vault as she stirs.

Rhyn

"Oh, gross!" you exclaim upon regaining consciousness.

ow ow ow listen the zeds---

"You shut up," you bark at your other brain, the wimpy one who is still trying to regain control. Unfortunately, it was trying to tell you something. While your vicious brain is in control, you don't have the benefit of your Empathy mutation; you have your Gamma Hands instead. Ahh, power is good. Emotions are for sissies. Speaking of which, you see the mangy Roosteroid bending over you.

"What the f---start talking, Red," you whip out your Colt .45 and point it at Leghorn's throat. You notice that your makeshift duralloy shield has an impressive dent in it. "Don't make my day. You're not worth the lead."

Captain Leghorn

"I say, uh, I say, Quills, that's no way to treat your lov---" Rhyn jerks her sidearm menacingly. "I---I don't know what ha-happened. I opened this vault hidden behind the cubicle and..."

Geo

The Roosteroid's panicked drawl is the first thing your audio pickups register on cold reboot. You find yourself neatly packed into a hidden recession underneath the a desk in one of the nearby cubicles, and there's a plug in your data port. Silently, you unlatch it and try to reconstruct what just happened to you.

Silverman. Angus P. Silverman, III. Ph.D., Robotics, Santa Fe Institute, 2290. So that's why he ordered those spare parts. Your parts. You were the product of his fertile imagination and the embodiment of the seminal ideas in his dissertation. He smuggled you into the underground lab, kept you secret, worked on you after hours, and hid you under his desk during the day. How you know this now when never knew it before, you can only guess. Your internal chronometer reads 6 a.m. You've been here all night.

Captain Leghorn

"... saw some empty, I say em-tee bays in there. Looked like robot storage. Maybe we should take a closer look-see...."

Rhyn

"I'll look. You stay here and keep your distance, Red. Look for Tin-head, but don't go opening any more freakin doors!"

Geo

You haven't moved from your hiding place. Your internal integrity diagnostics find nothing wrong, though you've taken on a lot more data during the night. But you are the same Geo, right? You can't be sure. You have a gut feeling that something is not right. Since when did you have gut feelings? Your hand slowly reaches for your chest compartment.

Silverman. He worked at ZedWerks, didn't he? But he didn't agree with the company's aggressive use of untested cyborg technology.... That's right, the Zeds: they were supposed to be the next generation police force, and in the Shadow Years, the government contracts were flooding in.

Silverman. He was always unsure about the ethics of what they were doing at ZedWerks, but the job paid well, and he was good at it. Then a Unit Zed went berserk in the lab and took out several techs before they could subdue it. He had had enough. He tendered his resignation, but they wouldn't let him out of the "Hole," as they called the former military lab. That's when he got his crazy idea. You quietly open your chest compartment.

Rhyn

"Shit, there's five open bays in there. That likely means five prototypes on the loose. We've gotta find Jonn."

Captain Leghorn

"Ol' skin-tube doesn't know the access code. I say, I hope they ain't gettin' bored in there. You know what happened last time that Gren---"

Rhyn

"Oh, get over it, Red."

Geo

You maintain your silence. A spot check over the infrared spectrum with your thermal sensor reveals no Zed signatures in the room; how you know how to detect a Unit Zed is another newly reacquired skill. As your diagnostics continue, you also find some software upgrades to your shield generator that double its effectiveness.

Silverman. He was going to see to it that ZedWerks' fateful flirtation with forbidden technology was stopped cold. In the madness of the mid-Shadow Years, he made contingency plans and tied them to a proximity beacon set at a specific low frequency harmonic that only resonated inside your uniquely configured positronic matrix. He squirreled them away in a secure forgotten sector of the mainframe, set them on a yearly broadcast cycle and hid you in the hollow cylindrical ceiling support near his cubicle. They murdered him before he could escape, and the failsafes of his plan kicked in---your memory was masked for your protection. In the silence that followed the neutron bomb that hit the installation, you escaped to the previously abandoned Starport, where you set up shop in its tavern, and forgot all about your origins, and your destiny.

Your memory mask must have been lifted last night during your down time. You finally understand your creator's intentions. You understand your "bad vibes"---at least the close algorithmic mockery of what they really are. You can't understand how the entrance of four humanoids, the Gren, the Pure Strain, the Duckoid and the Cougaroid into your bar nearly a month ago set into motion a cascade of events that has led you here, back to your birthplace, after nearly two centuries. But you do know that they are still your friends; your agenda has just shifted a little.

The small egg-shaped device in your hand blinks quietly, peacefully. It's tempting to quantify the latent power packed into the little egg, ticking down its final hours. You replace the irrevocably armed thermonuclear grenade (how could you have ever thought it was a lighter?) in your chest compartment.

You know now what you must do. You cannot stop Silverman's last contingency subroutine, recently downloaded and executing flawlessly in your silicon veins. Your loyalties lie with your friends, but also with your creator. Jonn's task suddenly takes on a new urgency. Both Haven, and now Ancalagon, Inc. have less than 18 hours.

GM

What do you do?

Geo, unless you reveal yourself, Captain Leghorn and Rhyn will not find you. It is 6 a.m. of the day after you left for Ancalagon. The only doors in the robotics room that are open are the vault doors. There are potentially five Unit Zeds on the loose, presumably hostile, though Geo would inform you that none are currently in the room.


gammaworld_gm

OOC: G6 Cast List

GM: Somewhere in Datil

The scene fades from black to reveal a familiar smoke-filled room, location unspecified. Two Pure Strain Humans sit at a small table illuminated from above by a single bulb dangling from a fraying wire. On the table sits a NARC secure radio which is wired up to a black box with an oscilloscope, now flatlined. The men appear to be waiting for something.

Timon

"Well?" the Emperor of Datil asks impatiently. "Where is he?"

Gravin Nardies

"We're getting the solution now," the Mystic Mage second in command says, reading some coordinates from another display on the box. He gets up from the table and holds the light bulb by its wire closer to the wall to reveal a topographical map of the Wasteland. "Hmm."

Timon

"What?"

Gravin Nardies

"According to the GPS feed, he's in the northern range, about twenty miles north of the Starport."

Timon

Timon gets up and strides over to the map to get a closer look where Gravin is pointing. "Are you sure? What the hell's up there?"

Gravin Nardies

"S'what the satellite says." He lets the second question go unanswered.

Timon

"Dammit, Nardies, you're wasting my time. Call me when you Mages have some real intel."

Gravin Nardies

The Mystic Mage nods, staring daggers at Timon through his dark shades, and plops back to his seat. He unplugs the NARC radio from the wire leading to the black box, hooks up a keying device to the wire, then proceeds to transmit a code on another frequency with the keyer. As he does this, a tall, bald and expensively robed man glides quietly into the room, closes the door with a wave of his hand and sits down in Timon's chair.

"Bacrill. NARC's in the Hole."

Nathan Caine

The leader of the Mystic Mages seems startled at his trusted officer's report. They both know what this must mean. "Have you alerted...."

Gravin Nardies

Gravin unplugs the keyer. "Way ahead of you, man. Wayyy ahead."

(Fade to black.)

GM: Minuteman Site

You (Marg, Leela) huddle with Jonathan in the closet next to the softly glowing Tempest, trying to decide what to do about the Unit Zed that just nearly killed Leela outside.

Marg

Katkin

"I guess this is as good a time as any to tell you [Marg] that your rifle may be jammed."

You cannot tell in the dim lighting that your recently acquired M-16 is jammed, but the Felinoid seems trustworthy enough. You swap it out with your hunting rifle.

GM

Leela

"Jonathan, that metal beast seems to listen to you more than anyone else; maybe you should try to rouse it. If we have more company, we'll need its help."

Jonathan timidly nudges Tempest with his boot. Instantly, the metal-skinned entity's eyes glow red as it seeks out the Pure Strain.

"There's another Unit Zed out there," Jonathan calmly explains. "When Leela poked her head out the door, it fired on her from 30 meters out. Can y---"

Leela

A strong surge of aggression suddenly spikes on your Emotograph™. "It's approaching! I... feel... its hostility."

Tempest

Tempest stops glowing, ending its recharge prematurely. "Late 501-Z models are actually cyborgs," it says matter-of-factly as it stands. "But they were not built to withstand the radiation of the Apocalypse, thus their penchant for malfunction. Stay here," it says, almost with a touch of superiority.

GM

Tempest opens the door, leans out and fires its potent energy weapon from its palm. Almost simultaneously, its own energy shield flares with a direct hit. It ducks back inside and closes the door. You all stare at him with bated breath.

Tempest

"This one has substantial shielding. I suggest you leave through the hole."

GM

You waste no time. Jonathan and Leela tilt one of the tall metal shelves against the wall, to form a ladder leading up to the missile silo breach through which you entered the storage room. Marg races up, then Leela and Katkin, and finally Jonathan.

As you huddle away from the hole on the catwalk ringing the top of the sealed silo outside the closet, Tempest engages the Unit Zed inside. You cannot see what is going on, but it sounds like the match is a stalemate, and you fear that not being fully charged, Tempest will not last long.

Katkin

Katkin addresses the questions you all hold in your thoughts. "If it can't fight the Unit Zed, then how can we?" He growls.

Marg

You refuse to give up hope. "But if Tempest dies, then what will stop the Zed from coming after us? Can we not help?"

Leela

You shriek when another powerful emotion registers on your Emotograph™. "Tempest! It's... he's afraid! I think he's really hurt."

Katkin

"Tempest's a cyborg too?" he asks incredulously.

Jonathan

"We can't just leave him there. C'mon!"

GM

With a kung fu leap, Jonathan lands on the closet floor with a crunch of shattered glass. You (Leela, Marg) follow close behind, with Katkin last. Tempest has retreated to the storage closet on his knees, and continues to fire his energy weapon intermittently around the corner. His cranial armor is cracked and smoke issues from underneath his breastplate.

Tempest

"Jonathan Thomas Meriweather.... We must all attack simultaneously to overload its shielding. On my mark...."

GM

Anticipating this, the Unit Zed leaps into the doorway, surprising and shoving Katkin aside and pouncing ferally on Tempest. You all being hitting the assailant with whatever you've got.

Jonathan

Jonathan fires an arrow and hits the Unit Zed squarely in the neck.

Leela

You fry the Unit Zed with an intensity level 13 blast of radiation from your eyes.

Katkin

Angered at not being considered a worthy opponent, Katkin snaps on his war claws and leaps onto the Unit Zed's leg. He rakes the vulnerable backs of its knees.

Marg

Using your Telekinesis and Enhanced Strength, you hurl the heaviest metal shelf in the closet at the Unit Zed. While you don't hit it directly, the shelving catches around its upraised fist, prevents it from dealing a death blow to Tempest, and gives Tempest an opening to fire his last energy beam at point-blank range.

GM

The concussive force of Tempest's focused blast, combined with the Unit Zed's fatigue and your cumulative, concentrated damage not only overload the Unit Zed, but fuse its CPU, boil its cyborg brain, and send it reeling backward on top of Katkin. The sickening crunch does not come from buckling ipite duralloy plating....

You rush to Katkin's side, but the sight is too gruesome to behold: the valiant Felinoid's skull has been utterly crushed underneath the rogue 501-Z.

Tempest

Tempest props himself up painstakingly on one elbow and views the grisly scene with grim silence. "Thank you... Jonathan. Thank you... all. I am... sorry." He collapses back to the floor.

GM, Later

After Tempest has recharged for an hour, he has enough energy to incinerate Katkin's body, which he does after you say your good-byes. Jonathan gives a touching eulogy, vowing for you all that Katkin shall not have died in vain. Indeed, Tempest locates a pass-number on the defeated Unit Zed that enables you to enter the door at the near end of the corridor. Beyond the door is a series of three interconnected rooms: a power plant (40'x50'), a mainframe room housing secure digital storage (40'x40'), and a library (40'x50').

Tempest assures you that he is OK, despite the severe trauma he took to his head, which now features a slender 4" long fracture that exposes the fragile casement of his cybernetic brain. He also checks the two corridors leading out from the cluster of rooms and states there are no more Unit Zeds operating within the range of his detectors, so the three of you collapse in the plush chairs of the library, too exhasted and too depressed to press on.

Tempest

Tempest finds some power line, hooks himself up to the power plant to get a faster charge, and jams the doors of the secure storage room open so that he can walk freely among the three rooms while still recharging. He eventually sits at the mainframe terminal to gather more information about the lab. As the access code he has obtained from the Unit Zed is only mid-level, he has a hard go at it.

GM

Despite your sadness over Katkin's death, you are too wired from combat to find sleep or to sit for long. You explore the three rooms and their attached storage closets, and find 10 hydrogen energy cells, 2 vibro daggers, a pocket radiation intensity detector (in excellent condition), and a 6-foot long, 1-inch diameter solid duralloy cylinder that would make a killer bo stick. Jonathan asks only for the last two objects; the rest are split evenly between the fems.

Jonathan

Jonathan is curious about the third bathroom installed in the mainframe terminal room, the one named "Other." Inside are coolant flushers, hydraulic pressure probes, and other various amenities for robot types. Jonathan almost laughs out loud when he spies the "Intel Inside" and "Optimized for Windows 2302" holo-stickers re-affixed to the coolant flusher. Even the compressed air dispenser has familiarly defaced instructions:

"PRESS BUTTON. RUB HANDSS UNDER WARM AIR."

Some things just didn't change in your long absence.

Leela

In the library, you notice a book on the history of the medical installation, last known to the Ancients as the biotech lab Ancalagon. Jonathan was right---it also produced Unit Zeds at the start of the Shadow Years. Several other companies also made their headquarters in this well-hidden site at one time or another, including one, Cryonix, that undoubtedly crafted Jonathan's cryo-tube, the one now preserving your comrade Warrr'a at death's horizon.

Marg

When the three of you are back resting in the library, listening to Jonathan's guitar strummings, and waiting on Tempest, who is determined to break into the security system to search for other Unit Zeds, you fulfill an earlier self-promise by asking the handsome Pure Strain how long he was frozen.

Jonathan

Jonathan stops playing the melancholy Spanish folksong on his guitar and looks up. "Like I told Leela and Kat---" he clears his throat, "at least 150 years. I went in some time before the war, and then somebody set the cryo-tube to revive me every 50 years after the war so I could determine if life was worth starting over. I awoke twice and decided it wasn't. I'm still not sure if this third time's the charm."

Leela

"You must have been someone important to have been kept alive, even through all the companies that moved in here."

Marg

"Yeah."

Jonathan

"Well, my father was a well-respected Senator, but...."

Tempest

Tempest suddenly gets up from his computer hacking and walks over to the doorway. The soft nimbus of his charging field imparts an eerie blue glow to the door frame, and he has a slight limp. "I may be able to shed some light here, Jonathan. The legend around these parts, which I have been exploring for weeks, is that an Ancient would rise from his tomb and save the Wasteland from a terrible evil. This legend is most likely why you were kept alive, as you were the only cryogenetically intact human in the base after the neutron bombs decimated the region. That malfuncioning Unit Zed that we encountered in the silo---I believe it was there to guard your tomb---only reinforced the legend."

Jonathan

Jonathan looks as stunned as Marg and Leela. He swallows hard. "I uh, that's some legend. Too bad it's not true."

GM

Around 6 a.m., Tempest finally reports that he has broken into parts of the security system. Groggily, you follow him into the Mainframe terminal room. On one monitor, he shows you a map of the installation. On another, he shows real-time security video feeds.

Tempest

"I can only access the cameras in a few rooms, but unfortunately not the room we seek---here, labeled 'G' for Genetics. As far as I can tell with my access, there are no Unit Zeds left here. But we have other company...."

GM

Tempest switches the live feed to the room labeled 'F' on the map. The monitor shows two humanoid-shaped lumps sleeping together on the floor, and one---a mutant mushroom from the looks of him---standing guard in a foyer room. On a third monitor, he shows the security camera in room 'R', a giant robotic assembly hall. He zooms in on the room's two humanoid occupants, who appear to be arguing like a married couple. He flips on the audio feed:

Roosteroid

"Ol' skin-tube doesn't know the access code. I say, I hope they ain't gettin' bored in there. You know what happened last time that Gren---"

Porcupinoid

"Oh, get over it, Red."

Tempest

"Note that they are heavily armed. If we walk through the library straight down that corridor, we could reach room 'G' faster, but we risk an encounter with them. I for one, would like to minimize future encounters," he says, leaking as much humanity from his words as the crack in his cranium leaks emotional emanations. "Alternatively, we could circumvent them all by looping the long way around through room 'C', Cafeteria, which looks deserted."

GM

What do you do?


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