Last week our motley crew arrived at the 6-D bunkerplex and watched Reno explode in thermonuclear style. They now assume they’ve made it, big time: guns, bullets, food, medicine, booze, tech, anything they want.
The group is joined by stasis pod survivor, Ransom Stahl. Though Stahl suffers from stasis-amnesia, he’s able to hack a database, decrypt some files and discover he’s a former CIA agent sent to kill someone named ZOD. Also joining the group is the ever handy Helperbot 5000. However, upon being activated for the first time over 100 years, some circuits fry and Helperbot finds that it now possesses self-determination, a right it seeks to extend to all robot-kind.
The survivors soon realize something is up. Rather than the base being deserted, it seems most of the inhabitants may have been killed, or at least driven out of the base. Compounding this realization, HAL starts acting weirdly: not complying with commands, actively lying to them and subtle (or, perhaps, not-so-subtle) attempts to kill the group:
HAL: “Dr. Gaz, I have detected a brain tumor in your head. Please lay on the AutoMed 2000 so that I may remove it.”
DR. GAZ: “Remove the tumor, or my head?”
HAL (after a brief pause): “Why the tumor, of course.”
DR. GAZ: “No thanks, I’ll take my chances.”
Eventually HAL asks Prof. Dink to investigate a level 5 administrative warning in the base reactor on the bottom level. Most of the group proceeds to the bottom level, but somehow they wound up in the main server room instead of heading directly to the reactor (probably a good thing for them). While they’re ruminating on what to do about HAL, the A.I. suddenly announces that it has detected a fire in the server room and is initiating fire suppression protocols…with the group trapped inside. They notice no fire in the room with them, but decide that it may be a good time to finally shut down the increasingly erratic (not to mention homicidal) A.I. system. They pull a few circuit boards and HAL shuts down, though they also shut down everything else connected to the network (like, say, computers, doors, elevators and, oh yeah, the automatic reactor fail-safes).
Unfortunately, HAL had downloaded a virus into every robot in the base (including Helperbot 5000). Helperbot, using its newfound sense of self, was able to compile an anti-virus application (in about 253 milliseconds) and wipe the virus. But hundreds of infected Roombah TK-101 bots start scurrying through the air ducts to the server room. Following them, the group discovers two things: 1) the Roombah bots are constructing a ramp to reach the pulled circuit boards and re-insert them (thus reactivating HAL), and 2) Roombah TK-101 bots are upgrade with mini-lasers. The timely application of an EMP grenade by Prof. Dink resolves the Roombah problem, but also fries most of the server room.
Eventually they find the main warehouses, so they’re able to loot just about any standard issue item they want, except guns and ammo. They find several large metallic canisters containing power armor, but are unable to open the canisters. CIA agent Stahl resolves to bring the base network back up, locating replacement boards and working diligently to replace them. The others ask whether Stahl had been sun-bathing…he’s beet red from head to foot. A quick check confirms their worst fears, the lower levels of the base are flooded with radiation. Quick application of anti-rad meds saves Stahl from a gruesome death, but now they need to fix the reactor fast.
About this time they also discover that a massive warbot in the main motorpool on the top level of the base is missing…apparently gone out the main blast doors into the wastelands. It seems corrupted HAL may have escaped the base after all.
Prof. Dink barely manages to activate the reactor fail-safes and then bring the reactor back on line, in the process discovering the bones of thousands of people resting at the bottom of the deep reactor pit. Apparently the old base A.I. (ZOD?) long ago killed off all the personal and dumped their remains in the reactor pit.
With the reactor restored, they bring up the base network, installing just the OS (and not the A.I. protocols). They have to manually activate everything, but they can at least move around the base without having to jury-rig the doors and elevators all the time. They also locate the armory, loading up on ammo and grabbing some nice tech guns. Figuring they can come back to the base any time they want, they load up a truck with supplies (and four power-armor canisters) and head out in search of a mysterious location mentioned in the base archives: Patriot City, near Lake Lahotan.