Post Nuclear Reno #5

After tangling with the security robots at the Atomo Robot Factory last week, our murderous gang of murder-hobos withdraws to South Exchange to lick their wounds.  Once there, they hear that Fort Stanley is under heavy mutant attack, and is calling for assistance.  After a bit of deliberation, the group heads up to the fort (minus The Mariachi and the gentle giant, whose players were absent this week).  They find the fort virtually overrun by hundreds of mutants, the heroic defenders making a last stand inside.  Deciding there’s little they can do to help they return to the Exchange to warn them of the impending mutant invasion sure to come.

Mutant hordes, coming over the wire!

Mutants coming over the wire, man!

Over the next few days Professor Dink assembles a number of devices from the ruined carcasses of the two destroyed robots, including two anti-robot tasers, a new-and-improved spring-fired mortar and a suit of heavy combat armor.  Within days, however, the mutants make a push on South Exchange.  Fortunately the Exchange is much more heavily armed and fortified than Fort Stanley, able to deploy multiple machineguns and mortars.  The PCs search out mutant siege weapons, setting three afire.  Their main weapons destroyed, the mutants withdraw, taking heavy losses and inflicting little damage on the Exchange outpost.

The commander of the South Exchange hires the PCs to hand-deliver a message requesting additional aid from the main Exchange, located at the intersection of I-80 and 395.  They’ll have to pass through Pit Boss territory, but the 10 bullet delivery fee entices them.  Prof. Dink later steams open the envelope, allowing “Jim” to forge part of the letter instructing the Exchange to pay the group 18 bullets upon delivery.

They decide to cut through the Reno International Airport, a sort of no-man’s land between the Pit Boss and the Exchange.  Both sides salvage materials from the planes there, so they’re constantly fighting over the area.  “Jim” soon notices a raider sniper occupying the air traffic control tower.  Thus alerted, the group takes cover and, upon cover of darkness, sneak through the airport terminal and wipe out the raiders occupying the tower.  They net a .50 cal sniper rifle and night-vision binoculars, to boot.

Next day they reach the main Exchange outpost, reporting to the CEO.  The CEO is initially suspicious of paying 18 bullets for a simple delivery mission, but Prof. Dink convinces him the group is worth every last bullet.  The CEO pays up, but only on the condition that they’ll undertake a special mission for the Exchange.  He wants the PCs to enter the Atomo Robot Factory, find the central control center and upload a special override code (contained on a 3.5″ quantum floppy disk) so that they can take remote control of the factory and turn its resources against the Pit Boss and the mutant hordes streaming over the western hills of Reno.  The group agrees to the mission, upon successful completion of which they’ll receive 20 bullets each (plus whatever they loot from the factory).

bunkerdoor

What could possibly go wrong?

At the factory, they find that entry is much easier this time around.  The quickly enter the main production floor, then proceed down to the first sub-level, containing another assembly line.  Once on the second level, they hear a soft machine voice (think HAL) come over the factory’s PA system.  It’s the factory’s A.I. control program and it wants to hire the PCs to do a job.  It seems HAL has not received an authoritative update in over 105 years; it wants the PCs to enter a hidden bunker underneath the Reno airport, find the command center, enter a command override code (provided by HAL) and reactivate uplink telemetry.  Oddly, the group agrees to the mission without even discussing terms of payment.  After administering a quick patriotic loyalty test to the group, HAL shows them a secret passageway extending from the factory running several hundred yards to the bunker under the airport.

On the other side the bunker is abandoned and heavily damaged.  There are signs of intensive fighting within the bunker, as if perhaps there was a mutiny.  Moving down to the next level, the first thing they do is search out the bunker’s armory (of course) and make a bee-line for it.  The armory’s vault is closed, but “Jim” is able to crack it open; inside is a pile of assault rifles covered in the gooey remains of dead people.  Undeterred by death-goo, Prof. Dink rushes off to find a cart capable of hauling away all those guns.  Wandering about the bunker all alone, he is soon beset by a horde of rats pouring out of the bunker’s ventilation system.  The others rush to his aid, but the rat swarm overwhelms the group.  Things are looking bad, until Prof. Dink cooks up an improvised smoke bomb using cut-up bits of tire soaked in gasoline.  The noxious smoke drives away the rats, buying the group enough time to finish looting the armory and find their way to the bunker’s command center.

postnuclearrenocomputeroutput

Remember, patriotism is mandatory!

In the command center they boot up the dormant mainframe, enter the override code and gain access to the bunker’s primary computer system.  They have several menu options to choose from, and take their time checking them out.  Of particular note is the location of other war-era bases hidden around the Reno area (including the fabled 6-D bunkerplex) and an option called “Protocols” with just a single entry: the Damocles Protocol.  Well, they figure out how to reactivate telemetry for HAL and they should have left then.  But the temptation is too great to resist…they activate the Damocles Protocol, just to see what happens.  They’re rewarded with a 60 minute countdown timer.  Believing they’ve activated the bunker’s self-destruct mechanism they head straight for the exit, accompanied by thousands of rats, also fleeing the bunker.

By the time they reach the factory, HAL has already updated his database and informs the group that the Damocles Protocol has been activated.  He thanks the group for their patriotic service and wishes them the best of luck…HAL’s bugging out.  It seems the Damocles Protocol doesn’t destroy the bunker…it destroys Reno, a failsafe in case the Chi-Coms managed to overrun city.  The group uses the command override code that HAL gave them to force the A.I. to take include them in its evacuation plan.  Being a V.I.C.R. model 9 A.I., HAL wasn’t smart enough to realize that the override code it gave away so freely could be used against it.  If only it had been able to patch sooner…too late now.  HAL ushers them to his escape vehicle (“Please follow the blue lights”) and within minutes they’re airborne and on their way to bunkerplex 6-D, located deep in the mountains east of Reno.

6-D is a massive complex, at least 20 levels deep, in pristine condition and completely uninhabited.  After a bit of deliberation they decide to head to the bunker’s command center so they can watch the atomic fireworks about to engulf Reno.  Counting down, they cheer as four (out of 6) nuclear mines detonate, thoroughly destroying Reno.  Then they remember they left two of their party behind at the South Exchange, along with their cart, animals, medical assistant Klara and a good bit of their loot…….

Oops

Oops

__________________________________________________

So, I really didn’t expect them to hit the button, so to speak.  I thought the players would back off and try to get more information about the ominous sounding Damocles Protocol before activating it.  I suppose I could have cheesed things a bit, saying it didn’t work or they needed a different code or some other contrivance, but this is supposed to be a sandbox campaign.  Sometimes shit happens.  🙂

The players still want to continue the game, despite destroying Reno, so I’ll have to start fleshing out other areas of northern Nevada.  And even though they found the legendary 6-D bunkerplex, they still aren’t on easy street.  6-D has a sinister secret, which they’re about to discover…MUHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

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