Part 73: Calculator's Lair: The EndI JUST MIGHT. That game doesn't need video and I could come up with banter for my four original renegades.
Fair warning: I would skip the greenhouses when given the choice. Fuck that level.
OK, since October is bearing down on me and I might be doing stuff for the next two days, here's the last/second to last update (I might decide to do a closing thoughts post).
Post 73: Calculator's Lair: Grey Matter Matters
The elevator finally stopped descending. With a melodic ping the door slip opened, revealing a small lobby than wound around the elevator shaft. There were several consoles and a bleached old poster.
One more, dear friends, once more unto the breach!
Mandy just rolled her eyes.
Echoboy showed that there was a large L shaped room ahead. To Flashman, that screamed ambush!
General Barnaky... had changed. Where once stood a ruggedly handsome, gruff man now was a machine topped by a brain in tank of strange fluid.
There was nothing left to do but lay him to his rest.
General Barnaky charged the squad as the other ambushing robots opened fire.
He didn't get far. The squad concentrated fire on the former commander and blasted him to the ground.
That was... human of him.
Maybe the bullets had dislodged something inside the metallic shell of the general. Maybe his love for his wife actually dragged back to humanity. Either way, Barnaky departed the room in haste. The squad was left to mop up the rest of the robots.
It wasn't too hard, as the squad had dismantled hundreds of these combat androids before.
And as Stitch was learning back at the elevator, putting a robot back together without damaging it even more was significantly harder that making one explode.
The squad followed the trail of general out of the room which was all fine and good, since there was only one way out.
Two turrets flanking a bridge on either side barred their way, but it was easy to fire at them outside of their effective range.
There were two turrets just outside the door, clearly placed there to shoot at the backs of any unwary intruders. The guns tried to bring Flashman down, but he was clad in armor of both contempt and advanced ceramics.
Apparently the Calculator's lair had been established in a naturally occuring cave deep below the mountains. The choice was an interesting one. Did they feel that the place offered enough stability? Were the project managers looking forward to save even more funds? Nobody would know now.
The Calculator's lair was... underwhelming. It was a simple room with a console in the center. A machine of indeterminable purpose stood to the left of the console, flanked by Barnaky-bot, who was mumbling to itself. Four tanks with floating brains stood at the back.
Flashman expected more databanks, overgrown flesh intertwined with computers, flashing technology of the future, something that would match the stature of their enemy.
The cowardly machine enacted defense protocols.
Before anyone could react, great blast doors rose up, hiding the console from the rest of the world. Was the Calculator contained in that sole console? Was the entirety of humanity's future encased in one single computer that wasn't even that big?
However, the brain tanks were down right chatty. They just couldn't shut up. Living their solipsistic, isolated lives, they only spouted lines apparently connected to their pre-disembodiment lives. All those years of isolation might have cause irreparable psychological damage, reducing the pre-war luminaries to poor parodies of their former selves.
Didn't those consoles mention that the Calculator was to merge with the brains?
The heavy machine gun had no trouble shattering the brain tanks. The mysterious liquid washed down on the floor as it mixed with shards of glass and torn up brain matter.
A door slid open at the corner of the room.
Is that some sort of security procedure? Because it's kind of horrible.
Maybe that's where they're holding the spare brains. Let's go.
The room held turrets and humanoid robots.
They didn't put up much of a fight.
The biggest trouble was in the resilience of the pop-up turrets.
Behind the robots was a small room with the brains of an artist.
He did not survive.
An another door popped open in the main room.
First the doors on the left, now the doors on the center, and the ones on the right remain closed. Do you think...
...that we're going to retread the same thing as the last room two more times?
Yes. Whoever built this place was an idiot.
More robots and turrets.
And an another defenseless, fragile brain jar.
Flashman killed the last surviving classically trained scientist.
Here we go again...
No more politicians.
Back in the room, the blast doors receded.
Could the Calculator be bluffing? Flashman was sure of that. Who would have left ten Behemoths so deep in the caverns, far away from anywhere where they would be useful? How would the Calculator get them in here, and why didn't it do it sooner, to prevent the destruction of the brains?
Flashman wanted to see where this went.
The machine was appealing to Flashman's duty, humanity and even vanity. This meant that it surely had the capacity to lie.
Was it lying now? How would one brain help fix the effects of the corruption? How could it replace the 8 brains Calculator had used before?
Flashman could easily remain passive and let the Calculator die. It wouldn't be able to call in Behemoths in 30 seconds, and who knows what would happen to the robots once they lost central control.
I'm going in.
You sure? I don't know if merging with an abominable intelligence is healthy for the soul.
You sure it's not lying, boss?
You gon do it, mon?
I'm set. At the very worst, I'll die, but the the Brotherhood will survive, and that's all that a Brotherhood soldier can hope for.
He stepped into the machine.
OH MY GOD
The removal process was fast and extremely violent. Flashman's body was just ripped into pieces, his guts spilling on the platform and bloody bits flying everywhere.
Mandy started heaving.
Flashman felt his sense of self expand.
This was completely different. He didn't just have two eyes; he had eyes all over the wasteland. Eyes and sensors beyond his wildest dreams. He could see all, sense all.
The robots crawling over the wasteland felt even less than appendages. He had had two hands before; now he moved legions of metallic soldiers with as much effort as he needed to land a punch.
With the robots falling back, the Brotherhood regrouped and received the good news from Vault 0. Soon it was filled with scribes poking and proding everything that wasn't essential for the continued operation of Calcu-Warrior. Repo squad was not allowed entrance into the lair.
It took some time for the soldiers to get used to the robots that had just been their enemies. But their sigils soon adorned the sides of the Behemoths that strode through the wasteland carrying riders on their patrols. Humanoids were either parceled out to boosts the firepower of patrols or grouped into their own dedicated assault sections. Tunnel fighting was left to scurry bots that would rip any resistance to shreds. There was a new niche for everything.
Even general Barnaky.
The power and control over the robots impressed the natives mightily. Whoever could not be swayed diplomatically would be bent through superior tactics and firepower.
The Brotherhood soon started exerting influence over most of the East cost. Freed from the shackles of internal recruitment, it was growing like never before. Tribal, villagers and even ghouls were a malleable material that could be formed into a Brotherhood soldier. After all, once you serve, you serve for life. For super mutants and deathclaws, fighting was already in their blood.
And these new brothers and sisters helped the Brotherhood reclaim, reestablish and staff many a pre-war bunker. Culture, science, medicine, security and stability radiated from these spots on the map.
All paid tribute to the Brotherhood.
And a lone robot would always come around to bring freshly-picked wasteland flowers to a grave at the last of the original bunkers.