Space Quest:Exodus/Chapter 44
"As we join our heroes, we find them taking part in a traditional Sarien children's game, "Who's Corpse Is This?"..."
Ada grumbles to herself, and wipes her mouth with the back of her hand. "No, Bioo, thanks," she says a bit annoyedly. "I think I'll hold off in case there's any more of these unpleasant little surprises."
MP-X301: "Rex, could you bust open that other shuttle?"
Rex: Click. "TECHNICALLY I WAS NEVER ALIVE, BUT I APPRECIATE YOUR CONCERN."
Rex goes to break open the shuttle.
Ada moves to close the shuttlebay door.
As Ada desperately fumbles for the door controls, Rex steps back and paws its feet like a bull preparing to charge. The doors close just as Rex makes its move, ramming headlong into the rear hatch of the second shuttle. The ear-splitting sound of rending metal echoes through the bay as the door buckles inward, falling to the floor of the shuttle with a dull thud.
Rex: Click. "OH, MAN, I WOULD *LOVE* TO GO OVER THERE, BUT THAT SOLDIER WOULD KICK MY ASS... AND I DON'T GET PAID FOR THAT."
MP-X301 covers Nancy's body and heads over to the other shuttle to look around. "Thank you, Rex."
Ada winces at the noise and looks at the just-closed door warily, hoping it did the trick of dampening.
The inside of the second shuttle is a carbon copy of the first, given their identical manufacture. The only real difference is that the tubes in this one are all in one piece, with no signs of violence. Like the first shuttle, large closet is next to the tubes, and a pair of pilot seats are situated at the front of the cabin.
MP-X301 opens the closet and looks inside.
MP: Inside the closet, you find a lightweight, black EVA suit, hanging from the hook on the back of the door. Accompanying paraphernalia - a helmet, oxygen tank, and thruster pack - sit on storage racks in the back of the closet.
MP: The suit appears to be tailored for an average-sized human (Or Andromedan).
MP-X301: "Got an EVA suit here. Looks like it's about average-sized humanoid." MP gathers the items and puts them outside the door, then continues his general search, including the pilot's and copilot's chairs.
Rex merely waits, not being told to follow.
Ada: "Not planning on taking a spacewalk at the moment, but, good to know."
MP-X301: "AHA!" MP cries out in ecstatic surprise. "This is what's going on!"
Ada: "What is it?" Ada runs over to MP's position out of curiosity.
MP-X301: "Take a look at this piece of paper. Several hundred units of 'Research Material'... I'm thinking it's the passengers from the Extravagance."
Ada looks at the paper in question.
MP-X301: ... a slip of paper wedged in the cushion crack of the pilot's seat. The paper appears to be a shipping invoice for a few hundred units of something identified only as "research material".
Ada: "You said they were creating a large moddie chip earlier, didn't you? Mmm. This doesn't bode well."
MP-X301: "Exactly. Of course, why would they use a bunch of geriatric patients as their base material."
Ada: "Every unprincipled scientist has to to start somewhere. Why not start with unarmed vacationers who are probably old enough to die naturally on the trip anyway? In any case, I think we need to try to get into one of those laboratory rooms."
MP-X301: "I think we should get the moddie chip. Have Rex go in the back way while we go in the front."
Ada: "The front of what? The rooms only seemed to have the one door."
MP-X301: "Rex goes in the BACK way... through the window."
Ada: "Um. That's going to draw a lot of attention, man."
Rex: Click. "80 LBS. OF GUNPOWDER, 22 IDIOTS, 1 CRASH-TEST DUMMY... PRICELESS."
MP-X301: "Yes... yes it will. And then we get into other parts of the station while they're responding to the noise."
Ada: "I guess... but I'd rather operate without them knowing there's intruders around unless we have to do otherwise."
MP-X301: "Oh, Ada... we're going to have kick over the apple cart eventually anyway. I suppose we could look around first, though."
Ada: "I agree on the first but still advocate the latter."
MP-X301: "Alright, then... let's go. Nothing more to see here, unless we want to set up a distraction."
Ada: "Good idea. C'mon Rex. We're going station spelunking."
Rex follows along after Ada like a good dog.
Ada: After a bit of fiddling (and a bit of swearing), the door controls respond, and the entrance door re-opens. The corridor beyond looks the same as when you left it.
MP-X301: "Let's head back to the corridor where we first came in."
Ada: "All right. Lead the way, fearless leader."
MP-X301 leads the way to the "Someplace we haven't been yet."
Rex: Click. "WITH ALL THE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WE ARE TAKING, CHECK THIS, CHECK THAT, YOU HAVE TO STAND BACK AND SAY: DUDE! WE ARE MAKING A ROCKET OUTTA *MEAT*!"
The Party heads off down the mystery corridor. Before long, you find a large door with the phrase "TURBOLIFT" written in large, red, vaguely menacing letters. The corridor runs past the door and on into the distance.
MP-X301: "Turbolift? Let's go exploring." MP heads for the lift!
MP: The lift *ding!*s menacingly at you as its menacing doors yawn open. Inside is a small control panel with three menacing buttons: COMMAND BLOCK, RESEARCH BLOCK, and DETENTION BLOCK.
Ada: "Well, OK, though I'd still like a look inside those laboratory rooms at some point. Er, will Rex fit in here?"
MP-X301 hovers in. "We'd be in the research block. I'm thinking Command Block. Objections?"
MP-X301: "We can kick butt and take some names."
Ada: "It's possible your crew members... the ones left alive, anyway... are in the Detention Block."
Ada: "Maybe they know what's going on."
MP-X301: "Indeed, but unless we disable the command staff, we won't be able to get them off here."
Ada: "No, but we might have some better idea of what we'll be up against."
MP-X301: "So, down to the waiting hands of armed security guards, or up to the likely location of unarmed administration personnel. Hmm.... Alright, you've convinced me, down we go." MP pushes the DETENTION BLOCK button.
Ada gets into the lift and sighs.
Ada: "Come on, Rex."
Rex thuds its way onto the lift, if it can fit.
- click!* The button lights up and the doors close, as the lift shuttles you off somewhere else within the station...
Rex: Click. "YOU GET THAT THING I SENT YA?"
- ding!* The lift doors glide open. Before you is a looooong hallway that stretches off into the distance. The left-hand wall is lined with a series of wide niches that appear to be the openings of brig cells; the opposite wall contains a multitude of identical doors spaced evenly into the distance.
MP-X301 whispers, "Any sign of security cameras before we leave the lift?"
Ada looks around for anything that resembles a monitoring device.
MP-X301 stops Ada and points up above the turbolift. "Camera." His voice is nearly inaudible.
Ada nods, then ponders.
MP-X301: "Back up." MP-X301 pokes the Research Block button.
Rex hasn't moved. What a good robot doggy.
- ding!* The lift zips back up, and opens. Before you is a hallway completely unlike the one you were in previously!
MP-X301 describes the camera as he saw it to Ada. "Maybe we can use a device to loop the video back in on itself to a recording."
...no, wait, it's exactly the same as before. My mistake.
Rex: Click. "RIGHT NOW I'D LIKE TO SHOW YOU ONE OF MY FAVORITE CARTOONS. IT'S A SAD, DEPRESSING STORY ABOUT A PATHETIC COYOTE WHO SPENDS EVERY WAKING MOMENT OF HIS LIFE IN THE FUTILE PURSUIT OF A SADISTIC ROADRUNNER WHO *MOCKS* HIM AND *LAUGHS* AT HIM AS HE'S REPEATEDLY *CRUSHED* AND *MAIMED!* HOPE YOU *ENJOY IT!!!*"
Ada: "Yeah, I think I know that feeling, Rex. Well, shall we continue past the lift and see what we can see?"
MP-X301: "May as well." MP heads down the corridor farther past the turbolift.
Ada follows MP, beckoning to Rex.
Rex plods along after Ada once more without a care in the world.
The corridor eventually leads you past another corridor branching off to the left; you can make out a series of windows starting on the far wall not far from the branch. The current hallway proceeds into the distance...
Rex: "WHY ARE WE H-H-H-SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSKKKHHHH-HERE AGAIN?"
MP-X301: "The other end of the window corridor." MP points. "Let's see if we can find an entrance into an unoccupied lab this way."
Ada: "To rescue MP's crew from the bad guys, Rex. And hopefully kick some butt eventually."
Rex: "CREW? LIKE CREW CUT?"
Ada: "Emphasis on 'eventually'."
Ada: "Crew like people who work on starships."
Ada: To MP: "Good. Let's go."
MP-X301 continues down the corridor, figuring there must be entrances to the labs soon.
Rex continues along.
The corridor soon hooks off to the left. Sure enough, a series of doors line the left wall here, presumably opposite the windows in the other corridor. There appear to be a half-dozen of them or so, each of which has a tiny label plastered on an equally tiny plate on each door.
MP-X301 looks at the first name plate.
The name plates read, in order: BIOLOGICAL AGENTS, WEAPONS DESIGN, CYBERNETICS RESEARCH, ASSASSIN DROID PROGRAMMING, VANDALISM, and RESEARCH INTO WAYS OF MAKING PEOPLE WAIT LONGER IN BANK LINES.
MP-X301: "Ooo... I definitely want to see Vandalism..."
MP-X301: "I mean, Assassin droid programming! Yeah!"
Rex: Click. "NOW HOW CAN I SAY THIS WHILE STILL SOUNDING COOL? ... ER, STICKS AND STONES BREAK MY BONES, BUT WORDS WILL NEVER HURT ME?"
MP-X301: "So, how far over was the occupied lab? And we can check the others from this side of the window corridor."
MP-X301: "I think the occupied lab was 'Cybernetics Research'."
Ada: All right. Do we check the others first, or jump those two? Did you see what they were armed with?"
MP-X301: "Let's check the others first. I..." He glances at the other three, and says, "I'll check it out. Hoverlifts make for quieter... uh... steps." MP heads around to the window corridor and begins a careful check of the labs from the windows.
Rex clicks internally, as if something had jammed. It lasts for a minute or two before seeming to solve itself.
MP: Heading back around to the rear corridor, you peek into the windows as you progress down the hall. Sure enough, the two guards from before are still in the cybernetics lab...one hunched over a lab table, the other standing between him and the window, facing the door. The second guard has a laser rifle in hand...judging from the angle of his head, he seems to be alternating between looking at the door, and at his comrade.
MP-X301 heads back to the group. "Alright, looks like just the X lab from the end... uh, Cybernetics... is occupied. And he's watching the door and the lab tech while toting a laser rifle. Let's check the others and look for stuff to defeat security cameras."
Ada: "Works for me."
Ada: "OK, let's us look in different rooms to speed things up. Rex, you go watch the Cybernetics door. Shoot anyone who exits it."
MP-X301 heads straight for the vandalism door, cackling with anticipation.
Rex goes to sit in front of the Cybernetics door, far enough away that it isn't blocking the door, but close enough to use its flamethrower.
Ada tries the Weapons Design room.
IC: Most of the lab is empty...the cabinets have been cleaned out. Stowed away in one corner, though, you find a heavy laser repeater and a pulseray pistol gathering dust.
Ada gathers up the weaponry and heads back out into the hallway.
MP-X301 heads out shaking a can of spray paint while listening to it and holding a cattle prod in the other hand with a puzzled expression, then heads into the Droid Assassin room to turn it inside out.
Ada stops MP before he goes in. "Hey, you want either of these?"
Ada shows the pulseray pistol and the heavy laser repeater.
MP-X301: "...a heavy laser repeater?"
MP-X301: "I DEFINITELY want the heavy laser repeater."
Ada hands over the repeater. "You can take the pistol too, if you like... I already have one. Or I can give it to Rex for later selling... assuming we survive this."
MP-X301 takes the repeater and looks rather happy, even as he hovers a little closer to the ground. "Well, I'll carry it for now. It might be useful if we get into a situation where I don't want to destroy equipment."
Ada hands over the pistol as well. "I'll check out the Biological room."
MP-X301: "Thank you, Ada. I'll just check this one out."
Ada nods and puts action to words.
Rex: Click. "HM, YES, THAT WAS THRILLING... SHALL WE, THEN? ONTO THE KILLING..."
MP-X301 hovers out of the next room carrying a data cartridge and waiting for Ada to return.
IC: Inside the Bio lab, you find a single canister of a blue fluid, labeled "Labion Terror Beast Mating Pheromone Extract".
Ada tucks the canister away with a slightly disgusted look, then heads back into the hallway.
MP-X301: "Oh, Ada!"
Ada: "All right, MP, what else did you find? All I got was something that lets you get freaky with a Labion Terror Beast. Ick."
MP-X301: "Well, I found this data cartridge labeled "Master Droid Program - Danger". I think I could read it and examine the contents, but I wanted your professional opinion first."
Ada takes the cartridge and looks at it.
MP-X301: "While you look that over, I'll check out the Bank Lines room." MP heads into the Bank Lines room and looks around.
IC: The cart has a small label that reads "MASTER DROID PROGRAM - DANGER!" It's a standard read/write cart for storing large amounts of data.
ICly, you can't tell anything else about it without plugging it in and reading it. MP-X301 could read it with his own systems, with the right checks and a little Repair tweaking from you.
MP-X301 returns a few minutes later with plans in hand. "I think I sat on one of these prototype chairs on Planet Junk. I thought I was just sitting an ExecuLine Chief Executive chair... which is usually what it requires to make someone a drooling idiot, turns out it's been weaponized."
Ada: "Well, I guess the only room left is Cybernetics. I suppose we could just knock, then let them open the door into blazing Rex death."
Rex settles down in front of the Cybernetics door and shuts down some processes.
MP-X301: "Wait, wait, I could duplicate this effect instantly without research and chairs! I'll just promote everyone to CEO of their own private companies! They'll be drooling idiots instant... er, excuse me... really, we want one of them alive. To interrogate."
Ada: "Hmm. Well, hopefully the one with the rifle will open the door. We off him, then the other guy shouldn't be a problem. He seems to be the techie one anyway."
MP-X301: "There really must be a more elegant way to... um... deal with those people."
MP: The paint can has a red label on it, with a *very* prominent warning notice: "Super Spray paint, exp. batch 074. WARNING! Contents of can are completely, totally, utterly PERMENANT! It will never, EVER come off! EVER!" In smaller letters: "Contents of can under pressure. Do not expose contents to open fire or flame. Do not puncture, fold, spindle, or mutilate...well, okay, you can mutilate if you want to, just please do it behind closed doors."
Ada: "Not that I can think of. There's only the one exit, and almost anything that gets their attention is going to cause some shooting."
MP-X301: "...what if we spray paint the face of the person that opens the door?"
MP: The prod, meanwhile, looks like a portable EMP device, designed to fry electrical systems when the tip is touched against them and the trigger is pulled. At least, that's what the cartoon-like illustrations on the handle indicate.
Ada: "Uh... hmm. He's likely to shoot blindly in reflex for a moment afterwards, though. If we can deal with that..."
MP-X301: "Not if we EMP his laser rifle."
MP-X301: "One of us spray paints his face, the other one prods his rifle with this." He holds up the cattle prod.
MP-X301: "...you know, I'm not sure I should be carrying something that can short out my circuits on contact. What if I get that thing in the wrong compartment? It might... you know..."
Ada: "I wouldn't worry about it too much... I mean, you're likely shielded."
MP-X301: "...shielding? You mean they actually shield electronics from EMP?"
Ada: "But I can hold on to it anyway, if you like."
MP-X301: "Would you like to hold it? I mean, I will if you don't want it."
Ada: "I already got an electric death device."
MP-X301: "Alright." MP stashes the cattle prod.
Rex: Click. "THERE'S STILL ENOUGH PRETTY COLORS TO GET ONE OF US DOWN THE MAGIC RAINBOW BRIDGE! WOW, THERE WASN'T A MANLY WORD IN THAT SENTENCE."