Initiate Alpha Sequence

A Metamorphosis Alpha® play-by-post adventure run by supreme_arbiter

Chapter 6: Catch-up

Ogre1994

OOC

I'm trying to play an intelligent version of Futurama's Bender. Right now, I imagine that Tinker would be immune to poisons, toxins, and disease; able to function in a vacuum, extremes of hot and cold, and operate fairly well underwater; and in case of damage, he would have carry a minimum of tools so that he may effect repairs. I was going to bring up at a later date a question of what's powering Tinker (cold fusion, broadcast power, or an organic fuel cell)? Tinker's major weaknesses would be command badges, spare part hunters, and pockets of cloud radiation that would play royal hob with the programming.

Tinker

"Claus, don't lose that rifle, I think I can add the thermal imaging scope to my sensor suite!" Tinker grabs a laser rifle and the other laser pistol for himself, then throws the other laser rifle to Zhaxier. Taking his duralloy cutting torch to the shotgun, Tinker cuts off most of the barrel and then trims the stock in moments. He then tosses the sawed-off shotgun over to Claus. "It's more your style!" Tinker looks over his newly armed comrades. "Any ideas anybody?"


blaen_495

Chelydra

"A ripple in the air as the thing moved, eh?" Invisible entities, friendly or not do nothing to settle Chelydra's nerves. Zhaxier's amazing technicolor skin and Percy's uncertain form were bad enough to deal with. At least Nike and Amanda seem normal so far. His mind strives not to think about a possible kinship between himself and the wolf-men they just defeated.

Returning his focus to Amanda, he asks, "Is there anything else you might have noticed about your benefactor? Does it leave tracks, or make any sound? Does it always come at the same time of day? And is the food always bread and apples? Not that I'm complaining about that---they sure beat food cubes and nutri-paste."


gene_queen_supreme

Nike

"It's nice that you have someone who looks out for you. Clearly, if it were hostile, it wouldn't leave you food."

"...unless it's trying to fatten you up for the big dinner," Nike thinks to herself cynically. But that kind of comment would hurt morale and heighten tensions.

"Still, I wonder why this creature or person doesn't make any attempt to communicate," she continues. "Perhaps it can't, or is afraid to?" Before waiting for a response, she continues with another line of thought. "So Chelydra, what do you recall about your duties aboard the ship, and about the ship's systems? Anything?" She feels that taking some of the questioning away from Amanda for the time being might help put the girl at ease. Besides, they have a lot of ground to cover with everyone, as far as information goes.


blaen_495

Chelydra

"Well I'm not sure how much I remember. Most things seem kind of more like insticts than memories. Even my name. 'Chelydra' is more what I am than who I am. I think I used to work in security. I know I feel a lot more comfortable now that we're back inside. I just don't like those open spaces out there. If you folks like, I could take a look at that door and see if I can get it open. As for the rest of what's happening, I'm in the dark as much as you. I must have missed the briefing on what to do when you wake up and find a food proccessing robot trying to make turtle soup out of you." This last is said with a grim chuckle.


zhaxier

Zhaxier

Zhaxier catches the laser rifle Tinker tosses his way with his elbows, as his hands are full. "Man, this is not gonna do," he sighs, feeling his pulse quickening at Claus' warning. He dumps his possessions on the table, and quickly stuffs the data pad, holo projector and ID card in the medi-kit bag. He then extracts the hydrogen energy cell from the laser rifle exactly as Tinker had done to his laser pistol (they are the same mechanisms/cells) and discards the rifle.

Tinker

"You're not taking the rifle??"

Zhaxier

"Nyah, too bulky." He dumps the extra cell in his bag.

"In here we're sittin' ducks, Tinker! Let's vector this sector and book this nook!" he says excitedly as he allows his mutation to kick in with a flash. He finds it easy to shift into his blended state when his pulse is racing. "I'll check out the 'vator," says Zhaxier, but all Tinker and Claus can see are his laser pistol (waving erratically) and his medi-kit, swinging with his invisible stride. "Cover me!" he says, exiting the room.

"Always wanted to say that," he smiles a blended smile. With any luck, the elevator will at least get them back on the level where he was born.


Ogre1994

Tinker

"Okay, you're covered, but make it quick! Claus, watch the door for a moment!" Tinker gives the room one last sweep, takes the discarded laser rifle, slinging it over one metal shoulder, and also takes the dart gun. "Waste not, want not."

Tinker then takes a stance behind Claus. "Okay Sundance, I'm ready when you are!"

OOC

Any tools, handcuffs, stationery, other useful items? Do dart guns have holsters?


gammaben

Percy

Finally, Percy contributes to the conversation. "Well let's see, time to play 'Get to Know Me,' eh?" He licks his fingers with the realization that comes not as a shock but as something of significance that he'd just finished eating his first meal as a clone.

He points a crooked and non-threatening finger at Amanda. "Good apple." Surveying the room again briefly, he adds, "Nice house. But enough about our room and board." He talks facing Amanda, mostly, but giving attention to Nike and Chelydra, too. After all, he met all three of them in the last hour. "I don't remember everything about my past, that is, before I woke up in the clone bay. I remember I used to be a systems technician," he says, looking awkwardly at the patch blazing proudly in bold colors on his uniform shirt. "And I distinctly remember not being a werewolf, too." Suddenly Percy swivels around to the vidscreen.

"Waaaaitaminute---werewolves, hm." He points at the location on the map denoted WOLF. "Maybe we clones aren't the only ones whose genes got scrambled," he says staring and pointing at the screen. Turning back to the others, he apologizes to Amanda as if he were the chosen representative. "I mean, we're clones, anyway. Hey, what year is it? I mean, how far along on Warden's journey are we? By the way, thanks for the food. That apple was the best meal I've had all day. Heck, it's the only meal I've had all day. Or ever, for that matter!" Percy ceases his ramblings at the risk of sounding a little bit too chatty, and leans back in the chair to ponder what he's learned.


gene_queen_supreme

Nike

"I was a Captain in the Marines, Special Forces," Nike offers. "I can remember bits and pieces of missions, assignments, security concerns, and operation of weaponry, spacecrafts, and repair machinery, but nothing is very clear and solid yet." She pauses and takes another bite from her apple. <CRUNCH> "It does seem that the more I see of the ship, the clearer my memory becomes. Are you guys finding that to be true for you?"

She needs to get a good look at the map Percy found on the computer, but it can wait a few moments while they exchange info.


cy_berleagic

Claus

Claus receives the shotgun, smiles and looks at the robot. "Ready. Alright Cassidy, let's do it!"


blaen_495

Chelydra

The turtle-man replies, "I'm still in a fog about most things. Guess they mixed a bit too much turtle in. Speaking of which I've been wondering about the clone program, do any of you remember any more details about it, or why some of us might have come out so 'different'? And there must have been hundreds of clone pods in that room, did anybody see if there were going to be more of us? In all the excitement I didn't get a chance to look.

"Amanda, have you seen any signs of friendly people, besides us? Or any kind of central authority? I'm still trying to get myself oriented here. I feel like I missed the mission briefing on this op."

Having spoken, Chelydra then casually glaces outside to make sure that the perimeter is still secure. Old instincts from his days as a security officer, or paranoia at this strange new world? He isn't sure.


supreme_arbiter

COMPUTER TIME LOG - DAY ONE
14:00 SCAN ENVIRO-TERRA ROOM
14:01 SCAN LOCATION HALL 569181-K4
14:02 PROCEDURE BETA INITIATED
14:03 CONTINUING 2 SURVEILLANCE-LINKS
.........-STATUS: 3 INDIVIDUALS IN TERRA 239837-E11
.........-STATUS: 3 INDIVIDUALS IN HALL 569181-K4
.........-SECURITY ON SITE / EXITS (RK)
14:04 CONTINUE PROGRAM:
.........-FAIL SAFE 2
.........-CONTAIN A1 GROUP 1 / CONTROL ROOM
.........-CONTAIN B2 GROUP 2 / IN HALL

GM: Enviro Room

Nike

"It's nice that you have someone who looks out for you. Clearly, if it were hostile, it wouldn't leave you food."

Amanda bites her lip and shakes her head with a slight nod while shifting her position casually. "I've seen wonders here few would believe." Amanda's features are relaxed, more so now that they are all seated and speaking to eachother and the pressure of their meeting is gone.

Percy

"Good apple. Nice house. But enough about our room and board. I don't remember everything about my past, that is, before I woke up in the clone bay. I remember I used to be a systems technician. And I distinctly remember not being a werewolf, too."

Percy remembers his desk, and faint memories of his past life come back to him in jumbled order.

Nike

"Still, I wonder why this creature or person doesn't make any attempt to communicate. Perhaps it can't, or is afraid to? So Chelydra, what do you recall about your duties aboard the ship, and about the ship's systems? Anything?"

Nike continues, adjusting her plastic body armor, which was digging into her side. She shifts her questioning to Chelydra, as it is clear that Amanda is very sensitive, more so than the others.

Chelydra

"Is there anything else you might have noticed about your benefactor? Does it leave tracks, or make any sound? Does it always come at the same time of day? And is the food always bread and apples? Not that I'm complaining about that---they sure beat food cubes and nutri-paste."

For the first time, Amanda isn't frightened by Chelydra's words and her eyebrows lift as she listens to his questions. "It comes when I leave the empty bag outside. I've never noticed any tracks before, but I've never searched for any either. Yes, it's always been the same food." Amanda's fingers hesitate and then straighten a wrinkle in the blanket and she relaxes with a glum expression.

Chelydra

"Well I'm not sure how much I remember. Most things seem kind of more like insticts than memories. Even my name. 'Chelydra' is more what I am than who I am."

"I'm still in a fog about most things.... And there must have been hundreds of clone pods in that room, did anybody see if there were going to be more of us? In all the excitement I didn't get a chance to look."

Chelydra's words feel hollow as no one seems able to answer them. And he is right: no one took the time to look into the other pods. An awkward silence passes between them as Chelydra fidgets almost instinctively.

Chelydra

"Amanda, have you seen any signs of friendly people, besides us? Or any kind of central authority? I'm still trying to get myself oriented here. I feel like I missed the mission briefing on this op."

"No, I haven't. Just you three." Amanda's answer comes quick, too quick, even before Chelydra finishes asking. Amanda suddenly feels uneasy again and fiddles with her pocket to appear active.

Chelydra then casually stands, picks up his shotgun, opens the door and glances outside warily to make sure that the perimeter is still secure. The thick forest offers little visible distance---just familiar trees and brush. Former memories of standing guard at a high security guard station flicker in Chelydra's mind. Seeing nothing new, he steps back inside. The door closes and locks automatically. Crossing the room, Chelydra tests the other door, but it does not yield to his force. He taps the duralloy door and considers his options for opening it.

Nike

"I was a captain in the marines, special forces division. I can remember bits and pieces of missions, assignments, security concerns, and operation of weaponry, spacecrafts, and repair machinery, but nothing is very clear and solid yet. It does seem that the more I see of the ship, the clearer my memory becomes. Are you guys finding that to be true for you?"

"Somewhat, I remember my room. I had a pink stuffed animal named Frodo. I remember I worked as a teacher, but only bits and pieces of my job are clear to me." Amanda sighs, watching Chelydra test the other door. Seated close by, Nike notices Amanda's eyes go to the door and then beneath the desk, and then away, as if there were some correlation between the two.

Percy

"Waaaaitaminute--werewolves, hm." He points at the location on the map denoted by "WOLF." "Maybe we clones aren't the only ones whose genes got scrambled," he says staring and pointing at the screen. Turning back to the others, he apologizes to Amanda as if he were the chosen representative. "I mean, we're clones, anyway. Hey, what year is it? I mean, how far along on Warden's journey are we? By the way, thanks for the food. That apple was the best meal I've had all day. Heck, it's the only meal I've had all day. Or ever, for that matter!"

"I woke up in a clone bank too, Percy. Seems like weeks ago. I have no idea what year it is." Amanda seems surprised she so easily used Percy's name almost without thinking about it.

Percy is very aware that the vidscreen map he studies is very expansive. The entire environmental area is perhaps dozens of miles on a side and maybe even longer. The odds that human inhabitants live somewhere within this environment are definitely good. Finding them will be the challenge.

Nike's thoughts drift to a time when she and the other pilots stood in a hanger area and received mission orders. They were all dressed almost identically, with helmets and flight suits. Nike's thoughts are interrupted when Chelydra speaks, "Either this door requires a special key or it's a one way door."


supreme_arbiter

GM: Corridor

Tinker

"Claus, don't lose that rifle, I think I can add the thermal imaging scope to my sensor suite!"

Tinker considers everything and its possible use. Claus only hisses in reply and then gives a blank look, wondering how he can possibly lose a rifle unnoticed.

Tinker

Taking his duralloy cutting torch to the shotgun, Tinker cuts off most of the barrel and then trims the stock in moments. He then tosses the sawed-off shotgun over to Claus. "It's more your style!"

Claus receives the shotgun, smiles and looks around the room, careful not to touch any of the overly warm areas of the newly defined weapon.

As Zhaxier stuffs his smaller possessions in the medi-kit bag, he finds within a small hidden area inside a pair of sun glasses, 3 matches, and 2 cigarettes.

Zhaxier

"In here we're sittin' ducks, Tinker! Let's vector this sector and book this nook!"

Zhaxier blends into the background with a flash. The air where Zhaxier stands now wavers and ripples as he moves. "Cover me!" Zhaxier says, exiting the room and feeling brave for the moment.

Tinker

"Waste not, want not."

There are other locked cabinets but there is no time to open them. Tinker collects Zhaxier's discarded rifle and also the dart gun, wishing these weapons had holsters or at least slings to help carry them, but none do. Seeing nothing else he can take immediately, Tinker takes a stance behind Claus.

Tinker

"Okay Sundance, I'm ready when you are!"

Claus

"Alright Cassidy, lets do it!"

Zhaxier looks both ways instinctively as he rushes across the corridor into the elevator. He sees three security robots approaching from one direction, and four from the other. Both are still over a hundred feet away. Claus bounds the expanse after Zhaxier as heavy laser fire crisscrosses the corridor like a Karedrian light show. Claus backpedals but can't stop on the slick duralloy floor and slams into the back of elevator with a grunt, or 'vater as Zhaxier so eloquently put it. Growling, Claus's cat-like dexterity keeps him standing. Similar bursts of energy fire scorch the paint off Tinker's backside as he waddles across, but none score a direct hit and he too makes it into the elevator.

Zhaxier scans the multitude of buttons. Numbers V1 to V64 in one line and H1 to H98 in another. As he decides on his selection, the door closes the moment Tinker enters, and the 'vater begins to move. Zhaxier pushes H20 because he feels thirsty. He assumes few will understand his off-brand humor. The elevator buzzes to life and zips away, though its occupants don't feel a thing.

Some time later, the doors open, but not the ones in front of them. Turning around to face whatever menace awaits them, the trio sees a lush dense forest as the doors behind them open. The elevator makes a slight ding as the doors open fully.

What do you do?

OOC

Please feel free to add to your own background as we go along. Adding some of your own detail makes it that much more interesting and I will continue to do so as well. Note: I do add clues, you just have to pay attention to catch them.


Ogre1994

Tinker

"Something that you both should know---those Arnolds might be using Zhaxier's unique bioelectric signature to track him. I doubt that they're gastrobots, but you're a clone of an engineer, and they want engineers because security 'bots cannot repair themselves. They don't know that your persona implant only has a superficial knowledge of who you are and where you're at. If they catch you, Zhaxier, they'll kill you, but not right away. There's only one way I know of to break their lock on you. We're going to have to get to the hull as soon as possible. We're going to have to find a repair bay, or an airlock, or even a docking port, and get you off the Warden for a little while."


gene_queen_supreme

Nike

Nike is beginning to get frustrated. She forces herself to do some mental exercises to calm and center herself, and her focus.

Amanda

"No, I haven't. Just you three."

The words spilled out of Amanda's mouth even before Chelydra finished the question, as if she anticipated it and had a prepared answer. Why would she need a prepared answer for such a simple, straightforward question? She is lying. Nike's instincts almost make her sure of it. But in this situation, it won't do anyone much good to call her on it, not just yet. "Besides," Nike thinks, "I have no proof. It would be my deductions and instincts against her word." Not the best situation for a group of already tense and scared people. That's right, dammit, we are people. So what if we are clones? Clones or no, we still have the will to survive, and even to thrive. She knows that once relationships have a chance to be established that they would even have real feelings---not just the primal ones that drive them now.

Something Amanda says jerks her back to the conversation at hand. Amanda finishes her sentence about a stuffed animal, and sighs, watching Chelydra test the other door. "Hmm, what do we have here?" Nike wonders silently at Amanda's eye movement, "Someone does indeed know more than she's telling."

"Hey Chelydra," Nike says, "since your specialty seems to be security-oriented, why don't you check out the underside of that desk, see if there is any trigger to opening that door, like a hidden button, maybe?"

"And Percy, do you think you can get us a hard copy of that map on the vidscreen, or is this something we have the tools to sketch? Any clues to where a human settlement might be?"

Then she turns to Amanda. "Amanda, I know that it may be difficult to trust people whom you've just met, but it is extremely important that you tell us any experience you've had since cloning, even if it seems minute, OK? Are you sure you've seen no one but us since being cloned?"


cy_berleagic

Claus

He rubs his nose. "Stupid wall," he mumbles. The door opens to show a forest. "This is more my style." He looks out the door. "I see nothing hostile, but that could change," he says to Tinker and Zhaxier. "How do we want to go out there?"


zhaxier

Zhaxier

"Tinker, remind me later to ask you to explain what you just said, only in common English---you know, the kind mere propulsion engineer clones can understand. Crikey! Sounded like it came straight outta my applied quantum mechanics text!" his words trail off into a low mumble as he ponders spacewalks and being robot food.

When the 'vator doors open, Zhaxier's heart leaps as he takes in the forest scene. Could this be the same part of the biosphere where he left his pod-mates? Thoughts of H20 and his friends comingle: he hopes they found food and water. The nanobots did wonders for his wounds, but absolutely zilcho to quench his hefty hunger and thirst. Neither could they serve to identify the source of the ensuing snippet of H20 inspired memory: skinny dipping with "E" in a sinkhole situated in a similar naturalized area. Frak it, who was she? Why can't he remember?

Perhaps to force his thoughts into more familiar territory, Zhaxier grabs at his waist for his data pad. His hand comes up empty, but he rediscovers a new instinct. Realizing with some embarassment that he is naked, and that he therefore cannot possibly be wearing a data pad belt holster, he sighs. Thankfully, he is blended as well, so Claus and Tinker don't see the awkward moment.

Composing himself, he finds his pad in the medi-kit bag, unblends, and looks up at the elevator level display. "Lemme first find out where we are, dudes," he says, as he inputs the number on his pad.


Ogre1994

Tinker

"Spoilsport," Tinker emits in Zhaxier's direction. Tinker then turns and removes the control panel for the elevator and starts tinkering. "I'm resetting the elevator controls for manual control only. The security 'bots will have to find another way up here. I'm also setting up an override on the door controls so we can rest inside and not worry about being surprised. When I'm done, I'm going to have to do a shutdown for a few hours to recharge my batteries (four hours) and to do a self-diagnostic. You two can go out and play while I'm doing that."

Tinker finishes the job in a few minutes. "While you're out there, look for some canvas or betacloth (fiberglass cloth) so I can make some holsters, rifle slings, and maybe a backpack."


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