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Tue, Aug. 16th, 2016, 03:05 am
After the End: Week 18

Click here for the campaign/character summary.

Twitch grilled the dog carcasses and Dick gathered fruit while Jose and his helpers put together the radio jammer so they could storm the underground corridor: "I don't think this will last long, but it should do the job before it burns out." Randy grew impatient, however, and wanted to figure out how the little "trashcan" robots would react if attacked. So he threw a rock down at one. It fired two small glass darts at him, both of which missed, but when he went down to examine the pieces of one, he inhaled the nanoburn agent it had carried!

He stammered out, "Don't breathe it!" and reached into his pocket for the best counteragent he could think of, before collapsing, paralyzed. Twitch threw his climbing grapnel to catch Randy and pull him away from the dart. Dr. Cool forced the inhaled counteragent down his throat and flooded saline into his veins; it was enough to let Randy shake it off.

The jammer wasn't ready until late evening, but since the tunnel was pitch black either way, the group decided to head in. Jericho had a bit of experience with radio waves, so he modulated the jamming frequencies. And it seemed to work! All of the "trashcan" drone robots moved back to their charging stations. Unfortunately, as Twitch leaned in to watch this, he fell in -- right as the drones followed their In Case Connection Is Lost protocol by dumping all of their nanoburn into the corridor! Twitch succumbed immediately, but Jack tied a rope around his waist, jumped in, grabbed him, and got pulled out. Between Randy and Dr. Cool (fast becoming old hands at this!), they saved his life.

Jericho and Twitch had noticed a ventilation system in the walls, so Dick leaned in low and fired a flaming arrow at the mainframe on the far end. Sure enough, the sensor detected it and flushed the hall. The team jumped down as the drones were still rebooting and Dr. Cool quickly hacked the mainframe and shut down the drones. They learned that this system (including the disguised antennae) was controlling the "chaos fog" -- which used to be sentry nano. They contemplated how to use this knowledge, before deciding to simply reprogram it to follow a fixed pattern. (Later, Dick would send his hawk Mordecai back to their tribal allies with this info, so they could take advantage of the new, stable situation.)

Dr. Cool and Randy discovered that the machine still had some nanoburn to dispense, so they filled up glass darts with the remaining 13 doses and ripped open a drone to safely store them within. (The remaining nine drones got tossed in the wagon, of course.) Twitch explored the other way, where the corridor turned sharply and then slanted downward toward the mountain; but he almost ran into a pop-down turret! Jack tried approaching the turret with the metal ID cards they'd obtained, but it opened fire and he barely survived! So instead, Randy threw a warmed-up rock down the corridor, and when the turret popped down, Dick shot it with an explosive arrow. Boom! Unfortunately, following the corridor a hundred yards down just led to a collapsed tunnel.

They didn't want to take the computer apart, but they did rip its panels off to scavenge for anything useful within. Fortunately, they found a hypospray with 12 doses of nanoburn antidote -- and, in a hidden compartment, six golf-ball sized tangler grenades. Robots and all, it wasn't a bad haul!

Precis - The team learns (the hard way!) that the hidden underground corridor is protected by nanoburn-armed drones. But quick thinking, fast reflexes, and a bit of technical know-how keep them alive -- for now.