Space Quest:Exodus/Chapter 46
"As we join our heroes, we find MP and crew about to perform a slice-n-dice on a poor, dead guard. All those nights of watching Celebrity Autopsy will certainly come in handy for our robotic hero..."
MP-X301: "Alright, let's get his body up on the table. Would one of you assist me?" MP pulls out the surgical kit and opens it, immediately donning the latex gloves and picking up the device in the box that substitutes for a scalpel in this modern sci-fi-future age.
Bioo saunters back from the unknown realms she frequents.
Ada helps MP haul the body up onto a table.
Rex stands around like a useless lump of talking scrap metal! Yay!
Ada: "Oof. ...hey, Bioo, where you been?"
MP-X301: "Thank you, Ada." He begins his work on the cranium on the techie.
Ada: "Can you help Rex guard the door?"
Bioo: "Hey, are you lot done torchering the science gee..... Flerking Shnit! What the Flaznok are you doing?!
Rex: Click. "I ALSO INVENTED AIR, WHICH IS WHY EVERY TIME YOU BREATHE, I GET A QUARTER. ... PAY UP!"
Ada: "Um. We accidentally killed the techie, who turned out to be made of more electronics than the average being. So we're trying to see why he's giving off the smell of burnt circuitry."
MP-X301: "It's called an autopsy." MP pauses for a moment, recalling data from disused storage systems. A tiny rat begins running behind a reel-to-reel tape deep in the cavities of the robotic physician, sending a slow stream of data to MP
MP-X301: 's online storage. He begins to cut as the autopsy procedures arrive.
Bioo: "Have you ever considered Hacking the Computer!?
Ada: "If we found a computer, we would hack it."
Bioo: "You know, as an alternative to murder and dissection.
MP-X301: "What computer, Bioo? Do you see a computer terminal in here anywhere? Have you seen any computers?"
Rex: "AUTOPSY, AUTOPSY. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT."
Bioo: "I'm sure we could Find one.
Ada: "Well... if we can, I'm up for it. But in the meantime, well, he's dead. It's not like it's going to hurt."
MP-X301: "Feel free. Ada, care to take Rex and Bioo on an exploration to see if there are any computer terminals actually available on this deck?"
MP: Wielding your futuristic, scalpel-like tool (which by sheer coincidence is also called a scalpel), you delicately jab the point into the techie's forehead and jerk it around, tearing open a large crack in the front of his skull.
Ada: "Sure. I think there's unexplored hallway still."
MP-X301 continues his cutting, slicing and dicing with professional care levels. "Sorry, bud. I know you weren't expecting to die at the hands of a robot, but I didn't know the cattle prod was loaded... that much."
Ada: "Besides, I don't want to watch this."
Rex: Click. "WHAT? SAY SOMETHING! AM I SO BEAUTIFUL YOU'VE NO WORDS LEFT?"
MP-X301: "Go ahead. I'm fine here with the body... it's really my problem, so please, feel free."
Bioo: "I'm going away now.
Ada: "Shall we? C'mon, Rex."
Ada: Ada goes off to go down the unexplored hallway cautiously.
Rex follows along without a care in the world.
Bioo: "I came to inform you that there were some nifty doors down the hall, undoubtedly with armed guards behind them, but you look busy...
Bioo backs slowly out of the room.
Ada: "No, it's OK. We'll look at the doors."
MP-X301: As you all leave, you hear MP's voice murmuring, "Initial prognosis: Death by electrocution." A pause. "...sorry."
Rex: "WHAT DOORS? I DON'T LIKE DOORS."
Ada follows Bioo out of the room.
Bioo returns to the aforementioned doors and initiates the standard poking and prodding procedure.
Bioo: "You lead the rest of the Party out the door and down the research hallway...rounding a corner, you bring them to the pair of doors you found earlier. Each door is large and heavily-reinforced, with electronic card locks built into them.
Ada examines the doors.
Rex: "DOORS. COLON GREATER-THAN."
Bioo: "One door is labeled "RECORDS", while the other bears a sign reading "CONVERSION CHAMBER - DANGER!"
Bioo attempts picking the RECORDS lock.
Bioo: "Within moments, the door slides open with nary a complaint, acquiescing to your magic fingers. If you didn't know better, you'd swear you heard it sigh, and ask for a cigarette.
Rex: Click. "AND, ISN'T SANITY REALLY JUST A ONE-TRICK PONY ANYWAY? I MEAN, ALL YOU GET IS ONE TRICK, RATIONAL THINKING, BUT WHEN YOU'RE GOOD AND CRAZY, OOOH, OOOH, OOOH, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT."
Bioo grins and looks in the room.
The door opens...beyond, you spy a very large room that appears to be almost entirely filled with filing cabinets. Thousands of stacks of loose paperwork are scattered across numerous tables...there's enough hard copy here to put the Interstellar Revenue Service to shame.
The cabinets bear tiny labels, most of which appear to be in (roughly) alphabetical order. A particularly large pile of paperwork in one corner partially buries what looks like an...arcade machine?
Bioo read a couple of the labels.
Ada follows Bioo into the newly opened room, and gapes in happy awe like she just entered the world's largest Power Tools R Us store instead.
Rex: "I'M NOT SURE WHY I'M HERE, WOOF."
Ada goes back to address Rex. "Can you scout the rest of this floor for any more living beings? If you see anyone other than me, Bioo, or Ada, shoot it if there's say, two of them or less. Otherwise, return here."
Ada: *Me, Bioo, or MP
Rex goes off to scout the floor, albeit not very quietly.
Bioo wipes away some of the dust and tries to read the labels again.
Ada: "I'm sure you have that well in hand, Bioo, so I'll conduct important research over here." Ada uncovers and admires the arcade machine.
Ada: You brush some of the papers off...the machine appears to be an authentic "Astro Chicken V: The Empire Strikes Ba-Cock!" cabinet. It looks functional, but is un-powered and covered in dust.
Bioo gets bored with the paper and goes to ply her skillz on the other door.
Rex the halls! THE HALLS! THEY SPEAK TO ME! ... Or not.
Ada: "Bioo, check this out. I haven't seen one of these in years. ...Bioo? Well, fine." Ada sighs and reluctantly starts perusing the cabinets in hopes of information on the station and/or its purpose.
Bioo: "You coax the door's circuitry with your lockpick, urging it to open, but it resists your seductive efforts. You feel as though you were very close, however...
Rex: Click. "MY GOD! *I HAVE POCKETS!*"
Bioo: "Come on, Baby. You know you want to...
MP-X301 taps Bioo on the shoulder. "Have you seen Ada?"
Bioo: "After a few more attempts, the door finally clicks open. Behind it, you see...another door! There's a small airlock-like antechamber, with a second door forming the far wall. There are sprinkler-like nozzles overhead, and a control panel inside.
Bioo jumps a bit at MP's touch.
Bioo: "Through there.
Bioo: "But this is much more interesting.
MP-X301: "Thanks!" MP heads in the indicated direction looking for Ada.
Ada is too busy poring over the wealth of records to immediately notice any entry on the part of MP.
MP-X301 makes the sound of clearing his non-existent throat as an attention-garnering measure. "Ada, when you get a moment..."
Ada jumps slightly, disrupting several warrens worth of dust bunnies.
Ada: "Oh, hi, MP. Look at this! All the info you could want, *and* a classic arcade machine. Wicked!"
MP-X301: "Great! I was rather hoping you could examine this moddie for me, though... and I'd like to read this data cartridge while we're at it."
Ada: Digging through the files, you eventually come across a trio of thick binders. One is labeled "EXODUS STATION: TECHNICAL SCHEMATICS", another "CYBERNETIC AUGMENTATION PROJECT", and the third, black-covered file is ominously marked "PROJECT: PENETRATION".
Ada pulls out the binders in question. "OK, let's trade, then. You look over these papers, I'll scope the electronic parts."
MP-X301: "I'll leave the station schematics for you, and start with the other... uh... two..." MP wipes the blood off the intact moddie and hands it to Ada to examine while he acquires the "Cybernetic Augmentation Project" and "Project: Penetration" binders. Within moments, he's examining the first one.
Ada tucks the schematics under an arm, then examines the moddie.
Bioo sits back and takes a smoke while awaiting one of her guineapi... er, "Team mates" to come along and investigate the interior of the "Room of likely impending Death"
MP: You examine (read: Skip over most of) the file. Revealed within its pages is a dark and twisted tale of a visionary - some say mad - scientist, who envisioned a world where moddie chips were implanted subcutaneously and amplified to modify the very thought processes of a being to bend them into total, unwavering servitude. The tale ends with the scientist's death at the hands of someone called "the boss", the stealing of said technology for his o.
purposes, and a series of complicated technical schematics that appear to be for the chip devices you found inside the guards' heads.
MP-X301: "...oh, I've got the purpose for the moddie. Never mind..." MP finishes scanning, then gives Ada an account of the details in the binder. He finishes with a comment of, "This guy's gotta be nuts to come up with this." He then turns into the pages of "Project: Penetration", expecting another stomach-churning revelation therein.
Ada: "Bleh. Glad I didn't decide to field-test this." Ada pockets the moddie. "OK, I'm going to head back to the ship to read the cartridge. Meet you back here."
MP-X301: "I'll come with you, Ada. I can read and hover at the same time." MP follows her out the door.
Ada, MP: You walk and hover down the corridors, respectively. As you approach the ship, you spot Rex's backside blocking the corridor opposite the airlock...in front of it are a pair of freshly-killed guards, getting blood all over the nice clean floor.
It appears as though someone blasted a few dozen laser holes in them. Mysterious...
Ada: "Good hunting, Rex."
MP-X301 pauses. "Very nice work, Rex. That saves us a lot of... pain. And torment."
Ada: "OK, let me pass, Rex."
Ada: *scratch that.
Ada heads into the airlock and up the ladder into the ship.
Rex: Click. "BECAUSE, UNLIKE OTHER ROBIN HOODS, I CAN SPEAK WITH AN ENGLISH ACCENT."
MP-X301 follows Ada.
Ada: As you approach the ship, you notice that the entry ramp is closed...as you near it, it opens again. Climbing up, you hear the now familiar voice of the computer system: "...hmm. I wasn't expecting you back for some time. Is there a problem?"
Ada: "We'd like you to read a cartridge for us, AI."
"I assume you do, in fact, possess such a cartridge?"
MP-X301 produces said cartridge. "This one, computer."
"Hmm." A slot appears in the wall beneath the forward window. "Well, let's have a look."
MP-X301 inserts said cartridge into the slot. "Thank you, computer."
"Hmm..." The computer is silent for a while. "...hmm...*very* interesting..."
MP-X301: "In what way, computer?"
The computer explains...as it speaks, it sounds downright impressed. "This appears to be a master template for the main programming of a type of assassin droid - but not like any I've seen before."
Ada: "Can you create a hard copy of the contents?"
MP-X301: "And, briefly, will you describe what it would look like?"
"The programming is written in two distinct layers, apparently designed to create two separate layers of sentient consciousness in a single AI."
"The underlying consciousness is akin to that of a traditional assassin droid - a personality and skillset designed to covertly hunt down and eliminate targets. The upper layer, however, is modular, allowing for a secondary, dominant behavioral routine to be installed atop it."
MP-X301: "Oh really! A... stealth assassin... programmed to do mundane tasks, such as computer assembly, piloting, food preparation or paramedic by day, and assassin by night!"
"Essentially, yes. I would compare the result to a humanoid with split personality; one normal, the other destructive, with each unaware of the other's existence."
"Apparently, such a droid would be designed to make *everyone*, even itself, believe it to be harmless and menial, thus allowing it to hide from even the most advanced programming probes.
Rex waits silently, turning off the processes to its legs for the moment.
The cartridge pops out of the slot. "The specifics of the "cover" personality are not included here...I suspect they are designed to be left blank, allowing each droid produced to be programmed with individual behaviors governing their unique situations."
MP-X301: "Fascinating. So, droids that don't even know they're assassins... combined with mindlessly controlled zombie people. But... why? There's no REASON to all this!"
"Unfortunately, I cannot produce a hard copy of the programming itself...I lack the appropriate hardware."
"Besides, the total paper copy would exceed several thousand pages."
Ada: "Eep. Well, I guess we'll settle for the cartridge. Thanks, AI."
MP-X301 nods. "Theories, Ada?" MP heads for the exit to go back into the station.
Ada follows MP. "I agree that it's odd. Not that it wouldn't be useful to certain parties, but this operation seems a little much for that purpose."
Ada: "I mean, no offense, but any droid that isn't outwardly threatening-looking isn't likely to get anything but dismissive attitudes anyway. Ignorant organics."
MP: As the Party reaches the floor and heads off towards Bioo again, you peruse the binder. The file is apparently an outline plan for what very much appears to be a scheme for universal domination! The "project" seems to involve using a new type of battle droid to selectively occupy menial positions in the houses of planetary governments across the galaxy, then having them revolt and capture/kill galactic leaders across the galaxy in one fell swoop, before anyone can react. The exact details of the plan are somewhat sketchy, mostly involving a few scribbled suggestions and some doodles in the margins.
MP-X301: "I believe this explains it entirely."
MP-X301: He summarizes that binder for Ada as well. "The hidden programming would avoid detection by government leaders' IT staffs, allowing them to get close to their targets."
Ada: "Not that I'd miss most of the galaxy's leaders, but I'm not sure this guy would be better."
MP-X301: "I'm convinced you wouldn't like one of those moddies implanted in your skull, Ada. I imagine, since it subverts individual will, that he'd have... different uses for someone of your particular design."
Ada: "That also."
MP-X301 shakes his head. "Let's go find Bioo and finish searching these rooms. Find anything interesting in those schematics?"
Ada: "Let me see." Ada examines the schematics.
Ada: This binder is filled with blueprints and tech specs detailing the construction of the station you find yourselves in. According to this, there are three levels: The large research area and brig, and the comparatively tiny command deck. Most of the information isn't that valuable...until you turn to the layout plans, which reveal the series of Murphy's tubes running through much of the station: The tubes, apparently, are covered by unobtrusive w.
l panels in strategic places, to hide their presence from intruders (and lazy custodians looking for a place to nap).
Ada: "There's Murphy's Tubes everywhere in this thing."
MP-X301: "Excellent! Big enough to accommodate... Rex?"
The tubes connect all three areas, although only a single tube leads to the command deck. All of the tubes are indicated to contain laser grids to kill rodents (and intruders) attempting to move through them.
The tubes connect all three areas, although only a single tube leads to the command deck. All of the tubes are indicated to contain laser grids at regular intervals to kill rodents (and intruders) attempting to move through them.
Ada: "No. And there are lasers to contend with."
Ada: "Still, it's a thought."
MP-X301: "Think the lasers could be disabled?"
Ada: "Anything can be disabled, It's a question of how hard it is."
MP-X301: "Indeed. What about the EMP cattle prod?"
Ada peruses the file.
Bioo: "Having fun with the paper?
Ada: The good news: The laser grids can be disabled. The bad news: The controls are on the command deck. From the design, you think you could turn them off at the source, if you were really careful...
Bioo chirps up as the Party returns to the file room.
Ada: "I think I could deactivate them from the grids themselves, though it'll be tricky work."
Bioo: "Ready to have some fun with buttons?
MP-X301: "Go ahead and have some fun with buttons, Bioo."
Bioo: "Nah, I've done my bit, one of you is more suited to this stuff.
Ada tucks the schematics away. "What sort of buttons?"
Bioo nods at the Room of Likely Impending Death.
MP-X301: "Maybe the schematics tell us about the buttons!"
Ada pulls the files back out and looks for info on the Room of Likely Impending Death.
Ada: The "Room of Likely Impending Death" is actually an operating room of sorts, housing a series of chambers meant to hold and immobilize prisoners, and implant the control chips into them to render them slaves en masse.
Ada: It looks like there's an elevator in the room that leads directly to the brig, presumably for transporting "patients" from their storage areas.
Ada: "This is the place where people get their mind-control moddies."
MP-X301: "Oh. Medical implantation. I wonder if they have an activation/deactivation box in there...?"
Ada: The "airlock" is actually a decon room, meant to cleanse technicians before they begin surgical procedures.
MP-X301: "This sounds like a job for me, then. Any more doors here to be examined?"
Ada: "Might as well try to get in, I think. Worse we can get in here is a bath, I think."
Bioo: "Down is all well and good, but I'm not really all that keen on brigs in general.
Bioo: "Is there some way up?
MP-X301: "Are you kidding? Those geezers are all loaded." MP hovers into the airlock.
Ada: "Up is the Head Bad Guys in Command, near as I can tell, Bioo."
Bioo: "And my question remains.
Ada: "We can go up the main elevator."
MP-X301 examines the controls to run through a decon cycle and enter the operating theatre.
Bioo: "It's a shame about the disinfection, I still smell like Madam Wong's...
Ada pats Bioo on the shoulder. "It's OK. Once we get out of here, we can all take a vacation."
MP: The panel is quite simple, consisting of only three buttons..."Decontaminate", "Recontaminate", and "Release Prisoners".
MP-X301: "...Release Prisoners?"
MP-X301 pokes the Decontaminate button.
The outer doors immediately slide shut, forming an airtight seal. The nozzles overhead spray a fine, mist-like substance that drifts down, coating the party with a light frosting of anti-bacterial agents. Before long, a *ding!* is heard, and the inner doors open.
Ada shakes the mist-like substance off the schematics.
MP-X301 hovers into the new room, and makes a mental note to disable that bell, just because it dinged at him. He immediately begins looking around the new room.
Ada follows MP into the new room. "Well, at least we don't have to give you a bath, Rex. Come on."
Rex: Click. "I CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE THAT *IT'S NOT ON FIRE YET!*"
The inside of the room is circular...the walls are lined with dozens of tubes similar to those you found on the shuttlecraft earlier. There looks to be storage space for nearly 30 people in here...each tube has a small window at head level, presumably to open and allow access to the patient's head for operating purposes. A large table sits in the middle of the room, covered in surgical instruments and medical supplies.
MP-X301 heads for the table and beings sorting through the surgical instruments and medical supplies.
Ada walks around opening the tubes experimentally.
Ada: You systematically open several of the tubes...they all appear to be empty right now, although the insides of most of them have long-dried blood stains from previous operations.
MP: Aside from a variety of surgical tools - all of which you have in your own kit - you find a medkit and a packet of Dyna-Mix amongst the articles on the table.
MP-X301 examines the Dyna-Mix.
MP: It's Dyna-Mix, the easy-to-swallow steroid compound from Genetix! Once one of their most popular products, Syna-Mix has become quite hard to come by lately, what with the total destruction of the Genetix laboratories a while back.
MP-X301: "Got some Dyna-Mix. Here, Ada, I've no use for the stuff." MP tosses it in her direction once she's actually looking at him.
Ada catches the Dyna-Mix. "Thanks, MP." She tucks it away.
MP-X301: He then looks around to see if there are drawers or cabinets that might contain and activation/deactivation device for the moddies.
Ada checks the schematics afterwards to see if there's any more unexplored area on the research floor.
Ada: Nestled between two of the tubes on the far wall is a cargo elevator, the doors open. The elevator walls are lined with horizontal steel bars bearing numerous scuff marks, presumably used as an anchor point to chain prisoners.
Ada: According to the schematics, there's nothing else left on this floor, aside from access tubes and the secret room. Oops, did I say that out loud? That's silly, there's no secret room. Heh heh heh.
Ada tucks the schematics away again.
Ada: "Well, I think we've seen everything there is on this floor, unless there's a secret floor we missed."
MP-X301: "Alright, then... I've not spotted anything to activate or deactivate these moddies here..."
Ada: "We could try this Brig elevator and see if we have any more luck than the main one. We also probably should raid the guards Rex so thoughtfully shot full of holes for us."
MP-X301: "See if they have anything useful. I think the moddies will be there without fail."
Rex: Click. "WELL I'LL PUT A STOP TO *THAT.* MAYBE I'LL KILL HIM WITH A CAR BOMB. BARKEEP, A CAR BOMB PLEASE."
MP-X301: "And, sure, we can try the brig elevator. I wonder if the "Release Prisoners" button would open all the cells?"
Ada: "I would suspect it would open all these tubes, but... I suppose it's worth a shot before we go and raid the bodies."
MP-X301: "Well, I'm with you. I just... well, one can hope, right?"
MP-X301: "Besides, if it really does open all the cells... it'll cause sudden havoc in the brig area. Maybe... possibly draw off some staff and wimpy guards to deal with it?"
Ada: "Nothing like a mass of cruise ship passengers wailing for their dentures to give guards a headache."
MP-X301: "Now now, they mostly wailed for their margaritas and painkillers."
Ada chuckles, then goes back out into the airlock and pushes the "Release Prisoners" button.
Ada: You push the button...oddly, instead of the *ding!* you heard before, this time a loud buzzing sound plays. Suddenly, the chamber door closes behind you, leaving you trapped within the sealed chamber.
MP-X301 looks over toward the chamber, sealed (presumably) in the operating room.
MP-X301: "Um... Ada? I don't relish the thought of being sealed in this operating theater."
Ada: The overhead nozzles begin to spray again...but this time, they emit a sickly green gas. The substance reeks of chemical fumes...you can feel your eyes beginning to water.
Ada: "Ack! I don't relish the thought of being out here..."
Ada tries to open the outer door.
MP-X301 looks to see if there are any override controls for the airlock from inside the operating theater.
Rex: "CAN I HELP, WOOF?"
Ada backs up against one of the sides of the chamber and says, "Try shooting the door, Rex!"
MP: Looking around quickly, you spy a small panel next to the door on this side. It consists of a narrow LCD display, along with a large red button labeled "EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN - DO NOT TOUCH!". The LCD is displaying a message: "INTRUDER ERADICATION IN PROGRESS. PLEASE STAND BY..."
Rex shoots at the door. >:3
MP-X301 hits the Emergency Shutdown button.
MP: You press the button. Immediately, the green gas inside the chamber stops flowing, much to Ada's relief. Slowly, the pungent fumes filter out of the chamber...the doors, however, remain shut.
MP-X301 examines the LCD display to see what it might say.
MP-X301: "Try pressing... uh... decontaminate, Ada."
Ada presses "Decontaminate".
Rex: BURNINATE! ...the flames partially melt the door, leaving a drippy bit of molten metal oozing down the surface. It still seems "solid" in the airtight sense, though.
Rex: Click. "WELL I'LL PUT A STOP TO *THAT.* MAYBE I'LL KILL HIM WITH A CAR BOMB. BARKEEP, A CAR BOMB PLEASE."
Ada: The familiar white mist pours into the chamber...the doors glide open, but because of Rex's flamethrower attack, the inner door is misshapen enough that it jams halfway up.
Ada sighs and ducks under the halfway open door.
Rex: "I HELPED."
Ada: "Yes, you did, Rex. Thank you."
Ada then says to MP, "Well, that was... weird. I'd've expected a panic button to be labeled differently."
Rex lowers itself to the ground and tries to peer under the door.
MP-X301: "Well, this is an enemy installation, after all." MP shrugs, then adds, "I don't see anything useful here, either. So, either we go down to the brig in the elevator, or we force open the door so Rex can get through. Opinions?"
Rex: You look beneath the door...you can see the floor of the chamber, and the hallway beyond it, and the file room beyond *that*, the bottoms of file cabinets and stacks of paper visible from here. The inner door shudders unsteadily, but seems unable to move from its half-open position.
Side note: Searching the guards' corpses, you come up with two laser rifles, two laser pistols, and two flash grenades (Deadly class).