17 – Mind Games18-Jul-08
After mentioning an ‘infection’, the synth seems to have resigned herself to oblivion, muttering about processing errors and compromised programming. It appears to you that she is ‘dying’.
Olive continues to provide comfort, refusing to allow her to be bound as a prisoner, even as she utters vague threats and veiled insults. Several party members are less than impressed about Olive’s actions, revealing their bias against artificial life forms.
Meanwhile, the attention of Ibben and the retainers are focused on a large group of plantmen and veggie-canines who have gathered in the room to the west of the crossroads.
The synthetic stares blankly, buzzing and ticking. In a different voice from before, she speaks: “Mutagenic infection of extraterrestrial nature. Biosafety protocols breached. Subjects quarantined in Class Five stasis facility. Quarantined… Quarantined.” The synthetic clicks loudly. “Stasis breached. Subjects released.”
She smiles. “Now the children will be disciplined…”
She lapses in to silence, then suddenly convulses as if having a seizure!
Olive drops down and lays the synth on the floor. “Request: Please provide assistance. Please help me try to save her.” The android speeds through all of his knowledge, searching his memory for a method of saving her. Looking to his sister, Olive asks a question. “Query: What can be done to avoid your death?” Maybe she knows something that can help.
The green android has an idea, but it very risky. Other methods should be tried first. It would have to be a last resort…
Gene returns his pistol to its holster and tries to determine if he can repair the synthetic, but has no idea how to help her in any way.
Rasputin believes he now has some idea of what is happening (both to the synthetic and on a larger scale). Rasputin looks to the synth and speaks in the tongue of the Ancients: “Ma’am, the damage you have inflicted upon this human (points to Gene) is superficial and in no way constitutes serious injury. As the *cough* leader of this band I absolve you of any blame. Come back to us, we need your help,” pleads Rasputin.
(Interesting; I’ll give it a shot. I’ll treat it as an opposed INT check, but against difficulty 20 since Rasputin is guessing at what makes an artificial intelligence tick… Roll is 5; a fail.)
In her ‘different’ voice, the synthetic responds to Rasputin. “Irrelevant. Lethal injury was intended.”
Olive catches on to Rasputin’s purpose. Thinking quickly, he says “Observation: Human safety is put at risk by your shutdown. Programming dictates you must preserve human life. Therefore, you must override safety shutdown.”
(I figure Olive would make a similar attempt, using his intimate knowledge of artificial minds. Another opposed INT check against difficulty 20; roll is 14. A success!)
The synthetic’s seizures suddenly cease. In a flat neutral tone, she says: “System error. Abort, retry, ignore?” There is a long pause, then: “Program aborted. Safe mode reboot initiated. Please stand by for reactivation…”
Her body becomes limp, and she falls unconscious (appearing much as when you found her lying in the hallway).
“What did you say?” asks Aka.
“Is she dead?” asks Vasha.
Olive responds: “Answer: I reasoned with her. Speculation: No, I don’t believe that she is dead, but she may require rest.”
“Well guys,” says Aka. “We should carry her into a room so we can get her patched-up.”
“While we are at it,” says Vasha. “Let see if she has anything of value on her.” She knows how sensitive Olive is about the girl, but she’s noticed a violet keycard tucked into the synthetic’s jumpsuit!
Gene addresses the group as he leans on his trusty mace. “We’re sitting duckasaurs in this hallway. We need a defensible position, and quickly. If the plantmen are the menace we face then they are already preparing their attack, it’s possible they have led us to this area as part of a trap.”
“Maybe you should retreat here?” suggests Apollo, indicating the nearby chamber. “I’ll go with the others and try to get a feel of what’s on our veggie friend’s minds.”
Rasputin agrees with the comments on your vulnerability here. He motions the scouts to check out the north and western passageways.
As the party drags the unconscious (but still ‘living’) synthetic into the nearby room, Ibben reflects on the information obtained thus far. “Perhaps the plant-men are the infected people to which she refers,” he says. “If so, then the event to which she is referring likely happened many many years ago.”
North and West
While Olive, Rasputin, Gene, and Ibben remain with the synth in the abandoned apartment off the corridor, Aka-Vasha, Slinker, and Yobo scout the northern hallway. Meanwhile, Apollo joins Reesus, Rogaine, Xanax, and Andre at the crossroads to discern the intentions of the plantmen to the west.
To the north, the passageway takes several twists before revealing another lit section further north (indicated in yellow on the map). There are several more locked doors (with black keycard slots) and two opened doorways.
Joining the retainers at the crossroads, Judge Apollo reaches out with his mutant empathy and tries to determine their intentions. (Opposed WIL check; roll is 14. Success!) He senses their continued suspicion, wariness, and fear of betrayal – but no overt hostility. They’re probably just reinforcing their borders after hearing the sounds of battle.
(The locations of the party members are indicated by asterisks on the map above. Explored areas are in white, lit areas are yellow, and areas of uncertainty are blue. Locked doorways include the color of their associated keycard slot – though I see that the image compression has messed with this a bit.)
What are your actions?