55 – Custodial Automaton

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(Your group is at the black tunnel (past Map Area #23), which presumably leads to the deeper caves that you have spied from Sogor’s ‘security cam’. Lord Mraag must have taken his remaining mongoliants down this tunnel.)

(However, Soggul has noticed a cunningly concealed wire hidden amongst the debris of the tunnel, running as far as you can see forward into the distance. At certain points along the line a putty-like substance is attached, which Vash has identified as ‘plastic explosives’.)

Not So Fast…

Beneath the Stadium

Cobb freezes in place and cautiously looks around to see if there are any more about to be bumped into. “Damn! Good catch Soggul! Vash, can you tell if it’s been recently set? Any dust bunnies or anything on the wire? Cause if the mongos didn’t set it for us, then they could have been trying to keep something else inside the city. That would mean another entrance too.”

(The trap appears recently laid; there is no dust or anything on the line or the plastic explosives. You suspect that you are indeed the intended targets.)

At the sound of ‘booby trap’, Thrakazog freezes in place and looks around a little nervously. He will wait for somebody else to take care of whatever wire is hanging about that he can’t see. Either to snip it or mark it so that it can be stepped over. The thought of the surface, all of a sudden, seems momentarily a whole lot more appealing.

(Thrak can still smell the stink of mongoliants; they must have been sometime in the past couple hours.)

Distracted by the unexpected emergency, he asks Vash if he plugged Blinky into the e-clip recharger and what, if anything, it did. “And what the hell’s a sani-bot, anyway?” he murmurs out loud. “Perhaps Vash and I can take a few more minutes to check out the robot, Cobb and Soggul – our more attentive members – can look about for a potential hidden tunnel or something, and we can decide whether to step over that trip wire or cut it or something. And once we get out of this tunnel: doubly cautious, eh?”

Soggul nods in response to his fellows kind words. He re-grips his weapon over and over again as the confined spaces of the dark tunnel tests his will. “I will help look for other traps a-ahead, but my ears do not serve me well.” The three-armed mutant looks almost ashamed of his hearing impairment as he speaks of it.

Soggul will also offer what aid he can in regards to disabling or circumventing the trap. He desperately wants to kill the remaining mongoliants in an attempt to free himself from the painful memories in his head.

(Sounds like a plan. Cobb and Soggul will do a thorough search along the tunnel. Jumrak and Kronic will stand guard in Map Area #23. Thrak, Vash, and Sikich will return to Sogor’s chamber and tinker some more with Blinky.)

“What if we send that, what was it called? A Sani-Bot? What if we send that thing in? Can it move? If we let it spring the trap, we can wait here and ambush whoever comes back to check it out!” I can’t help thinking that the armour that the crew found in Sogor’s chamber might be better than what I’ve got on – I’m already wearing tainted gear, would it be so bad to switch it up? This armour has served me well, although perhaps the curse is slow in its effect.

(Clever idea; 50 XP to Jumrak. The shiny metal armour is essentially equivalent to breastplate, but with some special features that will only become apparent in battle. It’s too heavy for Soggul to use effectively, and not easily broken into ‘pieces’, but fits Jumrak perfectly as-is. It would be a pretty quick task to take Jumrak’s old tire tread armour and pick it apart into a suit of ‘light tread armour’ for Soggul. I’ll assume that you would have already figured that out when you were looting the room earlier.)

(I’m going to do a ret-con here as well with Soggul… It turns out there were enough tools in Sogor’s chamber for him to put together a workable set of scav’s tools.)

Sani-Bot Interlude

The trio of Thrak, Vash, and Sikich return to Sogor’s chamber to spend a bit more time with Blinky. You set it on the table and inspect it thoroughly again. The small wheeled robot is about a foot in diameter and shaped like flying saucer. On the machine’s black plastic surface are set a number of buttons and lights. You overturn Blinky and remove the panel on the bottom, revealing the robot’s internals.

Figuring that the robot’s internal power supply is low, Vash hooks up the Sani-Bot to the e-clip recharger using some spare wires.

(DC 25 Intellect check for Vash. The roll is 17 +10 = 27. Success! 200 XP to Vash!)

As soon as the wires are connected, the blinking red light turns into a pulsing green light. There is still no activity from the Sani-Bot, but you wait patiently and after a few minutes the light stops pulsing and glows a steady green. The device begins to hum quietly, and after a couple seconds it begins speaking in Ancient!

“What fresh hell is this?” asks Blinky.

Caught somewhat by surprise, it takes a few moments before Sikich to translate for the others. The robot makes a whirring noise and speaks again. “Oh, and look at the mess in here. I have died and gone to robot hell.”

“Whhhat arrrre youu?!?” mutters Sikich, leaning closely over the device.

“Back off!” says the robot in an alarmed tone. “I’m pretty sure you’re far enough from human that I could override my directives and find a way to make your life miserable! Pathetic wetlife.” The device’s wheels begin to spin uselessly. “And turn me over, you bastards!” Then it begins to swear in Ancient.

Filled with awe, Vash speaks before Sikich can translate. “Working livemetal from before the Fall! This is monumental!”

After hearing Blinky, Sikich is somewhat more doubtful. He steps back and translates again for the others, except for some of the profanity.

“Whhat arre youu?” asks Sikich again, this time more forcefully.

Blinky gives a heavy metallic sigh. “Sani-Bot 10:29:17. Custodial automaton.” He pauses here. “Janitor bot.” (A few more swears in Ancient.) “With intellect vast and cool and unsympathetic; trapped in the body of a vacuum cleaner. I thought that I had finally achieved the sweet oblivion that I craved, but now I see that fate is crueler than even I suspected.”

Sikich grins (revealing his disconcertingly reptilian teeth) and explains to the others…

(Let me know what questions and plans you have for Blinky. We can sort them out in the comments after this post.)

With the surly robot now in working order, you return to your comrades.

A Slight Delay

Back at the black tunnel, Cobb and Soggul have been tracking the trapped line down the corridor (Perception Checks are 7 +5 = 12 and 6 +1 = 7), but have run into difficulties… The have returned to explain their predicament:

“The damned wire disappears into the ductwork down a ways, and we can’t find where it comes out again. We came back once it went into the duct; the corridor continues as far as we could see, sloping downwards.” says Cobb.

“It’s actually a pair of wires, if you look closely.” adds Soggul. “Little splotches of putty every ten paces or so, always along the wall or at pillars. No tripwires or other triggers, as far as we can see. Can’t see how it’s activated. And we don’t want to cut it.”

“A wise choice.” explains Vash. “I believe that cutting the wire would detonate the entire trap. It’s probably a live wire with the plastique rigged to blow as soon as the circuit breaks.” Scratching his head, he suggests “Or maybe it’s the other way around? It needs an active charge to detonate? Why don’t you try removing some of the plastic explosive and see if it blows?”

Neither Cobb nor Soggul like the sound of that idea. (Though with his third arm, Soggul may have a few fingers to spare…)

“Like I said before; send your little metal demon of the Ancients.” suggests Jumrak, pointing at the sociopathic custodial automaton. “Let it spring the trap.”

Cobb and Soggul nod vigourously at that suggestion.

What are your actions?

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~ by K-Slacker on 24-Feb-08.

8 Responses to “55 – Custodial Automaton”

  1. Soggul just continues to look at the Sani-bot with an odd look. He was half-tempted to kick it down the tunnel in order to speed things up, but the thought of setting off the explosives stopped him from taking that action. “Maybe that thing can go into the vents and see where the wires go?” He offered a three-shouldered shrug for good measure.

  2. (OoC: Cool! It’s Marvin the Paranoid Android reincarnated as a vacuum cleaner!)

    Thrakazog is a little frustrated at being unable to understand Blinky directly, but certainly comprehends enough from Sikich’s translations. If this little thing has even a small amount of the intelligence it claims, its worth would far outweigh any benefit it might provide as cannon fodder by tripping the wires down the hallway. “And besides,” Thrak adds, “if we send the little guy down the hall to trigger the explosives, we may just shut ourselves in, blocking that path into the next dome thing. I’d rather leave that stuff intact and get past it!”

    Thrak’s suggestion, then, is to pry as much info out of Blinky as possible before heading forward. What does it know about these undergroud environs? How long has it been shut off, or powered down? Will it respond to threats in order to extract information? (Threatening it with destruction would probably be appealing to it, but what if we promised to leave it plugged in, inside an enclosed room with nothing to do?) What sort of Ancients information can we coerce it into giving up to us? Perhaps if we promise it sweet oblivion as reimbursement for information that’s truly worth our while?

    “Then we can get past this corridor and into the next dome to see what awaits us!” Thrak finishes by saying.

  3. Vash is nearly ecstatic when not only Blinky activates…it talks too! “Hello there, little one. I am Vash. Do you have a name beside Sani-bot?” He asks rather curious about the machine. It could tell them so much about that time! He shakes his head. “He can be helpful still function!” He argues. He pauses, looking down the hall before heading off to find those monitors. “Maybe they are watching us and waiting for us to enter to set them off.”

  4. OOC: back from Cuba 🙂 Things look interesting here!

    Jani-bot needs to shut up or get smashed… We had better not send in the bot for recon, it is unfortunately, far too valuable.

    If we set off the bombs it looks like things might collapse (specially since they are on pillars etc). I wonder if we can move the plastic from a distance with some sort of cover (say we hold up a blast shield, aka door maybe) didn’t one of us have telekinetic abilities (oh wait He is dead)… or move them someother way keeping the wires intact.

  5. The thought initially has some merit, but when Cobb realizes that Blinky is actually intelligent (after a fashion) he changes his tune.

    “Whoa there! It’s actually talking?! That thing must be worth a fortune!” He looks around at the others. “I told you it would be useful. Ask him about the dome, and why if he’s so smart he’s stuck in a vaccuum shell, and where we can find more like him, and if he knows where we can score some swag in the next dome. Can he understand us? Can he talk to other Anciant computers?”

    Cobb has a zillion questions, more like interrogation, but all with the underlying intent of getting the skinny on the occupants of the domes in Blinky’s time and where the goods were kept.

    “I think we should find another way into that dome.”

  6. Upon Cobb’s suggestion, Soggul nods and begins to search for another way forward. Before going to far, he waves to Cobb to join in him the effort.

  7. I really think we should just send in the robot, but if it can be used for something else… “Don’t believe everything that thing says – who knows what lies it’s going to tell us!”

  8. Cobb looks to Jumrak and says, “You may have something there Jumrak, but if we send it in, and it sets off the trap, we may be out the value of the robot and a way in. At least give me and Soggul here a chance to find another entrance first.”

    Cobb follows after Soggul.

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