Peace settles over the complex and a sleeping baby lays. Thanks to the innovation of Aya Bach and Larz the heroes finish up taking care of their water needs, at least for now. However, all is not well. For the first time in his life, Robert Castell is sick and there are still 44 hours before they can use their newly acquired Control Key to access the Pink Room. Plus, where the heck is Archimedes the Magic Pigeon?
May 11, 110 P.A.
While Gobi patiently waited for his armor to heal, Viktor’s inability to remain still compelled him to explore further, taking Aya along for the ride. After toying with the spring directly on the next ledge in an attempt to figure out its capabilities, Aya destroyed it with a blast from her rifle. With a long incline ahead that was littered with more springs and another aged exoskeleton-pilot stationed at the top, the duo thought it best to return to Gobi before proceeding too far.
Five hours later, Gobi’s armor was fully repaired and the group were ready to proceed once again. They traversed up the slope and blasted away a second spring before encountering a meditating Sprayandwipe and the remains of a third spring. Realizing that Sprayandwipe was somehow using the trance to heal his wounds, the group opted to wait for him rather than leave him to deal with the trials of this dungeon alone. Uneasy about waiting patiently with the barrel-tossing geezer in such close proximity, both Gobi and Viktor opted to take the time to determine what the stranger’s intentions were. After blasting away the next spring, Gobi attempted to initiate a dialogue with the man within the exoskeleton, using the final spring as a safety net in case he attempted to throw any barrels. Regardless of how much Gobi tried, he was unable to elicit a reaction from the geezer and instead resorted to neutralizing him by trying to blow off the exoskeleton’s arms. After a few successful shots, the arm still remained intact but after one final errant shot, the geezer’s human arm was not so lucky. After the geezer didn’t react to his own arm being blown off, it became clear that his senses were so dulled that regardless of what Gobi’s Lemurian senses declared, this creature was far from what could be considered alive. With that conclusion in mind, Gobi opted to put him out of his misery and this time aimed at the man and ending his life swiftly. After his death the exoskeleton’s self-destruct triggered, resulting in a fiery explosion much the same as the orange exoskeleton had hours before. With that threat now removed, the final spring was easily dealt with and both Gobi and Viktor went to return to the now waking Sprayandwipe, only to witness the return of Rob.
After being taken by a mass of tentacles, Rob found himself seemingly alone in a darkened room with only the hiss of a stranger breaking the illusion of solitude. Attacking the darkness with a Globe of Daylight revealed a severely damaged cyborg torso that expressed great discomfort to the light. At the Cyborg’s request (who now revealed his name as [[Dr. Henry Clemons “Doctor Bastardstro” | Henry]]), Rob ended the spell to remove that aspect of the Cyborg’s suffering. As the Cyborg spoke, it became clear that he struggled to retain the use of his cybernetic speech and that conversation was challenging for the near defunct Cyborg. Together both Rob and the Cyborg traveled to a lab out the back where the ‘Borg offered to help Rob reach his full potential in return for killing an unnamed woman. Agreeing to the terms of Henry, Rob gave him a blood sample so the Borg’s creation could be finished. After completion, the Borg fastened a collar onto Rob insisting that it would “complete” him and that he would be able to ignore the rules of the game; he also insisted that contact could only be maintained within the level which the group were currently traversing. After receiving his collar, Rob was transported back to the start of the level and jumped the spikes ready to catch up with his friends. Due to having seen the same warning video that Gobi had, Rob knew to ignore the ladder and continue past it as Gobi had before. With all of the obstacles having already been dealt with, Rob had an easy time catching up and mounted the ascending slope just in time to see Gobi destroy the final spring.
After immediately noticing Rob’s new accessory, Viktor began interrogating Rob on the artifact and where it came from. After a brief conversation, Rob explained that the device injected directly into his neck and should allow him to break the rules.
The troop now all together and recovered, opted to waste no more time and proceed. At the top of the slope, over the ledge stood a tesla coil that sporadically shot eerie green arcs of lightning into the surrounding area. After shooting and destroying it, it began spraying out a substance that acted as a pretty serious warning to not continue shooting the thing. Taking that warning to heart, the group instead ran past the coil, hoping to avoid its blasts while Rob attempted to parry them with his energy sword. Rob was the only one to be struck but he seemed to endure it without difficulty.
Ahead lay a trap that proved more challenging than expected. Several spears rose from the ground and lowered from the roof with no pattern the troop could discern. Although the trap seemed random, Sprayandwipe, Rob, Viktor and Larz all navigated it with both grace and ease. However, Gobi and Aya hesitated for a moment and found themselves trapped within and repeatedly stabbed several times, each time their progress halted by the sporadic eruption of another spear. After standing back and watching the two get pelted by spears for almost half a minute, Sprayandwipe finally chose to re-enter the fray and help Aya just as Gobi finally found his way out of the death trap. Although Sprayandwipe leaped in there with the best of intentions, he was of little help to the panicked Aya and only found himself falling prey to the very trap which he had so effortlessly navigated earlier. As Gobi pulled Aya out of the trap, Sprayandwipe regained his composure and exited once again.
Already wanting to take another moment to give his armor time to heal, Gobi asked if the group were willing to wait and also frustrated by Gobi’s cautious movement, they agreed. While waiting, Larz opted to investigate the three crates stacked upon each other. Finding nothing he desired within triggered his atavistic amphibian impulses and like a savage beast, began launching the crates towards the previously encountered spike traps regardless of how much the rest of the troop protested. Acting quickly thanks to his extreme alien agility, Viktor managed to intercept the crates and investigate them himself before they were destroyed. Although, the Crazy Sprayandwipe felt the issue needed more of a remedy than simply compensating for the flaws of others. Taking the matter into his own hands, Sprayandwipe crept up on Larz and dropped a smoke grenade at his feet. Reacting to the attack with an instinctive “freakout”, Larz let out a crazed yell and randomly tossed a smoke grenade of his own and then scurried up the wall like a Gecko and hid in the corner of the room.
As the group sat there bombarded by the relentless smoke and unable to move for fear of wandering back into the spike trap, frustrations rose to breaking point. After several minutes, the smoke finally cleared and at Viktor’s request, Gobi helped him with the final unopened box, only to reveal that it had been unknowingly opened by Sprayandwipe, who still remained within. With that act of insanity reinforcing Gobi’s unpleasant opinion of the mentally-ill, he telepathically messaged Aya, Viktor and Rob — telling them that he wasn’t too damaged to continue and that finding somewhere safer from insanity to rest was of a higher priority. As the troop moved on, Viktor tapped the box Sprayandwipe claimed as is new home to indicate that we were moving on. Although Sprayandwipe returned the musical tapping, he remained within the box and did not appear to advance with the rest of the troop as the pressed on.
Ahead lay another spear trap similar to the one encountered previously but in this case, the spears did not seem mobile or jetting from the floor at random, instead they were permanently ejected. The button that lay in front of them made their function obvious – by standing on the button, they would retract and enable passage beyond. Rather than deal with the annoyance of juggling buttons, Gobi opted for the tried and tested brute force approach and broke off one of the spears. after receiving a “Cheater” warning, it became clear that enduring the annoyance of juggling buttons would be the only option; that was until Rob too tried breaking off the spears. Rob’s new Gothic collar accessory seemed to come through and he was able to break the spears with impunity. Ahead there was a similar button and spear combination but Rob was able to muscle through them just the same.
Over the next ledge stood another tesla coil-like device, this time in close proximity to a lever hanging from the roof. Knowing that he would probably have to hang from that lever and perhaps for quite some time, Gobi was unwilling to let that tesla continue to exist, even if the one prior had expelled a potentially dangerous substance. After blasting the tesla into nothingness, it ejected a field of dust which covered the nearby floor. Viktor’s thermal optics registered some extreme readings from the substance and he warned the group to err on the side of caution. Not understanding the danger but still not willing to place the group in any more risk than necessary, Gobi leaped onto the handle hanging from the roof, which lowered with a solid “click”, with one hand he helped the rest of the group across the strange dust, with the sole exception of Rob who refused the aid and the warning then walked across the substance in an uncaring fashion.
Now past both the now defunct coil and the dust it expelled, the group encountered a platform that was raising up and down at rapid speeds that was connected to the pulley Gobi had pulled only moments before. The group made it onto the moving platform with little difficulty, all except for Aya who misjudged her jump and fell several feet as the platform had already begun moving back down. At the bottom, Aya, Rob and Larz who insisted on following the troop; all made it off the platform without issue. Gobi and Viktor however found themselves stuck within the gap between the platform and the wall as it rose quicker than they could escape it. Viktor was protected by Gobi’s massive bulk acting as a wedge so he could slide out without difficulty. Returning the favoor, Viktor used his shield in a similar fashion, wedging it in the gap so Gobi could retract his armor and slide through himself. Gobi returned Viktor’s shield with an expression of gratitude. Rob again smashed his way through the next spike wall which was the only obstacle remaining between the group and a crab bot.
As Gobi fought with the particularly vicious crab, Rob pulled a box from the nearby stack with the intention of trapping the Crab within like they had way back at the start of the level. Although the surprisingly combative Crab managed to get off a lucky shot which seriously damaged Gobi’s armor, it was successfully restrained. Within the remaining boxes lay some bottles of water filled with eerie green sparkles that Viktor dubbed “Star Water.” This Star Water exhibited the same strange thermal readings as both the dust from the coils and consequently Rob’s legs.
Considering the damage suffered at the claws of the Fighty Crab, this time Gobi did insist that he needed time to recover. Complying with his wishes, the troop waited for a couple more hours before Rob smashed the spears blocking their path so they could continue to another fast moving elevator. After the near-death experiences provided by the previous elevator, this time the troop had Rob use the pulley to control the platform in order to minimize the risk. On their way down, the mobile party noticed a series of boxes stacked within the wall which took their interest. After Rob raised the platform to the right level, the group captured their prize and within each box lay a cube of stone with engravings of body parts on them, enough body parts to make a caricature of a giant man. Taking the strange contents to the bottom, Larz began enthusiastically constructing the giant man as Rob successfully navigated the mobile platform to join them below. With Larz’s expectations of creating some golem-like creature not met, Rob found a better use for the stone slabs and used them to surround the coil ahead so the group could navigate past it and the conveyor that led back to it without difficulty.
Beyond the conveyor lay a series of platforms that periodically blasted massive torrents of green flame into the area above them. Unimtimidated by the prospect of being burned alive, Larz impulsively leaped through the first torrent safely but then found himself caught in the flame on the second. the searing flames instantly disintegrated the remains of his space suit and inspired him to rethink his impulsiveness; taking up a familiar place in the corner of the ceiling and waiting for the rest of the troop before continuing to the third. After Larz had unwittingly, but all too thoroughly demonstrated the devastating power of the flames, Rob opted to protect the troop with a portion of his magics by casting Armor of Ithan invocation on everyone, except for Gobi who preferred to place his faith in his symbiotic Bio-armor. The group managed to catch up to Larz without incident and Rob then empowered the final unarmored member of the troop with his magic, sheathing the naked amphibian in a shimmering blue field.
Beyond the final flame torrent stood another exoskeleton-clad geezer, this one as motionless as the one before. Believing that he was as desensitized as the previous exoskeletonal pilots the group had encountered, Rob and Gobi began lining up shots with lethal intent while both Aya and Viktor ran into close combat. Although Viktor navigated the flame with expert skill, Aya was not so lucky and found herself wreathed in blinding green nuclear fire. Quite horrified by the experience and losing control of her own faculties, the panicked Aya fled from the voices of her companions. As Viktor ran into close combat and Aya ran around like a headless chicken, the exoskeleton’s proximity sensors were triggered and he summoned a barrel to toss onto the duo in front of him. Having already lined up his shot, Gobi blasted the man within the exoskeleton before he could throw the barrel, causing its self-destruct to initiate and him to drop the barrel below which only made Aya’s combustion issue worse. As hasty as ever, Viktor was able to speedily escape the blast radius but the flaming Aya did not seem capable of the same grace with her instincts being tainted by the horror of being burned alive. Realizing the problem, Gobi attempted to intercept Aya and shield her body with his own but his Bio-Armor resisted as it wanted nothing to do with the radioactive flames which surrounded her. Regardless of Gobi’s intentions, Aya was able to evade the explosion in time with her uncontrolled movements directing her into the final room which was occupied by a M.O.M. implanted, intelligent baby riding a robot.
Still not in control of her faculties, Aya ran toward the infant as the rest of the group converged on the ledge above and looked on in shock. Threatened by the flaming Aya, the baby reacted and instructed his automated turrets to gun her down. While Viktor dealt with the turrets, Gobi attempted to quell the baby by offering him the pacifier he recovered earlier and enticing him by making it seem extremely pleasant. Although the baby was clearly enticed, he didn’t seem up for negotiations and instead flew into a blinding rage and focused all of his efforts on destroying Gobi, trying to take the pacifier for himself. Using the baby’s enraged state to his advantage, Gobi lured him back to the nearest flame projector and began fighting him where he was most vulnerable. After enduring multiple missile volleys and rocket fist attacks, Gobi’s armor was seriously wounded and he threw the pacifier to Rob in order to finish the job. With the baby’s attention now on Rob, the duo were able to finish off the toddler’s exoskeleton with Rob atomizing it by releasing a significant amount of stored kinetic energy directly into it. Although the baby seemed defeated, he was prepared for much more and looked like he was willing to fight Rob bare-knuckle. Instead, Gobi expertly grabbed the child from behind and held him up to Rob, instructing the Sea Titan to jam the pacifier into the baby’s mouth. After finally tasting the delights of the pacifier, the baby fell asleep, seemingly no longer a threat. After a fierce battle, the two joined the others back in the final room where Aya and Larz had been fighting over control of the computer console.
Although Larz seemed both capable and willing to disrupt Aya’s field of expertise, he eventually got bored and let her tinker with the machine herself. Much to her surprise, she soon determined it was the sewage controls for a large sector of Tritonia and that she was able to direct the waste and water to these pipes so the group could replenish their supplies and jury-rig a makeshift shower. By using one of the spears to drill a hole in the pipe that was located above the grate that led to the lava below, she managed to release water for the group and created a plug from another spearhead so she could control its flow. Victorious and their water supplies replenished (at least for now!) the troop turned their attention to the timer into the Pink Room, although the window of activation would not be ready for another 40+ hours.