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Thu, Aug. 25th, 2016, 02:03 pm
After the End: Week 19

Click here for the campaign/character summary.

Midway through the night, Jericho (on watch) heard a mechanical, possibly robotic noise from the jungle. He quickly woke the others (except Dick, who felt that something was wrong) just in time for a man-sized cylinder on treads to approach the edge of the tree line and begin shooting at them from cover!

The team split up. Randy tossed his NVGs to Jericho and then followed Jack up the left side, while Twitch and a naked Dr. Cool headed up the right. Dick manned the electrolaser turret on the van, which Jose was using as cover. While continuing to shoot, the robot announced, "You are trespassing here. Lay down your weapons and approach me for interrogation." Jericho asked on whose authority, not expecting an answer, but the robot responded! "On my own, as the highest ranking member of MODI, whose base you have infiltrated."

(Remember, AI was never invented in this setting. As a rule, robots cannot converse outside of a very limited range of input/response options. Also, a few of the wastelanders recognized that acronym as the Ministry of Defense Initiatives, a government-sponsored corporate military group that degenerated into infighting between the "foundationists" and "people's army" when the Great Civil War began.)

Jose realized (and shouted out) that the robot was firing tangler rounds, not lethal ammo. Unfortunately, one hit the electrolaser right before Dick shot it, and it effectively zapped itself and shorted out. Jack, Randy, Twitch, and Dr. Cool continued to sneak up on the robot as Jericho kept it talking. Still shooting, it introduced itself as "Dr. James Delray," a foundationist scientist who did "this" (no details) to himself to survive.

Jack barked out orders and the team followed in a surprisingly well-coordinated attack. Dr. Cool shot out its sensor, Jack used a crowbar to separate the bot from its treads, Randy hit with a tangler grenade, and then Twitch kicked its torso away from its base. They gave it (him?) a chance to stand down, and the robot retracted its tangler turret. It seemed unfazed ("Very well, I will interrogate you from here.") and began trading questions and answers with them. It wasn't willing to share details about how it came to be or where it did the work, but it was otherwise pretty open. Among other things, it mentioned only having enough RTG power left for about six weeks of activity.

The famously open-minded Jericho suggested letting "James" come with them to explore the wasteland, and the robot agreed, but some of the others (especially Dick) didn't trust it. In the end, they decided to remove its weapons, except for the tangler (which will have one shot), while a few of them will follow its tread tracks back to its lair.
Precis - The wastelanders are attacked in the night by a strange robot who seems truly sentient. Is this the first actual AI? The uploaded brain pattern of a scientist? Or something else?