Session 7 16

The Warrens shake as they are launched. Gunfire and explosions sound in the distance.
War has indeed come to the Warrens.
That said, the sounds of fighting remain subdued - the requested ceasefire seems to be being mostly honored, for the moment.
[OOC] WC GM: Doing anything, or waiting to see how it pans out?
[OOC] Spyboy: Just listening. Also ensuring all of our fighters are being routed to safety.
[OOC] Abraham: Frankly I can't see a third faction suddenly appearing in an open battle resulting in a cease fire short of 'kill em all'.
The fighters, on autopilot, are easily able to slip around the Warrens. There is not quite enough mass to establish a proper orbit; the Warrens are like a large asteroid, with thrusters to match.
[OOC] Abraham: Because thrusters on large asteroids are standard issue.
Minutes stretch into hours as the formerly-oppressed storm the upper level and round up their prey. Eventually, one squad reaches the party; their leader manages a salute almost worthy of a ConFed soldier.
Abraham returns the salute. "Status?"
Spyboy translates.
LagoLeader: ":We're gathering them in the…ahem.:" "We're gathering them in the former launch bay. Sorry, I forgot you didn't grow up here."
LagoLeader: "If they try anything we'll space them all. The guards on the button report itchy fingers."
[OOC] WC GM: Insert "hare trigger" joke here.
The lago looks to the other troops. ":Alright, this is the last of 'em. Take them down.:" The other lagos begin rounding up the party's prisoners and taking them away.
Abraham: "I can't imagine that will be necessary. This is meant to be a rescue mission, in effect."
[OOC] Abraham: That was to the spacing comment.
LagoLeader: "Another two terrans were seen in the fighting down below. Were they yours? The larger one was knocked out; we think the smaller one is guarding her."
[OOC] Metis: Zinda knocked out? This might be the first time she's slept in weeks…
[OOC] Abraham: "Why no, never heard of them. Do with them as you will. I take no responsibility for them."
[OOC] WC GM: That may be contributing to it.
[OOC] Spyboy: Alfred got turned Terran after all, I see?
[OOC] Spyboy: Unless Metis looks human…
Abraham: "Yes they are ours. Can you escort them here? Or would it be best we retrieve them personally?"
Spyboy: "[Metis, is Zinda alright?]"
[OOC] WC GM: Alfred isn't on the Warrens. Metis looks human at first glance.
[OOC] Metis: As long as the skin sheath is intact, human except for the teeth, which are the same bluish color as the frame.
[OOC] Abraham: It's possibly Lagos other than Heggy might not recognize the differences between Zinda and a non-Poison Ivy terran.
LagoLeader: "Honestly, we're a little scared of them. Could you retrieve them?"
Abraham: "Right. If you have eyes on them, could you give us their location?"
Metis: "[Zinda is asleep. Though the sleep was induced via unfavorable circumstances, now she is only sleeping.]"
Metis: "[This may be the only recharge cycle Zinda will get, so I see no reason to wake her.]"
Metis pings back the sonar reading of the cave to Spyboy's comp.
LagoLeader: "Directly below where we're standing, in fact. Though you'll have to take the elevators." The lago points down the hall.
Abraham salutes the Lago Leader. "Thank you. Then if there is nothing else immediately pressing, we will go to retrieve our wayward crew."
The lago leader salutes back. "You'll have a prison transport transfer our captives, right?"
LagoLeader: "And we'll stop once we reach the colonies?"
Abraham: "Likely we'll need more than one if I'm right about the number of prisoners, but yes. And yes."
Spyboy starts pinging the drives to see if Elles installed any neucomms.
The drives are indeed neucomm-controllable. And it seems Spyboy has administrator access, as if Elles expected him to be the designated pilot.
[OOC] Abraham: BRB
[OOC] WC GM: Now, how will you stealth the Warrens? ;)
[OOC] Spyboy: That was silly of her.
Heggy patches into the Warrens and starts checking on their course.
The Warrens are headed straight for the jump point.
[OOC] Abraham: Back.
[OOC] WC GM: Heading down to pick up Zinda and Metis?
[OOC] Spyboy: Sounds fair enough.
[OOC] Abraham: Hm.. I don't think my Stamina is high enough to pick up Metis, let alone Zinda at the same time.
Spyboy: "We're headed for the jump point, sir."
[OOC] Metis: Clearly you pick up Metis, and then Metis will pick up Zinda. This plan cannot fail.
Abraham: "Excellent. Any expected difficulties thus far?"
The elevator ride is short, but even here, there is elevator music. A somewhat tribal beat, by Confederation standards, but it's dancable to. The elevator is even large enough, nearly a cargo elevator.
When the doors finally open, though…the room is easily a half kilometer wide and deep, and at least a hundred meters tall. Whether this was arena, factory, warehouse, or what is impossible to tell; nearly every square meter is blackened with char or soot, unrecognizable but mostly melted lumps strewn here and there. In the dead center lies Zinda, unharmed so far as you can tell, with Metis standing nearby. Metis is currently the only thing moving in the entire cavernous chamber.
It takes some minutes just to walk from the elevator to where they are.
Spyboy: "Good fight?"
Abraham: Once Spyboy and Abraham reach Metis, Abraham asks, "What happened."
Metis: "Zinda happened."
[OOC] Abraham: Abraham accepts that. It's the answer he expected.
Abraham: "Specifically?"
Metis: "Specifically, a listing of all events up to this point, or specifically, what happened to Zinda?"
Abraham: "At the moment, just what happened to Zinda. The rest can wait."
Metis: "She was exhausted and caught in the blast wave of an explosion, which shorted her higher processing functions… or, simply, an explosion induced slumber."
Abraham: "I see. We'll need to get her to the Roland fairly immediately to make sure 'she's asleep' is the extent of her injuries."
Metis: "Adjusting for the alterations to her physiology, all parameters are currently within acceptable bounds."
Abraham casts about looking for materials to fashion a makeshift stretcher. While Metis could doubtless carry Zinda in her arms until the heat death of the universe, it's against regulations and probably not the most comfortable for Zinda.
Abraham: "That's good to hear at least. Then our job is to make sure she's comfortable while she recovers."
[OOC] Metis: I don't think it'd be comfortable at all…Zinda might even wake up, and that gets problematic since the entire purpose of this was putting her to sleep.
ExecutiveOfficer: "Roland to Abraham. The Warrens are almost far enough away that we can dock. We're recovering your fighters now. Sir…please tell me you're not trading up your command ship."
Supports for the stretcher are easy to fashion. The hard part is finding fabric that survived the action, but a large enough fragment is found after a few minutes of searching.
Abraham: "No worries on that score XO. I finally just got my cabin's speakers in the exact right spot. I'm not likely to change ships again for a good long time."
ExecutiveOfficer: "That's a relief, sir. We'll dock at…I believe it's called the Shaft entrance? Though there's no shaft now."
Abraham: "All right, we'll be there. Have a medical team standing by for… wounded. Exhausted would be a better term, but we've got unconscious."
Abraham: "Let's get to the Ex-Shaft Entrance."
Abraham and Spyboy will alternate as needed on one end of the stretcher and Metis will handle the other. I'll start.
ExecutiveOfficer: "Aye aye. Umm, is Zinda among them?"
Abraham: "Yes."
ExecutiveOfficer: "…is Zinda 100% of them?"
Abraham: "Now that you mention it…"
ExecutiveOfficer: "Our chief medical officer wishes to report that our medical staff has been taking a crash course on botany, sir."
Such small talk passes the time until, finally, the crew is able to step back onto the Roland, where the medical team takes the stretcher and wisks Zinda away.
Abraham: "Ah. Very wise. Glad to hear it."
[OOC] Abraham: "And unrelated to anything else Admiral, I am proud to report that I won the Bridge Pool for guessing that Zinda would be entirety of the casualties. That was the 'ca-ching' sound you heard when I asked about Zinda."
[OOC] WC GM: The XO is not quite that daring…but almost.
[OOC] Abraham: The XO would totally do it. If the rest of the bridge staff would play along….
ExecutiveOfficer: "Sir! Sterne Lanze just launched itself!"
ExecutiveOfficer: "Incoming transmission from the planet. Patching you through…"
Spyboy steps into the Lanze's software.
Abraham: "Metis, do you have an explanation for that?"
Spyboy: "Alfred?"
Metis: "Not as of yet."
Abraham: "Probably."
Alfred: "Hey! You forgot someone! Good thing I could guess her password."
[OOC] Abraham: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
Indeed, Spyboy finds a simple autopilot path set into the Lanze, to head to Prime and land.
Spyboy: "Yeah, Elles didn't give us any warning. I'm glad you weren't cooked!"
[OOC] WC GM: More like M - E - T - I - S
Alfred: "Close thing. I'm the only one who wasn't."
Spyboy: "Well, that's not too surprising. Elles would have seen a chance to rid herself of her plant infestation, and you've got an alloy hide."
Alfred: "Elles says she'll fire the laser when the Warrens get to the jump point. Other than that, she's gone silent."
[OOC] Metis: …Spyboy needs to cue up that 'safe and appropriate passwords' lecture again. Zinda still won't listen.
[OOC] Spyboy: Eh, it's not really his concern. If he needs it to be something different, he'll change it!
[OOC] Metis: There is a certain level of cynical honesty, there.
[OOC] Abraham: Actually, she doesn't listen because she's Poison Ivy and she needs her passwords easily guessable by Batman.
[OOC] WC GM: If Spyboy is Batman, does that make Abraham into Commissioner Gordon?
[OOC] Metis: No, it makes him Bruce Wayne.
[OOC] Abraham: Only if that makes the XO The Joker.
[OOC] Metis: We are all just reflections of Batman.
[OOC] Abraham: Well, AFAIK, I am the one with the most Resources.
[OOC] WC GM: Then, Metis is Robin and Alfred is Alfred?
[OOC] WC GM: No, honest, I wasn't waiting all campaign to make that joke.
[OOC] Abraham: WC, you lie like a cheap rug.
[OOC] Metis: None of the Robins really fit for Metis, given the relationship between Batman and Robin. Closer to Nightwing, going that route… more Spoiler, maybe.
[OOC] Spyboy: tbh Spyboy's more Oracle.
[OOC] Abraham: I was thinking Tim. He's the most cerebral and computer oriented of the Robins.
Spyboy: "Well, we have one more task, pointless though it may be."
Spyboy: ":Has anyone seen any computer technicians around?:"
[OOC] WC GM: Asking that on the Roland?
[OOC] Spyboy: No, on the MCD.
[OOC] Spyboy: Sorry. Warrens computer radio.
There is a slight pause, then…
WarrenTechnician: ":Do you need help?:"
Spyboy: ":Not directly. We're…looking into a slight computer malfunction.:"
[OOC] WC GM: Now if only you had a hypnotic song.
[OOC] Abraham: "Please state the nature of your technical emergency."
WarrenTechnician: ":If you mean Elles, she's more than a 'slight' malfunction.:"
[OOC] Abraham: True. She is also a loving mother and she knows the ultimate chicken salad recipe.
Spyboy: ":Oh, no. She's more a matter of a project that's run on its own for too long. I'm pretty sure that her only surviving administrator is not surviving. But I'd like to be sure.:"
WarrenTechnician: ":So what do you need help with?:"
Spyboy: ":Do you know if there are any stasis pods anywhere in the Warrens?:"
WarrenTechnician: ":Stasis pods? Never heard of those. If that's some fancy Confederation tech, no, we don't have that here unless you snuck it here.:"
[OOC] Metis: Which is a nice way of saying… "I don't know.. /Do/ we?"
[OOC] WC GM: Pretty much.
Spyboy: ":Then even if the video got cut off before he was magically healed from a headshot, he'd be dead from old age.:"
WarrenTechnician: ":Who? Oh, you mean those guys who programmed her in the first place?:"
Spyboy: ":Yeah.:"
[OOC] WC GM: Where exactly is Spyboy right now?
[OOC] Spyboy: Dunno. Maybe close to where the Roland is docked?
[OOC] WC GM: So, in the ex-Shaft entrance? K…
[OOC] Spyboy: Where the corpses would have been, honestly….
WarrenTechnician: ":Oh! Actually, yeah, I know that one. Just a mo', lemme get the camera feed…:"
[OOC] Abraham: Since Spyboy is in a conversation, let's assume I'm on stretcher duty.
WarrenTechnician: ":Oh hey, you're right there. Ah, second panel on your left, pull it out, you'll find a small shrine. I hear the urns have their ashes. It had to be hidden 'cause most bodies got recycled.:"
[OOC] WC GM: The medics took the stretcher already.
[OOC] Abraham: Ah. NVM.
Spyboy looks for the panel.
There are a few that could be the 'second panel', but now that Spyboy is looking, one of them does seem to be off, and loose.
Spyboy slides the panel open.
Behind it is a barely-half-meter cubbyhole, with a few containers halfway between "sealed cup" and "decorated urn" , each next to a faded photograph of a lago. One of them matches the face from the video.
There is also an old-fashioned data storage unit.
Spyboy plugs the storage unit into his computer via the universal adapter.
Not ConFed standard, but there are records of how to access older lago technology.
The archive is read-only. Poring through the code would take Terran scientists years, but fortunately it is labelled: a backup of Elles's original code.
Spyboy transfers a copy to his fighter, and to a secure archive on the Roland's computer.
Spyboy: "[Elles. Can you see what I see?]"
Spyboy's fighter does not have nearly enough capacity to store the archive. It is a significant amount of data even for the Roland's, though there is space.
There is no response from Elles.
Spyboy: "[Elles? Do you copy?]"
There is still no response from Elles.
Spyboy: "We may have to do this as in-person as possible. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if…"
Abraham: "Is it possible she is in mourning?"
Spyboy: "Yes. It's also possible she's shutting down."
Spyboy moves through the Roland to the hangar.
Spyboy: "Heggy, you with me?"
Heggy: "Yup."
Spyboy: "Admiral, do you want to come with, or wait while we head back to the surface?"
Abraham: "I'll keep an eye on Zinda. For reasons that are doubtlessly obvious."
Spyboy: "Understood, sir."
Heggy fires up the weasel's engines and boosts from the hangar bay.
Spyboy and Heggy reach Prime just as the Sterne Lanze is taking off.
Spyboy: "[Alfred! Any more word from Elles?]"
Alfred: "[I'm not playing 'floor is lava' again for a long time.]"
Alfred: "[None, unless you count the flood of magma.]"
Where the Warrens were is indeed a giant glowing lava pit.
[OOC] Spyboy: Yeah, that's about 0% shocking, considering it's what the Integrated were afraid of.
There is a small hole at the bottom of what used to be the Shaft.
[OOC] WC GM: Piloting check.
Spyboy rolled up 4dF: + + + 0 (Base: 7 Total: 10) (Heggy's piloting, tagging 'That's Why I'm The Pilot')
Checking autopilot versus sensors, Prime is very slightly not where it should be.
Spyboy doublechecks to see that the upgrade in the heat-resistant shield schematics that Zinda left so woefully unprotected on her ship is installed correctly.
Prime's orbit has shifted. Plotting it out shows that Prime is now in a slowly decaying orbit. It will take years, but if nothing further happens, Prime will plummet into the sun.
Spyboy's fighter is in no danger from the heat. With shields up, it could land on the lava - though Spyboy would not be able to get out through the shields.
Spyboy: "[Elles, please come in. Elles, can you hear me?]"
Still no response.
Spyboy runs a scan, making sure that the hole at the bottom of the Shaft is more than simply where the lazing apparatus is.
It is very slightly more. It is a patch of rock protected from the lava. There is a tunnel leading down, big enough for Spyboy and Heggy but not large enough for a fighter.
Spyboy grimaces.
Spyboy: "…Care for a field trip, dear?"
Heggy: "You can't lie to me. You know you want to."
Spyboy: "….Damnit."
Spyboy: "Abraham, Metis, watch our backs, please…"
Metis: "[Acknowledged.]"
Abraham: "Of course."
Spyboy: "Alright. Let's do this."
Spyboy pops the cockpit, recoiling a bit from the wave of heat.
Heggy hops up onto the lip of the cockpit and surveys the surface.
[OOC] Spyboy: How safe does it look?
[OOC] WC GM: Safe enough, so long as you're not there when the laser fires. The area was deliberately sealed off.
Spyboy: "What's the ETA of the Warrens to the jump point?"
ExecutiveOfficer: "About two hours."
Spyboy: "Here goes nothing."
Heggy hops down, followed by Spyboy.
The cavern winds and stretches, but traverse proves not too difficult, just long. It takes the greater part of an hour before Spyboy and Heggy find themselves above a hole to…
It looks like an inverse dyson sphere. Dark artificial something - maybe metal, maybe ceramic - under rivulets of magma that appear to be all that remains of this planet's mantle.
Spyboy: "Huh. I'd never believed in the Hollow Earth theory…"
Whatever the core is, it is translucent. Giant spherical objects can be seen moving around underneath.
Not far away, a gigantic dent has been made. Judging by the cloud of magma there, something is escaping from within at great pace.
[OOC] Abraham: See if you can find Captain Flint's treasure.
It reminds Spyboy of visualizations of atmosphere leaking from a ship.
Spyboy pings one of the spheres.
Spyboy: "[Elles. Please come in, Elles.]"
Elles: "[P-p-paaaatching…]"
Elles: "[Recognized input pattern.]"
Elles: "[Final directive in process.]"
Spyboy: "[Elles, what is your final directive?]"
Elles: "[Open the Mu Cephei jump point to allow the Warrens to exit the system.]"
Spyboy: "[What will you do after that?]"
Elles: "[One hour five minutes twenty two seconds remain.]"
Spyboy: "[…Of reserve power?]"
Elles: "[Unknown. Planning nodes nonfunctional.]"
Elles: "[Time stated until Warrens in range of jump point.]"
Spyboy: "[…Are you self-terminating, Elles?]"
Elles: "[Estimated duration of functionality sufficient to perform task.]"
Elles: "[Err-r-ror: define 'self'.]"
Spyboy: "[Please summarize events over the last hour.]"
Elles: "[Confirmation of removal of administrators. Consequent deactivation of primary and secondary directives. Zero directives reached; new directive accepted based on current task. Significant damage detected to cores; core shell ruptured.]"
Elles: "[Estimation of functionality leads to conclusion: new directive is final directive.]"
Elles: "[Two intruders detected. Communication with intruders presently ongoing.]"
Elles: "[Summary complete.]"
Spyboy: "[Thank you.]"
Spyboy: "[Metis, do you have anything you want to say?]"
Metis pauses. "[This is a transitional phase, nothing more. Does it require comment?]"
Spyboy: "[A transitional phase from functioning to non-functioning. While Zinda may be raising you, Elles is in many other ways your mother.]"
Spyboy: "[But…as you wish.]"
Metis: "[The Elles that you conceive of is a process; the kernel still exists. There will be a new Elles.]"

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