Space Quest:Exodus/Chapter 49
"As we join our heroes, we find them riding up the Elevator of Doom up the Lift Shaft of Doom, about to open the Doors of Doom and step forth into the Bridge of Doom, ready to do battle with the Big Bad Evil Guy and/or his evil henchmen. Of Doom."
Ada steps out on to the bridge, trying to look like she belongs there.
MP-X301 surveys the group of distracted techs, then taps Ada and Bioo on their respective shoulders. Pointing toward the door to the left, MP gestures with his hand in Sarien Battle Sign Language... at least, he thinks it is. Either he just told you both to go to the door while hiding him, or there's cookies in the battle prep room and he's got the milk.
Rex waits in the elevator like a good dog.
Ada nods, and then steps out on to the bridge, trying to look like she belongs there.
MP-X301 hovers behind Ada, trying to look businesslike and hide all his droid parts behind the blocking people.
Ada tries heading over to the Somewhere Else door.
MP-X301 follows Ada, slowly working around her to make sure she is between him and the techs.
MP-X301 tries to glance through the door to see how bad an idea this was.
Bioo whispers to MP "hey. watch what you say about my mother."
MP: The door in question is a fairly plain one, without any markings. A pair of potted plants flank the door on either side...they look like plastic. Figures.
MP-X301 looks for a way to open said door.
Bioo walks confidently towards the aforementioned door.
Ada also approaches The Door.
MP: You don't see any sort of controls...the point is rendered moot, however, as the door slides open as Ada and Bioo approach it.
Bioo confidently enters said door.
MP-X301: MP sighs relief and peers into the door while hovering toward it.
Ada also enters, albeit a little less confidently.
Beyond the door is what very much appears to be a waiting room. The hallway, slightly wider than most, has several chairs lined up against the wall, with a few more of the potted plants spaced between them. A pair of coffee tables have some old magazines stacked up on them. Another door at the end of the hall bears a small brass plaque that reads "The Management".
Ada moves far enough into the room to leave the door pickup.
Bioo takes a seat and peruses the magazines.
Rex heads out of the elevator, once its internal clock reaches a time that could be considered "a bit." It follows where it believes everyone else went!
Ada looks around the waiting room.
Rex ka-chunk. Ka-chunk. Ka-chunk.
Bioo: "Popular Janitronics, Space Piston...ooh, Space Illustrated holographic swimsuit issue!
Rex opens fire! Ratatatatatatatatatatatatatat--
The elevator doors open...the technicians turn and stare in horror as Rex stomps out of the elevator in slow motion, Terminator-style. It levels its repeater, and opens fire...one of the techs is perforated by a hail of laser bolts, leaving him clutching his console to support himself, bleeding heavily.
Ada turns her head sharply at the noise, then hisses in a near-whisper, "I think it's showtime!"
Rex: Click. "IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL, YOU'LL GET US ALL WHACKED. HA HA! BODY IN A WOODCHIPPER."
Bioo whips out her laser pistol.
MP-X301 rushes to the door to look at the result of the hail of fire.
Ada pulls her own pistol and goes to look out the door herself.
The technician nearest Rex fires wildly at the technological terror, but is shaking so badly that all he manages to hit is the elevator door.
MP-X301 whips out his heavy laser repeater and silently pulls the trigger, hoping his silence will only make them concentrate even more on the terrifying Rex. His aim is for Tech 1.
Just as the tech finishes his shooting spree, he suddenly finds himself being lanced from behind by laser bolts. *bleed, bleed*
Ada yells out, "Holy Bob, it can shoot around corners!"
Rex attacks the target it had first, continuing its horrible, mechanized assault.
- BleooBleooBleoo* Rex again assaults the tech, carving off a few choice bits of flesh. Still, the tech manages to hang on, although most of his bodily fluids are now pooling on the console beneath him.
One of the (healthy) technicians starts to grab for his sidearm, but then thinks better of it...instead, he grabs a different pistol from his pocket, and takes a shot at Rex.
Rex sputters and throws off sparks. "BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS-"
The shot strikes home...blue ion bolts envelop Rex as energy surges through its delicate internal systems.
Rex: Click. "I SEE NO POINT IN LIVING IF I CAN'T BE BEAUTIFUL."
Ada: Ada walks at a brisk pace to behind the nearest techie, while shouting excitedly, "Yeah, that's it! You got the sucker!" and waving her arms in matching gesture. She then aims at the back of the techie, fires, and says, "Oops!"
- BLAM!* The pulse bolt slams into the space between the ion-pistol tech's shoulders, leaving a nasty scorch mark. Oh, and some blood.
Ada: "Sorry about that!"
The as-yet unhurt tech, somewhat behind Rex, spies the "guard" blasting his friend in the back. "Hey!" He levels a stunray gun at her, and pulls the trigger.
- zing!* The bolt misses, striking the wall behind her harmlessly.
Bioo dashes through the doorway like an Olympic sprinter, skidding past Ada and coming to a stop in front of the startled techie. Before he can react, she whips out her gun and unloads point-blank into his chest.
The guard gasps, a gaping hole blown through his abdomen. Amazingly, though, he remains on his feet, groaning and bleeding profusely.
Bioo: "Oh come on! Die already!
Ada: "Bioo, you just blew our cov... oh, who am I kidding?"
The tech that Rex had attacked earlier, as well as the one MP hit, open fire...laser bolts head straight for Bioo and MP!
Bioo: "Only yourself, babe.
Ada lays a dramatic hand across her forehead and says, "There goes my award from the Galactic Academy!"
Ada: * in an ironic tone.
MP-X301 drops the repeater and charges Tech 2, pulling out his nightstick with one hand and his cattle prod with the other. "Save it for the judges, Ada. Not gonna impress us with your... ahem... acting skills here. SNORT THIS, STUPID!" MP attempts to shove the cattle prod up Tech2's nose.
The good news: Both shots miss their target. The bad news: One of the bolts ricochets off the wall behind MP and bounces away...directly into the bay window at the front of the bridge. There is a horrible *KRRK* noise as the treated material disperses the bolt exactly as it was designed to...however, a warped bubble of melted plastic is left behind at the point of impact.
- SHLUP* Amazingly, the cattle prod *does* shove up his nose...the twin prongs on the end slide into his nostrils like an electrical plug into a wall outlet. An appropriate analogy, given that moments later, the tech lights up like a Christmas tree, his body going limp as the acrid stench of burning flesh and sizzling electronics fills the air. He slumps to the floor, liquefied brain tissue leaking out of his sinuses.
Ada turns green again.
MP-X301: "Ew... guard bogies."
Ada: "Do we really have to do that? Pistols are much more civilized."
MP-X301: "It's faster. I don't care for it, but I'm trying to keep you guys in the "no holes" category of the living."
Rex continues after the squishy mortal that it's been attacking, turning its metallic mass into a monstrous weapon.
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!!!*"
The already heavily-injured tech looks up in horror as an oversized metal foot looms over him...with a single stomp, Rex crushes both the guard and the console into a greasy smear on the floor.
Ada is still green.
Rex lifts its foot...the guard has just enough time to lift up a small white sign that says "Ouch" before it stomps him again, grinding its heel into him to silence him for good.
Ada says, "Don't worry, I'll shoot you like a civilized Estrosian," and fires at the techie who tried to shoot her.
MP-X301: "There's no such thing as a civilized way to kill someone, Ada... I've seen a few."
Ada's shot banks off the wall behind the tech, bouncing wildly around the room before slamming into the bay window, several feet from the previous errant bolt. Another melt-bubble forms in the window material, and an ominous creaking sound comes from the thin metal frames holding the window panels in place...a few more like that, and it won't be holding together much longer.
Ada: "Blast it!"
Ada: The tech returns fire, but misses again, his shot fizzling harmlessly against the door frame behind you.
Ada: "Rex, continue physical attacks!"
Bioo opens fire on the guard trying to hide behind Rex...the shot catches him in the shoulder, leaving him clutching his arm in pain.
Bioo: "ZAP, Baby! Oh yeah!
The nearby tech, realizing that the odds are rapidly turning against him, opts for a new strategy. Reaching for his belt, he unclips a grenade and lobs it towards the MP/Ada/Bioo cluster...it clatters to the floor beneath them, and EXPLODES!
Ada: "It's like a bad Orange Sabbath concert!" Ada clutches her head and passes out.
A massive soundwave bursts forth from the device...Ada and Bioo collapse instantly, clutching at their heads before sinking to the floor. MP, though in serious pain, manages to prevent stasis lock.
Bioo: "My skull...
MP-X301: "GRAH!" MP spins in a circle for a moment, dropping the stun rod and the nightstick as he clutches his head. "REX! SQUISH HIM!" He points at Tech 3, then in a quasi-heroic fashion, he dives for his dropped repeater, then aims at Tech 1, pulling the trigger and letting the machine roar out laser death.
Hovering menacingly like a robotic angel of death, MP rips into the tech with a barrage of laser blasts. The bolts tear his body into pieces...however, an errant bolt skips off the control console in front of him and once again strikes the bay window, creating a third impact on the surface of the window material. A low, groaning sound emanates from the window, softly at first, but slowly growing louder...
Ada: "Can we stop shooting the window, everybody?!"
MP-X301: "Hush. You're unconscious, aren't you?"
Rex goes to attack tech number three! RAWR.
MP-X301: "Oh, wait, stunned, right."
Rex: Click. "80 LBS. OF GUNPOWDER, 22 IDIOTS, 1 CRASH-TEST DUMMY... PRICELESS."
The remaining tech glances fearfully at the bay window...which distracts him long enough for Rex to slam its gun barrel upside his head, knocking him for a loop. He stands up weakly, groaning in pain ad blood trickles from beneath his helmet.
MP-X301: "Crap!" MP once again drops the laser repeater, dives for the nightstick, and rushes at the remaining tech, swinging!
Ada: *scratch that!
Stumbling weakly, the guard raises his pistol at Rex in self-defense...but glances back at the window as the groaning sound begins to get a bit louder. He glances between Rex, the window, Rex, the window...coming to a decision, he drops his weapon and runs screaming the the elevator, the doors closing behind him as he frantically jabs the DOWN button.
MP-X301: "GAH! He got away!" MP glances at the displays. "Rex, get Ada and Bioo on the other side of that door, quickly!"
Rex: "AW, THAT SQUISHY DIDN'T WANT TO PLAY WITH ME."
Rex: "... I DON'T HAVE ARMS."
Rex: "DO YOU WANT ME TO KICK THEM?"
MP-X301: MP pauses. "GAH!" MP dives for Ada and starts dragging her into the next room.
MP: According the readouts on one console, the bridge window is still intact, but is rapidly succumbing to air pressure trying to escape through the weakened panels...
MP-X301 looks at the panel with the readouts, hoping beyond all hope that there's an Emergency Blast Window Drop Button.
MP: Looking at the panel, you try to follow the various readouts and controls. Although most of the buttons aren't labeled, a large red button beneath a striped glass lid reads "COMMAND DECK - EMERGENCY LOCKDOWN".
As you peruse the buttons, Ada begins to wake up in your arms. Nearby, Bioo also begins to stir.
Rex stands around like a statue, not having any orders.
Ada: "Ugggggh, did anyone get the license number of that ambulance?"
MP-X301: "Out! Out! NOW! Move it Ada and Bioo! Rex, get in the next room!"
Bioo grumbles loudly as she stumbles into the other room.
Ada: "What's going..." Ada looks up and notices the bay window. "Geez, did you guys have to keep using the guns?!" She bolts for the waiting room.
MP-X301: MP looks at the readout, then waits until Bioo and Ada (and hopefully Rex) are out of the room before he flips open the striped glass lid and mashes the button.
Rex lumbers along, not seeing what the big deal is.
Bioo: "My head hasn't hurt this bad since I drank that green stuff at Hurune's Bar and Bait shop.
Rex: Click. "ANY DAY WE CREATE THAT MUCH SCHRAPNEL IS A GOOD DAY."
Ada crosses the fingers of one hand and shoots at the door sensor with her pistol in the other.
Bioo: "What about MP?
MP: The room lights up in red, as emergency klaxons blare. Large, heavy blast doors slam shut in front of the elevator shaft and the doorway to the waiting room. At the same time, a massive metal plate trundles out of a slot alongside the bay window...it clicks into another slot on the other side of the room, sealing the entire opening behind it, and casting the room into a murky red darkness.
Rex: "A-AD-D-DA, WHY DID-D-D-DN'T THE SQUISHY WANT TO PLAY WITH ME? BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZKSHT"
Ada: You shoot out the sensor, rendering the door inoperable...moments later, a heavy metallic thud is heard from just beyond the door. At the same time, a heavy blast door slams shut in front of the "MANAGEMENT" door, sealing you into the room.
Bioo: "Well this sucks.
MP-X301: MP sighs heavily in relief and annoyance. He wasn't expecting the interior doors to be blocked, but perhaps he could persuade the computer to open the interior doors while the exterior plate stays in place. He begins looking at the panels in a more orderly fashion.
MP: The bridge is deathly quiet for several moments...then, a sound akin to sheet metal tearing comes from beyond the window plate.
Ada: "Damn." Ada pockets the pistol and looks at Bioo a bit miserably.
MP-X301: "Spooky. Blast it all. BLAST IT ALL!"
Ada folds her arms unhappily and walks around the waiting room aimlessly.
MP: The emergency at hand taken care of, you finally take a close look at the controls. You recognize the interface for what appears to be access to the base computer, as well as various displays keeping tabs on the station's vital statistics. According to the readouts, the window beyond the plate has cracked in two places...the room would be a vacuum by now if not for the blast seal.
MP-X301: "Well, that sucks. But, we're cozy and safe. Thankfully."
Rex continues to spark and begins to shut down systems, preparing for standby.
Ada notices Rex sparking, and says, "Shoot. Wait, Rex, give me access to your compartments first."
Bioo starts searching for conveniently placed wall panels.
MP-X301 begins interfacing with the base computer to open up the interior doors.
Rex does as commanded, then goes into standby.
MP: The base systems are surprisingly easy to understand, once you get past the initial security lock. Before long, you find the software controls for the emergency lockdown system you activated...each blast door is capable of being independently operated, though sensors built into the system are designed to disallow any action which would allow hard vacuum into the station.
Ada takes out a kit and works on repairing Rex.
MP-X301: A slight smile, and MP directs the computer to open the interior doors for all of the command deck excepting the broken window and the elevator.
Bioo: "You don't find any hidden panels, although you *do* find a dog-eared copy of "National Pornographic" behind one of the chairs. Ooh, nice centerfold!
Bioo pockets it for later perusal.
MP: *beedeep, boop* *click* As promised, the blast door retracts, exposing the door into the waiting room. At the same time, the blast door behind Ada and company also vanishes.
Bioo: "Ah, lovely.
Ada looks over at the blast door for a moment in panic... but then, as she realizes that there seems to be no unpleasant death by spacing forthcoming, she turns back to repairing Rex, pulling more supplies out of Rex's compartment.
MP-X301 recovers his weapons and hovers into the doorway. "Ada, we've got a secured control room here. Care to take a look-see when you get done fixing Rex? Also, either of you hurt, Bioo, Ada?"
Ada continues sealing up Rex's various dings, dents, and holes, pulling out a third kit.
MP's movement opens the door from his side, revealing Ada with her hands in Rex's private places, and Bioo scanning through dirty magazines.
MP-X301: "...or do I need to give you all some privacy?"
Ada notices there's still a bit of gouge on one of Rex's plates, but decides to leave it. Scars are droidly, yo.
Bioo: "Huh?" replies Bioo absentmindedly from where she sits leaning back in one of the chairs, with her feet up on the coffee table, reading her find.
Ada closes Rex's storage compartment with one kit still left, and says, "Very funny, MP."
MP-X301: "Are you hurt, Bioo?"
Bioo: "Not even a scratch, Tinman.
MP-X301: "How about you, Ada?"
Ada: "I'm still in one piece, MP.
Bioo: "now that," Bioo turns the mag at a 90 degree angle, "That looks like it hurts."
Ada: "One functioning piece." Ada wipes her hands off with a random rag. "What's our status, again?"
MP-X301: "I am not going to ask, Bioo. Alright, we've got control of all the blast doors, and we're ready to continue on into Management Central. However, I thought you'd like to check out the computer systems. Oh, and see if the ship has launched. That'd be nice to know."
Ada: "All right." Ada goes out and inspects the computer systems.
Rex whirs quietly in standby mode.
Ada: You tap into the computer systems...following MP's suggestion, you look for the systems related to the brig airlock. The readouts indicate that the lock is sealed...it looks like your unwashed friends have made their getaway after all.
Ada: "Looks like the prisoners escaped... let's hope that equates to 'safe'. Anything else of interest I should look for?"
MP-X301: "Might check to see if it has interior sensors or something that might tell us where there are guards."
Bioo: "The untold stores of ill-gotten treasures?
MP-X301: "...and if there's a safe on board for Bioo to crack."
Ada looks for sensors, as well as any potential stores, physical or electronic.
MP-X301: "And check for any databanks of critical information. Maybe... communication logs? Perhaps we can find out more from who our benefactors have been talking to."
Ada: There don't appear to be any sensor systems, at least not that you can find. There *is* a locked file sector in the system...as far as you can tell, it contains the electronic copies of the files related to the mind-control technology experiments. You try valiantly to crack it, but are unable to gain access.
Ada: "No go, MP, I'm locked out. I knew I shouldn't have been doodling transistor diagrams in Advanced Cryptography class..."
Ada: Moving on, you find another access, this time for the station's communications systems. The code here is much less advanced; you crack it with little trouble.
Ada: "But I have at least found something."
MP-X301: "Dang it. Well, maybe I can take a crack at it. I have some Counter-Security manuals saved on my internal memory... maybe they'll help. Light reading while waiting for a call in an ambulance." MP heads into the control room to listen to Ada's report. "What'd you find?"
Ada skims through the systems logs.
Ada: The communications logs list an array of communications; dozens of messages directed to no more than three or four different receivers. You recognize one of them from the Corona's PDA; as the senator's own data revealed, he and the station have been in regular contact for a while now. Other messages were sent out to a Sarien battleship "Decimus", and two or three unidentified outposts in Sarien space.
The logs indicate that the station did indeed have a contract with a band of Sariens, exchanging money and weapons for live captives of whatever species the Sarien raiders could provide without drawing attention to their buyers.
MP-X301: MP examines the other panels.
Ada: There are also logs of messages sent to Corona; apparently, he has been working in the Xenonian government for nearly a year to undermine efforts to track down and put a stop to the Sarien raids.
Ada gives MP a running commentary as she scans.
MP: The other panels all appear to be more or less the same...it looks like it's simply a quartet of redundant terminals all tied to the same computer systems. Well, *triplet* of terminals, since one of them has been reduced to slag by Rex's foot. Another is covered in a thick layer of still-warm blood.
MP-X301: "Copy those and send them in clear transmission to the Xenon Police. I'm sure they'll end up in everyone's mailbox, radio or other communications device. Nothing better than a politician running from his own treachery."
Ada: "Copy them to what?" Ada gives MP a sardonic look.
MP-X301: MP hands over one of his electronic notepads.
Bioo: "Done it, done it, done it, ... hmm, now that looks like fun.....
Ada takes MP's notepad, interfaces it with the computer, and makes a copy of the records on it. She then attaches another copy to a message and sends it to "firstname.lastname@example.org".
Ada: The date copies over neatly to the notepad, with no fuss. Mmm, wireless technology.
Ada hands the notepad to MP after she's done with her ministrations. "There, assuming we survive, we'll take the 'belt and suspenders' approach."
MP-X301: "Thanks, Ada. That's perfect. Hey, Rex! Time to move out!"
Suddenly, from somewhere on the other side of the door to the waiting room, the sound of a toilet flushing is heard. An angry voice soon follows: "DAMMIT! I'm on the can for TEN freakin' MINUTES, and suddenly the alarms are going off! What the hell is going on out here!?"
MP-X301: "....and that's who we want to talk to!"