Part 10: The Machine Spirits Are Appeased
The Machine Spirits Are Appeased
If what you're trying to ask is whether Martian Dreams has a cheat mode, I don't believe that it does. There's a hack to enable U6-style cheats, but it can mess with the text in the game and I don't want to risk making the game unwinnable at this point. I don't really need the cheats, as fun as it might be to recruit Teddy Roosevelt.
Hellas is pretty much empty. This seems to have been a place for the Martians to kick off their footbags and sink their roots into some water.
Polka-Playing Plantoid Martians sounds like some kind of really retro B-movie parody. I could see Bruce Campbell in it. But then again, I could see Bruce Campbell in this game.
A rusted door. It can be oiled, but I won't do that just yet, because I don't need to go in here right now.
The greenhouse has several useful things, including a bucket, some chemicals which may be useful as fertilizer later, and the sole inhabitant of Hellas, the "crazy hermit" Segal tried to warn me about.
Turns out he's not so much crazy as annoying.
You see a thin, pinched-looking man who looks very bored.
At the sound of your voice, he starts violently, then rushes up to meet you. "Hello! Hello! At last! A real person to talk to. You don't know how boring it's been having nobody to talk to that would answer me back!"
"Nice to meet someone who isn't a jerk or a crazy Martian myself. I'm Steve."
"Marcus Chaney. On Earth, I worked as an actuary for the firm of Dicker and Higgins. It has proved to be a wonderful career choice. At Olympus though, they've started calling me Mad Marcus."
"I daresay you're saner than most of the people we've met so far."
Shrugging, he says, "That's all Segal's fault. Years ago, after we first arrived on Mars and set up at Olympus, I used the Dream Machine that was there. Segal got angry and threw me out of the settlement, claiming that anyone who used the machines went crazy and started thinking they were Martians. As you can see, that's simply not the case."
"Yeah, but everyone else has turned into Martians. Or been possessed by them."
"Well, it's true that Mr. Lowell and his group at Elysium DID act really strange after they used the machine. Seems that they all started trying to live like the dead Martians, and forgot all about Earth or trying to get back home. That's when Segal smashed up the machine in Olympus. I went there after I got expelled, but I just didn't like it there, what with everyone trying to act like a plant. After all, I'M not crazy. So I wandered off and finally ended up here in this abandoned city called Hellas a few months ago." He looks around and sighs. "It sure got lonely here. At first, it wasn't too bad, because I found some Martian berries that let me talk to the old Martian machines that were around here." Looking up, he says, "But now I can talk to you! You're a much better conversationalist than those machines."
"I'm sorry, did you say you spoke to the machines here?"
"From eating berries, no less! I heard him say it myself!"
"It's true! They really work! Once you eat the berries, you gain the power to talk to certain objects. I remember reading about this ability once in the 'World.' It was called 'Psychometry.' Problem is though, I can't get to my supply anymore because of the damned Jumping Beans that have taken over the garden where I used to pick the berries. Once you eat them, you will see this strange kind of... aura around any objects that you can talk to." He grins. "It's a little unsettling at first, but I got so lonely I'd have talked to anything."
"Well, I don't need any excuse to eat strange berries. Tell us a little about your experience with the Dream Machine, Marcus."
His voice perks up and he begins to pace. "It's really one of the most fascinating devices that I have ever seen in my life! When I used it, I was able to go into a dream and walk about this dream-like world, even though I was wide awake! At first, it was loads of fun! But as I explored a bit, I realized that the machine could be quite dangerous. There are so many things you can do there. It just depends on your own imagination. And on how willing you are to pick up everything you can along the way. You never know when something might be useful, you know! Your imagination seems to control what you can see in there. Sometimes you can even imagine what you need to get out by using the dreamstuff. It's this energy, sort of, that you can shape into something you're thinking of. So if you're thinking of-"
"-of an object and you can use the dreamstuff-"
"-it becomes what you imagined! You know, 'the stuff that dreams are made of' and all that, Shakespeare, that's why I call it dreamstuff."
"Marcus! Why is it dangerous?"
"Oh! Of course! While in the dream-world, I thought that I saw Mr. Lowell and several of the others that had been on the capsule with me. They all seemed to be experiencing nightmares, some of which looked quite hellish. Although I got out while I could, I think that the others may be trapped. I saw some things, Martians, in the dream-world, and while a few seemed complacent, there were many that were searching for humans to trap so they could go and possess their bodies in the Dream Machines. Fortunately, I figured out something important."
"And that is?"
"So long as your body is waiting and ready, you can return to it by waking yourself. All you need to do is talk to yourself. Of course, if someone or something has beaten you to your body, then you'll remain trapped in your dreams while your body is possessed by the other creature! I just wish there were some way to rescue Mr. Lowell and the others..."
"If we could enter their dreams, could we save them?"
Shaking his head, he says, "I thought about it myself, but I realized that there's no way to do it without going into the dream-world and helping them out of their nightmares. To do that, you would have to find a working Dream Machine. The one in Olympus was smashed, and the one here on the island isn't working anymore. I don't know if there's one in Elysium or not."
"What island is this? There's not exactly any water on Mars anymore."
"No, but there's an island that was formed where the canals criss-cross through Hellas. The Dream Machine is located in a building over on the island - the one with two fountains in front. I've been over there to look at the machine and it's obviously in disrepair. I'm not very mechanically-minded, though, so I have no idea how to fix it." He thinks for a moment, then exclaims, "Wait!"
"If you could get hold of some of those berries, you could talk to the machine itself and ask IT how to fix it!"
More chemicals. Every container here in Hellas is either chemicals or random musical instruments.
While I'm on the subject, let's grab that microscope.
The island Marcus mentioned is off to the west. If the power weren't on, flipping the switch wouldn't extend the bridge.
But it is on, so it does.
There are several buildings on this side of the canal, including what appears to be a barge assembly and launching station. This particular barge is bristling with Martian cannons (the pipe things with red lights on them) and has what appear to be railroad tracks on the deck. We could probably use this barge to bring a cartload of ore from Syrtis Major to Olympus Mons... if we could fill the canals, that is.
And the Dream Machine's over here too. Marcus said we could use berries to talk to it.
Time to send Warren on a picking spree.
Before advancing the story, it's time to dispatch some of this crap I've been carting around. Everybody's inventories were getting pretty heavy and we were out of oxium despite having a dozen geodes around, so I dumped a bunch of crap in this house, redistributed all the equipment we do need, and cracked some geodes to give everyone 50 or so oxium each. I don't believe any items dropped in Martian Dreams disappear, but most of them are easily replaced so I'm not overly concerned about that.
Plus it's not like we're short on oxium anymore. Each of those can crack into 40-80 oxium blobs.
Now let's eat some green berries, which grant psychometry or machine empathy or robot psychicness or whatever.
You sense a peculiar plant-like device with a seat. Brittle, weak, dull... the strange chair... it feels... blocked. The strange plant machine is dead...
"Steve! We may need some help with this. Perhaps we should ask Dr. Tesla."
"Not now, Warren, I'm feeling the Force."
"You're experiencing a temporary expansion of consciousness as a result of ingesting a strange Martian berry. You might have a mild amount of machine empathy. You are not a Jedi."
"Always with you, what cannot be done. Now shhhhhhh." Ahh, but it was not always so: there was a glowing rock. Yes. An unusually large chunk of radium, to be put in the power supply directly behind the machine.
"Is she... doing anything?"
This is a Dream Machine, yes. It seems to be a kind of doorway. The way is blocked. Your mind pulls away from the velvety green surface...
"That was a neat trick! I wonder if I can do that again sometime."
"I think the more critical determination to be made here is whether we have all we need to fix the machine."
"I think we do..."
"...no, I have searched my feelings, I know that we do."
"I should never have let you anywhere near those things."
"I believe we fit the headpiece... here."
"And the radium is used as a catalyst... here."
"Remember to use tongs this time."
"That's what your mom said."
"I can sense it!"
"The panel nests here, but we'll need to attach it. Wrench?"
"Done and done."
"Now what do we do?"
"One of us will have to volunteer to enter the dream world, I suppose."
"You will still be able to ride shotgun."
"I will still be able to ride shotgun."
"These aren't the droids you're looking for."
"Begging your pardon, Madam?"
"Alright. Punch it, Chewie!"
"That's Han Solo, Steve."
"Whatever, are you going to operate this machine we know nothing about to send me into a hellish nightmare from which I may never return or not?"
"When you put it that way..."