Episode 712: Taking Heaven

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Time is getting short, both for our heroes and our campaign archivist, so the account below is short as well.--Maer

Air Date: 19 Mar 2012
Present: Andy, Bobby, Kim, Maer, and Terri

Saturday, 05 Feb 2524
Arkship Amenoukihashi
Somewhere off the Verse ecliptic

We've successfully spent a freezing night aboard the Ark ship and have our plan:

  1. Take control of the robots
  2. Take control of the bridge
  3. Fly Amenoukihashi to safety.

Oh, and find a cure.

Of course, it's never that simple. Anything could happen to monkeywrench our plans but even so, we have to try.

One of the things we do to raise the odds of our success is taking to the atmo vents to travel unseen by the robots. The venting is surprisingly roomy, about 4 and a half feet tall, so even though most of the party has to travel hunched over, we make good time. Using the schematics we've managed to hack, we know where the central control unit for the robots is. All we have to do is get there, hack the CPU, and tell the robots to stand down. How do we do that with missile-packing robots on patrol? We knock out the CPU, disable it, then bring it back up.

With what?

Beglan speaks up: he's got an EMP device he's cobbled together. He'd been holding it in reserve but he has it with him. If we can install it on the layercake and set it off, we could disable the robots long enough to reboot everything and take over. It's the best chance we've got and we all agree to try it.

The view from the vent is a bit daunting. A vast rectangular room more than 100 feet on a side greets our eyes. Centered in it is a tiered platform over thirty feet high, in graduated levels like a wedding cake. The centerpiece of the layer cake is the massive crystal brain of the CPU. Suspended above the CPU by means that aren't quite discernable is a mirror image of the wedding cake platform and spreading out from the 'bottom' of the mirror image is a snake's nest of cables and lines, covering the ceiling like a spiderweb. Standing below at three equidistant points at the platform circumference are three battlebots.

If we're going to climb that cake, we'll need a distraction.

Joshua provides it—he kicks open the vent cover, grabs the one cable closest to the vent, and Tarzans down to the deck 3o feet below. He lands, rolls to his feet, and basically yells at the bots to come and get him. There are several exits out of the room, symmetrically placed. Joshua heads for the one farthest away from the platform and gets the robots to chase him into the corridor outside.

The battlebots fall for it.

The rest of the party are flummoxed—how to get down when Joshua's taken the only rope out of there? Nika hits on the idea of making a human chain to the deck and though we certainly have enough muscle to pull the idea off, it's an awkward solution at best and halfway out the vent it fails. Both Rina and Nika fall the rest of the way to the deck. They shake off the stun as best they can and Arden and Beglan join them. There are ladders going up the side of the wedding cake platform and they take to them. Kiera falls in at the rear as rear guard.

Meanwhile, Joshua's got three robots gunning for him—quite literally. They're shooting their energy weapons at him and he managed to dodge most of them, gets nicked by one, and turning a corner, finds a closet to hide it. It's a janitor's closet and he finds a bucket and a spigot. Filling the bucket with water, Joshua waits until the moment is right, then jumps out and throws the water on the nearest robot.

It has the expected result—power arcs and flashes and the robot is smartly fried to a crisp. Unfortunately, Joshua electrocutes himself as well and goes down for the count—alive but unconscious.

Back at the layer cake, Rina, Belgan and Arden manage to set the EMP off. The robots all freeze where they are all over the ship, from battlebots down to the bitty drones. We recover Joshua, he revives and once we've all caught our breath we reboot the CPU and install ourselves as administrators of the system. The ship and everything in it is ours to command.

First thing we do is get the robots to acknowledge us, allowing us to travel openly to the bridge. The second thing we do is get a map telling us where it is. Once there we start waking up the controls from standby and start sussing our next move. Where do we fly the Ark? What will we need when we get there? Do we wake the people aboard early or let them sleep? And what about the resources that Kiera's father can bring to the problem? Do we fly to Georgia and meet him there or have him come out to meet us?

Kiera uses the equipment on the bridge to send a wave to her father, asking for a rendezvous point. The three-word message comes back: Sho Je Downs.

That's in Kalidasa, the other side of the Verse from Blue Sun and Nika's promised visit with Brian Connelly. Nika doesn't say anything but Joshua can tell she's internally balking at the idea. He takes her aside and tells her that while he understands her worry about seeing Connelly one more time before the Halcyon kills him, we have to go to Sho Je Downs. We need to find a cure for the disease first. We're fast coming up on the two month limit Connelly's been quoted for his life expectancy but hey, nothing is certain. Anything can happen. We may find the cure in time to save Connelly, but we won't know until we try.

Nika gives the order: Tell Sullivan we're coming to Sho Je Downs.

Monday, 07 Feb 2524

We spend the next several days getting the ship underway and the doctors of our group start harvesting DNA. They run it through their tests and procedures and when they think they have the formula down, Kiera volunteers to test it on herself. They scan her to check the results and the good news comes back—the cure is possible The trick now is to manufacture enough of it to save the Verse.

We don't have time to enjoy our victory, however. The ship sensors show us a ship on approach. Hailing it, we get the response back: Sullivan sent us.

Why? Kiera's father already knows we're meeting him at Sho Je Downs. Why would he send a ship out to meet us here? How did he even know where to send the ship? We didn't give coordinates. And if that wasn't enough to hink it, Joshua starts getting that BT-nauseous feeling in the pit of his stomach while the approaching ship is still at long range. If Sullivan is aboard that ship—near impossible given the distance involved—then he's got some of the twisted Creepy guys on the ship with him.

No, it's an ambush. Somehow, someone on the other side has found out about what we're doing and they're going to try to take the Ark from us.

Hell with that.

We make nice with the approaching ship, pretend to go along with their story and allow them to dock, then we order the battlebots to go to the airlock and guard it. No one on that ship is going to come aboard to take Amenoukihashi. Not without a fight.

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