Space Quest:Exodus/Chapter 47
"As we join our heroes, we find them standing around in the station's main operating room, waiting for the station's entire security compliment to come storming their way in response to the invisible alarm they tripped last episode. ...nah, just kiddin'."
"...OR AM I!?"
MP-X301: "So, opinions or suggestions?" MP looks over the elevator.
Ada: "May as well check the rest of the floor until someone decides to come shoot at us."
Rex: "SOMEONE IS GOING TO SHOOT AT ME? BUT I'M JUST AN INNOCENT DOGGY. WHY WOULD SOMEONE SHOOT A DOGGY?"
MP-X301: "Let's see if Rex can fit through what is left of the doorway, Ada." MP gestures at the busted door.
Ada: "What I wouldn't give for a laser cutter."
MP-X301: "I've got one here. I'm more thinking about time... but, here, you take it, Ada. Use it in good health." He fishes out the cutter and offers it to Ada.
Ada: "Thanks, MP." Ada adjusts her goggles, takes the cutter, then goes about carving the ruined door.
Rex: Click. "I CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE THAT *IT'S NOT ON FIRE YET!*"
- FWSSSST* Ada's new toy cuts through the door slowly, but effectively. Before long, a large chunk shaped like Rex's upper body falls away, clanging loudly against the deck at Ada's feet.
MP-X301: "Alright, out we go." MP hovers through the enlarged hole headed for the corridor.
Rex makes his way through the hole after MP.
Ada tucks the cutter away and follows.
MP: You are standing in front of a white house...no, wait, wrong script. *flip flip flip* Ah, here we go...you find yourself at the four-way intersection from before. In front of you is the records room, behind you, the operating theater; the corridor you came from originally runs off to the right, while an as-yet unexplored hallway stretches off to the left.
MP-X301 hovers down the left corridor, hefting the heavy laser repeater... just in case. If he had a bandanna on, he'd be Rambot.
Rex whirs. "I DON'T SEE ANYONE WHO'D WANT TO SHOOT A DOGGY."
Before long, the hallway dead-ends in front of a large, heavy-looking door with a control panel on it. A large LCD display on the door currently reads "SPECIMEN STORAGE. WARNING - CONTROLLED CLIMATE MUST BE MAINTAINED AT ALL TIMES!"
MP-X301 starts to grin. "Oh, I gotta see this. Anything that has to be temperature controlled that closely probably has potential to wreak havoc with the enemy." MP examines the controls.
MP: The "controls" are actually little more than a diagnostic LCD screen and a few buttons. Apparently, the setup is meant to monitor the internal temperature of the room beyond, and provide diagnostic ability. Currently, the panel readout indicates that the room is a chilly 20 degrees inside. Most of the panel's buttons are unlabeled, but one large switch is plainly labeled "OPEN".
MP-X301: "Huh... well, let's see what's inside door number one!" MP pokes the Open button.
Rex: "WHAT'S MP DOING?"
MP-X301: "Looking inside the refrigerator, Rex. It's specimen storage, after all."
Ada: "Hopefully whatever specimen is behind that door doesn't decide we taste good with hollandaise sauce."
Rex: "NOTHING EATS DOGS. WOOF."
- CHFFFF!* The door emits the hiss of a pressure seal releasing, before slowly swinging open. Beyond is a large, white room clouded with cold fog, obscuring much of your vision. You can still make out various steel medical tables close to the entrance, however.
MP-X301: "Hmm... awfully cold in there. I'll go in. If I come out running, you'd best outrun me."
Rex: "WHAT'S COLD?"
Ada shivers slightly in the fog drifting out into the corridor, and says, "Take Rex with you, just in case."
MP-X301: "Alright, come on in, Rex." MP hovers inside.
Rex: Click. "... TURNS INTO A GIANT LUMBERJACK AND BURSTS THROUGH THE CEILING, ENRAGED AT HOW MANY TREES STILL STAND WITHIN HIS VICINITY."
Rex follows after MP. :3
MP-X301 begins examining the room and it's contents as he enters cautiously.
MP-X301: "...you know, Rex... are you on a Random Quote email list or something?"
MP: Now *here's* a familiar sight...the room looks very much like a morgue. Various steel tables and countertops decorate the room...on the far wall, a large array of oversized drawers are neatly lined up, each with a neat little paper label. Random surgical tools litter several surfaces, as well as containers of various chemicals and preservatives.
Rex: "WHAT'S AN EMAIL?"
Ada turns her back to the open door, raises her pistol, and watches for any approaching anti-intruders.
MP-X301: "Never mind...." MP examines the labels on the drawers. "You know, I didn't think morgues were all that temperature sensitive... they had to be cold, but not THAT cold. And who in their right mind embalms bodies in the cold room, anyway?" He shakes his head.
Rex: "WHAT'S A COLD?"
MP-X301: "A cold is a virus that afflicts many humanoids with symptoms such as stuffy nose, headaches, fever and lack of energy."
Rex: "SO HOW COME YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT IT?"
MP: The drawers are all labeled with sequential numbers, starting at "0001" and moving up. There are a good 40 drawers in all, though the last few are unlabeled. Each drawer has a minimalist, if functional, handle, and a rubber seal around the edge of the drawer opening.
MP-X301: "I'm not particularly concerned about a cold... oh you mean COLD! Silly me... Cold is a relative estimate of temperature. Most humanoids prefer a range between 50 and 80 degrees, and temperatures below that are called 'cold'."
Rex: "HOW CAN YOU TELL?"
MP-X301: "Temperature sensors. When you spend your time caring for humanoids and other life forms, details such as ambient temperature, relative humidity, oxygen levels in the atmosphere and whether there is a shuffleboard game going on with anyone they can beat are critical to excellent health care."
Rex: "DOGGIES DON'T KNOW ABOUT THAT, WOOF."
MP-X301: "Actually, biological doggies do experience the differences of temperature. Hence the "dog days of summer"." He turns back to the drawers and opens one.
Rex: "BUT I AM A DOGGY."
MP-X301: "You're a robotic doggy, not a biological one."
MP: You grab the handle...the drawer sticks a bit due to the cold, but soon you slide it out. It *is* like a morgue drawer...inside is a long, narrow bed, and on top of that is a very dead Xenonian male, naked, and tinted blue from the cold.
Rex: "... WOOF."
MP-X301 examines the Xenonian to see if he recognizes the person, then see if they are missing any important pieces or have any extra pieces installed.
A glance confirms that the man is unfamiliar...you do notice, however, an inch-wide circuit box that seems to be affixed to the back of his head, at the base of his skull. The area around it shows signs of physical trauma; you'd guess the "operation" to install it wasn't a clean one.
Side note: Actually, it's on the back of his neck, like a moddie.
MP-X301: "...huh. Must be an early prototype." MP pulls out his surgical tools and begins to remove the box from the side of the man's head.
Using your surgical tools, you delicately extracts the "moddie" from the man's head, along with a bit of brainstem it's attached to. The device is composed of a small black plastic casing, around what you assume is internal circuity.
Rex: Click. "I'M A PINATA!"
MP-X301: *back of the man's head.
MP-X301: "You want me to whack you with a stick until candy falls out?" MP looks confused.
MP-X301: "You said you were a pinata..." MP slowly lifts the device up and carries it out to Ada. "Will you examine this while I look around further?"
Rex: "I DID?"
MP-X301: Glancing back at Rex, MP nods. "Indeed, you did."
Ada: "Sure, MP." Ada takes the device carefully and looks it over.
Rex: "I DIDN'T SAY IT. A PROGRAM DID."
MP-X301 heads back into the room, then examines the chemicals and other items in the room.
IC: The "device" is a small black plastic box, with "roots" of circuitry extending into a small chunk of half-frozen brainstem. Yummy.
Ada makes a face at the bit of brainstem. "Blergh."
Ada then sits on the floor, pulls out her toolbox, and sets to trying to take the box apart to better examine it further.
MP: The chemicals appear to be standard morticians' fare...various types of preservatives, presumably to keep the specimens here "fresh" for future reference. most of it is in various clear plastic containers, each holding several gallons.
Rex: Click. "YOU ACCOMPANIED RANGIKU-NEESAN TO DRINK AND AFTER GETTING DRUNKEN SILLY, YOU BARFED SO MUCH THAT YOU COUGHED UP BLOOD AND DYED IN RED."
MP-X301 discards the chemicals, seeing no immediate use for them. He then carefully opens each of the drawers one-by-one in order and quickly checks all the bodies for similar devices or anything noteworthy.
Rex: "WHEN WILL WE BE DONE IN THIS 'COLD' PLACE? I'M BORED."
IC: With a little bit of coaxing (via a hammer), you convince the black box cover to come off. Inside is a circuit device...from the looks of it, it appears to be a somewhat less advanced version of the mind-control chip in the guards...it looks like a moddie, but larger and more powerful, though also bulkier as a result.
Ada pulls out the "moddie maker" and attempts a comparison.
MP: You (quickly) check through the other drawers out of curiosity. Each of them contains a frozen body, of various species, in various states of technological moddie progression. The early numbers have normal moddie slots, while later ones have progressively smaller and less obvious "moddie" boxes affixed to their necks.
MP: You notice that, towards the higher numbers, the bodies don't appear to have any circuitry at all...presumably, these bear the latest, invisible-from-outside versions of the chips that the guards wear. You also notice that the last four drawers all contain an alien species you aren't familiar with...short, stocky creatures, with large heads and thick, callous-like skin.
MP-X301: "Now these creatures are unusual." MP memorizes the features, then heads back out to Ada. "Would you run in there and glance at the one drawer I left open? I don't recognize the species... it's dead, but not nastily so."
IC: The devices do, in fact, look similar. The large control board looks like a master mold for the presumably more advanced versions of the control chip...apparently, after they finalized the design, they created the board to mass-produce it.
Ada: "Sure, although dead aliens aren't really my specialty." Ada waves at the moddie and moddie maker. "You can have the machinery back... sorry, but, uh, I cross the line at carrying around frozen brain bits."
MP-X301: "I don't need it. Just wanted to glean clues and move on."
Bioo: "Ooo, frosty.
Ada: "OK." Ada gathers up the machinery bits and places them off to the side in a pile.
Ada: "Oh, hi, Bioo."
Bioo: "Anyone else have a sudden craving for an iced fruit pop?
MP-X301: "Hi, Bioo. You might know what species that is in there, too. Go check it out, I'll guard the door."
Ada: "I think I left my appetite back on Xenon."
Ada stands up and goes to check out the open drawer for MP.
Rex: Click. "TO PROMOTE NICENESS. TO MAKE THE WORLD PRETTIER. TO SHARE CANDY WITH EVERYONE. TO OBFUSCATE THE TRUE NATURE OF THE MILKMAN. TO PROTECT THE MILKMAN AT ALL COSTS. TO ELIMINATE ALL WHO THREATEN TO REVEAL HIS SECRET OBJECTIVE."
Ada: It's an alien you've not seen before. That's about all you can tell.
Ada ducks back out of the room, shivering. "It's... brr... an alien. An ugly one, too. That's about all I can tell ya, MP."
MP-X301: "Alright, thank you, Ada." MP pulls out the jacket from his tuxedo and offers it to Ada. "Here, this will help you warm up."
Ada: "Uh, thanks." Ada tries to squeeze into the jacket.
Ada shivers less in the tux jacket.
MP-X301: "I guess that really leaves us no remaining option. We could try the back elevator down into the brig area, and hope it isn't monitored."
Rex "looks" at Ada. "WHAT'S IT LIKE, BEING COLD?"
Ada: "At any rate, that sounds like as good a plan as any, MP."
MP-X301: "Gather Rex and Bioo up, I'll meet you over at the operating room." MP hovers off down the corridor.
Ada: "Come on, Rex, let's go stomp some bad guys."
Ada heads after MP.
The Party soon finds itself back in the operation theater...things look much the same as before, complete with the new Rex-shaped hold in the jammed inner doorway.
Rex plods along after Ada, still confused about what cold is like.
MP-X301 heads for the elevator.
The elevator stands much as it did before...invitingly, or perhaps menacingly, depending on your point of view.
Ada heads back into the operating theater. "Well, everybody into the pool, I guess."
MP-X301: Once inside, MP takes station beside the buttons. "Be prepared to come out shooting if we're discovered. I don't like being stuck in a box."
Rex: "WHAT POOL?"
Ada: "The pool of potential destruction."
Ada: "All right. Rex, you stand in front of the door and get your guns ready."
Ada then wedges herself into the back of the elevator, facing the door, pistol prepared.
MP-X301 hefts the rifle and pushes the button when everyone is on.
The doors close...the elevator hums...the doors *DING* and open...
Outside the door is a long hallway, lined on either side with large, open cells (presumably sealed off with forcefields, if they're anything like a traditional brig). Off to the left is a single door, with a plate that reads "SECURITY OFFICE"...next to it, a large bay window looks into what appears to be a control room. A pair of black-clad guards are lounging in a pair of desk chairs, chatting with each other.
MP-X301: "Crap!" MP whispers this vehemently, glancing at the door to the office to see if it has a security card access system or other locking mechanism.
Rex would look confused if it had a real face.
Ada: "Maybe I can melt the lock shut," Ada whispers.
MP-X301: "Except they probably have communication gear inside the office. If we can jimmy the lock and Jello 'em, we might be able to preserve our stealthy status a little longer.
MP: The door is a simple, ordinary door. It's not even a motion door...it just has a simple metal handle, with a deadbolt lock in it.
MP-X301: "Besides, they probably control the security came..." He starts to smile.
Ada: "Why are you smiling?"
MP-X301: "They probably control the cameras from in there. If we can get in without raising the alarm, we can probably set up a continuous loop for the cameras... showing a continuous loop of empty hallways while we sneak around."
MP-X301: "If nothing else, a widespread security camera failure would probably be sufficient. Something that seems intermittent, but still seems like a pure hardware failure."
Ada: "It's a thought."
MP-X301: "Any other ideas?"
Ada: "Not really."
MP-X301: "Too bad nobody's had keys in their pockets." MP pulls out the uniform from the last guard they killed and pats down the pockets for a set of keys.
MP: Nope, no keys. Imagine that.
MP-X301: "What I wouldn't give to have legs... I could at least wear one of these uniforms in hopes of looking like a guard at a distance."
Rex: "I HAVE LEGS."
Rex: "DOES THAT MEAN I CAN BE A GUARD?"
MP-X301: "Yes, Rex, but you don't have the right overall shape."
Ada: "You're the right shape for ass-kicking, though, so that's OK. You can be our guard."
Bioo: "What are these "keys" of which you speak?
Bioo lightly plays her picks into the lock.
Ada: "Gp, Bioo!" Ada whispers encouragingly.
MP-X301 readies his heavy laser repeater... just in case.
Bioo: "I like the first cheer better.
MP-X301: "Remember... pick the lock and Jello the guards. Quick and quiet, just like you are best at."
Bioo: "Being as stealthy as possible, you sneakily sneak out of the elevator and slink across the floor, stealthily coming up to the door in a covert manner exemplifying the virtues of quiet-ness.
You then insert your picks into the lock...the tumblers tumble, and with hardly any effort, the lock *clicks* open quietly.
Bioo crouches and readies her weapon.
Bioo gently pushes open the door.
Inside the room, the two guards are in office chairs, their feet kicked up on the control countertops while they monitor security screens (presumably camera feeds). Both of them are facing away from the door, and seem unaware of your presence...they can see each other, however.
MP-X301 waves in an attempt to get Bioo's attention.
Bioo notices the wildly flailing droid.
MP-X301 raises one of the grenades over his head, and points to it, then to her.
Bioo nods, steps quietly to one side of the door and shuts her eyes.
MP-X301 pulls the pin and tosses the grenade into the office, then covers his own optical sensors in anticipation.
Ada: "Cover your sensors, Rex!" Ada blocks her own eyes.
The grenade bounces and rolls into the office, past Bioo, coming to a stop in front of the guards. They both look down just in time for the grenade to explode in a blinding flash, sending them falling out of their chairs screaming. "AAAH!"
Rex is blinded? :D
Bioo springs into action right on cue. Cue of guards screaming that is.
Rex is blinded!
Ada peeks out from behind her fingers, and notices the now malfunctioning Rex. "Oh, dear."
Rex sounds like a 56k modem.
Ada: "What happened, Rex? Your optics not working?"
MP-X301: "Fix Rex, Ada!" MP flits forward to cover Bioo from the opposite side of the door.
Rex: "CAN'T SEE."
Ada: "Well... damn."
Rex: Click. "THE COW ISN'T ANYWHERE... HE'S INSIDE MY MIND."
Ada: "No time to fix you, Rex," Ada says apologetically, "But I think the effect's only temporary."
Bioo immediately springs into action, firing her jello pistol at one of the guards (who is thrashing around wildly). Unfortunately, despite his now vision-less state, his flailing causes him to slip free of the forming jello cube, leaving him squirming on the floor in a puddle of green goo, grasping at his face. "GAH! What's happening!?"
Bioo: "Blasted piece of...(mutter mutter)
Bioo ditches the jell-o gun and grabs the next pistol on her person which she then uses to zap guard #1
MP-X301: "What the... We're trying not to *kill* them!" MP hefts his repeater around to better aim at the guards.
Rex: "KKKKKKKKKKKKKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSssssssssssssssssssssssssssTCH-- WHY DO YOU NOT WANT TO KILL THEM? THEY ARE ENEMY--"
MP-X301: "They can be arrested and tortured by proper officers of the law... and possibly have the electronics yanked out of their skulls to return them to normal!"
Bioo: "You fire off another shot...the other guard struggles, but also breaks free, leaving the both of them writhing on the floor, blind and in pain, and covered with disgusting, lime-flavored glop. Whee!
Bioo tosses the gun across the room, stomps up the the non-slimy guard, kicks him in the soft bits, and ties him up while he's incapacitated by pain.
MP-X301: "Well, if that's all you're going to do..." MP pulls out his nightstick and hovers forward to whack the other guy in the soft bits for the same intent.
Ada heads over and sticks her head in the room. "I have duct tape, if anyone needs it."
MP-X301: "Bring it in, Ada, and tie 'em up."
Ada sticks the rest of herself in the room and proceeds to use duct tape for general binding purposes.
Bioo: "Thinking quickly, you dash forward and kick one of the guards hard in the crotch...he howls in pain, and you attempt to tie him up during the confusion. Unfortunately, between his flailing and the goopy green slime, he slips free and struggles around on the floor like a landed fish.
Rex: Click. "IT MAY LOOK LIKE SALAMI, IT MAY SMELL LIKE SALAMI, IT MAY EVEN TASTE LIKE SALAMI... BUT IT'S ROCKET FUEL."
Ada attempts to duct-tape the other guard, but is similarly thwarted. By now, the guards aren't panicking so much...you'd guess their sight is starting to return (albeit slowly).
MP-X301: "CRAP! I hate to do this!" MP whips out the cattle prod and goes for the first guard, the one that is least tied up.
Ada: "Blast it! These idiots are more slippery than Estrosian sea slugs."
MP-X301: "Get the other one tied up, both of you! I don't want to do that again!"
Ada: "Let's try tackling him together, Bioo."
Bioo: "Right o.
Ada: "On the count of three! One... two..."
MP: *BRZZZT!* You hear the snap, crackle, and pop of fried electronics, as the guard is reduced to a krispie critter. He collapses limply on the floor.
Ada: "Five!" Ada jumps the remaining guard.
Bioo: "I can't help but feel like I should be getting tipped for this tho...
MP-X301: "This is more fun than you've had in years, Bioo, admit it!"
Ada and Bioo leap on the remaining guard, the three of them wallowing in jello as they attempt to tie him up.
Bioo: "I honestly prefer to *watch* slime wrestling.
SOME TIME LATER...
The Party dust themselves off in the aftermath. One guard is dead; the other has been trussed up in rope and duct tape from head to toe, making him resemble a rather low-cost mummy. Rex's vision has cleared, fortunately, although jello is still all over the floor.
Rex: "WHAT HAPPENED?"
Rex: "... I. CAN. SEE."
Ada: "Well... we didn't stomp the bad guys. We did slime-wrestle them, however."
MP-X301 sighs, collapsing onto a chair, and covering his eyes for a moment, then finally examining the control panel. Guilt gnaws at his programming... subtly casting a shadow of doubt over his self-appointed mission.
Bioo checks out the room while absentmindedly wringing slime from her coat.
The one surviving guard is a young Andromedan, his head shaven. His small, dark eyes stare at you, his snout quivering angrily as he mumbles into the duct tape gag affixed to his mouth.
Ada makes sure the door is securely closed again, then joins Bioo in examining the room.
Now that the chaos has died down, the interior of the small office is easily visible. Aside from the camera monitors (there appear to be only three of them), there is a computer terminal labeled "SECURITY SYSTM - SECURITY USE ONLY".
Rex looks at MP. "WHAT'S WRONG?"
Ada: "Hmm. This looks like my cup of root beer." Ada starts checking out the security terminal.
Rex: "DID YOUR CIRCUITS FRY?"
Bioo sees what's on the screens.
MP-X301 examines the three camera monitors, trying to glean information from them, hoping one of them happens to be of the command deck. "I'm... operational, Rex."
Ada: The console is, of course, password protected.
Ada tries to hack into the terminal.
MP: The three monitors show three views. One appears to be the feed from the camera you saw earlier...you can make out the other end of the long, cell-lined hallway. The second looks into a large room resembling a bridge; a half-dozen guards move between consoles, pressing buttons randomly to look busy. The third camera looks into what appears to be someone's private office; a large, executive desk is seated in a large room,
with the far wall made of a large bay window looking out into space. The office is empty, for the moment.
Rex: "KSSST-- THEN WHY ARE YOU ACTING STRANGELY?"
MP-X301: "I'm fine, Rex. Just wishing there was a better way to accomplish this." He flashes a simulated grin at Rex, then returns his attention to the monitors. "I wonder if we can patch this signal into my microprocessors so we can monitor the security cameras while going around."
Rex: "MP IS CONFUSING."
Bioo: "+right you are, Rex.
MP-X301: "Stick with Ada. She's less confusing than I am." MP gestures. "Can you fix it, Ada?"
Bioo: "But what can you expect from a schizo assassin droid?
Ada: Shaking your head incredulously, you quickly press Escape to bypass the default Windows 6012 password prompt and gain access to the system. The menu opens before you...
Ada: "If by 'fix it', you mean, 'open it up to my masterful manipulations', that would be a 'yes'."