Part 7: Episode 7: Rent Asunder
Episode 7: Rent Asunder
At first it was somewhat intimidating being around the smartest beings in the universe. Then I realized that if they were so smart there's no way I'd have made it on the train. Confident in my ability to bullshit the brightest minds in the cosmos, I began hunting for clues about Dr. Bowman.
Arrival on Sunder (video). / Backup
Summary: Nothing vital. This video just sets atmosphere.
Dr. Torricelli: I hope you like talking to people. It's funny. You've got one of those faces. You make me want to talk to you. I bet you get a lot of that… strangers telling you secrets they wouldn't tell their own therapists.
Do you think I look like a movie star?
Dr. Pfaff: He's into dirt. I'm into water. I've spent the last two years in the ocean depths of Tentac X where we're still discovering sentient creatures. Parts of the ocean on Tentac X are so deep it takes six months to depressurize from an expedition. That's what I've been doing this year.
I still can't hear anything out of my left ear.
Dr. Meziriac: I've been collecting soil samples from volcanoes on Hephaestus. There's been unusual tectonic activity on that planet for years.
Dr. Pfaff: Maybe it has something to do with the heavy amount of MysTech that turns up in the lava.
Dr Meziriac: Gee, you think? How alien art ended up circulating in the planet's tectonic cycle is beyond me.
Hey, you look nice enough. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Don't look too excited. It's about me.
People ask me why I got into volcanology in the first place. Most of my colleagues will tell you it's because volcanoes reveal the character of the planet. Some are concerned with saving lives by remote sensing of eruptions. But me?
You wanna know why I got into volcanoes?
I love it when they erupt and go "Fzfzfzfzfzssssshhhhhh!!!"
Tell anyone and I'll kill you.
All of the scientists were completely worthless.
Except for one.
Dr. Labbe: I hoped you would come over here. I noticed you wearing a Cordicom Linguinator. I've been working on a side project that might just interest you….
You see, most consumer linguinators on the market today are incredibly clumsy, especially that Cordicom knock-off you're wearing. The translations are ungrammatical, and unknown slang even causes certain modules to crash.
Most importantly, if you come across any languages that aren't already pre-programmed into the conversion module, you're sick outta luck. Now just imagine the Rosetta Stone of linguinators… one that translates alien languages that are not in the linguinator translation table. Here's how it works.
First, the unknown language is run through a series of very complicated algorithms which check for recurring phonetic patterns and cross-references them against the Berzak-Fillini lingua cipher. Then the actuator spits out an on-the-fly translation. Simple in theory, yet it took fifteen painstaking years of development.
Here, plug this adapter into your linguinator. Do me a favor and report any bugs you might encounter.
I spent the rest of the flight avoiding interaction with the scientists and thinking of how we'd go about contacting Dr. Bowman on Sunder.
Thankfully, it was a short flight. I was still going over how we'd find Dr. Bowman. I seemed to recall-
Oh please, not this again.
Ha! It takes more than SenderNet to be a detective, doll. I guess she was snoozing on Sender Station. We had already learned that the Rainbow Sanctuary was where the heretic scientists were locked up.
I began gathering information from the locals.
Dr. Martin: Movies are too long these days. I usually prefer the shorter, edited, in-flight version over the original director's cut. You know what else I hate? Those "aren't-we-clever" movies with obscure, self-referential humor no one except the writer gets. Those drive me up the wall.
You know what else I hate?
Strangers assaulting me at the starport. Beat it before I call security.
Dr. Aki: You're gonna be in an awful lot of trouble if the Scientifica Association gets wind of what you're up to, Doctor Engel.
Dr. Engel: They're too wrapped up in soliciting funds for their precious grants to take notice of my extracurricular activities. I can assure you that no one will be the wiser as long as-
Would you mind? This is a private conversation.
Dr. Mong Sr.: I will return within two cycles, my son. Focus on your work while I am absent.
Dr. Mong Jr.: Father, I am experiencing feelings of sorrow.
Sr. : Pay them no heed, my son. They will only interfere with your work.
Jr. : Father, what if the experiment fails because you are not here?
Sr. : The experiment will not fail because I am not here, my son. The experiment will fail if you make a careless mistake.
Jr. : Father, who is my mother?
Sr. : Now is not the appropriate time for this conversation, my son.
Jr. : Is it Doctor Yusp? She always treated me differently, father.
Sr. : Calm yourself, my son.
Jr. : Father, is it true you stole and took credit for a colleague's work at university?
Sr. : Let us discuss this upon my return, my son.
Jr. : You are not my father.
We left the mourning father and continued deeper into the station for Dr. Bowman. Finding Dr. Yusp would probably be ok too.
Or Dr. Batheny.
Dr. Batheny: I'm nervous. Can you tell?
I design advanced ion propulsion engines. I know space flight is safe. But look… my hands are shaking. I need to relax. Someone told me I should try making fists with my toes…
I was going to offer to help her relax, but Fatima threw me a nasty look. It looked like someone else had his eye on the beautiful Dr. Batheny anyway.
Dr. Jude: Don't look now, but I think the young lady sitting over there keeps looking over at me. Okay, look now. Wait, don't. She's looking. Okay, now, now!
Did you see her? She looks nervous. I've probably got her all flustered, poor thing. She's adorable, isn't she?
She keeps squirming her toes. I bet she's afraid I'm going to walk over there ant talk to her. She's probably very shy. You think I should go talk to her?
I love good train wreck as much as everyone else.
Me: Of course! Now's your chance. Go! GO!
Ah, that was fun. But we had real work to do.
Dr. Tess Winn: Boy that was odd. I just bumped into the strangest-looking guy as I was leaving the bathroom. He couldn't have been a scientist… he was wearing red and black body armor. His face was evil.
He didn't say anything. He just stared at me, then strode off. I got chills. Hell, I'm getting chills now. Look at my arm. The more moments that pass, the more it seems like I imagined him. That was truly bizarre.
Should I report this to someone?
Excellent. Finally a scientist that actually answers my own questions instead of going on and on about whatever the hell is on his or her mind.
Hmm I wonder where the security checkpoint is? Oh maybe it's over there with the multicolored lasers and the PAX Guard.
Officer Perrot: HALT. Do you have Class C security clearance?
Me: Class C security clearance?
Perrot: Beyond this gate is the Rainbow Sanctuary. It's restricted. Heretics only.
I'm afraid I couldn't lower the lasers even if I wanted to. The disabling frequencies are known only by three guards, and each one only knows one frequency each.
Me: What if I cleverly distract you and lower them while you're not looking?
Perrot: I guess in theory it would be possibly to interrupt the flow of the lasers without a clearance keycard…
Me: Interrupt them how?
Perrot: Well there are three types of lasers running in high modulation behind me. If someone found the control panel for each one and managed to get the disabling frequencies from the three guards, then they could switch the lasers to low modulation.
Me: And that would lower the gate?
Perrot: Well once the lasers are switched to low modulation, you still have to block the flow with something.
Me: Block them with what?
Perrot: Well, I suppose you could block the lasers with pretty much anything thin enough to fit in the laser unit card slot.
Wow, even the PAX Guards are smarter on Sunder. In short, we had to find the three laser frequencies and something thin to block the flow of the lasers. The frequencies were only known to PAX Guards.
Searching for PAX Guards, we stumbled onto the Starport Lounge. It had been a while since my last drink.
Me: Cups up.
Alright, now the investigation could proceed.
Me: Sure, why not.
How convenient. Perhaps these could be used to stop the flow of the lasers.
A PAX Guard was talking with a scientist. Maybe he knew one of the frequencies.
Me: Excuse me, but what's the frequency?
I stealthily maneuvered around to his briefcase and picked its lock. Inside was his daily agenda.
493 Thz was one of the laser codes. I quietly walked away.
Damn scientist couldn't keep to himself. The PAX Guard was upset, but he didn't do anything. I guess he figured it didn't matter since the code was worthless on its own. That's it perv, I'm telling all the lab assistants about your goggles…unless you give me a pair of course.
Leaving the bar, we headed back into the main section of the station, near where our shuttle had landed. A PAX Guard was brutalizing a newspaper machine.
Officer Rabia: I'm taking anger management courses. I'm supposed to tense my muscles and breathe in.
He said as he clubbed the machine again.
Rabia: The anger is draining out of me… the anger is draining out of me. I'm going to leave the anger behind me. I'm going to step out of my-
Another devastating blow to the machine.
Rabia: Sshhh. I'm okay. Really. I'm very centered. The anger is draining out of me…
Me: If I get that paper for you, will you give me the laser frequency?
Rabia: You got yourself a DEAL! It's not like you can do anything bad with it, right? It's worthless without the other frequencies.
I almost felt bad for the machine. PAL was cringing.
Rabia: Besides, if you did anything bad with it… I'd spill your brains across the starport.
Pal interfaced with the machine, and was able to make it produce the paper.
Another frequency is 691! Only one more frequency to go.
A third PAX Guard was in the upper levels of the station, but something else caught my eye first.
He pulled off his sock. I quickly turned away to talk to the nearby PAX Guard.
Alright, let's try the direct approach.
Me: Can you tell me the frequency of the laser?
Officer Down: I've had a grueling day and I don't have time to talk to morons. Take a hike.
Have it your way.
I inserted my earplugs.
Now all we had to do was input the codes at the terminals.
Note: The game never tells you which frequency goes with which color laser, but somehow if you hit f1 to bring up the Fatima menu, she knows.
All of the terminals were in the central area nearby where we exited our shuttle. For some reason they were all unprotected.
We entered in the proper frequencies and used the cards the block the flow. The gate should be open now.
The lasers were indeed down, but the PAX Guard was still there.
I love you too man.
A moving sidewalk carried us down a long hallway. Eventually we reached a break in the path where a few of the heretics were hanging out.
Lynox: Case in point: I was toying with the gravimetric flux of inanimate objects when I inadvertently found a way to reverse the polarity of my boots. Now I've got myself some dandy anti-gravity footgear.
Pretty neat, eh? I bet you wish YOU had a pair! Well, gotta go! And it's up, up, and AWAY.
Say hi to flingbot for me when you get up there.
I'm gonna take a guess that this is the rainbow sanctuary.
I don't know why there's moss in this chest, but it was locked so it must be important.
Me: We'd like to see Dr. Rho Bowman please.
Incredible. He had never gotten angry when I condescended to him before. I'd have to have him looked at.
She led us through a series of doors. Each door had a button with four colors as a lock. Only the proper combination of four colors could open the door.
This lead back into an open room with a number of heretic scientists, one of which was Dr. Xiuwen.
Me: It's in an unlabeled Cordican bank account. Access codes arrive via SenderNet shortly.
Dr. Xiuwen: Very well.
More importantly, we also found a TACO.
Just a few more color-coded doors…
And we reached Dr. Bowman's office(video). / Backup
Summary: Bowman is working on an experiment using MysTech when the team enters. She's trying to recreate conditions to extract the energy dormant in the MysTech. The experiment elicits a faint blue puff of smoke, but nothing more. She theorizes that MysTech is from a future universe and responds to spatial disturbances. While Grumpos and Bowman talk, the mystech begins to glow bright blue. Bowman freaks out and tells them that they need to get off of the planet.
Years of detective work had so sharpened my senses that the missing key was found in seconds.
8 minutes? Should be no problem. Anyway, what's the worst that could happen?
Oh great, we have to leave through the color-locked doors. Luckily my eidetic memory made this simple.
We charged back into the waiting room to get Pal and warn the receptionist.
Me: Doll, you need to get the hell outta here.
She didn't take me seriously…No time to argue with her.
This door led to the underground tunnels.
The labyrinthine tunnels spread all over the planet. After wandering, we frantically began asking directions.
Real funny, pal.
Even though he was an ass, I tried to warn him too, but once again I was ignored.
Time was running out quickly. Every time we thought we were making progress, we hit a dead end.
I didn't even try warning that guy.
We followed BotBot's directions.
Finally. Just under 4 minutes to go.
Normally, I'd discount such premonitions, but this time I begged her to act on them. Just like the others, she refused.
All of the MysTech? Not just the stuff in Bowman's office?
We ran through the station up to Gate 12. At least impenetrable force field guy would be ok.
There it was! Bowman's shuttle!
We boarded the shuttle. (video) / Backup
Summary: Boots, Pal, and Grumpos wait for Bowman to return, and they attempt to fly off the planet. The planet is ripped in half by some force.
We dodged debris and other ships as we struggled to escape the planet.
Dr. Bowman guided the shuttle expertly, avoiding the obstacles, and we made it out of Sunder's atmosphere.
And then…. / Backup
Summary: A portal opens up between the two halves of the planet. The portal issues forth a huge fireball, obliterating one half. This sends a shockwave out that is heading straight for the shuttle. All seems lost until they find a Sender Spike in the area. They jump into the spike without knowing where it goes.
End: I hope that's cliffhangy enough for you.