Space Quest:Exodus/Chapter 42
"As we join our heroes - ah, it feels good to say that again - we find them outside the office of Senator Corona, having just finished "interviewing" him, and having committed nearly a dozen different federal crimes in the process..."
MP-X301: "Well, now we need to get out of here and back to the shuttleport before he manages to get untied. Shall we?"
Ada: "Good idea."
Rex: "SQUISHY CAN'T OUTFIGHT REX. REX IS SURE OF THIS."
Ada: "We'd better put you back in the box, MP. If people see you floating around, our cover is going to be blown like a bad gasket."
MP-X301: "...back in the box? Not the box... please, anything but the box..."
Rex: "REX CAN CARRY SMALLER DROID, MAYBE. REX IS GOOD AT CARRYING THINGS. Bzzzzt."
Ada: "Sorry, but there's not much choice unless you feel like blasting your way out and being chased by several dozen guards. Not a good way to arrive at the coordinates with a lack of warning on the enemy's part."
Ada: "We at least need to hide you somehow."
MP-X301: "Oh, fine... back in the box." MP stares at the box, then finally floats over and climbs in. "...but I'm not turning myself off!"
Ada: "That's fine." Ada closes the box and hands it to Rex.
Rex takes the box and "looks" at it.
MP-X301 muffles out, "Just hurry!"
Ada: "Let's go, Rex."
Rex: "OK-K-K-KAY. BZZZT."
From inside the office, a somewhat muffled voice rings out. "Hello? Is anyone out there? I've been threatened and tied up by terrorists, and I can't get up..."
Ada sighs, goes back in, duct tapes Corona's mouth shut, then comes back out.
From inside the office, a considerably more muffled voice rings out. "Mmmph mmmph MMMPH! Mmmph..."
Ada: "Eh, that'll have to do."
Rex: "CAN REX KNOCK NOISY SQUISHY OUT?"
The sounds soon cease, followed by whimpering.
Ada: "Nah, it's OK."
Rex: "COLON OPEN-PARENTHESES."
Ada points her finger, opens her mouth, and pauses. She then lowers her finger and says, "That's strange. I suddenly had the urge to say 'Onward'!"
Rex: Click. "OVERLY-INTRICATE... *COMBINATION!*"
Ada shrugs and leads the entourage back through the building.
MP-X301 grumbles slightly as, deep in his circuitry, his service processor once again rumbles something about being in a box. Oh yes, these idiots would PAY for sticking him in a box again. He should be FREE to LEAD MILLIONS in a quest for galactic dominat..." The service processor reboots due to a firmware bug.
Ada: You lead The Party back along the same path you first traversed the building through, which won't be described in detail due to the fact that you've already come this way before, plus the narrator can't recall most of the details. Riding the cargo elevator back down to the ground floor, you pass through the corridor and approach the doors leading back to the lobby...
Ada heads out into the lobby.
The lobby looks much the same as it did before. The same receptionist from before is sitting at the same desk from before, bearing the same glazed look as before. There doesn't seem to be anyone else here right now.
Rex follows like a good doggy.
Ada strolls blithely out of the building, trying to give off the "badass car mechanic" aura.
The receptionist glances at the box Rex is carrying. "Hey, what happened? I thought you were here to deliver that thing."
Rex: "DELIVERED, BZZZZT."
Rex: "NO WANT BOX, BZZZZT."
Ada shrugs at the receptionist as if yo say, "What can you do?"
She blinks. "Oh, right. Okay then..." She flashes an insincere smile. "Have a nice day!"
Ada resumes heading out the door.
You are now standing outside the front of Corona's building. The limo and driver from before are gone, leaving only a loooong driveway leading back out to Xenon City's elevated roadways. A public phone booth sits on the curb, with a second, opaque blue booth next to it.
Ada: "We're going to need a ride."
Rex settles down on the sidewalk. "YES."
Rex: "WANT RIDE."
Ada heads over to check out the opaque blue booth out of curiosity.
Ada: The booth is fairly solid, with a single door. A sign above the door reads "Public Transport System". On the side of the booth facing the street, someone has spray-painted the words "Andromedans Go Home!" in large, crude letters.
Ada: "Mmm." Ada has a slightly disapproving tone.
Ada then appraises the size of the booth. Not big enough to fit Rex, I'm guessing?
Ada: Not a snowball's chance on Ortega.
Ada: The booth is only large enough to contain a single average-sized humanoid.
Ada goes over to the other booth, then.
Rex: "BzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzKSHHHt. HOW LONG SHOULD I HOLD ONTO BOX?"
Ada: This one is *also* only large enough to contain a single average-sized humanoid. The walls of this booth are clear, though, revealing a public visiphone terminal. A badly-dogeared phone book hangs on a chain from the phone.
Ada: "Until we get a ride out of the vicinity, Rex."
Ada looks for the number for a taxi service.
Rex: Click. "DON'T WORRY, GIRLS, EXPLOSIONS FIX EVERYTHING!"
Ada chuckles at Rex's opinion.
Ada: "Plan B is just Plan A with more explosives."
Ada: Most of the pages of the book are missing, and most of the rest are obscured by graffiti. You do find one number for a Xenon City taxi service, though.
Ada dials the taxi service.
Ada also looks over at the skyscraper and general vicinity for any identifying marks or street names.
Rex: "HOW LONG DO WE WAIT?"
Ada: As the phone rings, you spy a nearby sign identifying the cul-de-sac you currently occupy as the "Admiral Ripley Memorial Tower". The sign appears to have originally said "Raemes Quirk Commemorative Tower", but most of the original wording has been crossed out with a marker pen.
Ada: "Until somebody picks up the phone. Durn lazy dispatchers..."
The phone is answered by a female dispatcher. She sounds polite, but it is the faux politeness born of years of dealing with drunks, ignorant tourists, and job applicants who speak English. "Yes, may I help you?"
Ada: "Hello, I'd like a taxi for pickup at the Admiral Ripley Memorial Tower, please. Um..." Ada looks at Rex. "One with either a very tall and wide backseat, or with a roof rack, if you got one."
Ada: You can practically hear the receptionist's teeth grinding, as she realizes she'll have to perform actual work. "Very well, miss. We have a unit in the vicinity now, it should be there momentarily." Without a further word, she hangs up.
Ada hangs up the phone and leaves the booth.
Ada: "OK, Rex, we just need to wait for the taxi, then we can blow this joint." Ada pauses, then adds, "Um, not *literally*, please."
Rex: "WANT TO PLAY."
Ada: "Sorry. The thought's appealing, but it'd cause way too many problems. Don't worry, we'll have bad guys to blow up soon enough, once we get out into space again."
From down the street, the loud roar of an engine is heard. A hovertaxi comes zooming down the lane...a familiar-looking hovertaxi, though now sporting what appears to be a large platform mounted on the roof. It pulls up, the window lowers... "Hey, baby! Long time no see!"
Ada: "Ah, figures," Ada mutters.
Rex: Click. "FASTER WORLD DOMINATION!"
Ada then puts on a smile. "Hello. We need transport back to the starport. Rex here will be riding on the roof." Ada indicates the large robot to the driver.
Rex moves to jump up onto the roof...
Ada winces in anticipation.
The driver grins. "Sure thing." He then gets shaken quite badly, as the taxi lurches violently beneath Rex's immense weight. "GAH!"
Ada: "Heh. Ah, sorry about that."
The taxi immediately sinks to the ground, its undercarriage scraping the road.
Ada: "Oh. Rex, toss down the box to me, please."
Rex: "TALLER THAN MANY MEATBAGS NOW."
Rex does so!
Ada tries to catch the box.
MP-X301: Thumping around inside the box, MP disables his audio output devices and braces for yet another onslaught of dent-inducing virtual pain.
Ada: The box drops into your arms...and through them as its sheer weight causes it to slip right through your grip. It slams down hard on your foot.
Ada hops around in pain.
At exactly that moment, Bioo stealthily reappears from somewhere behind you.
Rex sits atop the cab, whirring to itself.
Rex: "MEATBAG IS HERE!"
Bioo: "Having purposefully lagged behind the rest of the party, you've managed to scavenge some 67 buckazoids from various desk drawers and couch cushions, and a medkit from the bathroom.
Bioo strolls down the corridors contentedly.
Bioo: "57 Buckazoids I don't have to share with the party, 58 Buckazoids I don't have to share with the party, 58 Buckazoids I don't have to share with the party...
The driver winks at Bioo. "Hey there, sweet cheeks."
Ada: "Hi, Bioo," Ada gasps out in between leaking tears of pain.
Rex: Click. "WHO IS LUCKY? I AM LUCKY! NONE SO LUCKY BUT... ME! AND THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID... ME! LUCK, LUCK, LUCKY, LUCKY, LUCKY, LUCKY, LUCKY, LUCKY ME!"
Bioo looks at the cabdriver.
Bioo looks at the cabdriver some more.
The driver winks.
Bioo then pulls the bottle of (whatever it was) s/he lifted from the office and takes a long pull.
Ada finally manages to wait out the pain in her foot to a dull roar, then limps over and works on wrangling the box of MP into the taxi.
Bioo: "Looks like it's your lucky day, Slim. You caught me in a Fine mood.
Bioo cracks a sly grin.
Rex: "WANT-TO-PLAY, WANT-TO-PLAY."
Ada: You manage to shove the box into the backseat and down in front of the seat cushions. Not without a great deal of thumping and bumping, of course.
Ada settles into the seat herself and wipes her brow. She then says, "OK, Bioo, time to get out of here while the getting's good."
The driver grins wide. "So, you gettin' in with yer girlfriend or what?"
Bioo hops in the front seat.
The driver nudges Bioo with his elbow. "Alright, now it's a party!" He revs the engine...slowly, the taxi hovers off the ground, lurching unsteadily from Rex's weight on top. "Okay, folks, where to?"
Bioo: "Truth be told, she's a little too "into mechs" for me.
Ada: "Starport, please, driver."
Ada ignores Bioo's quip, glad to give up the charade anyway. ;)
Bioo snakes her hands around the sides of the seat and holds on.
The driver nods, then immediately slams his foot down. *VROOOM!* The cab leaps off into the distance, flattening everyone inside against their seats, and leaving Rex flailing atop the car just to maintain its balance.
Rex doesn't have much to flail, but okay.
Bioo: "You call this a ride?!
Bioo: "My granny drives more reckless than this.
Rex: "RECKLESS, RECKLESS! COLON DEE."
Bioo grins at the driver with a wicked gleam in her eye.
Ada: "Remind me never to ride with your grandma." Ada looks faintly green.
MP-X301 punches the crate open, and gasps loudly. "I could barely vent the heat buildup inside my chassis in there!"
After several breakneck turns, the *SCREEE* of brakes is heard as the car jerks to a stop, directly in front of the starport terminal. The driver turns to look at Bioo, and grins. "We're here!"
Ada opens the taxi door, staggers outside, and vents the green.
Rex hops off of the taxi.
MP-X301 crawls out of the wreckage of the box and hovers out of the vehicle. "Remind me never to get in a box again. It's even worse than the closet."
Bioo leaves the cab through the drivers door, "perhaps next time you can give me a ride with more... "turns"."
The driver blinks. "Sheesh, no pleasing some people."
MP-X301: "...alright... back to the Drunken Crowe..." MP hovers unsteadily into the starport.
Ada returns to the taxi, looking a bit miserable, but less green.
Bioo rolls her eyes, "and no getting dirty jokes through to others"
Ada: "Come on, Rex, let's go find our ride off this planet. I will never complain about the AI's driving ever..."
Ada: Ada goes to follow MP to the Drunken Crowe.
Rex lumbers along behind Ada like a loyal canine.
Bioo: "How much?
As you cross the starport field, a humanoid shape suddenly rounds a corner, running full-tilt at you!
"Ohheythereyouguysaresorryicantcomewithyoubutimalittlepreoccupiedillcatchyouguyslaterohlookatthetimegottagobye!" Lombard nods in the party's direction before continuing his sprint, dashing off behind a storage building. The customs agent from before storm after him, shouting and waving their batons before similarly vanishing from sight.
Rex: "WEIRD MEATBAG."
Rex: "TALKED TOO FAST."
The driver glances at Bioo. "For you, babe? 30 buckazoids." He winks again.
Ada stares after Lombard, keeps walking, stops, looks back and Lombard again, then sighs. "Uh, MP? Do you think we should go get Lombard and take him with us?"
MP-X301: "I'm thinking that we'll pick him up later. He seems quite happy. Preoccupied."
Ada: "...OK, works for me." Ada continues towards the shuttle.
Rex continues to trudge along. "WHAT ABOUT MASTER?"
Ada: "Even better, Rex, we're off to beat up bad guys. Plus, we might find more information on your master off-planet. And if we don't, we'll come back here with more help to look."
Bioo hands over the 30 plus 10 more, "It's a shame you weren't as friendly as you were before. You could have gotten a bigger tip."
Ada: "Promise, Rex. Unfortunately we're too much in trouble right now to do any major asking around... but after this we'll be heroes. Or at least not quite so wanted. Plus Corona might owe us one."
MP-X301 hurries off to his ship. His ship. Boy, that sounds good... yeah... And someday he might start a little ambulance service... and run patients in from remote areas. Yeah! He shakes his head, and frowns. Stupid programming.
The ship is sitting exactly where you left it, ugly as ever. As you approach, the ramp opens and lowers itself for you.
Rex: "WILL I FIT?"
Rex: "I SEEM TO BE HEAVYYYYYYY-BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTCH."
Ada: "I may have to bang dents in the ceiling, but we'll get you to fit."
From inside the ship, the deep voice of the computer is heard. "...what *is* that thing?"
Rex: Click. "MY GOD! *I HAVE POCKETS!*"
"I hope you're not planning to cram that...thing, in here."
"My functionality is compromised enough as is."
Rex "stares" at the ship.
Ada: "We are planning on cramming it in here, I'm afraid."
MP-X301 hovers aboard immediately and heads for the control panel, sitting in the chair. "Computer, lay in a course for sector *Insert Necessary and Critical Piece of Data here*. We'll take off as soon as that droid is aboard. And don't worry, we'll effect repairs as needed. Unless you can scan the net for cheap, large, armed and armored space ships for immediate sale in exchange for bearer bonds."
Bioo lurks in the doorway.
The ship hesitates. "...no, I understand. I believe it can fit through the cargo ramp...assuming it avoids unnecessary movement, it shouldn't impede my flight ability or hull integrity."
Bioo: "We Are in a spaceport.
MP-X301: "I don't have time to scope out the theft of a capital-size ship, Bioo. Get on board before Corona gets loose."
Rex attempts to board the ship unless someone stops it.
Ada directs Rex to the cargo ramp.
Rex: It's a *very* tight squeeze, but by shifting your legs *just* so, you manage to slip through the ramp opening. The ship's interior is barely large enough to contain you...you hobble to the back and squat near the rear bulkhead, trying to avoid taking up any more room than absolutely necessary.
Bioo shuffles onboard and takes a seat, but it is with a notable air of "you never let me have any fun"
Ada gets onboard and finds a seat not blocked by Rex.
MP-X301: "Alright, close the door, and let's take off, Computer. Begin liftoff sequence."
Rex: Click. "HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE ACTUALLY SEEN A WASHING MACHINE NAKED?"
Ada raises a hand.
"As you wish..." The ramp closes, the ship quakes, and within minutes, you find yourselves flying through the atmosphere. Rex's added weight causes the ship to shudder and shake noticeably more than usual, but it seems to be holding together...mostly.
Bioo: "Does naked IN a washing machine count?
Ada gives Bioo an odd look.
The computer speaks up. "Coordinates locked. Engaging stardrive..."
MP-X301: "No, but I once had a relationship with a dishwasher. The washing machines were never very nice to flirt with."
Rex starts its shutdown process.
Bioo: "Nice and soapy tho...
Ada: "True, the washing machines aren't that attractive. It's the dryers that are hot stuff."
MP-X301: "Dryers run too hot and cold for my taste." MP pokes one of the useless buttons.
Rex 's optic sensors are covered as it goes into standby and it stops making noise, aside from the occasional whir.
MP-X301: "Computer... Engage."
The ship vibrates...the stars outside the forward viewport explode into a rainbow tunnel, as the ship makes the jump to litespeed.
MP-X301: "...or is it Make it so?"
Bioo: "Seeing as you're bald...
As the Crowe streaks away from Xenon and into the infinite heavens, a second, smaller ship crests from the planet's atmosphere unnoticed by its occupants. It, too, zooms off into the stars...